Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pimp My Hundred Bucks - Part One

(This is a little note for my recent traffic from fellow trademe users... Please view this series as a humorous approach to how I have achieved my own personal goal of turning $100 into more. It's not meant to be a get rich quick scam and it was never my intention to imply a method of tax avoidance, I do not talk about tax in this series simply because I have not crossed that bridge yet and NOT because I have no intention to, any one who would suggest as much has made a gross and unfounded assumption and judgment of my character... Otherwise, please enjoy my little adventure...)

I just made a hundred bucks and I’m still excited about it. I’m still trying to remember the phone number of that pretty Ewok I met in the tree party I had in my make-believe reenactment of the best party scene of any 80’s movie ever – The Return of the Jedi. I’m also wondering about the morality of Droid – Ewok relationships, so perhaps losing her phone number was for the best?

In any case, I still have my Hundred Bucks. Actually, to be precise I have $112.46 with which to put to good use… the only question is how am I going to define, “Good Use”?

I earned my Hundred Plus by buying books for coins from Op Shops and selling them for dollars on an online trading site known as Trademe here in the toe nail of Terra Firma, New Zealand.

I elucidated the Internet Community with my progress in a blog series called Pimp My Twenty Bucks, partly to motivate myself to keep going and partly because I had nothing better to do.

Originally I just wanted to prove that it could be done. That an economic nincompoop like me could take $20, apply it to something he loves (books + the internet) and multiply the money until it was big enough to do something worthwhile with, like buy a pair of shoes, go on a small road trip or even neuter my cat.

However as the goal drew slowly near, like a tortoise on very mild steroids, I began to realize that the principles I had learned through this experience could and should take up permanent employment in my day to day experience. Why quit at a hundred dollars when I could keep going to, well, who knows how much?

Which brings us to this paragraph, the one in which I state the purpose of this new series. Here goes:

I am going to take this humble $112 and renovate it to a fantastic $500 and blog about it on the way so that a) I won’t lose my motivation and b) because I have nothing better to do and c) the real reason - I really want other people to see how easy it is.

Just to spoil the moment with a stamp of disclamation - This is not really a How To or Step by Step Guide to how you can Pimp your money, afterall I’m just an ordinary-middle-class-blue-collar-scifi-loving-underachiever like most of you (no offense). But as you read, think of this series as a sort of How to Learn From My Experience and from My Mistakes exposé, so that when you put your hand to making your own money grow you can at least benefit from my having gone there before you.

So here is how I am going to put my $112 to work…

My first intention is to give away ten percent of it. Yes, I know it sounds like a stupid thing to do, and some of you may be forgiven for thinking that I am “tithing” like a prosperity preaching Pentecostal, but allow me to reveal the wisdom behind this novel decision.

I believe, like the psalmist said, that God loves those who love the poor. When the Rich dude came to Jesus and said, “What must I do to get saved?” Jesus said to him, “Go sell your possessions and give to the poor, and then come follow me.” He did NOT say, “Go, sell your possessions and give the money to me.” At the end of the day, money is only worth the happiness you can buy for someone else. So I’m going to take $11.25 and give it to someone who needs it.

At least that’s what I believe.

My second intention is to pay ten percent to myself.

While I was still writing the last series I began thinking about the story of the goose that laid the golden egg. You see, there was this goose, well, not really but in imaginary land there was, and he could lay golden eggs. The fact that he was a male goose seems to have escaped everyone’s notice. Ok, so it’s been a long time since I heard the story, but let’s get to the point...

Every day this goose would lay a golden egg for its owners who at first were very happy with this new development because they had previously been poor peasants and were now trying to convince their bank manager that golden eggs were legal tender. But eventually the peasants became greedy and didn’t want to wait each day for the next egg to come, so they took an axe and cut the goose in half so as to get at the eggs… but when they looked inside the goose, the goose was empty…

On the surface it is a very sad story about greed and animal cruelty but applied to my own enterprise I began to think of my Hundred Dollars as my own goose that lays golden eggs. You see, like the peasant couple who literally, and figuratively, cooked their goose, I could have taken that Hundred Dollar’s and blew it and then I’d be back where I started, with nothing. Or I could take ten percent for myself as a sort of reward for my hard work and a reminder that when I reach my goal of $500 I will have a fatter goose that can lay a $50 egg!

So, I’ve taken another $11.25 and tucked it away in a safe place for a rainy day.

My third intention is to stick with books.

It worked with my $20 so I can’t see any reason why it won’t work again. For the time being at least; there are logistical reasons why continuing with books might cause me problems down the track, like storage and Trademe fees, but we’ll discuss those another time.

So unlike last time, where I credited my Trademe account with a mere $10, this time I have credited my Trademe account with $29.90 to cover the listing fees I am about to accrue, because this time I won’t be starting with a measly 16 books… oh no… this time we are going to town…

As fate, good luck, or perhaps divine intervention would have it, the end of my last series coincided exactly with a local school gala! In case the significance of this is lost on you, School Gala’s, in NZ at least, are the gold mine of second hand books!

So there I was, like a sardine, canned alive in room 31 of Owiroa Primary School amongst other bargain lovers, a heard of epileptic hippopotami madly sorting through mountainous piles of books. Even the air we breathed was dangerous, as trapped in between a table of paperbacks and the bargain crazed human hoard someone discretely let out a current of murderous gas from their jeans, the kind that makes your nostrils coil up like lemon juiced lips. Never the less, I took a deep breath and faced possible brain damage until the poisonous gas had been filtered through the lungs of at least twenty other customers before leaving the building. I will be waking up in a cold sweat for nights to come as my dreams try to process the trauma with visions of my nose being eaten by sentient flatulence

But it was worth the psychological ruin, because I remembered something from going to the same fair last year – at a certain time of day, desperate to get rid of the multitude of books left over, the gala mums began selling a bag of books for $2. Something I was keen to take advantage of again this year!

The result – approximately 62 books for $30! (For you clever folk about 11 of those titles cost me $22 while the books were still "full" price, the remaining 51 or so came to about $8... See the comments below for why I thought this was important to mention).

All up I’ve budgeted $40 to spend on new stock, so I expect that number to grow before the end of this week.

Unlike last time, there will be quite a bit of work involved with listing these books, along with the 46 other titles left over from Pimp My Twenty Bucks!

For my fourth intention, I have put aside a small amount, $20, for investing, which is something I’ve always wanted to do but have “never had the money” lying around to put toward anything.

To my knowledge, which is limited, there aren’t many things I can invest $20 in. So I’ve gone for something safe and easy and, well, lazy. Bonus Bonds, which are a unique investment product which I will try to explain in only a few sentences so as not to bore you to your afterlife…

To quote their Brochure, “Bonus Bonds cost $1 each. Every Bonus Bond you purchase and hold for at least one calendar month following its purchase date gives you one entry into the monthly prize draw, so the more bonus bons you have, the more chances you have to win. For example, if you hold $1000 worth of eligible Bonus Bonds, you will have 1000 chances to win every month. Prizes are tax-free so you don’t have to declare or pay income tax on them – whatever you win!”

And the prizes range from $20 to a millon…

I know what you’re thinking, I’m gambling! Well, not really, because at the end of the day when I get bored of Bonus Bonds I can cash them in and get my money back, so its not like buying a lotto ticket or a scratch and win, it’s a legitimate investment for someone with a spare $20 lying around and I just thought it would be good for a bit of fun… after all, what good is a hundred bucks if you can’t have a bit of fun with some of it?

In any case you can check out their web site here if you want to scrutinize my investment choice!

Finally, my fifth intention – enlisting the help of my readers, because your encouraging comments and “likes” not only feed my ego but expose me to more potential customers, thus increasing my chances of making a sale! So please come follow me on Facebook, please click on the odd “like” button and share me with your friends and acquaintances, post links to this series on your own blog site, hit the Stumble button, ask your mother to read them to you before you go to bed at night… whatever you do, I will appreciate the free advertising, and remind you once again – you do reap what you sow!

So the first chapter has been written.

The saga has thus begun.

See you next week.

Click Here to read Pimp My Twenty Bucks


Click Here to view my current Trademe Listings


Click Here to prove how cool you are


Click Here to Read Part Two of this series!


  1. Cool stuff, made me laugh reading about you neutering your cat!

  2. Wait? 62 books for $30? At $2/bag? Thats only 4 books per bag? Were they really small bags? or really large books?
    In any case, congratulations in stretching that large muscle you call a brain. If you have had left that $20 in the bank you would have made an extra $2.... oh wait, thats too much. Banks aren't that generous.
    So $20 to $100 in one year. If you carry on we should see $500 next year, $2500 the year after, 12500 the year after, $62,500 the year after, $312,500 after that. I for one, would like to see pimp my $312,500.00!

    1. Ah, I just read that paragraph and can see why you jumped to that conclusion... I didn't mean that all 62 were part of the $2 per bag of books deal... I spent about $22 earlier that day at the same stall while the books were "full" price... So about 11 of those 62 cost me $22 the remaining $8 was spent on the other 51ish... But again I was talking approximates, I still haven't counted all the books yet... Thanks for the insults by the way, very classy.

    2. No insults my friend. Can't wait to read more!

    3. Ah my bad, sometimes I find it hard decipher nuance in text;) I should really be thanking you for pointing out the ambiguity of what I had written! In anycase I should have part 3 up in about 24 hours, it's been a very good week!

  3. Um no, There were about 10-15 books per bag, one of the bags was really big. Make sense?


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