The Five W’s of Upwards of Twenty

I began pondering the idea of blogging a few years back. I feel the main reason was due to the fact that I was spending a lot of my free time reading other financial blogs and really felt that hearing other average people’s stories and how they made it work really inspired me to a new level. The idea of power in numbers definitely rang true. I have made just as many if not more financial mistakes in my life than the average Joe. I have taken on senseless debt numerous times, overextended my budget and self too many times to count, and tried to run a few minimally successful businesses. All of these experiences left me feeling like a financial failure. I took a course that my Father was administering at church called “No Debt, No Sweat”. The author of the course came across as a goof but his points were strong and it helped get me back in the groove. Being able to hear other people’s stories of how debt was affecting them physically and mentally was shocking. My wife (who took the course with me) also felt the same and this helped open up discussions amongst our family. This began my push to put my experiences on paper and The idea behind Upwards of Twenty was born.


I feel that the Who I am writing for and trying to reach is a two-part question. First I am trying to open up and come to terms with my inner financial struggles and create a plan to help create a different mind frame, focused on wealth building through investments and savings. The second group I am trying to reach is the average person who needs ideas on how to create wealth through different means. The blog allows for a larger platform to reach people from all walks of life and hopefully we can all gain knowledge through this medium.

Through the use of all available investments I plan on seeing how far an average person can take a $20 investment. These investments coupled with different saving methods should lead to a profitable outcome of knowledge and money. This also can be answered with the question What is the purpose of the blog? The purpose is to become a millionaire… we got that nonsense out-of-the-way, the real reason behind the blog is a personal output for the knowledge and experiences I have, and input from the followers and outside world as well.

I had hoped to start the blog in 2013 but life set me back. The addition of a new daughter to my team being the reason for delay. I would delay anything for my family, so I started with the new year of 2014. I had been compiling ideas for at least six months prior and researching ideas.

Why not should be the question? I feel that everybody has something unique that they can share through writing/ blogging. I feel that if we can all share thoughts and ideas the message can be that much more powerful. We all will make financial mistakes and financial gains. Seeing how another approaches a similar situation can be interesting, maybe even amazing

There will be no focused area for investing. I feel the idea is to explain many different ways to turn a profit. There will be no investment too small/large, I have already talked about picking up change off the ground. Future ideas include stocks, bartering, crafts, and many others. The actual location of my personal sales will be mostly the state of Florida, US and other areas I travel for work and play.

So there it is, I hope as the site becomes more involved, my readers feel the journey beneficial. I know I do already and thank you for reading. JB

Posted in Finance, Five W, Personal Growth, Profit, Savings, Why | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Old coins nice profit!

On Tuesday this week I was traveling through a small rural town in South Carolina. I noticed a small pawnshop that looked like no one had been inside within the last day or two. I was stopping next-door so I figured why not go in and take a look around quickly. To my surprise the owner of the pawnshop had three small plastic bins containing buffalo nickels, liberty nickels and Indian head pennies. I figured the owner was going to charge too much but decided I’d ask the price of these anyway. He told me he had just received the coins last week and was unable to price them yet but he would look and give me a price quickly. He priced the Indian head pennies at one dollar. The liberty or the V nickels at a dollar as well. And the buffalo nickels at $.60 apiece. Overall I took a gamble purchased $13.60 worth of coins to add to my collection. I have included a photo of some of the coins I purchased below.

Upon returning to my hotel that evening I decided to take the coins out and get a closer look. I pulled up a few websites to do some research and to my pleasant surprise, the coins were valued at around three times the amount I paid for them. I have no real intention to sell these anytime soon, so these will not be added to the profit of Upwards of Twenty. The reason for the article is to demonstrate to anyone that a simple and very inexpensive investment can triple your value instantly. If I were closer to the pawnshop I would quickly go back to purchase the remaining coins. Many of the coins remaining though have been worn down and didn’t even show dates or any of the features of the coin which dramatically decreases the value. I am no coin connoisseur but I did see a unique item that was new to me and decided to take a chance. Overall it was a fun investment and I plan on doing many more as I gain more knowledge and expertise in the area of coins and antique collections. I find pleasure in the thought that these coins that are over 120 years old could have been used all over the world or at least the United States. The history behind them alone is the main reason I purchased. Any investment that you find interesting will make it more fun and more desirable. Have fun investing and it won’t keep you up at night. The best investment to make is increasing your personal knowledge. Knowledge is power and if used correctly can help open a new world of investing for you and your family. JB


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Negotiations The Smartphone Way

The other day I was looking at different Sandboxes for my daughters. I feel like it would be another easy way to spend more time outdoors and fairly inexpensive. As I looked online I realized that a sandbox of a decent size full with sand would probably end up costing around $100 plus. I know that this isn’t too expensive, but felt like a lot of money to spend on something that my daughters may use a few times and no longer care for. So I did as any consumer would do and began looking on eBay, craigslist, and classified ads. I had my heart set on a Step 2 Crabbie Sandbox. My oldest is really into crabs, fish, turtles, pretty much anything aquatic and we live close to the water so I felt it was a good fit.


I was lucky enough to find one Crab sandbox on craigslist for $25 dollars, the plastic was faded but that didn’t concern me since it would be sitting outside for us as well. Sadly this item sold before I was back in town to pick it up. I figured I would have to settle for the online version until I drove past a store that sells and consigns everything for kids. Sitting there right out front of this overflowing store was the sandbox. I made time to go back to the store and waited for help to arrive. A store employee approached and asked if I needed any help. I told her what I was interested in and she quickly replied $45. I acted appalled even though I still felt it was a good deal. I told her I would pay $25 and no more as I just found one on craigslist. She did not believe me and said that they research all of the items they sell online. I immediately drew my smartphone and pulled up the craigslist ad I had just been looking at and showed it to the employee. This is where she caught me off guard and said, “Why don’t you buy that one then.” My wit took over and I replied “I am here now with this one and wouldn’t you rather make a sale.” The employee went inside the store and spoke with the manager. The manager countered with $40 stating something about just getting it in that week. I walked in as I felt the middle man wouldn’t convey my interest in the sandbox correctly. I told the manager I would pay $30 ($5 over the other) due to convenience and that I would buy it right then and there. She said $30 cash and it was mine……… Sadly I never carry cash and will be going back this weekend to buy that crab. I will bring $35 just in case I have lost some of my leverage due to telling them I would be back soon.

The lessons behind this drawn out post that has nothing to do with Upwards of Twenty are as follows:

  • Never settle for the price someone first gives you. Even if you only save a few dollars.
  • Second hand items can be just as good and usually half price or less.
  • Do your research first whether at home or on your phone.
  • Seeing is believing; having the proof on my phone is the only reason they budged.
  • Children love anything you get them as long as they know you’re thinking about them.
  • Crabs are harder to acquire than you think.

I am still working on my craft idea project but this post felt like I needed to write this before it left me. I look forward to your comments. JB

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Throw Away Money, Not this Guy!

  The other day I met a friend for lunch at a local diner. It was his turn to pick up lunch and he paid with cash, which was all that they accept. After our lunch we talked outside for a few minutes about our different business ventures. While we were talking I watched as he put all of the silver coins in his pocket and threw the pennies into a bush. Surprisingly this caught me off guard. I have never been able to throw any of my money away. Sure I have fallen victim to the pointless purchase or impulse buy. Never have I ever thrown pennies on the ground or left them behind.

  This may go back to my childhood, I always would ride my bike and stop to pick up any spare change I could find. I enjoyed saving them in jars for months and then rolling them to see my new found earnings. Once while I was in high school, I was working as an usher for the Tampa Bay Rays, while I was working I noticed a wad of cash on the ground. It turned out to be $200 that someone obviously lost; I would be depressed if I lost $200. I did the right thing and turned it in to my boss, and figured that was the end of it. A week later the boss returned the $200 to me and informed me that nobody had claimed the lost money. The point is I have always kept my eyes peeled when walking around as you never know what you will find.

  The Escapist Magazine posted a poll asking readers if they pick up money of the ground. 37% answered Yes Always!, 23% Yes, but no pennies…. 1.4% No, I have pride. I wonder,  who are the people who are too prideful to pick up free money? This got me thinking about reasons why people wouldn’t pick up change. I came up with the following reasons; they don’t want to appear cheap, it is dirty, not worth there time, or it may be too dangerous(change on a busy road). Safety would be the only reason I wouldn’t pick up money, well that and a bathroom floor (I may even leave my cell phone if it fell on a public restrooms floor). I manage rental properties and you would be amazed at the amount of change people leave behind when they move to a new home. I recently found close to $5 on the top of a refrigerator of a move out.

IMG_5876  Since I began thinking out the topic I found $0.11 on the ground. This brings my total to $43.14, watch out world. I will add this savings vehicle to my Upwards of Twenty portfolio, since it doesn’t take any additional effort and will be interesting to track. I actually found two blogs that tracked there monthly money findings Change Race and The ChangePot. Neither site has had a post in many years but still were interesting to read, the total for Changepot was $1087 when it ended.

I am still working on the Recycled Crafts and hope to have pictures and the product listed on websites soon. I know the blog is still in its infant’s stages but I look forward to more followers, comments and emails as things get rolling. As they say “A penny saved is a penny earned”, don’t be a chump and pick up those pennies. You never know it could be one the 25 Most Valuable US Pennies, then you will be thanking me! JB

Posted in $20, Finance, Free, Investment, Personal Growth, Profit, Savings, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Recycled Crafts Pt. 1 – Free Money

Well the time is here for my next post. I know it’s been a while but I have been having trouble coming to terms with my new wealth from my first venture ($23.03). Before I started this adventure I had spent months reviewing different ideas so that I wouldn’t have long delays between posts. I have always been a pretty handy with wood work and felt that I would like to try to build something out of recycled wood that I could then try to resell. I enjoy fishing and living in beautiful Saint Petersburg, allows to me have access to some of the best fishing in Florida. I have decided that I am going to use pallet wood to design and build a Snook wall mural. I will probably build two if they come out nice so I can keep one and sell the other.  untitled

Inspiration can be found in many places. As I finished a recent landscape project I noticed that I still had a pallet left over from Home Depot. The thought of disposing of it immediately brought me back to YouTube video I saw on beachbumlivin where he designed and constructed a very nice coffee table out of mostly free goods. I plan on using different techniques to distress the wood even more than it already is. I will also visit a few local businesses to acquire a bit more pallet wood. I will have to use a bit of my capital to acquire a few items (stain, clear coat, screws, and hanging hardware).


There are a few different sources I will use to market the finished product. Etsy seems to be the biggest market for Crafts and other handmade products. The quick costs breakdown is $0.20 USD for each item listed. The listing runs for four months (maybe I will keep making them). They also charge 3.5% on the back end once a sale has occurred. With 30 million buyers and businesses I think this will be my main area of focus. I will also use craigslist, Facebook and of course word of mouth.

Once I decide the actual size I can determine the price I will charge once completed. Luckily Upwards of Twenty isn’t based on time value of money, if that were the case it would probably cause my finished product to be overpriced. I ran some searches and determined that wooden handmade fish art ranges from $40-125 for the finished product. I plan to market mine a bit under comparable products to expedite a quick sale.

In Part 2 I will post pictures of the product during construction, the different techniques I used and the link to the listings. Wish me luck and here’s to another financial adventure.

Posted in $20, Etsy, Finance, fish, Free, inshore, Investment, Pallet Wood, Personal Growth, Profit, Rewards, Uncategorized, wood art, Youtube | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Receipt SavingsI wanted to write about a service that I have been using and realized a lot of people I know were unaware of this free service.  I am sure that every city has some sort of fuel service rewards plan. I use the Shell gas service that links directly to a Winn Dixie grocery store rewards card.

There are benefits associated with both sides of this transaction. The grocery store offers discounts to reward members on many items as well as coupons they send out. The purchases then build up rewards points that can be used for other items, but I use them strictly for fuel purchases. I posted a receipt from a purchase of fuel today.

I used my card at the pump so that I could save time since I was on my way to work. In order to maximize the discount you need to fill a full tank and pay inside the station instead of the card reader. The card reader caps at 20 gallons. Regardless I still saved $10 with no extra expenses.

Most fuel rewards are found through credit cards and many people I know prefer not to use credit cards for one reason or another. This is an easy way to save money on things you are going to purchase regardless. My wife would disagree since she is a loyal Publix shopper but I feel that most products at the grocery store are comparable. I also increased reward points by giving a card to a neighbor who buys products at the grocery as well. She does not use Shell gas (unsure of the reason), so she doesn’t care about the rewards.  She was actually the one who informed me of the fuel rewards years ago.

Hope this helps you save some money as well and remember saving and investing go hand in hand.  See the link below. JB

Shell Fuel Rewards

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Success- Moving On Up!!!

Moving on up

Well the Ebay venture was a financial success. The process was not as easy as it has been for me in the past. I originally sold the item for $36 to an Ebay buyer who had little previous experience. The buyer never paid and I even tried to use the Second Chance offer button for the next highest bidder. Well neither option worked and I was forced to relist the item. The relisting the item only required the push of a button and I was back in action.

Ebay Item

The listing took 7 days and completed with my item selling for $35.00. I was amazed at how easy it was to make a significant return, with minimal work on my part. I have the breakdown on costs associated with the transaction below:

  • Initial Purchase – $5.00
  • Sales Price – $35.00
  • Ebay list fees (10%) – $3.50
  • Shipping Costs (16% Ebay discount) $3.47
  • Total Profit – $23.03
  • Increase in investments  460%
  • New Account Balance for Upwards of Twenty : $43.03

Discussing my transaction with friends recently left some with the feeling that Ebay’s costs and the Shipping costs ate into the potential profits too much(Nearly 20%).  I agree with this statement to an extent. I would never want to give away 20% of my profits to anybody. That being said I would never have been able to sell the item for that cost if I had not used a service like #Ebay. The millions of buyers that were able to view my product plus the ability to pay fees after the sale are why theses services are so amazing. Within a few minutes I was able to list my product and track it daily just by using my smartphone. Technology is amazing and if you have access to it why would you not use it to your advantage.

That concludes my first dabble into the investment arena. I will begin working on my next investment project. I now have so many options to expand my capital. Please feel free to comment or interject, I look forward to learning and growing with each new adventure.


JB – Upwards of Twenty

Posted in $20, Ebay, Finance, Investment, Jeffersons, Personal Growth, Profit, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

First Attempt at Success – Ebay and Other Online Auction Sites


My first attempt to increase my large net worth of $20 will begin with the familiar site Ebay. I personally sell items on Ebay every year and use it as a way to make a little extra walking around money and help de-clutter my life.  I know that Ebay has been around since 1995 and this will be an overused topic so I will try to make it concise and informational.

Ebay is the largest online Auction site in the U.S. if not the world (I don’t feel like checking the stats). ranks them #59 on the World’s Most Valuable Brands list. With over 14.07 Billion in annual sales I figured this would be a good venture to start with.

Ebay allows the user to create an account to buy and sell anything they can imagine. Obviously there are restrictions, see below. I began using Ebay in college to make additional income and have continued to use it for years. I would not be considered a power seller but I have always enjoyed it. I like the ability to list items as a standard auction, fixed price, and even add reserve pricing. I found the list of prohibited items especially entertaining; I have listed the ones I thought were best even though they just killed my first investment ideas:

The first item I will be selling is an old Apple Macbook power cord. I reviewed some previously sold items and similar ones have sold for an average of $30. I received the cord for $5 from a coworker who no longer needs the cord. I listed the product for $15 with free shipping. I currently have 4 days left and will update the blog once the item has sold. Let’s see what kind of return we can make on our first adventure.

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Here goes something!

$20 Dollar Venture

A new year is upon us and instead of the same old unfulfilled resolutions; I have decided to move forward on an idea that has been rattling around in my brain for the last year or so. In order to fully understand this experiment you must first understand the basic guidelines that go along with it.

  1. The initial $20 investment is all I am willing or allowed to make to start this experiment.
  2. My personal time value of money will not be taken into the equation.
  3. Any investment vehicle is allowed; well except illegal ones….what kind of moron would blog about those.
  4. There are no time constraints.
  5. This is a one shot deal, if the initial investment is lost then so is the blog.

Well with all of the vague details behind us, let’s move forward in starting this thing.

My overall idea was to start with an initial $20 and see how large I could grow it through different investments, trades, sales/resale, flips, and whatever else comes to mind. I am not trying to find a job through this, just keep myself occupied and maybe even learn a few things throughout this endeavor. I will use various sources (websites, books, garage sales, etc.) throughout the process to try to maximize my profits. If anyone is desperate enough to follow I would enjoy your comments and ideas. I will be monitoring progress with monthly posts as well as incremental goals.This is meant to be a fun exercise and the minute it loses that feeling I will pull the plug on the whole project. That being said I am already losing interest…. Just kidding. Monthly postings will allow you to follow me through this process.


Posted in $20, Finance, Investment, Personal Growth, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments