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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
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