Daniel Ameduri, the author of Don’t Save for Retirement: A Millennial’s Guide to Financial Freedom, is a self-made multi-millionaire and proud father of three. He’s the cofounder of the Future Money Trends Newsletter, which has nearly a hundred and fifty thousand subscribers. He’s been featured on the Wall Street Journal, ABC World News Tonight, and Russia Today TV. He even correctly predicted the collapse of Lehman Brothers, AIG, and Washington Mutual.
Daniel is an expert in this area and the advice that he gives is rock solid, even though it goes against the traditional advice that millennials get from baby boomers, which is to save for retirement. Daniel believes that is actually terrible advice, because the results are in. For the retirement experiment of the last seventy-five years, most of the results have been really bad for people and he explains why in this episode.
If you are someone who cares about financial independence and being able to control how you spend your money, how you save it, how you invest it, and you want to do it wisely, this is absolutely the episode for you.
Daniel Ameduri: It was after the 2008 financial crisis and my wife and I were in a bankruptcy attorney’s office. It was quite shocking to even be there, because my entire life, I had felt destined to be wealthy. I was always fascinated by money. I always enjoyed reading about finance, investing, and real estate and I had actually done quite well. From the year 1999, when I graduated high school, by the year 2000, I already purchased my first rental property. Then about six months later, my second rental property.
I had done very well in life. Then 2008 came and like many people can relate to, whether you’re millennial, Gen Xer or baby boomer, it was a very significant scar and for me–it was so deep, because I had gone so aggressive and leveraged myself to try to make as much money as possible, because back then, the only thought in my mind was, “How do I get really rich?”
Post 2008, in that bankruptcy attorney’s office, with my wife crying next to me, I realized where we were and realized where I was–that was a very defining moment in my life, because I didn’t like that feeling. We did not end up filing bankruptcy–we had to make deep sacrifices and focus on sustainable living.
That moment in the attorney’s office and seeing my wife cry, who has done so much for me–I met her when I was 16, she was 15, and we’re soulmates–to see my soulmate sitting next to me crying over a financial issue and this was supposed to be the thing that I was in charge of, that I was good at, and here we were. It was a disaster. That was the moment where I knew I had to do something different, it wasn’t going to be easy like it was from 2000 to 2008.
It was going to be much more difficult, because I was starting with a lot of debt this time. I was digging myself out of a hole. I didn’t even know what to do. Honestly, all I focused on was, “How do I not be poor?” I did not initially start this journey to become really wealthy. The goal was to have some sort of base, because I was scared of falling any further.
A Defining Moment
Charlie Hoehn: What did that moment really mean to you?
Daniel Ameduri: It was the most frightening moment. My wife and I were going to have a baby. I was looking at what had happened with the 2008 crisis and what I was going to do. I had been doing real estate for years and years, and all of a sudden, I didn’t know how to make money in real estate in a down market.
In hindsight of course, this all becomes a big blessing, because this actually taught me to make money in a very bad market, but at the moment, I didn’t know what I was going to do.
I had gone to a truck driving school, but it wasn’t for me. I applied for jobs, but because I had been an investor, I didn’t really have job experience, and I was basically not very qualified for anything except real estate.
I ended up getting a job at a grocery store, because at that time, I was sure the economy was in a depression. In 2008 and 2009 as far as we were concerned, we were going into a depression. A grocery store type of job said they would hire me, and I didn’t want to do it, but I did it because I thought, “I need to do something,” and I figured that people would always buy food.
That was where my mind was. I was definitely scared, because my entire life, I had been focused on entrepreneurship and building businesses and creating your own destiny. At this point in my life, I was willing to settle for anything but being homeless.
A Time of Sacrifice
Charlie Hoehn: Were you and your wife scared that this was potentially going to break you with having a kid come along?
Daniel Ameduri: My wife was a school teacher, so that was actually a huge help. It was a very safe, good job. We had this core job. However, my wife’s passion is being a mother and she wanted to be a mother to our child every day. She wasn’t able to do that initially and that really affected her.
Our marriage was good, but she was definitely trying to think of ways of how we could make more money or what could we cut back on, in order for her to be able to quit her job. As our journey progressed, she approached me and said, “Let’s sell my wedding ring and pay off our car.”
She actually told me–I didn’t even know about this until we wrote the book– she was nervous to even say that to me, because she thought that I would be hurt by it, that she would get rid of something that has such value to the marriage. She was on the same page with me, which was a huge help in the marriage.
Neither of us were worried about living a lifestyle of keeping up with Joneses. Both of us wanted to get her out of her job, so she could raise our son at home. We were willing to do anything. We moved to the desert. Just to give people an idea, and I don’t care what year it is in California, when you buy a $95,000 house in the desert of California, you are living in a fairly poor area in California.
That’s where we moved. We moved to the desert of California, about an hour from where we were from, an hour from where all of our family was, and we lived like poor people to be frank.
Charlie Hoehn: What did it look like when you were living out in the desert?
Daniel Ameduri: Well, it was weird when people would come visit us. Our friends went on and got $500 and $600,000 homes. They stayed in the same area, which was fine. We moved–we had no choice. It really was something that we had to do in order to make sure the spiral down didn’t go any further than it already had gone.
Charlie Hoehn: Were you guys in a trailer?
Daniel Ameduri: My view was a trailer park–it was across the river bed. Friends would invite us to do a wine party, for example, and they said, “Hey, it’s 120 bucks–everybody pitch in, it’s for the wine and it’s for the limo,” that type of thing, and we would say no. It wasn’t because we didn’t have the money. We did have the money. Now at this time we were saving money, we were being frugal, we’re cutting costs. I mean, we got rid of our dogs–we did crazy things to save money.
We would get invited to a party, we would say no, and then our friends would say, “Hey, we’ll pay for you to go.” We had to tell them, “No, it’s not about that, I don’t want to take your money, I have the money, I just choose not to go. At this moment in my life, I have a very strong objective here,” and at that time, it was to pay off the house. We really saw that as our ticket to her being able to quit her job.
If we could just get rid of the mortgage, and we were only responsible for utilities and groceries, we could survive anything. Because at that time, we had sold the wedding ring, paid off the car, and now we were just focused on how to pay off the house. That really was our main focus for a few years.
Charlie Hoehn: A lot of people talk about sacrifice in the financial community, but I think you just drew a really clear picture of what that actually looks like.
Daniel Ameduri: Yeah, I mean, we got rid of our direct TV, not the TV itself, but the cable service–this was before streaming and Netflix. Now days, anybody could do that–you could live off of Netflix, or you could actually share an account.
Back then, when you canceled your direct TV, you had no TV. We got rid of gym memberships, we had to get rid of our dogs because they had medical bills. We got them to a nice home. That was very hard on us though because we had both of those dogs for seven years. But they were about $150 a month in expenses.
We started shopping at discount grocery stores and we almost went vegetarian. We started shopping on the outer rim of the grocery store, so a lot of things were actually very healthy for us. We did not have a smart phone–we maintained the cheaper flip phone for as long as we could. We really focused on cost cutting, so that every extra dollar could be applied towards the mortgage, which within 24 months, we paid off that $95,000 house.
Don’t Save for Retirement!?
Charlie Hoehn: Let’s get into the meat of your book, Don’t Save for Retirement. Why not save for retirement?
Daniel Ameduri: It’s not that I’m against saving for retirement and I certainly love saving money. What I mean by ‘don’t save for retirement’ is don’t save for conventional retirement, the way they’re telling you. With the financial media and the mainstream press, we have to remember that they make money from selling products. They have a lot of products and they’re trying to sell those products to us.
A lot of times, we think that the financial advisor is there to help you, and many of them are–they have great intentions. But everybody is making a commission or fee, and they make money from all these vehicles–whether you’re buying a mutual fund, or a stock, or a hedge fund. That is how they make money and the entire retirement scheme is built around that. Because with the 401(k), what they have convinced you to do is to defer all of your enjoyment and all of your money until you’re an older person.
Sixty-five is a very arbitrary number, by the way. There was no study done. You have to imagine, FDR and a few people in the oval office saying sixty is too young, seventy is too old, let’s do five, because that’s what the Germans did. The Germans were the first ones to come out with a program like that and it started at sixty-five.
I think they originally started at seventy in Germany, but this guy was running for election against a different guy, so he said, I’ll bump it to sixty-five. The other guy is running at seventy. That’s how we ended up with the sixty-five number as the perfect age to retire.
There’s a lot of opportunity for cost savings for retirement. When you have to pay a penalty to extract your money out of a 401(k) or an IRA, you don’t know what you could have been buying, or what you could have been investing in a business, or you could have been investing in a rental property that would pay you every month.
I have passive income that comes every month into the household, and if I followed their plan, that money would be compounding somewhere in retirement land. Maybe I would live that long, maybe I wouldn’t.
But I know when a check comes in from a passive income, say, a rental property, I’m able to either save that money, reinvest that money, or spend that money, and that’s a great option to have. A lot of people, they look at passive income and residual income and they think it’s got to be a mountain. That they’ve got to have 10,000 a month or 100,000 a year. You don’t start that way–you focus on paying one bill.
Focus on how you are going to get passive income to pay the water bill. That will happen easily, because you’ll be able to invest in either a passive income fund, or buy a rental property, or dividend paying stock, or some sort of private business. All you need is like fifty bucks and that will take care of one small bill. Then it will grow, and you’ll have $150 a month coming in. It will take care of another bill or a bill or two.
That mindset is what keeps compounding in your own mind. You can actually make money from multiple sources of income. That is what the rich do. Because ultimately, what you want to do is to mimic the rich. Because the rich do not rely on a single source of income. When I say, “Don’t save for retirement,” I mean, don’t put everything in one account where you have to pay a penalty to get it out and defer it until you’re seventy-years-old. Why not set yourself up in a way where the retirement funds that you saved, instead, pay for your lifestyle right now?
Charlie Hoehn: Where do I start? How do I get started with creating a passive income stream?
Daniel Ameduri: The first thing I would recommend people do, after they read the book, is to research the passive income ideas that I have in the book. Some of them are private real estate funds, and some of them talk about different ways to buy real estate. I haven’t purchased real estate in gosh, probably ten years with a conventional loan, just to give people an idea.
I lay it out in the book exactly how I do it. I’m not paying cash, I am getting a loan, but I’m not doing conventional financing. There are so many different ways to do things once you break out of that box of how you’re supposed to do things. When you’re building your passive income portfolio, you write down the things that you’re comfortable with. I’m comfortable with a rental property, but some people think of a rental property and think, “I don’t ever want to deal with that.” That’s fine too, that’s just one of the many ways.
There are hundreds of ways now because of the internet. It’s easier than ever to have passive income. There are all sorts of businesses and crowdfunding has risen in the last ten years–that is another way, you can actually become a lender. Whether it is throwing in fifty bucks for somebody’s mortgage that’s a million dollars and you’re collecting a small piece of that, or, buying crowdfunded, where they loan money to certain businesses, or they buy certain investments in businesses.
You build your passive income portfolio and you reverse engineer it. You say, “Okay, what are my goals? How much can I save a month? How much can I save a year?” And that’s how you begin to build a passive income portfolio.
Before you start any of that, you go through your lifestyle and you start cutting costs. I tell people to look at it this way–you’re buying income. Who doesn’t want to buy income? If you buy income, you’ll actually be able to pay for all the things that you want. Buy passive income, build that portfolio up for one, two, three, five years and see where your life is.
Your dollar bills all of a sudden have jobs and all your George Washingtons are out there working for you while you sleep. They’re working for you while you’re on vacation and they’re working for you all day while you’re doing your job or running your business. But you have got to cut costs, because you want to free up capital.
The biggest expense everybody has is where they live. People always ask, “Where can I cut?” There are credit cards, there’s interest rates, there’s all sorts of things. Look, if you really want to cut costs, you have to look at where you live, because if you can move out of state because you’re in a high tax state, right of the bat, you’re going to save money on lifestyle.
In California, as we do this interview, the cheapest gas is about $4.20. In Texas, it’s probably $2.50. There’s a cost savings to moving strategically if you can. Now, if you’re like “Hey, look. I’m a police officer for Los Angeles. I have to live in LA County or LA City.” You have to start looking at where else you can you live within that zone. Because I guarantee you, there are areas where you can save money.
I’ll just use LA Country as an example, because I’m familiar with it. Let’s say you lived in Monterey Park or LA City. You’re probably paying $2,000 or $3,000 a month for three hundred square feet, but if you move simply thirty minutes out, your cost is going to go down by about 30%. If you move an hour out, your costs may even go down 50%.
You can save 50% by moving and driving or hopping on the train instead of having a car. I will be honest with you–everybody knows that I have a little money and I actually don’t even own a car today. When I was a millionaire in 2012, I was driving a 2003 Nissan Ultima. I didn’t buy a luxury car until four or five years ago.
Now it is 2019 and I just gave them the keys of the car back, because I’m like, “You know what? I actually kind of enjoy ubering around. I am saving a ton of money by just ubering around and I never have to look for parking. Sometimes I just go on walks on the beach and when I am done walking, I don’t have to go back to the parking lot. I just hit the Uber app.” So, there are all sorts of ways to save money so that you can free up capital, because that is what you need to do.
You need to free up capital in your own life, and I guarantee you it’s there. Most people think that they’re living a sustainable life, but they’re not. They’re living like everybody else and we live in such a bubble in society. We all think we are walking on level ground, but we are not.
Charlie Hoehn: Where do you see people spending and not batting an eye and you think it’s just nuts?
Daniel Ameduri: It is so unfortunate that our society has been conditioned to accept financing for nearly everything. For example, when people purchase a car. I don’t know why if you make $50,000 you would ever buy a BMW or a car that costs $50,000. But that is very normal. In fact, it is so normal that when you buy a car and get yourself in debt for five to eight years, people actually see you and say, “Congratulations,” which actually it’s the opposite.
It should be, “My condolences.” Because after the new car smell leaves and after you get to enjoy the fulfillment of showing your friends the new car that first and second day, it’s over. Let’s be real, nobody cares what you drive. It is all in your head–literally nobody cares. So, you do this for other people.
We are walking down the street the other day and my son loves race cars. We walked into the Bentley-Lamborghini shop and I said, “Let’s see what this is about.” So, I actually test drove a Bentley. I got out of the car and the guy goes, “What do you think?” It was $250,000 and I said, “You know, I am kind of shocked, the Bentley doesn’t have the safety features that the Cadillac does, and your Cadillac is $90,000.”
It didn’t even have the cup holders that heat up or cool down, which are in a Cadillac. It just goes to show that even in that rich category, why would you buy a Bentley other than that it says ‘Bentley’ on it? The guy tells me it is handmade. What does that even mean? I don’t care if the car is handmade. I want a car that is safe.
This car doesn’t have anything, it was like twenty years behind the Toyota Corolla in technology, but people are willing to pay that because it’s a Bentley. You take it down and people will buy the fancy truck, the truck that they don’t need, just because they feel like it’s impressing people. Look, if you make $50,000, you should be buying a five to $10,000 car, not a $25,000 car, and not financing either.
That extends to homes too. I don’t know why people buy such expensive homes when you can save money by renting, and you also have mobility when you rent. If you are going to buy a home, buy a home that is sustainable. If you make a hundred grand a year, 200 to 350,000 maybe, but you shouldn’t be buying a $600,000 house, which is what most people who make a 100 grand are buying.
My wife and I, when we bought that $95,000 house, that was about two times our annual income. Then later when we moved to Texas, we bought a $350,000 house, and that was probably one times our annual income at the time. You have to focus on sustainability and that is something people don’t do because it is so normal not to. Everybody is financing their houses, and everybody is financing their cars.
Then if it gets really bad, people are doing other things to save money. David Bach talks about The Latte Factor–going to Starbucks every day or using a Keurig because it is convenient. Also, going out to eat or buying expensive bottles of wine when you are probably just as happy with the $10 bottle of wine.
Think about the sustainability of our lifestyles. People don’t realize it, but there is waste happening all around us.
Create a Business
Charlie Hoehn: What is your advice on turning your hobby into your business if you’re not into real estate or you’d rather not do that?
Daniel Ameduri: Many of us have different hobbies that we like. Let’s say you love fishing, or I actually spoke to a subscriber yesterday and she was really good at knitting. She was creating a business that sold blankets for babies and infants. It really doesn’t matter what your hobby is, because with the internet, you can monetize that hobby. You can either teach other people how to do that hobby, or you can sell the products or value that comes from that hobby.
That is something that it is very easy to do now thanks to the internet. Tied in with the hobby is your own job. Let’s say you really love your job, which many people do. You can easily turn your own job into your first business by making your current employer your first client. I have spoken to many subscribers who I have helped walk through a proposal with their employer about how the employer can actually save money, by making them a business instead of an employee.
If you are invoicing your employer, they are obviously not paying worker’s comp, they’re not paying for your health care. They’re not paying into retirement funds–they can save money. What it does is that frees you up to go get another client and now you can make twice as much money, because you will have two, three, four, or five clients perhaps and you might be working from home.
A lot of freedom and a lot of liberation can come from turning a hobby or your job into a business. It is not a difficult thing to do, because of the times we live in. I had a hobby of talking about investing and the economy and I did it on YouTube for free. It was literally a hobby, and about a year into it, Google reached out and said, “Hey we’re going to put up some ads and you can be a YouTube partner. Fill this application out.”
I was one of the first YouTube partners. That got all the way up to $2,500 a month in income and I didn’t do anything different. Just every Friday, I would take the economic news of the week and I would do a 30-minute video and talk about the economy and investing and saving money. It was just a hobby. I never did any edits–I wasn’t sophisticated with video work. I did 242 videos, all about twenty to thirty minutes. None of them ever edited, just me in front of a large stick webcam.
That was just a hobby that I turned into a business. You know my kids love to joke around. As soon as this call is done, I promised them that I would help them set up their own YouTube channels. They are going to do the joke of the day. That is something they want to do and maybe they will make money from it, maybe they won’t.
Mimic the Wealthy
Charlie Hoehn: At the end of your book there is a section that is called “Do As I Say And As I Do.” What do you mean by that?
Daniel Ameduri: I have done everything I can to mimic the wealthy. I have taken those sacrifices and done the things that I had to do. That’s what I mean. A lot of people will tell you what you are supposed to do, and their lifestyle is completely different. There isn’t a single thing in this book that I tell people that I haven’t done.
That comes from the sacrifices, to the investments as well. The same goes for my newsletter, Future Money Trends. If we do a stock idea, I don’t own the stock before we cover it. However, I will own it within three days. I wouldn’t tell anybody to do anything that I am not doing.
The Retirement Experiment
Charlie Hoehn: What happens to someone’s life if they do save for retirement and do the norm? Is it really that bad?
Daniel Ameduri: That is a phenomenal question to ask, because I think I want every listener to ask themselves this, “Is it working?” First of all, retirement is relatively a new idea. We don’t think of it that way, especially if you are a millennial-Gen Xer, because you are born into it. But is it working? Most studies, whether it’s by Fidelity or even the retirement cartel studies, they are telling you it is not working. Seniors are perhaps not retiring the way they thought they would.
If you look at any of the baby boomers, almost all of them that retired end up living like peasants, because they are scared to death. They’ve lost their active income. My stomach is upside down even thinking about losing active income and just relying on Social Security and a pension. It may seem like it is relaxing, but I don’t know what it is, maybe it is a state of mind, but most people won’t even spend it anyway because they are so used to not spending it and deferring, and they continue to do that in retirement.
I know millionaire retirees who are still living poor, because their mind has been conditioned for forty to fifty years to not spend and defer quality of life. Those people are the exception though. For the most part, it isn’t working. Over 50% don’t have enough saved for retirement. Even those that do are living off Social Security.
Social Security is not a livable wage, it is basically a survivable wage. Because of inflation it is way under where it even should be. I would ask people is it even working for most people? I would say it’s not. When you think about the 401(k) and the IRA, these things were passed by Congress in the late 70s and implemented in the early 80s. Think about how new this idea is.
We had a crazy bull market from 1980 to 2008 with very little interruption. Baby boomers, the largest generation, had peak spending in the 90s and early 2000s. We had a housing bubble, and interest rates going down for thirty straight years. You have a very unique time in history, where this experiment of retirement happens to have been conducted.
It did not work successfully in perhaps the best times. When you think about the 90s, the internet and the dot com boom, and then the housing bubble from the artificially low interest rates and the government subsidized loans, even in those circumstances, people were still not able to retire and didn’t save enough. It was never going to get as good as that.
Let’s now go into a normal state of times.
From the year 2000 to basically 2015, inflation adjusted. The stock market didn’t go up a penny. Those are more normal times. The US, the GDP is slowing down. Things are definitely not going to be like they were in the 80s and 90s and early 2000s. Is it going to work? Is it going to work for the Gen Xers and millennials? I don’t think it is. If it didn’t work successfully for the baby boomers, who had the best circumstances, I don’t see how it’s going to work now.
Charlie Hoehn: What do you think of millennials who are like, “Hey man, I am throwing it all on Bitcoin and I am hoping that pans out.”
Daniel Ameduri: Well that’s gambling. My letter was the first letter to profile Bitcoin. We profiled it at $13 and we have done tremendously well with Bitcoin. We helped launched the very first publicly traded Bitcoin mining company. We’re very heavily involved in cryptocurrency, but I always give people the disclaimer that it’s new. It’s like investing in a dot com company or the internet in the late 80s or early 90s.
Sure, it is going to get adopted and it’s going to be global. Everybody is going to use it, but I have no idea who the Amazon is, and a lot of people say, “Well, Bitcoin.” Well, perhaps. Perhaps, but does anybody remember EarthLink, or a company called AOL? I mean seriously, did anybody ever think AOL would not be the dominator? They owned the internet in the beginning–not owned it literally, but you know what I mean. There was no path into the internet without them sending you that CD. Think about Blockbuster Video and their dominance over the video market.
So, Bitcoin is the dominant player, and, in my opinion, Bitcoin is the best coin to own, but I don’t know. It is speculative and it is gambling, but I would not just go all in on anything to be perfectly honest with you.
Charlie Hoehn: Can you share a transformation you’ve had with a reader of yours or YouTube subscriber–somebody who’s gotten a lot out of the ideas that are contained in your book?
Daniel Ameduri: There are many people who have emailed me and many people I have even taken the time to talk to on the phone. One of them that really shocked me was in 2016. I was speaking at a conference in Houston and some guy, he was probably seventy-five years old, and he came and shook my hand and he said, “I flew from San Diego to shake your hand.” He said, “I am financially independent today.” We talked for about ten more minutes and then I went on to speak. God bless that man wherever he is today.
I would say those are the best stories I hear from people. Hearing from a lot of people on their journey and how things are improving, or the beauty of hearing somebody say, “I just paid off my credit card bill with the passive income. Now I am going to use passive income to pay for more passive income.”
In the most general way, I would say the best thing I have done to help people is help them change that mindset of, “I need to be a gambler and focus on capital appreciation,” to, “I need to focus on cash flow and income,” which is exactly what the rich focus on. The rich mind is not in a rush to get rich. They keep collecting income. The poor mind is trying to get rich and is doing urgent and speculative things. That is dangerous.
You need to mimic the rich and that is what’s helping the subscribers at Future Money Trends. That is what’s going to help anybody who reads this book. Simply implementing what the wealthy do. That is the stories that I hear from people. There is a single mother that has three children and she just had a baby–a very tragic story, but long story short, she has implemented all of these things and she’s working from home using her hobby. That is a beautiful thing.
I know another subscriber who I vacationed with in Hawaii. Today, he’s a multimillionaire from taking his hobby–he was working, by the way, six days a week for about 10 hours a day being a tutor–and today, he is completely financially independent. He and his wife had the dream of perma-traveling. They are in their ninth month of not having a home.
They have been to probably fifteen to twenty countries. I met them in Israel, Kenya, Portugal and Spain about three weeks ago, but they came from Thailand and New Zealand. I mean they have been all over, and it is from implementing these techniques.
There must be a relentless focus on cost cutting in the beginning. This isn’t a permanent cost cutting thing, by the way. I don’t cost cut anymore, that much. In the beginning, there’s going to be a few years where you are really cost cutting, but you just have to get this mindset of focusing on income.
I am telling you, if you’ve got eight different businesses or eight different investments sending you a check in the mail, it feels great and it liberates you.
Charlie Hoehn: Where can our listeners connect and follow you?
Daniel Ameduri: You can go to futuremoneytrends.com, and you can subscribe free to my weekly log digest. There is no upsell. I do not have a paid letter. We used to have a paid subscription, but honestly, I am at the point in my life where this is my mission. My mission is to help people. I look at it as also something that we need to do as a country. People need to live more sustainable lives and that ties in well with a lot of the millennial trends.
I have plenty of special reports you can download, one of them on Bitcoin. You can download all the information free.
Charlie Hoehn: Give our listeners a challenge. What is the one thing they can do from your book today that will have a positive impact?
Daniel Ameduri: One of the biggest things you can do is simply write down everything you are spending money on over the last 90 days. Print out your statements and start using a highlighter on everything that you think you could have done without and see how much yellow ends up on those statements.