Episode 238

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The Frugal Real Estate Investor. Tom Brickman


Episode Description

Tom Brickman. resale entrepreneur and CEO of TheFrugalGay.com, had a dream of becoming a real estate mogul. When he realized how much rent was costing him, it got his wheels turning. So at 22 years old, armed with some sage advice from his mortgage broker and an ambition to make something great out of nothing, Tom embarked on what would become the start of quite a journey: buying property every year in pursuit of building up a rental real estate portfolio.

Tune in to hear how Tom made the climb from 9-to-5er all the way up to money mogul by investing his time and energy into real estate. We spotlight his key moves, and uncover some steps to avoid (like buying a crack house on eBay), to inspire anyone looking into the adventure of rental real estate investing! 

Tom has purchased 21 doors and has retired at 39 from 9-5. He is living proof that financial freedom is within reach. To learn more, visit his website https://thefrugalgay.com 

About Tom

Tom Brickman, a proud dog dad from Dallas Texas, recently retired from his 9-5 to work on building his Real Estate empire, TheFrugalGay.com and a resale business. Tom provides one on one coaching for building wealth in real estate and covers financial literacy

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Episode Transcription

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[00:00:00] Bob Wheeler: Do you ever lay around wondering what it would be like to make your mark in real estate without having to inherit a large sum of money or win the lottery? Well, for Tom Brickman, that dream became a reality. When he decided he didn’t wanna pay 350 in rent, he went to a mortgage broker who informed him that he would only qualify for multi-family since the potential rent could be counted towards his total.

With this purchase, Tom’s net living expenses were reduced to only $138 a month. He realized there was money to be made renting to other folks, so at 22, he made his second purchase and made it a goal to start buying property every year. In this episode, we talked through Tom’s journey from regular worker to Millionaire Real Estate mogul and highlight the steps and sacrifices he made along the.

Tom Brickman, a proud dog dad from Dallas, Texas, recently retired from his nine to five to work on building his real estate empire, the frugal gay.com and a resale business. Tom provides one-on-one coaching for building wealth and real estate, and covers financial literacy. I’m Bob Wheeler, and this is Money you should Ask, where we explore why we do what we do when it comes to.

Tom, it’s so great to have you on the show. Thanks for taking the time out

[00:01:32] Tom Brickman: today. Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here.

[00:01:35] Bob Wheeler: We’re gonna have some fun. We’re gonna talk about a lot of good stuff. We’re gonna get into real estate and all kinds of fun things and eBay. So Tom, you’re also known as The Frugal Gay.

How’d you get that moniker?

[00:01:46] Tom Brickman: I actually started it like maybe almost 10 years back and I had this little anonymous blog with it, and it has just stuck with me because in my community especially you get mocked for being frugal. So that has always stuck with me and my friends are like, he’ll go, but he’ll figure out a much cheaper way to go.

And I have always been able to sell enough bras to go. Wedding with a friend or wherever we were going. Well,

[00:02:12] Bob Wheeler: so speaking of bras, you have a lot of experience on eBay. You’ve bras, crack houses. Tell us how eBay has played a role in your

[00:02:20] Tom Brickman: wealth development. So eBay has been a huge factor. I am 40 years old and I have been doing eBay I think for almost 20 years.

They didn’t even have buy it now when I started selling on eBay, and people are like, well, why did you start? It was out of necessity. I couldn’t afford my books in school and it kind of fell into my lap where I was checking out at a closeout store up in Ohio and they had a big shopping cart full of dollar 50 purse.

And I asked the cashier, I said, are these really a dollar 50? I saw that they were a really good name brand. They were diesel purses. They had Nordstrom stickers on ’em. I’m like, I’m taking ’em all. So I pushed that whole card up and I sold them two at a time cuz I had two colors and that paid for my books for that semester.

And it was just one of those that I’m like, oh, I can actually make some money doing this and I enjoy doing it, so let’s do it. So I’ve done it as much or as little as I want over the years and it really has propelled. Into being able to leave my job four 40 and into a lot of real estate, and I call myself a lazy eBayer, where if I have a really expensive month, which last year in August, it was a really expensive month, I get really aggressive on eBay.

But if everything’s going well, I’ll ship out my packages, but I’m not actively sourcing or listing or doing any of

[00:03:30] Bob Wheeler: that kind of stuff. You see? Think I would be a terrible eBayer because I don’t know that I’d get everything Ra. And shipped. And that’s probably the biggest part of the, the deal once you close the sale.

[00:03:42] Tom Brickman: That’s my husband’s role because he’s very o c D about how it’s packed. And I mean, I, knock on wood, I’ve had very few broken packages over the last six years that we’ve been together cuz that is his specialty and he does that. So I do the sourcing, the listing, and the correspondence and. Once the labels get sent to him, he takes care of the rest and pulls the item and ships it.

Oh, that’s awesome.

[00:04:06] Bob Wheeler: That’s awesome. Yeah. So you also started getting into real estate pretty early and you were working at a movie theater making about $55,000 a year, and you said, I’m gonna go into real estate. Like what gave you the courage or what kept you from, some people would say, well that’s not enough.

Like, I don’t know what is, but Right. There might be some stories there. I

[00:04:26] Tom Brickman: call it stupidity. I started at 21. I was working at the gap. I was making eight 50 an hour, and my rent was $375. And I’m like, I don’t wanna pay all this rent. And this is again, uh, quite a long time ago. And I could not get qualified for a lot.

So the mortgage broker actually recommended. They’re like, why don’t you get a multi-family cuz we can count the rent towards your mortgage and we can get you a much better house. And I’m like, well, just sign me up for the salt, collect rent from someone. So it wasn’t. A strategic plan, it was, I want to do this.

I bought a $90,000 duplex and my mortgage tax and insurance was $738, and I was collecting 600 in rent from downstairs, so I didn’t know anywhere that I could live for $138. So I did it, and then I learned real quick when that furnace went out that first year, it’s more than $138, but I saw that I can generate.

By providing homes to people. And I just, I bought another one the following year when I was 22, and then I really went to town when I moved to Texas because it was, uh, 2009, 2010. And it was rock bottom pricing at the time. So I was like, well, I’m gonna buy at least one of these every year. Because I don’t wanna look for another job.

I would rather do something like this. And that’s when I actually started making money, cuz I did have a money pit in there. The one that I bought when I was 22. I lost money on every year that I owned

[00:05:45] Bob Wheeler: it. Wow. Well, I mean, and you win some luso, but I think this idea of multi-family homes is such. A great strategy.

I work with a lot of people in entertainment and I will tell them, look, you don’t know where your next acting gig or directing gig is coming from. Let somebody else pay your mortgage. Or at least most of it. And so to me it’s always been a good deal because you can count the income from the rental units.

It’s a pretty good deal if you actually take a look at it. It’s just a lot of people, I didn’t wanted somebody next door and I know like all the stories, but I love that you did. I need to start buying one every year, but I’m in Los Angeles. And every year that’s about 1.5 to do a million

[00:06:28] Tom Brickman: dollars. I was talking to a client recently and I’m like, how much did you pay?

And it’s a two bedroom townhouse and she’s like 810, and I’m like 810. That’s like eight houses for me. So yeah, I know the price barriers are a challenge, but I was also talking with that client who is buying out of state now, so she’s looking at other alternatives. And half my portfolio is in Toledo, Ohio.

Half of it is here locally in Dallas. And when I got priced out of Dallas, I went back to Ohio cuz I knew I could make things cash flow and make sense. And I did have a solid team there to do stuff. It took me years of building it up, but now I don’t have sheer panic when I have a broken pipe or a furnace go out, cuz I have a good Rolodex, we’ll call it a Rolodex, but a good connection in my phone.

And yeah, so that’s how I ended up back in Ohio. I had bought those first two and then bought a bunch in Dallas and then I went back when, uh, I started to get priced outta Dallas. Okay.

[00:07:22] Bob Wheeler: And what was the buy-in and running process like in the beginning? So you discovered quickly the furnace not so great, but there’s money to be made most of the time except on the second one, but like, what was that?

And in terms of finding a tenant, you just take anybody that wanted to rent it screening, like did you learn the hard way? What was all that?

[00:07:42] Tom Brickman: That big red flag when people are like, I’ve got cash today. And I’m like, oh, okay, sure, you can move it. Here’s the keys. And that was the last time I got cash. So it was lots of trial and error.

And that’s part of why I do coaching. So they don’t make the same mistakes that I made. They don’t buy the crack house on eBay. They don’t take the cash when the person shows up with cash. And yeah, it was a lot of trial and error, especially at the beginning, and it was before I had good systems. To do screenings and I was like advertising on Craigslist and you know, whoever showed up showed up and you pick from those two or three people that showed up and you hope for the best.

And sometimes it worked out really well. I had some fantastic tenants along the way, but then I’ve also had some duds along the way who saw that I was young and inexperienced and took advantage every step of the way that.

[00:08:28] Bob Wheeler: Absolutely. And I, you know, I think it’s important for people to be aware of what they’re getting into.

Like I know I’m too nice when it comes to telling tenants to pay the bills and stuff. Like that’s not my cup of tea now. It doesn’t mean I don’t wanna get it into real estate. It just means I need somebody to manage it because I’m not good with that stuff. You know, the thing about being, you’re in Texas, you’ve got property in Ohio.

Yeah. I have a couple clients in California that bought property in Ohio. They didn’t have anybody to do the repairs. And two of those houses got turned into parks by the city eventually because really bad choices, really bad neighborhoods. A friend was like, this is great. I’ll manage everything. She buys them and then he moves.

And what do you say to those people that are doing long distance real estate?

[00:09:14] Tom Brickman: So I say this to my clients all the time, don’t buy doors to buy doors. Buy doors that you have systems in place, or that you understand what you’re investing in. Why are you gonna slap down $50,000 a hundred thousand dollars if you don’t understand what you’re getting?

And I’ll occasionally get these dms and they’ll be like, I have these four doors and I’m losing money on it every month. And then as soon as they give me the address, I’m like, Well, of course you’re losing money. That’s the worst part of the neighborhood. Nobody wants to rent over there. Nobody wants to fix anything over there.

So understand what you’re getting. So a lot of times when I work with clients and we were just talking pre-show about two clients that closed on property there, I made sure that they flew over there and they understood what they were getting before they slapped down some money. Right? And yes, it cost 500 a thousand bucks for a hotel in a a flight, but that 500 or a thousand bucks saves you a lot of.

From buying in that wrong neighborhood. And while we were looking, they came with this list of, we wanna look at these 10 houses. And they’re like, oh my gosh, you’re right. We need to look at just these two houses cuz these are the only two that make sense, right? And these other eight look great on paper, but up close, we don’t wanna be in that neighborhood.

And I’m like, well, I know. And that’s why I said we need to look at those two, but not the other eight. Well, I

[00:10:17] Bob Wheeler: think the mistake some people make is that they think buying a real estate property that’s an investment is an emotional purchase and it’s gotta be. A business purchase, it has to make sense financially, not, oh my God, it has a red door and they’ve got a little fireplace.

You have to take all of that emotion

[00:10:36] Tom Brickman: out. And I a hundred percent agree. And same with when you’re looking at a property, you have to look at that as an investment and how is this gonna generate income more? So, you know, I love this, I love this, I love that when you get emotionally attached is when you overspend, when you buy things that you shouldn’t.

So there’s a lot of that. And that’s one thing that I work on with people is this is an investment. It’s supposed to generate you income. It’s not supposed to be your forever home. And as you start in your house hacking, I just had that conversation yesterday with. This is a step on the journey. This is not, you’re gonna live in this house for the rest of your life, and yes, it’s not ideal, but it’ll get you rolling in the right direction.

[00:11:14] Bob Wheeler: Yeah. You know, I learned early on I really wanted a red truck, and so when I bought the red truck, I was so excited. It was a red truck and they completely took advantage. My grandparents had to come in and threaten to sue them, the dealer, because I was just so excited. I was emotionally invest. And when I started looking at my first place, I had a realtor who was smart and gave me a heads up cuz I said, oh look, they have a, a fireplace.

He said, you hate fireplaces. And so when I went in and they go, there’s a fireplace, I went, yeah, I guess I can live with that. And so I went in as if I could care less, even if inside I was like, on fire, please. Right. Because we do get excited and then we’re not paying attention.

[00:11:54] Tom Brickman: We can overlook the flaws.

I have a property under contract, and when I got that inspection back and I sat there and I was looking at it, I’m like, man, this is a lot more than I thought. So I typed out my thoughts and I just said, you know, this is gonna cost this much. This is gonna cost this much. Do you want to give me anything back?

Or do you wanna just try and sell it to someone else? And they gave me a good seller’s concession when I actually went through it and spelled out all the issues that I’m gonna have to fix if I’m buying it. And that’s important as well, that people. They like that fireplace or they like this location, and then you’ve got a money pit on your hands.

Yeah. And by the time you’re done fixing it, you’re like, oh, just get this thing out of my life. Yeah.

[00:12:30] Bob Wheeler: I’ve had a few of those. Now. Was the, uh, crack house an emotional purchase?

[00:12:34] Tom Brickman: It was a, I’m sitting at work board and I started bidding and I was really familiar. It was up in Ohio. I was really familiar with the zip code cuz I had lived in it, but not the streets.

And I had texted my friend and she’s like, yeah, I’ll go on lunch. And by the time she got over there, I had already won it. I, I did start emotionally bidding in that last three minutes. I’m sitting at my desk and someone else keeps out bidding me and I just kept going. So it was one of those, and. My dad pulled up to it after I bought it and after the, all the money was in it.

And he goes, how much did you pay? And I’m like, 13,500. He’s like, I would just lose that and walk away if I were, if I were you. And I ignored him, of course, and I stubbornly fixed it and it was a lot more than I thought to fix it. And there was a actual shooting in the backyard while we were working at the house, so it was very rough.

It turned out okay. It just took years of rough, rough, rough to get it over the finish. The tenant bought it from me. He was very happy. It was one of the nicest ones on the street. Once we were done with it, it was just getting it to that level. That just was very draining and a lesson that I hope no one else makes that mistake of.

I can change the neighborhood cuz that was my attitude at that time. And hey, I’ll be the first nice one on the block and I would rather be the ugliest one on the block and make that nice than the only nice one on. Yeah,

[00:13:55] Bob Wheeler: that totally makes sense. Yeah. I have a friend that was telling me this neighborhood’s up and coming, and a client of mine and I went into a couple investments, but that neighborhood up and went like, we there, there was no up and coming about it.

And uh, we had a gang take over one of the units and like just broke in that had just gotten outta jail and said, this’ll make a great office. And like there are the craziest things you could just never imagine if you’re not paying attention. But if you’re paying attention, You can make money, you can have fun at it, and it’s doable.

Now, I’m curious, there are people probably just like you that work nine to five and they’re saying to themselves, you know, I make enough money, but I don’t really think I can do much with it. How do you get people to shift their thinking? Or is it they have to shift their thinking on their own? Do they need a little bit of guidance?

How do we get people to understand? It’s not that hard. You don’t need to go buy a 5 million house in

[00:14:50] Tom Brickman: Mali. I struggle with this with clients cuz I see it and they struggle to see it. And just today I spent $791 on closeout items and right before the show I was doing the math and should be able to turn this 791 into about 3000.

But it takes time and it takes me listing and it takes me cleaning up products and it takes. Effort to go to the post office. And a lot of people don’t like that. So I don’t just harp in on eBay, but what do you actually like doing? So if you can’t do that with your income and you’re strapped and your paycheck to paycheck, how can we generate you more income?

Can we go walk dogs? Can we go bake things? Can we do something that’s gonna generate us an extra $200 a month? And that’s really how I’ve always looked at my side hustles. Was this $200 extra this month is gonna help me get this or pay for this or do an improvement at this property and get me out of.

Vicious cycle of a job that I don’t wanna be at anymore and I have outgrown and I don’t wanna work for another employer. And that was my answer. So I think yes, it’s a mindset shift and I’ve struggled cuz I’ve helped people. We’ve dug out of debt, we’ve bought them a house, and then they’ll contact me and it’s a year or two later and they’re like, okay, so we’re 15,000 back in debt.

And I’m like, we’ve done this, we’ve gone through this cycle. I can’t do it for you. I can cheer you on. But, and I said to the client the last time I spoke with her, I. You have to shift your mindset cuz I’m not gonna sit here and take your money and help you do this again because it’s gonna be undone if you don’t shift it.

And it’s clear from three years ago when we started that we got it, but then we gave up halfway through cuz it was hard and it was, you know, a lot of work that went into it.

[00:16:24] Bob Wheeler: Yeah. You know, it’s so interesting here because. You have to do some work, right? Even if you’re not working 95, if you’ve got a rental property, even if you’re not doing the construction, you gotta make sure you’re following up on the construction.

If you’re not doing the plumbing, you still gotta make sure that the plumber’s doing the right plumbing. You know, I had a plumber tell me it was $20,000 backed up sewage, and I paid a local guy 150 bucks to actually clean the problem. I was smart enough to say, I’m not just right now to check for $20,000 without doing my homework.

It’s. It’s not nine to five work, but people that have wealth mostly didn’t just get lucky, make one decision, and then all the money just lined up and it was super easy. You know, it’s funny that we’re talking about being frugal, and I know so many people think it’s a negative. Some people call me cheap, but to me, when you’ve got that mindset, Where you’re saying 200 bucks is something right.

It’s so easy to go, oh yeah, I can save 300 bucks on insurance on my car. Who cares? Well, it’s 300 bucks and then 50 bucks here, and then 20 bucks here. It’s about, for me, it’s about shifting that mindset. It’s not about the 300, it’s not about the 200. It’s about seeing opportunity and also realizing that all the opportunities, they still require a

[00:17:40] Tom Brickman: bit of.

I’ve had that mindset shift since I was in college, actually, since I was in high school. I started working at The Gap cuz I wanted to not be made fun of by the kids, right? And I wanted to wear the clothes that they were wearing and this was my way to wear the clothes at a 50% off price. And it opened up so many doors by shifting that mindset of, okay, I’ve got 50% off at Gap.

Okay? They gave me tuition reimbursement during college by staying with them. Okay? My first down payment on my property came from Gap Stock that I started purchasing when I started working in high. Because my dad filled out my paperwork and I didn’t know what I was even doing. And, um, all these things add up.

And yes, it’s a shift. And that’s one of my favorite things that I say. People will say, oh, you’re a slum lord. Oh, landlords are terrible. Typically, I would say, 80 to 90% of the time, I’m not buying any sort of move-in ready property and I am not even buying habitable properties. The the two that are under renovation right now up in Ohio have both been vacant for very long times, I mean for years.

So I’m usually bringing things back to life and I’m seeing that opportunity that this, Hey, this is a really solid house in a really solid spot. I can make this nice again. Yeah. And that’s what I’m doing when I’m renovating these houses and putting ’em up for rent, and I’m constantly looking. This is gonna make the neighborhood nicer.

This is going to generate income. This is gonna be a safe spot for someone to live. And that’s kind of one person’s trash, is another person’s treasure. And that’s always been my thing where, how can I turn this trash into something great? And I’ve done it over and over and over again with that. I see an opportunity here.

Yes, it’s gonna be work, but this’ll get me to where I want to be.

[00:19:17] Bob Wheeler: I don’t know that people do this as much, but it’s a long game, right? It’s not with social media, with everything, technology so quick. Everything’s, I need this in five minutes. I need my house to be bought in five minutes. I need to make a million dollars in five minutes.

I need to, and we’re oh, oh, it can’t even go fast enough. Real estate investing, all this stuff. It’s a long game and we are just so not taught delayed gratification on any level, but when it comes to investing and stuff like that, it just seems like we want it now. I want it now. I can’t wait five minutes.

I can’t wait till tomorrow. You want me to think ahead that far and wait, it’s toler.

[00:20:00] Tom Brickman: I know people don’t like that answer, but that’s the answer to the truth. And even like with my eBay stuff, like I will buy stuff when it goes on clearance at the store and I know if I turn around and I try enlist it right now it has a very low value cuz it’s clearance at the store.

But I know six months from now when all the other resellers are out of it, it’s gonna be, have a much higher value cuz you can’t find it anymore. And that’s kind of been my buy and hold and wait for it to raise in value. And I’m not one of the, like the stocks that I buy and all that, I, I’m a buy and hold stock investor.

Yeah. I am a. I’ve sell very few properties over the last 20 years. The only time I usually sell is when I can sell one and you know, turn it into five. And that’s what I did last year. One time I sold one of the properties here, and out of it came five doors. And those five doors are generating way more than what the one door would.

So I think that that mindset shift we’re back on. That comes with. Uh, you’re not gonna have instant Well, I haven’t had instant gratification a lot of time. Yeah. You know, it’s not, I’m gonna have this tomorrow. It’s, I’m gonna work for this for the next two months and then I’ll have it free and clear. No loans, no credit card debt.

And when I bought my car, I saved, you know, I didn’t buy it in cash cuz they gave me a better deal to finance it, but I paid it off in month three. Right. So it’s just one of those. If I wanted it. And that was kind of always my parents’ thing. Like when I would go throw a tantrum at a store and I wanted something, well, if you want it, you have to work for it, or you can do this or you can do that.

And that’s always been my mentality when it comes to this.

[00:21:26] Bob Wheeler: Well, and I like that piece that you said about buy and hold. To me it is, it’s all mindset. I have several clients, and this is happens with all ages, but also, again, I understand with the older clients, they’re pulling outta the. They’re pulling, they’re like, no.

And I’m like, no, no, no. This is not the time. This is not the time. They’re like, no. And I, and so then I said to ’em, okay, you’re pulling outta the market. You’re putting everything in cash. When are you gonna start buying when everything goes up again? O okay. Um, so buy low, sell high, not buy high, sell low.

Right? And, and yet it’s so emotional that No, I wanna make sure everybody else is like, it’s like if the prices are going up and I’m paying top dollar, I know it’s good. Stock. It’s the opposite. It’s the opposite, and it’s so hard to get out of our own ways it seems.

[00:22:14] Tom Brickman: There was a lot of emotional real estate purchasing over the last 24 months, and I can say that I really sat out and I sold the one during the, the peak right before it started to decline, and then I picked up these.

Five properties when the decline was happening because they were great assets and they cash flowed at that price and they cash flowed a higher price. And it just made sense to go that route. But yeah, people can get, and we’re back to that. People get so emotional on, you know, I want to have this house, it’s this, this, and this.

And then they overspend $20,000 on this house because it had a red door, you know? Right. And I know that we, I keep harping on the mindset shift, but I think it’s a. It’s hitting home is what I’ll say. Cuz people have this tunnel vision. And I’ve struggled with it myself. I’ve struggled with it with clients and I struggle with it when I’ll tweet something like I did recently and I tweeted about this nail polish and this nail polish was about a nickel.

And I sold them for 50 cents a piece. And I said, you know, I paid, I don’t remember a hundred dollars for this pallet of nail polish, but I turned it into $5,000. Wow. And it took me a year, and they were a really slow mover. They were Christmas colors, but. I still, because I was patient, was able to turn this into a lot of money and, you know, a lot of the comments got really negative where they’re like, well, it took you a year.

You had, you know, holding costs. And I’m like, it set out in my garage and when people bought ’em, we’d walk out there and get ’em and, and hand ’em and sell ’em and, and that, so yes, it did take some time and we did have to clean ’em up and take pictures and do that. It made money over time and that’s always been my thing.

And when I read those comments, I get so worked up on the, the negativity of, no, I don’t wanna sell nail polish to make money. I’m like, okay, you don’t have to.

[00:24:00] Bob Wheeler: Yeah. And that’s the thing. What are you willing to do? You know, I was interviewing somebody that was a financial advisor and had held all the success and then everything fell apart and they were.

Selling recycled cans. Right? And most of the people in there were saying, you know, I would never do that. That’s so below me. This guy said, it’s not below me to take care of my family, have food, and be able to pay for things. I’ll do whatever it takes. What are you willing to do? You say you want these things and then whatever it takes, whatever it takes, whatever it.

[00:24:32] Tom Brickman: And that’s the mentality. Like I have one friend who’s always paycheck to paycheck, but he has that, I’ll do whatever it takes attitude. And when he is struggling, he’ll go to half price books and sell magazines that he get, you know, just do whatever it takes to, to keep rolling and keep progressing. And eventually things get easier.

It just takes a little bit of time.

[00:24:51] Bob Wheeler: Now, completely random question. Have you ever bought one of those Amazon pallets and, uh, done any eBay re.

[00:24:58] Tom Brickman: This is crazy because along with the makeup that’s sitting next to me, I have five cases from Amazon sitting out in the garage and I’m not touching them until my husband counts the pieces.

So I know the cost per piece and these all came sealed, which is nice. That’s a big deal with these cuz you don’t want ’em cherry picked through with the good stuff. So yes, I’ve done some of that. In general, my feedback on that is a lot of times it’s off brand. A lot of times it’s slow move. There’s money to be made there, but it’s another one where you buy it and it just takes you a while.

Yeah. To make your money back. Because I already opened one of ’em when I was carrying it and I saw it was all shoe insert souls for, for those. So I don’t anticipate, you know, I know I paid very little for it and we’ll figure out once he counts the pieces, what we actually paid per piece. But I know it’s gonna take me a while to sell all those shoe inserts that I got today from.

[00:25:46] Bob Wheeler: I’ll stick with the real estate, but again, what are you willing to do to put a little more money in your bank and then stop the story of, I can’t get ahead. Whatever you do, you’re gonna have to put some effort into it. So pick something you like and play the long game. Play the long game.

[00:26:03] Tom Brickman: Absolutely, absolutely.

I’m sitting in my eBay room right now, and I always do my coaching and my interviews from here for the two reasons. Number one, I don’t have another room for my desk, but number two is this is what got me to where I wanted to be. So it’s important for me to have this in the background, and I know it’s crazy that I have perfume and lotion and pop sockets behind me that I’m selling, but that is what got me over the hump, got me out of that cycle of that nine to five that I really didn’t wanna be at anymore because I took the trash and I turned it into profit.

[00:26:32] Bob Wheeler: Absolutely. Absolutely. I love it. Don’t forget your roots. Don’t forget where you come from. That’s right. Keep it in focus. Well, Tom, we’re at the fast five, so we’re gonna shift the energy. Just a moment, just a bit of Fast Five is brought to you by Survey Junkie, making a difference, pays in more ways than one.

Survey Junkie opens the window of communication between you and the brands. You. Take surveys, get paid. All right. We’re gonna have some fun here. Um, what would you say your best friend says? You’re a bit too frugal about.

[00:27:03] Tom Brickman: There are times where she’ll say to me, don’t forget to live before you die. So that’s one of my tweets that I say, and there are times that I am just so penny pincher that I forget to enjoy it.

And I think that that’s important and that’s why she says it to me all the time. Yeah.

[00:27:19] Bob Wheeler: Yeah. That resonates. What does a typical day look like for you now that you’ve retire? You know, retired.

[00:27:26] Tom Brickman: I film my day with things that matter today. I did the gym first thing, I went to the dentist. I went and sourced resale products.

I went and shipped out eBay on my way home. I got a great salad, and here I am doing a podcast interview and I have a couple of coaching sessions afterwards, but I will spend my night. In bed watching Netflix and probably listing shoe insults while I’m sitting there.

[00:27:49] Bob Wheeler: Hey, two birds with one stone. When you go out to dinner with your friends, how do you like to split the bill?

Do you split it evenly? Do you count up what you had, or do you let somebody else pick up the bill or do you pick it up?

[00:28:00] Tom Brickman: I would say it’s 50 50. Like usually like I’ll pick it up this time. They pick it up next time, and it really depends on the, you know, if it’s their birthday or whatever, we’ll take ’em out.

And same with vice versa. They’ll do the same for us.

[00:28:12] Bob Wheeler: Yeah. What’s the best piece of advice that’s had the most impact on your life, even if you initially ignored it, but eventually embraced it?

[00:28:20] Tom Brickman: One of my first bosses at the movie theater, her secretary said to me, what is the worst thing that could happen?

And then I talked through with her and I’m like, well, I could get fired. And she’s like, if that’s the worst thing that could happen, why are you spending so much time, energy, and effort stressing about it? Because I assure you, if you get fired, you’ll find another job quickly and all the energy that you’re putting into the stressing.

So I look at a lot of it, you know when people are like, I’m stressed about this, I’m stressed. Why? What is the worst thing that could happen? And you work through the scenario in your head and you’re like, wow, that really brings it back down. I don’t need to be stressing over this. Yeah.

[00:28:54] Bob Wheeler: In our minds it’s pretty crazy reality.

Hmm. Not such a big deal. Not such a big deal. What’s one way that you chased your purpose

[00:29:03] Tom Brickman: today? It’s one way that I chased my purpose today. Well, I have a property closing in Dallas and I am on, I need to generate an income commode. So today I went and I went to the wholesaler to get product. I also broke it all down so I can show others what I’m buying and how much I’m making on it.

That’s what I was working on before this. So others can see, hey, I can buy these makeups and make this much and I can do this, and I can do that. So showing others what I’m doing while I’m doing. So they can take advantage. You know, if they wanna sell makeup or shoe and souls or whatever it is today, they can take advantage of it as well.

And that really is important to me as well. And that’s why I started the Frugal Gay and really went hard on it last year, was I want others to see that you don’t have to live paycheck to paycheck. You can build wealth even on an average salary, working at a movie theater, working, you know, I know a Taco Bell millionaire who works at or worked at Taco Bell for the majority of their adult life, and it’s just about how you.

Generate income and how you look at your money and make your money work

[00:30:06] Bob Wheeler: for you. Yeah, and you know, you just said something that really I wanna point out for people. You know, you said, oh, I’m really motivated right now to generate some money. Right? So sometimes you need to generate, sometimes you don’t.

You’re the lazy eBayer. Um, oh, this is the month, so it doesn’t mean. That you have to spend 8,000 hours a week trying to perform, perform, perform, that you’re allowed to ebb and flow with. Yeah, we’re pretty good right now. At some point we know we’re gonna have to tighten the belt again, but that it’s not this feaster famine that you’ve gotta just work like there’s no tomorrow.

And so I think that’s, people forget that, like that you get to actually say, okay, we’re gonna lay off a little bit right now. And it might accelerate, but it’s all good.


[00:30:51] Tom Brickman: I can click it on vacation mode whenever I want and enjoy that week away and come back to it. And that’s really nice as well. And I don’t have to ask for a P T O to do that.

I can just click a button and that’s on vacation mode. So I love having that flexibility. That’s awesome.

[00:31:07] Bob Wheeler: So we’re at the m and m spot, the Sweet Spot, money and Motivation. Do you have a practical financial tip or a piece of wealth wisdom you could share with our listeners? Something that’s worked for.

[00:31:17] Tom Brickman: How can you make it work? Like you said, you’re in Los Angeles, what can you do to make it work? I started making it work by house hacking, by renting out that unit. What can you do to make it work? Or what can you do to generate more income? And if that means renting out a bedroom in your condo, if that means dog walking.

What can you do instead of just cutting, cutting, cutting? Cuz you can only cut so much. Yeah, and I’ve learned the long way that I don’t want to cut the commercial free Netflix. I don’t wanna cut that. So I’d rather just sell two extra lotions and put forth that effort and enjoy myself as opposed to cut, cut, cut, cut, cut.

So that’s always been my thing as I’ve grown this and grown myself is what can I do to keep it moving?

[00:32:00] Bob Wheeler: That’s awesome. Awesome, awesome. Well, Tom, this has been such a great conversation and I think my biggest takeaway, and hopefully everybody else’s, I, I mean, I know this part, being frugal is not bad, not it’s a good thing.

Well, I think it’s a bad wrap. It’s a bad wrap. I think what is important though, and what we really talked about is this mindset piece. Be willing to put in the time and the energy and figure out what can you do? What am I willing to do, because, Most of us get stuck in a story about how things can’t happen and won’t happen, but we’re not willing to do a single thing to shift the energy to get us out of this rut or the place where we’re, we can’t seem to move from.

So I really appreciate this piece about. Mindset, mindset, mindset. And 200 bucks is 200 bucks. At the end of the day, that still pays for a few dinners and okay, you don’t have a beach house in Malibu, but you’ve got six properties in Toledo, Ohio. Fantastic.

[00:32:54] Tom Brickman: I have one on the water in Ohio. I always say I have a waterfront property.

Okay, it’s in Ohio, but it’s still on the water.

[00:33:03] Bob Wheeler: You know, hey, lakefront, you know, it’s all good waterfront, so I just appreciate this. To me, it’s a bit of being willing to be humble, of willing of just doing what do I need to do to get me to the next level, not about what are people gonna think, or I would never do that.

What are you willing to do with integrity? What are you willing to do? So I really appreciate you talking about all that and the eBay and the crack house and the bras, all that good stuff. Where can people find you on social media and on the internet?

[00:33:33] Tom Brickman: So I am at the Frugal Gay 11 on Twitter, on Instagram, and on TikTok, and I am the frugal gay.com.

If you wanna connect and you wanna just chat or if you wanna talk about bras or you want to talk about houses, I can. Awesome.

[00:33:49] Bob Wheeler: Well, we’ll put all that in the show notes. Tom, it’s been great talking with you. I look forward to connecting again and have a great weekend.

[00:33:56] Tom Brickman: Thank you. You do the same. Thank you for having me.


[00:34:06] Bob Wheeler: We hope you enjoyed this episode. Did you learn something new about your relationship to money today? Maybe you have a friend who has some financial blocks or beliefs that are holding them back. Please share this podcast so they too can get off The roller coaster Ride of Financial Fears and journey towards Financial freedom.

To learn how to have a healthy relationship with money, visit the money nerve.com. That’s nerve not nerd. We’ll be back next week with another perspective on money and the emotions that find us.