Reclaim your own money

From the archives: August 4, 2010

© Andrea Reynolds 2009-2014

In a recession money becomes more precious. We’re more careful to find ways to spend it more wisely. Yet I continue to see smart people abandoning money. I know this because I see authors, speakers, and experts who expect no payment for their work even when payment is available. When I decided to pursue damages after my constitutional rights were violated resulting in no income for several years, my friends all tried to convince me that I should let the money go and forget about it. Why? Should Bernie Madoff’s victims just forget about their losses? I hope not.

While you may not have lost millions or hundreds of thousands of dollars, you can recover several thousand dollars over the course of a year. That money could pay off a debt, buy groceries for a year, or cover multiple mortgage payments. Why deny yourself your own money?

The following eight suggestions may bring you small amounts of money for a little effort and time, yet when added up, could bring you a significant sum of “bonus” money.

Overcharges. Check hotel bills and grocery bills. If you were overcharged you’re entitled to a refund of the overpayment, and some stores will give you the product free and/or give you double your money back.

Overpayments. Did you pay your utility company more money than you owed before you moved out of state? Maybe you threw the statement into a box before you moved and never gave it another thought. And maybe you forgot to notify the utility company of your new address.

Unreturned deposits. Perhaps you left an apartment and never received your security or key deposit. That’s your money. Write a letter and insist on payment. If you posted a $100 security deposit with a utility company, get it back.

Unpaid invoices. Did you do work for a client who never paid? Did you earn commissions that you never received? Follow through with documentation, and remind them that you still expect payment.

Payment made on services not provided. Did you pay a retainer to a professional but they didn’t show up. Don’t just forget it, get it back.

Price matches.  Take the time to check out prices in various stores even after you have purchased an item, like a camera, lawnmower, or a bed. If the store has a price match guarantee, take your receipt and proof of a competitor’s better price, and ask for the difference.

Unpaid loans. Did you give up trying to recover money lent to a friend? If they are doing well now ask them to start paying you back in regular installments.

Damages. If a dentist breaks your tooth while drilling, insist on payment for the extra cost of repairing or replacing the tooth. If someone plagiarized your work, invoice him for stealing your intellectual property.

If you treat money with respect, more of it will show up in your life. Say yes to recovering your own money.

Several years ago money blogger Andrea Reynolds launched a service – Restorative Justice – to assist individuals in recovering large amounts of money swindled from them. Not a lawyer, she has had a 100% success rate so far, without employing bullying tactics, insults or harassment. If you've lost money to someone perhaps Andrea can help you get it back.

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A Bigger home is not the only solution to your space problem

From the archives, July 27, 2010

© Andrea Reynolds 2009-2014

Do we really need 5 bedroom, 3 bathroom, 3-car garage homes to house our families and our stuff? Put another way, do we really need bigger mortgages if we’re already in debt? Let me tell you about the Paulsons. (Not their real name.) After forty years they still live in their first and only house.

When they first married they rented a second floor apartment while saving for a down payment. When they did buy, it was a small bungalow on a quiet street. To have enough room for their three kids they spaced them so only two kids were living at home at the same time. They didn’t have pets. When their things took up too much room in the house, they reorganized their basement storage, held yard sales, gave things to the church for its rummage sales, and donated outgrown clothes to charity.

Soon after their 25th wedding anniversary their mortgage was paid off. They lived within their means despite several job layoffs, earned two college degrees in the family, and have lived debt-free for the past 15 years. Their children never felt cramped.

Only in their early 60’s the Paulsons’ retirement years will be a cakewalk because they weren’t bitten by the bigger-is-better bug. Did you know that many self-made millionaires live comfortably in modest homes? (Warren Buffet, for example.) You probably know that the trend now is to live in tiny homes. Tiny, as in less than 144 square feet. Do a search on “tiny homes” and you’ll find custom home manufacturers building homes 10 feet by 10 feet.

If you think you can’t live without your stuff, try this. Rent a storage unit, fill it with anything you don’t need for cooking, sleeping, eating, or working, and don’t use what’s inside for a month. You may be surprised at what you don’t need, and happier with fewer possessions around you.

Money blogger Andrea Reynolds has lived in a space of only 45 square feet but currently lives in 1300 square feet. She is the author of No Surprises: 365 Critical Questions You Need to Ask Each Other Before You Marry… and how to ask them. Readers should order two copies each:

Want to republish/reprint this blog post? First let's talk about a licensing agreement. I'm a professional writer and I sell my writing.

How to sell your (unwanted) web site for needed cash

From the archives: July 29, 2010

© Andrea Reynolds 2009-2014

Eight years ago, when I needed to sell my second mobile home and realtors were only complicating my life, I created a web site to advertise it myself. I found a domain name that clearly defined the site’s purpose. I’d already sold my first mobile home without a realtor in 6 days, so I had some credibility.

I posted a long, bulleted description of my home, a list of contents I could include in the sale, a dozen color photos of the interior and exterior, a map of the area, directions to the front door, the price, and what it would cost to live there.

To add more content I posted other mobile homes for-sale-by-owner in my neighborhood for a small fee. If someone wanted to buy nearby, but didn’t want my home, I figured I’d help others who wanted to sell their mobile homes. Then I started receiving payments from mobile home owners in other states who wanted me to advertise their homes. Suddenly I was operating a business.

I discovered most sellers didn’t know how to market their homes as well as I did to entice buyers to make an offer. How could I help them? I created two digital products to sell: a booklet of 120 tips I used to sell my first mobile home in 6 days, and a set of purchase agreement forms to sign when a verbal offer came in. People started buying them.

Once my home sold and I didn’t need the website, I decided to sell. I held out a year for a reasonable price and received an offer for more than I expected. This turnkey operation included the right to sell my two digital products in perpetuity, but I kept affiliate and resell rights. I won’t say what the selling price was, but it was enough to cover my truck payments for 18 months.

Do you have a no-longer-needed web site you could sell?

Money blogger Andrea Reynolds is the author of Sell Your Mobile Home in 60 Days: 150 Smart Selling Secrets. Readers can order her e-booklet here:

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Earn money from your blog with tips booklets

From the archives: August 1, 2010

© Andrea Reynolds 2009-2014

Unless you’re Marcus Frind, creator-owner of the dating site,, you probably won’t receive million dollar checks from Google Adsense, as he does. (Source: Interview, CBC TV’s “The Hour,” 4/8/09.) A better bet would be to write something once and sell it many times to many blog readers for a reasonable price.

Think about a subject you’re passionate about and know a great deal about. Then sit down and write 100 or more tips on that subject. Each tip should be no more than 3 sentences, preferably only one sentence, and should start with a verb.

Here’s an example of a tip from my report, “
33 Amenities Speakers Deserve”: Advise your speakers right away of significant program changes and additions: times, audience numbers, location, other speakers who may possibly speak on a similar subject. To arrive at an empty hall or follow another speaker who has just delivered her speech is a speaker’s nightmare!

A simple kitchen tip might be:
Turn nearly-empty salad dressing bottles upside- down in the fridge so the contents will be easier to access the next time. Having the bottle neck at the bottom may also allow you to cram one more item into the fridge door shelf.

Brainstorm 100 or so tips on one specific subject, separate them under sub-headings, add an introduction and some wrap-up remarks, include a bio with your qualifications for writing this booklet and your contact information. Get someone to proofread your booklet, and if necessary, have an editor make the copy sing.

Now you’re an author. Price your new information product somewhere between $5 and $12, and post a description of it on your blog’s sidebar. If your readers like your blog they may buy your booklet, too. Later you may want to write a sequel or even a series of booklets on the same subject.

Money blogger Andrea Reynolds has been a professional writer and editor for more than 3.5 decades. The author of numerous tips booklets herself, she has been known to take clients’ handwritten manuscripts and turn them into tips booklets for them… when asked, and paid.

Want to republish/reprint this blog post? First let's talk about a licensing agreement. I'm a professional writer and I sell my writing.