Doubling Freelance Income, Part 2: Why You Don’t (but Really Do) Want Multiple Bank Accounts

churn bank bonuses

Objection 2: Finding (and getting) bank account bonuses takes time and work

Probably the biggest misconception I had prior to stacking my paydays with bank bonus churning was that I might have to do tons of research. But the truth is most banks are running promotions most of the time, and the biggest challenge is not finding them but easily making direct deposits — something you already have covered as a freelancer. You probably see a few bonuses advertised every time you’re on the highway or train without even trying. But even if you don’t…

The solution: The research is already done

Sites like FlyerTalk and Doctor of Credit do the research for you. Doctor of Credit even has a spreadsheet so you can organize bonuses by the criteria that are most relevant to you.

Ideally you have enough assignments to stay busy all week anyway, so bank bonuses for minimal effort is just a nitro boost to your income.

Churning bank bonuses is easy when financial planning software does the work for you.
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Objection 3: Tracking multiple bank accounts takes work

Of course, different bank account bonuses have different requirements spread out over time, and you don’t want to miss them. But I’ve found that this is where using the high-yield account as your main helps. Everything else just pipelines into it. But you should still monitor those other accounts just to know how much cash you actually have, and whether you’re meeting minimum balance requirements.

If only there were some sort of free app or twelve that would let you see all your financial info in one place…

The solution: Financial tracking sites do it for you

Mint, YNAB, Personal Capital, and others organize your financial situation for free. Sure, they’re collecting that data for anonymous trend tracking, and trying to sell you stuff, but unless you’re worried about privacy in that regard (and fair point if you are), you ought to use one of these sites or apps. Even if you have a solitary bank account, one credit card, and no loans, fiscal tracking sites can light up your path to financial independence.

This is such a huge advantage we have over our parents, who used to have to enter every transaction into a checkbook, compare their spending, look at upcoming bills, etc. All that mule work is done for you before you log in and with fewer errors, so you always have an accurate idea of your assets and liabilities. Instead of losing an entire evening every couple of weeks to project the future, you can lose an entire evening to video games or TV. Huzzah! Now we’re wasting our lives on our own terms!

Of course our parents had affordable health care and coverage, homes that cost one-to-five years’ salary, and government that at least somewhat functioned, but hey, we’ve got robots, baby!

So no, you don’t have to track bank accounts. There’s someone who will do that for you. What they won’t do is make sure you’re hitting the bonus requirements…

Objection 4: Financial tracking sites won’t remind you to meet bank bonus requirements

Okay, I can’t lie, this is the one that takes a LITTLE bit of work ONE TIME — but only if you need to do track more than a couple requirements at a time, by which point you’re already onboard the bonus train. Then we’re just talking about organization.

The solution: A spreadsheet and/or calendar reminders

A spreadsheet would need work to configure at the start, but Doctor of Credit has a sample bonus tracking sheet you can use. I made my own, and I just punch in the details as I’m filling out the bank application, so I’m not sitting down any longer than the time it takes to set up the account anyway. Here’s what mine looks like:

Once you have that, you can make a short list of due dates so you don’t miss anything. I pipeline mine from the sheet above into a to-do list:

Then I punch those dates into my calendar so I’m thrice-reminded. If you’re just doing a few bonuses, all you need to do is enter a couple tasks directly into your calendar: plug a reminder to “Deposit $500 into Bank Name” a week before the deadline, and then add another calendar task for the day that it’s okay to close the account without penalty.

In any case, the work involved is the same lunch hour it takes to apply, while the return is a few days’ pay. The real obstacle isn’t tracking, it’s moving money around swiftly, since high-yield accounts tend to take a few days and don’t always have the baked-in transfer options of other banks. Onward to that in the final part of this post!