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11/04/16 Travel , Work # ,

How I Side Hustled Across the Country on Fulfilled by Amazon

Amazon

This guest post about making money on Amazon is by Tyler Philbrook, a personal finance blogger at I Am the Future Me who I met at FinCon16 in San Diego in late September. I also wrote a post on his site, so after you read his story here about how he made money to attend FinCon, go over to his site to read my post about what got me to get going on starting an emergency fund.

A little over a year ago I got the opportunity I had been waiting for. I was GIVEN a ticket to FinCon16, a financial blogger conference that I wouldn’t be able to go to.

When given the ticket I became sick to my stomach. I should have been excited, but I knew I was going to have to turn it down.

I have a lot of credit card debt, and didn’t want to go further into debt to travel across the country.

Instead, I committed myself to getting there no matter the cost, no matter the sacrifices I would have to make I would come up with the money.

One of the MANY side hustles I did was sell on Amazon with FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon). Continue reading

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10/28/16 Minimalism , Saving # , ,

How I Save $1,000 Per Year With 3 Quick Phone Calls

How I Save $1,000 Per Year With 3 Quick Phone Calls

When I got laid off from my job eight years ago, one of the first things my wife and I did was look for ways to cut expenses. The monthly combined cable TV-landline phone-Internet bill stood out the most as an easy way to save $1,000.

Unfortunately, there weren’t many options to cutting the cable cord then, so we stuck with our monthly cable TV bill of around $100 for four more years until we finally got rid of it. We also eventually got rid of our landline phone, and now each have a cellphone.

So with two parts of the three-part cable company bill eliminated, that left us with only Internet service to pay for. It was a service we needed — I started working at home as a freelance writer and needed Internet access to work — so killing it wasn’t going to happen.

If the cost wasn’t going to be eliminated, the next-best thing to do was to negotiate a lower price with our Internet provider. It’s a task I took on with gusto, mainly because I like negotiating prices and getting a deal, but also because it just seemed like a ripoff to pay $80-something a month as a long-time customer when new customers were paying half that.

3 phone calls per year

The negotiation is as simple as making a quick phone call that lasts about five minutes.

I call our Internet provider once a year and our newspaper twice a year for the lowest price each offers new customers. I have to call the New York Times and haggle twice a year because it only offers discounts for six months at a time. Continue reading

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10/12/16 Personal Finance #

What I’m Doing With a $250 Windfall

What I’m Doing With a $250 Windfall

 

I won $250 in a contest recently, and while it’s not exactly a windfall that will change my life like a lottery win could, it was enough to get me daydreaming about the possibilities with it.

It was a simple contest, which is my prerequisite for entering any contest: Take a photo of myself wearing the hat of a Clark.com, a sponsor at FinCon, a conference for financial bloggers that I attended in late September. Then put it up on Twitter, with #ClarkCash and #FinCon16 in the tweet after following @ClarkHoward on Twitter.

The free hat was in a swag bag given to attendees, with a business card attached to the hat giving instructions on how to win $250:

“The 4 most creative entries will each win $250 in cash for a total of $1,000! Winners will be announced at Clark Howard’s #FinCon16 keynote speech Thursday at 4:30 p.m.”

I noticed the hat in the swag bag after an afternoon walking around a tent full of sponsors that I wanted to meet, with the hope that I could either write for some of them or have them advertise on my personal finance blogs. I went to my hotel room to rest for a bit when I read about the contest on the free hat, and decided to give it a try.

I pulled some cash out of my wallet and took two photos and tweeted them out:

 

And this: Continue reading

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10/07/16 Children , Work

Taking a Day Off From Work Shouldn’t be a Hassle

Taking a Day Off From Work Shouldn’t be a Hassle

I’ve never been a workaholic. I’m all for getting work done and doing my best at it to give clients excellent stories as a freelance writer and editor. But when it comes time to take a day off from work or the weekend off and relax, I’m ready for the time to re-energize.

That may be one of the reasons why I’m not rich. Or why the three websites I run about personal finances don’t have the awesome readership and advertising numbers that I’m aiming for.

I bring all of this up because of something I heard from one of the keynote speakers at a conference I attended last month for personal finance bloggers. Part of his message was: Take a day off. Or two or even three days off if you can. It was a much better message than what another speaker offered.

After years of working to build his website — which is one of the top PF sites and is among his many successful endeavors — and missing some valuable time with his children so he could grow his business, he came to the conclusion that taking a day off from work each week was important.

This didn’t seem like much of a revelation to me.

But I got the sense that to many of the 500 or more people in the ballroom listening to him, it was an insightful idea worth trying. Continue reading

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10/03/16 Retirement , Saving # ,

Think You’re Bad With Money? Take This Quiz

money

Image: RomoloTavani

Americans are financial dunces, and we may be getting denser. When the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) asked 27,000 adults to take a five-question financial literacy test, only 37% could answer four or more questions correctly. That’s down from 39% in 2012 and 42% in 2009. The quiz asked people questions about compound interest, inflation, and investing.

Our financial ineptitude has serious consequences. Many survey respondents were spending more than they earned, had little money in savings, and were only making minimum payments on their credit cards. Over time, those behaviors can put someone in a financial downward spiral from which it’s hard to escape.

Even worse, many of us may be unable – or unwilling – to recognize our own bad money habits. If you have a steady job and pay your bills on time, you might think your finances are under control. But if you’re frequently surprised to discover you have almost no money in your bank account or are carrying a balance on your credit card, chances are you’re secretly bad with money. In the long run, your careless ways will catch up with you, as you discover you can’t afford to buy your dream house, send your kids to college, or retire. In a worst-case scenario, a financial shock, like unexpected medical expenses or a job loss, could force an unpleasant reckoning.

The good news is you can avoid those consequences if you change your money ways. The first step to good financial health is assessing your financial fitness today. Take this five-question quiz to find out if you’re a financial whiz or really, really bad with money. Continue reading

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Hi, I'm Aaron Crowe. Welcome to CashSmarter. I'm a personal finance freelance writer who enjoys spending my money wisely and using minimalism to make my money last longer while increasing income.