Late Summer / Early Fall = Great Time For Clearance & Savings!

Late Summer & early Fall is a great time to enjoy a few last BBQ’s, hit up that local swimming pool or amusement park, and begin to buy Halloween decorations (all of which I love!), but it is a great time for something else as well. It’s a great time for clearance shopping!

If you are into gardening like I am, and into saving money (who isn’t?!), this time of year is a great opportunity to get things like planters, bricks, and other gardening supplies for cheap. One place to begin your search is Wal-Mart. I went to Wal-Mart a few weeks ago and was able to score some bricks for my garden for under 80 cents each! I am already using them, but another great idea if you have the space is to purchase these items, place them in storage, and use them at the beginning of next Spring. Unless of course you are lucky enough to live somewhere like California where it is possible to garden year-round. I’m jealous if that’s the case!

Other stores which are great to check this time of year are Target & Ollie’s Outlet. Both offer great sales on seasonal merchandise year-round.

If you’re in the market for some Summer/warm weather clothing for yourself or to resell as I do, TJ Maxx is a great place to hit this time of year. As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, twice a year in January and July, TJ Maxx begins their “Yellow Tag Clearance” sale. As they begin stocking the new seasonal inventory, everything else gets a yellow tag with some of the deepest discounts available. Each week these items get a deeper discount until they are either all gone, or they end up sending them off elsewhere. All of the best stuff goes fast so I always like to visit early and visit often.

This time I visited one of my favorite purchases was a Bugatchi Uomo shirt I scored for $22, which originally retails for OVER $100! I was also able to score some great deals on Free People women’s leggings, Jordan kid’s shirts and shorts, Nike polo shirts, and a lot of other great things all of which I am reselling on eBay. I love the TJ Maxx “Yellow Tag Clearance” event and am already looking forward to it beginning again in 2018. It’s been going on now a few weeks, and as of this writing is still going on, but you better hurry to your local TJ Maxx before everything is gone and Fall/Winter clothing season is in full swing.

In addition to clothing TJ Maxx also extends the “Yellow Tag Clearance” to other hard goods throughout the store. You never know what you may find!

Do you frequent any of the mentioned stores for clearance this time of year? Any great scores you’d like to share? Any other stores you visit this time of year to save big? We’d love to hear from you! Leave some comments below!

Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Haul: Taking Advantage of Once-A-Year “Ollie Days!” Customer Appreciation Sale

Since I started this blog one of my favorite things to do so far has been the shopping hauls I have shared. I have a short list of stores I plan on blogging about, and Ollie’s Bargain Outlet was one of them. So when I found out about “Ollie Days!,” a once-a-year 15%-off-everything Customer Appreciation Sale, I found this to be the perfect opportunity.

Ollie’s was founded in 1982 and from their Wikipedia page the basic concept of their store is the following: “Ollie’s Bargain Outlet deals in surplus merchandise obtained from various retailers, suppliers or manufacturers throughout the country, whether in the form of closeouts, bankruptcy sales or other similar means of buying the stock at below wholesale costs.”

I first learned about Ollie’s when I was young, on one of my regular Summer vacations my family took to HersheyPark in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Near the hotel we stayed at there was an Ollie’s, and I quickly fell in love. I have memories of buying a lot of cheap office supplies. Yes, I was just a kid, but even then I enjoyed having an “office.” I may have not actually been running businesses at the time, but I always pretended I was, or just made plans, wrote down ideas and goals, etc…

One of my favorite things about Ollie’s is that you never quite know what you may find. As mentioned from Wikipedia, Ollie’s sells surplus merchandise from different retailers and manufacturers, so there is always something different. They carry everything from food, to books, cleaning supplies, seasonal items, and literally everything in between.

On this past trip which I am sharing, I was able to spend only $18.69. First thing I scored was something which I was literally in need of buying this week anyway, and that was various Axe products; shampoo, body wash, and deodorant. Priced at only $2.99 each, what a great deal! I would have paid more anywhere else. I also scored a frame for a project my girlfriend is doing, which was marked at $3.99. Not the best deal on that, compared to just picking up a frame at Wal-Mart or Dollar Tree, but I didn’t feel like making another stop.

Finally two of my favorite scores were the cinder blocks and pieces of carpet. The pieces of carpet, which I got to place in various spots in my apartment, were only $1.89 each, and possibly the best deal of all, the cinder blocks were only each $1!  I have already used these in my garden and they were just what I was in need of! All of the prices I mentioned were the marked prices, but don’t forget that EVERYTHING in the store during “Ollie Days!” is 15%-off! Until my Sister mentioned it and I then got the advertisement in the mail, I had never heard about this yearly sale before. I guarantee I’ll be back next year!

If you have an Ollie’s Bargain Outlet in your area, and have never stopped to give it a chance, I recommend you doing so. I hope you enjoyed the haul, and as I mentioned I have several other stores I plan on sharing soon, some of which you likely have never been to. I imagine at least some of you haven’t. I’ll also be doing more hauls of stores which have proven to be popular in doing so already on this blog, such as Dollar Tree.

If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or anything else, PLEASE leave them below! Also follow us on Twitter & Facebook for a lot of exclusive content.

THANK YOU!

Brent Ott

“Tech Wreck?” NOPE! Just Another Step In The Trek ;) … AND Cryptocurrency Craze!

I’d like to start off by saying that I apologize for the lack of content on this blog recently. I have so many ideas for posts but with all the individual businesses I run it’s hard to always find the time. I’ll try to do better in setting aside time, as I truly do enjoy sharing my thoughts with you all and I plan on this blog being a huge part of the rest of my life. We’re only getting started!

First off, as you may have heard, a week or two back there was a “Tech Wreck,” as CNBC liked to call it. Shares of technology stocks were plummeting, but if you checked the market now, you wouldn’t know it as they’ve mostly all came back. To me, it seemed like market manipulation at its finest. I was following the charts closely, and the way the trades were happening while the stocks were falling it simply looked like computer generated trading. Tech stocks have been on a tear this year and my best guess is that the algorithms of today’s trading softwares were rebalancing portfolios.

The valuations of many tech companies are high. There is no denying that fact. But many of these stocks have future growth potential that boggles the mind. I won’t get in to every single tech stock in this blog post, but take Amazon for example. Amazon continues to dominate, and expand to areas that nobody ever thought possible. Just a short week after this so-called “Tech Wreck” news broke that Amazon is buying Whole Foods in a $13.7 billion dollar all cash deal. This will give Amazon a huge physical retail footprint on the market. Once this news broke, retail stocks began taking a HUGE hit, and still are.

Amazon is killing it with its web services, they continue to work on likely future drone deliveries, and just imagine what we HAVEN’T heard rumors about as of yet? I see this buyout of Whole Foods as just the beginning. I can see them possibly purchasing more grocery store chains, or even a department store chain. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that I could see Amazon buying Kohl’s in the next few years. Perhaps instead they may even buy Sears?! Not only can Amazon expand its business in many different ways with the Whole Foods purchase, but they can also expand their warehouse and fulfillment capabilities. It’s truly a win-win for Amazon.

When this “Tech Wreck” hit, while many were talking about how Amazon’s days of grace were over, I immediately went on the offense and started to buy and was able to purchase more shares of Amazon and Facebook at a discount. I bought more Facebook at $149.60 per share (as of this writing back to $155.07) and more Amazon at $978.31 per share (as of this writing back to $1,003.74).

Unlike many, I DO NOT see a recession coming any time soon. Not in 2017, at least. 2018 in its entirety is too far out to predict right now, but I would say the chances are slim. Will there be pullbacks? Yes. A correction? Yes, likely several. But are we in for a huge recession filled with doom and gloom? Not yet. My best prediction is that the Dow will reach closer to 30,000 (up from its current 21,394.76) before we get closer to the next recession. As for the stocks I mentioned, Facebook and Amazon, my target price for Amazon is around $1,250 per share and my target price for Facebook is around $200 per share, all within the next 6 to 12 months. What am I saying here? BUY. BUY. BUY!

I’d also like to mention that when there is a recession, eventually, which there WILL be, I’ll be ready. You should also. You should make sure you are sitting at least a little cash aside every time you invest for when it does happen. A recession is the single greatest opportunity for anyone to grow their money and business, despite the initial loss which will likely occur if you are already in the market. Then again, it’s NOT a loss if you DON’T sell, which I won’t be doing. A recession is a HUGE buying opportunity.

Now, to my other current obsession, cryptocurrency. What is cryptocurrency you may ask? Well, thanks to Google, here goes: “a digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank.” When you read a lot about cryptocurrency you hear a lot about the underlying “blockchain technology.” What is that? Again, thanks to Google: “A blockchain facilitates secure online transactions. A blockchain is a decentralized and distributed digital ledger that is used to record transactions across many computers so that the record cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all subsequent blocks and the collusion of the network.”

I believe this technology is a huge part of the future. Right now the market for these cryptocurrencies is very volatile, but I’m slowly growing a small position which I plan to hold for the long-term. There are literally thousands of cryptocurrencies, but only a few main ones, which I consider to be Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. I have bought all three at various prices, and do so using Coinbase. It’s one of the more reliable places to purchase cryptocurrency, although the site does sometimes have issues where it goes down temporarily. Hey, when you’re blazing trails sometimes there are issues. We’re really still just in the beginning stages of this. If you look at the rate of return that Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin have had in the last year, to me anyway, it’s well worth a small risk. Am I going to sell all my stocks and cash out my savings to “bet the farm” on cryptocurrency? No. Am I going to continue to grow a small position and take a chance on what I believe to be a huge part of the future? You bet your ass I am, and I think that you should too.

I’ll be writing more on tech and cryptocurrency in the near future, as well as sharing more shopping hauls, and information on other investments I have recently made. Plus you never know what else may give me the spark of motivation to begin blogging about. I’ve got a ton of ideas planned out as well. THANK YOU SO MUCH for reading and if you have any questions, comments, or anything else, PLEASE leave them below!

THANK YOU!

Brent Ott

 

 

FREE Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups & $1.36 Stationary!

I’m always trying to take advantage of as many freebies as I can, and this week was no exception as I scored a few great deals that I wanted to share with you. I was able to snag some free Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (a King Size nonetheless!), and some cheap stationary!

First off, let’s talk about the free Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Here on this blog before I have mentioned how I like to take advantage of my local gas station Sheetz’s loyalty reward card program, the MySheetz Card. They recently overhauled their program and made some changes. I didn’t know how I’d feel about it at first, but after getting to learn about it, I am enjoying the changes. It’s much like the Giant Food Stores program that I use, where you can load offers and deals on to your card. Before you would earn credits for certain items you purchased, and after so many you would earn a free one of that particular item. Now you earn points on everything you purchase, and you can use those points for a variety of rewards such as free hot dogs, free candy, free coffee, free drinks, free hoagies, and much more. It’s now all your choice what you use the rewards for.

Every so often, like they have always done, they also send you an email with a freebie that you can cash-in with no purchase necessary. This past week I received an email with a FREE King Size Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup candy bar! One night this week after my girlfriend was done with work, we stopped by and picked up our free candy bar! Let me tell you, after putting it in the refrigerator for a few hours (you gotta put your chocolate in the fridge!) it was the perfect end to the night! If you live in the Northeastern United States you can get more information on the MySheetz Card here.

For many years I have also been a member of the Staples Rewards program offered by, of course, Staples. I often get a variety of discounts and offers in the mail, but every so often they send what I consider the “holy grail of Staples offers,” a $10-off-$10 coupon. As long as you purchase full-price items (nothing on sale counts) you can literally spend as little as you wish over $10 and basically get everything for free. On this trip I was able to score some stationary for me and my girlfriend and only had to spend $1.36 out-of-pocket. Sometimes I’ll go
in and spend much more than $10 and get some stuff I was already in need of anyway, but this time I just took advantage. It’s good to spend more sometimes so you can keep getting the coupons in the mail. If you would like some more information on the Staples Rewards program you can find it here.

I mentioned Giant earlier, which is one of my favorite grocery stores, and I’ve got some good freebies there for this week already loaded on my card. I will try and share those here soon, or at least post them on the Ninja Ghost Investments Facebook page, which you can find here.

Bottom line is take advantage of rewards programs which offer freebies. You can try some of these examples I mentioned if you have any of these stores in your area, or just do some research on some of the programs your local stores offer. You just may be surprised! Thanks for reading and I’ll be back with more soon! If you have any questions or comments PLEASE leave them below!

Brent Ott

Sometimes Holiday Clearance Becomes Useful Not In A Year, But Immediately!

If you have read this blog a while you may know that me and my girlfriend like to take advantage of Holiday Clearance. We like to shop the day and week after all major holidays including Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day & Easter. I have no problem with buying up clearance, storing it a year, and when that particular holiday rolls around again already being (mostly) prepared.

I love to decorate for pretty much every holiday and season, so of course Spring is no exception. During my trip this past week to Target I was able to take advantage of the clearance, and in addition to getting a few Easter decorations and supplies for next year, I was able to score some Spring decorations which are perfect to put up now! In fact, I have already decorated with them.

Target first goes to 50%-off decor and 30%-off candy the first day after each holiday. Then within a few days they go to 70%-off decor and 50%-off candy. After a few more days they finally go to 90%-off all decor. During this trip all decor was only 70%-off, but still worthwhile for the few things I was able to find.

It made it even MORE valuable to us that we were able to find the Spring decorations mixed in with the Easter clearance. If you are ever unsure of if something is included in the clearance at Target use their red price scanners which are throughout most stores. I have been surprised by many things over the years. Sometimes things are even actually a higher percentage discount than you expect, as the signage doesn’t get updated right away.

I hope you enjoy this quick little haul / blog, and don’t forget to check your local stores for clearance after any holiday or season. I wrote a blog a while back with some other information on clearances which you can find here. All stores vary by location, so it’s best to frequent different stores and learn how they usually mark things down. I have a few more hauls planned soon, including a few stores I like to visit every now and then to save money including Ollie’s Outlet, Aldi, and Five Below. If you have any other suggestions on shopping hauls or other content, any questions, or any other comments, PLEASE leave them below. Enjoy the rest of your day!

Brent Ott

Sam’s Club Haul: Worth The Membership for Business or Personal? YES!

Over the years I have really come to enjoy shopping at Sam’s Club for both business and personal reasons. I remember going a few times when I was younger with family or friends, as well as taking a few of their “free preview” tours maybe 5 to 10 years ago. Every so often you can find these passes in a local mailing, the local newspaper, or on the Internet.

I finally purchased a “Sam’s Business” card for just $45 annually a few years back, and it was one of the best decisions I have made. They offer three different types of memberships: the “Sam’s Business” as I got, the regular “Sam’s Savings” membership which is also only $45 annually, and finally the “Sam’s Plus” membership which is $100 annually. The “Sam’s Plus” offers a variety of different perks, including the main perk which is Cash Rewards based off of purchases you make. Each level of membership has it’s own perks, which you can find here. For me, the “Sam’s Business” is the perfect fit.

I get quite a lot of things for my business at Sam’s Club, at deals that are hard to compare to. Some of the things I get include bubble wrap, printer ink, t-shirt bags (grocery carryout bags), and Electronics Duster. I also get MANY things for my household at Sam’s Club which include paper plates, garbage bags, vitamins, air freshener, bottled water, cheese sticks, peanut butter crackers, and the list goes on. The key to shopping at Sam’s Club and doing so smart, is to do price comparisons of the things you may be interested in buying. Check the amount of the item that is in the packaging, and the cost per ounce, etc… Make sure that you are actually getting the best deal compared to where you usually purchase that particular item. On most things you spend a little more money up front at Sam’s Club, but the cost savings over the course of you using that item makes it a smart investment and actually saves you money in the long run.

Pictured here is the recent haul that I wanted to share with you guys. To write this blog I actually went to Sam’s Club twice to shop, in addition to get photography, etc.. This cart was my entire first haul, and cost $64.22. That breaks down to the following: $7.98 for the pack of cheese, $8.91 for the Glade three-pack (which was on clearance, more on that to come!), $13.74 a piece for the two pairs of Calvin Klein shorts, $8.48 for the pack of cups, $5.98 for the soil, and $3.98 for the bottled water. Of course, here in Pennsylvania, there was also $1.41 in sales tax. I have done the math on these purchases (I’m a little O.C.D., I admit!) and these were the best deals around. The shorts were actually a different type of investment for me, as one pair goes to my girlfriend, and I’ll be selling the other on eBay. Being a reseller, Sam’s Club really comes in handy as you can often find a lot of great deals at regular price, but even BETTER when they do their clearances.

When you are walking around Sam’s Club look for all the items with the price tag which ends in “1.” At Sam’s, this means the item is on clearance. Sometimes you will even find something that was marked down once, and then is put on an even bigger clearance. They really blow stuff out often to make room for new merchandise.  Sam’s Club isn’t like a typical grocery store or department store in the fact that they don’t have a ton of variety. They also often switch up what they do carry, although many things in their inventory do stay the same. Every trip is like a new adventure!

I am sure this is one of many people’s favorite parts of Sam’s Club, but don’t forget the free samples and the free sample machine! Every day throughout the day they set up stands in which employees sample a variety of products which they offer. Over the years I have sampled too much to recall everything! Everything from breakfast sandwiches, to cheese, to burgers, to orange juice, to fruit, candy, breads, spreads, desserts, and everything in between. In addition, Sam’s Club has “Freeosks” in each store which are updated often. At these sample machines you simply scan your membership card, and out comes a free sample! These freebies alone can make the membership worthwhile. You can get more information on the Freeosks (which are also available at certain other stores) here.

One more thing to mention is that you can place an order with Sam’s Club on their website, and have it prepared to pickup in-store or get delivered. If you use this perk, you can also use eBates to get some cash back on top of what you would have already spent anyway. I wrote a blog post on eBates a while back which you can find here. I suggest EVERYONE check that out, it’s honestly FREE MONEY!

In addition to everything I have mentioned, joining Sam’s Club comes with even more membership perks. One thing I love is the Snack Bar. Here you can get some INCREDIBLE deals including a $2.50 slice of pizza (it’s actually two large slices) and drink combo. Clubs also have a tire department, a pharmacy, car-buying perks, health insurance perks, and the list really does go on. I don’t take advantage of NEAR as many perks as I probably should. Bottom line, is a Sam’s Club membership worth it? Whether you are interested in a membership for business or personal reasons, the answer in my opinion is a strong YES.

Do you shop at Sam’s Club? What are some of your favorite things to buy there? Any of the perks I didn’t mention or briefly mentioned that you take advantage of? Leave any questions or comments below and I will respond. Enjoy the rest of your day!

Brent Ott

 

How To NOT Treat Your Customers & Community: The Downfall of Coca-Cola’s MyCokeRewards

As I have shared with you, I like to take advantage of a variety of programs and memberships which allow me to get freebies for doing things I would have already done anyway. Doing so is how you can really stretch your budget and make the most of what you have. One of the very first such programs I was a member of was Coca-Cola’s MyCokeRewards. For a decade or so I was a member. It was similar to the Pepsi Stuff/Pepsi Points program from many years back, for some of you who may remember. On Coke products there were codes, you entered the codes online for points, and you could then cash in the points for various rewards.

Over the years I used MyCokeRewards and redeemed them for theme park tickets, Amazon gift cards, and a variety of other various, worthwhile prizes. It gave you a reason to look forward to drinking Coke, saving your caps and packaging, and even asking your friends and family to save them for you. It really helped to build brand loyalty.

I don’t drink a lot of soda, but I am very loyal to Coke when I do. I am a simple, original Coke type of guy. I actually have a hard time drinking a full-size 12-ounce Coke, and prefer only having an 8-oz can every so often. It’s the perfect size for someone like me! Coca-Cola is an iconic brand. Everything from their Christmas/Santa packaging and advertising, to their other artwork and classic advertising. Being a reseller I have grown to love Coke advertising and have sold many vintage signs, crates, bottles, you name it. My passion for Coke and their brand has also led me to holding a small investment in Coke, for many of the same reasons that Warren Buffett has held the stock for so many years. It’s just a small gesture, but I was so very proud when Stockpile, the company I use to hold Coke stock, sent me a stock certificate that I could display in my office last year. Simply put, I’m very loyal to Coke.

All of these reasons is why it truly hurt so much when Coke decided to “improve” their MyCokeRewards program, as they decided to call it. Make it “better.” Yeah, right. We’ve been down this road before. Over the years, they have changed the program many times. They have made it harder in different ways, made you earn status levels, changed it back, and I don’t fault them for any of that really. During all these changes over the years they still kept the basic truth of the program which was that you could use your points towards actual prizes and rewards. Things that made it worthwhile.

With this last and seemingly final update, all that changed. First off, they set a certain deadline in which you would no longer be able to enter the codes you had already collected. This deadline has passed. The program had a weekly 75-point limit in which you could not pass, which was understandable. What wasn’t is that they didn’t allow their loyal community to have an unlimited period in which they could catch up their stockpile of codes. Many people had to just simply throw away the rest of their codes. If you look at the community they built on their Facebook page, this is one huge complaint stemming from these changes. The people responding truly don’t even seem to care that they have angered everyone.

They are claiming that the program will be “better” now, and “easier.” It sort of reminds me of Donald Trump’s campaign for President. False promises and statements throughout. The new program which they are transitioning to seems to be nothing but entering your codes for sweepstakes entries. Who really wants to be loyal to a brand, save their codes, and enter them for a small chance at winning something? Saving them for something you would actually want like a theme park ticket, gift card, movie ticket, Coke t-shirt, etc.. is much more worthwhile. On top of destroying the program they built, they gave everyone a time period in which they have to use all their earned points by, or lose the rest. Even though the new program looks to be a joke, why wouldn’t they allow points to carry over?

The basic truth is as follows: I understand that business changes, society changes. Soda sales have slowed dramatically over the years, as more people now drink bottled water and other healthy alternatives. I’m no different. Myself and the rest of the Coke community probably would have understood more if Coke was just honest and stated that they had to change the program or get rid of it all together due to declining sales, profits, whatever the case. But claiming that they are making it “better” and “easier” and whatever other blanket statements they feel like using is a great way to lose the loyal community that you spent years building. Turning your own community against you really makes no sense.

Were you a member of the MyCokeRewards community? What are your personal thoughts on these changes? I’ve heard of some other programs that have recently done similar moves, including a local gas station/convenience store which has implemented similar changes. Have you experienced any similar situations? It’s a shame when you get used to something and it gets taken from you, but that is life I suppose. Is honesty too much to ask for in this day and age? That is really all I am asking here.

I usually always try to be positive, and I’m sure my next post will follow that path, but this is something that has been on my mind for a while that I just felt the need to share. It’s not the end of the World, my life is filled with many bigger problems. To wrap it up and be as honest as I can, I’m just really let down by the iconic, classic brand that is Coca-Cola. Drinking my 8-oz can just may never be the same again….

Thank you for reading, and leave your comments below! I promise that I will respond!

Brent Ott

Dollar Tree Haul – AWESOME Place To Shop For Household Goods, Supplies & Fun!

One of the things I wanted to do with this blog is to share some of the ways I utilize certain stores to maximize my savings and household budget. I have many stores I frequent, but the first of many I’d like to share is Dollar Tree. They are a chain of 13,000+ stores across the United States, which unlike certain other “dollar stores,” offers everything for only $1!

In addition to random household items and other things which we will get in to, many of the locations have a grocery section. Some even have a frozen section. I don’t often buy many things from the grocery section, but here and there I do get a small pickup. Some of the main things I buy from Dollar Tree are household cleaning products, Holiday decorations, greeting cards, and health and beauty items.

As you see in the included haul photograph from a shopping trip I made just yesterday, I got many of the things I mentioned already. First off I bought some decorations for the upcoming Easter holiday in addition to St. Patrick’s Day greeting cards I plan on sending out this week. You have to look carefully through the greeting cards at Dollar Tree. Obviously most are only $1, but some are actually only $0.50! On this trip I also bought some health and beauty products for me and my girlfriend, some seeds to plant this Spring, some disinfecting wipes, and yes, a cheese grater. We made a recipe last week with fresh Parmesan cheese and realized while making it that we didn’t have one (or lost it!). Luckily we didn’t actually need the grater for the recipe, but now we have one to use up the rest!

I didn’t buy much of it on this particular haul, but one of my other favorite things to purchase at Dollar Tree are holiday gift wrapping and packaging materials. Paper, bows, tags, bags, boxes, you name it, Dollar Tree has it. Being only $1 really helps you stretch your cash so when it is time to buy a gift you can spend more money on the actual gift and less money on the stuff to place that gift inside. Of course sometimes I do still buy certain things for gift wrapping at other stores, especially if it is on clearance, or sometimes just certain things that are unique. As I say often, you gotta live! Most Dollar Tree locations also have a section where you can buy inflated helium balloons, which can come in handy for many purposes.

Walking through Dollar Tree, to me, is always like an adventure. You never quite know what you may find that you need, or sometimes, just want. When everything is only $1, you can easily squeeze more “wants” into your shopping trips and not only “needs.” I always take my shopping list with me and am often able to cross off many things that I need.

I am always an investor first at heart, so I also just briefly wanted to mention that I do also own a small position in Dollar Tree ($DLTR) stock. It’s been a solid long-term growth stock, although it has recently pulled back from highs around $97 per share in August of 2016 to the level it is currently trading at of around $75 per share. As I usually do when you can get a discount and it is a solid stock, I say buy more!

If you would like more information on Dollar Tree you can check out their website here. You can also shop many of the items right on the site, although I currently don’t take advantage of that feature. I do know some friends who do. If you enjoy these haul blogs, let me know. I plan on doing hauls for other stores, and if you guys enjoy them, more Dollar Tree hauls as well. What did you enjoy? What would you have liked to see me do more of or talk more about? Other thoughts or suggestions? Leave them below, and I will respond!

Thank you for reading and enjoy your day!

Brent Ott

New Free Money Alert: Earn Extra Cash on Stuff You Would Already Buy Anyway with eBay Bucks!

I’m always looking for new ways to maximize my purchases. In addition, eBay is somewhere that I often shop for both business and personal reasons. If you put these two together, using eBay’s program “eBay Bucks” makes perfect sense. It sorts of reminds me of eBates, which I absolutely love and have used for several years. You make purchases during a quarter of the year, and following that quarter you get paid, simply for doing what you already would have done anyway.

There are, however, a few differences. First off, with eBay Bucks you receive your payment in the form of credit on eBay, as opposed to eBates where you get either a PayPal payment or a paper check. Second, unlike eBates who offers various percentages for different stores on the platform, eBay Bucks has just one base percentage which you can earn, which is currently just 1%, but can and has changed in the past. Nonetheless 1% is 1% and I’ll take it!

eBay Bucks has been around a while, and I’ve heard of it in the past, but just this past week I finally got around to signing up (which is free) and made my first few purchases. It already shows my balance of earned eBay Bucks, which is awesome, and like any program gets you excited to continue earning.

After each quarter of the year ends (January through March, April through June, etc..) you are supposed to receive your payment within 3-15 days of the end of that quarter. One more difference between eBay Bucks and eBates which I have noticed is that you need to use your earned eBay Bucks within 30 days of receiving it. If you are like me and make a lot of business  (or any) purchases anyway, this won’t be much of a problem. If you don’t shop very often on eBay, it may be. Just something that you need to keep in mind.

I havn’t used eBay Bucks for very long as I stated, but they also apparently do special promotions every so often where you can earn extra eBay Bucks. I look forward to using these promotions when I see them pop up. You can earn up to $100 on any single eBay purchase, and up to $500 every quarter. So, if you spend more than $10,000 on an eBay order or more than $50,000 in a quarter, you’re out of luck. But why are you spending that much on eBay anyway? I want to know! 😉

If you would like more information on eBay Bucks you can find it here and if you would like to sign up you can do so here.  Since using it is new to me as well, if I learn anything interesting, have things I really start to like, things I don’t like, etc.., I’ll either update this blog or post a new one. Thanks so much for reading and if you have any questions or comments PLEASE leave them below, and I will respond!

Thanks again!

Brent Ott

 

3 More Ways I Earn Extra FREE Money Every Month: PayPal Business Debit MasterCard, Target REDcard & Wal-Mart Savings Catcher

If you know anything about me by now, it may be that I like to earn a little extra cash any way that I can. Today I wanted to share three more ways that I do just that every month.

First off I wanted to talk about something that I have done for MANY years….

***PayPal Business Debit MasterCard

The PayPal Business Debit MasterCard is one of the cards that has been in my wallet the longest. I have long been an eBay seller, and nearly 100% of the payments I receive from eBay go directly to my PayPal account. Having their Business Debit MasterCard when you sell on eBay is a must in my book. First off, you have direct access to your funds from sales. Second, and possibly above all else, when you use the card ANYWHERE as a credit card (not enter your pin) you earn 1% cash back on EVERY purchase! It’s really that simple.

Within the first week or two of every month you then receive your cash back for the previous month. There is no annual fee or any fees other than the original PayPal fees for your eBay sales, etc.. I use mine a lot for business purchases and a variety of other purchases throughout the month. It’s awesome getting the cash back every month for making purchases you already would have anyway.

If you would like more information on the PayPal Business Debit MasterCard you can find everything you need here.

Next up is yet another Debit Card I have used over a year now and highly recommend…

***Target REDcard

The Target REDcard is offered as a Credit OR Debit Card. Since I limit the amount of credit cards I open and don’t use any store credit cards usually, I recommend the Target REDcard Debit Card. The first selling point is that on EVERY purchase you make at Target or Target.com, you INSTANTLY save 5% off! In addition, you get free shipping on Target.com when using your REDcard. When you sign up for it you link it to your existing bank account, and every time you make a purchase after a few days the amount you spent comes out of your bank account. No fees, lots of perks, and 5% savings on EVERYTHING! You can’t go wrong.

I feel that I need to point out that I only make purchases at Target which I already would have anyway. I don’t buy things JUST to get the 5%-off. Doing that is where a lot of people can get into trouble. It’s important to comparison shop and make sure that you are still getting the best overall deal, and staying within your monthly budget.

If you would like more information on the Target REDcard everything you need is available here.

Finally I want to share a tool that I have used several years to once again earn FREE month every month…

***Wal-Mart Savings Catcher

The Wal-Mart Savings Catcher is very unique. Every time you shop at Wal-Mart you simply, first off, save your receipt. Using either the website or the available app, you enter your receipts, and it automatically after that compares your purchases to other local grocery stores, other national chains, and other convenience stores.

After a few days of processing you get back what, if any, savings that you could have otherwise earned shopping elsewhere. Doing just this I have earned enough Wal-Mart Bucks (money that can be spent at Wal-Mart or Wal-Mart.com) to get a free toaster oven, a free doormat, free food purchases, all sorts of things.

If you would like more information on the Wal-Mart Savings Catcher simply click here.

Final Thoughts:

These three tools, if you ask me, are all no-brainers. They are all free money simply for shopping like you already would have. The PayPal Business Debit MasterCard gets you 1% cash back ANYWHERE you shop and use the credit option. Target REDcard gets you 5% off of ANY Target purchase. Finally, the Wal-Mart Savings Catcher can save you HUGE depending on what you buy which may be on sale somewhere else, that you may have otherwise missed.

 

I recommend just sticking with your regular budget (and if you don’t have one get started, it’s easy!) and not making purchases just to feel like you are saving money, so why not? Keeping this in mind while you shop and use these tools will keep you out of trouble. Who doesn’t like earning free money? I know I do!

Thank you for reading and if you have any questions or comments please leave them below, and I will respond!

Thanks again!

Brent Ott

 

Investing, Saving Money, Allocating Capital, Budgeting, and Enjoying Life!