Friday, September 3, 2010

Chuggin' along

Picked up some more on sale groceries today. It definitely is slower going this level. I think only big ticket items are going to work next level. I purchased a notepad today (with double project money) so I can write down the weekly specials I am interested in. It was getting to be too much of a hassle fumbling with the coupons at the store.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Running out of Time

Yikes! I am running out of time before this step needs to be completed. Only one month to go! I saved some approximately $15 today purchasing items on sale from the grocery store. I also saved a huge amount by buying beer in Quebec instead of Ontario. I saved $15 from one single 2-4. I never realised how much taxes could differ from one province to another. I'll have to keep my eyes out for other such deals. It's a good thing I set this deadline or I probably wouldn't think about the project for 3 more months. I am determined to double by Oct 1st as declared!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I Sealed my Own Driveway

I found a huge opportunity to save money last week. Every 2 years I pay a company to seal my driveway, but I have noticed that many of my neighbors do thier own. I researched it and found that I can save a LOT of money doing it myself. I went to the local hardware store and bought the sealant and a roll on brush and went to town. It was surprisingly easy, although I don't think I did quite as good a job as the professionals. Still, it looks pretty good and I saved a whopping $120 ($60 for the project)! Unfortunately the paint roller broke and I had to buy another one. And then I ruined my pants so I had to buy new ones. At first I was very annoyed as this was going to cut into my profits, but in the end I found some unbelievably cheap $3.50 pants that are really good quality. They were so great I bought two! In the end I made $62.97 for the project. This puts me slightly ahead of the pace to meet my deadline of October 1st.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Just when your day can't get any worse... it gets better

I had to drive my wife to class today and grumbled a bit when I had to pay $1.50 for parking. Then she bought a drink and the vending machine short changed her by a quarter. Grrr.... What could possibly happen to us next? Well I looked over and saw a crisp new $10 bill sitting on the ground. Suddenly I didn't care that we just lost $1.75. I added it all to my stake since found money is fair game. 6.25% closer to the end of step 16! I also checked my doubling bank account and found that I had made 2 cents in May and 6 cents in June. Not much but it is PASSIVE income, which is the best kind!


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Due date set for Current Level

I didn't realise that so much time has gone by since I completed step 15. One entire month! I was on vacation for some of it though, which is part of the reason I wasn't setting a due date. I didn't want to consider myself on the clock while I was trying to relax. The vacation is now done, so I will put my standard 3 months due date on, which means I need to complete step 16 by October 1st, 2010. I did make two purchases before my vacation that were not recorded. Firstly, I purchased a pair of pants for an unbelievable price of $3.50. These are used pants, but they are in good condition. I don't think I can use the base price of $20 like the last pair of pants since they are used and may wear out quicker, so I will half it and say they're regularly $10 for a savings of $6.50. Halfing that according to the rules for coupons/sales, etc. gives a profit of $3.25 to the project. I also bought 4 more jars of Ragu on sale for $0.99, for a savings of $3.20/2=$1.60 So that is $4.85 for the project. I'll need to do better than that at this level.


Friday, June 4, 2010

Donated to Charity

I had $2.98 reserved for charity so I walked over to the grocery store today and bought 3 $0.99 cans of food for the food bank. Imagine my dismay when one of them only turned out to be $0.89 cents! I ended up with 11 cents so I put it in the blind dogs head again (in case you missed my earlier posts, it's like a giant dog piggy bank to support guide dogs or something). I must admit, I never realised how satisfying it is to donate, especially food which is something 'real' that families need. And it's all because of the doubling project. Awesome!


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Completed Level 15!

I usually go to a certain place to get my hair cut and in fact I went to get it done, but he was too busy that day. I usually would just try again, but instead I got my wife to cut my hair, which I havn't done in about 3 years. She did a really good job. I figure the money saved here qualifies since I almost certainly would have just gone the next day or so. If memory serves me corretly, his hair cuts cost about $12 and I usually tip him $3 (he is insanely fast - I am usually in and out of the store in five minutes; no joke!) Savings are always split between the project and the 'real' me, so that is $7.50 saved for the project, which puts me over the top for Level 15 for a total of $165.95. Splitting the extra gives $2.98 to charity and $2.97 to buy some thing for myself.

Level 16, here I come!


Saturday, May 22, 2010

More Deals

Today I went a bit out of my way to purchase something to save $2.50. In hind sight, it was not a good deal. I had to drive 8.8km there and back, which results in a cost of $0.88 to the project. Subtract this off the $2.50 savings and you get $1.62. Since the project only gets 1/2 of the profits from saving, this is a $0.81 cent gain, which is JUST what I need to make it qualify. This is fine, except we unexpectedly ended up in the area later at night to go to a restaurant, so if I had just waited a few hours I could have tacked on the $0.90 I wasted driving there the first time. Oh well, I guess you can't win them all. I also bought some Gatoraid for $3.99 (Reg $6.49), Apple Juice for $0.70 (On sale at Loblaws for $1.25 on what they apparently call a 'blowout'), and some shampoo for $1.99 (Reg $3.72). Calculating it all out, gives the project another $6.12 for a total of $158.65. I also calculated that otherwise, I've gone 4km out of my way, which translates to a 20c cost to the project. Only a buck sixty five to go!

More grocery savings

I bought some Gatoraid for $3.99 and priced it at $6.49 at my usual grocery store. I guess they don't consider it food because it is surprisingly taxed, which is bad for the real me and good for the double project (because I saved even more). I also bought some mayonaise for $2.97, which I priced at $4.79. This all comes to a gain of $2.32 for the project. I am creeping up to the finish. I wish there was something I could just buy and get it over with, but there weren't too many good deals this week. I guess I am starting to be stocked up with all the non-perishables we use so this method may slow down soon. Only $7.47 to go and then I am done level 15!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bought shoes, shoes and more shoes

My wife and I needed new shoes. She needed new jogging shoes and I needed both joggers and cross trainers. Usually I would just go out and buy shoes when I need them, but this time I watched for sales. I usually buy my shoes at the running room, but this sale took me over to Sports Experts. I found cross trainers on sale for 59.99 (reg 99.99). I also found a nice pair of joggers that were usually 179.99, but were on sale for $119.99. My wife found a pair for the same deal. This was starting to look like a total savings of $160, $80 of which would be for the double project. Wow! Then I remembered that I would normally have bought them at the running room, so I headed over there to check out the prices. They ranged from $129.99 to $169.99. It is impossible to figure out exactly which pair I would have chosen so I decided I would be as conservative as possible and price them at $129.99. I really want to make sure this project doesn't affect my finances negatively, so this ensures it. So that is a $10 savings from both sets of jogging shoes. The running room doesn't have cross trainers so I decided to let the $40 savings stand on the other ones. $59.99 for Adidas cross trainers is a really good deal. So that totals $67.80 (including tax) in savings, $33.90 of which go to the double project. I also purchased something else on sale, which netted me $3.57 for the project. I am over the $150 mark and almost done this level! Time to browse the fliers!


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Quick update

Quick update today. I bought three more things that gained $1.32, $1.78 and $3.67 for the project today. Found many things that were $1.50 off, which is too low since I need $0.80 after halfing it. So I am up $6.77 for a total of $112.74 today.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Bought something for myself

I had 4.77 burning a hole in my pocket (overshoots from previous levels). I decided to spend $2.25 on some 'wallet windows'. This is what people usually put pictures in, but being the crazy lunatic that I am, I plan to put coupons in them. That way I can flip through them at the store without having to fumble around with them. That still leaves me with $2.22 to buy things with. I'm a rich man!


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Gave to the Food Bank

I had $4.77 ear marked for charity so today I walked down to the grocery store and purchased 5 cans of vegetables (corn, beans, carrots, peas, etc.) for $0.89 each and placed them in the bin for the local food bank. It felt really great to know that because of the work I have been putting into my project, some families are going to have an extra can of vegetables some night when they would otherwise have gone without. I also dropped two coins into the 'blind dog' piggy bank to round out the $4.77.


Car savings

I made two more purchases today.

1) Motor Oil. My car is not the best. I have to add a quart between oil changes as it seems to burn or leak it all before 5000Km. I have always just purchased an extra quart from the local gas station. I knew I was paying more, but I did not know how much more. I priced it at $5.49 where I usually buy it and then I went to Canadian Tire and found some on sale for $2.49 a quart. It was such a good savings that I decided to buy 8. With the reduction in taxes saved and splitting the savings between the real me and the project, this netted a cool $13.56 for the project.

2) When I priced the motor oil, I decided to also price the windshield washer fluid, which was $4.99. I usually buy it at the gas station as well. I found some summer stuff for $1 at Canadian Tire so I purchased two (only two because I can't use it when the winter comes or it will freeze. You have to buy the -40C stuff then. That netted me $4.51 for the project.

So with just two purchases, the project is $18.07 richer for a total of $105.97.


Monday, May 10, 2010

I kept going with the grocery strategy today. Of course, each purchase only gets me half as close as it would have at the last level, but there are many purchases I can make that are above the 80c (1%) minimum. Today it was:

More batteries - but AA size this time. Shoppers Drug Mart had a 16 AA Duracel Pack for $7.77. I used the same base price as last time for the 12 pack because I have noticed that the 16AA pack is always the same price as the 12 AAA pack. Including tax and dividing by two for the projects percentage results in a $4.07 gain.

Kraft Dinner. Shoppers had a special $7.99 for a 12 pack. I know we will eat it so it qualifies. $4.07 gain for the project

Campbells Soup - Shoppers has these on for 59 cents, which is quite low. Loblaws has these as a base price for $1.20. I bought 6 for a gain of $1.83 for the project.

So all in all today, it was a gain of $7.90, which is close to 10%. Not bad for day 1.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Completed Level 14!

There were two good sales today for things we would have bought anyways. The first was a specific cream that my wife always buys. It was $3.40 at my regular grocery store, but was on sale for $2.99 at Shoppers Drug Mart (plus saved tax). The other purchase was a gold mine and was worth 50% of the entire step. There is a product we use that usually costs $10.50. Another brand of it was on sale for $4.99, which is unbelievable considering I have never seen this product go on sale for more than a few dollars. I purchased 6 of them, which saved $40.68, half of which goes to the project.

In the end, the project total for the step tallied up to be $84.79. I decided to charge $2.00 for gas since I did do some driving around to the different stores, but forgot to keep track. Since the project is only benefiting with 50% of the profit (can you call it profit when you are just spending less?), I figure it should only be charged half the gas cost, so I will subtract $1 for gas, which leaves the $80 to complete the step and another $3.79 to split between myself and charity.

Looking ahead to strategy for the next level, the minimum transaction gain is now 80 cents. 11 out of 13 of my transactions from this past level would have qualified, so it seems reasonable to continue with the same strategy. Eventually the effectiveness of this strategy will run out, but for now I will keep running with it.


Friday, May 7, 2010

I have been shopping up a storm, trying to find more items that are cheaper than where I usually buy them. Here is what I have found so far:

Chef Boy RD - Regular Price $1.79, purchased 10 for $1 each.
Ragu - Regular Price $1.89, purchased 2 for $0.99 each.
Deodorant - Regular Price $2.99, purchased 3 for $2 each.
Nutrigrain - Regular Price $10.5 for 32, purchased 40 for $10.
Orajel - Regular Price $4.59, purchased for $3.49.
Laundry Detergent - Reg Price $24.97, purchased for $22.95.
Cough Drops - Reg Price $1.39, purchased for $1.19

I also found some work pants for $9.99+tax, which I thought was a great price. I usually would have bought them from Zellers so I checked out what prices they had for work pants. They had a special on for $19.97+Tax.

My favorite purchase was some honey. My wife likes a particular brand, mostly because it has a pointy spout that does not drip. The trouble is, it is very hard to find the 1L version - they only seem to sell a 335ml version that is very expensive at $4.99. I did have an old empty bottle, so I cleaned it up, bought a different 1L bottle for $8.99 and poured it in. Saved almost 6 bucks on that one.

So, without going through all the excruciatingly boring math, it turns out that I saved an additional $38.21, which means an extra $19.10 for the project. - almost 50% of the goal in this one post!

A New Rule - Minimum Gain

I have decided to add a new rule:

- Any transaction that would result (or would be expected to result) in less than a 1% gain for the double project is deemed to be too insignificant and thus not a valid transaction for the project.

This will hopefully keep me from wasting time on the smaller deals. For example - at my current level, walking around looking for beer bottles would be a waste of time since each bottle would be a 0.25% gain toward the project, which means I would need to do this type of transaction 400 times before I completed the step. Way too low of a gain for my time. So that means anything that would expect less than a 40c gain is deemed small potatoes and not valid for the project. This will also allow my real life to take advantage of some of the techniques developed by the double project. For example, eventually grocery fliers and coupons will become too insignificant, which means I can fully take advantage of my new habit in my real life, hence allowing the double project to have an even better positive impact on my life!


Thursday, May 6, 2010

I have decided that to be even more conservative and to make doubly sure (pardon the pun) that my personal finances are not affected, I will be splitting savings 50-50 between this project and my real life.

So much is happening so fast that I can barely find time to post it all. I have been doing more shopping and more saving! It is somewhat ironic that in order to make money for the project, I need to spend more money. I am really trying to only purchase what I would have purchased anyways at a better rate. Here is what I found yesterday.

Batteries - I purchased one more pack of the $8.99 AAA 12 pack batteries since they are good until 2016. I am sure we will use them by then. So that is another $6 in savings, plus $0.78 I did not have to pay in tax.

Peanut Butter - Shoppers Drug Mart has a special on peanut butter - 1KG for $2.50, just as ours is about to expire. We had a 2KG jar, but i estimate that we only used 3 quarters of it. My usual grocery store had the 1KG for $5.40 and the 2KG for $6.25. If I were to purchase the 2KG then I will assume I would only finish 3 quarters again, which means I am really buying 1.5KG for $6.25, which translates to $4.16 per KG as my base. This is a savings of $1.66.

Doing the math for the project - ($6.78+$1.66)/2=$4.22 for the project. There is already much more, but I do not have time to post it right now - gotta go to some more deals!


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Completed Level 13!

I have been waiting all weekend for Monday to come. There were two items I wanted to buy.

1) Deodorant - My wife always buys this specific one. It was $3.49 at my usual grocery store, but it was on sale at Shoppers Drug Mart for $1.99. Interestingly, the normal Shoppers Drug Mart price was $4.69, so you would normally save money not shopping there. Not today as they were having a 2 day sale on it. This saves me exactly $1.50 per deodorant stick. I bought four, figuring we will be able to use that within the year, which came out to $6 in savings.

2) AAA Batteries. We go through these things like they are going out of style. This was a 12 pack for only $8.99. My usual grocery stores do not carry 12 packs, so it was difficult to price this. They had 4 packs for the same price, but I did not think I would ever buy a four pack as I have purchased 12 packs before. I ended up calling around to different stores and found that WallMart had them on for $14.99 as a regular price. I think Wall Mart is where I purchased my last 12 pack, so I think I can use this as a base price. That saves me $6 per pack. I bought two packs since the expiry is for 2016 so that totals another $12 in savings.

I also saved $2.34 in taxes that I would have paid, but did not, which brings me to $20.34.

75% of $20.34 is $15.25. Adding this to my $30.49 puts the project at 45.74, completing the doubling step with an overshoot of $5.74. $2.87 goes to charity and $2.87 goes to something I can buy for myself (add this to the penny from last double and I have $2.88 for myself). Now I finally have some cash to buy something worthwhile. Strategy for step 14 is simple - more grocery fliers and coupons!


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Always Read the Entire Coupon

I went to the grocery store yesterday and found a coupon for $10 off a huge box of baby wipes. Since we buy baby wipes anyways and they won't go bad, this is fair game for the project. I excitedly headed for the baby aisle, grabbed the box of wipes and headed to the cashier. The lady in front of me looked very tired and had a newborn baby in a snuggly. I noticed that she had lots of groceries and one of them was the same box of wipes I was buying. I felt a bit bad that I was going to save $10, but she wasn't so I told her about the coupon and offered to run to the front of the store to get it for her while she packed up her stuff. I quickly ran there and back. The cashier tried to ring in the coupon, but since she'd already completed ringing in the groceries, she had to call a manager in to do an override. The manager came, typed in the override code and the cashier input the coupon into the system. Then the manager looked at the coupon and advised me that I was wrong and I had to buy a box of wipes AND diapers for the $10 off. The lady in front of me didn't have any diapers so she ended up having to go to customer service to straighten everything out. Oh man... she was very nice about it, but you could tell that she was annoyed that I had delayed her. I don't blame her since she clearly was sleep deprived and here I am adding 20 minutes to her grocery visit. My intentions were good, but sometimes things don't work out how you think they will. I ended up not buying the wipes because I thought we could probably find a better deal since they were no longer on sale. The worst part is I went 2 km out of my way so I lose 20 cents from the whole ordeal. Lesson Learned - Always read the entire coupon!

Oh well, I made it back at night as some friends dropped by and left some empty beer cans. Since it was the doubling project that brought to my attention you can return them (I thought you could only return glass ones) I can add $0.45 to my stake. Also, I bought mustard today with a 30 cent coupon, 22 cents of which I can use for the project. So $0.45+$0.22-$0.10=$0.57 more for the project.

Slight tweak in the rules

After going for a run, I realised that the current plan would have my 'real life' buying groceries at full price every time I found a deal. There do seem to be lots of specials in the grocery store, so this is not realistic. I'll completely guess that there is a 25% chance that something I am buying would have been a deal anyways so I only get to declare 75% of any savings toward the double project. So the $14.50 turns into $10.87. I also forgot I charged myself a dollar of gas for going out of my way for the $10 coupon, so this becomes $9.87. I also found 5 pennies last week, so that's back up to $9.92.

Grocery Deal/Coupons - A Complete Change of Strategy

I was at the grocery store yesterday and I found a coupon on the front bulletin board for $10 off something I was going to buy anyways! The only reason I looked for coupons is because the double project(I have only once ever pulled a coupon off that wall). I figure it is fair game since I wouldn't normally have done that and was only doing it for the double project. That got me to thinking - I wonder what kind of other grocery deals I could find. When I got home, I pulled out our weekly fliers, which I never (and I mean NEVER) look at. I found a jar of Ragu that was on at Zellers for $0.99 and thought sounds like a good price. Ragu is something that we definitely will eat eventually so I figured that it would be fair game. The next day I went to the grocery store that I always go to and sure enough, that same jar of Ragu was $1.89. The Ragu next door at Zellers (literally next door - they share a building) was almost half price. I went next door and found the Ragu for $0.99! I bought 4 cans, which saved me $3.20 in Ragu to what I would normally pay, which I am putting towards this project.
Now in the past I have mostly shied away from the thought of coupons and fliers for the following reasons:
1) What if I end up eating MORE Ragu than I would normally have - remember, one of the major goals of the project is that it does not affect my real life finances. If I end up eating more Ragu then that could potentially affect my finances, especially if the thing I am getting a 'deal' on is on the more expensive side of things. For example - I use Breathe Right Strips and I am currently out. If I buy them at a good deal then it looks like I saved money. But what if I was so lazy that I took a month to buy breathe right strips? Since you get 30 in a pack, I would normally have paid $0 for that month for them (because I wouldn't have bought them at all), but instead would have paid the supposed 'good deal' price, thus affecting my personal finances in a negative way.
2) What if I would have got a good deal anyways. I wasn't planning on buying Ragu yesterday, so it is entirely possible that when I finally did buy it, the Ragu would have been on sale anyways. Say I would have normally bought it in 4 weeks time, but my usual grocery store has them on sale exactly then for $0.99. In that case, I would have declared a $3.20 saving to put on the double project, but ultimately I would have paid the same price so really didn't save anything. Giving my project the $3.20 would then in fact be taking it from the 'real' me. Something I DO NOT WANT TO DO. I have no idea when I would have bought Ragu and what the price will be then so how can I possibly know exactly how much I really did save.

You can see that this is already becoming complicated, which is why I have shied away from it in the past. But if you look at the big picture this has caused me to never look at the fliers and coupons and to miss out saving on a lot of money. Surely, by allowing the flier and coupon habit to develop, this would be better in the long run. Eventually my double project will be high enough that savings from the grocery store will be insignificant, but the real life me will benefit from this habit for the rest of my life. With this argument, it is worth going ahead with the grocery saving strategy despite the concerns listed above. If I really give too much to my double project by accident, but in the long run my real life finances are positively affected, then you could consider this 'extra money' just a fee for the services of providing the motivation to develop good money saving habits for my real life.

So, now that I have convinced myself that this grocery strategy is fair game, I need to establish some ground rules.

Grocery Savings Rules
1) My baseline price will be the price I would pay in my usual 2 grocery stores. That means most of my savings for the project will be when I go out of my way to a store I wouldn't normally go to in order to save the extra $$$.
2) I can only declare saved money for the double project if it was something I definitely would have bought anyways. It's no good to save money on something you wouldn't have normally bought. You're just paying more overall in that case.
3) I can only declare saved money for the double project if there is nothing cheaper in the store. For example, if a 500mL ketchup bottle is $2 and I have a flyer that says it's $1 .50 at the store down the road, then it looks like savings for the project. BUT if there's a 1L bottle of ketchup beside it that only costs $2.50 then the $1.50 bottle does not qualify because it still costs more per mL than the 1L bottle. See how complicated this is going to get?

I will do my best not to 'cheat' and in the real me is going to save a bundle in the long run. I've already saved $13.20 in just the first day! Actually, I saved $14.50 because I didn't have to pay tax on the $10 I would have (The Ragu isn't taxed though because it's food). You can see how wonderful a method this is going to be. I'm almost 75% done this level in one day! And the best part is that you aren't taxed for buying something at a cheaper price, so ANYTHING I save is mine and nothing goes to the tax man! I don't see why I need to go to garage sales at all!


Sunday, April 25, 2010

To the Garage Sales!

I managed to haul myself out of bed yesterday morning and went biking around to the garage sales. Surprisingly, there were not many - I guess it is still a bit early in the year. It was nice to get outside and chat with the different people.

Here are the items I found that I considered - remember I don't want to spend more than 20% of my stake to reduce the risk of busting:

1) Computer speakers for $3 - Although these were below my budget of $4, I hesitated to buy these as computer speakers are quite common. I don't like buying computer things in general as they get out of date so quickly. Not sure that speakers fall into that category since speakers are speakers. They definitely looked old and it was the first garage sale so I passed.

2) A vintage star wars millenium falcon - This was intriguing. Some people say you can make a lot of money on vintage toys, but you have to know your stuff. For this one I went back and did some research and found the item on Ebay for $50, but this was a new unopened one. If collectors can buy new ones, they probably don't want an old used one so I let it pass.

3) Garage sale 2 was a dud. Nothing there that caught my eye.

4) Garage sale 3 was more promising - she had a lot of antique looking stuff, but most of this was on its way out. There was an old night table for only $5, which I might have sold for more, but it was scratched up and I thought I might have to fix it up before I could sell it - also people usually want 2 night tables not 1 so I let it pass.

5) She also had two doll high chairs for $1 each, which I thought someone might buy for their little girl. They were wooden and seemed to be in good shape. I went on line to check and found one for sale for $20, which means I might be able to make a hefty profit. Looking closer, I could see that only one person per day looked at the ad, which told me that the market for these was pretty small. I wasn't sure anyone would really drive out to someone's house just for a little doll high chair - the market seemed pretty small for it so I passed again.

6) The last place had a toaster oven for $8. I thought about it and decided that people don't usually like to buy old stuff for their kitchen, and plus I didn't know how well it worked, etc. so I passed again

7) There was a crazy pirate ship kite for $10. The price didn't seem low enough and I think the market would be small again so I passed.

At the end of the day I didn't buy anything, but I am ok with that. I really don't want to get stuck with someone else's junk, although I hope I'm not being too picky.

On my way home I saw a beer bottle and I couldn't help picking it up. Since finding beer bottles are tax free, I am up 10 cents. At least the day wasn't a total dud.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Strategy for Level 13

Strategy for Level 13

Now that I have reached $20, looking for bottles isn't as profitable. Last level each bottle I found brought me 1% closer to the goal. Now that I need to gain $20, each bottle will only bring me 0.5% closer to my goal. Since it took me 22 days to double this past level, it should take me 44 days to double. This is ok, but I should be able to double much faster if I concentrate on buying and selling items instead. I have done flipping in the past on my old blogs so I am already experienced. If I can land the right item it is possible to double up with one or two flips.

What am I looking for? I need something that fits all or most of the below list:

- I must believe it is significantly underpriced - you make your money when you buy, not when you sell.
- It must be something that many people are looking for - it helps when you double your investment, but now when it takes you a year to make the sale.
- It should hopefully be somewhat small in case I need to resort to Ebay to sell it to keep shipping costs down. This isn't critical if it is a hot item and I expect it to sell fast.
- It should hopefully be an item I am familiar with or have sold before. In the past I have ran home to do some quick research before buying an item.
- I'd rather miss out on 5 good deals and make a bunch on the 6th one than end up with a product I can't sell. The key is NOT tying up your money on unsellable junk.
- Don't feel pressured to buy SOMETHING. If no deals are there that is ok.
- Having said that - try not to be so conservative that you never buy anything. You can't double up if you never buy anything.

I'll mostly be biking in my area to try and save gas money - 10c/km as usual. I might change my mind on this though if I find I am always running home to check the internet for prices. It might be worth a $1 investment in gas to make sure I buy that $5 item I sell for $20. You never know.

As far as a due date goes, I think three months is a nice non-stressful choice again. I may be on vacation for 2 weeks so I will give myself 3 months and 2 weeks so I don't stress over things throughout my vacation. That makes my due date August 7th, 2010.

The other thing I now have to start thinking about is taxes. You aren't taxed for finding beer bottles or coins on the ground, but you are taxed for buying something and selling it for profit. I need to review how to correctly present this on my taxes - not sure if I can claim expenses for driving around, etc. or if I need to declare myself as a sole proprietor - or if I can just say this is a hobby and what the implications of that would be. I will give myself the same due date - Aug 7, 2010 to learn how this all works. In the mean time I will withhold 45% for taxes and not include that in the next doubling step. Very painful, but at the end of the year this will stop me from dropping a level due to the tax man - and I might end up with a refund for the project!

It's nice to get out of the ditches and to the garage sales - and just in time for garage sale season.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Completed Level 12!

I found 4 pennies over the past two days so all I needed was 28 cents to complete Level 12. I went for a walk at work during my lunch hour and managed to find a beer bottle and a wine bottle in the ditch. Luckily there is a Beer Store near my work so I decided to walk straight there and complete the step. As I was walking, I happened to end up walking along side a recycling truck who was going about the same speed as me (on average since they had to keep stopping). He kept looking at me with a weird look and eventually he asked if I wanted to put my bottles in the recycling truck. It was quite hilarious trying to explain to the guy that instead of giving him the bottles, I was going to walk all the way to the beer store for a measly 30 cents. Further along my way I found two more beer cans in some big flower pot. I felt silly carrying the 20c large wine bottle, so I switched it for a 20c beer can. I would have loved to take them all, but I was already afraid someone from work would see me digging in the ditches so the beer can was less conspicuous and I didn't want to get my work clothes dirty by trying to carry too much. When I got to the beer store, the guy told me that the can was only worth 10 cents, not 20! So instead of completing the level, that left me 8 cents short. BUT the two cans in my garage were worth 10 cents less each so I was 28 cents short. DOH! I guess that explains why I thought I was short changed last time I went to the Beer store.

As I walked back to my desk deflated, I tried to think of what I could do to try and still complete my double step today. Then I thought about the bottle of wine in our fridge that should be thrown out. I never knew you could return wine bottles and have ALWAYS just recycled them. If it wasn't for this project, I very likely would have just recycled this bottle, so I figure it is fair game. In fact, all of our wine bottles in the future should also be fair game. So that put me back to 8 cents short. I made up my mind then that I would run over to the flower pot during my last break and get the can. I was too embarrassed to bring it to the Beer Store again, so I just put it in a plastic bag and brought it home.

So I ended up with $20.02, which means I get to spend one penny on myself and donate one penny to charity. Sounds bad, but half of the $20 belongs to charity. I did very well with completing my doubling step in only 22 days (from when I made my declaration) out of the 3 months I gave myself. Can't wait to start thinking of new strategies for Level 13. I will consider the new due date tonight.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

It was still there!

The can I had my eyes on days ago was still there. 20 cents closer - only 32 cents to go! I really like those tall cans. They're much lighter than beer cans and worth twice as much!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Found a 20 cent can

This step started with a bang and is slowly coming to a close. I found another can on the side of the road. Had to pull over the car for that one LOL. There's another one I had my eye on, but I havn't been back that way due to being sick. I hope it's still there tomorrow. 52 cents from completing this doubling step and I can't wait!


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

I just finished "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind" by William Kamkwamba, an African boy who managed (just after a famine) to build a working windmill out of junk from a scrap heap so that his family would have light at night, and a few extra bucks charging peoples cell phones, not to mention eventually irrigation for their crops via a windmill run pump so they could get a second harvest throughout the year (see famine above). This might be the most inspiring story I have ever read. Talk about making lemon aid out of lemons. This guy gets dealt a bad hand in life and turns everything around all by himself, despite ridicule from his fellow villagers. I do get ridiculed sometimes about my project - it seems that no one in my real life is as excited about it as me - so this story really resonated with me. If this guy can build a windmill out of a pile of junk when survival itself was in question, then surely our doubling community can come together and turn a penny into a million dollars. Congratulations Mr. Kamkwamba. Well done.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Added Due Date to Current Double Step

I created a thread in the Doubler's Den a few days ago, where doublers can go and declare their due dates for their current doubling step. It seems to be catching on as I see that Xinfinitum at the Double to a Million Plan and Edo at My Doubling Adventure have made their declarations on their blogs. I really find that setting a goal is essential to completing any project, especially the size of this one. As stated previously, my current deadline is July 1st, 2010. I have put this in small text under the current level info on the right hand side bar. This way I won't forget as it will be staring me in the face every time I blog. Not to mention I will know that all my fans expect me to complete my steps on time. Xininitum has also come up with a Doubler's Creed and I stand fully behind it. It goes as follows:

"We are Doublers and Penny Pickers. And Adventurers and Wannabe Millionaires. Who day and night go step by step with duty, honor and pride. And neither sickness, nor disease, nor ridicule, nor bad night vision, nor lack of finding change, nor ever finding the national treasure, will stay us from the swift completion of our sporadic rounds. Ever."

Let the new era of doubling begin. I declare this the era of Doubling 2.0, where we have purpose; we have deadlines and we meet them.

Go forth and prosper one double at a time.


Found a dime

I was at the grocery store getting money out of the bank machine (this is past the cashiers) and I decided to walk back to the checkout stations that I missed. Good thing I did because I saw a shiny new dime. Almost there. Feels good after the dud beer run.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Beer Run Dud

I went on a 8.75K beer run today and didn't find a single can or bottle. Granted, there was only about 3K worth of good bottle hunting area, but alas, no dice. The question is why were there none. I ran to work, which takes me between very populated areas with 3K of forest in between. Other more successful beer runs have been more on the outskirts of town where the next populated area is hundreds of kilometers away. My theory is that people throw out their beer bottles as they approach town, but once they're already in town they're less likely to keep their bottles in their car. I hope I am wrong because that would say something about how many drunk drivers are in my area. Maybe it is the farmers who just throw their bottles in the ditch. Either way, my next beer run is going to be back out on the country roads.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

What makes people quit?

I was surfing around and found an old doubling blog. This girl, Rachel, managed to double her way from a penny to $1500 in less than a year. That's more than all the doubling I have been doing for three and a half years. She was WAY in front of any other doubler and then all of the sudden - out of the blue she disappeared. Her blog has been silent for two and a half years. Now I'm not judging - I've certainly had my share of extended leaves, and I don't know her life - maybe life got busy or maybe something really bad happened. I'm not trying to focus on Rachel, specifically, but rather explore why people get excited about a project for as long as a year and then it just fizzels out. Previously I had decided to make achievable due dates for the doubling, which seem to be working out (at least at this level). But what makes someone so passionate and then BAM, it just dies? Perhaps the reward seems to small for the effort, or perhaps life gets in the way. Maybe personal interests change? I'd really like to know because I really want to succeed at this - I've been doubling so long, I can't imagine ever stopping. Maybe it's just a case that slow and steady wins the race and I just have to keep plodding along and not worry so much about others dropping out of the race.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Returned the Beer Bottles

Ahhh... It's so nice to finally enjoy the fruits of my labour. I returned the beer bottles and they accepted every one. I didn't even have to clean them. Some were pretty disgusting and I thought they might complain, but not a word was spoken and I received all my money. I still have to find a few more, but I will be glad when this level is complete and I can hit some garage sales. Found 2 cents too.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Went back to bottles

Ok - I couldn't resist looking for more bottles today. There's a patch of gas behind the esso that is on a highway and I thought it would be a great place for irresponsible people to throw away their beer bottles. I found FOUR bottles over there. It still blows me away at how many I am finding. I really hope this is from people walking and not driving. Certainly makes me feel a little less safe on the roads. Later I found a 20cent beer can on the road near my work and a penny to boot, so 61 cents earned for the project today. Not too shabby for 5 minutes work - about minimum wage. Awesome!

My Charity (or at least one of them)

I've been doing a lot of thinking about who to donate the final amount of charity money to. This is somewhat of a journey, and as such I think I may discover some charities I would like to donate to along the way so I am hesitant to declare it right now. Having said that, there is someone very close to me that has MS, so I would like to donate something there. Since it is motivating to know where the money is going, I have decided to split it up into percentages. So I've decided that 10% of the doubling money will go to the MS Society, with 90% still to be declared. Hopefully this will give me more focus to keep the doubling going.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

A penny

Found a penny. This message will self destruct in 1500 years.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Cashed in the Liquor bottle

I went to the Liquor Store to return the bottle I found, and I was told to go to the Beer Store. Seems wierd to me. Imagine Wallmart asking you to go to Zellers to return the latest widget you bought. Oh well, it was across the street and they gave me 20 cents for it so I was happy. I've been thinking a bit about the uncleanliness factor of picking up other people's old discarded beer bottles and have decided not to pick them up any more. I have over 2 and a half months to make a buck fifty, so I don't think it will hurt me too much. It was fun, but it's time to find another way to make some money for a bit. Oh and I found another 2 cents today.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Mirage Beer Can

On my way home I saw a beer can on the street from the car, but didn't have time to pick it up. My run ended up being late at night so I figured I would run to pick up the beer bottle as it was approximately the right distance away. I was so excited to pick up another 20c worth for the project. As I approached the anticipation was almost too much to bear, but soon I had my prize in my hand. Imagine my disappointment after running 2K to find that it was an energy drink instead of a beer can. I ran away almost in tears (please don't tell me you believe this story.), but imagine my excitement when I found a liquor bottle. It's a fairly large one and I recently heard that I can take it to the liquor store. We'll see when I drop it by there tomorrow. Oh, and I found a penny!


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Phone Surprise!

I was walking out of the grocery store today and absent mindedly stuck my finger in the change slot. Cha-ching. A beautiful quarter was waiting for me inside it. You never know when you might find a coin and a quarter is one of the best to find. Up to $18.30 now. Getting close to completing this level and I am only 6 days into the 3 months. Hopefully I can keep up this pace.


Monday, April 5, 2010

You can return Beer Cans!

Who knew - Apparently you can return beer cans to the beer store. I had some cans from when my friends came over (I only drink from beer bottles). On the can it said you could get a 20 cent refund in Quebec. Since I don't live in Quebec, I would just put them in the recycling. Then I thought I might as well ask if they'd take it since I am quite close to Quebec. It turns out they DO take them and you get 20 cents a can for them! Who knew? Probably everyone, but not me. Since I was going to recycle them as always (they were already in the recycling box) and have never returned this type before and probably never would have, I am going to allow it for this project. They gave me a dollar for the cans. I'm pretty sure there were more than five though, so I think they must have miscounted. At first I was annoyed, but I guess I got a nice cheap lesson for only 20 or 40 cents. Always make sure you know how much you are supposed to get in an exchange BEFORE you conduct it. That way if you're shortchanged, you can catch it easily. I also went for a beer run this morning. I drove 4.8km to get me to a new place, which cost me 48 cents for the driving. I managed to find 10 beer bottles (I'll be looking for cans in the future) so that puts me another 52 cents up. To top it off, when I was leaving work, there was another 20 cent beer can lying on the ground. So that is a whopping $1.72 for the day, 17.2% toward my goal. Not bad on a work day. I'm now at $18.05, so only $1.95 to go on this level and I'm only 5 days into the 3 months!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

There's Gold in 'Dem 'Dere Ditches

I did another beer run today. This time it was 7K. I ran 3.5K down a country road and 3.5K back the other side. It was freakin' hot. I figured out that instead of hauling beer bottles all the way down the road and back, on the first leg I can just run across the road and leave them on the other side to pick up on my way back. I also learned that you must place them on the ground because on a hot day, beer bottles will easily break if you try to roll them from a short height of 1 foot off the ground. 10 cents down the drain on that one. I also had one break in my hand when I went to pick it up and one broke in the bag when the bag hit my leg. This is apparently dangerous stuff. I managed to fill both bags and actually left them on the side of the road to pick up later with the car as they were getting a bit heavy to run with. I ended up driving 4 kilometers to get there and back and pick up the bags, so I will be deducting 40 cents for the car (you'll note I previously said I would charge myself 10c per km for gas and wear and tear.) In the end I picked up 19 beer bottles, which I can get $1.90 for. Subtract the $0.40 for the car and I made a cool $1.50 for the project today AND ran 7K, which is further than I have ever run in my life. It has been a good day.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Focus Plan

I have been thinking about how I often seem to forget about doubling for 3-5 months or so before I come back to it. I think one of the reasons is that I have not set a goal as to when to complete the current doubling step. My previous project was going for about 4 years and I managed to get to about $850, which is approximately 4.3 doubles per year and that included many breaks where I lost interest. So if I set my goal to double every 3 months (4 doubles per year) I think that should be very do-able. The good news is that at that pace, I should have my million in just 4 years and 3 months (that would be insane!). It's all about focus people! I also have to remember that this isn't just about me. People have donated to this with the understanding that I will be ultimately giving half of it to charity and I intend on keeping to that promise; but to leave it to stagnate for almost half a year is unacceptable. Perhaps now is a good time to decide what to donate the $500,000 to in the end. It needs to be something important to me to keep me focused. I should have lots of time to ponder since it's Easter and I have Good Friday off. Stay tuned...


Another Beer bottle and a penny

I found another beer bottle in my travels. People must think I am crazy pulling over to pick up a beer bottle. At least I wasn't running with bags of them this time. Getting there!


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Beer Run Haul and Unexpected Surprise

Last night I checked my paypal account for the first time in a long time. I got a nice surprise when I saw that someone purchased one of my Financial Spreadsheets from my previous doubling project. After some paypal fees, I netted $3.57. A modest amount, but given I am no longer promoting it and given my current level, this is a huge boost for the morale! I decided to go on another `Beer Run`this morning, but this time I drove part way to work and ran from there. 2K down a country road and 2K back to my car on the other side. I ran down the entire first side and found nothing. The return trip was much more profitable as I found 9 beer bottles (I was smart enough to bring plastic bags this time). To top it off, I found another one on my way home for lunch, so that`s another $1 for the project. Not bad for just doing what you were going to do anyways. I really can`t believe how many beer bottles are in the ditch. Keep em` coming!


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

More Beer Bottles

I was so surprised at seeing 6 beer bottles on my run that I decided to scan for beer bottles on my way to work today. I was just as surprised to run into another 5 of them. I had no idea how much litter there is in the ditches. Some people are really disgusting. So now I am 50 cents closer, which is 5% closer to the next level. Not bad for just scanning while you were driving anyways. I think this may become my main means of collecting money at this level. It`s like taking candy from a baby - or at least like taking money from a drunk. And I get the added bonus of happily removing some of the litter in my neighborhood. I thought about driving around looking specifically for beer bottles, but since I charge the project 10c per kilometer, I would have to find more than 1 bottle every kilometer to make it worth it. For now I will focus on my long runs and when I`m driving around anyways. I used to obsess over finding money on the ground and now I can feel it - I am going to be dreaming about beer bottles. I almost feel young again.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Beer Run!

I have been training for a 10K race and I have hit the 6K mark - long enough to incorporate some country roads into my run. I did just that today and was struck by how much garbage was in the ditches. Then I saw a beer bottle. First I ran by it and then I thought, "Am I really going to ignore that nickle for Charity?" I ran back and got it. Then I saw another and another... In all I saw 6 beer bottles on my run, but I was only able to carry four of them. Maybe next run I will pick up the other two, or perhaps run down a different country road hoping for another jackpot. Also found 2 pennies at the mall, so 42 cents up for the project. Not much, but at least I am headed in the right direction this time.


Sunday, March 21, 2010


Well, poker caught up with me again last night. I bet 20% of my stake in the first game, which was $2.88. No real chances presented itself and I basically folded until I was push/fold and ran into a good hand. Sucky! The next game, I bet 20% of what I had left, which came to $2.30. This game went much better with me in significantly more pots and a big stack early. I made a lousy call with A7s and ran into a better Ace. After that I was pretty much done and that was that. So the project lost $5.18 last night. Oh well, you can't win them all. My wife managed to win the first game, which made our family even for the night. Too bad that doesn't help the doubling project.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Finally completed donation and bought a treat for me!

Well I looked and looked and looked again for somewhere to donate 26 cents to the hearing impaired. Why doesn't that lady come back? I denied her a dime, but there's a quarter and a penny with her name on it. I finally gave up and gave the 'blind dog' the money. He was very appreciative. I also realized that I never bought anything for myself so far, which meant I could buy something for exactly 50 cents. It's actually difficult to find something that cheap now a days. I could have waited a few more weeks for garage sale season to see if I could find anything, but I opted instead for the gum ball machine. Actually it was a jelly bean machine. You sure get a lot of jelly beans for 50 cents. I feel like I won a stomach ache LOL. It had been a very long time since I had any jelly beans so it was a treat indeed. It was nice to enjoy the fruits of my doubling labors. There is a poker game tonight, so I will be betting 20% of my stake. The first game I get to bet $2.88. Wish me luck.