Friday Flip – Sage 50 Pro Accounting

61UkvbjI+9L._SL1000_Each month I share my most profitable and least profitable Amazon FBA sales from the previous month. This post will share my most profitable item. Actually, it will be one of my highest profit sales for the month, but not my most profitable sale. There were a few higher profit sales during the month that I’m not posting about since they were products that I bought with points or rewards which skews the actual profit of the sale. The Sage 50 Pro Accounting software was the highest profit item I sold in January that I didn’t purchase with points or rewards.

This sale took a little patience. I bought this software on Amazon as part of their Black Friday sale for $159.99 and it finally sold in January for $249.99. After subtracting the selling fees of $40.52 I made a profit of $49.48. I like to have my higher price items sell within 30 days. Although I had this product competitively priced it took about a month and a half to sell. I’m not sure why it didn’t sell sooner, but since I made a nice profit it was worth waiting.

This was one of my most successful Amazon to Amazon flips. That is where I buy an item from Amazon and then sell it on Amazon. It doesn’t seem like that should work, but it can. A little more money was made on this sale since I bought the item with my Chase Freedom card when they were offering 10% cash back at Amazon. That allowed me to make $15.90 in Ultimate Rewards from the purchase. The extra money from buying items through shopping portals like Mr. Rebates and using a cash back credit card can really add up. This year will definitely be my biggest cash back year ever.

Windfall Wednesday – Motif $150 Bonus

CAM00518Motif Investing is an investing company that allows you to invest in a basket of up to 30 stocks (motifs) for a $9.95 commission. They currently have a promotion that offers a $150 bonus.  To qualify for the bonus  you must open and fund a Motif Investing brokerage account with at least $2,000. The new funds must be posted to the account within 30 calendar days of account opening, and must remain in the account for 45 calendar days. The total bonus will be based on motif trades made within 45 calendar days of funding, as follows: one motif trade will receive $50; three motif trades will receive $75; five motif trades will receive $150. A motif trade is defined as a completed purchase or sale of a motif for $9.95 commission. Individual stock trades will not be considered as part of this offer. The cash bonus will be credited to the account within 30 calendar days after the end of the 45-calendar-day period. Just click on the affiliate banner in this post if you want to sign up.

Motif Investing also offers a $100 referral bonus. You can’t get both the $100 referral bonus and $150 bonus for signing up. You will have to choose which one you want. The advantage of the $100 referral bonus compared to the $150 bonus is that you only need to fund the account with $1000 rather than $2000. If you sign up through my referral link we will both receive $100 when you sign up and satisfy the promo conditions.  Again if you would rather get the $100 bonus you must use my referral link rather than clicking on one of the affiliate ads. If you have any questions about Motif or the bonuses please feel free to ask. I have done the Motif promo and had no problem receiving my bonus.

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Should I Use My IRA to Pay My Student Loan?

studentloanpayoffLast year I had a total student loan balance of about $138,000. After paying over $19,000 towards that student loan last year I currently have a balance of just over $126,000. That is just a $12,000 reduction. The other $7000 I paid went to interest. It is tough to make much headway on this loan since it incurs about $600 in interest every month.

Other than the money that went to medical bills I used all of the settlement money from my accident to pay down my student loan. If I wouldn’t have had that small windfall I would have made very little progress on paying down my loan last year. It is unlikely I will get another windfall. That is why I’m looking for other large chunks of money to pay down my student loan. The only large chunk of money I have are my IRAs.  I have about $30,000 in my IRAs which if I were able to apply the total amount to my student loan would at least allow me to get it under six figures. There would still be a lot left to pay but it would result in a decent amount of interest savings.

I have a traditional IRA with about a $20,000 balance. A big problem with using the traditional IRA to pay down my student loan is that I would have to pay a 10% early withdrawal penalty and income tax on the amount I withdrew.  That alone is enough to keep me from using the traditional IRA to pay my student loan.

I also have a Roth IRA with a little over $9000.  Since I have had the IRA for over five years I could withdraw my contributions – but not my earnings – and not have to pay the 10% early withdrawal penalty. The contributions were already tax and thus the withdrawal wouldn’t be considered income and subject to tax.  My Roth IRA doesn’t have any earnings since it has lost money so I’d be able to withdraw the entire amount without paying the penalty. This amount wouldn’t make a big reduction in my loan. As I’m almost 50 years old I wouldn’t have a lot of time to rebuild my retirement savings. An additional $9000 probably isn’t going to be much help when I’m retired but it would be better than nothing.

What do you think I should do?

Friday Flip – Dell Urban 2.0 Backpack

dellbackpackOnce again I am publishing the Friday Flip on Saturday.  Maybe I should start calling these posts the Saturday Flip. That doesn’t have any alliteration though. I was very lazy this week and didn’t write at all.  This week I will write at least one post in addition to the Friday Flip post.

My plan for these posts is to share my best and worst flips of the previous month. Since I shared my best flip last week this week’s post will share my worst flip in the month of December.

Last month was a bit unusual in that I had very few items that I sold at a loss. My worst loss for the month was on the Dell Urban 2.0 backpack. I bought it for $39.93 and sold it for $31.05. Amazon charged $12.64 in selling fees. The result was a loss of $21.52.

I received a $25 Dell gift card for purchasing this backpack as part of a promotion they were running at the time. When you consider the value of the gift card I actually made a small profit on this item. My plan was to come close to breaking even on the sale of the backpack making most of the $25 gift card profit. That plan didn’t work due to the Amazon selling price declining soon after I made the purchase and the selling fees being higher than I had anticipated. That is one reason why many sellers aim to buy products at a third of their Amazon selling price. This allows you plenty of room to still make a profit if the price of the item declines or you underestimated fees.

Although I’m getting better at making buying decisions I’ve accepted that there will always be some purchases that result in losses.  As long as I’m making a nice profit margin every month I am fine with the occasional loss.

Friday Flip – Olympus Voice Recorder

olympus I have finally gotten another Friday Flip post written and published. I’ve also changed the name from Flippy Friday to Friday Flip since I like the sound of the new name better. In this post I will share my most profitable flip in November.  In order to show both the bad and the good I will post my least profitable flip of November next Friday.

The item for this week’s flip is an Olympus WS-802 Voice Recorder that I purchased on clearance at Staples for $26.50. I was able to sell it on Amazon for $108.97. After subtracting the Amazon fees of $11.39 I was left with a profit of $71.08.

There was also an expense to ship the item to the Amazon warehouse. Since I send several items at a time it would be a pain to calculate how much the shipping expenses is for each individual item. This is a small and light item so the shipping expense wouldn’t have been too significant. I also earned 5% in Staples Rewards on this item. The item was also purchased with either a 2% cash back credit card or a discounted Staples card which would add a tiny bit more profit.

One drawback to deals like this is that they aren’t repeatable. Staples only had one of these recorders on clearance so I couldn’t go back and buy more once this one sold. In order to find more deals I have to browse the clearance area every time I visit. Although I don’t always find something worth flipping I find stuff often enough that it is well worth my time to scan the Staples clearance whenever I’m there.


Lifetime Earnings Compared to Net Worth

After reading a blog post at Afford Anything that discusses several books including the book, “Your Money or Your Life“, I decided to compare my lifetime earnings to my net worth. That is one of the recommended actions in the book to help transform your relationship with money. Although I read the book when it first came out in 1993 and several times since then I never compared my lifetime earnings to my net worth.

Figuring out my lifetime earnings was easily accomplished by going to and looking at my earnings record.  According to their records I’ve made $328,576 in 31 years of working. Since I’ve also had some earnings from paid medical studies that weren’t subject to SS tax I’m going to bump up the total to $350,000.

Determining my net worth took a little bit more work. Personal Capital tracks  financial accounts and shows you your net worth. Unfortunately, they don’t have the correct total for my student loan and I also have some accounts that I don’t track there so I had to determine my correct net worth myself.

Cash – $4387
Traditional IRA – $21,225
Roth IRA – $9,602
Loan – $1800
Car/Stuff – $5000

Student Loan – $125,331
Credit Cards – $10,593

Net Worth = $-93,910

Out of the $350,000 I’ve earned over my lifetime I have managed to accumulate -$93,910. I knew the total would be bad, but it is still a bummer to see the actual figure.

The credit card balance is from the 0% balance transfers I took out earlier this year to pay down my student loan. That might not have been the best strategy. Once I get the balance transfers paid off I’ll reconsider the best way to pay down my student loan.

It will probably be a while until I can improve my net worth since I have some big bills coming due in January. I also have a few thousand dollars worth of inventory at Amazon that would have made my net worth a little better. Since it is hard to determine a correct value for the inventory I left it out of the net worth calculation.

I’m probably going to start calculating my net worth on a monthly basis. If there is any interest I will share the results here.