I’ve talked before about earning side money by reselling used children’s items. After visiting a local thrift store, I thought it would be fun to give a better example of how much money can be made doing this. (Not to spoil the mystery — but I didn’t make a lot.)

First off, shopping at thrift stores is unpredictable. This past trip, I found a Juicy Couture baby dress right next to a faded and stained baby shirt from Walmart; both were the same price. Sometimes you find gold, and sometimes you don’t find anything.

During this shopping trip, I looked through the racks for about 30 minutes and spent $12 on the items listed below. (Goodwill stores in California seem to be priced much higher than in other areas.) When I got home, it took another 20-30 minutes to list all of the items on Ebay using the Ebay app. The total time invested in my side project was less than an hour.

Below is a list of my profits. This doesn’t list what I sold the item for — but how much I made after subtracting the cost of the item, as well as the Ebay, Paypal, and shipping fees. For example, I received $16.99 for the Janie and Jack airplane sweater, and after subtracting all of the costs, my profit was $7.67. [ continue reading... ]

Market analysts have discovered something surprising about human nature. When choosing a product we don’t know much about, we automatically assume the highest-priced item is also the highest quality. This carries over into our sensory perceptions, as well: consumers who eat more expensive pizza or drink more expensive wine claim these products taste better than their lower-priced varieties.

But is it really true? Does a higher price indicate higher quality?

Well, yes and no. By determining when this perception is correct — and when it’s simply a response to effective marketing — you can not only save yourself money, but choose quality products without hesitation.

Here’s how to figure out if an item is worth the cost:

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In early 2012, my garbage company offered me a deal: commit to them for two years, and in return, they wouldn’t raise my rates.

Prices are always increasing, so I thought it would be smart to agree.

I found my latest garbage bill in the mailbox this week, and it was higher than I remembered. In fact, it seemed like my bill had been steadily increasing over the past two years. I decided it was time to take a closer look.

They send the bill every three months, and the current bill was for about $140. When I looked at the bill’s breakdown, one thing caught my eye: my refuse and recycling service only accounted for $76 of the total.

Almost 50% of my bill was comprised of taxes and fees. [ continue reading... ]

Between myself and my two kids, ages 4 and 5, I rarely spend more than $400 a month on groceries.

I don’t use coupons, I don’t search the sales fliers, and I’m not particularly fond of cooking everything from scratch. Ever since I decided to tackle my grocery budget — and quit eating out — I’ve developed a super simple system for keeping myself in check.

Below, I reveal how I keep my grocery bill low — so you can do the same:

Stock Up on Staples Once a Month

I love Sam’s Club; I always have. But now that I have a little one in school who packs her lunch every single day, I love it even more.

I make a trip to Sam’s Club about once a month to stock up on the things my family uses on a consistent basis: juice, Powerade, kids snacks, and generic household items. [ continue reading... ]

If you want to build wealth over the long haul, investing is a great way to go. It’s important, however, to not become overconfident — as it can quickly undo a lot of the progress you make.

Where Does Overconfidence Come From?

A few months ago, my portfolio was doing quite well, thanks in large part to the fact that the market itself was doing well. When that happens, many of us don’t think in those terms; instead, we’re inclined to attribute good performance to our own genius.

Studies indicate that most of us feel like we are “above average” when it comes to intelligence. This means we think we’re smart enough to pick the right investments.

But as Warren Buffett has pointed out: a rising tide lifts all boats. Too many of us don’t see it that way; we attribute our good performance to an innate ability to be “above average” when it comes to stock picking. A few successes, and all of a sudden we feel like experts. While it’s important to feel confident enough to keep investing (and to hang in there when the market drops), you need to find the balance between feeling comfortable with your investing plan and becoming overconfident in your abilities. [ continue reading... ]

When I landed the first gig of my accounting career, I was beyond excited. I would finally have a decent income; I could breathe again. But after crunching a few numbers, it was obvious that debt would quickly gobble up any of the extra funds I’d planned to use to live a little.

My only options were: 1) spend months complaining while searching for a higher-paying job or 2) take immediate action. I chose the latter because the job market was miserable at the time, and delaying the process would only give the interest more time to accrue.

Since debt management can be extremely difficult and mentally draining, I decided to execute a five-step plan.

Here’s how I successfully dug myself out of the hole: [ continue reading... ]