Don’t Run Your Finances Into A Bridge

Say you drove a big rig or an equipment hauler.  You’d think that ‘Don’t run into bridges’ would be a pretty obvious rule.  Well, considering that we’ve had two incidents in the last week here around Detroit, maybe that’s not so obvious.  I’m not just talking smashing into a bridge. I’m talking where the bridge is damaged so badly it has to come down.

Driving Your Finances

Think of your finances as a journey.

  • You have to get from point A to point B.
  • There are things along the way.
  • There are twists and turns.
  • You’ll come across obstacles you have to avoid.
  •  You might hit some tight spots.
  • It’s important not to get stuck.
  • You will have deadlines to meet.

These things all apply, and they’re kind of like driving a truck, if you think about it.

See where I’m going with this?

How To Avoid Missing The Bridge

You have to wonder, how do these drivers not miss hitting a bridge?  It’s so obvious, right?

Well, I haven’t talked to the drivers.  But I have a feeling that if I did, they probably got distracted.  They likely got to thinking about something else.  Maybe they were running behind on getting where they needed to be.  Perhaps they found out there was a detour that they’d have to navigate around.

In these and many similar cases, they were so focused on something else, they lost sight of everything else.  They probably got some form of tunnel vision.

Know Where You’re Going

Maybe the truckers didn’t know where they were going.  Perhaps it was their first time on this route.  I don’t know the circumstances, but an unfamiliar route can cause problems.

It’s key to know your journey.  You can’t know of every twist and turn, but having an idea of your path ahead is pretty important.

Look Behind You

There’s always one thing anyone says when they hear about this type of accident.

How did they not see what was behind them?

See, in many of these cases, a simple look would have avoided the accident.  A dump truck was tilted upward.  A cherry picker was not fully retracted.  Had the driver simply looked back, they could have avoided the issue.

This is the same with your finances.  Heck, with life, if you really think about it. If we don’t look back from time to time, we might miss something big.  What’s behind us teaches us.  It warns us.  We use that information to make sure our path forward works.

And, if it’s not working, if there’s danger, then stop.  Figure it out, then get going again.

Whatever you do, wherever you’re going, keep moving.  Just please, don’t hit that bridge.

Readers, have you or someone you know of hit a figurative bridge?  Thanks for reading.  Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

How To Be A Successful Flipper

Flipping isn’t just for houses anymore.  House flipping sure got all the attention, but flipping opportunities are endless.  Fifteen years ago, I went to California to visit an old college buddy.  His apartment was full of hockey jerseys and boxes.  He found them at local discount stores and sold them on eBay at a big markup.  His ability to be a successful flipper helped him pay for medical school!

So what are the things to know before you get started?

Be An Expert

Whatever it is your flipping, you want to make sure you know the ins and outs. Whether it’s houses or hockey jerseys or even shoes, know your product.  Know what sells and what doesn’t.  Know what’s in demand.  Not only that, but know whether there’s opportunity for high demand product.

Have Passion

If you’re in it just for the money, you might do OK.  But if you really have a passion for what you’re doing, you’ll have a better shot to hit it big.  Many of the biggest real estate flippers found success because they already loved real estate.  Love what you do is a common workplace phrase.  It stands to reason that it applies in flipping.

Know Where The Deals Are

The deals aren’t going to come to you.  You’ll have to know where to look for them.  Also, you’ll want to know where the best chances are to find deals.  If you’re flipping shoes, for example, you won’t find deals at the high end mall.  The prices will already be too high and your margins won’t work.  Knowing where the deals are will help reduce the time spent building inventory.

Know What Sells

My buddy that sold hockey jerseys could spot deals not just on price, but on product.  He’d pay higher for some team jerseys because he knew they were more popular.  Some team jerseys he would avoid altogether because he knew they wouldn’t sell.

Build A Good Reputation

Once you start selling, word will get out about you as a seller. Whether you’re flipping houses or selling something online, build a good reputation.  Follow up with customers.  Be prompt on delivery.  Verify your orders to make sure they’re correct.  These will encourage high ratings and even potential repeat business.

Look For Opportunities

If you develop a niche, you might find other opportunities fall into your lap.  If customers buying Product A keep asking if you sell Product B, take notice.  There might be an untapped opportunity to expand your business or develop a referral partnership.

Flipping items for profit can be a lucrative way to make extra money.  Some people even make a living full time.  In order to become successful, make sure you do it right.

Readers, have you ever tried to flip something for a profit?  How did it go?  Any experiences or  tips would be appreciated in the comments below.  Thanks for reading.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Do You Believe These Money Myths?

There are a lot of different things you’ll read when it comes to your money.  The personal finance world has lots of people with many opinions.  I’m one of them!  But with so much out there, it can often get confusing.  What do you believe?  What’s true and what’s a suggestion?  I don’t have all the answers.  But there are a few money myths that I’ve seen come up more than a few times.

#1: Always Pay The Higher Interest Loan First

The higher the interest rate means that less of your payment goes to your principal.  This is true.  So, you should always pay the highest interest loan first, right?

Not always.

I think you have some flexibility here.  If you have a loan with a low balance, maybe consider paying that off first.  It will free up some cash flow.  Plus, paying off a loan will give you a ‘win’ on your scorecard.  Those can be very important and might be worth a few bucks in higher interest in the short term.

#2: It’s Too Late To Start Saving

Many people start saving for retirement or their first home right out of the gate.  If you’re one of those people, then congrats.  But if you’re not, don’t worry.

It’s never too late to start saving.  I don’t care how old you are.  Many people who give this answer are just making excuses to continue bad habits.

I don’t care if you have friends that are your age who are already retiring and you haven’t saved a buck.  You should and you can start making a difference.

#3: You Have To Choose Between Paying Off Debt Or Saving Money

I’ve read at least a thousand pieces over the years on this topic.  Which is better if you have extra money?  Paying off debt?  Or saving/investing?

I’ve never understood why people think it has to be either or.  It doesn’t.

If the answer isn’t clear or you don’t have motivation toward one, why choose?  Try a mix of both.  Either one is going to help you in the long run.  And, you might find that one excites you more than the other.  If that happens, then you can make adjustments.

#4: Having An Emergency Fund Is Good Enough

OK, so you saved $1,000 for an emergency fund.  You’re covered, right?  Wrong.

The fact is that even if you’ve built yourself a cushion, there is still work to do.  What if you have an emergency greater than $1,000?  How will you restore your fund if an actual emergency depletes your fund?  What if someone comes to you with an emergency of their own?

Be prepared.  Think ahead.

#5: Following Someone Else’s Budget Is Your Ticket To Success

A budget that works for someone else may not work for you.  Everybody has different circumstances and different needs.

Also, many people are at different stages of how they can handle a budget.  Someone who’s never used a budget should start simple. If they tried to use the budget template of someone that’s had one for twenty years, it probably won’t work.

Budgets come in all shapes and sizes.  There is no one size fits all.

#6: Focus On Cutting Spending To Save Money

This isn’t bad advice.  It’s actually really good advice.  However, it may not always be the best advice.

After all, the advice here only focuses on one side of the equation.  Spending.  This is great, but there’s also opportunity that comes by making more money.

Consider that we all have limited time in our lives in which we can focus on saving money.  If your time allows you to cut $1,000 per month in expenses, that’s great.  But what if you focused that time on earning more money instead?  If you could earn $2,000 per month with the same effort, then focusing on cutting expenses could actually be costing you $1,000 per month.

#7: The Stock Market Is Always Going To Go Up

It may seem like this is true given that it pretty much has for the last ten years.  But it doesn’t.  And it won’t.  Don’t believe people on CNBC that tell you that ‘this time it’s different’.  And that the market can go up forever.

It’s not and it won’t.

Everybody needs to keep an eye on the market and recognize that it’s not a one way only road.  The experts that tell you that it can only go up probably have a plan in place.  And when the market starts going down, they’ll have executed their plan before they go back on the air and talk about the downturn.  Trust me on this.

The fact is, they don’t care about your money.  They care about theirs.  Don’t get the two confused.

Readers, what advice have you heard that may need some corrections or clarifications?  What do you think about the items I mentioned?  Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.  Thanks for reading.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

10 Easy Things I Do To Save Money

Saving money is a big deal.  Many people don’t know where to start.  It doesn’t have to be hard.  In fact, when it comes to saving money, think small.  A small saving is easy to do.  And many small savings add up to BIG savings.

Here are some quick and easy things I do to save.  Hopefully some of these work for you.

Call The Cable Company

Every year or so our bill jumps up.  Every year or so I call them and ask them to lower our bill.  Guess what?  It works.  We save at least $40 compared to regular pricing.

Make My Own Coffee

I brew my own coffee every day. Even at work, I bring my own ground coffee.  I indulge in buying Half & Half.  All told, it costs a fraction of what I’d spend at Starbucks.

Use Reward Credit Cards

I barely swipe our debit card anymore.  Now, I use a credit card whenever possible.  Why?  Because all of our cards generate rewards.  We have one airline card and three cash cards.  Since we pay off the balance every month, it’s just free flights and money.  You can’t really beat that, can you?

Watch My Mileage

Often when driving around, I’ll switch my dash display to show my mileage.  Why?  Because when I watch how I’m driving, I drive better.  With gas prices back up again, every less bit of fuel used is a savings.  Why burn money that you don’t have to?

Avoid Vending Machines

I stopped buying things out of the vending machines a couple of years ago.  Now I refuse to.  Not only is what’s in there generally bad for you, it’s always overpriced.

Stack Savings

We stock up on some items at the grocery store.  The trick is to buy things you’ll use.  Also, make sure that they won’t go bad before you use them.  If you have items on that, look for coupons and use them when the item is on sale.  It’s savings on top of savings!

Order Water

Sometimes at a restaurant I’ll get a cocktail or a glass of wine, but otherwise it’s straight water.  I don’t order soft drinks or lemonade.  If you do this, though, make sure you tip as if you did buy something.  After all, the waitperson had to keep your water filled.  Even so, you save money.

Photo by EthanN77 courtesy of MorgueFile.

Borrow Books From The Library

I read over 50 fiction novels a year.  But, I can’t tell you the last time I bought one.  Instead, I do most of my reading through the library. This is a huge money saver.

Take A Break On Impulse Purchases

If you come across a great deal but you didn’t plan it, consider waiting.  Just give it a day and see if it’s still something you want.  Often times, I will take a day or two, and often times what I thought about purchasing is no longer important.

Buy Generic

Brand names are what you think of for most items.  But that only means you see more advertising.  It doesn’t mean it’s a better product.  Take a chance on generic or off brand items. In many cases, they’re the same or better quality.  And if they aren’t, well then it’s OK to go back to the brand name.

Readers, what are some ways you look to save money?  Are there any simple and easy tricks?  Let me know your secrets in the comments below.  Thanks for reading.

 

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.