Dec. 30, 2022

My 1% Daily Gain

The Aggregation of Marginal Gains is one of the coolest concepts I’ve come across. It demonstrates just how powerful small 1% gains are. They are vastly underestimated when stacked and implemented one after another. I first learned about this concept on the ChooseFI podcast and then read a few articles on it. My wife and I discussed how we might be able to improve our finances with 1% gains.

How to Calculate 1% Gains

We wanted to break this down into a daily or weekly number to make it seem more attainable and realistic. Our approach is to focus on earning more, but it could be a focus on savings, or a combination of both. There are several numbers in our finances we can base 1% gains off of, but we looked at a these three:

  1. Total household income
  2. Investment income
  3. Net worth

If we were to base our 1% gain off our total household income, we would need to make an extra $2.25 per day, or just under $16 a week. This seems really easy to do and could be accomplished in many ways. From taking surveys online or giving a ride on a rideshare platform.

Going off current passive income, which can be variable based on stock market returns, but is steadied by crowdfunded real estateWorthy bonds and dividends. The number is not very different from total income at $2.75 – $3 per day.

1% gain
Improving something 1% is not a pie in the sky endeavor

Basing Our 1% Gain On Net Worth

We decided to base our goal off our net worth, which would mean we need to save about $4.50 extra per day. We’ll just round up to $5 for simplicity. Keep in mind that we are already doing our best to max out accounts with employer matches (401k and HSA), along with spousal and personal IRA’s. This $5 a day is on top of all of this. A 1% gain is not terribly hard to find.

How We’ll Do This

  • Searching with Bing. I have earned $60+ over the last few years just by using Bing instead of Google. Their search results now are much better than they used to be, but sometimes I just Bing Google. This year I’ve already made $10 to Amazon.
  • Jobspotter: will pay you to take pictures of job listings. I do this on morning runs through shopping centers near me, and whenever I’m out exploring or doing normal shopping. So far my wife and I have made $130 to Amazon using this. My brother in law has made $60+ in the last two months. You can resubmit help wanted signs after a month has gone by from your original submission.
  • I run through drive thru’s in the morning and pick up coins. Once I get a good amount I’ll go to a Coinstar and get a giftcard, usually to iTunes. Actually, I often find coins left behind at the Coinstar that weren’t processed. I found $2 in coins this morning that didn’t get processed by the machine and were left behind. So far I estimate my earnings to be $25.
  • I have started using Sweatcoin, but how much it is worth is pretty vague. It takes 20k Sweatcoins to get $1000, which means a sweatcoin is equivalent to a nickel. I have 140 SC, or $7.
  • SwagbucksEBATES , etc: This varies by how much online shopping you do, which stores and what promotions they run, but can earn us about $10 a year.
  • Coinbase sent me a test to learn about Stellar Lumens and gave me $10 for it. Another friend took the test I referred them to and I got an additional $10. If you have a Coinbase account and want to take advantage of this, you can earn Stellar Lumens here.
  • We opened an M1 Finance account and put $100 into it to get $10. You can get $10 if you sign up for M1 Finance through this referral link.
  • Scott at SimpliFInance referred me to Dosh: Get $5 when you sign up
  • I started using Drop for cash back too: Get $5 when you sign up
  • I made $10 from Usertesting
  • Worthy Bonds: inventory backed bonds, bought $10 at a time. They pay 5% interest, and I round up my credit card purchases to go here. Every once in a while they have a promotion where I can get a free bond for putting in a certain amount, which makes the return 6%.
  • I’ve had some bank and credit card offers paying anywhere from $50 from Aspiration to $400 at Wells Fargo. Taking advantage of 4 of these will boost me $850. I have an Aspiration Bank referral code that will give you $50 when you open an account and fund an Aspiration Spend & Save Account (or Aspiration Save Account), we will EACH get $50: $25 in cash deposited into your Aspiration account AND $25 Aspiration “Do Good” dollars that Aspiration donates to a charitable cause of your choice. They send out a cashback debit card and pay 2% interest. We’ll see if I use this account long term.
  • Personal Capital referrals – Get $20 when you sign up and link an account. It makes tracking your expenses and net worth easy. I have gotten $20 from this app this year.
  • My wife proofread this and mentioned she has made almost $400 using Ibotta in 5 years. Our referral code can be found here.

Totaling up all these sources I’ve earned about $1027 this year (122 days) or an extra $8.56 per day. I’m ahead of schedule but need to find some ways to keep this going. Those bank accounts and credit cards were really lucrative so I need to line up some more ways to make money.

Opportunity Abounds

As much complaining and griping there is out in the world about how hard it is to make money, I’ve come into over 1k with small efforts. Any one of these alone isn’t all that impressive, but taking 15 minutes here and there to be proactive has yielded a nice harvest of easy money. That’s what the aggregation of marginal gains is all about.

Am I missing any other low hanging fruit? What have you done to make some quick cash and improve your finances? How can you get your 1% gain?


Disclaimer: This post is chock full of referral links. None of them are affiliate links. I get as much as you get for all the links above.