Lucky Pennies: How I Almost Accidentally Threw Away My Keys

Have you ever dodged a bullet?  Maybe not.  How about coming this close to doing something so ridiculously stupid that you’d kick yourself for months?  That’s what happened when I almost accidentally threw away my keys yesterday.

Too Many Changes In Routine

Getting ready and leaving for work is a pretty standard process.  I generally leave around the same time, have the same things, and can be fairly predictable.  Yesterday, there were a bunch of differences in my routine.

  • I had a loaner car. My truck was kept overnight so the dealer could complete a repair that they couldn’t get done in a day.  As such, I had my keys plus a set of keys for the loaner truck.
  • I was carrying out some recycling.  Yesterday was garbage day.  The cans were at the curb but I had a couple of things to add to the bucket for pick up.
  • I had more stuff than normal to carry.  Usually I just have my lunch to bring out.  I’d brought home my work laptop, so I was carrying that out, in addition to also adding the recycling.
  • I left a bit earlier.  I woke up early so I ended up leaving around 15 minutes earlier than normal.

When I walked out, I was confused at first why the truck wouldn’t unlock.  It turned out that I was trying to use my clicker, and not the clicker for the rental car.

Spotting My Lucky Pennies

When I pulled up to work, I pulled into my normal spot.  As I was looking out the side window, I saw a penny lying on the ground.  I figured maybe it was my lucky day.

I got out and picked it up.  It became an even luckier day when I spotted a second penny just a couple of feet away.  Double bonus!

Oh No! I Might Have Accidentally Threw Away My Keys!

When I got into work, I emptied out my pockets.  I don’t like carrying a lot of stuff in my pockets so I always put my keys and wallet in my desk drawer.  When I did that, I instantly noticed that I only had the keys to the rental truck.

Uh oh.

I checked my pockets again.  Nope.  I checked inside my lunch bag in case they’d slipped in there.  No dice.  I went back out to the truck and looked around.  I figured maybe they were in the console or on the seat.  Neither one.  I made sure they hadn’t slipped between the seat and console or onto the floor.  No.  They were nowhere to be found.

At this point, I figured maybe I’d either gone back into the house and set them down, or that they’d fallen out of my hands and were laying on the driveway.  I was pretty sure they weren’t in the house, because I didn’t remember going back in, plus I wouldn’t want to be without a housekey.  Still, I knew I’d done enough things differently that it was possible.

I called my wife, who I knew was still home and awake.  I asked her to go check for my keys downstairs.  They weren’t there.  I then asked her to go outside and take a look in the driveway.  They weren’t there either.

At this point, I started to get a little worried. Then, it hit me.

The recycling.  I told her to go look in the recycling bin.

Sure enough, they were right there sitting in the box that I’d placed on top.

Counting My Lucky Pennies

I couldn’t imagine the hassle and cost involved had I not realized where they were.  If I had accidentally threw away my keys, I would have really had a bad, bad day!  The thing was is that it was that failed attempt at unlocking the car that imprinted in my mind that I’d brought them out of the house.  Without having done that, I probably would have just assumed that I’d forgotten to grab them.

Thank goodness for those lucky pennies.  It really did turn out to be my lucky day!

Readers, have you ever almost thrown something away accidentally?  Or did you actually throw it away and not realize it in time?  Let me know your experiences 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.

The Cost Of Fame And Fortune

I woke up last Thursday to the news that many heard, that Chris Cornell, the lead singer of Soundgarden, had died.  Living in the Detroit area, this was even bigger news, because he had just played a show the night before. He died in a hotel just a few blocks away from where he had performed.  It was sad news, made even sadder when it came out later that he had killed himself.  It makes me wonder the true cost of fame and fortune.

Back In The Day

After college, a few buddies decided to form a band.  This was back in the mid-1990’s so the alternative music scene was still in full swing (though waning, as a look back reveals).  They were pretty good, and managed to get quite a few gigs playing at local bars and other establishments.  I wasn’t musically gifted so I wasn’t in the band.  But, I hung around with them, helping them load and unload, and keeping track of the money side of things.

As guys that age in a band will do, they often talked what it would be like if they hit it big.  They dreamed of the big recording studios, the huge tours, the buses, the fans, and all the rest.  Talking about it was a lot of fun.

Here’s my secret:  Privately, I prayed that they would never achieve that level of success.

You read that right, I did not want my buddies to become rock stars.

Why Did I Hope Against Fame And Fortune?

So you wonder why I would not support my friends on their ‘dream’ of making it big, right?  

Honestly, the answer was simple.  I was afraid of how they would change.  Because, as much as everyone denies it, once you get famous, you change.  It’s unavoidable.  And, it’s often into a completely different person.

But it’s even worse.

Fame and fortune can bring lots of attention.  But it can also unleash demons.  Lots of them.  Bad ones.

Big success can bring lots of money.  But it can also bring lots of problems, many of which are things that most of us just aren’t prepared to handle.

The rock star lifestyle can be filled with parties, women, and fun, but it can also contain loneliness, addictions, and a loss of control.

Looking at how many musicians have died from things like drug addiction, suicide, alcoholism, or just about anything else, and it’s clear that there’s a cost.  Sometimes that cost is the musicians life.  That isn’t worth it.  It’s not worth the money to potentially get broken in a way where you can never get back together.  That’s the risk that I saw with my friends, and I didn’t want to see even the slightest possibility of this happening.

The Success They Found

My friends dreamed of success back then.  In the end, they never hit it big.  They played for a couple of years and then, as it happens most of the time, it was over.  They had a lot of fun.  There were a few arguments.  They entertained a lot of people.  It was a memorable chapter.

Still, they didn’t hit the level of success that they’d dreamed about.  But they’ve still been successful in my eyes.

I’ve seen those friends get married.  I’ve seen them find happiness with their families. They have successful and fulfilling careers.  They’ve matured as men and have become leaders, mentors, and inspirations to those around them.  Including me.

I have to hope that they look in the mirror and realize that, yes, they did find success.  Because they have.

Readers, have you ever dreamed of becoming a rock star?  Do you think that some rock stars would turn it down if they could do it all over again?  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.

6 Tips For Seasonal Small Business Owners

Running a seasonal business is not like running a year-round business. There are different things that you need to consider, and if not managed properly, can become a financial mess. You need to not only save money during the off months, but to increase your revenue during the busy months. If you’re the owner of a small business that only operates for a couple of months out of the year, and you’ve been having a little bit of trouble, here are a few tips to hopefully make things run a little more smoothly.

Find New Revenue Sources

The first and best thing you should try to do is find a way to make money during the off-seasons. Examine the resources available to you.  Look at things like location, space, employees, and inventory.  Take a look to see if there is a way they can be used when your business is shut down for the year. For example, if you own a store that only opens in the summer, perhaps you can rent out the space for storage during the winter months. The store is going to be closed any way.  Why not make a little bit of money from it?  Every bit will help.

Rent Out Your Space

Another option is to rent out the space entirely. Let’s again say that you operate in the Summer months, and your store is empty during the Winter. If you know of a similar business that operates in the Winter, you could rent out the space to them during those months, and effectively share the space during your most prosperous months. Of course there are costs associated with moving your business out of its location each year, but if you can make the money work, renting out your space is a good way to bring in some extra revenue.

Use Loans If You Need To

Of course, you won’t always be able to find another source of income for those off months. You’ll still have bills to pay though.  You may need to find another source of funds if money is tight. In this instance, you may want to look into taking out a loan. A working capital loan is commonly used by seasonal business owners to cover things like taxes and payroll, and can help hold you over until your busy season arrives. You can visit this link for more information on how to get a working capital loan for your business.

Stay In Touch With Customers

Once your business opens back up for the year, you’ll need to make as much money as possible to cover the costs of the other months. A great way to do this is to stay in touch with your customer base year-round. You don’t want people to forget about you just because you take a few months off.  Also, you want them ready to come back as soon as you open. During your open months, try to collect email addresses so you can send out newsletters, and direct your customers to your social media pages.

Promote Your Business Early

Besides keeping in touch with your customers, you want to start promoting your business as early as possible. Your competitors are likely off at the same time as you, and you can get a jump start over them by promoting before the season begins. Start a countdown until you open, and have a big special the first day of business. Anything you can do to drum up interest for the start of the season will help propel you into a good year.

Manage Employee Expectations

Lastly, it is important to manage the expectations you have for your employees.Seasonal workers are likely not going to be as motivated or as experienced compared to full time workers. Many of the people you hire will only be looking for a job that lasts a couple of months, and as such, it is not their top priority. This doesn’t mean every worker you hire is going to be a problem, but it is something to keep in mind.

Know The Challenges

If you’re going to own a seasonal business, you need to know the challenges you are going to face. There are considerations you need to keep in mind that year-round businesses don’t need to think of.  If you don’t plan ahead, you could find yourself facing some tough problems. But by planning, you can help improve your chances for success.

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.

March 2017 Updates

It’s March!  Did you know that even though Spring doesn’t officially start until later this month, that from a meteorological standpoint, spring has started?  That’s right, from a meteorological perspective, the seasons start on the 1st of the month of the calendar change.  I guess they know something we don’t!  I hope that things are going well.  Here are some March 2017 updates and goals.

Fitness

I recently wrote about some renewed focus on my fitness.  So far this is going well!

  • As of the end of February, I’ve dropped 5.8 pounds.  I’ve also dropped my body fat percentage from 21.0% to 19.0%.  These are both since the beginning of the year.  Both of these numbers make me happy.
  • I’m getting to the gym around 4 times per week.
  • I’m mostly running and walking.
  • I haven’t got as much weight lifting done as I’d hoped.  I had hernia surgeries years back, and the weight lifting has caused some minor pain in the area.  I got things checked during a recent visit, and I haven’t done any damage.  Most likely it’s pulling on the scar tissue.  The doctor recommended that I skip the weights until I’m pain free, then see if I can narrow it down to figure out what’s causing the pain.  If that works, I can eventually cut out just the portion of my workout that’s causing the stress.

Taxes

  • We got our taxes submitted to our CPA, and it was done in record time.  That was the good news.  The bad news is that the refunds were a few hundred dollars less than I’d hoped.  Oh, well!
  • We already got our refunds!
  • The refunds came so quick that we didn’t even have a chance to allocate the money, so we’ll have to do that.

Florida Trip

Our spring break trip is just around the corner!

  • Both of the big bills for our upcoming spring break trip have been paid: Renting our condo and our flights.
  • Our biggest to-do (except for packing) is to plan our trip back and forth to the airport.  We’re actually driving about 3.5 hours to an airport in Ohio.  The flights were about 50% cheaper versus flying from Detroit.
  • We won’t have a car while we’re down in Florida.  We can Uber to and from the airport.  There’s a trolley line that runs from our hotel to nearby grocery stores (we also plan to use Amazon Prime Pantry).  All of the restaurants and beaches we plan to visit are within walking distance.

Other March 2017 Updates

  • Lawn – I’ll be working in the backyard.  Since we had some tree stumps removed, I’ll have to dig out the shavings, fill in with top soil and put some seed down.  We have a number of other spots throughout our yard that could use some fill in, so I’m debating just getting a load of top soil delivered.
  • Fridge – Our basement fridge is one that we borrowed many years back.  It’s a mini-fridge (bigger than a box fridge) but has worked well.  We knew that the owner might want it back, and it’s been our plan to move the old, ugly white fridge in the kitchen to the basement and get a new kitchen fridge.  Well, our ticket was finally called.  Unfortunately, it was about two weeks past President’s Day, which is when you can get some good sales.  So, while we’re not going to rush to buy a new fridge and overpay, we may be down to a single fridge for awhile until we find a deal.  As we’re often at capacity with our current two fridges, this could be troublesome.

Readers, how are things going for you this March?  

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.