It’s important to look out for your friends. Gus and Call did it for most of their adult lives. Gus was the loose living, quick talking cowboy; the front porch philosopher. Call was the stolid, hard-working, largely emotionless ranger the men called “the Captain.” Gus once commented on Call’s lack of passion for life: “It ain’t dying I’m talking about, it’s living. I doubt it matters where you die, but it matters where you live.” Together, they stole a herd of cattle from Mexico and drove it up through sandstorms, drought, villains and grizzlies, from the Rio Grande to Montana. And the only thing that made Gus come on the trip was loyalty and friendship. So in the spirit of friendship and looking out for each other, like Gus and Call in Lonesome Dove, here’s one way how you can look out for your friends and a couple of tips to earn yourself a little money too!
One way you can have your friends back is to give them free money! What am I talking about? Credit-card referral bonuses! There are two ways you can sign up for a credit card online. You can just google the card you want and then apply online. But that’s lonely. Instead, you should hit up a friend that has the credit card you want (not sure? Post about it on Facebook!), have them send you a referral link (takes about 10 seconds for them to do it) and then sign up. You still get whatever sign-up bonus you would normally, and your friend will get a referral fee which could be anywhere from $75 to $150. They will love you forever. Plus, most credit cards these days offer them.
Now that we’ve made our friends happy by getting them sweet referral bonuses, here are three ways that you can look out for yourself. Free money!
1) Credit Card Sign-up Bonuses:
Just about everyone knows about these already, but for a long time, I personally underestimated how important they are when deciding on a new credit card. Let’s say you have two credit cards. One earns you 2% cash back, but has no referral bonus. One earns you 1.5% cash back, but comes with a sign-up bonus of $150. You would have to spend $30,000 on the 2% cash back card to make up the $150 sign-up bonus difference. I don’t know about your budget, but it takes me a little while to spend $30,000 on a credit card. Plus, I can do fun stuff with the $150 I got up front, like invest it, or buy a jug of whiskey and kick back in a rocking chair on the front porch and watch the sun go down a heap of times. (“I’m sure partial to the evening. ” – Gus McCrae)
2) Checking Account Bonuses:
Most people want to keep their checking accounts simple: ease of access, free, and safe. But if you do a little research before you change banks and open a checking account, you can probably find a bank willing to pay upwards of $150 or $200 just to open a checking account with them. I have seen a local bank in San Diego offer this, as well as huge banks like Wells Fargo and Chase Bank. I did this myself about a year ago when I switched banks (I was tired of the shenanigans going on at Wells Fargo) and got $200 from Chase to open a checking account with them. To earn these bonuses you usually either need to set up a direct deposit, or keep a certain minimum balance.
3) Savings Account Bonuses:
Just like checking accounts, lots of banks offer bonuses to open a savings account with them. I’ve seen this primarily with big banks (Chase, Bank of America, etc.) that offer low interest, but will offer you $150 or so if you deposit at least $15,000. Some high-yield online savings accounts offer this too, like Discover, giving you the best of both worlds: high interest (for a savings account) and a sign-up bonus. The deposits requirements savings accounts are usually quite a bit higher than the requirements I mentioned for checking accounts. But if you can afford take advantage of the savings account offer with a big bank with low interest, you can always keep your money in there for the minimum amount of time necessary (180 days, for example) to earn the bonus, and then transfer it out to a high yield savings account. Put your money to work!