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You can apply here or here to get $50 bonuses for opening up a new Sharebuilder account and making one trade. Costco members can get a $70-90 bonus through the end of today (12/31/06).

As Jonathan pointed out on My Money Blog, you can go about this in two ways.

  1. Open up an account with $5. Buy $1 of stock and pay $4 for commission. Wait for your bonus, then let the $1 in stock just rot there.
  2. Open with $50.  Buy $46 of quality stock and pay $4 commission. Get the $50 (or more) bonus and treat it like you just got free stock.

I opted for option #2. I figured it would be fun to throw $50 in some ETF and see what happens to it in fifty years. I chose to invest in  the VTI, Vanguard’s Total Stock Market ETF.

It used to be that you could apply for a Sharebuilder account through Ebates, then enteranother promotional code to stack the bonuses and get $75 total in bonuses for signing up ($25 through Ebates and $50 through Sharebuilder promo code). But in my experience, Sharebuilder has changed their site, and if you enter through the Ebates link you aren’t given the option to enter a promo code. Instead, you’re given an error code that says something to the effect: “Must enter through promotional link.” So maybe they smartened up and learned how to prevent people from double dipping on bonuses.

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