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.

Read moreHow To Be A Successful Flipper

Why Writing Checks Is Inevitable

I remember back when I first went out on my own.  You wrote a check for every bill.  Gas.  Rent.  Car payments.  Cell phone bills.  Credit card payments.  It was the only way to do business.

Now we use electronic payments for just about everything.  Our utilities are deducted each month.  The same goes with the mortgage and cell phone payments.  Just about everything is done electronically.

Even so, we still use the dreaded checkbook.  It’s inevitable!

20 Checks In 6 Months

I was surprised to see that we’ve written twenty checks over the past six months.  That’s almost a full book of checks.

I took a look and found the following breakdown:

  • Grooming Places – 4 – My son and I go to a barber, and they don’t accept credit cards.  So, we write a check.  In addition, when my wife goes to get her nails or hair done, tips can’t go on a credit card.
  • Kids Activities – 3 – Certain parts of things that our kids do seem to be easiest handled by check.  Paying for equipment or such seems to end up being done by check.
  • School – 3 – Buying a t-shirt through the PTO.  Paying for a lost library book.  Again, the school doesn’t accept credit cards so business is handled by check.
  • Passport – 3 – My wife and I both got new passports, so there were fees to the government and the clerk’s office to get things handled.
  • Painting – 2 – We recently had our house painted, and paid some up front and the rest upon completion.  Both were done via check.
  • Family – 2 – We owed money for split costs on items to family members, and it was easiest to write a check.
  • Gift – 1 – A gift for a family member’s Confirmation was done via check.
  • License Tab Renewal – 1 – There’s no charge to use a credit card at the office, but they tack on a couple of bucks if you renew via mail with a credit card. So this just saved us time and money.
  • City – 1 – We get an annual pass to our local beach, and it’s either cash or check.

Read moreWhy Writing Checks Is Inevitable

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.

Read moreDo You Believe These Money Myths?

Projects Around The House – 2017 Edition

This year has been a pretty busy year generally speaking.  Even though there’s a few months left in the year, we’re just about wrapped up with our project list around the house.  Mostly because our budget is exhausted!  Of course, something unexpected could happen.  But, we’re hoping we can make it through the rest of the way.

Exterior Painting

The house hadn’t been painted in at least ten years.  Maybe as long as eighteen.  How do I know?  Because we moved in ten years ago, and the house is eighteen years old.

image from Morguefile courtesy of jade

Most of the home exterior is brick or siding, but all the trim work is wood.

We had some wood that was definitely rotting around some windows and corners.  Paint was flaking.  It was in pretty rough shape.

I happened to be talking to a fellow dad in my son’s Cub Scout troop and mentioned our need.  He mentioned that his former neighbor was a house painter.  He said he did great work and was very reasonable.  They’d just used him to paint their house, and he invited me over to take a look.  I went over right away and it looked great.

Read moreProjects Around The House – 2017 Edition

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.

Read more10 Easy Things I Do To Save Money

Unlimited Vacation Policy? Thanks But No Thanks

I’ve seen more press than ever on unlimited vacation policy.  At first, this sounds wonderful.  Take all the time off that you want and answer to nobody, right?  Well, I don’t think it’s that easy.  Personally, I would hate an unlimited vacation policy.  However, I know that’s because of my personal situation.  I’m curious what you think.

What Is An Unlimited Vacation Policy?

Simply put, companies with an unlimited vacation policy don’t provide the standard time off allotments that we’ve all grown used to.  You’re allowed to take what you need.  However, there are things to keep in mind.

  • You have to fulfill your work obligations.  If you don’t get your work done because you’re taking too much time off, you’ll probably get pulled off the policy.  Or fired.
  • You have to have more awareness.  When you get an allotment of time off, the decision is made for you as to how much you can take.  When you don’t have that set, you have to become aware of how people in your company, or even your own work group, handle time off.  Say nobody takes more than three weeks off?  Well, that becomes the de facto standard.  It’s really only technically unlimited at that point.
  • You’ll get nervous.  At least I would.  If I take a lot of time off at one time, I get pretty nervous.  After all, if I’m able to be away for long periods of time, am I needed?  Maybe my boss would start to question that.
  • Calculating total compensation is more difficult.  Your paycheck is not truly how much ‘you make’.  You have to look at other benefits.  How much is your employer kicking in for insurance? 401(k) matching?  Everything plays a part, including your time off.  If you don’t have a set amount of time off, it becomes harder to quantify this.

Read moreUnlimited Vacation Policy? Thanks But No Thanks

Being a Better Long-term Investor

We tend to bring our biases everywhere and we interpret information according to these biases. It is human nature and often hard to escape. We tend to be heavily influenced by recent and previous events or trends.  In order to become a better long-term investor, there are some things to know.

Information and News

Every day we are bombarded by new information and investment news, which we use to make decisions. This should be a taxing process, but our brains make it easier by using mental shortcuts that help us make a quick decision without the need for lengthy analysis. These mental strategies are known as heuristics. Heuristics may help us save time, but may lead to errors in judgment. There are many behavioral biases and some of them should be all too familiar: Biases that affect our decision-making processes include anchoring (relying heavily on one piece of information), over-confidence, fear, confirmation bias (only searching for information supporting your belief), over-extrapolation and greed, to name but a few.

Read moreBeing a Better Long-term Investor