cleaning http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4019/all en-US 6 Easy Ways to Get Rid of Mold on Common Household Items http://www.wisebread.com/6-easy-ways-to-get-rid-of-mold-on-common-household-items <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-easy-ways-to-get-rid-of-mold-on-common-household-items" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-543337910.jpg" alt="Man learning how to get rid of mold on everyday items" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Mold is everywhere. It might even be hiding on everyday items that you didn't even think to check. With continued exposure, you can begin developing respiratory problems or allergic reactions.</p> <h2>Where to Look for Mold</h2> <p>Here's where mold might be lurking.</p> <h3>Toys</h3> <p>Recent <a href="http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/cleaning/news/a42382/sophie-the-giraffe-mold/" target="_blank">findings of mold</a> in children's sippy cups and teething toys have led to widespread panic among parents. However, most pediatricians agree that a <em>small </em>amount of mold exposure is usually <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/family/kids-parenting/should-parents-throw-out-rubber-toys-like-sophie-the-giraffe" target="_blank">okay for children</a>, except if your baby has a mold allergy or an immune deficiency. However, your child's toys should be cleaned regularly so that they don't accumulate a significant amount of mold over time. If you notice shadowing coming from inside of the toy, or the toy smells bad, then you need to clean it to reduce the chance of you or your child getting sick from mold exposure.</p> <p>Children's toys, dog toys, and bath toys can become covered in mold. Mold can also grow inside of a squeaky toy or any toys with a hole. If a toy is safe for the tub, then it's also usually safe for the top rack of the dishwasher for routine cleanings. For fabric toys, consider running them through the washer and dryer regularly.</p> <p>To disinfect the toys with bleach, fill up a covered container with 1 gallon of hot water and 1/4 cup bleach. Cover and allow the toys to soak for about an hour. You can also do the same thing with a mix of 1 gallon water and 1/2 cup white vinegar. If you'd like to skip the bleach altogether, then consider boiling the toys in hot water.</p> <p>Going forward, make sure that the toys are allowed to drain properly so they don't get filled up with mold again. You can also plug up the holes with a drop of hot glue to prevent water from getting trapped inside. As a general rule, if an item is not meant to be wet, don't get it wet. For instance, throwing toys not meant for the bathtub into the bath may be inviting mold into your life.</p> <h3>Kitchen Tools</h3> <p>Certain items are more susceptible to mold, such as anything that may be hiding moisture or food. For <a href="http://www.rd.com/home/cleaning-organizing/12-smart-ways-to-use-bleach/" target="_blank">butcher block cutting boards and countertops</a>, Reader's Digest suggests dipping a brush in a solution of 1 t bleach and 2 quarts water. Scrub the area in small circles and wipe clean with a damp cloth. The bleach solution can also be used to clean countertops and plastic tablecloths.</p> <p>Your trash can be a breeding ground for mold and mildew, so on occasion, flush the garbage pail out with a hose. Use the bleach solution to scrub the can clean.</p> <h3>Bathroom Tools</h3> <p>Plastic bathroom items, such as shower mats, can become susceptible to mold. To disinfect, soak the items in hot water and bleach for about an hour. You may need to scrub the items to remove any clingy mold.</p> <p>The hot water and bleach solution should work well for bathroom tools, shower caulking, and bathroom tiles. You can even mix the solution in a spray bottle to spray over grout and moldy areas.</p> <p>Your shower curtain can quickly grow mold, especially if you don't stretch the curtain out so it can dry properly. Wash your curtain with a load of towels, or clean it with hot water, bleach, and a small amount of laundry detergent and allow to hang dry.</p> <p>Make sure to frequently wash your bathroom towels and rugs to prevent them from growing mold. Moisture invites mold, so make sure to allow items to dry completely. You may also want to squeegee your shower walls and shower doors to speed up the drying process and prevent mold.</p> <h3>Outdoor Items</h3> <p>Just as your indoor items are susceptible to mold, your outdoor items (like tablecloths, plastic lawn furniture, and gardening tools) can also be susceptible to mold if they are exposed to moisture. Sanitize these items by washing them with the bleach and water mixture. For gardening tools or items susceptible to rust, rub a few drops of tea tree oil on the surface after drying to prevent rust.</p> <h2>How to Get Rid of Mold</h2> <p>Now that we know where mold might be hiding, here are some easy ways to get rid of it.</p> <h3>1. Bleach</h3> <p>Mix 1 gallon of hot water with 1/4 cup bleach for a quick disinfecting spray. Regardless of what you use the bleach solution on, it's important to thoroughly rinse the area with hot water afterward so that you aren't exposing your home or your family to bleach. Make sure never to mix bleach with ammonia or vinegar. Bleach is the best option if you're dealing with a <a href="http://cleaningallstars.com/the-truth-about-mold-removal-bleach-vs-vinegar/" target="_blank">nonporous surface like glass or tile</a>.</p> <h3>2. Vinegar</h3> <p>Mix 1 cup white vinegar with 1/4 cup water. Spray it on the item's surface, let it dry, and rinse and wipe clean.</p> <h3>3. Tea Tree Oil</h3> <p>Mix 1 t tea tree essential oil with 1 cup hot water or distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray it on the item's surface, allow it to sit, and wipe away.</p> <h3>4. Hydrogen Peroxide</h3> <p>Mix 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide with 1 cup water. Spray it on the item's surface, let it dry, and rinse and wipe clean.</p> <h3>5. Baking Soda</h3> <p>Mix 1/4 T baking soda into a spray bottle of water. Spray moldy surfaces, scrub, and rinse clean. You can even spray the area again and allow it to dry to prevent future growth. You can also spritz this solution into carpeting after vacuuming.</p> <h3>6. Store Favorites</h3> <p>Purchase quick cleaning solutions that can remove mold and help prevent the regrowth of mold and mildew. Items like <a href="http://amzn.to/2jLmTrY" target="_blank">Lysol Disinfecting Wipes</a> and <a href="http://amzn.to/2kMjkzq" target="_blank">Tilex Mold and Mildew Remover</a> can get the job done quickly. You may also want to invest in something like the <a href="http://amzn.to/2kjZ23j" target="_blank">OXO Good Grips Deep Clean Brush Set</a>, which can deep clean areas that could be housing mold.</p> <h2>What Should You Toss?</h2> <p>Some items just aren't worth the trouble and should be tossed and replaced, for safety's sake. In fact, many professionals recommend throwing a toy away that shows signs of mold growth. If you notice significant mold growing inside of your child's toys, or you aren't able to clean them well enough on your own, it's best to just replace them with new toys that won't trap water.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-easy-ways-to-get-rid-of-mold-on-common-household-items">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-mops">The 5 Best Mops</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/254-uses-for-vinegar-and-counting">254 Uses for Vinegar. And Counting.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-use-garage-space">6 Smart Ways to Use Garage Space</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Home cleaning cleaning hacks cleaning products getting rid of mold mold mold on toys Fri, 10 Feb 2017 10:30:38 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1889191 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Best Electronics Wipes http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-electronics-wipes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-electronics-wipes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_nails_phone_470384984.jpg" alt="Woman using best electronic wipes to clean phone" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In today&rsquo;s world of touch screens, your smartphone, tablet, and electronics can get much dirtier, much more quickly. Fortunately, electronics wipes offer the perfect solution to effectively clean dust, dirt, grease, grime, makeup, smudges, and fingerprints off your screens.</p> <p>Electronics wipes make it easier than ever to quickly, safely clean your electronic screens. By regularly cleaning your screens, they will look new again and allow you to see the picture more clearly. Smooth surfaces also allow for optimal stylus response. When there are smudges on your screens, it can also cause you to strain your eyes more, which can take a toll on your vision. With electronics wipes, you can conveniently clean your screens with no risk of damage to your valuable devices.</p> <h2>What Are Electronics Wipes?</h2> <p>Electronics wipes are soft, nonabrasive wet wipes designed specifically for cleaning electronics surfaces. They can be used on smartphones, computer screens, televisions, and any other electronics surfaces. It&rsquo;s important to first remove all abrasives from the surface, so you don&rsquo;t scratch your screens while you&rsquo;re trying to clean them. After you gently wipe your screens clean, you can simply throw the used wipe away.</p> <h2>Top 5 Electronics Wipes</h2> <h3>Windex Screen Cleaner Wipes</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2kfCizn"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/windez.jpg" width="132" height="245" align="right" alt="" /></a>Amazon&rsquo;s Choice for electronics wipes, the <a href="http://amzn.to/2kfCizn">Windex Screen Cleaner Wipes</a> work perfectly for computers, televisions, smartphones, glasses, LCD screens, smartphones, and all electronic screens. They can also be used on game stations, remotes, glass, and metal for a better value. The antistatic cloths quickly and gently remove dust, fingerprints, and smudges. The advanced cleaning formula cleans safely and easily without leaving any residue, lint, or streaks behind. The resealable pouch will keep the wipes moist for longer. They are recommended by Influenster and have great online reviews.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2kfCizn"><em>Currently $8.21 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>iCloth Screen Cleaning Wipes</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2kU24so"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/icloth.jpg" width="176" height="245" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://amzn.to/2kU24so">iCloth Screen Cleaning Wipes</a> are individually packaged and guaranteed to stay moist. The premium pre-moistened cloths work to quickly clean all electronics, including smartphones, tablets, computers, cameras, and glasses with no drips, streaks, or film. The nonwoven aerospace-grade wipes are extremely soft and low-linting. They safely and easily trap and lift off dirt, fingerprints, makeup, and grease, so your electronics and optical screens can provide maximum clarity. The purified water-based formula contains some isopropyl alcohol (not harmful ethyl alcohol), which iCloth claims is safe for use on all screens, sensitive optics, and specialty coatings.</p> <p>The 100-pack of individually-sealed cleaning wipes are convenient to carry in your purse, car, backpack, or travel bag. They have outstanding reviews, including more than 600 five-star reviews on Amazon, and are backed by a money-back guarantee.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2kU24so"><em>Currently $22.49 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>3m Electronic Equipment Cleaning Wipes</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2kTKIeW"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/3m.jpg" width="133" height="245" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://amzn.to/2kTKIeW">3m Electronic Equipment Cleaning Wipes</a> are perfect for use on all electronics and delicate surfaces, including LCD screens, laptops, phones, computers, and DVDs. They will keep your expensive equipment clean and dust-free, so they can work optimally and provide you with a better value. The pre-moistened, antistatic, nonabrasive, unscented wipes come in an easy-dispense canister, so they&rsquo;ll stay moist for longer.</p> <p>These are frequently recommended online and have great reviews. If you&rsquo;d rather have something that you can use over and over, consider the <a href="http://amzn.to/2jU1U42">3M High Performance Cloth</a>.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2kTKIeW"><em>Currently $11.47 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Weiman E-tronic Wipes</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2jVzQjd"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/weiman.jpg" width="101" height="245" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://amzn.to/2jVzQjd">Weiman E-tronic Wipes</a> safely clean all electronics, including televisions, keyboards and monitors, laptops, tablets, and cellphones. The quick-drying, antistatic wipes remove dust, fingerprints, and dirt. They leave a streak-free shine so you can enjoy a clearer picture on all your screens. The convenient dispenser will keep the wipes moist, so you get a better value. This is backed by the Good Housekeeping seal and has great online reviews.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2jVzQjd"><em>Currently $7.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Endust Pop-Up Anti-Static Non-Streak Wipes</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2kQaftx"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/endust.jpg" width="102" height="245" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://amzn.to/2kQaftx">Anti-Static, Non-Streak Endust Wipes</a> will clean most electronics quickly and safely. However, they aren&rsquo;t ideal for LCD or plasma screens. The pop-up container keeps the soft, nonabrasive, ammonia-free wipes moist for a better value. The moisture evaporates in seconds so you can use your clean electronics again in no time. These are frequently recommended online and have great reviews.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2kQaftx"><em>Currently $9.52 on Amazon</em></a></p> <p>And those are our recommendations for the best electronics wipes. As always, be sure to check <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-calendar">Wise Bread's Buying Calendar</a> to learn when and how to buy just about anything!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-electronics-wipes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-power-surge-protectors">The 5 Best Power Surge Protectors</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-usb-powered-fans">The 5 Best USB-Powered Fans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-selfie-sticks">The 5 Best Selfie Sticks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-instant-cameras">The 5 Best Instant Cameras</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-4k-televisions">The 5 Best 4K Televisions</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Shopping Technology 5 best cleaning electronic wipes electronics product reviews shopping technology Wed, 01 Feb 2017 10:00:15 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1884773 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Creative Ways to Make Money on Super Bowl Sunday http://www.wisebread.com/8-creative-ways-to-make-money-on-super-bowl-sunday <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-creative-ways-to-make-money-on-super-bowl-sunday" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-528278676.jpg" alt="make money this superbowl sunday" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="143" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I don't watch football, I don't like football &mdash; heck, I don't even know how to play football. And I won't apologize for it. So what will I do when the Big Game takes over the first Sunday of February? The best thing I know how &mdash; make money!</p> <p>Join me in exploring these options for lining my pockets with cash this Super Bowl Sunday. You can be all counterculture, too.</p> <h2>1. Provide a Party Setup Service<strong> </strong></h2> <p>While most people plan their own Super Bowl parties, there are some folks out there who'd rather hand over the reins to someone else. I know when I host parties, I'm beat by the time the festivities begin after cleaning and cooking all day. If you've got the skills to set up a memorable get together, advertise those skills locally on social media, the Nextdoor app, or Craigslist. Keep your rates affordable ($20 an hour or less; it's not like you're discovering a cancer vaccine) and factor in the cost of goods if the host doesn't already have things to decorate and set up.</p> <h2>2. Drive for Lyft or Uber<strong> </strong></h2> <p>I've been driving for Uber and Lyft sporadically for about six months, but I always make sure to get on the road during holidays and big events. You might not realize it, but days like Black Friday and Super Bowl Sunday are great opportunities to make more cash than usual because more people are out and about. And since Super Bowl Sunday goes hand-in-hand with drinking too much beer, you can expect that many revelers will need rides to and from their destinations that evening.</p> <h2>3. Tap Into Influencer Marketing Programs<strong> </strong></h2> <p>In addition to blogging about personal finance, I also run a media company wherein I provide PR services to some of my clients. Recently, this has included hiring social media influencers, mainly on Instagram, to wear my clients' products and post about them. The influencers get paid for their posts, and the brand reaches targeted demographics who may have never heard of their products before. For the Super Bowl, these kinds of opportunities exist as well (but not through me; please don't contact me). Kamiu Lee, vice president of business development and strategy at Bloglovin', a leading lifestyle and social discovery platform, explains.</p> <p>&quot;If you have a successful blog or a strong social media following, the Super Bowl is a perfect time to get involved with influencer marketing,&quot; she says. &quot;Brands that don't have that multimillion dollar ad budget still want to be a part of the biggest advertising event of the year, and in order to do so, they're looking to work with influencers who will help them reach their niche target audiences.&quot;</p> <p>Of course, you should have a decent-sized following of at least several thousand to be considered for these kinds of marketing programs.</p> <h2>4. Become a Freelance Delivery Person for a Day<strong> </strong></h2> <p>It should come as no surprise that Super Bowl Sunday is one of the biggest pizza delivery days of the year, along with Halloween, the day before Thanksgiving, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day. While you won't get any work delivering pies for the likes of the big guys, there are still opportunities available &mdash; especially if you live in cities where third-party delivery services, like&nbsp;<a href="https://www.doordash.com/" target="_blank">DoorDash</a>, are popular.</p> <p>According to a DoorDash representative, Super Bowl Sunday is one of the busier days for delivery on the app.</p> <p>&quot;With orders for buffalo wings increasing by 500% and pizza deliveries by 300%, likely due to all the parties happening at people's homes, anyone can make several deliveries via DoorDash and still be home in time to catch the game,&quot; the company says.</p> <h2>5. Offer Child and Pet Sitting Services<strong> </strong></h2> <p>There are several ways to get in on the lucrative baby and pet sitting game.</p> <p>If you prefer child care, sites like <a href="https://www.urbansitter.com/" target="_blank">UrbanSitter</a>, <a href="https://www.care.com/child-care" target="_blank">Care.com</a>, and <a href="https://www.sittercity.com/" target="_blank">Sittercity</a> can help connect you with parents who'd like to be child-free while they whoop it up for their favorite team. Services like DogVacay and Rover.com, on the other hand, will match you with pet owners who need a helping hand during the game. Personally, I enjoy participating in the latter &mdash; I watch dogs from DogVacay frequently &mdash; and there's really nothing better than getting paid to play with puppies. Completely relaxing and satisfying.</p> <h2>6. Sell Your Winning Team Memorabilia After the Game<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Have special or signed memorabilia from members of the winning team lying around the house? Maximize your earnings by timing the sale of these items for the team's big win. List the memorabilia on eBay and see what you get. If it's a particularly amazing game, you might make out better than you anticipated.</p> <h2>7. Advertise Small-Scale Catering<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Like party planning, many party hosts don't want to deal with cooking all the gameday junk food if they don't have to. One alternative is to order everything in, which can get pricey &mdash; and the quality isn't always top-notch considering that takeout joints are pushing food out the door at warp speed that day.</p> <p>Another alternative, however, is to order food from a small-scale caterer &mdash; and that's where you come in. If you've got skills in the kitchen, offer to prepare a spread for a friend, coworker, or family member's party. Create a menu, prepare the food, deliver and set it up, and take care of cleanup afterward. This scenario lets you enjoy the game (at least a little bit) while making money doing something you love. Again, keep your rates reasonable and research the cost of all ingredients and materials (aluminum trays, etc.) before providing a quote; the idea is to make money, not spend money you don't even have.</p> <h2>8. Clean Homes Before or After the Festivities<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Since Super Bowl Sunday is not a national holiday &mdash; despite what many people might think &mdash; somebody's got to do that evening's or the next day's dirty work. If your schedule accommodates cleaning up after a Super Bowl party, post an ad on Craigslist or Nextdoor offering your services. If you live in a particularly festive area, you're likely to get a bite or two if you keep your prices affordable &mdash; say, no more than $20 an hour.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-creative-ways-to-make-money-on-super-bowl-sunday">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-plan-for-saving-up-a-2000-fun-fund">A Simple Plan for Saving Up a $2000 Fun Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-easy-ways-retirees-can-earn-extra-income">9 Easy Ways Retirees Can Earn Extra Income</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-more-money-as-an-uber-driver">How to Get a High Rating and Make More Money as an Uber Driver</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-man-used-credit-card-rewards-to-go-to-the-last-11-super-bowls">How One Man Used Credit Card Rewards to Go to the Last 11 Super Bowls</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-earn-extra-money-with-your-car">7 Ways to Earn Extra Money With Your Car</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income advertising baby-sitting catering cleaning football lyft making money parties pet sitting sports Super Bowl Uber Wed, 25 Jan 2017 16:01:11 +0000 Mikey Rox 1877972 at http://www.wisebread.com 23 Frugal Living Resolutions Anyone Can Master http://www.wisebread.com/23-frugal-living-resolutions-anyone-can-master <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/23-frugal-living-resolutions-anyone-can-master" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/charity_fund_coins_495493374.jpg" alt="Finding frugal living resolutions anyone can master" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ooooooooh! I love a good challenge, don't you?</p> <p>Every year, 50% of Americans make a New Year's resolution. But each year, 88% of New Year resolvers fail to meet their goals. How is that possible? And how can we beat that disheartening statistic?</p> <h2>Do Less, More Often</h2> <p>The problem with most resolutions isn't too little willpower, but too much abstraction. Most people choose a gigantic, but vaguely defined, goal to achieve. Too many moving parts, mission creep, a steep learning curve; these things are obstacles to attaining goals. The key to success is to make the goal a small, but achievable habit. To quote Tim, my yoga teacher: &quot;Do less, more often.&quot;</p> <p>For example, I am currently trying to lose the 15 pounds I packed on this past year while recovering from an ankle injury. If I want to be successful in my goal to lose weight, my New Year's resolutions should not be, &quot;Get back in shape.&quot; That's a huge and amorphous mandate. Instead, my New Year's resolution should be a tiny daily habit like, &quot;Jump rope for 20 minutes every morning before breakfast.&quot;</p> <p>Plot twist: My New Year's resolution isn't actually about losing weight. My resolution this year, as it is every year, is to save more money.</p> <h2>Choose a Resolution That Requires No Talent</h2> <p>&quot;Save more money&quot; is about as undefined and unwieldy as you can get with a New Year's resolution. There are so many things that can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-everything-breaks" target="_blank">throw a wrench into your plans</a> and destroy your motivation to save in the course of 12 months. Trust me, this resolution is dumb.</p> <p>If you want to grow your savings, simplify your life, or just live a little lighter on the planet, here's a list of simple, frugal living resolutions that require no talent.</p> <h2>1. Don't Drive Like a Jerk</h2> <p>It was a word problem on a 7th grade algebra exam that taught me that speeding wastes money. Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) can lower your gas mileage by up to 33%. Stop speeding and practice hypermiling instead.</p> <h2>2. Carpool</h2> <p>My husband saves thousands of dollars each year by carpooling to work. But don't limit your carpooling to just your daily work commute. You can save a ton of money by using a rideshare service to carpool home for the holidays or to a cultural event in another city. My awesome neighbor Patria and I carpool our errands at least once a week. It saves time, money, wear and tear on the car, and makes boring trips to the post office way more fun.</p> <h2>3. Go Carless for Short Trips</h2> <p>I try to walk, bike, or take public transportation to all events within a three-mile radius of my house. This habit saves me on gas money and allows me to avoid a costly gym membership. The hardest part about this practice is the time management. I no longer have to schedule around my workout, but it takes me much longer to get to the grocery store.</p> <h2>4. Stop Paying to Park</h2> <p>The hardest thing about driving in Los Angeles is not the traffic, but the parking. The city makes up its budget shortfall by aggressively doling out parking tickets, which start at $35 and go up from there. Parking signs are notoriously difficult to parse, of course.</p> <p>The key to saving money on parking is to give yourself extra time to find a free or cheap parking spot, so schedule that into your day. Also, there have been manifestos written about how to park on a budget in LA. I am sure <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-11-best-parking-apps-for-your-city" target="_blank">parking apps and maps</a> exist in other cities, too.</p> <h2>5. Be on Time</h2> <p>It takes absolutely no talent to be on time. There's a reason why the saying, &quot;Time is money,&quot; is a thing. Even so, American CEOs are late to 80% of their meetings. According to a survey by Proudfoot Consulting, CEO tardiness costs the U.S. economy $90 billion in lost productivity every year.</p> <p>But, even if you aren't a captain of industry, lateness is a money loser. Worst case scenario, you could get fired. As the job market becomes more competitive, more companies have decided to take a zero tolerance stance against employee tardiness. Your boss might be able to show up late, but you could lose your job.</p> <p>Also, being chronically late says a lot about you, and none of it is good.</p> <h2>6. Get Rid of 10 Things a Day</h2> <p>Clutter will keep you poor and drive you crazy. My November 1, 2001 Resolution was <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-this-one-thing-a-day-to-defeat-clutter-forever" target="_blank">Get Rid of 10 Things a Day</a>. I keep clutter at bay by removing 10 things from my home every day. That comes to 300 things per month, or 3,650 things per year, that leave my house. A thing can be as big as a car or as small as a safety pin. I can trash, donate, or recycle a thing. As long as the item physically leaves my house, I can count it as part of my 10 things.</p> <h2>7. Mari Kondo Your Home</h2> <p>Japanese organizing guru <a href="http://amzn.to/2ieBLPM" target="_blank">Mari Kondo</a> has taken the world by storm with her very simple method of managing clutter: Only keep the things that bring you a spark of joy. (Anything that doesn't bring you a spark of joy gets tossed.)</p> <h2>8. Downsize Your Storage</h2> <p>If your goal this year is to downsize, you should definitely start by emptying your storage.</p> <p>If you have ever watched <em>Storage Wars</em>, then you already know that most people pay a lot of money to store a lot of worthless crap. Personal storage is a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-self-storage-units-are-more-sad-museums-than-savvy-solutions">huge money drain</a>. Do the math. It might actually be cheaper to buy and then sell seasonal items like sleds and garden tools each year rather than paying to store them during the offseason.</p> <h2>9. Join the Compact (Buy Nothing New for One Calendar Year)</h2> <p>I <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-saved-30000-and-helped-the-earth-at-the-same-time" target="_blank">joined The Compact</a> in 2007 out of green guilt. Almost 10 years later, I am still a subscriber to this conservation movement. In addition to helping me live a more environmentally sustainable life, it has also helped me save over $30,000. Also, it's a super fun challenge that has taught me so much about myself!</p> <p>The core idea behind The Compact is to lighten your environmental impact on the planet by reducing the number of virgin resources you take out of it. You achieve this by agreeing to step off the consumer grid and buy nothing new for one calendar year, save for necessities like food, medication, and safety supplies.</p> <p>While buying nothing new sounds like deprivation, it's really more like a treasure hunt, because you can buy anything you want used. Under Compact rules, you could buy vintage furniture, or used clothes, or even a classic automobile, because none of these items are new.</p> <p>It's a super simple idea that runs deceptively deep, as sourcing used goods upends modern life's push for instant gratification.</p> <h2>10. Create a Capsule Wardrobe</h2> <p>While fashion bloggers on Pinterest and Tumblr might lead you to believe that a capsule wardrobe is all about shopping for the perfect minimalist wardrobe, I would argue that those people are doing it wrong. A true capsule wardrobe is a tightly edited collection of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-a-work-wardrobe-for-any-job-on-a-budget" target="_blank">garments that fit your lifestyle</a>, year-round.</p> <p>A capsule wardrobe shouldn't be about perfection, but about creativity and practicality. How many outfits can you create out of the smallest number of garments?</p> <p>Since most people only wear a fraction of the clothes in their closets, downsize to the favorite items you wear over and over and get rid of everything else. Replace only your favorite garments when they wear out. Your new, smaller wardrobe will save you money and time.</p> <h2>11. Shop in Your Own Home First</h2> <p>Before you make a purchase, search your home first for an alternative that you can use instead. Can you make do with a navy blue dress instead of a little black dress? Can you learn how to cook on the stovetop instead of replacing your broken microwave with a new one? For the love of all that is good and beautiful, can you watch an instructional video to learn how to make your own fancy coffee at home for 10 cents versus buying it for $2.00?</p> <h2>12. Be a Part-Time Vegetarian</h2> <p>Meat costs a lot of money and is hard on the planet. The <a href="http://www.meatlessmonday.com/the-global-movement/" target="_blank">Meatless Monday Movement</a> found that by cutting meat consumption to just one day a week saved participating families $80 per month on their grocery bills. Save even more by going meatless several days a week.</p> <h2>13. Eat Your Leftovers!</h2> <p>My sister and I grew up eating last night's dinner leftovers for breakfast. In addition to cutting food waste, eating leftovers also sped up the morning schedule because on most days, we didn't even bother reheating the food. This weird, frugal hack has saved my sister and I a small fortune in food costs.</p> <p>A lot of people who hear about our dinner for breakfast habit are grossed out. Of course, these same people probably have no problem with eating dinner for breakfast as long as they pay a lot of money for steamed table food and call it brunch.</p> <p>If dinner for breakfast doesn't float your boat, make <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-night-soup-delicious-soup-from-leftovers" target="_blank">Thursday Night Soup</a> out of your kitchen scraps to stretch your grocery budget and keep your fridge compost-free.</p> <h2>14. Bring Your Lunch to Work</h2> <p>My husband has saved over $2,500 this year just by bringing his lunch to work instead of going out to eat. My husband doesn't feel deprived or shamed by his brown bagging. A<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-non-sandwich-work-lunches" target="_blank"> brown bag lunch</a> doesn't have to be boring. My husband takes great pleasure in preparing elaborate meals for himself that cost pennies.</p> <p>Alternately, if you have a favorite food, eating the same lunch every day can be a comforting ritual that saves a lot of time. Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox famously ate the <a href="http://www.self.com/story/jennifer-aniston-and-the-friends-ladies-ate-this-salad-every-day-for-10-years" target="_blank">same salad</a> for lunch for 10 years. My mother, who is an excellent cook, loves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches so much, that she has special refillable tubes that allow her to take her favorite lunch ingredients with her when she goes camping. Eating the same lunch each day also makes it easy to save money on groceries. You can budget down to the penny what your lunch costs and buy the ingredients when they go on sale.</p> <h2>15. Use Less</h2> <p>This one is easy. Just use less. If you use half the amount of detergent, will your clothes still get clean? Can you split an entree at dinner with a friend and still feel full? What would happen if you just lathered and rinsed, but didn't repeat?</p> <h2>16. Save Water</h2> <p>Is your water bill sky high or would you just like to do your part to preserve the water table? It's time to plan out your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-save-water" target="_blank">water-saving plan</a>.</p> <h2>17. Save Electricity</h2> <p>Turn off those lights! Make these <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-youre-wasting-electricity-without-realizing-it" target="_blank">energy-saving strategies</a> part of your daily life and save big.</p> <h2>18. Cut Down on Your Trash</h2> <p>The average American generates 4.4 pounds of trash per person, per day. You can do better! Here are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-cut-down-on-garbage-and-save-money-too" target="_blank">12 ways to cut down on garbage</a> and save money (and your sanity, too).</p> <h2>19. Recycle</h2> <p>Before I was old enough to legally work, I earned pocket money by collecting bottles and cans and recycling them for money. As an adult, I still make several hundred dollars a year recycling the bottles and cans that my wino neighbors throw onto the parkway. Yes. It might be embarrassing to cruise target-rich public areas like fraternity row or the trash cans outside your local concert venue for recyclables. But, if you are scrambling to make ends meet, consider the cost of your vanity. There's at least one Los Angeles family that <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=1787254&amp;page=1#.UU6Z1I73BdQ" target="_blank">sent their three kids to college</a> with the money they made collecting bottles and cans.</p> <p>Recycling is obviously good for the wallet. But, if you already recycle for the money, consider recycling items that don't offer a rebate for the sake of the planet. An increasing number of companies are now offering <a href="https://www.terracycle.com/en-US/brigades" target="_blank">free recycling</a> for their packaging.</p> <h2>20. Keep Making Payments</h2> <p>My husband and I finally paid off our home equity line of credit! We've been making the $423 payments each month for over a year now, and we intend to continue paying the $423&hellip; but as extra principal payments on our home mortgage. Since we're used to covering the $423, we won't even notice a difference in our budget.</p> <h2>21. Collect the Change</h2> <p>Every time you get a $5 bill, put that money into your savings account. If your budget won't permit $5 increment savings, put your spare change into a piggy bank at the end of each day. Either way, your savings will pleasantly surprise you at the end of the year.</p> <h2>22. 52-Week Challenge</h2> <p>This savings strategy has a slow roll out, but strong payout. Every year is divided into 52 weeks. On week one, put $1 into your savings account. On week two, put $2 into your savings account. On week three, save $3. You get the idea. The largest weekly deposit you will have to make is $52. At the end of the year you will have saved $1,378!</p> <h2>23. Learn and Practice One New Skill</h2> <p>I didn't become a ninja saver overnight. Every year I try to master one new skill that will make or save me more money. One year, my friend Carol Ann taught me how to can my cranberry jam, and now I own an artisanal food company. This last year I learned how to forage for edible plants in my own backyard to save money on fresh produce. Years ago I taught myself how to sell online on Etsy and eBay. Each year I <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/from-dumpster-diving-to-garage-sales-turning-trash-into-cash" target="_blank">make at least $1,000 </a>selling trash picked items that I have literally pulled out of the garbage, for cash.</p> <p>In 2017, I am going to learn how to refinish wood furniture like a pro. With the help of my friend Kirk, a retired painting contractor, I am currently refinishing an original Jens Risom coffee table that was purchased for $3 at a garage sale and hidden under layers of paint. Modern reproductions of this same table sell for over $3,000 and originals in pristine condition go for even more.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F23-frugal-living-resolutions-anyone-can-master&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F23%20Frugal%20Living%20Resolutions%20Anyone%20Can%20Master.jpg&amp;description=23%20Frugal%20Living%20Resolutions%20Anyone%20Can%20Master" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/23%20Frugal%20Living%20Resolutions%20Anyone%20Can%20Master.jpg" alt="23 Frugal Living Resolutions Anyone Can Master" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-frugal-living-resolutions-anyone-can-master">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-restart-your-resolutions-this-spring">5 Ways to Restart Your Resolutions This Spring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-thing-that-will-help-you-actually-save-money">The One Thing That Will Help You Actually Save Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-16-favorite-ways-to-get-rid-of-clutter">My 16 Favorite Ways to Get Rid of Clutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-51-ways-to-organize-your-whole-life-in-2017">Flashback Friday: 51 Ways to Organize Your Whole Life in 2017</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-ways-summer-will-cost-you">7 Surprising Ways Summer Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Lifestyle budget challenges cleaning downsizing goals new year's resolutions resolutions saving money Thu, 29 Dec 2016 10:00:21 +0000 Max Wong 1864429 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 New Year's Resolutions Your Pet Wants You to Make http://www.wisebread.com/4-new-years-resolutions-your-pet-wants-you-to-make <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-new-years-resolutions-your-pet-wants-you-to-make" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_dog_pet_499423418.jpg" alt="Woman making New Year&#039;s resolutions her pet wants" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Making New Year's resolutions feels great, but let's face it &mdash; we are terrible at it. According to research by a University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology study, only 8% of people who make New Year's resolutions <a href="http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/">actually achieve their goals</a>. If you're like most people, your plans to go to the gym four times a week, stop wasting time on Facebook, and organize your entire home are probably going to fizzle before the end of January.</p> <p>But there is someone in your life who can help you create achievable New Year's resolutions: your pet. What Fido and Fluffy want from you in 2017 are actually things that will help to make <em>your </em>life better. So forget the usual resolutions this year, and make some resolutions that will make your pet (and you!) happy:</p> <h2>1. Go On a Daily 30-Minute Walk</h2> <p>You know that Rover loves going on walks with you, but some days, it's all you can do to walk him around the block to his favorite fire hydrant. Especially in the winter, it can be very easy to hustle through a quick walk in the cold and head back inside to your laptop and Netflix.</p> <p>But your pooch loves the daily exercise and stimulation that a long walk can offer &mdash; even in cold weather &mdash; and he's not able to understand your enthusiasm for binge-watching The Crown. A nice long walk is just what he wants, even when you want to curl up with a hot chocolate.</p> <p>Of course, a daily 30-minute walk is literally just what the doctor ordered for <em>you</em>, too. Not only does a daily walk help you maintain (or lose) weight, but such moderate exercise helps to prevent and <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/the-many-benefits-of-walking-30-minutes-a-day/2015/10/19/cf12c938-71e1-11e5-9cbb-790369643cf9_story.html?utm_term=.fdbd86286857">reduce the severity of chronic diseases</a> like high blood pressure and diabetes. In addition, the exercise and the time outside can both help to improve your mood.</p> <p>Rather than making a resolution to become a gym rat &mdash; and plunking down the gym's hefty joiner's fee and monthly membership fee &mdash; resolve to take Rover for a long walk every day, no matter the weather. You'll both be happier for it.</p> <h2>2. Take More Naps</h2> <p>Mittens may act aloof, but there is something she wishes you'd do more of: nap with her. Cats are notorious nappers (and cuddlers), and there is nothing more satisfying than taking a snooze with a purring kitty perched on your belly.</p> <p>Of course, such naps are going to do more than just make your cat happy. They will also improve your health, your mood, and your level of self-control. According to a 2011 study by the Center for Disease Control, an estimated 50 to 70 million Americans are <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/wk/mm6008.pdf">suffering from sleep deprivation</a>. And being sleep deprived means that you are more vulnerable to chronic illnesses and more irritable, not to mention too mentally exhausted to avoid procrastination.</p> <p>So this year, commit to curling up with your cat and catching 40 winks a couple of times a week. She'll love the closeness, and you'll reap the benefits of being well-rested.</p> <h2>3. Do Less</h2> <p>Having a full social calendar can be tough on your pets. They miss you terribly when you go out in the evening, especially if you are already working long hours. They would love nothing more than to have you home and available for tug-of-war, fetch, or belly rubs most nights.</p> <p>It turns out that having a wall-to-wall schedule of events in your life isn't so great for you, either. According to Eldar Shafir and Sendhil Mullainathan, authors of the book <a href="http://amzn.to/2i7M5VV">Scarcity: The New Science of Having Less and How It Defines Our Lives</a>, you're likely to make bad decisions if you have too little free time. Here's why: Managing your time is something like packing a suitcase. If you have an empty suitcase (or an empty schedule), it's easy to add something new. But if your suitcase or schedule is full, then you have to decide what to remove in order to add a new commitment, and that can be stressful.</p> <p>The commitments that are most likely to come out of the &quot;time suitcase&quot; are the ones that don't feel urgent &mdash; like your commitment to spend time with your pets. But not only does spending time with your four-footed friends make them happier, it is also a great way to relieve your own stress. It is well documented that interaction with animals reduces tension and improves mood.</p> <p>That's not to say that you should completely clear your social calendar so you can spend every moment with Buddy and Boots. But if you resolve to do less in 2017, you can take the time to determine whether you really want to say yes to the invitations that come your way. Then you'll only agree to the ones that you really want to do &mdash; and make yourself and your pets happier.</p> <h2>4. Clean More</h2> <p>Bandit can't get on his favorite spot on the sofa because the laundry basket is in the way. Cleo's litter box has gotten so ripe she's leaving &quot;gifts&quot; on the floor beside it. They may not be able to tell you in words (although your cat's method of protest can be pretty eloquent), but your pets would love it if your house were a little cleaner.</p> <p>Tidying up would also offer a big benefit to you. According to Sherrie Bourg Carter, writing for Psychology Today, &quot;Messy homes and work spaces <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/high-octane-women/201203/why-mess-causes-stress-8-reasons-8-remedies">leave us feeling anxious</a>, helpless, and overwhelmed.&quot; Those piles of clothes and papers overwhelm our senses and make it difficult to truly relax. That can affect everything from your mood to your ability to sleep well at night.</p> <p>Getting on a cleaning routine this year will not only help your pets to feel comfortable in your home, but it will help you feel better, too. And knowing that you can have unexpected guests drop by without worrying about the pet hair tumbleweed in the living room or the freshness of the litter box is an incredibly freeing sensation.</p> <h2>Listen to Your Pets</h2> <p>Resolutions are often grand promises to ourselves, but making small promises to our pets will actually lead to a better, healthier, and happier year. For 2017, resolve to get more purring and tail wagging from your pets, and you'll also reap the rewards for yourself.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-new-years-resolutions-your-pet-wants-you-to-make">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-get-fit-with-your-dog">7 Ways to Get Fit With Your Dog</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/walk-walk-walk-walk-walk">Walk, walk, walk, walk, walk</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-pet-flea-shampoos">The 5 Best Pet Flea Shampoos</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-resistance-bands">The 5 Best Resistance Bands</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-exercises-to-do-at-work-that-dont-make-you-look-silly">10 Exercises to Do at Work That Don&#039;t Make You Look Silly</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Home Lifestyle cleaning disease reduction exercise getting outside napping New Year's pets relaxing resolutions walking Mon, 26 Dec 2016 11:00:07 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1860477 at http://www.wisebread.com My 16 Favorite Ways to Get Rid of Clutter http://www.wisebread.com/my-16-favorite-ways-to-get-rid-of-clutter <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/my-16-favorite-ways-to-get-rid-of-clutter" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_clothes_clutter_39948832.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to get rid of clutter" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ugh. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-clutter-keeps-you-poor">I hate clutter</a>. It actually hurts my brain. However, even if I were Mari Kondo fancy, and could afford to throw away everything in my house that I don't love, my inner-tree-hugger would feel guilty about putting perfectly usable items into the landfill. So, what's an environmentally responsible person to do with their clutter?</p> <p>Here are my top 16 clutter-busters that keep my house from looking like a warehouse:</p> <h2>1. Stop Bringing New Clutter Into Your House</h2> <p>If you have a cluttered house, chances are you already <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/one-simple-thing-you-can-do-today-to-start-living-frugally">have everything you need</a> to survive. If you are like me and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/from-dumpster-diving-to-garage-sales-turning-trash-into-cash">love to trash pick</a> like it's a competitive sport, this means sidelining your treasure-hunting hobby until you have a grip on what you own.</p> <p>But, don't despair my freegan brethren. You can still get the thrill of the hunt; you just have to do it inside your house.</p> <h2>2. Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, or Do Without</h2> <p>I like to turn this Depression Era proverb into a game. How long can I go without buying groceries? How long will it take for me to eat through my pantry? If you have a hard time staying on the no new clutter wagon, challenge a like-minded friend to a competition to keep yourself accountable. Can you go one year without bringing stuff into your home?</p> <p>By the way, stepping away from the consumer treadmill even for 90 days (or 30, or even 10!) is a great way to save money.</p> <h2>3. Sell Your Stuff Online</h2> <p>Duh. This seems obvious. Typically I make a few thousand dollars every year by selling my old things on eBay, Etsy, and Craigslist.</p> <p>There are different price thresholds for different selling platforms. I can generally get more money by selling vintage items and clothes on Etsy and eBay than I can by selling them on Craigslist. For things like home electronics, buyers in my area will pay more on Craigslist than they will at a garage sale for the exact same item. To maximize your cash do a little research on who is paying a premium for your things.</p> <p>Depending on what you own, you might be able to flip your old things for cash by using specialty sites that focus on one type of merchandise such as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-kids-stuff-at-a-consignment-sale">baby clothes</a>, <a href="https://www.discogs.com/sell/list">vinyl records</a>, and <a href="https://www.1stdibs.com/furniture/">vintage home furnishings</a>.</p> <h2>4. Consign Your Stuff at a Brick and Mortar Store</h2> <p>I personally prefer to sell difficult to ship items like furniture and glassware to a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beyond-goodwill-the-different-types-of-thrift-stores">local second hand store</a> for either store credit or cash. Although stores usually take a 30% to 60% cut of the sale price, sometimes it's better to cash out so you can get those things out of your house before you break them and they become unsellable.</p> <p>There are some second hand stores that will buy goods outright for cash, and some stores that will only give you store credit. If you consign your items at a store, make sure that you are clear about pricing. Some stores will discount your goods to nothing after a set period of time. And some stores will not return items that don't sell to you. If you have a bottom price threshold, this needs to be negotiated in advance and on paper.</p> <p>In addition to bulky vintage items, I also sell back my used books, records, and contemporary clothes to second hand stores for cash.</p> <h2>5. Throw a Garage Sale</h2> <p>I paid for two entire years of my life by trash picking furniture and then selling it back to my neighbors at monthly garage sales. Last year my husband and I paid for our Christmas vacation with money that we'd earned selling stuff at garage sales. And our garage sale inventory wasn't even that amazing. Like, I can't even remember half the things we got rid of! They were that inconsequential to my life.</p> <p>I approach every garage sale as an opportunity to get other people to pay to remove clutter from my house, so most things are priced at one dollar. By taking this grateful-to-my-customer stance, I am always happy with my garage sale earnings, regardless of how paltry.</p> <h2>6. Gift</h2> <p>Shopping for presents is time consuming and expensive. A few years ago I decided to start gifting clothes and things in my house to admiring friends and family members. As in, &quot;Oh, you like that? Here, just take it with you. Happy early birthday.&quot; This on the spot gifting is always a welcome surprise and I don't have to fuss with wrapping.</p> <h2>7. Recycle</h2> <p>I know many people who live in homes that resemble recycling centers because they care about the environment. While it is a good thing to keep resources like glass and paper out of the landfill, you are not actually doing the world any good by turning your house into a mini dump. Companies as diverse as <a href="https://www.terracycle.com/en-US/brigades">Terracycle</a> and <a href="https://www.madewell.com/madewell_feature/DENIMDONATION_sm.jsp">Madewell</a> have recycling programs for hard to recycle items like denim, instrument strings, and Solo Cups.</p> <h2>8. Upcycle</h2> <p>Why pay for new craft supplies when you have clutter? Instead of bringing new, virgin goods into your home, find <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-awesome-practically-free-upcycled-craft-projects?ref=seealso">new uses for your old things</a>. You don't even have to have any creative talent to upcycle. For example, upcycle your old cotton underwear into cleaning rags.</p> <p>My husband and I own two Moroccan poufs. Rather than pay for new stuffing, we filled our poufs with old linens and drop cloths that are too torn or stained to sell or donate.</p> <h2>9. Share</h2> <p>I share a china pattern with my brother-in-law. I only have space in my small kitchen for eight place settings. My brother-in-law has 12 place settings. Whenever we have larger dinner parties, we loan each other dishes. What can you share with your friends and neighbors? I share garden tools with my friend Laura. I share kitchen gadgets with my neighbor Alexandra. I share a set of luggage with my sister. I only have to store those things in my house half the time. More importantly, I don't have to buy every single thing.</p> <h2>10. Check It Out</h2> <p>If you don't have handy friends and neighbors, look for a tool library in your area. I don't own bike repair tools because I live within walking distance of a bike repair cooperative.</p> <p>I am a lifelong library patron. In addition to checking out books, music, and videos, I use my library as an air-conditioned oasis in the summer when my house becomes unbearably hot, and as my personal newsstand. Once a month a have a magazine date with myself and spend an afternoon flipping through glossy pages to my heart's content. I give myself a little reading vacation, and cut the clutter and the cost of owning a personal subscription all in one fell swoop.</p> <h2>11. Catch and Release</h2> <p>I am a minimalist traveler. The only time I buy books is when I'm going on a trip. I buy the cheapest copy of the books I want to read so I have no problem leaving them behind in cafes and airports when I am done with them. Not only do I get cheap, analog entertainment, this book packing method always ensures that I have a little room in my luggage for vacation purchases.</p> <h2>12. Rent</h2> <p>Due to near constant <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-everything-breaks">car trouble this year</a>, I have been experimenting, unintentionally, with living as a one-car household in Los Angeles. I suspect by the end of the year that the math will prove that it is cheaper for us to rent a second car when we need one rather than own three cars outright.</p> <p>I don't love renting because I know that ownership is generally a better deal. But, do I really need to buy a jackhammer to break up my cracked driveway? No, I do not.</p> <p>When deciding when to rent and when to own, be honest: How often will you use this item? Will your daughter wear her Quinceañera dress a second time? Consider the extra cost of renting to be money that you saved on storage fees.</p> <h2>13. Swap</h2> <p>Even our shyest friends love our book exchange party that we host every New Year's Day. The concept is simple: Everyone brings the books they enjoyed reading but are now taking up shelf space, and throws them on the communal pile. Our guests take as many books as they want home, for free. The books that are left behind are donated to the Los Angeles Public Book Drive.</p> <p>Swap parties are fun because it's weirdly satisfying to see people fall in love with your old things. But why stop at books? What about a winter coat swap at your kid's school? How about a kitchen tool or recipe swap party with your neighbors? I offset the cost of my groceries by attending a monthly neighborhood backyard produce swap.</p> <h2>14. Donate Like a True Do-Gooder (Without Getting Audited)</h2> <p>If you want to get stuff out of your house in a hurry, feel like you are helping the less fortunate, and get a tax write off, donate your extra stuff to charity.</p> <p>Charities like The Salvation Army and Goodwill do not set a valuation on your donation. That responsibility is left up to you. But donor beware! Huge tax deductions for donated goods are a red flag to auditors. Use a <a href="https://satruck.org/Home/DonationValueGuide">donation value guide</a> to assess the true market value of your used items. Also, it's a good practice to photograph your donated goods so you have evidence of your good works should you get audited.</p> <p>Ahem, let me get on my soapbox for one moment.</p> <p>Charities spend a huge amount of their budgets on trash collection because so many people use their local shop as a dumping ground for all their old crap. Would you buy a pair of pants with a brown stain across the front? No, you would not. Don't be that guy who trades trash for a tax write-off. That's cheating on taxes and on charity.</p> <p>When it comes to charity donations I am very careful to only donate items that are in selling condition. As in, an item is in such good condition that I would spend money to buy it.</p> <p>(Steps off soapbox.)</p> <p>That said, just like I am always on the hunt for new places to recycle weird stuff, I am always on the lookout for groups that repair expensive, broken goods for charity. For example, I donate my old glasses to the <a href="http://www.lionsclubs.org/EN/how-we-serve/health/sight/eyeglass-recycling.php">Lions Club</a>.</p> <p>The screen of my laptop computer died in January. Although I could sell it on Craigslist for parts, I'm donating it to CRASH Space, my local hackerspace, because I know the makers there will recycle the entire machine responsibly. As a side benefit, I can claim this donation as a tax write-off since CRASH Space is a nonprofit.</p> <h2>15. Curb It</h2> <p>My nightly walk takes me past a wide set of concrete steps that used to lead to an apartment building but now lead to a vacant lot. I few years ago I started leaving items that were in usable condition, but not nice enough to donate or sell for money, on the steps to nowhere. I leave pretty much everything &mdash; stinky shampoo, old clothes, recently expired canned goods, vintage electronics, magazines, pens that I don't like &mdash; on the steps, neatly merchandised for easy shopping. The things that aren't gone by the next night, I know they are truly garbage. I throw the leftovers away without guilt. Usually, the stuff is gone before morning.</p> <p>This personal donation spot has been a fun experiment. I have met some of my late night shoppers and I was happy to hear how they are enjoying my old things. Also, some of my neighbors have started copying me. About once a week I see that someone else has made a donation to the steps.</p> <h2>16. Go Digital</h2> <p>Yes, I am old. I came of age in a world without cloud storage and I have nostalgia for books made from dead trees. So is it any surprise that the bulk of my clutter is paper-based? Between the library and our digital subscriptions to everything from IMDB to Netflix, we're managing our shelf space, but our file cabinet is exploding.</p> <p>Although I have successfully resisted this chore for more than a decade, I am finally getting around to digitizing the hard copies of all my old contracts, patterns, notes, etc. for clutter free, online storage.</p> <p>Does anyone have any tips on digitizing documents and ditching paper clutter? (Oh, please). I could use all the help I can get!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-16-favorite-ways-to-get-rid-of-clutter">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-money-and-declutter-by-selling-these-5-unlikely-treasures">Make Money and Declutter by Selling These 5 Unlikely Treasures</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-easy-ways-to-earn-more-on-ebay">11 Easy Ways to Earn More on eBay</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-frugal-living-resolutions-anyone-can-master">23 Frugal Living Resolutions Anyone Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-start-flipping-items-for-cash-online">What You Need to Start Flipping Items for Cash Online</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Organization charity cleaning clutter craigslist downsizing eBay garage sales mari kondo renting selling waste Tue, 01 Nov 2016 09:30:31 +0000 Max Wong 1824618 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Properly Clean These 14 Kitchen Tools and Appliances — Naturally http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-properly-clean-these-14-kitchen-tools-and-appliances-naturally <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-properly-clean-these-14-kitchen-tools-and-appliances-naturally" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_86493827_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="cleaning kitchen tools and appliances naturally" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When was the last time your kitchen tools and appliances got a good scrub? If you can't remember, that chore is probably overdue. However, it's not necessary to break out the harsh chemicals. Go in like Grandma and arm yourself with baking soda, vinegar, lemons, and salt. You'll love the results and fresh, clean smell. Plus, the environment will appreciate it, too. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-simple-kitchen-skills-every-frugal-person-should-master?ref=seealso">16 Simple Kitchen Skills Every Frugal Person Should Master</a>)</p> <h2>1. Dishwasher</h2> <p>Seems odd, doesn't it, that a machine that spends its life washing dishes would get so grimy. Soap scum starts building up, and sometimes we aren't good about rinsing before we place dishes inside. Baking soda and vinegar to the rescue!</p> <p>First, take out the filter and soak it in some dish liquid. After it has soaked, get a soft toothbrush and give it a gentle scrub. Put it back, and get out the vinegar and baking soda. Pour a cup of vinegar into the bottom of the dishwasher, and run it through a cycle. That should eliminate the rest of the gunk. If you still have odors after that, sprinkle a little baking soda in the bottom of the dishwasher, let it sit, and then run a cycle again.</p> <h2>2. Toaster</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_MHCI8fhhZc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>This morning, I set off the smoke alarm while attempting to make my toast. That was a really good reminder to clean the toaster. Ever cleaned a toaster before? It's not hard, but there are some important steps. Watch the moves of this toaster-cleaning pro <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MHCI8fhhZc">here</a>.</p> <h2>3. Butcher Block</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/PgJlScAHXPA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Butcher blocks can be a beautiful part of your kitchen. They're even collectible now, so take heed and keep yours clean. Butcher blocks need maintenance and frequent cleaning. Daily maintenance should include spraying with vinegar and wiping them down. For more stubborn stains, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgJlScAHXPA">clean your butcher block</a> using some natural cleaning tricks.</p> <h2>4. Rusty Knives</h2> <p>Ever get those rust spots on knives? Combine equal parts warm water and lemon juice in a cup. Put in your rusty knives, soak for 10 minutes, and rinse; dry with a kitchen towel. If you love your knives, please don't put them into the dishwasher &mdash; wash by hand, carefully.</p> <h2>5. Coffee Maker</h2> <p>It never hurts to wash the carafe and filter basket in warm, soapy water after use. You should also periodically wipe up spills on the heating element. But then, there is that water reservoir, which really needs your attention. It's a favorite hangout for yeast, mold, calcium deposits, and other gross stuff.</p> <p>Put a filter into the basket, and then fill the reservoir with equal parts of water and vinegar. Hit the &quot;on&quot; button, and let it run. Stop the machine, and let it sit for 30 minutes. Then, turn it back on, finish brewing, and pour it all out. Rinse by running water through another brewing cycle.</p> <h2>6. Blender</h2> <p>For a grimy blender, fill halfway with hot water. Add a drop of dish soap. Cover with lid, and hit the &quot;on&quot; button. Blend for 30 seconds and then pour out the soapy water. Add more hot water (halfway) and blend again two or three times to rinse.</p> <h2>7. Microwave</h2> <p>All of those splutters and spills add up in the microwave &mdash; an oft-forgotten appliance to clean (and they are usually the worst in offices). Pour a cup of vinegar into a two-cup glass measuring cup. Add a cup of water and microwave for 10 minutes. Let it steam up the microwave for another 20 minutes, then wipe it all out with paper towels.</p> <h2>8. Reusable Tote Bags</h2> <p>Think about where those bags have been, and you'll realize... Yuck. Hopefully, you have the kind that you can toss into the washer, because odds are, they're harboring bacteria and possibly E coli.</p> <h2>9. Sink</h2> <p>Baking soda works about as well as chemical cleaners, and it's so much safer for the environment. Use as you would a powdered cleaner. For really stubborn stains, add salt to the baking soda, and try a natural-bristle brush to scrub.</p> <h2>10. Oven</h2> <p>If you own a self-cleaning one, you're good to go. Although you may want to read up on some of the issues associated with actually using that feature, due to the high temperatures. What about the rest of us (me, included) who have gas ovens, or non-self-cleaning electric ovens? There are natural ways to clean ovens using things like vinegar and baking soda. However, a caveat: Check your manufacturer's manual. If you cannot find your manual, look up the brand online, where most manufacturers have PDFs of manuals posted. Also, what may apply to electric may be downright dangerous with gas. If you have gas, you have to turn off your pilot light and the gas before cleaning.</p> <h2>11. Fridge</h2> <p>Don't use dishwashing detergent, which may leave an odor on your food. Instead, use baking soda and hot water. Remove racks, wash, and rinse. Wipe down all the walls of the refrigerator and dry before reinstalling racks. Don't forget to remove the drawers and wash those, too.</p> <h2>12. Clean the Cleaning Stuff</h2> <p>You've probably heard that your kitchen sponge is dirtier than your toilet seat, but in case you didn't, throw your sponge out. Get a new one. Once that has been accomplished, sanitize it regularly. Get it wet, and toss it into the microwave for a minute. If you have a dishwasher, you can run it through the longest and hottest cycle. Lastly, try soaking it in a solution of bleach and water (&frac12; teaspoon per quart of warm water) for a minute. If you use dishrags, use a fresh one each day.</p> <h2>13. Grocery &quot;Cold&quot; Bags</h2> <p>I use my insulated bag every week when I load up my groceries. Yesterday, however, I went to pop in the grocery bags, only to discover that meat juices had previously leaked. Yuck! I turned that bag inside out, washed with hot, sudsy water, and left it outside in the sun to dry thoroughly.</p> <h2>14. The Gunky Mixer</h2> <p>The best way to avoid having to attack gunk buildup on your mixer is to wipe it down after each use. I just use warm water and a damp dishcloth. For those tough areas, try an old toothbrush and a little plastic scraper (so as not to damage the finish). A little baking soda on a toothbrush does wonders. Be sure to rinse and dry.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-properly-clean-these-14-kitchen-tools-and-appliances-naturally">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-essential-kitchen-tools-all-frugal-cooks-need">31 Essential Kitchen Tools All Frugal Cooks Need</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-in-your-kitchen-that-get-rid-of-bad-smells-naturally">6 Things in Your Kitchen That Get Rid of Bad Smells Naturally</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-some-cash-with-these-6-clever-cleaning-hacks">Save Some Cash With These 6 Clever Cleaning Hacks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ease-into-minimalism-with-some-simple-steps">Ease Into Minimalism With Some Simple Steps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-your-home-cleaner-than-a-pro-can-and-save-big">Get Your Home Cleaner Than a Pro Can — And Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Home cleaning kitchen appliances kitchen tools natural cleaner natural products toxic chemicals Tue, 04 Oct 2016 09:30:48 +0000 Marla Walters 1805037 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Dumb Ways to Scare Off Potential Homebuyers http://www.wisebread.com/10-dumb-ways-to-scare-off-potential-homebuyers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-dumb-ways-to-scare-off-potential-homebuyers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_pink_wallpaper_65405345.jpg" alt="Woman finding dumb ways to scare off homebuyers" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When the time comes to put your home on the market, you will go from being a homeowner to a home seller. Make no mistake, the two are very different, and if you don't want to scare away the buyers, you will need to make a few sacrifices. However, if you avoid the following dumb mistakes, and keep your eyes on the prize, your home will be sold before long. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-hidden-housing-costs-new-homeowners-dont-expect" target="_blank">10 Hidden Housing Costs New Homeowners Don't Expect</a>)</p> <h2>1. Family Photos and Kids' Drawings Everywhere</h2> <p>It may seem odd to think this is a way to scare people off, but look at it this way: When anyone comes to look around the home you're selling, they are trying to picture themselves, and their family, living there. It's very difficult to do that when the home is clearly one that belongs to another family, with personal evidence of that in every room. If you have framed photos covering every wall, drawings over the fridge and up the staircase, and other shrines to your beloved family and friends, you need to take most of them down. Don't worry; it's not forever. In fact, if you do it, it will take you less time to sell your house, and put them up in your new home.</p> <h2>2. Unusual Smells and Stains</h2> <p>No home can stay new-looking forever. Homebuyers expect the house to be lived in, but what they don't want are odd smells and ugly stains. You may not notice them as you have lived with them for years, but you need to look at your home through fresh eyes. Do a walk-through, and examine every wall, ceiling, and floor in every room. Stains can easily be covered with paint, or shampooed out of carpets. If it's very stubborn, you may have to replace the carpet or rug. Smells, well, the cause needs to be tracked down. If it's mold in the corner of the basement, get it treated. If it's something rotten in the garage, dump it. Your home should look clean and smell fresh. Don't try and mask smells with air fresheners, as they will only make it worse (the sweet smell of vanilla and mold is not a nice combination).</p> <h2>3. Your House Is Stuck in the Past</h2> <p>It's one thing to keep your home in great condition. It's quite another to keep it in the exact same condition that it was in when you first acquired it. If you bought the home 20 years ago, it should not look that way, inside or out. Ideally, you will have performed upgrades over the years to modernize the look and feel of the place. New paint, new carpet or flooring, new appliances, updated cabinets, perhaps even a few additions or a finished basement, can all help with the appeal. Very few people want to move into a home that looks and feels dated. It is a sign that they will have a lot of work to do, and money to spend, to bring the home roaring into the present.</p> <h2>4. It's Dirty and Messy</h2> <p>One of the simplest ways to make a used car sell for more money is to detail it, inside and out. It can literally add thousands to the value. The same is true of your home. If the kitchen is dirty, and the sink is full of dishes, you are sending the wrong message. You are also putting a barrier in front of that potential buyer, and it's your job to remove them. You don't want them to have to imagine how it would look when it's clean and tidy. Show them. Every room should be clean, organized, and free of clutter.</p> <h2>5. You Have&hellip; Wallpaper!</h2> <p>What's wrong with wallpaper? Well, the chances are, it took you a long time to find the wallpaper you really liked. You scoured the pattern books, you mulled it over for days, and when you finally took the plunge, it was no easy task to put up. In fact, most people opt for a professional to do it. So, what are the odds that your perfect wallpaper is also the perfect match for someone who wants to buy your house? Exactly. When they see wallpaper, they see a chore. They see hours of steaming, scouring, scraping, and sweating. Removing wallpaper is about as pleasant as scrubbing the bathroom floor, only it takes 10 times as long. So, get rid of it. Scrape it off now, and put neutral paint in its place. It will vastly improve your chances of getting a buyer.</p> <h2>6. You Follow the Buyer Around</h2> <p>The easiest way to make the buyer feel really awkward, uncomfortable, and pressured, is to be the tour guide for your home. You know the feeling yourself, especially if you've tried to look at a car on the lot and the salesperson is breathing down your neck. This is a huge purchase, and buyers want time and space to look at everything without a chaperon. So, if you can, make sure you're not at home when the buyers come. If you have to be there, confine yourself to just one room, and leave that room when the buyers enter. Go out into the garden or yard, or even the garage.</p> <h2>7. Anything Broken</h2> <p>A door that won't close properly. An appliance that doesn't work well. A piece of tile that has come away from the wall. A cracked window. The list is endless, but whatever it is that's broken in your home, fix it before you put it on the market. Big things, like the roof or siding, that's a no-brainer. But it's the little things that you may have simply gotten used to that can be really off-putting to potential buyers. If they have to jiggle the handle in just the right way to get into the garage, that's not good. If they have to step over the broken piece of concrete in the backyard, they're going to remember that in a negative way. Do a thorough check of the home, and get everything fixed. You do not want to send a signal that you did not do a good job of maintaining your house.</p> <h2>8. Setting the Asking Price Way Too High</h2> <p>It may be a seller's market, but don't take that beyond the limits. If you start at the maximum price you could hope to get, you're excluding a vast number of buyers from ever taking a tour. They may have a maximum amount they want to spend, and your high starting price means they cannot afford to get into a bidding war. Remember, the Internet has given buyers a wealth of information about homes for sale, or recently sold, in your neighborhood. They can do their own comps, and quickly come to the conclusion that you are asking way too much. Now of course, you also don't want to ask too little for the home, because it's possible only one buyer will bite, and you may be stuck with that asking price. So do your homework. See what homes of the same size, age, and condition have sold for in your area, and price accordingly.</p> <h2>9. Poor Landscaping</h2> <p>There is something called curb appeal, and it's literally judging a book by its cover. Your home may be something out of <em>Architectural Digest</em> on the inside, but if it looks like the Addams Family did the yard work, you are not going to inspire people to come and look around. This is the first impression, and it has to count. This also applies to the backyard, too. If it's a bunch of weeds, rocks, rusted cars, and an eyesore called an &quot;above ground pool,&quot; you have your work cut out. People want to see a well loved landscape, front and back, that has green grass, healthy trees, flowering plants, and clean rocks. If it's anything less than that, you may never get the buyer through the front door.</p> <h2>10. Bizarre or Eccentric Features</h2> <p>You may have thought that decorating an entire wall of the den with hubcaps was cool, but potential homebuyers probably won't like it. Anything that is exclusive to the point of being weird or strange is not going to help you sell the home. Maybe the kids wanted a room that was like a forest, complete with lots of fake trees and a dark green carpet. Or perhaps the gray Batcave was something that you just had to have. All well and good when it's your own place, but you cannot expect buyers to share your passions. If you have something that is truly original, it may be time to take it out and go neutral. And in the case of this guy, who <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoInb9JGamA">built a roller coaster</a> through his house to try and sell it, well&hellip;that's not recommended!</p> <p><em>What's the scariest thing you've ever seen at an open house?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-dumb-ways-to-scare-off-potential-homebuyers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-are-the-7-features-home-buyers-want-most">These Are the 7 Features Home Buyers Want Most</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tourist-towns-that-are-actually-great-to-live-in">6 &quot;Tourist Towns&quot; That Are Actually Great to Live In</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-sold-my-house-in-48-hours">How I Sold My House in 48 Hours</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-improve-your-curb-appeal-for-next-to-nothing">6 Ways to Improve Your Curb Appeal for Next to Nothing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/big-lessons-from-the-tiny-house-movement">Big Lessons From the Tiny House Movement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Real Estate and Housing cleaning decorations dumb mistakes housing market landscaping moving pricing selling home Tue, 26 Jul 2016 10:00:11 +0000 Paul Michael 1757121 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: How to Make Your Home Look Cleaner Than It Is http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-how-to-make-your-home-look-cleaner-than-it-is <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-how-to-make-your-home-look-cleaner-than-it-is" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_cleaning_house_90123047.jpg" alt="Woman making her home look cleaner than it is" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found articles on hacks that make your home look cleaner than it actually is, quick ways to save on groceries, and cheap and fun ways to cool off this summer.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.adebtfreestressfreelife.com/hacks-to-make-your-home-look-cleaner-than-it-is/">11 Brilliant Hacks To Make Your Home Look Cleaner Than It Is</a> &mdash; If you don't have time for anything else, make sure the Three T's &mdash; televisions, tabletops, and toilets &mdash; are dust- and grime-free. [A Debt Free Mess Free Life]</p> <p><a href="http://www.everybodylovesyourmoney.com/2016/07/25/5-quick-ways-to-save-money-on-groceries-this-week.html">5 Quick Ways to Save Money On Groceries This Week</a> &mdash; Pay with cash when you go to the grocery store. You can designate an amount to spend on groceries each month, put the cash in an envelope, and take it with you to the store. This forces you to keep a strict grocery budget and helps curb spending. [Everybody Loves Your Money]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/5-cheap-and-fun-ways-to-cool-off-this-summer">5 Cheap (and Fun) Ways to Cool Off This Summer</a> &mdash; Make your own frozen treats by freezing your favorite drink in a cup or popsicle mold. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Saving-Money/2016/0724/Five-sites-for-finding-the-perfect-babysitter">Five sites for finding the perfect baby sitter</a> &mdash; Care.com and SitterCity are the market leaders. They work the same way and offer similar features, so the deciding factor may be the popularity of the sites in your area. [The Monitor]</p> <p><a href="http://www.experian.com/blogs/news/about/laws-of-wealth/">The Laws of Wealth: Secrets to Investing Success</a> &mdash; Investing can seem confusing and risky when you don't know where to start. Join Experian's #CreditChat tomorrow at 3 p.m. ET to learn how to invest successfully. [Experian]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/What-Interviewers-Mean-When-Ask-Questions-35457160">10 Things Interviewers Really Want to Know When They Ask These Questions</a> &mdash; When an interviewer gives you an incredibly hard problem, they really just want to see how you handle stress and whether you can work out the steps to find a solution. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://savingdollarsandsense.com/how-to-begin-homesteading/">How to Begin Homesteading Without a Farm</a> &mdash; Start small! The homesteading lifestyle is all about self-reliance, so start growing your own veggie garden, cooking from scratch, and making your own soap. [Saving Dollars &amp; Sense]</p> <p><a href="http://thefrugalgirls.com/2016/07/purse-organizing-ideas.html">9 Purse Organizing Ideas + Tips to Lighten your Load!</a> &mdash; Only carry the keys you use on a regular basis. Leave the rest at home! [The Frugal Girls]</p> <p><a href="http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/2016/07/25/how-to-take-back-your-time-in-just-5-simple-steps/">How to Take Back Your Time in Just 5 Simple Steps</a> &mdash; Think about what your ideal life would look like five years from now. Then, set specific goals that will help you make this vision a reality. [Living Well Spending Less]</p> <p><a href="http://www.cleverdude.com/content/movie-night-how-to-have-more-fun-and-save-money/">Movie Night: How To Have More Fun AND Save Money!</a> &mdash; You can spend a small fortune on drinks and snacks if you buy them at a theater. Instead, stop by a restaurant or bar for happy hour before the show. [Clever Dude]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-how-to-make-your-home-look-cleaner-than-it-is">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-easy-ways-to-get-rid-of-mold-on-common-household-items">6 Easy Ways to Get Rid of Mold on Common Household Items</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-mops">The 5 Best Mops</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-use-garage-space">6 Smart Ways to Use Garage Space</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home best money tips cleaning Tue, 26 Jul 2016 09:30:32 +0000 Amy Lu 1759218 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Smart Ways to Help Your Appliances Retain Their Value http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-help-your-appliances-retain-their-value <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-smart-ways-to-help-your-appliances-retain-their-value" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_food_fridge_76458411.jpg" alt="Woman finding smart ways to help appliances retain their value" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Unlike any car you buy, your home appliances can retain their value so long as you give them a little TLC. Maximize the life span and potential resale return of your washer, dryer, fridge, and more with some basic maintenance.</p> <h2>1. Give the Inside the What-For</h2> <p>Begin with a thorough clean of the inside of your fridge, microwave, stovetop, and dishwasher. Be sure to test all the buttons on your keypad control panels &mdash; even the ones you don't use every day. Check for deterioration in the rubber seals around your dishwasher &mdash; a minor crack can quickly lead to a flooded kitchen. (Or, YA know, when your husband puts laundry detergent in it because you ran out of dishwasher liquid.)</p> <p>Mike Clear, VP of operations at American Home Shield, a home warranty provider, offers a few more pro tips.</p> <p>&quot;Avoid using sopping wet sponges or rags to clean your appliances' keypad control panels,&quot; he says. &quot;You may be slowly damaging the control panels on your appliances during your routine cleaning which could eventually short-circuit the panel.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Work Your Way to the Basement</h2> <p>As temperatures heat up and A/C takes center stage, show your furnace and heating system some TLC in the offseason to be sure you're not left in the cold next winter.</p> <p>&quot;Keep the area around your air returns clean and unobstructed,&quot; Clear says. &quot;Extra dirt on your filter means the unit will have to work too hard and run longer, making it less cost-efficient and reducing its life span. Check to see if the cover near your furnace's filter is in place. If not, you could be risking fire and other safety hazards. Regular maintenance by a professional should be scheduled well before cold weather sets back in.&quot;</p> <p>That last point is important: Don't forgo regular maintenance. Even if you inspect your furnace and everything looks fine, leaving untreated problems to only get worse will only inconvenience you further when you need it most.</p> <h2>3. Mind the Hard-Water Buildup</h2> <p>Those who live in hard water areas (70% of Americans do) struggle with hard mineral scale buildup, which can shorten the life of appliances.</p> <p>Products like <a href="http://amzn.to/28PUBnx">Ionizer Armor</a> condition the water and reduce the amount of minerals that make their way into the appliances using magnet technology. Just snap it onto the water line and forget it &mdash;lest you want to live in a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s62KlfeLO_M">Zest commercial</a>.</p> <h2>4. Consider Your Appliances' Cosmetic Aesthetic</h2> <p>It's not just the moving parts that contribute to the resale value of your appliances &mdash; they have to look good inside and out.</p> <p>&quot;Periodically cleaning out the entire contents of a freezer/refrigerator and doing a deep clean keeps the appliance looking new and removes any remnant odors or stains,&quot; says Wes Taft, co-founder of moveCHECK, an app to make moves less stressful. &quot;The longer those sit, the harder they are to get rid of. An appliance with a stain or dull finish will linger in a potential buyer's mind as a concern when making an offer on the home or the appliance.&quot;</p> <p>So, yeah, it's time to ditch all those science experiments hiding behind the expired milk.</p> <h2>5. Keep the A/C Too Legit to Quit</h2> <p>During the warmer months, it's crucial that your air filter and A/C system are working properly. You know this homebody requires climate control!</p> <p>&quot;Check your air filters regularly,&quot; advises Clear. &quot;Cleaning or replacing your A/C system's air filter can help prevent damage, inefficiencies, and keeps your air clean. Schedule annual maintenance on your A/C now, so you can be sure your unit is in top shape before being put to the test with this summer's high temps.&quot;</p> <p>Try not to wait for the first heat wave or minor A/C hiccup. You'll be kicking yourself (and sweating) later if you put off A/C maintenance until after it breaks down.</p> <h2>6. Know When to Call a Professional</h2> <p>We're all about DIY here at Wise Bread, but if you're in over your head when trying to fix a broken appliance, don't be ashamed to call in a knowledgeable professional. Eating crow is much better than being electrocuted to death.</p> <p>&quot;Be mindful of what may seem like a quick DIY fix,&quot; says Clear. &quot;This can be especially disastrous when it comes to fixing large and expensive appliances and home systems. Leave it to the pros.&quot;</p> <p><em>What do you do to help your appliances retain their value? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-help-your-appliances-retain-their-value">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-long-these-6-appliances-should-last">This Is How Long These 6 Appliances Should Last</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-16-favorite-ways-to-get-rid-of-clutter">My 16 Favorite Ways to Get Rid of Clutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/23-frugal-living-resolutions-anyone-can-master">23 Frugal Living Resolutions Anyone Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/turn-off-your-air-conditioning">Turn Off Your Air Conditioning</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living air conditioning appliances cleaning furnace hard water home maintenance resale value Wed, 29 Jun 2016 10:00:06 +0000 Mikey Rox 1740459 at http://www.wisebread.com Make Money and Declutter by Selling These 5 Unlikely Treasures http://www.wisebread.com/make-money-and-declutter-by-selling-these-5-unlikely-treasures <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/make-money-and-declutter-by-selling-these-5-unlikely-treasures" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/three_coffee_mugs_75581393.jpg" alt="Making money and decluttering by selling unlikely treasures" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You may want to take one last peek through those boxes sitting in the garage before donating the contents to your local Goodwill. Turns out there are some surprising items in your home that others are willing to take off your hands for significant cash. Your junk being another person's treasure has never been truer. Here are the items worth knowing about.</p> <h2>1. Coffee Mugs</h2> <p>A couple years ago, I accidentally stumbled upon the underground world of coffee mug collectors. I was doing my annual eBay roundup of all the items in my home that I didn't use, and on a whim, I threw in two coffee mugs that I had no need for. I snapped some pictures, wrote a brief description, put up the eBay listings, and lo and behold, a bidding war erupted on the last day of both auctions. I ended up selling a House of Blues mug for $23 and a Starbucks mug for close to $28.</p> <p>I was so blown away with the success of my coffee mug auctions that I decided to do some research. I discovered that there are many eBay sellers who fervently search local thrift stores for coffee mugs that they can turn a quick profit on. Coffee mugs that sell really well include anything Disney, vintage restaurant mugs, Starbucks, vintage Pyrex, and mugs with famous people, places, and TV shows on them. Always search eBay &quot;completed listings&quot; to determine the value of coffee mugs. The <a href="http://anywhere.ebay.com/">eBay app</a> allows you to do this while you're in the thrift store to determine if you may have just found a hidden gem.</p> <h2>2. Name Brand Clothing</h2> <p>If you have a closet full of clothing you don't wear anymore, considering selling it rather than donating it. If it's a brand-name label, you have a much better chance of cashing in as buyers are more familiar with sizing and styles. Brands that sell well include American Eagle, Gap, Banana Republic, Land's End, Calvin Klein, Express, and Abercrombie &amp; Fitch. Consider sites like&nbsp;<a href="https://poshmark.com/">Poshmark</a>, which allow you to create a listing within 60 seconds and quickly have your unwanted clothing in front of a million prospective shoppers. Many Poshmark users have actually created a full-time income for themselves by selling thrift store finds.</p> <p>Perhaps the best way to sell clothing online is to utilize the power of eBay. Not only can you take advantage of their huge reach, but they make the transaction easy via their interface. Be sure to take good pictures of the item and write an honest description. I like to package the item and weigh it before creating the listing so I can charge accurate shipping fees.</p> <p>Also, because eBay users are searching for the exact item and size you're selling, be careful when creating auction lots with multiple clothing items. For example, if you're selling men's jeans and you have two pair size 34x34, and one pair in size 33x34, you'll have a tough time selling all three together in a lot, even if they all basically fit the same. You'll have much better success selling the 34x34 pairs together and the 33x34 separately.</p> <p>Also, don't forget about more traditional ways of selling clothing via a yard sale or at a community or church sale. While you might not get top dollar like you can online, you'll be able to unload a lot of inventory quickly.</p> <h2>3. Baby Gear and Clothing</h2> <p>Don't put your unused stroller, crib, or playpen in the attic. The same can be said for gently used baby clothing and gear. Because baby items are typically outgrown before they wear out, they make for terrific items to sell both online and at local baby shops. Brands that typically sell well include Baby Bjorn, Gymboree, Baby Gap, Hanna Andersson, Graco, Peg Perego, and Children's Place. For best results, sell clothing online via eBay and bundle items together to make complete outfits. They tend to sell really well this way, especially when you take good pictures and write a detailed description.</p> <p>When selling bulkier baby gear, you have two solid options. You can sell it on <a href="http://craigslist.org">Craigslist</a> if you're comfortable with the process, or you can opt for local retail shops like <a href="http://www.childrensorchard.com/">Children's Orchard</a>, <a href="http://www.onceuponachild.com/locations#us">Once Upon a Child</a>, or <a href="http://kidtokid.com/stores/">Kid to Kid</a>. Name brands in good to excellent condition have a premium and you can typically get a great deal if you're willing to accept store credit as payment. You can then use the proceeds to buy the sizes that your kids are currently wearing.</p> <h2>4. Past Amazon Purchases</h2> <p>Are you aware of a service from Amazon called <a href="http://amzn.to/1TYF2Ar">Amazon Trade-In</a>, which buys back your past purchases that you have no need for anymore? Once you're signed-in, Amazon will go back through your order history and tell you what they'll buy back, and for how much. I recently tested out the service and was happily surprised when I discovered they would buy back a rarely played Xbox game that we gave our son for Christmas. We bought it for $25 over six months ago, and they'll buy it back for $14. This buyback amount was 25% better that what our local GameStop would pay for it. The best part is Amazon uses prepaid shipping labels which allow you to ship the item back free of charge.</p> <p>Also, it's worth noting that items don't have to be purchased from Amazon to be eligible for a buyback. From the Amazon Trade-In homepage, click on &quot;Find More Items&quot; and simply enter the item you want to sell, and they'll give you a price quote. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-amazon-pay-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Ways to Make Amazon Pay YOU!</a>)</p> <h2>5. Old Smartphones</h2> <p>Depending on the age, condition, and demand for your old smartphone, you can make a pretty penny by selling it online. Rather than throwing your old smartphone in the desk drawer, sites like <a href="https://swappa.com/">Swappa</a> and <a href="https://www.gazelle.com/">Gazelle</a> are great options to consider. Both will happily take your phone, pay the shipping, and give you cold hard cash for your device. You can quickly get a free quote from them by answering a few questions about your smartphone. Do you have an old iPhone 5 (16GB) collecting dust? Swappa will buy it for $112. While devices can show normal signs of wear and tear, they must be fully functional and ready to activate to get top dollar. They'll take broken devices too, just don't expect a big payday.</p> <p>If you're the type of smartphone user who always needs the newest and greatest, consider selling your old smartphone to one of these sites before the new model is released. By doing so, you'll get top dollar as prices for last season's model plummet once the new model is released. Once you get word of the impending new model, start strategizing your sale and have a cheap smartphone at the ready as a backup during the transition period.</p> <p><em>What stuff laying around your home have you been able to sell for some extra money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-money-and-declutter-by-selling-these-5-unlikely-treasures">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-16-favorite-ways-to-get-rid-of-clutter">My 16 Favorite Ways to Get Rid of Clutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-start-flipping-items-for-cash-online">What You Need to Start Flipping Items for Cash Online</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-objects-to-pawn">The 7 Best Objects to Pawn</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-rid-of-all-your-crap">How to Get Rid of All Your Crap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-crap-a-book-review-and-tips">How to Sell Your Crap: A Book Review and Tips</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Amazon baby gear cleaning clothes collectibles craigslist donating eBay goodwill selling Wed, 22 Jun 2016 10:00:10 +0000 Kyle James 1733678 at http://www.wisebread.com Ease Into Minimalism With Some Simple Steps http://www.wisebread.com/ease-into-minimalism-with-some-simple-steps <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ease-into-minimalism-with-some-simple-steps" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_minimalist_room_000074541869.jpg" alt="Family easing into minimalism with simple steps" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>On a theoretical level, the minimalist life sounds like a fantasy. No excessive &quot;stuff&quot; that requires maintenance, cleaning, upgrades, or insurance. A beautiful home, a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-a-capsule-wardrobe-actually-save-you-money">capsule wardrobe</a>, and effortless travel thanks to your exquisitely packed (and tastefully matching) cabin-only baggage.</p> <p>Then a quick scan of home brings you abruptly back to Earth. If the &quot;crap basket&quot; was designed for anyone, it was my family. You know the one &mdash; it lives on the stairs, or a dresser, accumulating detritus until someone blinks and trashes the lot. But in my case, simply getting to the trashcan requires you to pick your way through discarded Lego bricks, turn a blind eye to the dumped homework pages curling in the sun, and ignore (or marvel at) the variety of clothing that has been shed on the porch.</p> <p>Minimalists we are not. But I can dream of better days, and start to practice a little now. And even if you're not in such a crisis &mdash; wouldn't it be great if you could slim down your stuff without missing it?</p> <h2>Change Your Mindset</h2> <p>Without stating the obvious, it's a lot easier to be minimalist if you have less stuff to start off with. If you live in a house with kids who love brightly colored plastic, and a techie-geek early adopter, then this can be a challenge.</p> <p>But changing your thinking about acquiring stuff is a start. After all, how much of the stuff that came into your home in the last six months still gives you pleasure, and how much is a burden?</p> <p>Often we buy for the buzz, but that wears off, and can even lead to negative feelings as the ongoing cost of maintaining or upgrading &quot;toys&quot; becomes apparent. Even with purchases, which do not require ongoing attention, their attraction fades as we become used to them. Whereas we tend to tell the story of a vacation or experience over and over, the story of &quot;how I bought my Jimmy Choos&quot; doesn't work so well, and soon even the slightly scuffed and last-season shoes lose their appeal. Amit Kumar, co-author of a <a href="http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/2013/01/feel-happier-talk-about-experiences-not-things">study on happiness</a>, eloquently said:</p> <p>&quot;A once-cherished Walkman is now obsolete, but, as Humphrey Bogart once told Ingrid Bergman, &quot;We'll always have Paris.&quot;&quot;</p> <p>Switch your mindset about buying new things &mdash; and if you're up to it, go one step further. What if you cashed in your clutter and made the money work for you instead? Take a quick spin on eBay, and reinvest the cash you earn in a shared experience instead of an upgraded gadget.</p> <h2>Slow Down Your Purchase Process</h2> <p>If you find yourself moving at lightning speed when the urge to splurge hits, then before you know it, you're weighed down with new purchases. Help yourself by slowing down the decision-making process.</p> <p>Some things you really need. Most things you simply want &mdash; but many of us don't even register the difference. We are trained to feel like a new purchase should be ours because we deserve it. Advertising makes consumption normal, whether or not we actually need to buy more stuff, and at a subconscious level we come to expect certain things. Maybe it's buying a new winter coat every season, even though the last one barely saw the light of day. Perhaps you find yourself drawn by an inexorable force to the new iPhone, despite there being little to pick it apart from the one in your pocket. Once you're on it, it's hard to backpedal &mdash; after all, you work hard for this, should you not allow yourself a little treat?</p> <p>Force time to think about the things you buy. One useful thought exercise can be to ask whether you would like the immediate purchase as much if you compare it to the potential lifetime return the cash could bring you. So, if you assume a modest 5% interest rate if you invested the money in your pocket, you could have the $1,000 bag today, or you could have the $1,000 pay you $50 every year of your life (and still have the capital there if you ever did decide the handbag was a life or death necessity). And if all else fails, encase your cards in ice and you're forced to wait until they defrost before you go on a spree.</p> <h2>Try Before You Buy</h2> <p>When it comes to avoiding the temptation to accumulate more stuff, there is some very old school, tried and tested advice. Shop online (with a plan), and don't hang out in malls, and you are well on the way.</p> <p>But the rise of the sharing economy is good news for wannabe minimalists. There are some gadgets, or hardware items, that we need once in awhile that can seem essential to every household &mdash; but now you can also consider whether you can borrow or rent things before leaping into a purchase.</p> <p>If you're considering a purchase, renting can be a great way to &quot;try before you buy,&quot; and you can even make the most of your own seldom used stuff by renting it out for a profit rather than having it sitting about ruining your minimalist ambitions.</p> <h2>Don't Organize</h2> <p>This might seem like counterintuitive advice if you want to live a sleek and simple life, but the worst thing you can do is organize. Step away from the additional shelving, and dump stuff instead!</p> <p>The very thought of trashing those keepsakes might have put you into a tailspin. That's normal &mdash; we all have a little bit of the hoarder inside.</p> <p>To make this work, you need a friend to supervise so you don't cop out &mdash; and a steely resolve. But removing the need to build yet more flat pack storage units is its own reward. If sentimental keepsakes are your downfall, digitize what you can, and go about writing your personal story in a way that honors memories without bogging you down. Through the process, you will identify what is actually meaningful to you, and what you can let go.</p> <p>If you're nervous about throwing away vital paperwork, like tax documents, check out <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/to-shred-or-not-to-shred-how-long-to-keep-your-tax-records">our guide on what to toss</a> &mdash; and get shredding. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-minimalist-can-you-really-be?ref=seealso">How Minimalist Can You Really Be?</a>)</p> <p>I have a long way to go before I can take any minimalist honors. For now, I will have to satisfy myself with having a clear path through the shoes, Wellington boots, skateboards, and soccer balls in the hallway. But I can dream, and with these small tweaks, I might just get there one day.</p> <p><em>What about you? Is your home organized minimalist chic, or crap magnet? Tell us in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/claire-millard">Claire Millard</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ease-into-minimalism-with-some-simple-steps">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-a-deep-declutter-can-improve-your-life">12 Ways a Deep Declutter Can Improve Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-some-cash-with-these-6-clever-cleaning-hacks">Save Some Cash With These 6 Clever Cleaning Hacks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-properly-clean-these-14-kitchen-tools-and-appliances-naturally">How to Properly Clean These 14 Kitchen Tools and Appliances — Naturally</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-your-home-cleaner-than-a-pro-can-and-save-big">Get Your Home Cleaner Than a Pro Can — And Save Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-minimalist-can-you-really-be">How Minimalist Can You Really Be?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Home cleaning controlling temptation decluttering living simply minimalism organizing Fri, 27 May 2016 09:30:21 +0000 Claire Millard 1717322 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Smart Ways to Use Garage Space http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-use-garage-space <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-smart-ways-to-use-garage-space" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_happy_tool_shed_000075068057.jpg" alt="Man finding smart ways to use garage space" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My husband and I spent our spring break this year clearing out and cleaning our garage. It had been filled with remnants from our move (nearly two years ago), random junk, and even&hellip; garbage. Now? The space is nearly empty, all 600 glorious square feet of it. And I'm wondering what we can do with all this added square footage, since we don't necessarily need to shelter our vehicles from the elements year 'round. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-in-your-garage-that-have-serious-re-sale-value?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Things in Your Garage That Have Serious Re-Sale Value</a>)</p> <h2>Mudroom</h2> <p>Don't have much closet space indoors? Try&nbsp;<a href="http://sypsie.com/2015/11/11/one-room-challenge-week-6-garage-reveal/">making a mudroom</a> out of a portion of your garage to keep your stuff organized and tidy. All you really need to finish this project are some hooks for coats and bags, a bench for sitting, and maybe storage cubes for shoes and outdoor accessories. The rest is up to your budget and creativity.</p> <p>We turned a wall in our garage into a mudroom of sorts and decided to highlight the area by painting it an accent color. We then laid a rag rug down to cozy up the floor and protect feet from getting cold while getting shoes out of bins. I'd like to paint the door leading out there a funky color to make it even more fun. This project took us maybe an hour and cost just $50 for all supplies (we used what we had on hand).</p> <h2>Play Space</h2> <p>Or maybe you need more room for your kids and their toys to sprawl out. We've considered dedicating an area of the garage to play, especially since our backyard gets so much sun on hot summer afternoons. This&nbsp;<a href="http://s3-media4.fl.yelpcdn.com/bphoto/5MR-QnUFmhdPVb-_-H9EHA/o.jpg">garage-to-playroom conversion</a> is pretty basic, but it gets the job done.</p> <p>Try installing a few toddler swings to a solid support beam. Place a picnic table or two around for a drawing surface or just eating lunch. Since you're in the garage, you can even experiment with messier toys, like a DIY sandbox or rice sensory bin that won't collect as many bugs as it would outdoors. To soften the concrete flooring, head to your local carpet outlet and purchase a large remnant piece.</p> <h2>Office or Studio</h2> <p>Need a place to work from home? Try converting your garage to a studio or office. This unique&nbsp;<a href="http://www.designsponge.com/2015/04/before-after-a-garage-becomes-a-beautiful-studio-space.html">before and after</a> will get you dreaming up the many possibilities. For example, there's so much paint can do to freshen up a dingy area and make it come alive and inspire. Simple white is a solid choice if you want a neutral backdrop and maximum light.</p> <p>At the same time, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Concrete floors can be as practical as they are easy to maintain. And exposed beams add architectural interest, so don't bother trying to cover them. Once you get the bones looking good, the rest will depend on the kind of work you do. Artists may like keeping the garage door open for extra light during work hours. A sturdy table may work well as a desk and meeting space. It's up to you!</p> <h2>Home Gym</h2> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-kStZFjlQi8" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p>Some friends of mine recently took over one half of their garage to make an&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kStZFjlQi8">at-home gym</a> because they were frustrated with monthly membership rates. Their hard work paid off &mdash; big time. You can get fancy and do flooring and walls, etc. Or you can stick with what matters most: Clear out clutter and replace with weights, mats, and motivation posters.</p> <p>What you stock your gym with depends on the activities you do. To get a good variety of equipment (and mirrors, etc.) on the cheap, consider checking Facebook yard sale groups, Craigslist, and even making a call out to friends. We actually scored a cheap treadmill from our neighbors that had been collecting dust in their basement for a few years. All we had to do was ask.</p> <h2>Hybrid Room</h2> <p>Maybe you have multiple needs. In that case, try planning out your garage to meet them all. Carla at Small + Friendly divided her garage into&nbsp;<a href="http://www.smallfriendly.com/small-friendly/2015/10/epic-garage-transformation.html">four different zones</a>. There's a crafting/sewing station, a play wall, a laundry nook, and then some smart storage/mudroom area. Everyone in the house has someplace to spread out.</p> <p>I like this family's use of vertical storage to maximize how much stuff they could contain in each zone. It's full, but very well organized. Additionally, if your budget doesn't allow for flooring, make use of interlocking foam tiles anywhere kids might be playing on the ground for added comfort. Carla's husband even uses the tiles as a makeshift yoga mat for morning workouts.</p> <h2>Bedroom and Beyond</h2> <p>My jaw dropped when I came across this incredible&nbsp;<a href="http://www.today.com/home/see-dingy-garage-transform-coolest-bedroom-ever-t20836">garage-to-bedroom transformation</a>. For just $900, Brooke Frederick was able to totally clean out the space, give it a nice coat of bright paint, exterminate pests, and then furnish to her specifications. And if you don't have a hefty budget, that's all you really need to do to make a room out of your garage.</p> <p>Of course, this kind of frugal flip won't work for everyone. Moving your sleeping or living quarters to the garage is probably more appealing if your garage has plenty of windows. Also, Frederick notes there's no insulation in her new bedroom, so this idea works best if you live in a more moderate climate.</p> <h2>Things to Think About</h2> <ul> <li>If you do intend to use your space year-round, you'll want to insulate and drywall to keep the heat and cold out. Same goes for your garage door.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Adding a few windows can also help provide the area with natural light, but aren't a requirement if you budget doesn't allow.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You may need to enlist an experienced electrician to wire some outlets to your new room to get the power flowing if you plan to use computers, televisions, and other electronics.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>That all being said, major improvements may require a permit. Check with your local municipality for the rules that apply in your area.</li> </ul> <p><em>Do you use your garage for something other than parking cars? Tell us about it!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-use-garage-space">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-effective-grease-and-oil-stain-removal-tips">14 Effective Grease and Oil Stain Removal Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-unexpected-uses-for-laundry-detergent">10 Unexpected Uses for Laundry Detergent</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cleaning-the-oil-stove">Cleaning the Oil Stove</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fall-cleaning-101-the-spic-and-span-basics-of-making-your-home-sparkle">Fall Cleaning 101: The Spic-and-Span Basics of Making Your Home Sparkle</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home cleaning clutter extra space garage home gym home office remodeling reusing Wed, 04 May 2016 09:30:23 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1699778 at http://www.wisebread.com Get Your Home Cleaner Than a Pro Can — And Save Big http://www.wisebread.com/get-your-home-cleaner-than-a-pro-can-and-save-big <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/get-your-home-cleaner-than-a-pro-can-and-save-big" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_cleaning_house_000067964943.jpg" alt="Woman getting home cleaner than a pro and saving big" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Want to cut $200 or more from your budget this month? Consider parting ways your cleaning service. Sure, it's not the most glamorous task to take on yourself &mdash; but keeping your house sparkling clean doesn't have to be intimidating or even take too much time. In 2014, Angie's List polled its members and discovered that most were spending between&nbsp;<a href="https://www.angieslist.com/articles/how-much-does-it-cost-hire-house-cleaner.htm">$100 and $150</a> on bi-weekly house cleanings. Put that money back in your pocket with these tips.</p> <h2>Collect Your Tools</h2> <p>One of the most annoying things about cleaning your house yourself is having to round up all your equipment and cleaners. Make it easy by creating a bucket you can carry around you home and then store in one convenient place.</p> <p>What should go in the bucket?&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cleanmama.net/">Clean Mama</a> suggests items from the following categories:</p> <ul> <li>Dusting tools (feather duster, hand duster, ceiling fan duster, extender pole)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Window wipers (squeegee, etc.)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>General cleaning cloths (cotton, microfiber, and paper towels)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Cleaners (all-purpose, stainless, disinfectant, wipes, and scrub)</li> </ul> <h2>Simplify Your Routine</h2> <p>Better yet, save some cash you've been spending on cleaning supplies and make your own using natural ingredients. I clean my home using mostly&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clean-everything-with-just-3-all-natural-cleaners">vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice</a> with a few drops of essential oil mixed in. If you make your own natural cleaning supplies, you'll need just one or two bottles to do the tasks of what used to take many more.</p> <p>And a good bar rag will outlast many paper towels as you make your way from room to room. When you're done, just toss it in the wash to reuse on your next deep clean. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-greener-cheaper-alternatives-to-paper-cleaning-products?ref=seealso">9 Greener, Cheaper Alternatives to Paper Cleaning Products</a>)</p> <h2>Make a List</h2> <p>To help yourself stay on task, it's helpful to create a checklist. What goes on your checklist will depend on your unique needs, so take some time to think about the areas that get the most dirt in your home. You can even distribute a list to family members and divvy up the tasks to make the cleaning go faster. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-in-your-house-youre-forgetting-to-clean?ref=seealso">9 Things in Your House You're Forgetting to Clean</a>)</p> <p>Of course you'll want to give your kitchen and bathrooms a good scrub. Your living areas and bedrooms will need to be tidied and get special attention too (don't forget to wash your pillows!). Otherwise, thinking of the rest might feel daunting. <a href="http://images.marthastewart.com/images/content/web/pdfs/2007Q2/la_0407_spring_cleaning.pdf">Martha Stewart</a> shares that the following areas should definitely get some attention:</p> <ul> <li>Walls and ceilings: Wipe them down to get rid of dust and grime, especially in kitchens.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Grout lines: Those pesky lines between your tiles can look amazing again with a little scrubbing and some sealer.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Carpets and rugs: Vacuum all of them. If you have the extra time, try periodically shampooing them. (Note: Rugs that don't have waterproof backings will need the help of a professional.)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Shelves and furniture: Dust every nook and cranny. A crevice tool is helpful here. And don't forget to dust the books while you're at it.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Cushions, etc.: Take upholstered furnishings outdoors to beat off dust. Vacuum the rest.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Wooden furniture: First wipe your wooden surfaces clean and then let dry. Apply wax to condition and buff once it dries.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Curtains, etc.: When's the last time you washed your drapes? If they're machine washable, stick them in your next load. Then dust and clean your blinds, interior shutters, or shades while you wait.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Window screens: Especially in the spring, it's good to give your screens some love. Take them out and wash with dish soap, rinse, and re-hang.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Floors: For vinyl or linoleum, you'll want to use a wax or other cleaning agent specifically made for those materials. Otherwise, the surface may lose shine over time.</li> </ul> <p>Bonus: Cleaning your home from top to bottom is also a great time to ensure fire safety. Check and replace batteries on your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.</p> <h2>Break It Up</h2> <p>Yes, it's more gratifying to have your entire house cleaned in one fell swoop. If you don't have that sort of time to devote, try breaking up the bigger parts over the course of a few days to a week. After doing an initial big clean, my family decided on a rough schedule to tackle tasks on the regular before things ever get too gunky.</p> <p>We clean the kitchen, tidy the living spaces, and clear out junk mail on the daily. We vacuum the floors and do the laundry and recycling every other day. Then once a week, the focus moves to the bathrooms, bedrooms, and trash collection. Things we do less often? Washing windows, deep cleaning floors, dusting everything, and wiping down furniture. Those tasks happen maybe once or twice a month. It's a system that works for us &mdash; and our house looks and feels fresh.</p> <p>How you break up everything will depend on what gets dirty the fastest and what's most important to you. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing?ref=seealso">25 Cheap and Easy Fixes That Make Your House Look Amazing</a>)</p> <h2>Move Things Around</h2> <p>Since a lot of these tips are general, I thought I'd share my biggest secret for getting your house as clean as the pros do. You need to move your stuff around and clean above, underneath, behind, etc. Dust and grime loves to accumulate in crevices and corners, so don't let it hide out for months or years at a time. The next time you set out to clean your spaces, pull that rug up and vacuum underneath or shift that love seat and find what's lurking in the darkness.</p> <p>Moving things around means moving your body, too. Stand on a chair or get on the floor to find those places you're missing, like the tops of your ceiling fan or your baseboards.</p> <p><em>Do you use a cleaning service? If you do it yourself, what's your biggest tip for getting your home sparkling clean on a budget?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-your-home-cleaner-than-a-pro-can-and-save-big">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-frugal-and-easy-ways-to-update-an-old-home">19 Frugal (And Easy) Ways to Update an Old Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ease-into-minimalism-with-some-simple-steps">Ease Into Minimalism With Some Simple Steps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-some-cash-with-these-6-clever-cleaning-hacks">Save Some Cash With These 6 Clever Cleaning Hacks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-properly-clean-these-14-kitchen-tools-and-appliances-naturally">How to Properly Clean These 14 Kitchen Tools and Appliances — Naturally</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Home budgeting cleaning house maid service tidying up Tue, 03 May 2016 09:00:10 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1698663 at http://www.wisebread.com How I Sold My House in 48 Hours http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-sold-my-house-in-48-hours <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-i-sold-my-house-in-48-hours" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000020578615.jpg" alt="Learning how to sell your house in 48 hours" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Selling your home can be a huge undertaking, and one that I was putting off for quite a while. Did I really want to sell my home? What if I didn't get my full asking price? I know I am not the only homeowner to worry about these issues right before they list their home for sale.</p> <p>You can imagine my surprise when my home had six viewings and three offers in less than 48 hours, even one offer at $2,000 over asking price without any cash back. It was easy to accept this offer, allowing me to sell my home in just two days.</p> <p>I didn't become a home-selling expert over the weekend, but there were five clear strategies I used that helped me sell my house faster.</p> <h2>Timing Is Important</h2> <p>My neighbor had a nicer and bigger floor plan than ours, but it took him several months to sell his house. Why did his house take so long to sell, even though we lived in the same desirable location and his house was equally as nice? He listed his house for sale right before Thanksgiving.</p> <p>Even if there are individuals who want to buy a home in the winter, their schedules (and agent's schedules) are most likely full due to all of the holiday busyness. At the end of the year, finances are tight and stress levels are already high.</p> <p>I listed my house in the middle of February, so still technically winter, but in my area, it already felt like spring. Also, many people had already filed their taxes and knew what their estimated refund was going to be. If you can list your home in spring, during or after of tax season, I think you will have a higher success rate of views and offers than any other season. Realtor.com agrees: &quot;Spring marks the beginning of the busiest home-selling and <a href="http://www.realtor.com/advice/is-spring-best-time-to-sell-a-house/">home-buying season</a> in most areas...with home buying peaking in June.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-your-home-isnt-selling?ref=seealso">7 Reasons Your Home Isn't Selling</a>)</p> <h2>Cut the Clutter</h2> <p>Since I have two young girls, I knew that I was going to have a hard time keeping the house ultra clean for showings. Since I was moving anyway, I decided to use the decluttering as preliminary packing. I ended up packing 10 boxes of items that I knew I would not need in the next month. As a result, I was able to keep the house tidy &mdash; even my biggest problem area, the office &mdash; and I had a jump start on packing when my house did sell.</p> <p>Potential homebuyers do not want to feel claustrophobic when they enter your home. They want to be able to envision the space as their own. So cut out all of the clutter in your office, on your kitchen and bathroom counters, and on the floor. Take down all of your personal photos and remove a piece of furniture from each room to make the space appear larger if you need to.</p> <h2>Neutralize the Decor</h2> <p>You might love the Italian decor in your kitchen, but a lot of buyers do not. When in doubt, go neutral. A brightly colored or odd-colored wall or set of cabinets is a quick turnoff to potential buyers. When I was looking for my new home, I can't tell you how many houses I quickly said no to because of a bright green wall or a full-sized mural. Considering that these houses sat on the market for several months, I know I am not the only buyer who felt that way.</p> <p>Yes, a wall color or cabinet color is a simple fix for potential buyers, but it would be even more beneficial for <em>you </em>to just fix the color. If one of your rooms is heavily themed, consider packing those items away before you list. It is not that your beach-themed bathroom is horrible, but it is hard to imagine a different decor style once a certain spot is heavily decorated in a certain theme.</p> <h2>Don't Forget to Use Your Nose</h2> <p>Have you ever walked into someone's home right after they made a smelly meal or maybe even got a good whiff of your own house when the garbage can was overflowing? The wrong smell can be overwhelming and leave a negative imprint on potential buyers. On the other hand, good smells can leave home shoppers with a positive outlook.</p> <p>I picked up three of the same vanilla candle and burned one in the kitchen and one in each bathroom. The smell was nice but not overwhelming. I suggest sticking with a warm vanilla scent or to bake a dessert before a showing. I know this might sound weird, but one house we looked at baked banana bread before we came. When we left the house, I think my husband, myself, and our agent thought even more highly of the house just because it smelled so good.</p> <p>You want appeal to as many senses as possible when showing your house. People might not credit the home's smell when they consider its positives, but the house will stick with them positively on a subconscious level because it appealed to their nose and eyes.</p> <h2>Light It Up</h2> <p>Finally, before taking photos or showing your home, open up all of the blinds and turn on all of the lights. Again, this appeals to potential buyers' senses. Looking at a dark house makes the space feel gloomier, dirtier, and just leaves a negative impression.</p> <p>Selling your house can be a lengthy process, but hopefully these five tricks will boost your showings and offers. Remember, exposure is extremely important too, so be sure your agent is listing your home on all of the popular realtor websites, their social media accounts, and even posting a virtual tour on YouTube. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-important-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-housing-market-in-2016?ref=seealso">6 Important Things You Need to Know About the Housing Market in 2016</a>)</p> <p><em>Have you had success with selling your home fast? What do you think was the driving factor for the fast sale?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-sold-my-house-in-48-hours">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-dumb-ways-to-scare-off-potential-homebuyers">10 Dumb Ways to Scare Off Potential Homebuyers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-tips-for-getting-your-security-deposit-back">20 Tips for Getting Your Security Deposit Back</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-most-expensive-zip-codes-in-the-country">10 Most Expensive Zip Codes in the Country</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-your-home-isnt-selling">7 Reasons Your Home Isn&#039;t Selling</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-famous-houses-from-film-and-tv-you-can-buy">7 Famous Houses From Film and TV You Can Buy</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing cleaning decorating tips housing market quick sale selling your house showing your house Mon, 11 Apr 2016 09:30:22 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1685085 at http://www.wisebread.com