Thursday, April 18, 2013

Is It Really Making Money?

By Susan Wilson, MBA

Money is an advantageous instrument.  It’s magnificent to make money and a hobby or small enterprise can be a fun way to bring more in.  Hopefully, one of these start-ups can go big and we will have arrived.  At what point does the small become big enough to manage?  As soon as there is money involved.  This is the lesson my friend Ron learned with EBay.
It Starts With a Great Idea
Ron had a couple of collections, tired of them, and decided to sell stuff to make room for his other collections.  He started shipping out boxes a couple times of week, and enjoying it.  Next thing you know, he’s heading out on buying trips around the state to find more treasures.  Now, he’s receiving packages a couple times a week. 

Is it Making Money? 
The gambler will always share stories about their wins, but we rarely hear about the losses.  Sound familiar?  He went to the estate sale and found a $250 item for $10 and sold it in one day.  Did those Dancing With The Stars ferret outfits not sell like you expected?  Perhaps they are tax-deductible donations to the local pet shelter.

Keep Track of Everything
When you start your new adventure, write down specific goals.  Make them big enough to justify the effort you have decided to take. 

·        How many items do you want to list and expect to sell each week?

·        What is the initial amount of investment? Use cash, not a credit card.

·        What margin of profit do you expect?

·        What expenses are their besides listing fees, packaging materials, shipping, mileage, shopping for new items? 

·        Maximum storage space to use and cost of inventory?

·        When and how will the profits (if any) be used?
Now, Figure out the Money

Start tracking expenses and income right away.  You can do it on a computer spreadsheet or in a notebook if it’s not too many.  Make sure this is a profitable enterprise, not a hobby.  If your intent is to make money, make sure it really is bringing in a profit.  Total it up at least monthly to see how you are doing.  If you used any credit cards to start out, pay them off in full as soon as possible.  Profits should be used as planned – hopefully for an emergency fund, towards a large purchase, or to invest.

How is your adventure doing?  Share your experiences here.  Learn more about taking control of your money at 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Balance Your Checking; Control Your Money

By Susan Wilson, MBA

Controlling your finances means understanding all of the money-related statements that your receive online and in the mail.  I don’t look forward to reviewing them; it’s a tedious task, but an important step to see everything is o.k. with your checking and savings accounts.  Here’s a list of things I have found myself and heard through my clients:

Life Insurance on Boat Loan (my hubby before we married)
Forgotten Gym Memberships

Unwarranted Overdraft or “Convenience Fee”

ATM and Credit Card Fees

Purchase Amount Errors

Unwanted Payment Protection Plans or Subscription Services

Yikes!  These are usually not small fees, and removing that $15 monthly life insurance on the boat loan (yes, the heirs would get a paid-for used boat) is instant money saved.  I just look through the line items and make sure they are legitimate. I look for any surprise fee hikes or excessive ATM fees I didn’t anticipate.  This is how you take control – know what is happening to ALL of your money.

One more thing - make sure you receive all of your statements if you have more than one account.  Awareness of address changes can prevent identity theft.  (Think exes and businesses you frequent.) It’s not the latest Moscow gang taking our ID’s, it’s most likely someone we know. 

This is one more action to take towards controlling your finances that doesn’t take money out of your pocket.  Hopefully, you’ll find some places you can recover money.  Now, don’t take all the findings and celebrate – pay off that nagging credit card bill that won’t go away.  Now, that’s control.

Please share what you found on your statements.  Learn more about taking control of your money at