Side Hustle Round Up: 2016 Income

For the past few years I’ve done an annual side hustle round up (2014 & 2015). In 2016 I backed off on some hustles, and started a pretty lucrative new one. Here’s the breakdown…

Credit Card Bonuses

I went a bit light on credit card openings last year, but I think I still got some pretty good value on the bonuses of the cards I opened. We will be using most of the points earned last year to book an awesome trip to Europe (a Mediterranean cruise & more!) in September 2017. I still haven’t decided if I should hold off on new openings until I can get the Chase Southwest cards again and earn another companion pass, or continue to grab other offers and forget about the Southwest deal.

  • $275 – two Bank of America credit card opening bonuses
  • $200 – Chase credit card opening bonus
  • 35,000 SPG Rewards Points (~$770 value) – bonus on Amex card opening
  • 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points ($1,500 value when used toward travel) – bonus on the Sapphire Reserve card
  • $150 – 2 calendar years credit toward travel spending ($600) on Sapphire Reserve card, after accounting for $450 annual fee

$2,895 ā€“ Total Approximate Value

Checking Account Bonuses

Despite opening 5 accounts for $1,100 in 2015, I didn’t do any checking account “churning” last year. Now that I’ve laid off of this for a while, it may be time to find out which bonus accounts I can re-open, and see if there are any new bonuses around this year!

Freelance Web Work

I still have a few web development clients where income trickles in – I will spend some time in 2017 trying to win some additional marketing or development work, but this is a pretty unpredictable revenue stream right now.

$950 Total

Various Website Projects

I continue to run some small website projects where I sell ad space, have AdSense ad revenue, and very occasionally sell photo licenses:

  • Ad Revenue: $102.97
  • Direct Ad Sales: $140
  • Affiliate/Referral Revenue: $107
  • Photography: $250

~$600 Total

$600 is total earnings before expenses ā€“ my expenses include domain names and web hosting, so I make enough to keep my hobby websites up and running with no out of pocket expenses, and if Iā€™m lucky, a little extra cash. The most exciting part of my website income in 2016 was the sale of a photo used in a Nike commercial.

Retail Food Business

I think I’ve come to the sad conclusion to stop this side hustle. I gave it a try, but I found myself not very excited to keep going after ~2 years of trying, and I did almost nothing in this business in 2016.

~$10 Total (after expenses)

Credit Card Piggybacking

In May, at Camp Mustache, I learned about an awesome way to leverage all of my old credit cards, “renting” authorized user spots to people for money. All of the details are pretty complicated (and it sounds scary/too good to be true at first), but if you have a lot of older credit cards and you’re interested in more details, email me and I can give you the rundown.

This has proven itself to be the easiest and most lucrative side hustle I’ve ever participated in, and I hope it keeps up for a few years, if not longer. An extra ~$900/month is a huge boon to my savings and should help tremendously in saving toward FIRE.

I started this hustle at the end of June, and so far have been paid for my “work” through November in 2016.

$4,430 Total (after the expense of a $95 credit card annual fee, which I would have otherwise closed)


Overall, I brought in about $8,885 in side hustle income (combination of cash and future value toward travel) last year. A majority of my actual cash income came from my newest side hustle. I am excited to see what new things come around and how I do in 2017! What was your hustling income like for 2016?

[featured image: Sean MacEntee]

Posted in Musings