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Posts Tagged ‘van dwelling’

I had a really wonderful trip to Omaha to visit all my friends and relatives and to help my sister load up the moving truck with all of her belongings.  Now I’m back in Virginia to help my mom get ready to move.  If I haven’t mentioned it before…..I think my family might just have a little gypsy blood in it somewhere….it’s the only way I can justify all the moving around!

My mom has been renting her house for the past 4 years and it has now been sold….she and all of her housemates (she rents 4 rooms) have to be out by August 1st.  We have A LOT of work to do to get ready.  We have 4.5 weeks left and out of those 4.5 weeks we will be spending a week at the family summer house for our annual family summer vacation in Deltaville, VA.  So yep, count it out…..we actually have 3.5 weeks!!

We are gearing up for another BIG yard sale next weekend and still have a lot of stuff to go through.  Not only my mom’s stuff but everyone else’s stuff…..over the past 4 years not only has my mom rented out 4 rooms but myself, my 2 boys and my sister have all lived here at varying times as well.  Every time someone leaves they leave stuff behind.  The house, especially the kitchen, is a maddening mod podge of STUFF!!  And no one really remembers what belongs to whom!!  To make matters even worse this past week I have been really sick.  So much for being here to help my mom……she’s been waiting on me hand and foot instead since I haven’t been able to get up off the couch!

We had a really great visit with a new “vandwelling” buddy from our vandwelling forum discussion group….Jessie.  He was great.  I really enjoyed talking to him.  He has the same type van as I do and so we had a little show & tell with our vans.  I almost passed out (did I mention I’m sick…….oh and we are having a heat wave) so I didn’t get to play show and tell for too long.  But just long enough to get some really great ideas for my van.  He had a lot more done on his van than I do.

Today I’m feeling a little better…..at least enough to get back on the computer…..so I have been getting a little bit of work done…..some new ideas, some rehashing of ideas, some brainstorming…..a little bit of reorganizing…..you know, my normal life!!

So that is about it….not really much to fill you in on…..no grand adventures this month I’m afraid to say…..family obligations are keeping me grounded for a little bit….but I’m working on the next chapter ….. so stay tuned!!  :-)

 

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  1. ar·bi·trage
noun /ˈärbiˌträZH/

  1. The simultaneous buying and selling of securities, currency, or commodities in different markets or in derivative forms in order to take advantage of differing prices for the same asset

I have sold on eBay on and off for a long time now.  I don’t consider myself an expert but I have learned quite a bit over the past 9 years. One of the things I have heard about over and over again, while researching what I should sell on eBay, is arbitrage.

As the definition above suggests….arbitrage is the simultaneous buying of one item at a low price and then turning around and selling that same item somewhere else for a profit.

I have been very interested in trying this out for awhile now and I have decided that now might just be a good time to try it.  There are several ways that you can use this technique and I will list them below…..but basically ANYWHERE you can find a bargain on something that others want….you can have the perfect opportunity for arbitrage.

If you Google eBay arbitrage you will find a slew of articles on how to find bargains on eBay itself and then turn around and sell them back on eBay for a profit.

One way to do this is to look for misprinted key words in the title of listings.  If someone has listed an item with a misspelled key word it will not show up when a buyer puts that key word into the search box.  If it doesn’t show up it can’t be bought.  This can be an opportunity for you to swoop in and pick it up for a song.  A really great website that can help you with this technique is called Fat Fingers http://fatfingers.com/ .  With this site you can enter the name of what you are looking for and it will bring up the actual listings in eBay that are misspelled.

Another way to find items to buy and sell for a profit is to look for auctions that are ending in the middle of the night or the wee hours of the morning.  What a lot of sellers on eBay don’t think about when they are listing their items is when their auctions will end.  They will get on their computers late at night and start listing items that will end at the same time in 3, 7 or 10 days.  The numbers of sellers listing at night far outweigh the number of buyers buying at those hours.

You can also look for auctions of items, that you know would sell for a great profit on eBay, that are not getting any bids because of something wrong with their listing.  Either they took a horrible picture, or they didn’t take enough pictures to really show it off well enough, or maybe they could have done something to the item such as clean it up a little.  If you know you can do a better job at listing this item and getting it sold for a profit it might just be worth the risk.

One last way of finding bargains for arbitrage is looking for items that are selling as a lot (a “lot” is when several items are sold all together in a bunch) but would sell for much more money if they were broken up and sold individually.  One great example of this is from one of my favorite eBay/Amazon gurus Skip McGrath.  I get his email newsletter bimonthly and I keep everyone of them to reread over and over again.  If you are interested in subscribing to the newsletter here is the link http://skipmcgrath.com/newsletters/  In his email newsletters Skip will sometimes have a “Niche of the Month” article.  One of these articles was about selling Starbucks mugs.  He spoke about how you could find a lot of Starbucks mugs for a bargain, break them up and then resell them individually for a profit.  Here is the link to that article if you want to read it for yourself.  http://skipmcgrath.com/newsletters/current.shtml#four

There are other ways, besides finding deals on eBay, to use the arbitrage technique.  You can find bargains everywhere you go!

Yesterday I was at Big Lots and found Nutristystem food items on sale 3 for a $1 or .33 cents each.  I happen to know that nutrition and weight loss products are big sellers on eBay so I looked it up…..those same Nutrisystem food items were selling for $1-2/piece on eBay!!

How about your local pharmacy, CVS or Walgreens?  I read a story one time (it might have been in Skip’s newsletter again I can’t remember) about a guy who was at his local Walgreens and found that a big name men’s razors were on sale for $7.  Now everyone who shaves knows how ridiculously expensive razors can be.  He quickly looked it up on Amazon to see how much they were selling for…..$30 bucks each!!!  You can bet he snatched those up!

It doesn’t have to be big ticket items and it doesn’t have to be electronics or expensive toys.  The littlest thing can bring you big profits!  While I was doing research for the Nutrisystem items I decided to look into beauty products, since they carry a lot of that at Big Lots, and I stumbled upon hair dye.  What I found there surprised me and I will be making another trip to Big Lots soon.

Use your imagination.  What do you buy that is horrifically expensive that you would buy up in a heartbeat at a cheaper price on eBay??  Chances are someone else is looking for that same item.

Or how about those fun outlet stores???  There are a lot of women out there who are making a killing buying designer clothing and accessories at outlet stores and reselling on eBay.  This too is considered arbitrage.

What about you crazy extreme coupon people out there???  And Seasonal Sales…..the list can go on and on and on.

These are just a few ideas to get you started on your way to arbitraging your little heart out.  Keep your eyes open and the next time you see something that you just know is a killer deal……look it up on eBay and see how well it is selling…..you might just have a great arbitrage item!

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Just a little update to begin with……last week I spoke to you about how you can find temp work while on the road and today I am writing to you from a temp assignment that I picked up in Omaha.  I am working as a receptionist for a real estate office.  So yes it can be done!

I am currently looking for more temp work outside of Omaha since this assignment is only for this week.  Maybe Des Moine, IA or Kansas City, MO.  This is the nice thing about temp work…..I’m not tied to one area and since these areas are only a few hours away it is easy for me to look while I’m in Omaha and then drive there IF I get an assignment.

Today I want to talk to you about two really great places to get ideas (outside of the box ideas) on how to make money.

1.  I have mentioned this site more than once before but it is such a great site that I think it bears repeating…… The Rat Race Rebellion is a site that searches for work from home jobs and researches them to make sure they are legit.  If you go to their site make sure you sign up for their email alerts.  I get an email from them every day with interesting work opportunities.  And you might just be surprised at what kinds of jobs are on the site……I’m not necessarily talking about low level jobs here.  You will find everything from mystery shopping to openings for engineers.

www.ratracerebellion.com

2.  Another site that I love to troll is actually a YouTube site.  The guy who makes these videos is called KingHuman so if you go to the main page and put his name into the search box you will come to his YouTube “home page” and will be able to see all of his videos.  Now I have to warn you he can be a little on the obnoxious side but I think he has some really great out of the box ideas!

He makes more than just videos on how to make money so you will have to sift through his videos to find the ones specific to making money.  When I came across him on YouTube I spent an entire week watching each and every one of his “making money” videos (I think they went back to 2008) and I was just amazed at the stuff he came up with.  Just like the Rat Race Rebellion he gives a very wide range of things to do….. it isn’t just online computer type stuff.

One of my very favorite videos from KingHuman I wish I could pull off myself because it just sounded like a lot of fun but I think I’m really a little too old to pull it off!  His idea consisted of buying a bunch of flashing, light up items, such as rings, from a wholesale distributor and then selling them at a bar/rave/party/festival etc.  He wasn’t talking about setting up as a vendor or having a stall or anything like that…..he was just talking about walking into a bar wearing the stuff and when people asked where he got it he said “oh I have some here in my bag….you want one??”.  I just love that idea….it sounds like fun.  I thought maybe my kids would have fun with that…..but they aren’t quite as adventurous as me!!

The other thing you should know about these videos is that they are not 100% “tell me how to do it” type videos.  He is real big on telling you to do your due diligence and figure it out.  Basically this is a way to get ideas…..things you might not ever have heard of before……expand your mind……maybe you can take one of his ideas and put your own spin on it.

http://www.youtube.com/user/KingHuman?feature=watch

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My friends and I often discuss how lazy we are….that we never go and see the historic or tourist locations in our own home town.  I am absolutely the worst about this……as much as I love to travel you would think that I would  be better about that….especially since I have lived in some pretty cool places!  I grew up in Annapolis and never really did the “tourist” thing there…..there are a lot of places in Annapolis that I would like to go back and check out.  Last year I spent 10 months in Alexandria, VA which is on the outskirts of DC……I did nothing!  I was so busy with my “life”.  Now that I am in Omaha I am realizing how many things that I missed when I lived here back in 2003.

Since I am low on funds I have made up a list of FREE things to do in Omaha that I will be exploring FIRST.  Then I will move on to the CHEAP things to do :-)

The other day I went and visited The Boys Town Museum and the Boys Town Chapel.  Living in Omaha you hear about Boys Town all the time….but for me it was just a matter of seeing the signs all over the place for advertising….I never really knew the significance of the place.  I wasn’t around when the movie came out in 1938.  The museum was a lot nicer than I really expected it to be and the Chapel was gorgeous.  You can easily do the museum in 30 to 45 minutes (depending on how detailed you are on reading every single word).  This would be a great place to bring slightly older children (I had a 7 year old with me and she was mildly interested but bored quickly)….small children will not be real interested.  There is a bus that you can climb into and explore which was really fun for the 7 year old but the rest of it was only mildly interesting to her.

If you have small children there are several splashparks around.  This is a great alternative to crowded public pools.  My friend and I found one in Millard on Seldin Drive and spent a few hours there with his daughter.  I wish these had been around when my children were small.  The smallest child could play without too much danger….certainly no drowning.  There was plenty of grass and open spaces for families to spread out blankets and have picnics and that is just what we did.  There is also a regular playground and porta potties!

Today I am going to go explore the Mormon Trail Center…..yet another thing I never explored when I lived here…..and it’s FREE!!  Saturday I am going to go to the Joslyn Art Museum to see the Egyptian Exhibition.  Saturday mornings from 10 to noon the Joslyn is open to the general public for FREE.

Below I have listed some other free things to do in Omaha…..I will be exploring them over the next few weeks.

Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts

Heartland of America Park

Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge

Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail Visitor Center

Lewis & Clark Landing

Gerald R. Ford Birth Site & Gardens

Jazz on the Green

Playing with Fire Concert Series

Shakespeare on the Green

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The #1 question asked by most people when I explain my new lifestyle as well as the #1 question asked by most people considering this lifestyle is…..

 But how will you make a living????

While it’s true that it is cheaper to not pay rent or mortgage, utilities, property taxes etc. etc. by living in a van or an RV most likely you will still have expenses such as car insurance, food and gas.

So if you are not lucky enough to have a nest egg saved up or some type of income coming in such as a retirement fund or social security…..or even if you do have an income coming in but it’s not enough to cover your expenses…..What do you do?

As I mentioned, way back when I started this blog, I came across the vandwelling lifestyle while I was doing research for a book I am writing.  While doing this research I have come across so many different ways of making money…..things I would have never, ever thought of on my own….things I never knew even existed….things I know others don’t know exist (I know because when I talk about them to others the looks on their faces is one of incredulity).  So I would like to share these ideas with you my readers.

Before we dive in let me please just point out a few things that I think would be obvious…..but I have learned in my life not to assume…..

  • Not everything I list will work for you……not everything I list will work for me even.
  • I am making no guarantees….I have found these ideas through research….I have not tested all of them….some I will get to, some I may not.
  • Although it is sooo tempting (even to me – though I consider myself pretty cynical) I really, really try hard to stay away from get rich scams….but again I make no guarantees……please do your own due diligence.
  • Some of these ideas may seem WAY out there……be considerate….don’t slam me…..you have no idea what some people are willing to do or what some people are comfortable with….just because you are not comfortable with it does not make it unacceptable…..I find that I am willing to do a lot more than most of my friends……but I have always been a little different :-P

So without further ado……..

Temp Agencies 

I thought I would start out with something that I know all about……temp agencies.

Temporary agencies, or employment agencies, are companies that act as the middle man between companies looking for employees to either fill a gap or to fill permanent positions and employees looking for work.  I started out doing temp work when I was 19 and fresh out of high school.  I’m now 43 and have worked for temp agencies many, many times over the years.

When I first started out doing temp work things were a little different than it is now.  Back in the day I would sign up with an agency (or two), maybe have a little interview with the agency, fill out some paperwork with the agency and then they would call me with assignments that lasted anywhere from 1 week to 3 months.  Once the assignment was completed they called me with the next assignment.  When they called me with assignments they would give me the specifics and then ask me if I was interested…..I would say yes or no and off I would go.

These days things are different.  Now most assignments are what they call temp to perm…..which basically means that the company gets to “try” you out before they decide if they want to “keep” you in a  permanent position.  You also get to decide if you like the position or not before you accept the position.  It seems rare that they have any actual temporary positions (where you might fill in while some one is on vacation or maternity leave) any more.

Now instead of the agencies calling you with the information and you deciding if you want the assignment or not…..you get a call asking if you would be interested in a particular assignment….if you are interested your resume gets sent to the company with a few other resumes and IF they like you then you get called in for an interview.

The third most recent thing that has changed has been the way that you are considered for positions.  Used to be you had to call in every week to let the agency know that you were available for assignments and they would call you when something came up.  This is still being done in some offices that I have encountered but now more and more I’m being told to go to their website and look for open positions and then apply.

The result of these changes has made it more difficult in my book to get true TEMPORARY work……but not impossible.  If you are looking for a permanent position it is a good way to go….I have obtained several really, really good positions through a temp agency and a lot of big companies and government agencies exclusively hire employees through temp agencies….so it is a really good way to get your foot in the door.  But if you are on the road and all you truly want to do is Temporary Assignments it can be a little challenging.

The first thing that I want to point out is don’t wait until you have $20 bucks left in your pocket and don’t plan on doing temporary work if all you have is 2 to 3 weeks to spend in one place.  Finding temp work takes a little bit of time.

Another important thing I want to point out is…….don’t think you can only do this if you have experience working in an office……NOT TRUE!!!  You might have slimmer pickings but there are a lot of assignments that temp agencies take on that have nothing to do with office work.  Recently I talked to a recruiter in a temp agency who told me they received assignments all the time for events where they needed someone to sit at the registration tables and sign people in.  If you are able to handle more physical assignments there are employment agencies who do nothing but assignments for house cleaning, assembly lines, farm work, construction work etc. etc.

If you are going to be staying in one area for a little bit of time and you are interested in trying the temp work route here is the process that I suggest….

(Note:  This process really does not differ any from looking for a permanent opening so if you happen to be reading this and are interested in looking for permanent work you can still follow this process)

1.  Once you arrive in town make a list of the temp agencies in the area – you can Google “temp agencies, the town you’re in” or “employment agencies, the town you’re in” to come up with a list of agencies.  Some of the bigger name agencies are Robert Half, Manpower, Kelly Services and Office Team. There will also be quite a few local agencies as well that you can check into.

2.  Go to their websites and see if you can set up your profile on their website.  I would do this BEFORE you call…..you will save yourself some time because they are going to tell you to do that before they even talk to you.

3.  If you are able to search for open positions and apply on their website do so…..do this BEFORE you call them because they are going to ask if you have done this before they will even talk to you.  Plus, once you start applying for positions you are in their radar.  I applied for a few positions the other day that I wasn’t really sure were even still available and within one day they were calling me asking me what I was looking for and what my situation was.  Before I had applied for the positions online I couldn’t get anyone on the phone to talk to me.

4.  Once you have filled in your profile (if they have that option, some companies don’t) and applied for any openings that they have, give them a call and let them know that you are interested in temp assignments, that you have registered online and you would like to know if there is anything further that you need to do.  Some companies are going to tell you to keep applying for positions available on their website and someone will call you if you meet their needs.  Some companies are going to want you to come in and interview and maybe take some qualifying tests (ie:  for the type of work I look for I usually have to take a typing test and tests for MS Word and MS Excel).

5.  Check the websites daily for new positions and apply religiously.  This keeps you in their radar……sort of like how you used to have to physically call in once a week to let them know you still existed.  The thing is…..even if they don’t want you for that position they are going to see your qualifications and think of other available positions coming up that you would qualify for.  The other day I had a recruiter call me on a position that I applied for ….. it wasn’t the right fit for my situation but I told him what my situation was and he sent my name onto another recruiter who did have a position that fit my situation…..a recruiter that had an opening that wasn’t even listed online yet and they were the ones who actually called and gave me an assignment.

6.  When I first started traveling I worried about whether or not the agencies would have a problem with my traveling from city to city working or if I would have trouble explaining to them what I wanted to do, if they would have an issue with me having a temporary address in town and a permanent address states away.  I have found so far that they really don’t care and have been very understanding and helpful.  On this trip I have told them that I am visiting friends and family so maybe they have been more understanding because of that.  At one place I told them I was visiting friends but I also told them I was full time RV’ing (I didn’t tell them that I actually have a van with pretensions of being an RV) and they just thought that was the most awesome thing ever.  I’m sure that temp agencies will vary from city to city and from town to town but so far I have not found the censure that I thought I would find.

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I’ve been in Omaha for about a week now and I’m glad to be here…..but my mettle is being tested and those are the cold hard facts!!

Things have reached a place where I finally have to put up or shut up as they say.  For the past 5 months I have been living off of a very large tax refund, a few gifts, selling my belongings, a yardsale and a few small assignments through Today’s Gal Friday.  But now my training wheels are slowly being removed and it’s time to see if I can ride my big girl bike J  It can be done is what I have said and now I have to prove it!

For now I am spending the week with a very good friend and that has just been lovely….I love staying in my van but nothing beats having someone wait on you, feed you, entertain you…… and a hot tub!!

But after this week I will be on my own with very little moolah left.  Even though my goal is to become completely self sufficient with my online endeavors…..I’m not quite there yet.  So I am having to sift through my ever growing list of ways to make money for alternatives at this point.

The past few days I have spent making the rounds of the temp agencies looking for temporary office work.  This is what I would prefer to do because I know it inside and out…..it is what I’ve done for 25 years….but if nothing comes of it I will move on to plan C!!

I thought that in light of my current situation this would be a good time to start posting some information on ways to make money on the road.  Since this is the #1 question asked by most people when I explain my plans as well as the #1 question asked by most people considering this lifestyle I thought it would be appropriate.  So starting Monday I will introduce Making Money Mondays….I hope you will stop by and check it out….maybe get some ideas for yourself!!

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Not much to report today.  I got a very early start and was on the road by 7 a.m…..I’m not usually up before 8:30.  I stayed at the Walmart in Waynesboro, VA….I couldn’t believe how quiet it was….I never even put my earplugs in!  It was a 24 hour Walmart but I barely saw any cars.

The fog on the mountains was insane this morning…..soooo pretty but a little scary.  Thankfully it didn’t affect my driving.  By about 10:30 a.m. I had to pull over and take a break.  My leg is feeling ok but a couple of times while I was walking I had really bad “twinges”.  So I pulled over to a rest stop and put my leg up for 2 hours and took a nap.

The mountains were incredibly gorgeous but it was very hard to keep my cruise control on and quite a few times I had to practically stand on my brakes going downhill.  Needless to say this was REALLY worrying me since my right leg is the leg I injured.  So now I’m out of the mountains and very, very grateful.  I probably won’t be so grateful when I get sick and tired of looking at cornfields eventually but for now……GRATEFUL!!

I’ve seen lots of things that I would love to stop and explore but it’s not that kind of trip this time unfortunately.  I’m anxious to get to Omaha.  My plan is to sign up with the temp agencies at the end of this week.  While I’m in Omaha (and hopefully working a couple temp assignments) I plan on taking a lot of side trips that I was never able to do while I lived in Omaha.  And just maybe I will do a couple of articles about how awesome Omaha is so that I can set everyone straight about Omaha LOL!!

Now I am in Morehead, KY at the library getting everything charged up.  I was looking forward to getting a couple hours of work done but it is so freaking hot in here I can’t even think straight.  I think as soon as I’m charged up I’m just gonna get back on the road.

 

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