So Money - Episode 219

Joe Brewer

Serial Hobbiest and Collector

Today’s guest proves that some people can transform a quirky hobby into a profitable business.

Joe Brewer reached out to me with his story a few weeks ago.  His quirky hobby is arcade and pinball repairs and restoration. Salvaging an old, abadoned Ms. Pac Man arcade machine turned into a hobby of restoring vintage arcade and pinball machines which were found through Craigslist, online forums, or simply word of mouth.

Joe has such a passion for this that he even has a full-blown arcade – Brewer’s Arcade, it’s called –  in his home that you can actually visit. It’s open to the public a couple times per year.

To date, he’s made a profit flipping games that he has restored and then sold and makes extra income running a YouTube channel, Brewers Arcade, which specializes in left handed guitars and you guessed it, arcade games!

A little financial background on Joe – He and his wife live an anti-debt and fairly frugal lifestyle – their only debt is a mortgage where they make extra payments when possible.  They both live within 2 miles of their jobs and save money by either walking or biking to work.  Joe was even able to start a program at his office that pays employees a small stipend to take alternative transportation to work.

Joe and his wife’s lifestyle are an example of how you can find unique ways to make extra cash to pay down debt and hopefully, retire at an early age.

Three takeaways from our interview today include:

  • How Joe is able to earn double his investment buying and selling pinballs.
  • How can he tell when a beat-up arcade machine will be worth his investment and TIME. How does he measure the opportunity cost?
  • Living – as he describes – a middle of the road middle class lifestyle…

Here’s a photo of some of the vintage games in Joe’s Arcade:


If you would like to learn more about Joe Brewer, visit his website or follow him on Twitter @JoeBrewerrr.

One of my favorite quotes from our interview: “I don’t want to ever be in debt to this hobby, or have a control over me.” – Click to Tweet

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