Metal Scrap Yard – Free Money Pt 2.

As the years moves along I realize that my year end goal of $500 is going to be difficult, mostly due to my failure to focus. I was able to acquire a decent load of scrap metal to take to the scrap yard. Even though I haven’t been posting to my blog I am still constantly researching and discussing with friends and family. This brought me to my scrap heap on the side of my yard, which my wife absolutely hated for good reasons. I was going to spend the time breaking down all of the components to maximize the profits but time became my enemy. My wife told me to call an old friend of mine who scraps metal and sell it directly him.20150605_160312 

Why would I give up my hard earned scrap metal money? Let me tell you why, if I waited until I actually took the time to clean the metal, load the metal and take to the scrap yard across town then most of it would probably have already rusted away. So I cut my losses and called my guy and had him come by and help me regain my side yard back. This brought up a good point, that most people do not own a truck and making extra money scrapping would be impossible. Well here is a quick way to make some money.

ScrapReceipt-Fixed

DDM Metal came by weighed my metal and paid roughly 40 cents on the dollar. Wow that is quite a blast to the old pocket books. The grand total came to $44.60 in straight profit. He rounded up to $45.00 to make things easy. My guestimates are that he will take this load and clean all of the metal and make close to $125 on this load. Since I don’t have the time, patience or will to do this $45.00 seemed like a fair deal.

9-10-15 Profit Update

This brings my total to a whopping $80.71 from the original $20. In my opinion this is terrible and if I had put forth any real effort I could actually be close to my goal of $500 by end of year. I am trying to regain my focus and push this blog back into drive and make it what I had hoped it would become. Feel free to leave me feedback, share, comment… whatever you like. Thanks – JB

 

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Will This Be the Start of a Wave of Homebuilder Mergers?

Housing is already booming in my area (Florida).!

24/7 Wall St.

home buildingUsually mergers get a lot of coverage, and often they come with large premiums for shareholders. News that Standard Pacific Corp. (NYSE: SPF) and Ryland Group Inc. (NYSE: RYL) are merging is not one of those instances due to it being touted as a merger of equals. What may matter more than this particular merger is whether this could be the beginning of more mergers that could consolidate the largest homebuilders in the nation.

24/7 Wall St. has identified the basics of the merger announcement, but the real focus will be on the other, smaller homebuilders that might be acquired by the larger players.

After looking at the size differences here, the reality is that if buyouts were to come, there are four larger players and three smaller players to consider. The larger companies by market cap than the merger of equals are DR Horton Inc. (NYSE: DHI), Lennar Corp…

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Upwards of Twenty 6/15 Update

Posting every 6 months was not my intention so I will do my best to publish a post every two weeks minimum. My post today will be brief as I am working on Part Two of my scrap metal post. I have also been looking into different Web Hosting companies as I would like to take my site and make it official. I am a huge fan of WordPress, but everything I have read shows that if I want my blog to actually grow and become something bigger I need to be proactive and setup and actual website. Let me know in the comments below which sites you have used or prefer.

I haven’t implemented any new ideas for this post, I just wanted to update the amount of money Upwards of Twenty has as of today’s date.

6-15 Update- Profit Spreadsheet

As the spreadsheet shows the only increase in profit is $2.27 or 6% increase since January. This return is minimal and frustrating. To start with $20 over a year ago and only be at $35.71 is a joke. I hit a spot where I devoted zero effort to Upwards of Twenty. I will focus on turning things around. I am open to guest bloggers to post ideas. In fact, any of the ideas that are posted will be tried by yours truly and documented through my blog posts as well. I am open to all ideas, that are legal of course. My goal for the end of the year is to have a minimum of $500.00 in the coffers by year end. That’s all for today and see you soon. JB

 

 

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Uber – Helping Babies Sleep Better at Night

 

UberLogo

 

How does Uber help babies sleep at night? Thanks for asking Uber allows one giant baby, yours truly JB, to sleep better knowing that my wife is able take a safe method of transportation when she decides to go out with friends/sisters for the evening. This brings me to a cab ride so unbelievable that only my friends who were there believe it. A group of five of us went downtown for a night out to honor our friend for his bachelor party. As any responsible group would do we decided to take a cab there and back. As the night ended we found a SUV that said he was available and could take us all. I should have known something was up when my one friend had to ride in the very back like he was the family pet. He didn’t seem to care so why should I. To make a long story short the cab driver performed the following acts on the ride home: 90mph in a 40 zone, passing on a turn with double yellow, blaring music, talking on cellphone, and smoking. I highly doubt he was a licensed cab driver, but that leads me to my biggest problems with cabs in my city. How do I verify that this joker is allowed to even operate a vehicle, or run a cab service? This led me to my first encounter with Uber.

Uber is a great alternative to the standard cab. I haven’t used Lyft but have heard it is just as good as Uber. Uber was my first so I will stay true to them. I have put together some quick points on my Uber is great and also cheaper than the alternative:Screenshot_2015-04-01-10-54-28Screenshot_2015-04-01-10-55-05Screenshot_2015-04-01-11-39-59

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uber Benefits

  • Cost/Cash Benefits
    • This reduces the need to carry cash or give out your card to someone you just met.
    • In my travels Uber is about 15% cheaper.
    • You preset the tip amount so you know what overall cost to expect.
    • Allows you to split fares with other riders who have Uber.
    • Fare Estimate prior to pick up lets you see how much you will need.
    • Ability to recruit new riders and get a $20 dollar credit to both parties.
  • Time
    • The app lets you decide whether you need a larger vehicle with the slide of a finger.
    • You can determine pickup timeframe based on your pickup location.
    • You can view a map while traveling and let driver know of quicker routes.
  • Safety (My Favorite)
    • Uber driver’s info is provided prior to arrival: Picture, Vehicle, Rating, and License Plate.
    • You can monitor the arriving and traveling Uber up to a few hundred yards.
    • All drivers have to pass background checks and maintain insurance.
    • No more random pickups. The drivers only pick up the client that requested them.
    • Hailing a cab in busy streets is no longer necessary.
  • Driver Benefits
    • Ability to work on their own schedule.
    • Easy way to supplement income, while providing a service.
    • Payments are posted directly to account. No need to carry cash (safety).
    •   Meet new people and see new areas of your city.

If you have had any great experiences or terrible experiences drop a comment for all to see. Here is my promo code if you want to get $20 off first ride. https://www.uber.com/invite/josephb830 or promo code josephb830

 

P.S. Sorry I have been away, 1Q2015 has been a real doozy but I am back on track.

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How’s the New Year-New Me working? GAME PLANS

Focusing on the person within was my starting point for the New Year. I started by creating a new Game Plan for 2015. Hopefully it will turn out better than The Rock’s Disney movie

.gameplan

I like this idea instead of a resolution. I never felt like I had anything I needed to resolve, instead I felt like I needed a more defined area of focus to approach the new year for my blog and for my personal life. I have always been good about writing out my goals (My father made us do it a young age…smart man). I usually tend to focus on my 5yr/10yr/Lifetime goals instead of looking at the year ahead. So I decided to write down my goals for the year. I broke them into seven different areas which I will briefly discuss. The last year of blogging has taught me that putting it down on paper not only makes it more concrete but also makes me think about it more throughout my daily life. The game plan below is in no specific order just how it randomly came out of my mind.

  • Family
    • Focus on my temper.(This is towards all aspects of my life as well)
    • Become member of a church. (We do attend but would like to find the right one)
    • Take 2 vacations.
    • Cut down on technology usage. (Stop staring at iPad/phone all night)
    • Create a better evening routine.
    • Focus on my older daughters reading/writing.
  • Finances
    • Reduce 3 monthly bills over the course of the year.
    • Save for Christmas/Holiday expenses throughout the whole year. ($200 a month)
    • Save for an exterior home project. (This is outside of home maintenance)
    • Pay off car early. (This one is a maybe the rate is basically nonexistent)
    • Coupon weekly and focus on grocery list when shopping.
    • Maintain the monthly budget.
  • Exercise
    • Purchase bikes and cart for little one.
    • Weekly bike rides.
    • Pushups/Sit-ups nightly. (Increase the amount weekly)
    • Eat better in general.
    • Remove bad habits. (I prefer not to tell everyone my bad habits)
    • Bring lunch 3 days a week. (2 days a week is beneficial for lunch meetings)
    • Set a weekly dinner schedule.
  • Work
    • Keep track/log of weekly IT progress. (Online journal)
    • Try to work towards having my own office.
    • Move up a pay grade.
    • Show upper management that they made the right decision. (In regards to new position)
    • Clean office/emails – monthly.
  • Real Estate
    • Sell 3 homes.
    • Buy 1 investment.
    • Buyer’s agent for 3 purchases.
    • Property Management company add 2 new clients.
    • Property Management company make books/monthly process cleaner and easier.
  • Organization
    • Sell on eBay each week.
    • Focus on clean-up of 1 room a week.
    • Fix Attic access and use it to store unused items.
    • Clean up personal emails weekly.
    • Follow through all phone calls/voicemails within 24 hours.
    • Clean car/truck monthly.
  • Blog
    • Post 2 times a month
    • Convert from WordPress to personal website
    • Post to other blogs 2 times a week.
    • Get featured on 4 other blogs.

New Life

As you can see the majority of these goals are very specific. I will try to update each quarter to see where I am with my goals. So far so good, I have been achieving a few of the areas already. Let me know what your goals are. Writing them out really helps so leave me your top 5 in the comments. Upwards of Twenty thanks you for your follows, comments and shares. JB

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New Year New Me

Many things have changed for me this year. I started my first blog, was promoted and most importantly grew closer to my family. So while I sit on my couch on NYE instead of partying with friends, I find great solace in the fact that a new year is upon us. I have felt different this year in many ways.
1. I felt like this was the first year that I had not met my mark of increasing my income by 5%. Luckily I accomplished this with a job change in November.
2. I felt like I was overwhelmed with my personal life. It turns out that my personal life is the envy of others. What more could I ask for a amazing wife/mother to my two constantly amazing daughters. I have some disposable income, many in the United States do not have this luxury. I have my health and my families health, even though my wife is under the weather at the moment. I have a strong external family that is there for us and provides multiple levels of strength.
3. I felt like I lost my drive. Luckily this didn’t last long, I felt in a rut in my finances, work ethic, and personal drive. With the support of a few colleagues I have regained this drive. Sometimes complacency can really set you back. I had to take a step back in my personal businesses this year and really evaluate what I was trying to accomplish. This along with a detailed list of personal, financial, family, health and miscellaneous goals I have regained this drive and am looking forward to a new year.

The point of this post is not to gloat, I am jut trying to publish my focus so that I can look back and see the many things I should be thankful for. So I will do that and then get back to enjoying the unprofessional fireworks going on in my neighborhood. I want to thank my wife first and foremost, my parents for constant support, all of my family, friends, and this wonderful country we live in. The freedoms we enjoy on a daily basis should not be taken for granted. I look forward to celebrating a New Year and a new outlook on life. Focus on the person within and great things can come your way. Onwards and Upward (of Twenty). JB

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Metal to the Scrap Yard – Free Money Pt. 1

Back in my younger days I had a lawn company with roughly 20 accounts I would service weekly. In Florida we have to mow the yards every week and the short winter months are usually when we would clean up plant beds, trim trees and help homeowners with other assorted projects. From time to time the owners would throw away large amounts of metal and I would take them to the scrap yard to make a few extra bucks. While going through different ideas for Upwards of Twenty I came back to the old idea of accumulating metal and seeing if I could make some free money with minimal effort.

Scrapmess

Safety First! LOL

I decided to actually spend a little time doing research instead of just finding metal and taking it to the local scrap yard. While doing research I realized that a lot of money was wasted just taking bulk items in. It is better to break the items down to maximize the profits based on specific metal types. I have a link to the current prices for a scrap yard located in Orlando, Florida, it will not be the one I go to but I have impressed on the amount of items they take. I recommend doing some quick research to make sure they take the items you are collecting so you don’t waste your time.

I also watched a few tutorials on YouTube in order to make sure I was using best practices. I know that in my area theft has been a big issue so I wanted to make sure all was straight and clean. Most of the videos I found set up multiple bins to sort there scrap to increase profits Scrapper Girl was one of the easiest to watch the others were a little rougher and looked like it was there full time job which is definitely not the route I am going for.

scrappergirl

Scrapper Girl

The next phase after research was actually beginning my search. Having a full time job doesn’t allow me to wander the streets each morning looking for potential scrap, so I asked around. So far I have lined up a HVAC system that was recently replaced on a rental property (keep copy of receipt for scrap yard). I have scored an old bicycle, a large set of exercise weights, and a few buckets of smaller items. Luckily I have a Chevy Silverado so hauling all of the items will be easy. If you don’t have a truck you could still pick up most of the items with your car and do the sorting at home until you have a large enough pile worth taking. I hope to have a full load this next weekend. Stay posted for the payout!

I will post my update close to the Christmas holiday as I will have some time off and will be spending wrapping up a few projects for Upwards of Twenty. I appreciate you all following my blog and hope to keep it going strong into 2015. Happy Holidays to you all!

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Vintage Lighters –To sell or to keep?

So as I am currently writing an additional post for Upwards of Twenty an alternative idea presents itself. I have been looking into different group forums and online garage sale sites to see if these are a viable alternative to actually driving around town looking for garage sales or visiting the local flea market. My overall assumptions have been correct; there is nothing that is as exciting as walking around your local garage sales simply based on the fact that you never know what you will find, you get to get some exercise, and it allows you to meet some interesting people. A blog I frequent found a gold-plated Susan B Anthony coin for $3.00, read more at Cointhrill.com.

So I recently joined a few online garage sale groups through different forums and Facebook groups. In general these groups are made up of people trying to make a quick buck selling old furniture or people looking for help. The problem with posting items to an open forum is the comments people are able to leave regarding your item. Some of the comments are downright hateful, but if you can get past this you may be able to find some unique items, or at least get a laugh out of the posts (see picture).

Funny FB Post-Edited As I was recently browsing the Pinellas County Online Garage Sale group on Facebook, I came across a guy selling a few antique items. The picture that caught my interest was a picture of two older table lighters. The price tag for the lighters was $10 for all three. I quickly sent the owner a private message saying that I would take them. I hadn’t even done any research but felt that even if I didn’t choose to resell I wouldn’t mind having them in my home for the $10 price tag.

I setup a meeting win a public place and the transaction went very smoothly. I brought the lighters home and was very pleased. They are not in the best shape but that is what gives them their character. Here is a pic of my purchase.

Lighters

 

I know very little regarding antique lighters but have had recent fascination with them probably due to my recent interest in Mad Men on AMC. So here is what I found about my recent purchases:

  • Ronson: The Queen Anne was a very popular wick lighter, especially in the United States in the 40’s and 50’s. It was named after Queen Anne of Great Britain, who reigned from 1702 to 1714. This model was first manufactured in 1936 in Newark, New Jersey, USA, than also in the United Kingdom. The production ceased in 1961 when the new Queen Anne with the Varaflame insert was introduced into the world market.The lighter has a very robust construction which made it very durable and widespread. It is silver plated. The lighter has three different patterns: a tulip scroll around the top, pearl like bead around the middle and fan like pattern going down the edge.The Queen Anne was advertised as: “A gift that will last a lifetime”. Estimated value around $10.00 in online auction.

ronson queen anne ad

  • Art Deco Wood Base Lighter: I actually am having trouble finding the exact maker for this item. I was able to find another just like it on Ebay. They are asking $35.00 buy it now price. Based on similar items for sale online I feel that this is a fair price, maybe a bit high. Estimated value around $30.00 in online auction. This is my favorite of the three since it appears to be the rarest.
  • Zippo: The zippo is your standard everyday brushed chrome standard Zippo that retails for $16.95. There is nothing special about this but most people do prefer the Zippo brand. Estimated value $5.00 on a good day.

Based on my research I could turn a $35.00 profit on my purchase and help push Upwards of Twenty forward. Once again I am stuck with the recurring dilemma, do I sell these items and help add a profit to my total earnings or keep these for my personal collection. My sister-in-law said she was interested in buying one of the lighters. I will show them to her and see what she is willing to pay and maybe I can make a profit on one and keep the other. The Zippo will be placed on eBay for a flat price auction and that will go towards the total profits for Upwards of Twenty. This brings my online adventure to a whopping $33.44. Seeing this total has greatly pushed me to continue to move this site forward and make some significant progress. I refuse to end the 1st year of Upwards of Twenty under $100 for the total. Stay tuned to see how the lighter sales go and my two other posts that are in the works. Please post some comments and give me ideas that you would like me to try out. JB

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Get Rich Quick – The American Dream

richie-rich-cartoon-photo-gallery-10

Where have you been lately Upwards of Twenty? Well that is great question, I have not forgotten about my Blog, on the contrary I have been thinking a great deal about upcoming posts, ideas and other money making schemes. The truth is my work, family and recent illness has pulled me away from Upwards of Twenty. The good news is I am back and hitting you with weekly posts for the next 6 weeks. So let’s get back to our journey:

Recently I received an email from a friend discussing how an average John took $20 and turned it into $1,400,000 gambling at an online casino named Slots of Vegas. I would love to include the link to the story but it shows in my email that it is a website that is Phishing (attempting to acquire sensitive information). So the basic gist is that if you sign up for this website they give you a $20 credit and this “John” turned that in 1.4 million by playing slots and hitting a jackpot. Wow what an amazing story, in fact all of the comments on this website are positive comments from other users who make tens of thousands as well. Seems legit to me so I figured………..better save my $43.44 and not have my credit ruined on an internet scam. It did get me thinking about a major issue we have in our society; everyone feels entitled to their piece of the American dream. The problem is that most do not understand what the American Dream really is and why our country was founded on these principles:

  • “All men are created equal”
  • “Endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights”
  • “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”

James Truslow Adams coined the phrase “American Dream” in his 1931 book The Epic of America which he wrote, “that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.” Basically we can be whatever we want to be within our own personal restraints. What an amazing concept that through hard work, education and personal growth we can actually become something amazing. All of these things require individual accountability and personal drive. The current American Dream is that I will be able to retire in my mansion with all the toys I can dream of without actually having to work for it. With the litigious society we live in its amazing that anybody is able to obtain any wealth except for the lawyers.

So this new concept has given me the idea to use my skills to see what I can make on my next venture by providing an honest day’s work. I will go around to my immediate neighbors and see if they have any jobs that I could do for them to make extra money. I will also ask family members, friends and coworkers. I do not plan on taking on a 2nd job with any of these projects but will see what is available if you are willing to work and ask. Being prideful I will find it hard to ask the people close to me but at least it will give me another way to promote the blog as well.

Wish me luck I will bring my oldest daughter with me when I do some of the jobs, as long as they are safe, so that she will see that if you want something bad enough there are ways to achieve it without having to gamble, beg, steal, or wait for a handout. Luckily I was raised in a family that valued hard work and I hope to instill these values in my children as well. Till next time – JB

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Scratch Off Pay Off- Legalized Gambling

It has been a while since my last post. My delay is mostly due to my 9-5 job and travel schedule. While I was flying I was thinking of some additional ways to keep Upwards of Twenty moving forward. My work has provided us with IPads to assist with our day to day functions while traveling. I used the iPad to write the previous post and use it document ideas and capture plans or photos in an instant, what a game changer.

As my previous posts show, I enjoy bargain hunting at pawn shops and old thrift stores while traveling to rural destinations. This last trip to South Carolina was no different. I acquired a few well priced Peace Dollars to add to my collection. The last sentence shows my problem; how to grow Upwards of Twenty when you are keeping everything you purchase? This has to stop and I spent the remainder of the day admiring the coins I purchased and disliking the fact that my blog was at a standstill. That is when it happened; I was waiting to fill up my rental car at a small gas station. The line was taking forever due to two people in front of me buying lotto tickets. When I finally got to the counter I had decided to purchase two scratch off tickets for the benefit of proving to Upwards of Twenty readers that Lotto is a form of gambling and usually a quick way to lose your money.

Retirement plans.

Retirement plans.

I have never been interested in the lottery; sure I buy an occasional ticket to see if I can win the Powerball and spend my days on my private island. Realistically I am just purchasing the ticket to enjoy the daydreaming over the next few days until my bubble bursts and I realize I didn’t even match a single number. I decided to purchase a $1 and $2 scratch off ticket. The $1 ticket was call Find The 9’s, and the idea was: Get 3 like amounts, win that amount, Get any number of the special “9” symbols and win the corresponding prize ranging from $9-$999. The odds for the $1 ticket were 1 in 4.35, which basically means you are a fool for purchasing the dollar tickets. You also have to factor in the fact that 1 in 4.35 includes a free ticket win, which actually decreases your chances of ever being successful. The $2 ticket was Cash Whirlwind, which was a game where you tried to match your numbers to the winning numbers to win prize shown or get a Whirlwind symbol and win all 10 prizes. The odds were 1 in 4.09 for this ticket, which is about 1.46% better than the $1 dollar.

I figured with the odds stacked against me, this could be a good lesson for my readers. “There is no such thing as a getting rich quick.” So during my next driving break I decided to scratch and see. Well to my surprise I won $5 on the $2 ticket. The $1 ticket was bust but hey a 40% return plus the thrill of actually winning something was well worth the gamble. As always this led me to do some research when I return to my hotel that evening.

Winner winner cheap chicken dinner!

Winner winner cheap chicken dinner!

“A 2010 study found that households with take home income less than $13,000 spent an average of $645 a year on lottery tickets.” (alternet.org) This was only one of the many reports I read on how the lottery is basically a tax on the poor. This takes me back to my college days when I was considered one of the poor, as all college kids should be. I lived close to a small seafood shop that also sold basic grocery items. A lot of time it was more convenient to walk across to the street for basic items instead of getting in my car. I was always amazed by the amount of people waiting to cash there weekly pay checks. This alone was crazy due to the amount they charged to cash checks when it would be free to deposit into your own bank. Then the person would turn around and spend $20 – 100 on lotto tickets. This literally blew my mind. Is this due to desperation, lack of education, laziness, marketing, or pleasure? I would never spend that type of money if I was in that financial situation. As they say before you criticize and accuse walk a mile in my shoes, but give me a break. How many weeks can one person go wasting money on lotto tickets to realize that it is a complete scam. Oh well I am not going to keep harping on what’s wrong with the Lottery, when it has already been done so well in the following links.

http://erlc.com/article/whats-wrong-with-the-lottery

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/16/powerball-lottery-real-stupidity-tax

http://taxfoundation.org/article/state-run-lotteries-form-taxation

http://philosophynow.org/issues/14/Lottery_or_Lootery

With my recent winnings of $2 to add to the recent change $0.47 I found on the ground, we are really on a roll for the first six months since inception. This brings us to a total of $45.91 a gain of $25.91. This is not the speed I had hoped to increase my investments but at least in half a year I have doubled it. I still have three projects in the works that will really get this blog moving forward full steam. All in all I am enjoying the ability to free flow my ideas for everyone to follow along with. Talk to you all soon. JB

 

 

 

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