If you have an Enchumbao mindset, than you’re probably the type of individual who would save a huge down payment to buy a home, save a substantial amount of money to pay in cash for a big purchase, such as a car, or aggressively fund the early retirement years.
While many people have a hard time saving money due to lack of discipline (not willing to make necessary lifestyle changes) or desire for instant gratification, the ones that do save might be okay with a savings account offering less than 1% APR because they might not understand how inflation works.
But the Sexy Souls from the Enchumbao Tribe have a harder time coping with money sitting in an account for a long period of time, not able to keep up with inflation. We get tempted by the stock market swings, but we all know that money that’s needed in the short term, shouldn’t be in stocks due to the potential risk. The point is that this money needs to be risk-free, so that it’s there when the time comes to use it for its intended goal.
Fortunately, if you’re willing to hustle a little, there are some companies that will pay you a bonus to try out their products and services. All you have to do is maybe park a certain amount of your cash there, risk-free, FDIC-insured, and become a customer. These organization are the banks!
No, not those types of banks!
The other banks, the ones that borrow your money and lend it back to you at a higher interest!
Some offer great promotions and a way for you to test-drive their business and get a nice return on your cash.
As we accumulate the short-term reserves needed for early retirement, we find ourselves with the dilemma I just spelled out. Is there a way that we can make a better return on our short-term reserves than with CDs (certificates of deposit) or money market accounts without taking on any additional risks? We searched around and found many banks offering cash bonuses with minimum effort required from us, such as opening an account and performing certain tasks.
PNC Bank was offering a $400 cash bonus in the quarter of 2015. All you had to do was open a Virtual Wallet with Performance Select Checking account, have qualifying direct deposits for a month equaling $5,000 and pay one bill using their bill-pay feature. You did need to keep a $5,000 balance to avoid the $25 monthly fee and have the account open for 6 months to keep the bonus.
Let me translate that into Enchumbao language. You spend 15 minutes opening the account online. Deposit $5,000 for 6 months, pay a few bills from the account and get an 8% return on your money!
Wow, that’s a better return than having the money invested in stocks right now and the most important thing – it’s risk free! Just for the record, if there were no other options, we’d keep the money in CD accounts because our main goal was to keep it risk free, not maximize its return at the expense of losing a fraction due to an investment downturn.
We opened the first account and got our reward within the first 2 weeks after fulfilling the requirements. Sweet!
How to look for these offers
A quick Google search on “bank bonus offers” will bring up sites like HustlerMoneyBlog. They have a chart that gets frequently updated showing the most popular deals.
Make sure that you read the fine print to meet the bonus offer. PNC required a substantial direct deposit for a month. If your monthly direct deposit is less than what’s required, you might need to time it and open it to coincide with a month that has a three-paycheck cycle or when you have a job bonus coming in.
Take the time to try out the bank services and give them a fair chance to win your business. As we complete transactions with PNC, we are making comparisons with our current bank and are open to switching for the long-term, if it’ll make sense. However, we wouldn’t pay a monthly fee or keep a substantial amount of money sitting in an account without getting a competitive interest rate, so if we were to keep doing business with them, we’ll have to search for other account alternatives.
I also walked into a branch, that was conveniently located close to my job, to make a deposit. I was amazed at how the banks’ layouts have changed over the years, since people barely go inside a branch to deposit/cash a check. Even ATM’s are becoming a thing of the past with mobile check deposit. At the branch I visited, there were no tellers, only a few representatives with office spaces. The courteous manager of that branch approached me, as he saw me clueless on how to proceed, took me to his office and took care of my deposit. It was a very personal experience.
Now that our first bonus posted, we are waiting for Mrs. Enchumbao’s PNC bonus to come in, since we both opened an account. And, there are many more fish in the sea, asking us to sample them. Just yesterday, look what I found in the mailbox…
Would $150 be worth the effort? TBD. Let the drenching continue. 🙂