Tentmaking Tips

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You Can Get a 5%+ Conservative Return

life hacking May 26, 2023

Just a few years ago, achieving a 5% “conservative” return on your investments was laughable.

By “conservative” I mean government-insured or government-sponsored accounts — CDs, HYSAs, and Treasuries.

It’s not laughable anymore!

Right now you can buy CDs or invest in Treasuries and get a yield above 5%. Unbelievable!

Now, I’ve recommended in this newsletter that you should probably consider a more aggressive (i.e. less conservative) approach to investing for long-term returns (like retirement savings).

I like stock index funds the best for this.

But all of us need a more “conservative” place to put short-term funds like our emergency fund or savings for an upcoming purchase.

The good news is you have lots of vehicles to choose between right now to get a great return.

For HYSAs, check out the Marcus savings account by Goldman Sachs.

For CDs, check out your local bank or use a broker like Vanguard to buy brokered CDs.


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Run Your Personal Finances Like a Business

life hacking Apr 07, 2023

This mindset is key to increasing your income, decreasing your expenses and investing more toward financial freedom (passive investments covering your living costs).

Too often we don’t treat our personal finances like a business.

We don’t watch them closely. We aren’t as active in cutting costs. We aren’t looking for ways to generate extra income. We aren’t investing wisely. We aren’t looking for a “profit” at the end of the month.

But we actively do all of these things when we run a business. You have to.

A number of years ago I paid an extra $25/mo for a Quickbooks account for my personal finances. Quickbooks is business accounting software.

I was already using Quickbooks for my businesses, but I thought it was time to begin treating my personal finances like a business.

Sure, we had lived on a budget for years, but I felt like that was not enough. A budget is just trying to help you not spend more than you make. A business is...

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Max Out Your IRAs

life hacking Mar 24, 2023

It’s almost tax time.

And, believe it or not, the government is giving you a little extra time to do something very wise.

As you know, most activities that affect your 2022 taxes had to be completed in 2022. Income, expenses, deductions, charitable donations, etc for 2022 had to take place in 2022.

But there’s a contribution that the government gives you until tax time in 2023 to take advantage of.

It’s the contribution to your IRA - Individual Retirement Account.

For the 2022 tax year, both you and your spouse can contribute up to $6,000 to your IRA (or $7,000 if 50+).

And you still have time to make this contribution.

You can contribute to a Roth IRA (if your income qualifies) or a Traditional IRA.

A Roth IRA doesn’t save you on taxes in the short-term but it definitely does in the long-term. You make after-tax contributions now, but it grows tax free and you can withdraw tax free after age 59.5.

A Traditional IRA does save you on taxes in the short-term,...

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How to Get All of Our Courses Free

I’ve had quite a few conversations with pastors recently who are wanting to make extra money with real estate.

I tell them I’m glad to help. Then, I direct them to the free resources we offer like:

But it’s usually the case that they want to pay extra for additional courses & coaching.

I tell them about some of our paid products and then share the ways they can get those free as well.

After all, if I’m teaching hacks to get free travel or live nearly free, shouldn’t I give hacks for getting my paid content for free? Ha!

Here are the ways I tell them they can get any or all of our courses for free (and you could too):

  1. Follow my step-by-step guide to earn an extra $1,200 quickly and apply that to any or all of the courses
  1. Refer 3 friends to any course and get all of the course...
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How Spending More Money Can Save You So Much More

life hacking Feb 10, 2023

I’m sure the title of this newsletter makes absolutely no sense.

And it didn’t make sense to me the first time I heard it either.

I read about this concept in Vicki Robin’s book, Your Money or Your Life.

It’s become a popular concept in the Financial Independence community as well.

And by following this principle, it can really generate a lot of extra income.

The principle goes like this:

Spend more money on what you love and spend very little on everything else.

The truth is, if you made a list of the top 10 things that you really enjoy, you’ll find you’re spending money on a lot of things not on that list. Why are you doing that? :)

Often, when we start budgeting, we try to cut back on everything, including what we enjoy. That usually doesn’t last long & we give up on the budget. It’s because we feel like it’s robbing us of happiness.

The truth is, it’s much easier to stick with a budget that encourages you to...

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Get More Cash Back With Rakuten

life hacking Dec 15, 2022

Have you heard of Rakuten?

I just recently heard about it from a blogger that I follow.

It’s really cool!

You get cash back at many of the stores you already shop at when you buy through the app, their browser extension, or their website.

And they’ve got a great referral program where you & the person you refer get $30-40 when they spend their first $30-40 on the app.

I clicked on my friend’s referral link a few weeks ago & they had a $40 bonus at the time.

I’d been wanting some snow boots for our upcoming ski trip to Colorado (here’s the article I wrote about how we’re going skiing for nearly free).

The boots my wife showed me were like $200. I was thinking, “No way!” haha!

But, about a week later, they ran a Black Friday Sale for $150.

The Rakuten app gave me $40 to spend & also 15% cash back at the store where they were running the sale.

If you’ve been Travel Hacking for long, you know that good cash back cards...

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How to Live on One Income

life hacking Oct 28, 2022

I meet so many pastors who wish their families could live on one income because their wives would rather stay home with their kids. They just say it’s not an option right now financially.

That’s when I usually start brainstorming with them about ways it could happen.

My wife and I decided before we got married that, regardless of how much money I made, we wanted to figure out a way for her to stay home with our kids. While we haven’t always had everything that a two-income family would have, we would say in hindsight that it’s been totally worth it!

And, little did we know, she was still able to make some extra spending money over the years using her real estate license. But we never relied on that income and she never devoted much time to it.

Here are 5 ideas I give pastors & Christian leaders for becoming a one-income family.

  1. You can likely reduce your spending by close to 50% by focusing on optimizing the top 3 spending categories


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My Favorite Bank

life hacking Sep 16, 2022

This will probably not come as a surprise to many of you because of how much I write about the credit cards this bank issues.

But, after using many different banks over the years, my favorite bank by far has been Chase.

Now, I know there’s not a “one size fits all” bank. For your purposes, your bank might be far better than Chase. But for my purposes, and I think the purposes of most people, Chase Bank is one of the best banks out there.

I know a lot of people will argue for a local bank, and I can understand the reasons, but I think national banks with local branches can accomplish most of the same things, and even more. And, if you think about it, a lot of the local banks end up getting bought out by national brands eventually anyways.

Here are 10 reasons why Chase is my favorite bank:

  1. The Online Interface

    Most people these days do a lot of their banking online. They expect their bank to have a decent website. This is often NOT the case with local banks &...

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Why Everyone Should Have an Airbnb

If you’re looking to make extra income to support your ministry, one of the easiest and cheapest ways to do this is to have an Airbnb on your property.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking.

“I don’t have a guest house.”

“I don’t want strangers in my house.”

“I don’t have the time to manage it.”

The truth is, Airbnb is flexible. You can make money on Airbnb in so many different ways. Most of your initial objections could likely be overcome.

Since you already own your property (land and home), you might as well make some money off of it & let it pay its own bills.

Let me give you some different ways people make money on Airbnb using their own property.

  1. Rent out a room on Airbnb
    1. Don’t get tripped up here. This is not the only option. But this is a great option for some.
    1. When my parents would drive 5 hours to visit my sister, my Mom would usually stay at her house, but my Dad would find another place to...
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A 2.5% Savings Account Return

life hacking Jul 29, 2022

I shared with you in July 2021 about HYSAs (High Yield Savings Accounts). I told you that one of my favorite HYSA was the Marcus account by Goldman Sachs.

Well, I wanted you to know it just got better.

Last year, the APY (annual percentage yield) on the Marcus account was .50%, not too great. Yet it was still better than a lot of the rates out there.

Due to changing market conditions, the Marcus account is now yielding 1.5%, triple what it was last year.

But it gets even better.

If you don’t have an account and someone refers you, like me, we both get an additional 1% for 3 months.

That means we would both get 2.5% for the next 3 months.

But it still gets better.

You can then refer other people to the Marcus account once you have yours — up to 5 people per year. And once you refer them, you and them both get an additional 1% for 3 months which would be 2.5% right now. You could keep this rate just by referring one new person every 3 months. Pretty cool!

The rates on the...

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