How to make chocolate milk mix at home from scratch! (3 simple ingredients!)

I LOVE chocolate milk. It’s super cheap and easy to make your own chocolate milk mix at home- rather than buying more expensive mix at the store. I buy most of my ingredients in bulk so I already had everything I needed to do this. This recipe makes enough mix to make a bunch of chocolate milks with. You can easily halve or quarter this recipe if you don’t want as much left over.

Be sure to share this with your friends!

Ingredients:

How to mix:

  1. Put all ingredients into a jar with a lid
  2. Put a lid on and shake the ingredients until they are well mixed.
  3. To make chocolate milk, add 1-2 Tablespoons of mix to a 8 ounce glass of milk – or as desired.
  4. Stir mix into milk
  5. Enjoy

Hope you enjoy this recipe! *and that it save’s you money on chocolate milk mix! ;)*

Now that I am debt free, all I want to do is quit my day job.

Now that I’m debt free and have saved a few months rent- all I want to do is quit my current job and leave the rat race now. I currently hate the work I am doing, and I feel like my skills are wasting away. It’s amazing how free feeling it is to be about of debt!

I haven’t felt this liberated since I was a child… so since the last time I had no debt. Huh, funny how that works.

Anyways, on top of that, I recently just broke a milestone and am earning a few dollars each day without doing anything through affiliate marketing on another small site I run.

The only reason I haven’t quit my day job is because I only have a few months of rent saved up, and I should really have at least six. Also, I currently make $300 a day at my day job- my passive income revenue is $3/day. I need to improve that. I am also looking to save money to make a down payment on a rental property early next year- which I hope will add another $50-$80 dollars a day depending on the property.

However still, I can’t help the feeling that I am just doing the wrong thing in life as far as my career goes and it’s bugging me. Don’t get me wrong, I love technology and coding- I just don’t like the industry. I was happier contributing to research in college and internships rather than supporting corporate applications. Following my anniversary with this company, I may leave the 9-5 sooner than planned to pursue other options later this summer.

It may take me a little longer to save up with a smaller income, but I think the peace of mind will be worth it. We’ll see what happens.

Goal Achieved: $3 per day passive income

In an effort to discover what works and what doesn’t with passive income, I recently decided to give affiliate marketing a try.

I think affiliate marketing is great, but only if you truly believe in the product. I don’t think it’s fair to back a product if you’ve never used it before. That said…

I decided to made a new wordpress site. This site was focused on primarily survival/outdoors gear. I was inspired to make the site to increase awareness for basic emergencies supplies, how to use them, and where to get them. I monetized the site by using affiliate links instead of ads. Such that if a user purchased the product through clicking the link on my site, I would receive a small cut of the sale.

 

clicks
The First Week. Amazon pay’s fees on shipment, not on click.

Everything went great with the site for the first week! The first few days saw several hundred views, and many users engaged with my links. Following the first day, I began to see revenue. All in all, about $30 bucks for the week and I didn’t lift a finger. I also hadn’t yet done SEO or anything of the sort. I was enthralled!! I was officially making passive income.

Why do I say was? Because over the weekend my site was shut down. It was hosted with a free wordpress.com domain, and for some reason the site was blocked. If you look at the image above, there were two days with no traffic, and thus no affiliate revenue.

After reviewing the terms word for word It was not clear to me what I did that was against the terms. So, I contacted customer service. However, I did not and have still not heard back. Defeated, I choose to research my options- as it was clear I could no longer host this site on wordpress (for whatever reason).

After much deliberation, I went with hostgator. I compared bluehost and godaddy as well as a few others, but hostgator provided the best value for the product. So far everything has been great with them. Plus, I can make as many sites as I want. The site is back up over the weekend and is again bringing a few dollars a day. I had to rebuild most of it. XP

Hopefully, it will keep making a few bucks a day. If so, then I may have to expand on my endeavors. It also may stop generating revenue, in which case I would re-evaluate my model.

Either way, I’ve never made passive income before. $3 seems insignificant, but it adds up. Assuming the totally unlikely probability of $3/day everyday for 40 years, that’s nearly $44,000. Assuming every site I make makes $3 a day, I would need to make 50 sites to live comfortably.

Either way, it’s more than just making money! It’s also being savvy with your money!

Next goal: $10 per day!

 

5 Simple Ways to Save Money

Be sure to share this with your friends!

 

1. Eliminate your debt
If you are trying to save money but still have debt, pay off the debt first. Not convinced? Add up how much you spend per month on debt, that money can be easily saved instead. Don’t make the minimum payment! 😛 .

2. Establish savings targets
One of the best ways to save money is to visualize what you are saving for. Do you want to buy a house in five years with a down payment of 20 percent? Do you want to open your own business?  Do you just want $1000 or to just be debt free? It’s important to have a vision.

3. Pay yourself 
Set up an automatic debit from your checking account to your savings account each payday. Whether it’s $50 or $500. Put this money away into a savings account until you invest it – or until you retire.

4. Save on the electricity bill
By lowering the thermostat on your water heater by 10 ° F, you can save 3 to 5 percent on energy costs. And installing a water heater on request or without tank can save up to 30 percent compared to a standard water heater with storage tank. You can save hundreds a year just by doing this!

5. Skip the frequent treats
How frequently do you *treat* yourself? By this, I mean buying a coffee or other little pick me ups throughout the day. Even buying a Kit Kat bar in the checkout aisle. All of these little expenditures add up as each day goes by. By the end of the year, if you drink a $4 mocha frappe coffee everyday, you will of spent nearly $1,500! It’s important to treat yourself, but don’t spoil yourself either.

First Sprout!

Two wees ago I talked a little about starting a balcony garden. Since then, I’ve changed it up a little bit in regards to what I am growing. Officially, I am growing Spinach, Strawberries, Goji Berries, Bell Pepper, and Tomatoes. Two weeks ago, I planted Spinach with seeds I bought from home depot. I actually didn’t buy pepper seeds, I used fresh ones from a pepper I got at the store. All the other seeds I purchased online. I am still waiting for the tomatoes to come in and should pot them next week.

Regardless, since I had the spinach seeds ready, I decided to plant a few rows in a flower box on the 24th of March. I was anticipating the last frost to have settled, but it got cold again last week so I was a little worried they may not of made it. Luckily, 4 of the 20 plants popped up today (hehe)! More should follow tomorrow. It’s good to see that they’re growing, as I’ve never grow from seeds before!

Today I planted Strawberries in four small pots, green peppers, and goji berries. I am really excited for the goji berries, as they are amazeballs. Sadly, they will take a few years to product good fruit. Strawberries and Peppers should be ready for summer, but they need to be in a warm environment when they are first growing, so I have them indoors and will move them outside once they start to stalk.

I’m excited to see where this goes! Hopefully, my tomato seeds will be in this week and I can add them to my balcony garden!

Don’t always buy cheapest (The Walmart Syndrome)

It’s important to be frugal. However, simply ‘buying the cheapest’ is not always the best tactic. This works for some things like quick consumables, like a generic brand of yogurt vs the name brand. However, for other things- like appliances, tools, and clothing, it’s not. These commodities I refer to as durables, rather than consumables, because they are meant to be used over and over again.

Walmart Syndrome, more commonly known as planned obsolescence , is where you keep buying the same cheap products again and again- spending more money in the long run because you make the same purchase multiple times. Sadly, most people have normalized the concept of buying the same thing multiple times because there are so many disposable products- but this line of thinking is not sustainable for both consumers wallet and the environment.

The old adage: “There’s buying cheap and then there’s buying smart” is really what this post is all about.

When I was young, for example, there was a year I bought 3 pairs of flip flops in one summer. I kept buying the cheapest pair (trying to be frugal and naive) and they kept falling apart after a few weeks of normal use. I ended up spending $40 combined for the 3 shitty pairs, as well as $25 for a nicer pair which lasted much longer (years in fact). I ended up paying three times as much as I would of had I just bought the slightly more expensive version in the first place.

Note: This doesn’t always mean that there is a direct correlation between the cost of a product and it’s quality. Some products are blatantly overpriced. Some products that will last a life time are quite affordable, like this can opener

Durables can be anything from furniture to consumer electronics or from clothes to toys. When making these purchases there is either an upfront cost you must incur, or you can finance it. Naturally, whenever possible, you should avoid financing where it’s not advantageous (eg. 0.0 apr for 12 months and paid within 12 months is a good deal).

When buying durables, I think it’s best to take the total cost of the item and divide it by the number of years I expect it to work- because nothing last forever. This requires a little market research to estimate the life span of the item (there’s a way to get around the research I explain later). Although products with life time warranties still exist, they are becoming harder to find and often have many stipulations and limitations- so watch out.

A good example is a new phone or tv. How many years do you plan to use your phone/tv? How many phones/tvs have you had to buy across your lifetime? With that information, how many more do you think you will buy?

For me, I just purchased a new phone. With most phones in the past I expected about 2-3 years of life time (which I got with both of my android phones). A new phone cost about $400, so about $130 per year to use. That isn’t bad, but if I’m trying to minimize costs I can do better. I just got a Samsung Phone that is built very rugged. Albeit a little older of a model, it only cost me $100 dollars brand new and it should last me 5 years. $20 dollars a year is six times cheaper than $130 dollars a year.

In addition to thinking about the lifetime of anything you might purchase, i t’s also worth considering weather or not it’s worth buying used. There is slightly more risk, but more often than not the used item is still fully functional and you will get a good bargain.

Take advantage of refund opportunities. Many people I know think it is simply to inconvenient to go to the customer service counter and ask for a refund rather than to go to the same store and but the item again. A good strategy if your not so savvy with understanding the quality of a product (or researching it) is to buy cheap, and then return it if it’s not working out in exchange for the slightly more expensive version. This way you’ve mitigated your investment risk in the product.

Regardless, people need to actively try to buy higher quality commodities that will last them a long time rather than settling for cheapest. In most cases, you will find that over time you will spend more money re-purchasing the same item over and over again.

If your interested in learning more about planned obsolescence, I encourage you to check out The light bulb conspriacy.

Is investing in a Small Business VS a Franchise

A few weeks ago I made a post about investing in small franchises to add to your current income stream. Today’s posts goes a step further and explores the idea of buying an exiting small business that is not a franchise. No business is the same. There is often little or no documentation like that a franchise would provide when buying a small business. Buying a small business requires much more research and attention- but can be very rewarding. Another term investors use is investing in a ‘business opportunity’.

Similarities to Franchisees:

  • Potential to earn a living income
  • You can be very independent because you run your own business
  • Can vary in price from $30,000 to $10,000,000.
  • You’re usually also buying a clientele stream along with the business.

Differences from Franchisees

  • You don’t get a Uniform Franchise Offering Circular (UFOC). The UFOC is essentially a document that outlines the businesses performance history, profits, losses, etc. Some business can provide records, but not nearly as detailed.
  • Don’t have to deal with corporate rules or pay dues and fees.
    • And as such, you have the very real reality of managing the business with so support line.
    • As a positive, you have a lot more independence and control over your image and product/service.
  • There is no “Brand” per se, or at least not in most cases.
    • This provides the opportunity to build a brand, or to change it upon acquisition very easily.
  • You usually need to invest a lot more time in the image and upkeep of the business. Sometimes, you must even manage it full time yourself (which is a great option for some)
  • There is often seller financing.
    • Seller financing is great, because it makes it easier to negotiate the mortgage and down payment. In these scenarios you work with the seller directly as a lender instead of a bank. The catch is it’s a little riskier and you will want the contract reviewed by a lawyer.
  • They can be used as a “starter package” for a different business
    • You can buy out a small business to save money on buying various equipment they may already have.
  • Can vary in net cash flow, but you can often expect to make about 1/3rd the upfront cost of the business the first year. In some cases much more, or some less depending on the service. Franchises vary as well, but tend to have more stable profit projections with a lot of math to back it up.

Buying a small business usually requires more time and effort, but can often cost less money upfront. If you want to learn more about buying a small business I can’t recommend this guide enough: HBR Guide to Buying a Small Businesss. You will need to learn how to properly value the business as well as understand the market and clientele. Unless you have the assets to hire someone to properly manage your business, you better be prepared to figure it out for yourself- of risk losing it all. Often times, buyers will manage it themselves in the beginning and until they can train someone else to do it for them.

All in all, a small business is a good investment- but as an investor you need to be savvy and understand the product. Buying a small business is usually easier than buying a franchise, thus it is more accessible to potential investors.

I’ve considered recently what kind of starter businesses I could get behind. Pizza, I think, is my favorite. In high school and college I worked for a local pizza shop and I loved it. Usually, Friday and Saturday nights in the pizza kitchen were very exciting! Making pizza is actually very rewarding and fun. I even have a my own super secret recipes for delicious fluffy dough and sauce(s). Recently, I looked around Washington and found a few pizza places were for sale. I may jump in and just enter the restaurant business one day. I have the advantage of already knowing the business. That may be a quick way out of the 9-5 and on the road to independence. 🙂