Stacking Money in 2019

It’s a new year, and I want to help you with one of your resolutions. Every year, we resolve to eat right, exercise, and save money. This blog is to help you solve one of those problems-actually, the only one I’m capable of; the other two are on you. These days, most things are expensive; you have to put two or three paychecks together if you want to pay cash. It’s not easy by any means. One thing you have to realize is that you are not alone in trying to make ends meet. You want to save money, but how? Don’t let fear keep you from increasing your financial worth. How many times do you discuss your financial situation with a family member or friend, (except in generic terms)., or make a joke about it. Like “(I can see the lint in my pocket, I’m so broke”). There are many like-minded people out there just like you who want to save but have limited funds, and know nothing of what’s out there that can help them change their financial situation.

Stocks and Stilettos

One group that’s out there helping women to learn all about investing is Cassandra Cummings’ Stock and Stilettos group. Cummings is a motivator and leader who gives women a platform to learn about investing and moving forward in their quest to be financially stable.

What caught my eye first about Stock and Stilettos was that name, which I found is exactly what this group is about women learning about investing financially in various ways. This is a very sought-after group with women from all backgrounds coming together to get educated and share about how to become financially fit. Your thinking can be anywhere from “I don’t know anything about investing” to “I want to expand my stock portfolio”; Stocks and Stilettos has something for you. Cummings is a hands-on leader who shares knowledge via FaceTime and brings in guest speakers to spread their knowledge to the women. There are classes and clubs that not only share knowledge, but help to form life-long friendships among the women. Stocks and Stilettos provides many ways to get beyond the “I don’t know anything about investing” mindset to you being confident in your investment choices.

  Beginners have no need to feel intimated. I just took a candlestick chart class that was for beginners who wanted to start to learn this type of chart. There are a lot of charts that can be used in investing. I found the class informative and not so involved that I felt lost.

This is a group every woman should consider joining to increase your financial knowledge and to be able to replace the lint in your pocket with green bills. If you’ve ever wondered about the stock market, options, cryptocurrency, or any financial vehicle, all it takes is going on Facebook and asking to join, and you will be on your way to bettering your financial situation.

                                                 Acorns

I call Acorns the-no-think about way of saving because you really just forget about it. It’s so easy, you won’t realize you’re saving.  This is how’s it done every time you buy something, Acorns rounds up the change and invests automatically. For example, if you buy a shirt for $12.50, Acorns rounds up to $13.00, invests the $0.50 automatically.  I know right at this moment you’re saying, “She’s crazy to think I’m going to put my hard-earned money in the stock market when it’s tanking every-day.” This is where the no-think part of Acorns comes in. You just spend, and they will do the investing for you. I’m not saying that you should just give someone your money and never look at it again (no way), but what I am saying is you don’t have to go out and buy Invest Dummies books to save through Acorns. There is an app and questions to see what your goals are. I’ve used Acorns since it started, and have never had a problem with customer service or withdrawing or adding funds. Saving will come no easier than with Acorns. There is a fee associated with Acorns.

                                            Crowdfunding

When you start seeing you bank account inch up, you’ll want to invest in all kinds of things (options and real estate, to name a few). I became interested in land through the crowdfunding site Kickstarter. There was a campaign a company named Acres was running to purchase land by paying for it monthly. When you finish paying, you get a clean title to the land.

While I’m mentioning Kickstarter, are you creative? I mean, can you sing, make something, or improve something out there? Then crowdfunding maybe the way for you to increase your financial worth. There are two crowdfunding sites that I am familiar with: Kickstarter and Indiegogo. I’m sure there are a lot that I don’t know about, but these are the two I have used personally. Crowdfunding is basically where you have an idea and you get people to believe in your dream by funding it. Here’s were the making money part comes in: you can sell your products to places like Amazon or Walmart, or through your own website.I have not created any campaigns however, I have helped fund dreams through crowdfunding such as Acres. I have a blog where I talk about the sites, called Uniquethings.blog.

                                            Fundrise

Real estate can be a great investment for your future. Fundrise is a real estate company that invests in property. They loan money and invest in up-and-coming communities in many states. What I like about Fundrise are the different types of homes and communities that I am invested in, as well as the communication they provide about new properties they are investing in. They provide you very-easy- to- understand information and descriptions about the different properties. There is an investment cost of $1,000 to join. The other thing I want to mention about Fundrise is that you set up a monetary goal and  pay down on that goal on a monthly basis. For example, if you wanted $20,000 within five years, you would pay $233 a month. I’m sure there are other ways to invest in real estate out there, and as your portfolio grows, consider adding real estate to your portfolio.

I just became aware of two websites that allow you to invest in real estate: Buildingbits.com and The Tulsa Real Estate Fund. I know very little of these two companies; Building Bits lets you choose the property that you want to invest in, and the Tulsa Real Estate Fund is African American- owned. Please do your research or talk to someone with experience before investing.

                                                  eBay

eBay and other sites where you resell items for profit are another way to increase your finances. My spouse does this, and it can be profitable, but you have to be careful of eBay fees. I tell people I’ll never look at a clearance rack the same. Why? Because every item on a clearance rack can potentially be resold for profit. It is not only items from your closet that can be resold; people actually go to Goodwill, thrift shops, and clearance racks to get the items they resell. Check it out on YouTube; this is a growing business for housewives. Did you know that Goodwill has a website that resellers use to increase their inventory? How times have changed.

                                            Robinhood

The website Robinhood is a very popular way to invest with minimal funds. Robinhood has a commission-free investing platform, which gives you more money to invest.

Robinhood offers such investment vehicles as stock, options and cryptocurrency, and offers information about the companies you are interested in. I personally like the ease of use, and being able to see what analysts are saying about a company before I invest. When you’re looking for an easy way to invest, give Robinhood some consideration.

                                         Stockpile

Stockpile is another web-based way to invest, like Robinhood. There were things I liked about investing in Stockpile, and things I did not like as much. What I liked about Stockpile is that you can invest in factual shares, but what I didn’t like was that your trades aren’t, completed until the end of the day. Here’s an example of factual investing with Stockpile: Let’s say you want to invest in Amazon, but don’t have $1,500 for a whole share. You can go to stockpile and buy a factional share of Amazon for, say, $25, and you can own a piece of Amazon. Stockpile is great for the person on limited funds who wants to own a piece of a company that would otherwise be out of their reach financially. Stockpile puts big companies such as Netflix and Amazon within your reach.

                                   Cryptocurrencies

I’m only mentioning cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum  because there is so much hope that crypto will do for us what the dollar does, which is to buy whatever you want. You will see many opinions as to whether cryptocurrency is worth investing in, since it’s very volatile at this time. Crypto is definitely something you should do your homework on or take a class on with a group such as Stocks and Stilettos.

No matter whether you’re new to investing or not, you should do your own research. Read books and ask questions. Don’t follow the hype unless you’ve come to the same conclusion. You should join groups such as Stocks and Stilettos and Robinhood, which also has a Facebook group. Everyone has their own situation, and my situation certainly won’t be yours, so be informed in your investments. Don’t spend the grocery money to invest, and learn to have patience, because nothing happens overnight. Happy Investing in 2019!

My blogs: Retirementanddogs.blog

Unique Things.blog

Website: Uniquethingsonline.com

 

 

 

Flea Market Selling

Hello Unique People 

You have your products, and you are ready to make that money. The problem is, where are the people who are supposed to be spending their money? The last blog, I talked about advertising and more advertising. You can never do too much advertising. Advertising is an ongoing part of selling that you will have to keep spending money on. There are so many ways to advertise. One of the things we did was go to a flea market.
 I had done flea market selling years ago in the Poconos, and it was very fruitful in terms of making money. Here in New Jersey, the way this flea market worked was there’s a line up time, where people would try to get there at that time, so they can get the space and area they wanted. The lineup time for Saturday was 6:30am for the outdoor area. We had packed the car the night before, so all we had to do was get up at 5:00am, get ready, and walk the dogs. This was our first time, so we didn’t know anything about areas or spaces. We got there about 7:30 and the weather was cold, cloudy, and windy. There wasn’t any line, and a lot of spaces were already taken. We finally found two spaces that weren’t far from the indoor part of the flea market. This particular market has outdoor and indoor selling. You pay more for indoor, and usually the owners of the flea market wants a year commitment. The next thing is the fun part, unpacking all of your merchandise, and setting up so people will get the best views from across a table. The setting up part can take from 30-60 minutes, depending on how fast you unload your car and whether you know how you want to display your items. We unpacked and sat, waiting for customers. It was cold out, so I went indoors to get warm, and discovered that was where all the customers were. The indoor sellers were making a killing, and all of the outdoor sellers were just cold. There were a few stragglers that did come and look, on their way into the indoor market. We might have made 2 sales, before we got tired of things blowing all over the place and the lack of foot traffic. Then, the next fun thing happens, which is packing up all of your merchandise and fitting it all back into the car. This was a lesson learned, on many levels; check the weather and get to the flea market early to get a prime spot. The next blog, I’ll talk about our second trip to the flea market. Have a safe week.

My Secret is Out

There’s this concept online called crowdfunding. In basic language, crowdfunding is a group of people that buy into another individual’s/company’s idea. I mean buy as in money and buy as in you like what they are selling. I actually can’t tell you how I got involved, but believe me, it had to be something I saw online that made me say, “Wow!” I was working then, though money was tight, but what I saw made me say, “I’ve got to have this!” The problem was my spouse, who wasn’t my spouse at the time, but we were dating and living together. I knew that spending money on a watch was not going to fly. Yes, the first geeky item I pledged to was a watch. This watch connected to your phone and you got notifications. This was before smart watches were the rage. What I did was to first talk up the watch by saying how it could keep me from missing messages on my commute from New York to New Jersey. Well, that didn’t work, so I did what I knew was fail proof: it was an early birthday present to myself. While I was wheeling and dealing with my spouse on this watch, I went to a newfound website of geek items and saw another watch. This time, not only could I get notifications but I could talk into it. Dick Tracy here I come! Now, I’m talking about two watches. Well, I only have one birthday, so how could I get her to see things from my point of view? Nope, it wasn’t going to happen, so I did the unthinkable and just kept my big mouth shut. The website that had grabbed my attention that I was not mentioning was Kickstarter. 
Kickstarter

Kickstarter
was started in April 2009 by Perry Chen, Yancey Strickler and Charles Adler. The Kickstarter headquarters is located in New York City. Kickstarter is a very user friendly site for project owners and backers. Kickstarter responds to questions and problems about their site very quickly and you can communicate with the project owner by clicking on the comments section or emailing him/her through the website. The comments area is also a place to interact, not only with the project owner, but with other backers, during the course of the project.
Kickstarter has a global community of people from more than 220 countries and territories. Roughly 35% of successfully funded projects now come from outside the United States, as do 45% of backers. Together, these backers and creators use Kickstarter to reach across borders and shape culture into what they want it to be, rather than accepting it for what it is. And as ideas from different cultures collide with one another, they inspire new conversations, creative approaches, and cross-cultural connections.
 

Kickstarter Project Manager 
I will discuss the technology area of Kickstarter; however, there are many types of projects that you can back, such as films, music, and books. The Kickstarter site enables people to discover and back as many projects as they believe will become a reality. When a person, or groups of people, decide to start a project on Kickstarter they must first build a project page, which includes a video with a description explaining their project. The next step for the project owner is to provide information about their budget and a timeline from beginning to end of the project. The project owner must then decide what kind of rewards they will offer backers, such as a choice of item color or engraving the item with the project name and year. These rewards are given when the project funding reaches certain milestones. Project owners have to keep in mind that they pay for all of the rewards offered to backers. When project owners think about the funds necessary to bring their project to fruition, they must consider everything because Kickstarter will not let their project become a reality if the funding goal is not met. A very important part of the project is promotion. A project needs active promotion because a project no one knows about will never get funded. Kickstarter’s fee is 5%, with an additional 3 to 5% for processing payments. If the project owner doesn’t meet their funding goal, they owe nothing.

Kickstarter Backers
There are different tier amounts that a backer can pledge. When a backer pledges early there is usually a perk from the project owner as a way of thanking a backer for coming aboard early. The different pledge tiers not only tell you the item, but an estimated month and year that you will receive the item. The shipping information will also be listed in each tier box, along with any accessories that might be given. Once he/she has met the project funding level, the project owner will give their backers updates as the project develops through each stage. Backers like to know they’ve made a wise decision in backing a project and hate it when shipping has to be pushed back time after time. My experience with Kickstarter is that projects are always pushed back for different reasons. The project owners try to give realistic shipping estimates, but often a project of this magnitude is new to many of them and they are not prepared for the problems that arise. You, the backer, have to be aware that there are also scam artist that will go through the motions of creating a project, but once funding is met and they receive their money, you never hear from them again. There is really no recourse for backers when a project owner takes the money and doesn’t fulfill his/her part of the deal. Kickstarter backing is partially about being first to get an item that no one might know about or have even envisioned. As I stated, not all projects make it to the backers. An example of this was a watch that I pledged for my daughter. It was supposed to be the thinnest watch out in 2013. The company wasn’t able to make the watch because they encountered too many hurdles that they weren’t prepared for. I recently received a letter informing us that after liquidating all of their assets, there was no money to give to backers.

Some might think this is throwing money away because these projects aren’t cheap, and if a project fails you can’t get your money back. I think of it like this: It’s no riskier than the lottery or going to the casino. You never know when you’ll hit the jackpot. There is a certain rush you get as the months go by waiting for your reward to make it from the project owner’s vision to you.