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February Transparency Report: Investing Back…

in Do What You Love, MvD Updates, People & Products, Travel

Each month, as part of an ongoing transparency project, I share the income, expenses, and master plans of my pursuit to earn a living online. This includes many of the expenses related to our RV lifestyle.

Personal finance should not be a taboo subject in our society. The more light we can shed – and the more examples we can share – the better off we are!

First, let’s look back at February (by the numbers):

February’s Business Income/Expenses…

Unautomate Revenue (off the market):  $272.00

  • Total Guides Sold:  16

Sell Your Crap Revenue:  $1074.00

  • Total Guides Sold (all versions):  22

Shut Up & Hustle Revenue:  $225.00

Additional Income:  $2154.50

Direct Expenses:  -$3145.00

  • Food & Drink: -$521.79
  • Virtual Assistant:  -$482.50
  • You Vs. Debt Filming:  -$450.00
  • Wishlist Plugin: -$297.00
  • Affiliate Payments:  -$229.77
  • Website tech work: -$240.00
  • Cell Phone: -$175.59
  • eSellerate Cart: -$99.00
  • Products/Research:  -$96.25
  • Domain Renewals: -$88.72
  • Team Member Gifts: -$75.30
  • You Vs. Debt Clothes: -$73.77
  • Paypal Fees: -$65.31
  • Aweber:  -$49.00
  • Virgin Mobile: -$40.00
  • Wufoo: -$29.95
  • Travel Hacking Cartel: -$25.00
  • Bank Fee: -$25.00
  • iStock Photo: -$18.50
  • Cab Ride: -$15.00
  • E-junkie:  -$10.00
  • MailChimp:  -$10.00
  • DropBox:  -$9.99
  • Paid Internet: -$9.89
  • Domain Name: -$7.67

Net (Income – Expenses):  $580.50

Over the last 12 months of monetization, this brings the average to: ~$5500/month.

As you can see from the “net” and the numbers above – this month was about investing back into the machine. I spent thousands of dollars this month on building a team and investing in the next big project.

I’ve also invested my “time” and “energy” by manually choosing to cut off several income streams. The consulting and freelance writing trickled in from money that was owed (I took on no new clients or writing gigs).

At the beginning of the month, I had a team of four people converge on a single location to help strategize, film, and plan. I took care of meals, travel, etc… which inflated my expenses, but which I predict I’ll look back on and realize was the smartest money I’ve ever spent.

As most of you know, up until the last several weeks it’s been me (and only me) keeping the ship afloat. It’s scary to bring new people (and the expense) into the equation – but I know it’s right.

We’ll all make mistakes, but in the end – it’s going to rock. I feel it.

You Vs. Debt…

All of this extra time and investment is being poured into creating “You Vs. Debt” – the single most amazing premium resource on fighting back against debt.

Most of March will be spent organizing, writing, designing, compiling, and tweaking the course framework. This is no eBook launch – let’s put it that way. We want an environment that really pushes people to make the necessary shifts required.

Debt is emotional. It’s silly to pretend it isn’t. Environment, presentation, motivation, community… this stuff matters when you are digging yourself out of debt. I’m not going to leave any stone unturned.

In fact, I’ve just got the first rough edit back from the video we shot in February. It’s not polished enough to be public yet, but if you want to see a “sneak peak” of what one of these videos will look like, sign-up below and I’ll email you a link when I get it uploaded:

Sneak an early peek at “You Vs. Debt”

The Tour Rolls On…

Last, but not least (in terms of business updates) – our tour is not slowing down.

We’ll finish up this week in Florida, hopefully getting to spend some time with my brother and his fiance. Early next week our friend Norcross will hop in and we’ll all ride towards Austin, TX.

We’ll make small stops in New Orleans and Houston, but will make a strong pace to hit Austin in the middle of next week for the infamous SxSw conference.

If you are going to SxSw, mark the morning of March 14th on your calendar. I’m still waiting for 100% confirmation, but it looks like we’ll be having a morning meetup at a coffee shop – complete with RV tours, great conversation, and all the proceeds going to charity: water.

Whoo-hoo!  I’ll be sharing the exact details on Twitter and Facebook when they happen – but if you’re in the Austin area for SxSw stay tuned!

After Austin, we’ll be heading toward Phoenix via way of the Grand Canyon (with several stops along the way). We’ll likely finish out the month in that area somewhere. :-)

If you’d like to meet us, fill out this quick form so we know where you are!

Speaking of touring…

RV Expenses/Lifestyle Cost…

Aside from the business, here’s a glimpse at the expenses related to our RV lifestyle (for February).

Note: Courtney and I use Adaptu.com to pull in our debit card spending and automatically separate the “RV Expenses” into our manual categories below.

Gas: $1289.39 (+137%)

As expected, our gas expense took off as we did. We covered a lot of ground in the first 3 weeks of February – and I expect that this will be a more average number in the months ahead.  Yikes!

Remember, we make an active choice to be mobile. If we wanted to spend several month in a location – we could seriously slash this down.

Campground Fees: $156.69 (-76%)

Also, as predicted, our campground fees shrank when we made it to a much warmer climate. We’ve ditched our $35 and $45-per-night winter campground in the Northeast for $10, $15, and $20 campgrounds here in the South.

We’ve also spent the last week with a friend here in Tampa – again lowering our costs.

Hotel/Hostel/Lodging: $268 (-23%)

At the very beginning of the month we stayed several nights at a AirBnB house while the RV wrapping was being finished. Since we’ve got the RV wrapped – we’ve yet to stay anywhere else. I’m planning for this number to be extremely low the rest of the trip.  :-)

Propane: $73.90 (-60%)

Another benefit of spending most of the month in warmer weather… no furnace running!  :-)

I expect that this will continue to drop even further, helping offset the other fuel costs (gas).

Tolls/Parking: $5.60 (-90%)

We only hit one little ‘ole toll road (here in Tampa) and had one small parking fee in Washington, D.C. Whoo-hoo!

Repairs: $358.59 (+23%)

We had two mechanical problems in the month of February – the first being that the circuit board that controls the RV turn signals, windshield wipers, etc… burnt out (well, first it shorted – then it burnt out).

It only took one time of driving 20 m.p.h. in the mountains of Tennessee without wipers in the snow to realize that this was going to be a top priority.

In addition, the driver’s side window in our Jeep fell into the door when Courtney tried to roll it down. We paid someone to take it apart and look at it – we eventually got it to stay up – but decided not to spend the additional $125+ to fix it right now!

The last three weeks of the month were uneventful – and we’re hoping for a month or two without minor repair costs (although, we are prepared to pay more).  :-)

*****

Overall, I’m not too disappointed in our RV expenses this month. Most of the categories went as we anticipated (the point of trying to budget) – and the majority of them did trend downward.

Time will tell whether we’ve adjusted our planning appropriately, but we feel ever-more-confident as we continue the journey.  :-)

The best is yet to come…

I told you there was a lot of transition coming – and I wasn’t joking.

As always, I’m willing to tackle any questions you may have in the comments below.

I’m excited to have you along for the ride – and to have a community where I can share so openly.

Xoxoxo,

-Baker

{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

Craig March 3, 2011 at 8:50 PM

Wow, I see why gas prices have been rising lately!!

I love your income reports, so inspiring. Thank you.

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Baker March 4, 2011 at 10:10 AM

Haha, no crap – nice timing we had. We’ve decided to take it all in stride – we can’t change them, so we won’t bother worrying about them. :-)

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Max Bronson March 3, 2011 at 8:58 PM

It’s awesome to see you investing back into your business. This will bring you more income in the long term. Also glad to hear you’re looking after your diet. I’m expecting to see a slim and fit Adam by the end of the year. :)

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Baker March 4, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Me too – fingers crossed. :-)

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Benny the Irish polyglot March 3, 2011 at 9:22 PM

Yay! You made a LHG sale :D Since these transparency posts are among your most popular, I’m sure that link will add several more to next month’s earnings ;)

See you next week!! Can’t wait!

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Baker March 4, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Yeah, came out of left field (old post likely) – but don’t go counting on the floodgates opening. Glad to see it’s still doing great! Talk soon!

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Adrienne March 3, 2011 at 9:36 PM

Hey Adam,

Wow, that’s awesome that you share so much with your readers. I have a new blog that I’m being very open with about what I’m doing to drive traffic and share my stats but haven’t really been sharing my expenses. I don’t have a lot since I’m doing most everything for free at the moment but that’s something to consider doing in the future. Sure, I have my hosting, autoresponder, etc. I could include. Huh!!!

I’m a first time visitor to your blog so will have to take some time and read through more of your site. Great information for sure and keep up the excellent work. I’m so impressed!

Adrienne

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Baker March 4, 2011 at 10:12 AM

Thanks, Adrienne – I’ve been doing these a while now – and when I started my income was nothing and my expenses were more sparse like you’ve outlined.

I encourage you to start now (I’m glad I started early) so that you can map and show your progression. :-)

Glad to have ya around!

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Financial Samurai March 3, 2011 at 11:02 PM

Good stuff Adam! It’s great to re-invest in the business, so that it can grow ever more. Have you ever found it kinda funny that if nobody had debt problems, you wouldn’t be able to make much from the new venture? In actually, you want to have as many people with debt problems so you can kill it!

Thoughts?

Sam

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Baker March 4, 2011 at 10:14 AM

Oh, Sam – you always have a different way of looking at things!

Truth be told, if debt was instantly solved tomorrow – I could likely find something even more appealing and compelling to help solve! :-)

But part of what you say is true – it’s great to be able to help an industry that isn’t going anywhere – anytime soon. As long as I do my job well – I won’t have any problems with people to help. (Kind of sad when looked at that way)!

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Financial Samurai March 6, 2011 at 11:25 PM

It’s interesting ain’t it? whrn is ur yu vs debt coming out? Will you be sharing your Adaptu sponsorship income given full transparency? That will be insightful!

Thnx

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Baker March 7, 2011 at 8:46 AM

First launch of YvD will likely be late this month – although things change quickly. :-)

I’ll include income from Adaptu in the month it comes in (for example I have gotten a March payment early this month – it’ll be on March’s transparency). :-)

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Joan March 3, 2011 at 11:26 PM

“We’ll all make mistakes, but in the end – it’s going to rock. I feel it.”

DARN RIGHT!! I can already see you rocking, just with the passion in this transparency post and the two new projects mentioned here!

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Baker March 4, 2011 at 10:19 AM

Thanks, Joan – glad to have you onboard! :-)

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Sonya March 3, 2011 at 11:58 PM

Wow that really in depth how kept track of every expenditure. I think its really brave what you are doing. This will inspire others like me .

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Jia Jun March 4, 2011 at 12:19 AM

Wow~ A very detail report~~ Thanks for sharing.
I did share my monthly report too, but yet to achieving anything big in life, especially blogging. Just a newbie. :p
Keep it up.

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Jeff Rose March 4, 2011 at 12:28 AM

Dude, I can’t keep track of all your projects. Amazing. You’re such an inspiration to so many. Keep it up buddy. As always, let me know how I can support you.

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Denise @ The Single Saver March 4, 2011 at 12:32 AM

Baker, thank you for the transparency. You are an inspiration and your efforts push me to try harder with ‘The Single Saver.’ Thank you for your transparency and updates (we just need you to blog more often!).

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Miss Britt March 4, 2011 at 9:45 AM

I’m so glad you’re a few months ahead of us and sharing your experiences so openly. Our family leaves for an extended RV tour on June 1st, and because of your experiences in January we have our first trial run with the RV planned for this weekend. We wanted to be sure we knew how everything worked (and that it worked!) before we hit the road!

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Baker March 4, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Haha, yeah – I think you’ll love it. I’m glad we just jumped in though – we could have a full on test run, but we learned as we went. Can’t wait to hear your own adventure! :-)

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Emily March 4, 2011 at 9:59 AM

I think it’s great that you report your income/expenses. It’s quite a reality check for the rest of us, and motivation to be more accountable.

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Courtney March 4, 2011 at 10:09 AM

You may have RV expenses, but I bet you never get water in your basement…

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Baker March 4, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Haha, very true!

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Sarah Russell March 4, 2011 at 10:37 AM

Oooh – I know how much the window falling in thing sucks. My husband and I have had 7 windows fall in on 2 cars over the last 3 years. Weird luck, but I guess it could be something worse (like engines, transmissions, etc) :)

Can’t wait to see more about You vs. Debt – sounds like a cool idea and I’m sure it’s going to rock!

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Baker March 5, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Woah, that is some bad luck! Stay away from us. ;-)

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lostAnnfound March 4, 2011 at 10:45 AM

Here are a couple tips that might help you save on your RV expenses:

1. Purchase a small tabletop ceramic heater. If you’re in a campground with power and need to use the heat, run the furnace to get the chill out, then use the ceramic heater to keep the RV warm. You’re already getting the electric hookup from the campground anyway when you pay for your site. Helps to save on the propane.

2. If you’re looking for a spot at night just to sleep and then move on early the next day and will not need facilities offered by a campground, consider a Walmart parking lot or Cracker Barrel restaurant parking lot. Just check with the manager to be certain it is okay to do this (some towns/cities don’t allow this) and where the RV should be parked. Also truck stops & rest areas (some states don’t allow “camping” in their rest areas) are a good place to catch a few hours of sleep and then move on.

3. To save money on campground fees, consider camping on BLM land either in a developed campground or through dispersed camping. Check out the website at http://www.blm.gov. Search the web for “dry camping” or “boondocking” for helpful hints about doing this camping this way.

I look forward to reading more about your journey!

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Kelly March 5, 2011 at 3:11 PM

Just want to 2nd the suggestion to use a small electric heater iinstead of your furnace and save your propane. As mentioned, you’re paying for the electric anyway so might as well make the most of it..

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Martyn Chamberlin March 4, 2011 at 12:24 PM

Hey Adam,

Why are you using both MailChimp and Aweber? Is that just because MailChimp is a cheaper alternative?

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Baker March 5, 2011 at 10:41 AM

We are testing! My primary Man Vs. Debt list in on Aweber – but because Mailchimp plays very nicely with Wufoo and some other software we are using, we are testing it for things like the tour and You Vs. Debt.

Ultimately, we’ll pick and move forward with one – not sure which yet!

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Jenna March 4, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Can’t wait to see You vs. Debt take off!

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Tyler the BizNinja March 4, 2011 at 1:20 PM

Who do you use for domain registration? $7.67 is a good deal.

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Chris Alta March 4, 2011 at 11:07 PM

I think Baker uses Host Gator!

cheers!

-Chris Alta

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Baker March 5, 2011 at 10:42 AM

Actually, I use GoDaddy. Search “godaddy coupon code” and you can almost always find a 30% off coupon or a $7.xx domain name coupon (for .coms).

I do use Host Gator for hosting!

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Chris Alta March 5, 2011 at 6:40 PM

Yeah I’m using GoDaddy too! Everyone say’s GoDaddy gets a ton of complaints but I’ve loved them so far! I’ll definitely be searching for those coupon codes!

cheers!

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Meredith March 4, 2011 at 1:34 PM

Just curious Baker… what support does your sponsor offer you?

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Baker March 5, 2011 at 10:44 AM

They’ll paying a negotiated fee to help offset costs. I’ve actually collected one already, but it was in early march (show up next month). They are also supporting meetups in various spots with some extra expense! :-)

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South Texas March 4, 2011 at 2:46 PM

My first car had a window that would do that. My Dad would put it up but it eventually would fall down again. If it falls again and you don’t want to pay to have it fixed, just put a trash bag over the door and close it.

The rain never bothered me, I was just happy to have a car. :)

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Baker March 5, 2011 at 10:44 AM

Same attitude here – we are more concerned about the RV, and know the Jeep isn’t a 5-year car. Hopefully it’ll finish out the tour and then go to peaceful rest somewhere. :-)

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Brankica March 4, 2011 at 3:31 PM

Haven’t been here for a while but glad I came back for this post. First, congrats on making more money :)

Second I love how you invest back. I do that all the time and see many bloggers trying to get all they can but not investing back. I have a list of things I wanna buy for my blog and other websites and as soon as I make some money it goes back as an investment. But the point is the more I invest, the more I get!

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MutantSuperModel March 4, 2011 at 4:01 PM

I’m so sad I missed you guys. I honestly had NO idea you’d made it into Florida–then again, there was no way I could’ve made it to Tampa from South FL on a Thursday and back again. Oh well. Maybe another time!

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Baker March 5, 2011 at 10:45 AM

Yeah, too bad. We thought about southern Florida – but unfortunately, it’s just impossible to hit *everywhere* on the map. :-)

I’m sure our paths will cross soon!

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Dr. Laura @ WhoIsLaura.com March 4, 2011 at 4:48 PM

Baker, as always, thanks for the transparency. It’s so refreshing, and every month I’m reminded to look again at my expenses to see what could be eliminated.

By the way, I’ve finally set up my Adaptu account, and I really like the service! I’m finding it easier than Mint.com as far as user friendliness. Nice sponsor and thanks for introducing me to it!

Dr. Laura

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Baker March 5, 2011 at 10:47 AM

Thanks, Laura – I know Adaptu will be glad to hear you are digging the service. They are a great fit for us in many ways. :-) Thanks for the kind words!

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Melanie Toast March 4, 2011 at 9:38 PM

Hi Adam, just wanted to give you a virtual pat on the back. Keep truckin’ and keep paying down your debt.

I just posted 22 Random Facts about my husband (traveltoast.com) and thought about you and your fight against debt. (Amazingly, he earned two degrees without a loan or a handout.)

All the best… and maybe we’ll see you on the road (we are fulltime RVers as well).

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Baker March 5, 2011 at 10:48 AM

I’d love that – hopefully our wheels will cross! :-)

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Chris Alta March 4, 2011 at 11:05 PM

This is going to be awesome when you guys are traveling. I live in Central California so I’m definitely up to meet up and gain some knowledge!

Your story is definitely inspiring! Just living the dream haha! That gas price of over 1K is insane! But hey when you’re living off of passive income it’s all good! Can’t wait to hear some upcoming stories! Cheers!

-Chris Alta

p.s. I was actually thinking of doing the same thing except being a nomad. I think it’d really push myself to greater heights if I just put myself out into the world and out of my comfort zone. What do you think?

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Jason L March 5, 2011 at 9:10 PM

Hey Baker,
Thanks for posting these detailed numbers… it’s really quite inspiring to see someone going through the steps of building something. And it seems like it’s a hell of an empire you’re setting out to build.

Out of curiosity, is there a certain software you prefer for managing your finances? I’m impressed with how granular you were able to break it down.

Jason

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Dwight March 6, 2011 at 9:37 PM

Excellent insight and transparency Baker. Don’t know where you find the time to handle all of your projects, but they are very worthwhile.

good inspiration,.

Dwight @ FinanciallyEliteBlog.com

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chesapeake March 7, 2011 at 7:10 PM

Hey Adam! I appreciate your transparency so much. So I do have a question that under normal circumstances would probably be inappropriate, but considering your site name and the aforementioned transparency is probably fine. Here goes: what about your debt? Are you still paying off your student loans? I haven’t seen them on your monthly budget reports.

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Evan March 9, 2011 at 11:33 AM

How long is the trip from Florida to Austin? was it odd to pick up a non-family member for such a trip? You can be honest Norcross won’t read it!

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Cam March 10, 2011 at 3:58 PM

Hey – just stumbled onto your site. Some great stuff here, I’m going to bounce around and get updated! I’m digging the transparency of your project. Cheers!

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Dr. Timothy Lawler March 13, 2011 at 7:41 AM

Great post, and I appreciate the honesty to which you show us your budget/business. For those that think running your own business is a piece of cake, you very clearly show that it is a ton of hard work….BUT, it completely pays off in the end. Keep up the great work. Love the site. (whoops, please post this one, not my other. Somehow put my site instead of my name. take care.)

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JN Urbanski March 13, 2011 at 5:23 PM

You’re such a good guy! It’s true, if everyone shared their money issues, we would be better off. I also believe there should be a personal finance class taught in schools. If there were, we wouldn’t be in half the trouble that we’re in.

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Rob April 7, 2011 at 8:02 PM

Baker,

Enjoying your website and your advice – thank you! Just a quick observation – your expenses include $25 for “Bank Fee”…WHY? I understand having to cough up for PayPal, but most bank fees and charges can be avoided. Over time, these add up…$300 a year at that rate. Have you looked into a credit union or switching to a bank that doesn’t charge fees?

Keep up the awesome work!

R0b

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Leah June 4, 2011 at 2:39 PM

Hi Baker,
This is such a really great idea you thought of to earn money. i wanted to let you know, if you already don’t, that Walmart allows free RV parking on their lots. You just have to let the manager know if you are going to be there for more than a few nights. When I was homeless and living out of my F-150 with my two pets, I lived on the Walmart parking lot for months. Everyone there was so nice about it. Plus, you have your own refrigerator just a few steps away.

: ) Leah

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