116R Escape

116R | Escape

Karen Hoxmeier joins the show to share how and why she built a coupon-sharing website, Brad and Jonathan talk about optimizing food, taxes and home insurance, and a review of Monday’s episode with Wendy Mays.

  • Brad and Jonathan are excited about a chicken shawarma recipe they hope Laura will add to the ChooseFI Vault soon.
  • Wendy, from Monday’s episode, tackled her family’s grocery bill when she started pursuing financial independence.
  • Food shouldn’t just be cheap; it should also be good.
  • What is Brad’s strategy for decreasing his phone usage and dependence?
  • For taxes, what matters the most is your tax liability, not your tax withholding.
  • While tax refunds are currently decreasing in the U.S., that’s actually because the withholding tables have changed and people are sending less extra money to the government throughout the year.
  • Estimating your taxes throughout the year so that your tax return is about $100 is pretty extreme tax optimization, but a minimal tax return means you’ve had access to all your money for saving and investing throughout the year, instead of loaning it to the government.
  • Brad signed a contract to install solar panels on his house and paid half the cost, then realized that he hadn’t contacted his home insurance company.
  • Wendy tackled one thing at a time, optimizing a little bit at a time, until she was saving her family $6,000 a month, without a significant decrease in lifestyle. Listen to the full episode with Wendy Mays here.
  • Spend money on what brings your life value, then cut everything else ruthlessly.
  • ChooseFI community member Karen Hoxmeier joins the show:
    • Karen worked in a wide variety of jobs in her youth and early adulthood, until becoming a stay-at-home mom in 1994.
    • In 1999 Karen started sharing coupon deals with friends, via email, until that became too taxing, and she decided to build a website.
    • How did Karen learn html code to build her website?
    • Karen realized she could start making money from her website when she discovered Amazon’s affiliate program.
    • Karen’s advice for someone who wants to make money blogging:
      • Make content that is valuable
      • Set up an email list
      • Treat your customers like they’re your friends
    • If you’re interested in an affiliate relationship, Karen recommends starting a conversation with a representative from the company.
    • Companies are often willing to pay a higher commission to advertise or link with blogs or websites that will provide high-quality leads.

Links mentioned in today's show:

Mutual Assurance Society of Virginia


Your Financial Resilience Toolkit

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11 thoughts on “116R | Escape”

  1. Very good point about finding value and cutting the rest ruthlessly. That’s one of the things I like about Your Money Or Your Life–there’s no template, enough is different for everyone. “My biggest mistake was living within my means; I should have been living below my means”.

  2. Curious to know if companies will want to see your blog already having a large following before allowing you to have affiliate marketing with them. Or if they hand it out since like mentioned in this show, they don’t pay unless someone signs up, in which case it is beneficial to them to hand out their affiliate links to anyone who asks. Any insights into this? And who do you call to talk with, the marketing department?

  3. Thanks for laying out the truth about federal tax withholding and the ill-advised complacency of getting a refund. I’ve done 2 posts about why it’s not smart at all to get a refund because you’re losing money to inflation and giving the feds an interest-free loan, and I still get pushback from most, even from other FI bloggers. I just don’t get it.

  4. With this episode addressing some of the multiple facets of life under the heading of FI and optimization instead of just money alone—I thought of someone you might want to look into interviewing for this same path with business if you’ve not already heard of him or tried.

    Check out Mike Michalowicz and see if you can get an interview. I love his book “Profit First” and have been listening to the others on audio as of late. “The Pumpkin Plan” is all about focus in your business, and while I’ve not read it yet I assume “The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur” is about serious frugality in starting a business. He has his own podcast also.

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