All of us have heard stories about the side hustler making money on eBay or other platforms, but never took action or didn't know if it is something still doable in 2020.
Here we traverse through the fascinating story of Jason Butler, the blogger behind My Money Chronicles. Jason talks about how he increased his Credit Score within seven months, started his eBay Side Hustle, and currently making $800 to $1,000 a month through eBay and how he uses that money to pay off his debt. Jason believes that anyone reading this or listening to the Podcast can achieve the same results as long as they start.
The initial years and journey into debt
Jason's journey started in 2008 when he graduated from Savannah State University with a degree in Business Marketing. But 2008 was also the year when the economy tanked, and as a result, it took Jason a year and a half to get a full-time job. So while sometimes earning as low as 10 dollars an hour, he had to make the difficult choice between paying his rent and cell phone bills or paying his credit card and student loan liabilities. So, he kept falling deeper into debt and racked up almost $72,000 in total by the time 2012 hit. He was paying the minimum amount on Credit Cards and student loan liabilities. Jason did end up finding a full-time job at a bank, which is now Wells Fargo in November of 2009. While he was making a little more money, it still wasn't making enough to reduce the student loans.
Jason worked at the bank for a while, but he realized it was not what he wanted to do. Trying to get someone hooked on the debt cycle by offering them credit cards when they only had a few dollars in their checking account didn't sit right with him. He ended up applying for jobs in education and started working initially at a school and then finally moved to a college.
Working on his credit score
Jason started reading personal finance blogs in 2013 and started his website discussing money issues as a black man. For two years, he ran his website, did some entrepreneurial stuff, and honed in on his financial knowledge. In late 2014 Jason got laser focused about paying down his financial debt, and around that time also attended his first FinCon. He also started picking up jobs as a freelance writer that earned him a good income on the side as well.
Once back from FinCon, he got resolved to work on his website; he also started a new job at a University. The first thing he did about his debt was contacting the creditors and telling them he wanted actually to pay. The second thing he did is enroll in a plan where he had to make three consecutive payments for 90 days, and that helped bring everything in the current. The third was to get his credit card balance from the high 70 to 80% of his credit limit to around 30%. When he reached the 30% mark, things started taking off with the credit score going up. From January 1, 2015, to August 1, 2015, he was able to increase his credit score by 168 points with the above three tips.
Jason started his journey with over $72,000 worth of debt. He got under $60,000 in 2018, but unfortunately, his car went out. So a new car added another $8,000 to the deficit and made it
jump back up to $68,000. Now in April 2020, Jason is almost at $60,000 again. So it's has been a roller coaster journey. But as eBay and other businesses continue to grow, he knows he will be able to have this debt paid off soon.
eBay initial days
Jason has on and off sold things on eBay since 2009. But in 2016, Jason was sure that the eBay thing was a hustle he can successfully execute and started going to the thrift stores like once a month. One of Jason's initial eBay successes was when he procured from Salvation Army store, a Dwayne Wayde Miami Heat jersey for $3. Jason put it on eBay a couple of days later, the jersey sold for $45, which's a $42 profit.
As his freelance writing gigs dried up, he ramped up what he was doing on his eBay side hustle, moving from visiting a thrift store once a month to going there once a week. Jason knew sports, so he wanted to stick to what he knew, concentrating on Jordan shoes, sports jerseys, etc. From there, he moved on to coffee mugs finding coffee mugs for like maybe 50 cents or $1 and selling them for between $30 and $40. In 2019 he opened up his eBay store and is currently making between $800 to $1,000 per month.
Platforms for a side hustle
Jason has transacted on many platforms for his side hustles and believes there are pros and cons based on the type of merchandise you want to sell.
The three best platforms for clothes are eBay, Mercari, and Poshmark. For electronics, it eBay and Mercari (there are many buyers for electronics here and hence is the best platform for electronics). For those looking to sell big items, Jason suggests using Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, because in most cases, you ideally need to find local buyers for big and bulky items.
Also, shipping something big on eBay or is expensive as well as handling and is hard logistically both on the buyer and seller side. Facebook marketplace and Craigslist allows you to find a buyer locally, go to meet up with the person somewhere like a restaurant or police precinct (don't go by yourself), and perform the transaction.
Before 2019 Jason's blog used to be called "The Butler Journal" based on his last name. Although he loved the title "The Butler Journal," no one knew what it stood for. So he decided to rebrand in January of 2019 to "My Money Chronicles." The reason Jason choose the name My Money Chronicles was that it was a story about money, and he believes its one hell of a story and hence "Chronicles." So now, people don't ask many questions cos they understand what to expect from the blog by reading the title.
The rebranding process was also not that difficult for Jason. Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook Ids for his rebranded name were all available, and hence he just changed the name from the old account names to the new ones. He didn't lose any of his followers as it was a seamless transition for his readers. He did the same with the email list, sending out reminders on the
change happening on January 1. When January 6 came, the site was live with new branding without impacting readership or followers.
How to start on eBay
Jason mentions the first thing to do is create an eBay account. It's free. Also, if you're a new seller, you have 50 free listings per month. Now, you have to pay a final value fee, which is like 10% and a 3% fee for PayPal. At the end of the day, if you are making money, those fees are a part of running a business. The second thing is to add another site that you want to sell on. Jason's suggestion would be to either do Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.
Next, find at least five items that you're thinking about selling. It can be new but not used by you or something old that you are not using anymore, and they waste space. Take at least ten pictures of the items and get them listed. And then, from there, go with it to selling it and completing the transaction. If you like doing it, continue to add things continue to do research and keep expanding the list of items. When it comes to flipping (buying or cheap and selling on eBay), it's a great time to like flip right now as everybody's at home. Whether they're working or not, they're at home. They're surfing the web, and they're buying as well.
Job loss - Blessing in disguise
Jason was diligently putting most of his side hustle money into paying down his debt. But just before all the Coronavirus impacts started taking effect, he lost his job at the private university that employed him. So in a way, he made his move into full-time entrepreneurship during the pandemic.
But Jason feels that it is a blessing in disguise that happened for the timing. He has been bored during the quarantine, but the business has been booming as well. He has been selling stuff very well for the last four weeks. He had only four days when there were no sales, but other than that, it is a great time to sell things of all types. Jason sometimes sold up to four items within 24 hours. The previous product Jason transacted was a pair of running shoes which he got for free and then sold it for $84.99.
Message to Readers
Jason's message to the readers of this article is to start and not be afraid to start. The pandemic in 2020 has shown that the world will never be the same again. Take this time to learn a new skill to start a new side hustle, and invest in yourself. No one can be sure how this Corona situation will pan out, so you have to have some side income coming in regardless of your job situation. So start.
I felt like Jason was talking to me. So I started. I posted two items for sell on eBay. I was so excited. Then yesterday, a week later, I was scrolling on my phone and received a notification. Yes, eBay notified me that one of my items just sold. More excitement. I messaged Jason right away to tell him about the accomplishment. I also posted my "win" across my social platforms telling people if I can do it, you can too. I am being very intentional about my eBay sales as I have a financial goal to reach by the end of the year and I plan to use eBay, to sell things we haven't touched in a year, to help get there.
To hear the full podcast interview: JASON ON THE MONEY EXCHANGE
Jason can be found on Facebook at My Money Chronicles and Twitter at Money_Chronicles, and he also runs his own FB Group of My Money Chronicles - The Inner Circle. To read all the stories which Jason posts head over to his website, My Money Chronicles.
As the world grapples with Coronavirus or COVID -19, we wanted to share the story of Andy Hill, who paid off more than 195K mortgage in 4 years and increased his net worth by over 900K in 9 years. Andy is an award-winning blogger and podcaster behind Marriage Kids And Money.
Pay Off Mortgage
How does someone living a regular American family life and earning a monthly salary pay off a 195K mortgage in 4 years? When Andy and his wife got married, they wanted to move out of the bachelor pad Andy had and move into a regular house. They found a beautiful home in a nice neighborhood with good schools, but it came with a considerable price tag. Andy and Nicole made a compromise to pick up the mortgage but with a promise to pay it in less than five years. Until their mortgage was over, they decided only to spend 50% of their monthly income on regular expenses. So they got a 195K mortgage and agreed to explicitly sit down once a month for what they called a budget party. The ability to live on 50% of income enabled them to live like a regular family but still allowed them to pay off the 195K in four years.
A budget party is a term they coined for their monthly review of the home finances and to understand how they are spending their money, which they started around 2011. They plan out the goals ahead, including financial and family, as well as fun goals like vacations that they want to do in the future. So they take this opportunity to center themselves and their relationship and also plan other things, including what the kids are doing.
Changing the language of money
Andy discovered early on that he and his wife Nicole had a very different language when it came to money. Nicole is very excited about what money can do for you today, the fun and excitement it gives you, and enables you to have the things that you want. Andy has a very, very long-term view about money in it that he doesn't mind saving, and it makes him happy. But for them to be on the same page, Andy had to learn the language that Nicole could understand and reciprocate. So Andy had to learn to change his language from geek speak to the fun outcomes-based approach to be more in line with how Nicole thought about money, and when that happened, the monthly budget meetings went like a breeze.
Net worth realization and progress
When it comes to net worth, Andy describes, he never understood what the term net worth meant until he listened to Suze Orman. He assumed cos he and Nicole were earning close to 120K at that time; his net worth would be huge. But when Andy applied the calculations that Suze Orman mentioned, it dawned on him that his net worth was negative 50K. That was a big shock to him as that's when the realization hit that despite all that he owned, he wasn't rich; in fact, he was broke and owed 50K to others. From negative 50K to 850K where his net worth is now, he had an extended 9-year journey to get there and get there the right way. Using the budget party, saving 50% of his income, funneling any extra commissions which came in from his sales role into creating a permanent frugal lifestyle has enabled this success.
Andy and his family decreased their expenses one by one, starting with being on this track of paying off the mortgage in less than five years. Then Andy's wife Nicole went full-time stay-at-home mom. She was part-time with the first child, and when the second child came in, she went full-time stay at home, so they had a significant income hit. So they started small like shifting grocery shopping from Kroger to Aldi and were able to save about three hundred bucks a month. They then decided to cut out cable right around the time their second child was born as they were not watching that much TV anyway, saving 80 bucks a month. Then they had a re-assessment of their insurance needs and saved a nice amount of money. They moved to some high-deductible plans that which reduced monthly cost on their health insurance. They also saved by combining auto and our home with the same insurer. They were taking a little bit more the risk, so they were able to save a little bit more money.
Involving future generation
Getting their children (Zoe, who is seven and Calvin, who is five) involved in home finances, helped them inculcate saving habits and hard work requirements in them at a young age. Every Saturday morning, the kids do a chore program, so they come down after they wake up to make a little breakfast, and they have three essential yet kids size chores. The chores could include things like for Zoe to empty the silverware and put it in the drawer or for Calvin to help unload the mini garbage cans that are in the bathroom. The essential little things and they need to do anyway, so they want to show them that it's imperative to help around the house to help your family, but then also you get paid for it. They learn to correlate that when you help out people, you're going to get paid in the future, so we give them a dollar that's equivalent to their age, so Calvin gets five bucks, and Zoe gets seven bucks.
Message to the audience
The message Andy would like to give to the audience reading this blog is to be intentional with your saving habits. The things that you want to do in life write them down in a journal saying this is the life that I want to have and then look at what are the steps that you can take to get there. Also, please don't be pressured into thinking that you need to get it tomorrow. Andy mentions his story is a 10-year story, and after so many years, he can narrate his story as a success. You have to realize that there are so many steps that can happen under those big goals, and that's the fun part that's the journey. Don't think about the destination, don't think about mortgage freedom or the debt freedom believe in the process. It's going to take time to get there because not only are you educating yourself and making a lot of progress personally, but your kids are watching. So you are modeling some incredible behavior that they are going to then emulate in the future, so enjoy the journey, and that's the fun part.
To listen to my full interview with Andy Hill check it out here ANDY HILL INTERVIEW
If you would like to read more about Andy and his journey or listen to his podcast
Marriage Kids & Money, you can go to https://www.marriagekidsandmoney.com/.
These tips work very well in good or bad economic times
Managing family spending is essential to accomplish a variety of goals from saving for a reason, retiring in style, educating the kids, and covering unexpected expenses. But, establishing a solid financial plan will also help your family survive recessions and other setbacks.
These 5 tips cover some important aspects of your cost of living and will bring happiness to your family as a bonus. A common misconception is that financial literacy is for people who are struggling to make ends meet. However, those households that plan and monitor spending are better equipped to achieve their goals.
Most of the tips are basic because a solid financial base sets your family up for long term sustainable success.
1. Create a Spending Plan
Nowadays it’s challenging to keep living expenses under control due to how easy it is to buy anything and everything online. A spending strategy can help you keep track of your spending and control your online expenses. It’s a great tool for monitoring your daily financial life.
A spending plan allows you to match your payday with your bills due date, list your spending by categories, set spending limits for certain items, track the cost of living over a month or 2, plan for future expenses, and much more. There is no universal spending plan tool, so you may have to try several before finding one that works best for your family.
Nevertheless, when a spending plan is used correctly, it is like placing your finances under a microscope. You will get a close-up view of where your money is going.
2. Set up an Emergency Fund
Unexpected expenses such as home repair, a trip to the E.R., job loss, or natural disasters can wreck your entire finances for months. An emergency fund allows you to pay for these types of expenses without crashing your budget.
There is published data that states most people do not have $400 in their emergency fund, but even having $200 available for unexpected costs is better than having nothing. Consider using your tax refund to increase your emergency fund. As a volunteer tax preparer most of my clients use their refunds to pay recurring bills and make new purchases. While this might be a good use of the refund, stashing a few bucks in the emergency fund is not a bad idea.
3. Reduce Spending on One Recurring Monthly Expense
Select one monthly recurring cost and focus on reducing the monthly cost. A good place to start may be the grocery bill. Researcher states that Americans spend nearly $500 per year on snacks. The findings included all types of snacks. The study commissioned by a chocolate company revealed that 18% of participants would give up all their electronic devices for one month for a lifetime supply of just chocolate and snacks.
As we experience life changes all recurring monthly expenses can be evaluated for cost-cutting. Review those recurring charges on your credit card and monitor your credit report at least annually. Review all of your monthly subscriptions make sure that they are serving the purpose intended.
4. Get Out of Debt
Although you won’t be able to pay off your debt immediately, it is never too late to start. For me debt was a cycle. I would live debt-free for a while and I would find myself in debt again.
This pattern repeated itself over and over until I discover how to stop the debt cycle. I am non-judgmental when it comes to people’s struggle with debt. If you need a psychologically boost to reducing your debt try adding a few extra dollars to each payment. This will reduce the amount of time it takes to pay off the debt and interest charges.
As you think about how much to spend on transportation, electronics, and vacation keep in mind that the least expensive choice may not save you money in the long run. There is truth in the saying “you get what you pay for.” Sometimes better experiences come with a slightly higher price.
5. Comparison Shop for Insurance
One of the easiest ways to find savings is to evaluate your insurance cost. Families typically carry health, life, auto, and home insurance. Some families carry additional options and riders to their policies.
It is always wise to revisit your policies before the renewal date and as family needs change. You may find additional savings if you have an excellent driving record or live and work in low traffic areas.
Life insurance cost increased about 8% on average as you age, assuming your health stays the same. Expect to pay 2 to 3 times more for life insurance if you are a smoker. However if you quit, the insurer’s usually will offer you the nonsmoker rate. I was surprised to find that only 57% of Americans own life insurance in 2019. This is down from a peak of 63% in 2011.
Use your defensive mindset when shopping for insurance. Without proper coverage a claim could decimate your emergency fund or push you into deep debt.
So let’s get the whole family involved in the fun and games. Sammyrabbit loves kids and he is hopping with a wide range of financial literacy activity books and videos that will develop young minds and keep them busy for hours on end. The teen in the family will enjoy having a personal guided journal to help them manage their finances. It’$ My Money Guided Journal is designed to enrich teenagers with simple but smart financial information while providing inspiring quotes and guided questions.
If you feel stuck financially you may want to check in with a financial coach occasionally to make sure that you are on track to meet your goals and that you’re not making mistakes or missing opportunities. Life events such as getting married or divorced having a child, dealing with the death or disability of a family member are all good times to consult a financial coach.
Regardless, of your family situation, a young nest, an empty nest, or somewhere in the middle these basic strategies should stay with you throughout your financial journey. Even if your finances are not an issue we all can use a refresher once in a while.
Guest Blog Post from – Bobby Clark
Bobby is the CEO and founder of Clark on Money Coaching Services, a firm that he recently started that specializes in helping dad’s who feel stuck financially find simple solutions to their frustrations while providing solid guidance toward goal achievement.
He is a graduate of Florida State University, where he earned a degree in Applied Psychology. He also earned a CFP Professional Education Certificate from the College for Financial Planning.
To learn more, connect with Bobby on Linkedin at:
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