Friday, August 28, 2015

Cheapest way to send a fax online for free

I hate the fax machine. I would much prefer sending something via email. For some reason unknown to me we are stuck with the fax for the time being. I think within the next 30 years it will be obsolete. The problem is, unless you have a fax machine at home you may have to go to staples or office max and pay some outrageous price to fax a few pages. To hopefully avoid that, here are a few of the cheapest ways to send a fax online.

1.) FaxZero

  • This is by far my favorite. It is simple and FREE. You don't have to sign up for an account or make a password, etc. All you do is put in your name, phone number, email and the name and fax number you are trying to reach. Here is a screenshot

2.) Everyone else. These other options might be better if you need a personal fax number or need to receive faxes.
  • SmartFax - gives a 30 day free trial. After that it is $7/month
  • MyFax - gives a 30 day free trial as well. After that it is $10/month
  • eFax - $15/month. They do have a free version that lets you receive up to 10 faxes per month. 
  • k7 - is free for incoming and outgoing faxes. But you have to send/receive a fax every 30 days or your account will be deleted. 

There are a lot of other online fax companies that I didn't cover. If you find a good one feel free to post about it below. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Free $10 e-gift card from Newegg via AMEX


If you have an American Express credit card, you can get a free $10 gift card delivered to your email with a promotion that is going on until 09/07/2015. This will work for EACH AMEX credit card that you have. In my opinion these are some of the best gift cards available:


Home Depot
Kohls
Gap/Old Navy
Dominos
Papa Johns
JCPenny
AppleBees
Kmart
Red Robin
Burger King


This is the promotion: Spend at least $10 at Newegg.com with "American Express Checkout" and you'll get a $10 statement credit. So you can spend more than $10, but the best deal is to just purchase an e-gift card to a place you might go to in the future. NO NEED to register your card...just make sure you use American Express Checkout and you'll get the credit. Too easy!

NOTE: This are several other merchants that you can get a $10 credit, but Newegg is the only one that really makes sense to me.

You can get the $10 credit on all of your consumer and business AMEX cards...even authorized users.

If you have multiple cards you want to get the free deal on (I have over 10), then I found that making the purchases with the Newegg App on your smart phone is the easiest way to do it (there are errors that occur when I tried doing on my laptop).

You can only get ONE $10 gift card per vender in a 48 hour period per Newegg account. So if you wanted 2 $10 home depot gift cards by using 2 different AMEX cards, you would have to wait 48 hours before purchasing the 2nd $10 home depot gift card.

So, for your convenience, here are the screen shots of the whole process that I did from my phone:

Search for "gift cards" and select a $10 gift card and Add it to your Cart


You will see the shopping cart in the upper right corner have an item. Click on that to checkout. 


This is the important part. DON'T click on "Secure Checkout". Select "AMEX Express Checkout"


You will then be asked to sign into your american express account. 


Select the card you want to use.



You will then be sent a code that will be used to verify the transaction. And then you will be asked to complete the order. It's very easy to do and definitely worth the few minutes to get some free $10 e-gift cards. You don't even need to pull out your credit card to do this which is really nice. 


Don't have an AMEX credit card or want to get some more?

I would recommend getting the SPG AMEX credit card as the bonus is temporarily increased to 30,000 points, which is a a good offer. You can use that to book 3-10 hotel nights or you could cash it out for $300-$500 in cash. Not sure how you will spend enough to get the bonus? This is a good starting point to help you figure it out>.

Another thing you could do is add an authorized user to your current account and you'll get another card in the mail in a week or so. I've added myself to all of my wife's accounts and her to all of my accounts. 

Small Business Saturday is coming up in November, so this is a good time to collect a few more AMEX credit cards. 





Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Manufactured Spending Online with Giftcards.com



The methods of how to manufactured spend are always changing. That's why it's important to read blogs like this one if you want to stay up-to-date on ways to earn miles/points, and get big credit card bonuses.

Disclaimer: As always, you have to be very careful with credit cards!

A couple of months ago, I got approved for the AMEX Business Platinum card. The card came with an offer to get 150k MR points after spending $20,000 within 3 months. My total expenses right now are about $3,500/month, so of course, there is no way I could normally spend that much. That's where manufactured spending comes into play!

This is how I decided to spend the $20,000 to get that bonus (which I plan on cashing out for over $2,000 in cash):

I bought $20,000 worth of Visa Gift cards on Giftcards.com. 

I actually bought 40 $500 visa gift cards in separate orders of $1,500 per order. Why $1,500 orders? Because there is a free first class shipping promo code that will work on orders up to $1,500. So this made the shipping free! The promo code that I used is SHIPHAPPY. This code is good until the end of the year, can be used multiple times, and it can be used by anyone. 

You can get the visa gift cards in increments of $25-$500. It makes the most sense to get the $500 amount as there is a fee associated with getting these cards of $4.95 and it is the same for all gift card amounts.

So the cool thing about Giftcards.com is that they have a rewards program where you earn "G Money" for all your purchases (make sure you sign up for it). You get one point for every dollar spent and you can redeem the points on any future orders. So, that's basically 1% cash back. This cancels out the visa gift card fee, so in the end you are buying these visa gift cards with no shipping fee (above promo code) and you earn back the gift card fee with their rewards program.

That's awesome!

Plus, of course, you'll get your credit card rewards points. So, if you use a credit card that gives 2% cash back you'll be making $10 per $500. Maybe it's worth buying these visa gift cards just to earn credit card points/miles, but it's especially useful to help meet spending requirements to get credit card bonuses...like in my case...spending $20,000. Note: it would be a good idea to not purchase too many gift cards at a time as you credit card company might freeze you account until you talk to them on the phone (not a problem, but it can just be a hassle). Start small and spead it out through the month.

What do you do when you get the gift cards in the mail?

Okay, so you get the gift cards in the mail and you activate them and write down the pin number (or I like to set my own pin number to be the same for all the cards).

The hardest part is to liquidate the visa gift cards back to cash or into your bank account. This takes the most time. You will want to use these gift cards to load you redbird card, serve card, or bluebird. You can read more about how to do that on these posts:

Buying Visa and Mastercard gift cards with a credit card
Ways to Manufactured Spend

Questions/Comments?

Cheapest place to buy Flowers online


Note: This post is a paid advertisement 



There are very few things that we need in more occasions during the year than flowers. We use them for birthdays, for mother’s day, we give them to our girlfriends, our wives, our mothers and also to celebrate special occasion or pay tribute to someone who might have passed away. In this article we are going to give you the best options you can find online in order to be able to buy flowers all year long for the most affordable cost possible.


This place delivers to 184 countries and over 12279 cities in the world. The best thing is that you will never find a cheaper option that allows you to order from so many different locations and get your flowers as fast as possible. They also have great discounts for orders that go above a certain cost and this is the reason why we recommend this particular site as your first option.


This place is particularly good because they offer very good looking flower selections for a very low cost. They have bouquets, baskets and a large number of customizable options that will be ideal depending on your needs. Just input a zip code and a delivery date and you will get the best results to match your needs.


There is no other place quite like sendflowers.com because at first glance they seem like an expensive business, but they have all kinds of selections that can range from extremely affordable, to very expensive and elegant flower arrangements.

Conclusion


All of the sites that we have provided to you right now are going to be great choices for your needs, but you should check all of them out in order to see which one has the kind of floral arrangements that will be most useful for what you require at the moment. You can be sure that these are places where you can safely purchase anything without worries. 

Cheapest Online Site to rent a car


Note: This post is paid advertisement


Being able to move around freely while you are on vacations is going to be essential if you want to enjoy every minute. The good things is that now with GPS technology being so readily available to anyone, here is no question that people are going to how more interest in being able to drive around and not fear getting lost and wasting hours of their day trying to find paces. For this reason, we have decided to come up with a list of the cheapest online sites to rent a car in any locations of the world.


This search will only provide results from independent agencies and it will not show you result coming from the large rentals. There are over 300 agencies in their search results and they all have very affordable prices, so it’s definitely ideal.


This place is without a doubt one of the greatest choices you can consider. All you need to do is select a specific location, by city or zip code and the pickup and drop off date. Once you input that, you will be able to get a large number of results based on prices, distance, vehicle models and location. 


They have a very robust database that will display the vehicles based on rates and this gives you a chance to narrow your search to the most affordable available models.

Conclusion


All of these websites have plenty of options to choose from and they are all quite reliable too. You can expect a good service that will allow you to get the most out of your car rental experience and that is what truly matters.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Buying a Website

About a month and a half ago I purchased a website.

I didn’t even realize that you could buy a website until the beginning of this year. I found out about it from a interview on a podcast by SmartPassiveIncome.com. Pat Flynn interviewed Justin from EmpireFlipper.com.

The idea intrigued me, but was not something I was planning on doing for a while. Let’s be honest, I hardly have any experience with websites. This blog is run by a free Blogspot account by google. Yes, I have a little bit of experience…but not much. I’ve had this blog for about 3 years and have been able to monetize it a little (although, that has never been the goal of this blog). But, recently I decided to take a risk and purchase a website.

Here’s my experience purchasing a website



So I had been keeping an eye on the available websites every once in a while and just recently I decided to take the plunge…and I bought my first website. Definitely a nerve-racking experience. What if it goes bust?...it definitely could). What if there are problems that I don’t know how to fix with my limited website knowledge?

Here are some of the potential problems that I thought of:

  • ·      Is the site a legitimate site?
  • ·      Is the current traffic and revenue verifiable?
  • ·      Is the revenue/traffic a temporary thing that will soon decrease?
  • ·      Will running the website require too much time?
  • ·      Will running the website require too much knowledge or expertise that I don’t have?


Criteria I set for my purchase:

  •        Be able to afford the possibility of losing all the money. Yes, it would devastate me if the website was not profitable or if somehow I got scammed, but I understood that was a slight possibility. I was not using money that I absolutely need. i.e. I wasn’t using emergency savings.
  •       Website be at least 6 months old, preferable at least 1 year. I figured the longer the website has been around, the more stable it will be.
  •        Some organic traffic. I wasn’t too comfortable with traffic from paid advertisement. 
  •       No more than 1 hour/per week required to operate the website. Ideally, I wanted a site that was basically on autopilot. I would be okay wilh a little bit of time required to maintain the current levels of income. I know this is possible, because my blog doesn’t really require any time to maintain current revenue (if I stopped blogging, my blog would still continue to make the same amount of money).
  •       Purchase the site from a genuine person.  This is hard to really know for sure, but I wanted to be able to talk to the seller and get a feel for why he was selling and who he/she was. I wrote down a list of questions and went over them when I Skyped with him.
  •       Purchase a website that was no more than $15,000. For me, this is actually a lot of money, but there are many sites that sell for much more. If things go really well after my first purchase and if I have some more available capital, I might consider a larger purchase down the road.

  •       New listing. I did not want to purchase a website that had been listed for more than a week. My thought process was that if it wasn’t sold by now, it must not be that attractive of a website. 


When I was looking at the list of websites available on EmpireFlipper.com, I found a site that matched my criteria. I decided to pursue it further. I made my initial refundable deposit that gave me access to more information about the website and I was allowed to set up a Skype call with the seller to ask him more questions. I was the 5th person to put a deposit on the website so I knew others were interested.  You can actually make an offer to purchase the website that is less than what is being asked, but the 1st person that made a deposit on the site will have the opportunity to better your offer. If you offer the full asking price, you will get the website. I offered the full asking price because I was worried someone else would get it before me. In hindsight, maybe it would have been wise to try offering a lower price. Who knows though.

After I interviewed the seller I felt good about making the purchase and went forward with it. EmpireFlipper support mediated the transaction and transfer of the website. It took about 1 week for the complete transfer.

One nice thing about the sale, was after the website transfer is completed you can verify the traffic and revenue that is now under your name. EmpireFlipper asked me to verify this. I think if the traffic or revenue was not as expected, EmpireFlipper would not release the funds to the seller until it was. Thankfully, the revenue and traffic was as expected. Although, it is important to note that if things go wrong with the website going forward, I would have full responsibility.

Here is a run down of the website:


  •       Average monthly revenue over the last 3 months: $650
  •       Average monthly expenses over the last 3 months: $50
  •       Average monthly net profit over the last 3 months: $600
  •       When was site created: 2012
  •       Monthly Traffic: 6,000
  •       Revenue Sources: Affiliate marketing and Adsense


Basically the site makes most of its revenue from generating leads from people wanting to purchase forklifts. I get paid $23 for every person that fills out a form on the website (feel free to visit and fill out the formJ). It also makes a small amount from Adsense ads. 

My hope is that it will continue to make $400-$600 per month and have my initial investment of $12,000 paid for in 2-3 years. If it takes 3-4 years to do this, I would still be okay with that.

I also don’t plan on making any changes to the site. It doesn’t really have that great of an appearance, but I feel that if it’s working okay right now, why change it? Sometimes trying to change something that is working only makes problems. It shouldn’t really take any time for me to run and is basically on autopilot.


Am I crazy to purchase a random website? Have any of you ever done something like this? What are some nerve-racking investments you have made?



Monday, May 4, 2015

Selling My First Home

Yes, I suppose I'm stingy. I like to get the best deals on everything. Perhaps it's a little unhealthy. I feel sorry for my wife who has to deal with me! Recently, we sold our house and I was equally anxious to get a good deal on the sale of our home as I am with my other financial transactions. Here is my experience for your enjoyment...




We had been getting some interest in our home from friends-of-our-friends, so we (my wife and I) thought we would try to sell our home "For Sale By Owner" to avoid having to pay those expensive realtor commissions. Commissions typically run 6% of the sales price (3% for buyer's agent plus 3% for the listing/sellers agent). The commissions are almost always paid for by the seller.  If we sold our house for 180k then that would be a commission of $10,800. That's not small, and many homes are sold for much higher and therefore those commission numbers go even higher up. 

We thought we would try saving ourselves some money and our future buyers some money by listing it without any agents at a slightly lower price then market value. 


Here are the steps I took to sell my home:

Step #1: Determine the value of your home. 

This may be the most important step. 

You can do this in a couple of different ways. You can get an appraisal for $200-$400 that will give you an idea of what your home is worth. The nice thing about doing this is that it will include upgrades your home might have. The other nice thing about this is that you can use this appraisal to validate your pricing for your potential buyers (and it will give you confidence in your asking price). 

However, in the end, it may not matter what the appraisal says. What matters most is what the current real estate market is saying. So the preferred way of determining your home value is by getting a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)

You can research this yourself by looking up comparable homes near you and seeing what similar homes have sold for and what the asking price is of similar homes currently on the market are. You can use websites like Zillow.com and Realtor.com to find out some of this information. 

The more accurate way of getting a CMA is to have a real estate agent do one for you. They have access to more accurate and up-to-date information than what you have access to. Almost all agents will do this for you for free. Just google "Free CMA in....(your area)" and you'll probably come across some websites that will get you started or contact an agent to get one done for you. It would be a good idea to get 2-4 CMA's from different people to make sure they are accurate. 

Now when you request a CMA from an agent they will most likely want your business. Don't feel pressured into that if you don't want their business. You can be up front with them and say that you are shopping around and trying to figure out the market value of your home. They are happy to help you out. 

Another, important step in determining what your asking price is, is assessing what the market is like. Is it a sellers market? If so, you might ask for a higher price. Is it a buyers market? If so, you might want to price it a little lower. 

How quickly you want to sell it is also important. If you need to sell the home ASAP, then you might want to price it a little lower. If you have more time, then you can price it more aggressively. It is important to try and price your home right, cause you don't really want it sitting on the market for long periods of time. That usually doesn't look good to potential buyers. 

What did I price my home?

In Phoenix its a sellers market right now. Homes are selling fast. I got a few CMA's that were showing a price around $175k. I decided to list my home on my own (zillow, craigslist, facebook) and I set an asking price of $179,500. I priced it thinking I wouldn't get that price after negotiations and counter offers were made. I would recommend having an asking price slightly higher than the CMA price...unless it is really hard to sell a home in your areas.

For 2 days, the only response I was getting was from real estate agents looking to get my business. One person, left a message with me saying she would list my home, handle all the paper work, and represent me for only 0.5% commission and list the home on MLS with a buyers commission of 2.5%. I thought this was too good to be true. If I sold my house on my own, I was planning on getting a real estate lawyer to help me process all the paper work. Having her (Karyn) would eliminate that need and the commission was so low. 

I went for it! Here is her website: www.adoreaz.com

The only stipulation for having such a low 0.5% commission was that we would take our own pictures of the house, we would be the point of contact when people called to see our home, and we would schedule those visits to see our home....Not a big deal at all for us and actually it was kind of fun to see everyone come look at our house. 

Step #2 - List your home on MLS

I found that this is very important. You have to expose your home to as many potential buyers as possible. The downside to this is that you will have to pay a buyers commission of 2-3%. I think you can set what the commission is. If the commission is too low, you might not get as many agents wanting to show your home. If you can sell your home directly to someone, that's awesome. However, I found that to get a really good amount of exposure, you need to have an MLS listing. You can do this on your own if you are "For Sale By Owner" (it will cost $300-$500) to do this. Otherwise, your listing agent will do this for you (no extra fees of course)...in my case it was the above mentioned Karyn.  

Step #3 - Show your home

Right when I listed my home on MLS, we got calls and scheduled appointments to see our home. In 3 days, we had about 15 people come look at our house and 2 offers. The better offer was for 174k, cash offer, and they were not asking for any closing costs. We decided to counter with a price of 177k and they accepted!

Looking back, we probably could have keep showing the home to more people and waited for more offers to get a little higher price. But in the end we were really happy about the price and how easy it was to sell. 

Step #4 - Paper work, inspection, Appraisal

Your agent will help you with all the paper work and signing. The buyers will have a certain amount of time to do an inspection and an appraisal if needed. You don't have to pay for any of this and will get a copy of the inspection and appraisal. An appraisal wasn't done in my case because it was going to be paid with cash and no lender was involved that would require one. 

The inspection came back with several things that could be fixed (there will almost always be something unless it's a brand new home). The buyers requested about six items be fixed before purchase. We responded saying we were not going to fix anything. They responded back saying they wanted $2000 off the home if nothing was going to be fixed or they would not purchase the home (they could have been bluffing). We responded back with taking $1000 off the home price and they accepted that. 

So there you have it. The final selling price was $176k. 

Total selling fees we had to pay:

-Commissions (0.5% and 2.5%):                          $5,280
-Title Insurance (seller is required to pay this):    $1,096
-Escrow fees:                                                         $504

Total:                                                                     $6,880

Note: I did not include prorated taxes, interest, etc. because these are things I would have had to pay for whether I sold my home or not. 

I included a screen shot of the "Final Settlement Statement" if you wanted to peak at that. 







I hope that was helpful for anyone thinking about selling there home in the future. I think it's nice to get a glance at what to expect. Of course, this was done in Arizona and the whole process might be slightly different in other states. 

I'm in the process of buying a home in Texas, so I'll let you know how that all works in a month or two. Sign up HERE if you want to receive monthly newsletters with my monthly income and expense statements. 





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