I guess this is Goodbye.

Screen Shot 2016-03-13 at 10.54.16 PMIf it wasn’t entirely obvious, my blogging flame has finally flickered out. It’s been nearly six months since my last post and I’d be lying if I said I had a desire to write again. My season as a Personal Finance blogger has come to an end.

It’s been a wild ride and I’ve been fortunate to have many successes over my six year blogging career. Girl Ninja and I were flown to Chicago to appear on the Steve Harvey Show. I was featured in a print version of Reader’s Digest. Had a huge interview and feature on Forbes.com. And even won the “People’s Choice” award at the largest personal finance blogging conference in the world UNIVERSE, meaning a bunch of random people thought I was the best PF blogger alive!

Thanks for sticking around for so long. If you want to keep somewhat abreast (hahaha, I said breast) of my current life happenings, feel free to follow along on my latest hobby, furniture flipping. I started MidandMod.com (not so much a blog, but a showroom for my furniture, with an occasional random life thought), or on instagram at…

Midandmod (my furniture instagram)

or

B_patch (my real life, day-to-day, instagram)

Or you can always shoot me an email if you’d like to stay in touch (ninja@punchdebtintheface.com)

Also, Girl Ninja has another human/fetus/baby/thing inside of her, a Girl apparently. Due in May. Jury is still out on a name. Oddly enough Baby Ninja 1, Weston, was named by a random reader of this blog when I asked you all to help name him. Perhaps you have some gem of a name you’ve been saving that you wouldn’t mind us considering 🙂 If so drop it in the comments.

I’ll do my best to respond to any comments this post gets (within the two weeks before my anti-spam robot closes the comments section of this post), so feel free to ask any questions if you have them.

Oh, and our current Net Worth is like $420,000 (for those of you weirdo’s that would feel like you were left with a big cliff hanger if I didn’t do one last net worth update).

Well, I guess that’s all.

As the cliche saying goes…

ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END. 

That end is here.

Adios,

Ninja

 

p.s. If you’re interested in buying my blog and the URL let me know.I guess I won’t have much use for it anymore. 

I bought a couch I never got to see in real life.

Last week, in a moment of zeal, I decided to post our relatively new sofa on Craigslist. We bought this pretty piece of furniture Summer 2014…

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We liked it a lot, but I had two issues with it. It was a little too big for our relatively small living room; As you can see we had to shove the couch all the way up against the left wall just to get it to fit.

Second, we live on a wooded street and don’t get a ton of direct sunlight. The dark charcoal fabric didn’t help our dark living room.

We paid $1,700 (after tax) for it last summer. I posted it on Craigslist for $1,500 thinking no one would be pay me close to that since they could go buy the sofa brand new for just $200 more.

I was wrong.

Not only did our sofa sell in a couple days. I sold it for $1,600. That’s right $100 more than I posted it for. If you didn’t already know… I LOVE CRAIGSLIST!!!

There was only one problem, I wasn’t expecting our sofa to actually sell. So when it did, we had a big empty living room.

Awkward. 

We spent the weekend doing a good bit of couch shopping visiting the local modern stores and sitting on nearly 50 different sofas. We found a lot that we liked. But there was only one that we LOVED.

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The Hess leather sofa at Room and Board was absolutely dreamy. Clean lines. Super supple leather. And extremely comfortable. But $3,800 for a sofa…before tax and a delivery charge…

HELL NO! 

I now had a mission. Get a sofa very similar to the hess without breaking the bank.

Enter the Interwebz….

After doing a good bit of research on a handful of online furniture vendors (All Modern, JoyBird, YLiving), a random Google search brought me to Bryght Furniture.

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I clicked through the furniture they offer and just about pooped my pants when I stumbled upon this beauty…

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I mean look at this ghetto side-by-side photoshop I did comparing the Room and Board Sofa to the Bryght Sven sofa…

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Pretty similar right?! 

So my thought process was something like “Holy Crap, I found the perfect sofa. But what if it sucks?”

I mean, I can’t sit on the thing. I can’t call their customer service department and ask them about it. They’ll just lie and tell me it’s dreamy.

So what do I do?

First, I try and Google “Bryght Furniture Reviews” but there aren’t many. So naturally, I decide to instagram stalk people that have hastagged this specific Bryght sofa. I click to their instagram profiles and find that two of them have a blog. I click to their blog and go to their “About Me” page. I find their email address and send them an email asking for a review of their sofa after owning it a couple months.

Creepy? Whatever. 

In the emails I ask them things like…

…Does it look as nice in real life as the photos?

…Is it comfortable?

…Does it look nice, but feel cheap?

…How has it held up?

…Anything you wished you knew before you bought it?

Fortunately, they emailed me back and both had glowing reviews and said they would absolutely recommend the sofa.

Sold. 

I bought the sofa online last Wednesday, knowing that if we hated it, I’d take advantage of the 30 day, no-hassle, return policy and be only be out the delivery fees ($98 total). It was worth the gamble.

So today (Monday), I’m sitting in my living room and I get a call from a truck driver that says he is 5 minutes from my house and has my couch. I never got a call asking to schedule the delivery so I find it odd that they were just randomly showing up to my house, virtually unannounced. But whatever, I was home so it didn’t matter too much.

Look at how absolutely monstrous the cardboard box is the sofa was shipped in…

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It was kind of a headache breaking that giant box down in to a manageable size, but it was definitely well protected so I can’t really complain.

To get the couch ready for use, all I had to do was screw on the five legs (there is a center support leg) and we were rocking and rolling.

WE ARE IN LOVE. 

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It looked just as good as it did in the photos and felt even better than I was expecting. Our last sofa had a firm seat cushion, which I loved because it helps keep it from looking saggy and lumpy. Our Bryght sofa was right on par. A nice firm, yet comfortable cushion. The back cushions are poly filled so I imagine they will start to look a little frumpy in a couple years, but since they are zippered, I should be able to throw in some extra fill as needed down the road.

My favorite thing about this sofa is that it is full aniline leather. It has a ton of variation and a nice patina (that’s the fancy word for leather that ages prettily). I don’t have to worry about scuffing or scratching the leather, because the scuffs and the scratches are part of the charm. BOOYA! What’s more, it will be much more wipeable than our old tweed fabric sofa. I’ll condition it a couple times a year to protect from stains and to prevent the leather from cracking, but that isn’t that big of a headache.

Overall, I would say I’m pleasantly surprised with my first significant online furniture purchase. It’s exactly what I wanted it to be, and nothing like I feared it might be. Win, win.

Is it as nice as the $4,200 Room and Board sofa? No. But at $2,400 cheaper, it’s definitely the better value.

And in case you are wondering. NO. I was not paid or compensated in any way for this Bryght Furniture review. In fact, I tried to get the hook up from Bryght in exchange for a review and they, politely, declined. Darn.

Have you ever bought a substantial piece of furniture online, without seeing it in person?

Was it what you expected, better, or worse?

Any other gem of a websites y’all know about that I need to be filled in on?  

Hey I’m on Forbes Today…

So a Forbes journalist reached out to me a couple weeks back and we did a phone interview about my life and financials. The article is live on Forbes today and if you want to read it you can click here. I wouldn’t say everything in there is exactly how I would have portrayed our situation, but nonetheless, it’s a still a decent piece.

And if you want to get a real kick out of it, click over to the same article on Yahoo and read the comments. Man, some people are brutal 🙂

I’m not dead. I’m just really busy making da money.

I’ve always wanted to be the type of person that sets goals for themselves. Let me pat myself on the back as, today, I’ve reached a new goal.

LONGEST TIME BETWEEN BLOG POSTS IN THE 6 YEAR HISTORY OF THIS BLOG.

I know. I know. You’re so proud of me right?! Thanks for your encouragement.

For realsy though, I’m at a weird crossroad. This blog is literally titled Punch Debt In The Face, and as such, feel like the voice of the blog should be about debt, or at the very least, personal finance. That said, after 1,170 blog posts, I just don’t have much left to say about money. 

That’s not to say that I’ve stopped caring about money. My Roth IRA, 401k, and taxable investment accounts are still very much a part of my life and I love them dearly. But I just don’t have any interest in writing about them anymore. At least not often enough to warrant posting here.

I’ve flirted with the idea of selling off my blog for a couple thousand bucks. Letting some spammer take it over and blast you with a million posts about “10 ways to get out of debt” or “Best credit card offers”. I’d want to punch myself in the face for doing it, but money is money.

The other part of me wants to just let it lay dormant and post as desired (kind of like I am right now). Maybe sometimes I post a couple times a month. Maybe I go six months without any new content.

Part of me wants to just rename my blog Punch Life In The Face and just write about whatever the hell I want without feeling like I need to cater to a specific audience, but unfortunately, website SEO hates new domains.

And so here we are. Only problem is, I’m not quite sure where “here” is.

I can tell you that I’ve been continuing my latest money making hobby of flipping a ton of furniture on craigslist. Here are my most recent deals..

Original Z Chair. Paid $250. Sold for $850.


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Stanley Credenza. Paid $250. Sold for $600.

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Lane Credenza. Paid $50. Sold for $500.
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Arnt Sorheim Credenza. Paid $450. Sold for $1,050.

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Lane Credenza. Paid $250. Sold for $650.

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Norwegian Teak Credenza. Paid $500. Sold for $1,500.

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BoConcept Leather Chairs. Paid $1,000. Sold for $1,900.

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Walnut Credenza. Paid $350. Sold for $800.

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I know after my last post about flipping furniture I got a few emails from readers saying they gave it a shot and were able to make a quick profit. So far my furniture investing is absolutely destroying actual stock market investing. Can’t beat a 100% to 200% return on investment.

Go flip some furniture already. Unless you live in Seattle, then back off… I call dibs 🙂

Oh, and I’m 99% sure Girl Ninja and I are having a piece about us go up on Forbes this week. I’ll link to the post when I see it… assuming I’m happy with how it portrays us, haha.

Edit: the forbes article is up. Found here.

I could make a full salary on Craigslist.

I’ve blogged many times about my love of Craigslist, and how I’ve used it to save money over the years. Over the last six weeks or so, I’ve been flipping furniture on CL and am shocked at just how profitable that can be. Spefically, when you are wheeling and dealing mid century modern furniture. Let’s look at a few case studies shall we…

Case Study 1: 

Girl Ninja and I had been using a black ikea cube bookshelf thingy as a storage space behind our couch. I hated how cluttered it always looked and decided it was time to look in to getting an actual credenza for our space. I came across this guy for $120 on CL. I offered $90 and the seller accepted.

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After realizing it was waaaaaay too small for our space, I decided to put it up on CL for $350 and see what happened. I’ll tell you what happened. Someone paid me $350 and bought it.

Profit: $260

Case Study 2: 

I made $260 in profit from my first credenza so figured it was only logical to roll that money in to another credenza. One that better fit our space. I paid $250 for this Lane Rhythm credenza…

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I did a little refinishing. About 30 minutes worth of work, sanding down the top and staining it to make it shine. I sold it for $650 less than 24 hours after buying it.

Profit: $400

Case Study 3: 

I wanted to dabble with two tone furniture, so I was on the hunt for a mid century dresser. Found this guy for $200 on CL (paid $150 for it after negotiating)…

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I put about two hours worth of work in to this guy. Doing some light sanding, priming, and then painting, with leftover white paint I had on hand. This is what it looked like when I was done…
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I was super happy with the end result and felt like I just Pinterested the crap out of the dresser. I posted it up for $400, and it sold quickly.

Profit: $250.

Case Study 4: 

I had a tree taken down in our backyard a couple years ago and saved one of the rounds that was leftover, figuring I could make something cool out of it. Originally my plan was to make it a centerpiece for our dining room table, but then I decided to turn it in to a live edge, side table. I paid about $45 for some hairpin legs and simply screwed them in to the bottom of my tree round. This was the final product…

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I posted it up on CL for $180 and it sold shortly after listing it.

Profit: $135.

Case Study 5:

I paid $65 for this credenza.

IMG_4925Can you believe it! $65 for this diamond in the rough. The seller was using it as storage for his kids toys in their playroom. He decided he wanted it gone. Within 20 minutes of him posting it, I was on my way to meet him and take it off his hands. It had an ugly wood base that had pretty nasty water damage to it, so I hammered off the ugly bottom and was left with the picture you see above.

I got the bright idea to buy some mid century modern angled legs online and dress things up a bit. The legs and angled brackets set me back $90. That’s right, I paid more for the legs than I did for the actual credenza.

I rubbed the piece down with some teak oil to bring out the woods natural tones and this is what it looked like after…

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My total investment was about $165. I probably could have sold this for about $800 on Craigslist, but a friend of mine loved it and needed a new TV stand. I gave him a friend deal and sold it to him for $400.

Profit: $240 (could have been $600+ if I posted on CL).

Case Study 6: 

Found this mid century dresser on Craigslist Sunday morning for $200…

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I didn’t do a single thing to the dresser. I reposted it on Craigslist as soon as I got home for $450, and it sold six hours later for $450.

Profit: $250.

Case Study 7: 

If you haven’t noticed the theme, I like to stick to credenzas and dressers that could be used as credenzas. It was time to mix things up a bit so I decided to flirt with a new piece.

I saw this coffee table listed on CL for $60 (I paid $50 for it)…

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I brought it home, staged it, took some photos and back on to Craigslist it went. It sold 24 hours later for $200.

Profit: $150.

Case Study 8:

Picked up this Broyhill Brasilia Tallboy dresser on Sunday for $200…

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Haven’t done a single thing to it (except stage it and take some photos). It’s on craigslist right now for $750, and should sell somewhere between $500-$750. I may end up keeping it though because it’s so freaking pretty. I mean look at it…

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So beautiful, and a pretty rare piece at that.

Case Study 9, 10, 11, and 12: 

Picked up this Lane Acclaim credenza for $450 on CL…

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I sanded down the top and stained it to make it shine. I posted it for $800 on CL and had a slew of people wanting to come see it. Girl Ninja freaked out and pulled a trump card saying I wasn’t allowed to sell it. So for now, this is the credenza that we are keeping behind our couch 🙂 Unless I can find someone that is willing to pay me $950 for it, then I’m gonna trump her trump and sell it 🙂

Here are a few other pieces I could sell for a couple hundred more than I paid for them, but Girl Ninja has trumped…

Paid $220 for this white leather chair, could probably sell for around $400…

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Paid $150 for this mid century leather chair. Should sell for $300-$400. 00X0X_jUxBqGVeL1u_600x450

Paid $250 for this desk and chair. Posted it for $500 and had multiple people asking to come see it. That was before Girl Ninja told me I wasn’t allowed to sell it…

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Conclusion:

In the last month, I made about $1,700 by simply buying furniture on Craigslist and selling it a few days later (or sometimes the same day) for double or triple what I paid. And that’s without even trying. It just kind of organically happened. I bet I could triple that income if I really got serious about it.

If you’re interested in flipping on Craigslist here are a few pointers I have for you:

1. Look for crappy ads. Most of these items only had a single cell phone picture of the furniture piece and there was barely any description of the item. Craigslist posts like these tell me the person just wants the piece gone and doesn’t care about getting top dollar. If the furniture is staged and has a detailed description, the seller probably knows exactly what their piece is worth, so there isn’t much room for profit.

2. Always offer less than what they listed the piece for. ALWAYS! Most of the time I can save $25 to $100 by simply asking the seller if they’ll consider taking less. About half the time they agree, the other half they stay firm. Any money you save on the purchase, increases your profit come time to sell.

3. Stage your photos and use a nice camera to take pictures (your 12mp cell phone camera isn’t going to cut it). You’ll notice each of my listing photos are edited to really make the piece stand out. I increase the contrast and sharpness, bring out the natural colors of the wood, and blur the background to make sure the furniture stands out as the focal point. Great photography translates to great profits.

4. Don’t budge on price. You’ll notice in just about every instance I negotiated a lower purchase price from the seller. But I’ve never once budged on my asking price when I’m the one doing the selling.

By the time people have taken the time out of their day to drive to my house and see the piece, I’m almost positive they are emotionally attached to the piece. They ask if I would consider accepting less, and I respond with something like “Sorry, I’ve gotten a handful of other emails on it and am confident it will sell for asking. But I understand if you want to pass. No pressure either way.”

They fear missing out on it, and they end up paying me full asking. Worst case, they walk away, and the next day someone else is knocking on my door to pay full price.

5. Look often. Craigslist gets thousands of new listings every day. I’ve gotten very good at sifting through CL to discover the diamonds in the rough. Search terms, sorting by newest items, and putting the layout in “grid mode” will be your biggest helpers. There is an art to Craigslisting and if you spend enough time on there, you’ll figure it out.

Now get off my blog and go make yourself a little extra money!

 

 

 

Good news friends. I’m not dead.

So let’s just talk about the big elephant in the room. 

Yes.

I dropped off the face of the earth for the last two and a half months. And ya know what, it felt soooooooooo good.

I wish I had some cool story about how I was doing awesome things that kept me so busy I had no time to blog. But the reality is, I just didn’t want to write.

It’s that simple.

I like to consider it a blogging sabbatical. I mean I’ve been writing now for six years, a break was very much needed.

Special thanks to the dozen or so of you that sent me emails checking to make sure I hadn’t been kidnapped and had all my skin cut off by a creepy blog reader.

Much appreciated 🙂

On another note…

Girl Ninja and I might be moving. To where you ask?

ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD.

I applied for a job with a well known government agency back in April, and over the last three months I’ve been jumping through a bunch of pre hiring hoops.

I’ve been interviewed, lie detected, stabbed, pricked, poked, x-rayed, and investigated.

 

I’ve successfully passed each of the stages and am awaiting a final hiring decision. Word on the street has it, that decision should be coming very soon.And if I am extended a final offer, Girl Ninja and I could be moving. 

Most secret squirrel jobs with Uncle Sam require the employee to sign a mobility agreement. Meaning, the employee agrees to move where the agency requests they go. In my case, that could end up being anywhere in the world. 

Literally.

I requested to be placed in either Seattle or San Diego (since these two locations are where we consider “home”), but there is nothing stopping them from putting me in the midwest, the south, the east, or even the Middle East, Korea, Africa, Spain, etc.

What’s more, it’s possible I don’t even get a job offer. Which means we’d be staying put in Seattle and I’d have to figure out a new game plan in regards to my career path.

Needless to say, life is a little crazy right now and we’re doing our best to temper our anxiety. I feel like a college student all over again, waiting for the acceptance (or rejection) letter to show up in the mail. Fingers crossed the news comes this week! 

In conclusion, look at how cute Baby Ninja is now that he doesn’t look all alien like…

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