Tentmaking Tips

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My Favorite Index Funds And How to Invest In Them

life hacking Aug 25, 2023

I’ve written about index funds in the past & encourage you to start with that article here: Why You Should Invest in Index Funds

That article spoke about the why.

Today, I’ll share about the how.

Of the many advantages of broad-based index funds, two stand out:

  1. You’re buying the entire market, so you win with the winners & lose with the losers & make the average market return (which is better than most fund advisors can do for you over time)
  1. The expense ratios can be very low because it’s not actively managed (and thus you’re not having to pay a significant amount for salaries, research, etc)

For long-term investments, I like to buy broad-based index funds, rather than sector-focused index funds.

Broad-based index funds are funds that buy most of the market.

Sector-based index funds are funds that buy a portion of the market.

The best broad-based index funds are the ones with the lowest fees.

Vanguard & Fidelity are two brokerages...

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Using Google Flights to Find Discounted & Mistake Fares

travel hacking Aug 18, 2023

Have you used Google Flights before?

It’s a game-changer!

In this one place you can see multiple airlines, routes & prices to the places you want to go.

And if you look closely enough, sometimes you’ll see greatly discounted or even mistake fares.

A greatly discounted fare is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a fare that the airline is offering at a big discount because of a promotion they’re running or because they’re trying to attract travelers to that route.

A mistake fare is even better but it’s more rare. It’s when an airline actually makes a mistake in its pricing of a particular route. Maybe they forgot a 0 or someone made a typo. But this is where a $2,000 ticket might sell for $200.

Google Flights can help you find both of these.

It can even notify you about various routes when the ticket prices change.

In addition to looking for these yourself, there are others out there that hunt all day long & tell you about the...

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My Daughter Helped Us Make $16,000

flip hacking Aug 04, 2023

Our real estate flipping business was originally built on direct mail & it’s still our most profitable marketing channel.

We send postcards and letters to sellers asking if they’d be interested in an offer on their home. I also have a course & coaching program where I teach others to do the same.

When sending mail, you occasionally have to change the type of mail you’re sending because what you’ve been sending isn’t performing as well as it used to.

That happened to us recently.

We had been sending out a certain postcard for several years that performed very well, but it wasn’t performing like it used to.

Around this time my 16 year old daughter was also looking to make extra money. She already did some babysitting but wanted to work in her Dad’s business if possible.

We had an idea.

Buy unique craft envelopes in bulk (birthday invitation size).

Have her handwrite the address on the envelope.

Put a real peel & stick stamp on...

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How to Fly Business Class at Over 90% Off

travel hacking Jul 28, 2023

Let’s say you booked an economy ticket overseas with points.

You’re taking your spouse on an anniversary trip and you’d love to splurge on business class, lie-down seats but there’s no way you’re going to pay over $10,000 for the seats.

Here’s a little hack you can try that recently worked for us.

Get to the airport on your day of travel much earlier than you normally would.

Instead of going to self check-in, go to the ticket counter and ask the rep if there’s any remaining business class tickets available to buy last minute.

If there are any, usually airlines are willing to apply significant discounts at this point to sell them.

Ask the agent how much the available tickets would be and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the price.

This happened to us recently on our trip back from the UK.

A one-way business class ticket would’ve been over $10,000 on this particular airline and I already had economy tickets booked for...

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Always Check Partner Airlines For Better Redemptions

travel hacking Jul 21, 2023

Most airlines are part of some kind of an alliance with other airlines.

This benefits you because you can sometimes get better airline award redemptions by booking the flight you want through the partners.

Confusing? Let me help.

I’ll give you an example from yesterday.

I was in the process of booking our flights to go skiing “free” again this Christmas on points.

The best airline to fly to this particular ski resort is American Airlines.

The problem is that their point redemptions are often not the best.

The good news is that American Airlines is in the same airline alliance as British Airways.

I looked up the flights on British Airways, and although British Airways doesn’t fly there, they showed me the same American flights (since they show partner award space) for a much better rate.

So instead of booking an American flight directly through American Airlines, I can book the same American flight through British Airways for fewer points.

Pretty cool,...

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Ministry Mom Just Made over $15,000

agent hacking Jul 14, 2023

A pastor’s wife & stay-at-home mom in our real estate brokerage wanted to make a little bit of extra income each year to supplement her husband’s salary.

She got her real estate license & started letting friends & family know that she’d love to help them as they buy their next home.

One of her friends contacted her about wanting to purchase a house.

She showed them several homes & they made multiple offers, but they were outbid on each one.

They just put in an offer on another house and they got it.

Her commission was over $15,000 on this one transaction.

And she was able to do this in her spare time.

Imagine if she does this just 2 or 3 times a year with other friends & family.

Pretty nice extra income for a ministry family!

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Get Up to $700 When You Fund a New Account

life hacking Jul 07, 2023

I recently funded a JP Morgan (Chase) Self-Directed Investing Account and plan to earn the bonus in a few months.

Here’s the link: https://account.chase.com/investing/self-directedoffer

The Self-Directed Account doesn’t charge fees or commissions when you purchase most stocks/bonds/funds online. It will charge you if you use a representative to transact for you, so you should definitely do it yourself.

They do charge a $75 fee if you ever withdraw all of the money.

But that is more than offset by the bonus you receive if you transfer a significant amount of investments in.

You can see their fees here: https://www.jpmorgan.com/content/dam/jpm/global/documents/self-directed-fee-schedule.pdf

Another benefit of transferring investments in is that you may qualify for Chase Private Client as a result, which is a concierge banking service. https://www.chase.com/personal/checking/private-client

The current offer from JP Morgan is:

$50 bonus when you transfer in $5,000-$24,999

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Sam’s Club and Costco Are Your Friends

life hacking Jun 23, 2023

As I’m writing this, my wife is about to leave for a Sam’s Club trip.

She used to go to Costco.

Where she goes just depends on which one is closer to our house.

One way to save significant money over the long-term is to buy as many items in bulk as you can.

I know it’s a pain to store a bunch of extra stuff, but the financial savings can make it worthwhile.

I asked my wife for some of the examples of items that cost a lot less at Sam’s than at Kroger.

Off the top of her head, she said, “Produce, paper towels, toilet paper, laundry detergent, and chips.”

I’m sure the list could go on.

The big shopping trip is always to Sam’s or Costco and then if there’s anything she can’t get there, she’ll make a quick trip to Kroger.

The goal is to spend as much as we can at Sam’s/Costco and as little as we can at Kroger.

It’s important to remember that in your efforts to generate extra income, it’s not only adding...

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Take the In-Flight Brochure

travel hacking Jun 16, 2023

You know how sometimes on your flight the flight attendant comes around with a brochure to apply for one of their credit cards?

And you know how no one ever takes it?

Well, it probably won’t surprise you, but I always do!


Because the in-flight offers on cards are often better than the offers online.

A few years ago it was about time to for me to get the Southwest personal card to renew my Companion Pass. I believe the bonus at that time online was 40,000 points.

I happened to be on a Southwest flight during that time & they offered an additional 10,000 points if you applied in-flight. 10,000 Southwest points is a free one-way ticket almost anywhere in the country from a major metro, so that’s a good extra bonus. Those extra 10,000 points also helped me cross the minimum points I needed to earn the Companion Pass as well.

I applied in-flight, got approved, met the minimum spend, and received 50,000 Southwest miles rather than the typical 40,000.

Recently I was...

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Add These 4 Streams of Income Easily

life hacking Jun 09, 2023

I’ve talked extensively in this newsletter about the wisdom in pursuing multiple streams of income.

I want to share 3 streams of income you can easily add this year with resources you already have & 1 stream of income you can add with just a little bit of work.

  1. Interest Income

    If money is just sitting in your checking account, chances are you’re losing money. There are several ways to have your cash making 5% or more for you right now. I wrote about some of those recently here. Over the past few years, your extra cash wasn’t a great income stream because it was earning very little interest. Now it can earn significant interest. Make sure you are leveraging this. Invest that extra cash in a HYSA, a CD, or a short-term Treasury. This will immediately add an additional stream of income leveraging money you already have.

  1. Cash/Rewards from Cards

    If you strategically make your daily purchases on certain credit cards, you can add an additional income stream (or...

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