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Archive for December, 2011

Maximizing the season

December 22nd, 2011 at 06:49 pm

This year for the holidays it seems like all I can do is make money / figure out ways to save money. Its odd how this is working out. (ok, maybe bragging a bit)

A few weeks ago I decided to try and get rid of some of my excess hobby items (mostly electric trains). No sense in keeping them if I know I really don't want them, and in fact have better versions. So Craigslist here I come. In the past month I have sold: 4 HO (small) electric train sets, 2 Thomas Tank Engine lots, a large scale electric train, a large scale battery ran train, 5 books on Half.com, and a 40 year old football game(large). I brought in over $250 and probably made over $150 profit - and I cleared out space! On top of that money I won $45 in gift cards for Best Buy at work. I never go there, so this should be a new experience.

And now for something everyone can use.... I just bought $200 in Exxon/Mobil gift cards. Why??? If you do that by the end of this year and register them online, they will send you a $10 gift card for each $100 you buy. I'm already notified that they will be sending out my $20 GC soon. An effective 9% discount on gas never hurts.

However, I set it up better. I got a new credit card with the promotion of $100 back on your first $500 in purchases (if done in the first 3 months). I used this card to buy my $200 in gift cards. And now I will buy another $200 of the gift cards for me, but register them for my girl friend so she gets $20 in GCs, and after that I will only need to buy another $100. One or two utility bills on that credit card and I'm golden.

If I go back another month I see I sold my old car ($1000 thank you very much & save $300 on car insurance & now I can park my good car in my garage), and the warm weather of late has my utility bills coming in at about 1/2 of normal.

Finally a superior at work connected me with a local real estate agent / broker that is looking for someone that can upgrade his specialized software. We've talked and it sounds promising. It shouldn't take too long to do, but who knows, maybe I can make another $500+??? That would look good added to a dividend producing stock portfolio (ok, I need to start an account at a broker this year! I guess that's my resolution for the upcoming year.)

Life on the other side

December 8th, 2011 at 11:12 am

Once you hit the point of no mortgage payments life is so.... Oh I don't know.... relaxed. Oh I still have property taxes (boooo!), income taxes, and yes - I have yet to pay off a nice 2010 used car I bought this summer. Still, not sending out that big chunk of money every month still is so odd. Its like I work for me now, instead of others. What a concept!

This hit home when I left for a week's vacation to near DisneyWorld. Yes, I paid my mother to use her timeshare, but that was almost all of the expenses for the trip. There was gas (using gift cards I earned, the balance put on my credit card was about $100), food ($40 @ Aldi's in the Orlando area), eating out was nothing (used gift cards I got for free for Subway and Burger King), and the parks were free (excess tickets my mother had that she gave me and my girlfriend). And then when I returned home there were no bills, just a regular paycheck from work. I even had the power off for the week, so no expenses at all! Only bad part was returning to the office on Monday.

Yes, there will be expenses coming down the road (take down some trees, replace the driveway, replace the flooring in the house, and I'm sure there'll be more), but when you know you don't have to keep running on that hamster wheel you can live life in the moment so much easier - it's great.

Oh, and to make this a finance posting --- If you get to the point I am (no mortgage), seriously consider an umbrella insurance policy. I hate paying money for this but.... intellectually I know its a good idea, and for about $10/mo. its not going to kill me.