Uncategorized

How to Simplify Your Life Financially

Early last year I decided I wanted to simplify my financial life. I had a bunch of bills and felt like, while I was making good money on paper, I didn’t have a lot (or any) left at the end of the month.

First I cut out my lawn guy at $60/mow. He would mow my lawn roughly every 10 days from mid-April to November….20 or 21 times. That’s approximately $1200/yr saved. I’m now on my second year of mowing my lawn myself and will have saved $2400 by the end of this mowing season.

Next I sold my truck, boat, and airplane and bought a ‘98 Acura as a beater. I’m not sure this was a good idea, but I sold my truck for $6500 and bought my beater for $1000. I’d rather have my truck but I did use some of that money to invest in my children’s 529 college plan.

I really enjoyed owning an airplane, but the honeymoon had worn off and a 40 year old airplane is a money pit.

The boat was just stupid.

I got rid of Netflix but that only lasted a few months. I have it back now, but we haven’t had cable since 2006 and we don’t miss it.

I also got rid of an old refrigerator through the power company. It was using $5-$10 month of electricity, but West Penn Power took it away for free and gave me a $50 check for it. Nice!

I also feel that term life insurance is extremely important and while this added to my expenses, an additional $500K policy for $36/month is must-do for every husband. Get 10-12 times your annual income in term life.

Just getting rid of stuff is an amazing feeling. Some stuff I sold and other stuff I simply gave away. Having less stuff frees you and it feels great.

What are you doing to simplify your life?

My former plane
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sales advice

How to deal with competitors

I used to hate my competitors. I absolutely loathed them. They were taking money out of my pocket…how dare they???!?!??

A few years ago, one of my coworkers went to go work for the competition and I was stunned. How could they? They were the enemy! We talked about it and it turned out Greg got any opportunity he had been waiting years for…it just so happened it was with a different company.

Greg explained to me why he made the decision and a light bulb went off in my head.

I had prided myself on my loyalty and loved my company, but it was eye opening for a naive boy from Pittsburgh.

I realized then, that instead of looking at competitors with contempt, I should, rather, admire them for what they’ve been able to accomplish and in ways that they are better than me.

Every company has issues…it’s how you deal with those issues that sets you apart from the pack.

The next time your competition beats you…don’t get mad. Instead use it as a learning experience and work on becoming better yourself.

Uncategorized

How to Get a Raise (Hint: Give yourself one instead)

There are three ways to get a raise:

  1. Ask for a raise (almost never works)
  2. Get a competing offer and go to your manager (pisses your company and boss off)
  3. Give yourself a raise (best option)

I remember the first, and only, time I asked for a raise. I was a recent graduate from college and was managing the operations of a million dollar branch of a Midwest pesticide company. I was getting paid about $45,000/year, but I felt I deserved more.

It was tough to work up the courage, but having to live 45 minutes away in a tiny apartment and the realization that I was living off Ramen noodles gave me that will to ask.

I didn’t have a chance. I had absolutely nothing prepared on my market value, but I knew I wanted more money. The conversation went way better than I thought it would! We talked for a while discussed a bunch of non-work things and in the end he said he’d get work on it and get back to me! Wow! What a nice guy!

2 months later, I never heard a thing and the only feedback I got was, “that thing you asked me about…I’m still working on it.”

It was a good experience, though, in that it prepared me for future salary negotiations. Later, the same company would promote me to a sales representative and give me an $8,000.00 raise plus commission without asking for it. And that is how you give yourself a raise. Change jobs within the same company that pays more.

I’ve also gotten a raise using a competing offer. I got an offer for a few thousand more dollars and then brought it to them and then they gave me a $12,500 raise to counter it, but I did that the wrong way. If I had wanted to stay at hat company, I should’ve said, “Mike, I got another offer, but I’m not going to take it. But what does my future look like here?”

My advice to you is this: Give yourself a raise by working hard and efficient and/or transition to a sales job where you can earn commission. Here are a couple steps you can do to work harder:

  1. Turn off the TV (HGTV consistently shows reruns from 5-7 years ago…really?)
  2. Work AT LEAST 2 hours per night on research, proposals, and education

Try these two steps and you’ll find you’ll give yourself a raise in no time.