How to Save $10,000 or More on Your Next Starbucks Visit

If you don’t already know this simple hack then you could be paying more than you need to for your Starbucks visits and get free internet anywhere in the world there are starbucks locations.

It’s a simple fact that all of us have cravings and short comings, but it needn’t put a financial dent in your budgeting. After you begin implementing this simple trick you too could pocket as much as $10,000 over the lifetime of your Starbucks visits.

The Epiphany:

Just the other day I was waiting in line at my local Starbucks and when I got up to the counter to place my order the gal that normally takes my order asked me what I wanted. I proceeded to tell her the usual, iced coffee, small, black, no sugar or cream.

Then she looks at me and says “do you have he Starbucks app?”

I looked at her confused thinking to myself “why the hell would I want to get spammed?”

That’s when she told me the magic words. “You can get a free refill when you scan the app”

FREE. RE-FILLs? WhaaaaaaaT?free-refills

Wait, you’re telling me that just by downloading your silly app I can get free coffee? Just for coming and blowing up your wifi, taking up a seat, and pissing in your bathroom WAY too many times every day?

 

Holy shit! That’s Freaking awesome!

Consider this:

And for anyone who doesn’t understand the gravity of this situation consider this.

Home internet costs: $46 a month

Co-working space costs: $1000 + a month

Coffee (smallest itty bitty cup): $2.65 a freakin’ cup

So simply buying a cup of coffee 20 x a month (or once a day) it will cost you $53 a month (that’s basically my internet bill – or what it was) and I get a membership anywhere in the world !!! Booyah!!! (Thank you Starbucks 26,000+ locations)

Ok and if you’re still not convinced to give up one of the fake emails you use for access if you simply get 2 cold brew coffees a day per visit, and you go daily to Starbucks, and assuming that you live for at least another 55 years, then you could stand to save $10,840 and I’ll show you how.

$2.65 for the first cup, then every cup after is free.

Refills cost $0.54

If I bought a cup every day for the next 55 years that would be $0.54 x 1 x 365 x 55 = $10,840.50

If my normal internet costs would be $46 a month, I’m basically paying $7 a month for a global internet/coffee pass that I can get anywhere in the world and I can “cancel” at any time.

Pretty freaking sweet huh?

Right now I’m writing this from good Ol’ Kerrville Tex-ass. That’s right folks. Travel anywhere there is civilization and you have a global 1GBps internet pass and coffee for just about $50 bucks a month.

Hope this helps you guys, if you got value from this post please take a moment to share it with your friends and family on social.

Catch you later.

Kristian

p.s. you can get the starbucks app here: https://app.starbucks.com/

Just open the app, sign up (you can give them any email even one you don’t use anymore) and then just tap “pay”. It will show them a scanner that won’t charge you anything on your refill. Cheers!

Millennial finance Advice: Should I Move Out of My Parents House?

I got asked the question the other day on Quora “Should I move out of my parents house? or stay at home and save money?” I answered this on quora but I thought that it deserves a video because this is on the tip of everyone’s mind lately.

Only in “Western” countries do we find living at home after the age of 21 strange. In Asian and Latin countries people live at home up until they get married, and even at that point they may choose to live with their parents or have their parents move back in to be able to better take care of their elderly.

This is a sign of a strong communal focus, something that western countries seem to be lacking more and more these days.

So if you are a millennial living at home with your parents or you are just getting out of college and you have student loan debt, check out what I have to say here because this applies directly to you.

Here’s my response on quora

 

Share this post with anyone you think can benefit from it.

How To Save Money On Your Next Car Buying Experience

A lot of people ask me how I paid off $33,555 of debt in less than 3 years and what I could make the biggest difference for them in terms of their bottom line. Knowing how to buy a decent used car and save money on what you should be saving money on is one of the fastest ways to put money back in your pocket. If you haven’t already read the post I wrote about how my girlfriend and I sold our over priced cars to get out of debt and get a better ride then check out: How My Girlfriend and I sold Both of Our Cars and Pocketed $13,800 Cash In Under One Hour…

If you value your freedom, and dislike having to make payments on things, then you are going to like what I have to say here. On the otherhand, if you enjoy overpaying for luxuries which depreciate in value over time and cost you a bunch of money, and your dreams, then you should probably stop reading now.

So, when buying a used car, there are a couple of guidelines that I recommend.

1. Firstly, Detach Emotion From the Car Buying Process:

You are buying a tool, and not a toy. If you want a fancy toy go buy a motorcycle, it will cost less to maintain and be more fun to ride. I don’t care how shiny the hammer is all I care about is does it hit nails well?

A car is good for one thing: getting you safely and quickly from point A to point B. All the other fluff that goes into cars is designed to sell you. Yes, driving fast cars is fun, but that is not what a commuter car is designed for. I’m all for driving fast on the track but that’s what a day at COTA is for, and that would probably cost more than my whole car…

2. Know Before You Go: Do Your Research Upfront and Know if a Car Has an Issue with the History

Research your cars before you show up.

Ask for the vin and check it with a service like Carfax or Vincheckpro (less expensive but checks all the major databases just like carfax).

Check the profile: if the car that is being sold is shot with the same angle or with the same background then you are probably being sold to by a “dealer” or even worse… a junk reseller…

Like this one:

Ask the seller if it’s “Original Paint” – last thing you want to do is spend all that time driving out to see this ‘great car’ and come to find that it was totaled or busted up real bad and then replaced with non-original manufactured parts grabbed from a scrap yard, then “affixed” somehow to the frame…

3. Ask Your Mechanic: Do you know a Grease Monkey?

If you don’t have a personal mechanic that you trust, that knows you by your first name and you know at least a little about their personal life, then ask your friends who they use. If they tell you one of the national tire brands then ask the next freind till you find a mom and pop you can trust. Worst case scenario you can just drive it over to one of the big boys and /or meet the seller there to get it looked at. You aren’t going to be paying for repairs but you want to get it looked at by a mechanic that can give it a once over for any major problems like transmission or motor issues.

4. Made in Asia is a good thing: 

Not all asian countries are alike. Japan and China are not at all culturally alike, yet they tend to be all roped into the same category. One thing that differentiates them entirely is something called TQM (Toyota Quality Managment). TQM, right after WWII, was implimented in Japan and resulted in the smaller companies like Toyota and Honda eventually being able to compete with the major western manufacturers like Ford Motors, GM and Crystler.

Because Toyota focused on designing the car Right and not just FAST, it resulted in huge savings of time and money on the back end (in recalls, law suites, and disatisfied customers). What this means, is that you get a better car, which lasts longer and needs less mechanical maintenance = save more money.

5. Old Dogs Can Learn New Tricks: Shop like you’re a Grandma

A mid sized sedan, 4 door, 4 cyclinders, and with under 100k miles will have lower insurance and maintenance costs. If you can shop like your 70 year old grandma would then you will live like warrent buffet does some day. Wealthy and never needing to work a day longer in your life but choosing to do so out of pleasure rather than to just pay the bills.

6. Check your car’s Value Using Kelly Blue Book: 

Working at a Motorcycle dealership we used a system of checking bikes for resell when we wanted to know how much a customer was losing his or her respective shirt.

nadabikes.com is what we used to estimate the value of a used bike and what we (as a dealer) should pay for it in order to make a decent profit (*cough* gauge them *cough*), but it was basically the KBB of the bike world.

Brian, the guy who I worked with, had been there for about 7 years. He told me about the mileage estimation that KBB uses to base their values on and it’s right around 9,000 – 10,000 miles a year for used cars. So a 10 year old car should have right around 90,000 miles in order to be considered good condition. An 11 year old car, 100,000 miles and so on. (1)

So If you shop for a car that is under 100k and is 10 years old you will see values right around the KBB values on their site. Which means that you can estimate, based on how far you drive daily, how many miles you will put on your car in a give 6 months and estimate the rough resell value should you choose to sell that car and get a new one.

This means that you now know the before and after price estimates based on our criteria.

1 – original paint

2- 10 years or older

3 – under 100k miles

4 – Japanese manufacturer

5 – Less than $4,000

7. Ways to shop: Craigslist / Facebook Market Place / Local Used Dealers / Asking friends

Craigslist Marketplace:

If you are looking to save absolutely as much money as possible, and are in no rush to buy a car, AND you are to put in the work to go hunting for deals then craigslist is a great place to shop for your next used car. Just know that you will want to be extra thruough about checking your cars and bring a friend who works on cars and/or is actually a mechanic. Craigslist is not for the faint of heart…

What you may find may shock you, but avoid calling on folks that don’t have pictures, or that have pictures that look like what you saw in another picture. Dealers sell multiple cars, distressed sellers sell A car. Buy from distressed sellers, not junk dealers.

Facebook Market Place:

A growing place to shop locally, kind of like a step up from craigslist. People can see (for the most part) your network and see if they know someone you know. In a way its better than craigslist because there is some social pressure to not lie or cheat people; however, keep in mind there are hundreds of thousands of fake profiles out there just floating around from spammers and scam bots… so be careful.

If you see a car for sale, click on the sellers face icon in that post and it will show what else they are selling. If you notice that they have more than 2 cars, then they may be a junk dealer and I would advise to just simply avoid them.

Local Dealers: Calling around to get a better deal

I prefer this method because this is the only method where reputation becomes an important factor. Car dealers, though they are known to try and scam you, will not sell a damaged car if they are a respectible name in the market place.

I’m not talking about the folks that buy a house and put a bunch of junk cars in their front yard and sell cars on craigslist. I’m talking about the folks that go hundreds of thousands of dollars into debt to get commercially zoned as a dealership, are located right next to a Walmart shopping center, and who actually pay for advertising on the radio still. Those jokers.

If you are not in a rush for your next car then you can shop around with the local big fish used car dealers to try and score a deal last minute.

Here’s what you do: run a quick search for local deallerships to see what used inventory they may have available. Cars you find which meet the following criteria:

1 – original paint

2- 10 years or older

3 – under 100k miles

4 – Japanese manufacturer

5 – Less than $4,000

If you find a car that meets this criteria you can go ahead and call the local dealership and ask them what they have available. If they tell you anything but the one you found then hang up.

Dealers are trying to get rid of inventory at the end of the month and cannot make a profit on a car that is sitting there and not selling. Dealers will try and buy undervalued cars that folks don’t want and then resell for a mark only if they think it will sell based on national sales data of similar vehicles in similar conditions (aka KBB).

You have the advantage of not keeping inventory and not needing to buy the car, thus you can walk away if things get too heated or you feel you are under too much pressure from the salesman. Don’t think that you have to take there deal, because you don’t you can walk.

Ask your Friends:

Lastly, and this is a good option for most, ask friends through your network who may be selling their car. Chances are, you know someone that is moving, doesn’t need the car, or just want’s to sell it to get a new car. If this is the case, and it meets the above criteria, and your mechanic checks it out and it looks good then go ahead and buy it. Just make sure that you transfer the title to your name using your local DMV as a resource to make sure you have all the right forms.

Always check the VIN for the history report.

You can use these free online tools to get the gist of the history of the car:

  1. National Insurance Crime Buero  – NICB’s VINCheck is a free service provided to the public to assist in determining if a vehicle has been reported as stolen, but not recovered, or has been reported as a salvage vehicle by cooperating NICB member insurance companies.
  2. National Highway Traffic Saftey Administration – you can check to see if there are any active recalls on your car.
  3. Vehicle History Report – VehicleHistory.com provides you access to information from public databases on the vehicles history.

Once you’ve checked those resources, if you’re interested in getting more data that helps to ensure you are investing in a reliable used vehicle and not a lemon, check out Autochecker.com or Carfax.com reliable data backed by Experian and other big data.

To Wrap Things Up:

Once you find a keeper it can take only a couple of minutes to get the car transfered to your name (assuming that you have cash and the seller is willing to part that day with their vehicle).

If you are able to find a car right at 100,000 miles or under, between 10 and 12 years, with original paint for under $4,000 then you are right in the money spot.

Chances are, as long as you’ve followed the other steps, you will be able to use this car for a good 20,000 more miles before needing to sell it for a new one and since most Japanese cars retain their value fairly well it’s a pretty good guess that you will either be using this car for “free” or even make a small profit on it.

If you found this interesting or useful in your car search please click the share button and leave a comment below with any questions you have.

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Why Apple Refurbished May Be A Good Option

Why do People Even Consider Apple Refurbished Macs? If you want to buy directly from Apple, but don’t want to pay full retail, then I suggest you consider an Apple Certified Refurbished Computer.

when I say this to people they usually think either (a) I love it or (b) eww really? I would never buy that I don’t want something like that…

It’s Apple’s certified refurbished program, and it is the best in the industry.

What most folks don’t know is that refurbished is actually tested to higher specs than the new stuff. You can read more about the process on https://www.apple.com/shop/browse/home/specialdeals/refurbfaq_popup

It’s kinda uncommon knowledge that most of the refurbished units are actaully just online orders from customers who either upgraded the processor, when they didn’t need to, or picked a color they don’t really want and just returned it.

And sometimes, and this is very rare sometimes, there is a defect with the computer (called workmanship  – HA! robot workmanship) and Apple accepts the return no questions asked.

However, this is rare, and when it’s a return it’s for something like a hinge is damaged or keyboard key issue or something.

Either way, the computer gets returned, money gets refunded, and the customer gets a new product.

What Does Apple do With Those Macbook Pro Computers People Return?!

They throw them in a dumpster!

 

Haha, No I’m only kidding.

They take them to a warehouse and replace the damaged part, then test everything for full functionality, and then they box them up with brand new materials and put them into the refurbished store.

Anyone that buys Apple refurbished products gets:

(A) The same quality apple products backed by the same manufacturers warranty as new products

(B) the same support on their products

(C) You can add the Apple Care+ on them too

(D) the same return policy… oh and

(E) 15% off your purchase!! Whoot! yeah baby.

So if you aren’t shopping refurbished then you are overpaying by about 15%… haha just kidding.

They don’t always stock exactly what you need, and if your company or your boss is buyin’ why not just get the exact model with the upgrades you want?

But hey, your choice, if you find the right model in the refurbished store then hit it up and grab it fast because there is no guarantee that it will be there for long.

So to recap:

  • Refurbished Macs are tested to the same specs and more than new macs.
  • They receive the same Apple 1 year limited warranty and you can add Apple Care + to them for the same cost (with the same coverage).
  • You get the same support.
  • They come in a shiny new white box, with the words “refurbished” subtly placed on the front.
  • And they look and smell new just like a new Apple MacBook does.
  • Even comes with the little paper between the screen and keyboard.

6 Ways You Can Drastically Decrease Your Food Costs And Double Your Savings

If you are still struggling to pay your rent, or to build your savings up to $1000 dollars in your emergency fund, then you know, every little bit helps.

I personally know folks that spend over $500 a week on groceries and more than that on eating out. When you’re making 6 figures a year that’s not a big chunk of your income but it’s still significant…

Either way, wouldn’t you rather eat really well AND save a ton of money on your grocery and food costs each month so that you can invest it or go spend it on your next travel adventure? I mean imagine saving an extra $500, $1000, or $1500 a month (if you were spending $2k before on dining and eating out), that would be $6,000, $12,000 and $18,000 respectively.

So no matter where you are, using these simple tips can help you save more at the grocery store and effectively eat out less.

1. Make a List Before You Leave for the Grocery Store

This alone with save you time and money should you choose to employ it.

I actually learned this strategy from the book “The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy“, where the author, Dr. Thomas J. Stanley goes on to study the wealthiest people in America and their habits and what he believes makes them so successful.

What he finds is that they have a series of habits they employe to save time, save money, lower capital risk and to enjoy more life. It’s a strangely interesting read and I highly recommend it, but even if you don’t get the book take this one nuggets of wisdom.

Make a list before you go shopping. Not only will you save yourself years, yes years, shopping but you will also spend less as you will be more conscious of your core needs and begin to recognize your expenses for what they are, needs vs. wants.

IF you were to save an extra half hour each week shopping, and you lived an average lifetime of 80 years, assuming you started this habit when you were 20, you could stand to see an extra 65 days added back to your life just by making a list and shopping from that list. Not to mention the cost savings of not buying things you either already have or actually don’t need…

2. Eat Before you Go To The Store and Go Out:

Early on in my Debt repayment period, I learned that if I ate before going to the grocery store that I would be able to shop for longer, and without getting hungry, thus spending less money.

This isn’t just true for shopping for food, this goes for shopping in general.

If you are hungry, you will buy more, there is even some science that shows this is the case in multiple studies conducted about buying behavior and hunger.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kateashford/2015/02/25/shopping-hungry/

https://www.livescience.com/29360-grocery-shopping-hungry.html

Are you hungry? Best to eat first and shop later, study finds

3. If you are Going to Drink Coffee, Brew it at Home

The average cup of coffee runs right about $4 a cup, depending on which city you live in and whether or not you subscribe to snob mentality or bum mentality (high society coffee vs. anything that’s black and taste like coffee will do…).

This being said, if you’re day starts off with a $4 cup of joe then right there you are looking at an expense of right around $120 a month. If you are paying $7 a cup then you are looking at $220 a month and so on.

4. Stop Buying Organic

First of all, organic is a joke.

Secondly, by not buying organic you will not only be saving money, you will also be not supporting an asinign industry where the process is designed to charge you more money for a premium version of an inexpensive product to produce.

Why should we need to pay premium prices for fruits and vegetables? Shouldn’t the healthy stuff be the least expensive since fruits and vegetables have some of the highest yield in agriculture (in terms of calories and nutrition out per resource put in – certainly a lot higher than animal agriculture).

The answer? Corporate greed.

Organic only means that the people selling this product will charge you more for the food than the other stuff.

Also, eating organic food doesn’t guarantee that you will get healthier.

If you can’t go to the farm and find out what pesticides they are using then I wouldn’t expect the organic product to be any safer than the non-organic product next to it.

Here’s a pretty in depth, and well researched, article explaining some of the common misconceptions about organic agriculture and why people perceive it to be safer than non-organic products.

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/natural-vs-synthetic-chemicals-is-a-gray-matter/

The big take aways are that (1) organic and non-organic crops have similar nutritional values (2) there are synthetic chemicals allowed in organic agriculture (3) People perceive synthetic chemicals as more toxic when in reality naturally occurring compounds can have an even greater toxicity.

Read more about it here: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/natural-vs-synthetic-chemicals-is-a-gray-matter/

So what is the solution? The solution is to just shop in season, shop locally when possible, get to know your neighborhood farms, and start to learn how to grow your own crops like John Kohler from growingyourgreens.com  does.

Another reason I don’t shop organic just for the sake of organic, there is a “certification and application process” which can cost as much as $1200…

If there is a $200 non refundable application fee, and the cost to get certified is around $1000 dollars, depending on your state… then you should be able to CHARGE more for your food right? Wrong.

Why would we charge $1200 for farms to produce a “healthier food” when in reality the information is available for free on the internet and the food supply would benefit from becoming this (if it was truly better?).

Oh that’s right, because of mega corporations like Monsanto who want to own the food supply.

Why is this the defacto mentality?

Why don’t we just make a free organic certification course allowing anyone who wants to learn to organic farm? Ah because in a free market competition is key and it helps the consumer get better deals…

Bull. It hurts the farmers, it hurts the consumer, it hurts everyone but the corporations. So why don’t we just buy local and skip the big guys?

5. Meal Prep your food for the week

If you do breakfast at home and lunch and dinner on the go then you are probably looking at another $12-25 a meal for lunch, depending on how fancy you go, and another $20+ for dinner.

One of my friends told me there isn’t a day that goes by he doesn’t spend at least $50… $50 a day of food?

That’s over $1500 a month minimum that you are forking out for stuff that you could make at home for less AND make it healthier.

That’s a whoppin’ $18,000 that could be going into your savings each month if you choose to give up a little bit of the excess.

On average my girlfriend and I spend about $1.25 to make a meal that we do in batches.

Depending on which part of the country you live in you could be looking at more or less, but still your cost will probably be around 15% of the cost of a restaurant meal.

Why?

Well you have to look at all the costs involved with that restaurant meal,

  • Labor – a good 33% of the food cost is the people making it
  • Materials – 15-20% of the food cost is the raw materials (usually its on the lower end and can be lower depending on the restaurants buying power).
  • Overhead – Let’s say 20-40% depending on the location (it can be much more or much less depending on if we are talking about food trucks vs. 5 star michelan restaurants, but this number is just an example of what you could possibly be paying).
  • Margin or Profit – Usually no more than <15% for restaurants. Yes, you are paying for someone to profit, the owner of the business is going to get paid for the service because they provided the capital to start the business, they train the employees, they negotiate the food deals, and they do all of the setup work to make this possible to eat at this location. If you want food to eat but you didn’t pack your lunch or you want to entertain clients then you are going to get to use this persons establishment to gain food in exchange for money that they earned. If you don’t think it’s fair, then buy your own meals and pack your lunch.

If you make your meals 6 days a week and then go out to eat on that 7th day that is fine! You will still be saving roughly 75% of your former food costs… And if you couple this with meal prep and productive shopping you could be adding a whole lot to your bottom line savings and debt repayment plan.

6. Have a Cooking Party at Your Place to Boost Your Savings

What about entertaining friends Kristian?!

Guess what, rich people have dinner parties too… You can invite friends over for Dinner and cook some of the new awesome meals you’ve learned how to make from pinterest…just kidding.

But this does two things,

(1) it lets you learn to cook, men, this is attractive to women. Seriously though there are a million ideas on food prep on pinterest and my girlfriend gets all her ideas from that site.

And (2) it saves you money but still gives you the social aspect that you are craving.

You want to spend time with friends and enjoy time together, then cook a simple meal and invite your friends over for a potluck once a week, every 2 weeks or even just once a month.

I see people of the Hispanic community here in Texas do it all the time, why? Because it’s part of their culture to spend time with friends and family, but it’s only part of American culture to spend excessively…

They are able to have the same amount of fun only without having to pay the 85% more for food and labor costs of going out.

So am I saying that you can’t go out to eat ever? No I’m not saying that, but what I am saying is that if you are struggling to get out of debt it doesn’t make much sense to go out and spend 70-85% more on food than you need to…

So save your money, learn to cook, learn to meal prep, shop when full, brew your coffee at home, buy local but don’t stress about organic, and enjoy life a little. It’s not a race to a Million dollars like some folks want you to think it is, it’s about enjoying life and spending it with the people that you enjoy being around the most.

If you have to grind your life away to make a million bucks only to be left wondering where your health went, did you really “win”? I don’t think so.

What do you think? Is money the most important thing? Do you employ any of these tactics to save money? Have you used these to help get out of debt?

Let me know what you think in the comments below and be sure to share this with your friends and family and stay tuned for next week.

 

GET NOTIFIED WHEN I POST COOL SHIT

Just enter your name and email below and you will get updates when I post something new and interesting.

** And I promise, no spam, ever.