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Meshaelr

Income Reviews

AMAZON FBA – Honest Review of selling on Amazon for 3 Months

So over this post I will cover everything I have learned over three months of selling on Amazon FBA. During these months, I utilized a business model revolving around the concept of Retail Arbitrage. In this post I will be outlining a few of the concepts I learned as well as sharing some of the knowledge I picked up during my time selling.

Please note, my experiences are based on Amazon FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) not Amazon FBM (Fulfilled by Merchant). I will cover the differences and their pros and cons in another post. In general, with FBA you send your products to Amazon, and they deal with the logistics of shipping it to the shopper and the customer service in the case of an issue. Amazon holds your products at a fee and there are quite a few other fees involved, however the concept of sending the products in and forgetting about it is much nicer than having to actively manage your shop.

There are 4 Major types of Amazon FBA Businesses:

First what is Arbitrage?

Simply, it is the act of buying from one location and selling it on another at a higher price. Please note, that during my time selling items using Retail Arbitrage on Amazon FBA, at no point did I purchase essential items and sold them at a marked up cost. Retail Arbitrage has gained a pretty negative name due to sellers purchasing products and then selling to at-risk individuals at a much higher price. I tried to stay away from essential products like food, disinfecting wipes, sanitizers and masks to name a few. I focused on purchasing shoes, old books from Value Village, ATV parts, hardwares, journals, mason jars and toys.

I know a lot of people who have made a significant income focusing on products such as Inflatable pools, sewing machines, gym equipment, PS5’s, GPU’s, printers and patio heaters. For me, while this is very much viable, it was more hassle than it was worth for me since these products come with a large payoff but you are taking much larger risks. You need to take your location into consideration as well.

Living in Canada, there is a smaller market and that is something that is important to consider. More on this in a future post.

Why would anyone use arbitrage?

It essentially has to occur for the current economy to operate. If you work a 9-5 job, you are a key player in someones arbitrage move. Your boss purchases your time for a price, in hopes that he can sell your value to others for a greater price, you get an income for your skills and take on (hopefully) no risk, but your boss has to ensure that he is finding clients, keeping them happy and hopefully you as well, so you continue to bring him positive growth.

Another example?

Alright, imagine you are a grocery store. You have large refrigerated trucks that you take over to the farmers, and perhaps you buy 100 apples for 30c each, and then you bring it back to your grocery to sell it for a dollar each. Now you can decide you want to drive 30km just to pick up a handful of apples for 30c, but I am going to make he assumptions, most of you rather just go over to your local grocery store and would be willing to pay a dollar for it instead.

While it is easy to see that there are implications where a profit does not need to be made. It is equally important to have this source of imbalance because it causes growth. Amazon’s, massive success is all thanks to this imbalance and they were able to capitalize on it by making everything just a lot more convenient.

So thats it, in terms of retail arbitrage, you are creating an opportunity for the buyer to get the product with your value added. You should also utilize the practice of ethics, and by that I mean, don’t be the person that sits on a mountain of essential items to drive up the price and then dump it on people who have no option but to buy it at ridiculous prices.

Types of Arbitrage

Retail Arbitrage

Simply, it is when you buy products from big box stores like Walmart, Marshalls, Home Depot, Costco, Best buy, Lowes, Rona, Kohls, Target, etc. Then turning around and selling them on Amazon for a profit. Price discrepancies are very common especially in stores like Canadian Tire and Walmart where sales and discounts are very common. In other places like Kohl, you may end up using coupons or discounts offered by the stores, stack the discounts to find amazing deals that you end up selling on Amazon for a strong profit.

Other times retail arbitrage can also be when the customer decides the convenience of having a package show up at their front door is worth it. With retail arbitrage, you are jumping on existing listings that are already selling, you do not have to put in the additional work of taking pictures, listing and advertising the product. A major advantage of retail arbitrage is the competition. When it comes to it, all you are competing with are local resellers of the products and you are turning it around and selling it to the entire country.

Online Arbitrage

This is essentially the same thing as Retail Arbitrage. However, Online Arbitrage is the act of finding price discrepancies online and then selling on Amazon FBA. In this situation, you are competing online potentially against people around the World. This model offers a lot to people who enjoy the convenience of sourcing inventory and running your entire business from your computer. It is important to mention again that Online Arbitrage is a significantly more competitive than Retail Arbitrage.

Private Label

Source products on Alibaba or other manufacturer and create your own brand and but a label on it. It will be your own listings that you have to make, specific to your products. That includes taking your own professional photographs and doing your own marketing. This type of Amazon FBA business model requires you to have a greater risk appetite and a diverse skillset. You will be buying larger quantities of products most likely from overseas, investing in marketing and finding ways to drive up reviews and hold a customer base.

Wholesale

Buying bulk amount of an already established product at a significant discount. For instance, this is exactly what your favorite retailers do. They buy products by companies that are considered household names such as Lotions by Aveeno, they purchase them at a significant discount, and then allocate a dollar amount to them so they can make a profit after paying for management fees, storage fees and any other fees a larger or smaller retailer might incur.

So what should I know before I get started?

Well the first thing I will tell you is, do not listen to youtube guru’s that are trying to sell you on the fact that they are making millions of dollars per month. Note, it is really easy to bump up the numbers you see on most Amazon FBA Seller Central accounts.

How do guru’s bump their numbers?

Easy, if you find products and sell them constantly without worrying too much about your profit margin and fees, it’s really easy to show off impressive numbers on your amazon seller account and walk away with next to no profit.

What do you mean fees?

Amazon FBA charges you close to 40% on all product sales, and I suppose you can call it value added service such as storing your items in their warehouse and giving you a market place full of buyers.

Note the 40% listed above is a rough amount. But the figure below is before I started getting charged for shipments to the facilities.

Amazon FBA fees

So, How much did I earn with Amazon FBA?

In general the total gross revenue I was able to generate was approximately $4187 CAD. Not too bad! In total I had invested approximately $2500 – $3000. So I was able to walk away with a profit of approximately $1187 CAD at the low end. Please note, there is a total of 27 products currently listed in my store with various quantities. So while I have to pay a few dollars a month for the storage of those products it’s not too bad at all. You may have noticed the months I actively found and listed products on my store.

Most of the products were listed between mid-October to mid-December. Due to the Christmas rush I think I was able to receive a lot more sales. One thing not shown here, is returns, while I was lucky enough to not have received too many returns, the few that I did receive were on big ticket items. There are ways to offload those losses, either to your taxes or get the product sent back from Amazon, but those are all very involved and at the time I just let them slide.

Amazon FBA Sales Summary

How to make even more money with Amazon FBA

Learn the rules, this is so dang important especially when you first start out. Know exactly what you can and can’t sell on Amazon. For example, I had found an amazing price for compressed air, only to find out that you are not allowed to ship it using Amazon FBA. When you first start out, there will be a lot of products you will be gated against. The term gated essentially means you are not able to sell that product, without getting more reputation, sales or documentation that you purchased those products from a reputable wholesaler.

Do not let this deter you, if anything this is great news for everyone that is looking to make a profit in this industry. The barriers that Amazon places for new sellers actually ends up promoting the sellers that are serious and are in it for the long game.

When I first started, I was gated from essentially everything that I could purchase at an amazing price. Over time, I started getting un-gated from a lot of companies, including Nickelodeon and Pokemon. I want to make another writeup covering how to work with gates and how to get products un-gated over time. If you have any specific questions you can reach me here.

Amazon FBA Gated Skincare

In Summary

I must add, with the right skillset and drive it is quite easy to make a pretty sizeable income from Amazon FBA. After lots of discussions with veteran members, it is also possible to transition this to a mostly passive income. For instance, it is possible to source your products during dry times such as January, and then sell the products during high times such as November and December. There are several different ways you can automate a pretty big chunk of this process, especially if you find a formula and products that have been tested to work for you.

So what’s my verdict? I think this Amazon FBA is a great business to diversify into. I am planning on getting geared to sell more once stores start re-opening in Ontario. The only down side to selling on Amazon in my experience is that it was very labor intensive and you are at the will of retailers. However, once you build out your business, I was getting a consistent $500CAD every month even after Ontario went into full lockdown with minimal intervention.

Amazon FBA is a great platform to learn and have in your back pocket, while I know it is very easy to make this a full time career, I am using it to supplement my income and fulfill my need for shopping.

I had to lock up quite a bit of capital at first and my house was a mess of boxes that were getting packed full of inventory to ship out. Starting again, I would be more organized, utilizing a business bank account to ensure I knew exactly how much I am spending. I would get a Virtual Assistant involved early on so I could step away from the logistics of dealing with returns.

If you want to learn more join my email list, I am currently working on a E-Book that covers everything from getting started to automating your Amazon FBA business. This E-Book will be sent for free for all of my email subscribers.

Learn more about Amazon FBA here.

CryptoCurrency Investment

Everything You need to know about bitcoin – April 2021

Bitcoin has been ranging for quite sometime especially around the area of $60,000 – we have had a few rejections at the $60,000 mark, and with that I would like to shed some light in terms of my current opinions regarding the state of the market.

While Bitcoin has been ranging for quite sometime, the volatility of this cryptocurrency has been actually decreasing quite dramatically. Surprisingly, the volatility has not been this low since December last year. This is a quite important point which I will revisit later in this post.

In this article I will try to cover both the bearish and bullish arguments and come to a conclusion that should be easy to decipher for both long and short term holders. While I have been a big supporter of Bitcoin since 2014 – I think it is especially important to consider both sides of the argument. So if you are significantly bullish, I still implore you to review the bearish argument to make sure you are not over exposing yourself to unnecessary risk.

Price of Bitcoin at the time of writing this Article: $59,207 USD

Bearish Analysis:

Realized Bitcoin Holding Term

We can see from the chart below, past cycle tops have often occurred when the market capital is held significantly by short term holders instead of long term investors. From the most recent data, we can see this shift forming, but it is not nearly at the previous levels.

Realized Bitcoin Holding Term

High Funding Rate

I will do additional write-ups to explain funding, but in this situation, funding has been consistently high in the past several months. This is quite bearish since, this essentially suggests for the people trading futures, it is expensive to be in a long position. Additionally, it shows that longs are overcrowded. Why is this bad? Well, larger traders prefer not to be involved in expensive trades so they are more likely to not take on long positions. In general, when funding is high, this favours traders who take a longer term short position or neutral position.

Thankfully, high funding rate is often only an issue when the market is driven by derivatives and margin contracts. This time around there is quite a strong emphasis on spot buying. Which I will cover a bit more later.

Kimchi Premium

Bitcoin Korean Premium

The chart from Crypto Quant above shows that Koreans are currently purchasing Bitcoin at a larger premium. Looking at the 2017 cycle top, the premiums Koreans were paying was quite large as well. I wanted to mention this but due to regulations performing Bitcoin Arbitrage has become quite unfeasible. This does not need much emphasis, however, I thought to include it for good measure.

Heavier Mempool Weight

Having a larger memory pool weight is a bad thing. It makes it more difficult to utilize Bitcoin in day to day transaction. Having a large mempool weight in general translates to longer transaction time and larger transaction fees which simply is bad for business.

Memory Pool Weight Graph

Grayscale

A significant amount of demand comes from the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, so understanding what is happening may be useful. Looking at the Grayscale Investment Bitcoin Holding Index on Bybt, we can see that their investment holdings have plateaued quite a bit since January of 2021. There has even been a slight decline in March of 2021. This trust is currently closed so we can leave it at that. Overall this action from Grayscale can be considered bearish since they have been one of the primary drivers of demand and price in the cryptocurrency space. Additionally, the premium is also ranging in negative territory which could have a potential downside impact.

Bitcoin Grayscale Holdings

In a different note; Grayscale has been quite optimistic and are looking to turn their trust into an ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) – this would be fantastic, the chances SEC would allow it at this point is quite high, and if this were to pass, GBTC would be the worlds second largest traded commodity ETF, second only to gold!

Since we are already speaking about ETF’s, the Canadian Bitcoin ETF (Purpose Bitcoin ETF) currently has just above 17,000 Bitcoin in holding and they are adding to it consistently with a larger size. That is fraction of the size of Grayscale but it is great news regardless. This paves the way for more ETF’s in the coming years.

Canadian Bitcoin ETF

Fundamental Analysis

On-Chain Analysis

The on-chain analysis suggests that we are nearing the overbought levels. The reverse risk shows the confidence of longer term holders. While this metric might be getting higher – it doesn’t suggest we are in overbought territory yet.

Bitcoin On-Chain Analysis

Total Hash Rate

Total Bitcoin Hash rate and difficulty is climbing consistently as can be seen from the chart below. This suggests the network is doing quite well and growing consistently.

Bitcoin Total Hashrate

Miners Revenue

Miners are currently making significant amounts more revenue than ever before. Not much else to say about this.

Bitcoin Miner Revenue

Transaction Value

Transaction value is at an all time high. So for anyone who thinks Bitcoin does not have any use case, they should feel silly since Bitcoin is currently one of the largest payment networks in the world. Regardless of your sentiment, Bitcoin is clearly being utilized heavily.

Bitcoin Transaction Value

Lightning Network

There are currently a little over 10,000 Bitcoin Lightning Nodes currently in operation. The lightning network is growing steadily which is also great to see!

Lightning Network Growth

Overall, the fundamentals look alright, they aren’t too exciting for either narrative. This to me is great, Bitcoin is reliable and safe which in turn makes it boring. However, it is the most decentralized and robust network in the space. Bitcoin is a storage of value and it does not need to be any more than that.

Bullish Analysis

Spot Volume

Spot Volume for Bitcoin is absolutely flying sky high. Over the past few weeks it has gone down a small bit, but this is typical during market consolidation. For reference, the March 2020 black swan event still had a significantly lower volume than today’s volume.

Bitcoin Spot Volume

Tether Market Cap

Tether’s market cap looks great. It is continuously increasing which suggests that there is still a larger demand. Alongside this, Tether settled the legal disputes, which reduces uncertainty about Tether quite a bit.

Tether Market Capital

Miner Sell Pressure

Selling pressure from miners have decreased dramatically. Seems like miners are not offering liquidity to the spot exchange at all. Additionally, miner outflow overall is quite low.

Miner Selling Pressure

Exchange Spot Reserve

Most exchanges have a very low spot reserve at this time. This suggests that there is a significant and constant demand of spot Bitcoin being purchased.

Bitcoin Exchange Spot Reserve

Net Bitcoin Spot Flow

The net bitcoin spot flow gives us further confirmation. Except for the two large inflow outlier – most significant flow of Bitcoin has been outflows. This gives us further confirmation that the massive consolidation range we have been stuck in is most likely re-accumulation.

Net Bitcoin Spot Flow

SOPR

While derivatives are blowing some safety rules off the top, there is a SOPR close to reset which suggests that the ratio between market participants at a loss and in profit is generally evenly distributed. These SOPR resets are perfect opportunities for buying in bull markets.

SOPR

Bitcoin Google Search Volume

Retail investors are not driving this bull rally, according to google search volume – searches for Bitcoin on google is high but it is nowhere near the search levels it was at during the last bull market. Majority of the users may already know about Bitcoin and might not be googling the term anymore.

Bitcoin Google Search Volume

Crypto Exchange Web Traffic

Another evidence to showcasing that retail investor mania is not here yet is the web traffic to retail exchanges such as Coinbase. Web Traffic has been consistently increasing to cryptocurrency exchanges, but again, it is not nearly where it is to be expected compared to last rally.

Crypto Exchange Web Traffic

Coinbase Google Searches

Same thing can be said about the search volume of users looking up Coinbase. Their verified user base is constantly increasing but this is not where majority of the volume is coming from.

Coinbase Total Volume

Based on metrics, Coinbase’s volume has exploded, but the percentage of retail volume out of the total traded volume is extremely low. During the last rally, everyone suggested that the institutions were coming, well, we were right, and they are here buying now.

Bitcoin Treasuries

This is a small list of Bitcoin Treasuries which shows how much Bitcoin each institution owns. This only includes the companies that have been transparent about their holdings. I am assuming there are quite a bit more companies which are not vocal about their positions yet.

Insurance Investments

Insurance is another sector that has been investing in Bitcoin, that is amazing to see.

Crypto-Environment Growth

The whole crypto space is growing, in the last bull market most of the projects that were out in this industry were full of lies with poor to no infrastructure. This time around, there is so much more being built with most projects having fantastic use cases. Looking at Defi for example, it has a constant increase of total value locked into projects with a net value of just over $45 Billion Dollars.

Trade Volume of NFTs

NFTs are also doing great. Regardless of your stance or opinion about NFTs, they have been gaining a tremendous amount of traction and have gained worldwide attention. The best part? You can’t learn about NFTs without learning or investing in Crypto. It is another version of adoption and I am all for it.

Ethereum

NFTs and Defi are more related to Ethereum, but the exposure as a whole is great for crypto as a whole. I won’t get into it in this post but Ethereum also looks absolutely fantastic, but Bitcoin will forever be the King.

Bid-Ask Spread

Now we are getting into the most important stuff in my opinion. In terms of the Bid-Ask spread of Bitcoin the liquidity is looking good. During the last bull run in 2017, liquidity was a huge problem. This time around the spreads look good.

Slippage

The slippage looks great this time around as well.

Derivative Bid-Ask Spread

Coinbase IPO – April 14th, 2021

Finally, the Coinbase IPO that is set to release in April 14th. There is a lot of ways this can help or even deter crypto. There is quite a lot of disagreement even among larger traders in regards to what this event will entail. I will be watching the markets closely on the 14th. As of right now, I would like to believe this would be a confidence booster for the retail investors.

Some traders suggest that this is a “sell the news” type of situation. However, this would imply that the price has gone up significantly prior to the news, but looking at the chart we have been nearly ranging for the last 2 months. This news does not look priced in.

Conclusion

As mentioned at the beginning, the volatility of Bitcoin is still quite low. So if the cycle top is nearby it would be a first time for Bitcoin as it has never printed a cycle top while having low volatility. So this would be unlikely. With the launch of Coinbase IPO, we will be able to buy shares of a large crypto currency company that has been doing so well!

With that news in mind, I am under the impression that there may be a large volatility increase again soon.

From the tone of this post, I am sure you can assume that I think the volatility will move the price to the upside. The only reasonable bit of skepticism that might be worth addressing is the question, “How much higher can it get”

To that I say, between all the new institutions that are purchasing crypto, Visa Stable Coin Testing, PayPay Integration of Crypto, Tesla accepting Bitcoin , maybe this time around we can admit that things will be different to the prior bull market.

Under no circumstances would I suggest that there won’t be corrections anymore. Just this year alone we have seen three massive liquidation events. But I am under the impression that during this bull run the 4 year market cycle structure that we have been used to with Bitcoin might break.

If this post was useful to you, please leave a comment or subscribe to my email list, with more attention – I would love to do more of these more frequently.

Chart Sources:

Whale Map

Crypto Quant

Coinalyze

Bybt

The Block Crypto

Skew

Blockchain.info

Woobull

Trading View

Trading Sources:

Looking to get started in crypto currencies?

If you would like to support me and receive a sizable discount on fees, feel free to use my referral links below:

Spot Crypto and Altcoin Platform of Choice: Binance

Margin and Derivative Trading Platform of Choice: FTX

If you are looking to purchase Crypto using FIAT (CAD) :

Newton

PayTrie

If you have any questions about getting involved in crypto but need help, do not hesitate to reach out!

If you are interested in trading options start here!

Obligatory: This is not financial advice.

Trading Tips Income

Options Fundamentals For Beginners

Options are by far the BEST way to increase returns on the assets you choose to trade, but also the very BEST way to protect & hedge yourself against market crashes and corrections. There is also spot and levaraged futures trading which I dive into as well, if you are a beginner I recommend you get started here.

Let’s go over the fundamentals in a little more detail and we will call this our option primer. It goes without saying, if you plan on trading option contracts, do so with extreme caution. There are 100 horror stories for every success. Trading is a skill that requires tremendous amounts of discipline and greed has no place here.

Calls & Puts

When looking at options there are two kinds of options you can choose to trade: Calls and Puts.

In the standard stock market, buying one call option contract gives the buyer of the contract the right, but not the obligation to buy 100 shares of the stock at the strike price the buyer selected, anytime up until the option’s expiration date. This is advantageous because you need to pay a fraction of the cost vs. buying at spot price (full price per stock) while participating in the same profit profile. If the trade goes well for the call buyer, meaning the asset goes way above the selected strike price, the buyer gets to buy the asset at the lower strike price value he has chosen, even though the asset is then currently worth more than the strike price.

In crypto there are two major differences however:

1. Each call contract can equal 1 BTC, however you can also trade mini contracts that are less than 1 BTC. Again, for stocks 1 call contract = 100 shares always. So, knowing how contracts are sized in different markets is important.

2. Most crypto exchanges will be cash settled. So, you will never be forced to actually buy the BTC/asset shares at expiration (like you are in the stock market). Rather, the exchange will settle the differences and net you out the profit (or loss) on the trade.

Per their definition, put options give the buyer the right, but not the obligation, to sell an asset at a strike price that the buyer selected, anytime up until the option’s expiration date. This is advantageous because the buyer of the put option can potentially profit on as a short trade that moves almost 1:1 (dollar for dollar) as the asset falls (making you profit). Think of it like car insurance.

Buying vs Selling Options

You can either buy or sell, both calls or put options. Buying calls is a long strategy on an asset. Buying puts is a short strategy on an asset. When you trade these the opposite direction (buying vs selling), they simply change to the opposite directional bias. Example: if you are “selling” calls you are now making a bearish bet. And when you are “selling” puts you are making a bullish bet.

Buying a Call = DEBIT to your account. Taking a bet, the asset will go above your strike price in exchange for PAYING the premium asked – BULLISH

Selling a Call = CREDIT to your account. Taking a bet, the asset will go below your strike price in exchange you RECEIVE the premium instead – BEARISH

Buying a Put = DEBIT to your account. Taking a bet, the asset will go below your strike price, in exchange you PAY the premium asked – BEARISH

Selling a Put = CREDIT to your account. Taking a bet, the asset will go above your strike price, in exchange you RECEIVE the premium instead – BULLISH

This might seem confusing at first, but it becomes easier with repetition and practice. There must be a buyer or seller on the opposite end of all option trade. If you are buying and they are selling the same option type that each would have the exact opposite outlook and directional bias. I will occasionally update my content with images and videos in the future to drive this concept in more.

Options Fundamentals

Creating a Basic Options Trade Plan.

Things you need to have in mind BEFORE you execute an options trade:

1. What is the ‘underlying’ asset you are trading? (BTC, SPX, SPY, etc.)

2. Will you be using calls or puts?

3. What is the strike price are you plan to select?

4. What is the expiration date for your option you are planning to go with?

5. How much is the option contracts Premium? Are you paying or receiving the premium? (i.e. will you be buying or selling the options?)

6. Is the exchange American style or European style? (Most crypto options are European, while US stocks are American)

7. Is the trade physically settled or cash settled? (Most crypto exchanges will be cash settled, and most stocks you trade will be physically settled. Some are not, for example SPX trades are cash settled because you cannot own ‘shares’ of an index)

Every time you decide to make an options trade you should go over these 7 details in your trade plan.

If you are trading crypto options, the most essential thing before putting on your trade is making sure you understand the difference between cash settled and physically settled (point #6) and the difference between American style and European style (point #7). There will be additional posts in the future covering this in greater detail.

Basic Options Definitions.

Let’s go over a few of the main definitions now:

Strike Price

The strike price is the price of the asset in which the trader has chosen before entering the trade. The trader is either hoping the assets price climbs either above or below their selected “strike price” before expiration for them to make a profit. The strike price is a fixed price at which the asset of the option can be purchased or sold on expiration or before. Again, in cash settled exchanges you don’t take possession of the asset at expiration, they just net you out either a profit (win) to keep or a debit (loss) to pay.

Expiration Date

The expiration date is the date that the bet (trade) ends. It is a chosen and carefully selected date by the trader, that he makes before entering the trade. This expiration date is the last day in which the option can be exercised or closed. After an option expires, the trade is over, and the trader simply moves on and starts evaluating their next trade.

As per the definition, European style options cannot be exercised before the expiration date. However, exchanges like FTX do offer alternatives to closing the trade other than just through the exercising of the option on expiration day. You can close the trade and FTX will simple pay you the netted profits just as if you had to take possession (assignment) of the asset at the discounted price (your strike price) and then sell it at the current higher value. They just pay you the profits instead or deduct your losses. Getting back into crypto trading after a year this was the one thing that even caught me off guard for a couple days, especially since I was trading on Interactive Brokers. So, make sure to take note of what style your exchange trades in and how they settle (cash or physical). Not all crypto exchanges are the same.

Premium

The premium (current price of the option) is what the trader either pays or receives for making the trade. It is either a credit or a debit to the trader. When I buy my calls on BTC, I am “paying” the premium price asked, for the right to enter the trade (aka bet). When I sell my SPX options on the income trades, the premium is what I RECEIVE for taking the option trade and SELLING them.

Know that as the options get closer to expiration their time value starts to lessen and decay. Meaning the premium is reducing in price overtime. This is a good for the option seller as they become more profitable as the time value erodes. They also earn money if price action is not moving fast enough. It is bad for the option buyer as the more the premium erodes, meaning he can only get less and less for the option if he decides to close the trade.

So essentially the ‘option buyer’ is hoping that price climbs faster than the time value of the option erodes. And the ‘option seller’ is hoping that the time value erodes faster than price moves.

Intrinsic Value (or Time Value)

The other main factor that effects an options price is its intrinsic value. Which is the value the option has according to how far below or above the strike price that the asset has moved. A long call buyer for example is betting that an options intrinsic value (movement of the asset) climbs faster than its time value is eroding. If this happens you can be profitable WITHOUT the asset ever going over your strike price!! And it can happen way before expiration as well. This is normally when I close our early before expiration at take profits.

Now if this intrinsic value (or time value) has you confused, know that we have an entire channel dedicated to going over these two subjects (posted soon, reference channel when posted). Also know that it does not change the fact ever that if the assets price moved is in the direction of your bias and ends up above or below your strike price you chose at expiration, you will always be profitable. Then time value doesn’t matter at that point.

Implied Volatility & ‘The Greeks’

Another factor that influences an options price both before you trade it and while in the trade is VOLATILITY. Implied volatility to be specific (not historical).The change of the premium price of an option in comparison to the change in the price of the asset is called its “Delta”. Delta is a part of what we call the “Greeks”, which is generally the hardest concept to understand when it comes to options for beginners. I will be working on additional posts that will cover the greeks in more detail.

Summary

When you are a “Buyer of options, your maximum profit potential is unlimited, and your max risk is the amount of premium you paid for the option (be it call or put). When you are a “Seller” of options, the maximum profit on a short option (be it call or put) is limited to the premium received for shorting the asset, no matter what the assets price action may do. The risk can be unlimited without any trade management. This is how I know how much profit I can potentially make each day before I place my SPX income trades as a “seller” of options.

Options provide ways to leverage, manage, and protect trades in ways that no other trading instruments can accomplish. The benefits to taking the time to truly understand this way of trading could dramatically impact your results for your entire trading career. Options are not going anywhere. It is simply the next level once you realize extreme leverage trading on exchanges like Bitmex are structured HEAVILY against you. It solves every single type of trade situation you can imagine or get yourself into.

Options are contracts between two people with opposite bias. It brings them together to creates and accomplish a “bet” between the two parties. They can be used to leverage long or short positions or simply to hedge existing asset positions. In their most mature form, they can create consistent income for the trader that chooses to master them.

For additional resources, check out Investopedia’s resources on options trading.

Trading this way has put food on my table for the last 6 years. Take it from me, this is what you want to spend your time learning if you want to get serious and your goal is to become the best trader you can possibly be. There is simply no trading instrument more powerful than options.

Technical Analysis

Technical Analysis – Simple and Perfect – CandleStick Charts (Lesson 1)

This will be a series of lessons I will share based on everything I have learned and still use in regards to technical analysis. In this post we will be talking about candlestick charts I am hoping this will help a few of you dive into the wonders of understanding how to utilize technical analysis in your own trading and investing.

If you have any questions feel free to email me or send me a message on Instagram or twitter. I will do my best to offer you advise that will guide you to what you are looking to achieve.

Disclaimer

Nothing I share on any of my outlets and even private correspondence should constitute as financial advice.

While I have over 6 years of trading knowledge, I do not have any formal education or certifications that indicate I am a financial advisor.

Trading is one of the hardest and cut throat industries, if you will be going against the sharpest, most intelligent, heavily informed, irrational and in most cases, unethical minds in the world.

Trading is not a get rich quick scheme, if anything it will rip money out of your hands to put it into the hands of better investors.

You will be one of your greatest enemy, and losing discipline will be your undoing.

Your goal should be survival and trying to stay in the game for as long as possible. The only way to achieve this is by expanding your skillset and understanding the enemy, having a bulletproof game plan and picking your trades extremely carefully.

If this seems like something you are willing to fight for everyday, you are ready to play.

Technical Analysis

Technical analysis is the art of making probabilistic forecasts of price based on price history. It is important to understand that price does not need to react in accordance to price history. We use it purely to improve the odds in our favor.

Technical analysis is used to identify risk-defined entries and exits. In other words, technical analysis is primarily a risk management tool.

Let’s say you are a bullish trader, based on fundamentals (news, changes and updates, etc.) technical analysis can be a tool you use to find a favorable position where it would be best to enter into a risk defined position. The past does not offer you any knowledge, it is only there to improve your probability of a successful trade.

Candlestick Anatomy

There are many versions of a price chart, a simple Japanese candle, Bar candles, Heikin Ashi, Line, Renko, etc. For our purposes we will be focusing on the default Japanese candle sticks.

Color

Bearish candles have a red color. These candles indicate the closing price was lower than the opening price in a given timeframe.

Bullish candles have a green color. These candles indicate the closing price was higher than the opening price in a given time frame.

Bodies

Bearish candles are the red candles and the upper part of the body is the opening price and the lower part of the body is the closing price.

Bullish candles are the green candles and the lower part of the body is the opening price and the upper part of the body is the closing price. Shown in the image below.

Japanese CandleStick anatomy

Wicks

Upper Wick – Highest price at the selected time frame.

Lower Wick – Lowest price at the selected time frame.

Simple right?

Candlestick OHLC

On most platforms, when you hover your cursor over the candle, you should be shown the OHLC.

  • Open
  • High
  • Low
  • Close

These are extremely useful when mapping out major price points and levels such as,

  • Weekly Open
  • Daily Open
  • High of Day
  • Low of Day
  • Precise High Price
  • Precise Low Price
  • Check if price closed above a swing point.
OHLC

How to use a strong understanding of candlesticks to improve my trading?

A very simple strategy is using the weekly open/close or daily open/close

Use the weekly open to set a horizontal weekly support.
We can see the daily price never closed below the weekly open. Instead a SFP formed, you could have secured nearly 14% gains with this simple setup.

Start with understanding the simple concepts, practice them and with the correct discipline it’s possible to make excellent trading plays with this alone. It’s too often I see traders getting obsessed with confluence and having too many indicators on their charts. A successful trader is able to minimize the amount of work required to make great trades.

Time Frames

Your chosen time frame will represent the period one of your candles represent.

So on the daily time frame, each candle is one full day. On a hourly time frame, each candle is one hour. The OHLC can be used to get you data specific to the time frame you selected for the candlestick.

Note: Higher time frames are comprised of lower time frame candles. For instance, the one hour candlestick is comprised of four 15 minute candlesticks, two 30 minute candlesticks, sixty 1 minute candlesticks, etc.

The closing of a candle is extremely significant. Pay attention to when a candlestick closes and only take trades before or after a close. This is especially important in higher than Day time frames. A lot can change between the open and close, that is why wicks exist. As a new trader it is a good idea to wait for candle closes on the time frame you are trading on before getting into a position.

Tip: As a new trader, use and focus on higher time frames. The noise in lower time frames can be enough to give you mixed signals and fall prey to poor setups.

I like to use a combination of Daily (D1), 4 hours (H4) and 1 hour (H1) time frames.

Here is a setup I am currently taking. Could not get more simple. Once the daily closes, I will either take a long above 9485 or a short to 8924 to keep it simple.

On the next post, I want to build more knowledge on candlestick patterns. Thank you for reading, up to this point, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me by email, twitter or Instagram and I will do my best to help you out!

Additional Resources:

Check out baby pips! They have fantastic resources to understanding simple concepts.

Trading Tips CryptoCurrency

7 Important links for Crypto market information

Here are a few links you can use to expand your crypto market information knowledge! This list will be always updating and expanding, so keep it bookmarked and check in every often! These links are primarily to give you the news and updates occurring in the crypto currency environment. If you like trading the news these are for you!

If you are interested in more technical analysis tools for crypto check out this post on Crypto Analysis Tools.

CoinMarketCal

Coin Market Calendar

Coin Market Calendar is great for keeping tabs of everything going on in cryptocurrencies. This is a calendar that tracks new releases, halving, policy updates, conferences, product releases, burns, exchange listings and news. You can also filter by types of events, coins and month.

Coin.fyi

Coin.fyi

Great for following the news related to a specific cryptocurrencies!

CryptoPanic

Crypto Panic

An aggregation of various crypto sites and news, filterable for your ease!

CoinSpectator

Coin Spectator

Another aggregation from over a 100 different sources of crypto news.

CcOwl

CCowl

News from major sites (CoinDesk, Cointelegram, Bloomberg…etc) on one page.

CCI30

CCI30

Kind of like the S&P500 for crypto, its an index of the 30 biggest cryptocurrencies.

BitcoinTalk

Bitcoin Talk

One of the oldest and biggest forums for cryptocurrency projects.

Investment

A Simple Guide to earnest money

During a purchase of a home it is important to show the seller that you are serious about purchasing their home. Typically this can be done using a Good Faith Deposit – also known as Earnest Money.

Earnest money can be a formal way of requesting that the seller take their house off the market to give you time to do home inspections, appraisal, financing or time to sell your existing home. This way the seller knows you have skin in the game and backing out in short of a deal breaker will have them compensated for the time their property is off the market.

You may get a refund of your deposit if you cancel during your due diligence period. (Inspections, Appraisal, Financing or Time to sell your existing home. ) However, if you move past those contingencies and you decide to cancel, most often your seller would be entitled to that money.

Here are some points that can help you make your decision:

What is Earnest Money

Buyers use earnest money as a tool during the purchase of a property. Often in the form of deposit money held in escrow. Earnest money is used to assure the seller that you are a highly prospective and sincere buyer, given that certain conditions are met. Here is an article outlining how can you save up for an earnest money deposit.

While the laws don’t require earnest money, sellers may require it. The amount can be negotiated if you don’t have access to a large liquid fund.

How Much Earnest Money Do You Need?

Most often it is 1% of the purchase price of the home. However, this purely depends on the real estate market you plan to purchase in.

The more money you put down the more you look serious to the sellers. When multiple offers are being put down on a property there is a higher chance the seller will go with another buyer if they offered more earnest money.

At the same time, the more money you put down in the deposit, the more money you stand to lose. Especially during a finding of a deal breaker not mentioned on your contingencies.

Buying a family home

How to Protect your Earnest Money

Escrow Account

Typically, earnest money is held in an escrow account. Once it is deposited into an escrow account both the buyer and seller have a legal right to the money in that account. Under no circumstances should you entrust your earnest money directly to your seller or a real estate brokerage.

Understand the Contract

To protect the buyer and seller, most contracts will have contingencies appended to them. This allows room for both parties to back out depending on the conditions listed. Read through it yourself or have a lawyer take a look to ensure your side of the deal is met.

Some common contingencies include:

  • Inspection Failures
  • Issues with Title Searches
  • Issues with Land Surveyed
  • Unable to Secure Financing
  • Issues Appraising the Property
  • Unable to Sell Existing Home

Check out this website to find out more about common contingencies.

It is your responsibility to ensure the contract drafted is read thoroughly. Remember! Laws can vary state to state. State agreement purchase contracts may be used however a lot of agents may use their own private purchase agreements.

Breach of contract

Speak to your agent to ensure you are never in a breach of contract. You should be ready to move forward with the purchase, have a go ahead from the lender, and have the property is appraised for the offer price. You may also negotiate a buy price after an appraisal and inspection is complete. However, if you were to back out after all of that, you would lose your earnest money deposit.

Some common ways the seller may keep your money include:

  • Issues Posted Past the Due Diligence Period
  • If the Buyer Waived the Contingencies
  • Enforcing “Time is of the Essence” Clause (TOE)
  • Requesting the Escrow to Cash the Check

If your buyer requests to waive the contingencies, this can be favorable to both the buyer and seller. Waiving of contingencies may allow you to get a better deal on the property. However this can be detrimental in the case of a deal breaker. Always speak with your broker before removing any contingencies. If the seller refuses to find a middle ground, it maybe time to look elsewhere.

Earnest Money Deposit Contract

How to use Earnest Money to your Advantage

Earnest money shows your purchase power. It isn’t unheard of to use a large sum of money if you are ready to purchase in cash to secure the offer. Seller may even choose a lower priced offer from someone who is offering a larger sum in their earnest deposit. The chances that the seller will favor your bid over others is more likely in those situations.

With due diligence and a good real estate agent you can use the deposit to fund the closing costs. If you deposited $3,000 dollars into your earnest deposit and your closing cost is $10,000 dollars. You would only have to pay the remainder $7,000 dollars at closing.

Closing points to protect you:

  • Do not remove contingencies, they are there to mainly protect you as the buyer.
  • Pay attention to the contract timelines. Sticking to that schedule should be your priority.
  • Do not offer on a property with a earnest money deposit unless you are 100% sure you love it.
Deposit on a home

Conclusion

Once again, earnest money is an amazing way to secure a deal you really want. Only if you know how to use it. Make sure you speak with your real estate agent and perhaps an attorney before signing any documents regarding earnest money.

In a competitive sellers market using earnest money is the one of the ways you can settle the deal to your favor. Make sure you are committed to purchasing that property before making the jump. A lot of times the bidding process can make people commit to a home they are not in love with. There are many ways to sweeten a deal, don’t try everything in the book because that will lose you money in the long run. A good real estate agent will be able to walk you through any questions you may have regarding what strategies to use to win an offer.

Good Luck!

Debt

4 Simple ways to get rid of debt forever

A year ago I was buried in debt. How did I get to where I was I have no idea. The money that I was earning was going into my credit cards to just bring down the amount so I wouldn’t max it out again that month. I made a promise to my late father and myself to get rid of all of the debt that was haunting me.

It seems more often than anything that paying that debt is an impossible task, there are gurus who suggest you need to live like a hermit for a few years to get back on track. That works for some, not so much for others. I mean try living in Toronto, while being a student. The money won’t matter if you sacrifice your physical and mental well being to attain it.

Learn to hold on to things that make you happy, and cut anything that brings you anything but joy. (Thanks Marie Kondo!) Check out this article If you need some ways to save more money.

A girl with a wallet and money in her hands, business, savings, investment, paper, banking, financial, bank, hand, human, closeup, concept, buy, person, woman, success, bill, economy, paying, debt, pay, count, banknote, holding, exchange, usa, payment, american, budget, loan, earnings, accounting, income, usd, stack, profit, girl, giving, greed, people, shopping, close-up, calculate, purchase, save, earning, donation, prosperity, lifestyle, report, workplace, home, account, invest, amount, spend money

“Smart people will never be in debt” that is something I have heard over and over again. Let me tell you one thing. Being in debt does not make you a lesser person. This concept reinforced me.

If you need some comedic relief watch some Brooklyn Nine-Nine and maybe you can laugh and relate with Jake Peralta’s crippling debt. Something I love about that is the way they portray him, an excellent detective who pretty much has the respect of everyone that works with him. While his poor money handling skills is a quirk of his personality, it does not define him.

Build your confidence back up. Tell yourself everyday you can do it, if you slip up forgive yourself and move on. You can’t teach anyone to walk if you kick them down each time they trip.

Debt

Here are a few things I used to get myself out of debt:

Get Your Ego In Order : Ego is a Catalyst to Debt.

Understand the difference between spending out of necessity and out of pure ego. I had a terrible habit of doing just that. We went to a pub, ordered some food and drinks, and I ended up doing the same without checking my accounts. (More on this later.) The meal with drinks could easily be around $30-$45 which was completely unnecessary and throws you deeper in debt.

Learn to enjoy similar things while cutting down on the things you absolutely don’t need to do. If you are going out with your friends, have some snacks before you head out. You can quit drinking and order some water or a $2 dollar soda instead of a $12 dollar alcoholic beverage. Perhaps invest in a small flask if you absolutely need to drink.

The consumerist society preys on individuals like this to pit them against each other. Do you need the newest Acura ILX or is that because you think you friends will think lesser of you because you drive a Honda Accord. Don’t ever purchase something that will put you deeper in debt for the sake of looking flashy.

Warren Buffet has a net worth of 89 Billion Dollars (That’s 9 zeros!) and he drives a car worth $45,000 dollars. Let’s do the math, that’s: (45000 / 89 billion) x 100 = ( 0.00005 % of his net worth is his car).

I am not telling you to buy a Lego car. Do not let your purchases exceed your net worth. If its higher than your net worth, you are buying purely out of ego. Whether I drive a 2010 Honda Civic or a Porche 911, its still going to take 2 hours to commute from Hamilton to Toronto.

I had difficulty doing this. I felt like preserving my image of being the frivolous spender. Just remember this, looking rich while burying yourself in debt will do no good for anyone, except for the “pals” you just bought drinks for.

Using Credit card to pay for a drink

Stop Neglecting Money : Face Your Debt Without Fear

Its absolutely astounding how much effort I put into never checking my accounts. Take charge of your finances. It’s only up to you, Uncle Sam isn’t going to help you when you spiral.

Come up with a payment plan to pay off your debt. Make it a unemotional part of your morning by checking it everyday before you head out for the day. Turning a blind eye to debt has never helped anyone and it is especially not going to help you become successful one day.

As a soon to be engineer, we are thought that decisions should be taken based on math and science. Emotions and feelings can be the reason to why you care about what you do but it should not determine the results. Look at your money the same way, let the way you feel be the catalyst to you doing something about your debt. But do not let the fear cloud you from what needs to be done.

When you sit in a plane and entrust yourself to the pilot, even through turbulence you hope they continue to actively monitor and fly the plane. Would you want your pilot to say “This is a lot of turbulence, I’m scared, hopefully the autopilot figures it out”. The difference is your finances does not have an autopilot so stop neglecting your finances and sort it out.

Neglected money

Don’t be Ashamed to Request Assistance

Talk to your banks and request lower interest rates. It is not difficult to request lower interest rates. Request assistance from your friends and family, not to pay off debt, but just as a support system. Use your support system to build a habit of maintaining your finances.

Similar to cleaning your room or brushing your teeth, your finances should be a part of your daily life. Learning to tell people makes it a constant reminder and it also pushes people to organize events that require less money spent.

Helping Hand

Stop Taking Risks When You Are Ahead

A major portion of my income comes from trading. I have taken risky trades outside of my set rules thinking its a sure fire way. It works the first time, and then I do it again and my good habits come to an end. I end up just harming myself by breaking the rules I set for myself over and over again until it blows up my whole account.

Imagine a hill, you roll a ball up half way and then you let it go in attempt to punt it, sure there is a chance you will kick it and it will end up at the top. More often than not, it either rolls back down or you kick it and it goes straight up and falls backwards.

Don’t gamble when you are in debt, don’t take risky investments or trades thinking you will hit it big and will be able to pay off the whole debt. It doesn’t work and you are risking all of your hard work you put in up to that point.

Think of your debt as a ladder, take small calculated steps. Don’t leap, no matter how easy it looks, it’s not worth the risk. It’s better to pay off your debts $5 dollars a day ($150 dollars a month) rather than risking $50 dollars to make a $100 dollar payment once a month.

Risking Money

Conclusion

Debt is a difficult conversation to have. It seems like an embarrassing and private thing everyone tries to hide from each other though everyone is suffering the same. Like mentioned earlier, it is okay to make mistakes and slip up here and there.

What matters is that you continue to work towards a future you desire, no matter how large the debt. Some of the points listed above may help get your mindset in order. Make it an habit to face your fears. The only way to solve a difficult problem is to face it over and over again. Soon your debt will feel like a distant past that you can solve with ease. Perhaps you can then lend a helping hand to someone else in need.

Cheers and good luck on your journey to be debt free!

Budget Saving

28 ways to save money fast

There is no magic to save money fast. However, you don’t have to live like a miser to save significant amount of money fast. There is also no need to do everything mentioned on this list. How ever it is our recommendation you pick and choose what is truly important to you.

If a $3.00 coffee makes you happy, we want you to continue doing it! Eliminate the empty fees and expenses that don’t bring you happiness and you’ll be taking a trip with your saved up money in no time!

It is also important to note that you should have a use for your saved money. It makes it easier to give up on some convinces for the greater good. Find out what are some important things to be saving for.

Planning a way to save money fast

1. Stop paying bank fees.

If you are currently paying anything more than $0 for your checking or savings account, you need to find yourself another bank. Some of the best banks offer sign-up bonuses simply for opening an account with them. Holding your money with the bank benefits them more than you so don’t go paying fees so they can use your hard earned cash to make more money off another poor soul. Good banks also offer perks such as money, excellent interest rates to new customers as well.

Interest rates aren’t reason enough to hop from bank to bank, find a reputable bank to hold your money with a competitive interest rate and you should be solid. Don’t fall for the “Higher interest for 6 months” promotion. Savings are built over a long time, and 6 months definitely is not a long time when it comes to personal finance.

Here is a guide on how to make financial account switches.

Here are some checking and saving accounts we recommend:

Tangerine – Use offer code 57286606S1 to get a free $50 when you register. 

Simplii Financial.

EQ Savings.

Finding a bank to save money fast

2. Find items to sell in your home.

When I was working to get out of debt, I realized there was a ton of things around my house that I had collected which I didn’t need or use anymore. Even things that seem to be of no value can bring in some solid cash. I honestly had no idea that I let it get to that point, but at the end I become a technology hoarder and had a hard time letting go of anything. Maybe have a garage sale or use a local resale site like Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji or Craigslist. Sometimes you need to let go of things that cloud your vision before you can save money fast.

Here is a guide on how to sell anything for the best price on resale sites.

3. Learn to purchase items after someone else has taken on the bulk of the depreciation.

People love buying things brand new, without thinking about its value in a few weeks, months or years. Most household goods, technology and vehicles experience significant depreciation over the first year and then the price tends to even out. Buying a iPad Pro 2017 10.5” in 2019 will run you around $650 usually with the added accessories. Compare that to spending a minimum of $1100 on the 11” iPad Pro 2018.

Another tactic I used to save money fast is I learned to do general maintenance for all the devices I decided I needed to own. This includes your car, your computers and other devices. Spend a bit of time early to learn the ins and outs and basic maintenance.

A letter to everyone about to buy a brand new car. If the average Joe with a net worth above $1,000,000 is driving a used Toyota, I think you should be able to hold back from buying that brand new Land Rover.

When it comes to technology wait until the users of the previous devices are ready to jump ship to the latest goodies and that’s when you should be looking to buy.

4. Negotiate with your cellphone, cable and internet service providers.

Check your service providers, cancel things you don’t use and talk with competitors and ask them the best deal they are able to offer you. Call your own company back and negotiate better prices and never agree to a locked date term. My father used to often jump back and forth between Rogers and Bell, as they would offer an amazing deal for 12 months and then if they refused to offer him something even better, he would call the competitor. It was a wonderful experience to watch and it worked almost every time. When my neighbours would be paying $140+ for their services, we would be indulging in those same services for less than half that price.

We often suggest cancelling cable. We are at a time and age where every form of consumable resource can be found on the internet. If you want cable channels, there are plenty of IPTV services that offer those same channels so you can pick and choose exactly what you need and pay for just those.

5. Utilize reward programs.

Most retailers have their own reward collection services, and not using them is leaving money on the table. Use our guide to maximize reward program benefits. Remember to create a new and simple email that you can use for promotional emails, and collect every card you can. Use an app to store them because no one likes a bulky wallet. For the stores you shop at often you can talk to the customer service representatives to ask how you can maximize your experience as a customer.

A lot of times you can double or triple the rewards by using the right reward credit cards in the right place. Remember to use them and think about a game plan so you don’t leave them unused!

6. Find cheap ways to entertain your children.

Utilizing public recreation centers is an amazing way to get your children involved without breaking the bank. Your local recreation center has many activities planned for kids as well as open pool for the public at certain times, make a list of activities in advance so you are able to make a planned decision when the kids become a bit restless.

The Scarborough Pan-am center offers many activities, including free swim, badminton, basketball and camps for children’s and adults alike. There are even classes for karate, tae-kwon-do and other martial arts for children and adults.

Cheap ways to entertain is a great way to save money fast

7. Write a grocery list before you go shopping.

Shopping without any clear direction and being hungry at the same time is a recipe for disaster. As a student I remember spending over $300 dollars on a random visit to Costco, on groceries for the week. That’s something you need to avoid like a plague. Have a list, even a general idea of the meals you want to be having is great!

8. Negotiate Rates with your credit cards and consider balance transfers.

Negotiating with your credit card companies does wonders! Just look at our How to negotiate better credit card rates guide, they will be hesitant at first, but inquiring doesn’t hurt. Most of the time, if you plan on paying off your debt aggressively, creditors often decrease your rate to assist you.

Find a bank willing to accept a balance transfer, a lot of times you can just mention that you are planning on doing a balance transfer and they will reduce your rate almost immediately.

9. Save Money Fast by Planning out your Meals.

We all need to eat! So how come so few people plan out their next meals? Do you know what you plan on having for lunch and dinner tomorrow? If not then you need to get on that. Planning your meals is a great way to save significant amount of money. It’s healthier as well! Not only for your wallets but for your mindset as well.

Utilize resources like Budget Bytes which offer excellent and delicious meal recommendations. Start with one meal that really catches your attention. My girlfriend fell in love with Louisiana Hot Fried Chicken, so we grabbed some chickens and gave making that a shot by using Sam the cooking guy video link. I can’t begin to tell you how delicious that was, it was a great boost of morality, we have made that and a few other dishes.

So skip on the plain chicken and broccoli, focus on delicious meals and then start learning how to transition that into healthier but still delicious meals. Remember the human brain has been trained to strive for guilty pleasures for tens of thousands of years. Use that to your advantage.

Meal prep is a great way to save more money

10. Buy in bulk

If you have a good meal plan in order, it might do you good to buy certain things in bulk. Things such as non perishable food. Rice, pasta, canned tomatoes I think it’s beneficial to buy in bulk. Paper towels and toilet paper are also other things that I buy in bulk.

I suggest you have a strong idea of what you would like to purchase before running into Costco thinking you have strong willpower. Even willpower giants will have a tough time holding back from buying those scrumptious tuxedo cakes or that 24 pack of energy bars sitting at the back of your trunk.

11. Swap and trade!

It absolutely blows my mind how many people don’t like second hand things. Think of it as seasoning. As long as you train your eyes on what to look for, do your research (Which should help you determine if you really need it or not), buying used is very easy.

All you need is Google, your local classifieds, a few Lysol wipes and compressed air.

You’re set! Go out there and instead of buying your next consumer good brand new try to see if you can find a better deal buying used.

I should note, buying used is not always a good deal, there are times where you should buy brand new depending on the market and the product. Check out our post on How to get a deal buying used goods

12. Become environmentally conscious.

This comes down to two factors, use less and be more conscious. Those elements translates directly to saving money very fast. What can you be doing? Using less plastics and driving less while using the public transit more is a good first step.

Start by also looking at long term solutions, weather proofing your windows and updating your appliances to be more efficient may have a larger draw now, but over the course of the time you spend at that home it will be wonderful.

I also suggest people install a programmable thermostat, and there is usually a lot of government grants for updating to a smart home, doing small renovation to make your house more weather proof and installing more efficient appliances.

15. Use credit sparingly

Credit should only be used if you can pay off that amount in full at the end of the month. If you are spending money on interest then you are failing the most important rule of saving money fast. Understand that no one acquires $20,000 of debt overnight, it happens overtime but it always feels so sudden.

If you need help dealing with your debt you can read how I emotionally dealt with my debt and

You should use your credit, but only if its within budget, I made many purchases and throw it on my credit card thinking its going to be okay, I’ll just use my excess from the months after, and they always start piling up. To save money fast you need to remove any areas of your expenses such as fees and interest.

Once you break the barrier of budget security, you have opened yourself up to being over exposed and back into debt. I recommend avoiding that at all costs.

16. Learn to compare prices and reviews.

Don’t ever believe the first price you see and think its the best price. Just because a certain store has a product on 30% off does not mean you are saving money. Spend some time researching the product you are buying, the price it goes for online and also what others say about the durability of the product.

There are many resources that are built to help you find the best price. Also feel free to use amazon as a resource to understand more information about the thing you plan to buy. A lot of buyers don’t want to see the negatives of a product before they buy it. Instead, look at is as constructive, if the device is easily bent, get yourself a sturdy case with the purchase.

17. Become a DIY’er

Learning hand skills help you save money fast. Learn basic skills to fix things around the house. Fixing a clogged sink, removing a stripped screw and basic paint and drywall fixes, can help keep your home looking tip top and also save you hundreds of dollars in repairman expenses.

Over the course of time, you can even make a significant amount of money thanks to your DIY wall paints and furnishing, when you sell your home.

DIY things to save some money

18. Identify Stress Spending

Under the pressure of exams the only thing that seems to make me feel better is going out for AYCE sushi for dinner on weekends, or buying the latest tech that is supposed to make my studying feel easier. That is how I stress spend my precious savings. How do you deal with stress? If you are upset do you go out and buy a coffee to cheer yourself up?

I don’t think it’s necessary to remove everything that makes you happy, but keeping track of your delinquency will help you plan around it. Perhaps being aware of it will be enough to help you save.

19. Cancel unused memberships.

Simply said, don’t have useless memberships straggling you down. Check when the last time you used your Costco membership, gym or Crave HBO membership was, if is few next to never, consider cancelling. You won’t believe how much money this ends up saving.

Something I recommend to everyone, use one month to pay as you go, whether that be to the gym (if you are not a frequent go-er) or when it comes to movies. Pay for just the one movie on pay-per-view and at the end of the month look over your bills and see if those memberships are worth keeping. If you’re not going to the gym more than 5 times a month, you are most likely wasting your money.

Its not difficult to find cheaper alternatives. Toronto has Fit-4-less which is a $10 per month subscription to a gym, so maybe its worth to join that gym if you’re not going to your current gym often, even it is further.

20. Remove credit card numbers from online accounts.

We can all be lazy, and I absolutely love amazon prime, but I often remove my card off the account during the school year or when I am trying to be more aware of my spending.

It does not mean I don’t purchase my essentials. It’s just one more step which really ensures I am not spending money recklessly.

21. Ensure your car is reliable ad fuel-efficient.

Fill your tires, replace your air filters and get rid of that junk in your trunk, those three things alone can save you some serious money. Here is a few more things you can do to improve your milage

Finally it is important you maintain your car, it saves you a heck of a lot more going forward. Especially if you plan to sell it when you want to spice things up in your life.

22. Track your debt.

My biggest downfall was to let my debt get out of control. Don’t let that happen to you, and if it does take incentive right now to get it under control. It’s hard especially at first, coming face to face with your problems and your spending feels like you are trying to ruin your mood on purpose.

It is important to track it, and the more you face the debt the easier it is to swallow the pill of truth. It also helps with being more aware about your spendings.

23. Work on your skills.

Certain skills really help bring your overall costs down. I think of buying food out as submitting to someone else’s wonderful cooking skills and efficiency. For the most part that is okay, but why not spend a few hours a week honing a skill that you could use literally for the rest of your life.

Similar to learning how to submit your own taxes, and changing your engine oil. There are a few things in life we have to do often enough and I think it is important for us to pick up those skills. The best part? Saving money wouldn’t be the only perk you get from learning those skills.

24. Reassess your belongings and keep it simple.

Simplicity helps declutter your life which in turn has many positive influences on your finances. I have had an iPad, MacBook Pro, surface and a desktop PC. At the time it felt like I needed all of them for their own reasons. Once getting rid of a few, I feel like my life has a lot more clarity, I also have attained this new freedom. I can now travel and go where ever I want with a backpack and car that is not filled to the brim with gadgets.

This works with clothing as well. Simplify your wardrobe and you will notice some wonderful things happening. You’ll have less laundry to do, and always find clarity in the morning with what you want to wear.

25. Look for free events and things to do in advance.

It seems like an impossible task to save money fast when you can’t even go a day without being bored on this challenge. I can’t stress how much money planning events in advance can save you. Especially if you have kids, you’ll always want a few things to do over weekends that are your budget friendly in your repository. Having a few things to do for dates with your significant other is also a good idea. If you are planning on taking a tight grip on your finances. It will help them be more on board to see you are not sacrificing precious time with them and experiences to save a few buck.

26. Learn about all the benefits your school or company offers.

We leave free things on the table all the time! Let’s turn that around and make an effort to know the benefits of working or attending school. Free gym memberships to free resume checks and tax returns, I have seen it all. To save money fast I suggest spending some time looking at all the organizations you have registered with and checking what they offer. Sometimes it can be as significant as cutting a few hundred dollars from your car and home insurance!

Even at my school, a lot of students don’t know they are automatically registered and paying an amount for dental coverage and medication.

27. Focus on driving and do your best never to get tickets.

Do your best not to get tickets. If you are ticket prone, maybe take public transit out for a spin. It ensures you don’t get a speeding or parking ticket. Tickets are one of the most painful ways to lose your savings money. There is a chance they might even increase your insurance premium which would really hurt your wallet in the long run.

28. Always ask to get fees waived.

It blows my mind how few people ask to get their fees waived. When it comes to registering for any program, there seems to always be fees attached. You can always show a bit of disinterest and ask to get the fees waived. As for long term customers it’s even easier. Companies spend a tremendous amount of money attracting you as the consumer and losing you would be a bigger loss to them than their fee.

Its quite rare that a company will refuse to have my fees waived. Persistence is key, don’t be ashamed to ask to speak to someone who can get your fees waived. This can potentially save you hundreds of dollars per month.

Conclusion.

There are a thousand things you can do to save money fast, however it is to your benefit to understand what are things that you can cut out that don’t bring any values and vice versa. If you need help with budgeting your hard earned money so you can spend money without fear, check out our post on how to budget money. 

With passing time we plan to keep updating this list, so if this inspired you to save money, please sign up for our email list to get more tips sent directly to you!

Budget

How To Budget your Money in 7 easy steps

Closing your eyes to your financial issues has never solved your problems in the past. It’s time to budget your money with ease. All you need is an automated system and a few changes to your awareness. Check out our guide to saving a lot of money fast. Use your new-found knowledge and cash to establish a budget so you can spend money on the things you love guilt-free!

7 Steps to creating a budget that will guarantee freedom

Before worrying about your spending, let’s focus on how you make money. List income sources with tax included. In other words, list your after-tax income. This is quite easy if you have a regular paycheck.

Remember to deduct taxes and business expenses! We want the amount of pie remaining after Aunty Maple and Uncle Sam have taken a piece out of it.

How to build your budget.

It took me a very long time to understand and utilize a budget myself. It required a lot of work and commitments to the changes I was prescribing myself. Discipline is key, find and develop your own system, and learn to follow it. It’s unlikely that you will wake up one day and suddenly become a budgeting guru.

I realized for myself I needed it to be automated. I absolutely hate to have to track more things than necessary. So track something while I have the opportunity, once the situation is understood, I do everything necessary to automate the process.

Budget your money using software

Understand your situation

We all have different needs. It is important to make sure you know what you want out of a budget. Do you want more guilty free spending money? Maybe you are preparing for a wedding? Every situation will require you to have a different level of detail in your budget. Ultimately, each budget is very personal. What we are providing is the guideline feel free to tweak that to your desired settings.

Track your spendings.

There are some amazing free options to see where your money flows. A lot of times, people don’t know where their biggest expenses lie. Utilize services like Mint to track your most recent expenses and where you spend the most amount of your income. Tracking your money and being aware of your spending will help you establish an amazing system to budget your money.

Find every single financial statement that you can get your hands on and pile it on to your table. Bank statements, investment statements, utility statements, credit card statements, you get the point. First, deal with all of your physical statements, and then download any electronic statements you may have. You should find anything that may have a source of income or expense.

When I made my first budget, I looked at all of my statements for the past 6 months. I suggest you start by looking over the last three months. This needs to be a detailed scan of each and every payment that is leaving or being added onto your account over that time frame. This is as hard as it gets, looking over all of your statements can be one of the most painful yet eye-opening things you can do. This activity forces you to realize where your money is going.

Break your budget down into three categories.

Income; use this category to list all the avenues of payments you may have.

Monthly Responsibility; this category should include your rent, health insurance, car payments, student loans, car insurance, credit card payments, utilities, etc. These are payments that get processed out of your accounts automatically. These expenses are also consistent, as in they should be generally the same month to month.

Other Payments; this category should include things you spend money regularly but the amounts are not consistent. Groceries, personal items, household products, transportation, entertainment, dining out, etc.

Establish your income.

Figure out your monthly income. If you get paid the exact same amount every month then your life is a lot easier than many. For those of you who work freelance, this can be a bit more tricky. The way I did this was, I looked at my average monthly income over the last 12 months. If you want to be safe use the month with the lowest earned income. This way your budget would be based around the safest amount and you would be able to pay your bills.

How much money do you have?

If you have a long term savings account, retirement account, and other mediums of quick access cash which come with penalties, make a note of all of that. This section includes funds that you have direct access to and the penalties associated with it. For instance, if you have a tax free savings account, with funds tied to index funds or stocks on a brokerage account, you can write down the amount and the costs associated with withdrawing the funds. This section should also include your checking accounts and other investment accounts.

The primary reason to do this activity is to visualize the impact your longer-term savings funds can have on your budget. In case you ever need to dip into it. It’s not a matter of never using the money you save, it’s about understanding when and where to use it.

Create a personal net worth chart. Not just for your current situation, but also make notes on where you want to be. Visualizing where you are in terms of money and assets and checking where the money can be distributed to bring you closer to your financial goals is an important metric to follow. It helps to print out these charts and keep them handy just to assess changes over time. Similar to going to the gym, it is a good idea to monitor and track the changes to your financial health. Because it will help keep you motivated and not stray from your goals.

What do you owe?

While there is a lot of reasons to budget your money. It is especially important if you are currently stuck in high-interest consumer debt. Find out exactly how much recurring debt payments you are required to make every month. This is fairly simple especially if you have stopped incurring additional debt in the short term.

Overall, debt can be utilized as a positive entity, only if you know-how. However, that does not include high-interest debt. It’s too easy to over-leverage yourself and get stuck in a rut of interest for the rest of your life. Understanding what you owe and where your payments need to be diverted is a crucial aspect when you need to budget your money.

Three values are needed in this section; Total amount owed, Interest percentage and minimum monthly payments.

Budget your money by printing out and having all statements in front of you.

What is your average monthly expense?

Many people suggest it is important to track every single penny that you spend. Unfortunately, that is not possible for the majority of people. Here is a simpler way to track the metric. Print out your statements for the last 6 months and look for reoccurring monthly payments, this includes hydro, water and utilities, phone bill, etc. Things that come in monthly and has been certain over the last 6 months. Once you have that, feel free to use an app such as Mint to generate a report of an average of miscellaneous expenses over the last 6 months assume everything else can be lumped into that amount.

The reason why this helps is it gives you a general guideline to how much you are spending on average. With that, you can set up something engineers call a factor of safety (FOS). Which is just a multiplier of the amount you are spending a month with a small cushion. For instance, when designing loads, we will find the minimum capacity of the beam and multiply it by 1.5 to make sure there is space for mistakes.

Similarly, you should find an amount that works for you and the aggressiveness of your spending. If you are impulsive or feel as if you are prone to more emergencies (Not maintaining your car, not having health insurance, etc.) Then perhaps set a higher factor of safety in your budget for the funds that go into your checking account which should be automatically diverted after you get paid.

Create and adjust your budget according to reality.

Create a section for all your expenses, and divide them by your total income to check how much each aspect of your expenses is eating into your earnings. We love using percentages, they are easy to monitor and also adjust. This way you can allocate higher percentages to paying off your debts forcing yourself to be more frugal earlier and then let off the gas as you reclaim more percentages from the debt payments and utilize them in other aspects of your life. This is the magic of budgeting your money.

In a later post, we want to show you exactly how to automate your budget allocations so there are fewer human interactions. You want to find the golden ratio when it comes to the percentages in your budget allocation and just let the computer do the rest. You should only have to check in every few months to monitor and establish changes.

Here is a budget I created in my first year of university. It was simple, and sometimes to get started simply is all you need.

If you live in a community where the price for oil and food is rising, I would not suggest you budget your money once and stick to it for the rest of your life. Depending on how difficult it is to stick to your budget, you should be continuously changing your allocations over time.

Therefore should you budget your money?

It’s not difficult to budget your money. The difficult part is the discipline required to actually use it. It’s difficult looking at a bunch of numbers on a page and willing to believe in it 100%. By following the few steps noted above you will be on a path to efficiently budget your money and achieve financial freedom.

That’s why we are working on a simple budget builder and we hope to share it with the community for free. So if you are interested please register your email and keep an eye out!

We hope this helps you figure out another approach to your personal budget by taking out the stress. Do you have a budget? What do you use and what has not worked for you in the past? Please share how you budget your money in the comments below.