Tag Archives: business

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

Reselling: Always Was, Still Is, and Forever Will Be My Anchor

In my younger days I spent my time working “for the man.” You name it, I’ve probably done it. I’ve been a Cashier & Stocker at a grocery store, a dishwasher at restaurants, I’ve cleaned dorm bathrooms. I’ve Managed a Papa John’s and an Arby’s. I worked at a McDonald’s… well, for a day or two anyway. I’ve cleaned big box store floors, done food prep, as I said, you name it, I’ve probably done it.

Everything I mentioned, I hated in some way, shape, or form. I always dreamed of running my own business. When I was little I used to have my own office set up, and spend my allowance on office supplies just so I could pretend I was “the boss.” I briefly started a house cleaning business, just to get my feet wet, but that just wasn’t me. It wasn’t until around 2010 when I finally found what would eventually become my anchor in the business world: reselling.

There is nothing like the feeling of searching thrift stores, yard sales, flea markets, church sales, and anywhere and everywhere else for that thing that you know is underpriced, that you can easily sell for double, triple, even 100 times or more as much as they are asking. It’s a rush like nothing else. I first got the idea that I could actually make a business out of reselling by watching History Channel’s “American Pickers.” From the very beginning that show just spoke to me.

My reselling journey has taken a lot of twists and turns over the years, as you always need to be willing to do in any business. I’ve gone from mainly selling vintage advertising and collectibles, to now selling mainly clothing with a little bit of vintage toys, vintage household goods, and everything else in between.

To show you the potential that reselling has to offer, I wanted to share a few of my favorite scores from my journey, and I’m sure I’ll be sharing more in the future. The first is from nearly 5 years ago, and was from when I was big into selling vintage advertising. I picked up this Muscadine Punch sign at an antique shop, I believe in West Virginia. I was on a little road trip with my girlfriend at the time. It was priced around $120, but being the type always willing to haggle to get the best deal, I talked the guy down to $80. Once I got back home I listed it on eBay, and sold it within a week or so for $400!

It’s not the only sign I’ve sold for a similar profit margin to that, either. There are countless others. It is, however, one of my most memorable and one that my girlfriend and I talk about to this day.

For a more recent score/flip I want to show you a Polo Ralph Lauren Purple Label shirt which was new-with-tags that I sold on eBay already in 2017. I picked it up at a Goodwill at the end of last year. It was in the long sleeve section, which usually costs $5.50 a piece. However, I was using a 50% off card that particular day so I ended up getting it for $2.75Certain Goodwill stores price things of one type all the same, others have individual pricing, some have a mix of both. As for the shirt, after sitting listed on eBay for a month or two, it ended up selling via a Best Offer for $149. 

These two examples are what we like to call “homeruns” in the reselling business. They don’t happen every day, but when they do, you enjoy them. Reselling is really all about the little “bread and butter” flips that add up. $5 to $15, $2 to $10, $10 to $30. These little flips over and over on a consistent basis are what keeps a reselling business going and growing.

For the past 6 or 7 years now I have made a full-time income with reselling, and I’ve slowly added other streams of revenue into my business, with some plans of other additions on the horizon. I’m the type that always likes to have my plate full, and am always full of dreams and goals. No matter where I end up and where my passion for business takes me, one thing is for sure, and that is that reselling will always play some sort of a part. I have truly never been as passionate about anything else I have ever done in my life as I am about reselling. I am very grateful for the opportunity to do what I do every single day.

I’d never recommend that anyone just up and quit their job, especially if they have a family to support and bills to pay. I would, however, recommend that anyone who is looking for an extra source of income that could, over time, grow into a main stream of income, try reselling. A good way to start is just by looking around your home. Everyone has got a pile of something somewhere in their home which they aren’t using and/or don’t want. Start by trying to sell some of those things, and just see where it takes you. Years ago eBay was the only place to sell, but now, so much has changed. There is a vast variety of marketplaces to try online, and many avenues in “real life” such as antique malls, flea markets, and your own personal yard sale. Plenty of opportunity to get your feet wet.

I love reselling and I always will. If you’ve ever wondered about it, there really is only one way to find out and that is to give it a shot. Trust me, everything has a market. One man’s junk really is another man’s treasure. Many things in life are underpriced with profit potential. Hopefully I was able to get your mind working on a different level. THANK YOU for reading and I’ll be sure to share some more reselling content here in the future. If you have any questions or comments PLEASE feel free to leave them below and I will respond!

THANKS AGAIN!

Brent Ott

My favorite site of 2016 and most recommended for 2017: Stockpile

Here at NinjaGhostInvestments.com I plan on sharing a lot of different websites, apps, programs, and more which I use in my daily life including my businesses. Some that I use daily, some that I am just trying, and those that I both enjoy and can’t stand. I want to share a wide variety of things with you.

Last year while searching for a new trading platform with low commission fees I came across Stockpile, and instantly fell in love. They sell individual gift cards for stock in-store, but beyond that they have a dedicated website which you can use to purchase stock much like TD Ameritrade or anywhere else. However, much UNLIKE the other guys all trades, to buy and sell, only cost 99 cents. You heard me right… 99 cents!

Really, the only drawback to me is that regardless of when you place the trade, they execute after the market closes that particular day. The cutoff time to purchase shares for the day is 3 PM ET. Besides that, most of the same features you likely love with other brokerages are there. You receive dividends (if the stocks you purchase offer them), stock prices update often while the market is open, you can enroll in a DRIP, you name it.

Here is the big kicker… you can actually purchase fractional shares! For example, if you wanted to buy Amazon stock, and didn’t have the current near $800-per share to invest, no worries. You can purchase any amount. $25 worth? $50 worth? $126.72 worth?! No problem! This is a great way for both beginner and more experienced investors to get a piece of any company they desire, while not breaking the bank. Stocks that traditionally you may not be able to afford, you now can, and over time you can stockpile quite a bit of it if you keep purchasing.

I am a proud Android user (sorry Apple peeps) and also have nothing but the best of things to say about the available Stockpile app. If you ARE an Apple person, no worries, there’s also an IOS app. Features include your updated portfolio, charts/history of the stocks you own, news tidbits, and much more.

I highly recommend you all giving Stockpile a try if you are interested in trying a new brokerage to invest with. Here’s another great thing… you can open your account with no minimum balance!

Right now they are also offering a great deal for new accounts, through my unique referral link. If you open an account now, you will receive $5 of free stock with your first $10 purchase. Just $10! You honestly can’t beat that, and I assure you, once you try it, you’ll likely love it. Really, what do you have to lose? 99 cents!? You can’t buy a (decent) coffee for that! To get started right now follow this link: http://mbsy.co/gtmd6

This year I plan on trying some new similar brokerages and apps, and I’ll be sharing my experiences with those as well. I already use a few other newer companies, including one amazing financial firm I also swear by, which I’ll be sharing soon. Until next time, thank you for reading, if you have any questions or comments leave a message below, and enjoy the rest of your day!

Thanks,

Brent Ott