organizing http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7022/all en-US 15 Smart Things You Can Do With Your Finances, Even if You're Broke http://www.wisebread.com/15-smart-things-you-can-do-with-your-finances-even-if-youre-broke <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-smart-things-you-can-do-with-your-finances-even-if-youre-broke" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggybank_in_middle_of_wooden_rectangles.jpg" alt="Piggy bank in middle of wooden rectangles" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you living paycheck to paycheck, unsure if you will have enough money to cover your bills every month? If so, it can seem nearly impossible to get ahead financially.</p> <p>But even if you're broke, you can focus on making small, smart money moves. By changing the way you handle your finances, you'll be able to prepare for an emergency, save for the future, and break the cycle of living paycheck to paycheck. Here are 15 smart things you can do with your finances, even if you're broke.</p> <h2>1. Pay your bills on time</h2> <p>No matter how broke you may be, failure to pay your bills on time is only going to make matters worse. Not only will this result in late fees or overdraft charges, but it also damages your credit score and could even cause your credit card's interest rate to increase.</p> <p>Typically, there are two reasons why people do not pay bills on time. One is that they don't have enough money, and the second reason is that they simply forget.</p> <p>If cash flow is your problem, you will need to figure out how you can lower your expenses while increasing your income. If disorganization causes you to miss bills, it's time to try out systems to better organize your finances. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-automate-your-finances?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Automate Your Finances</a>)</p> <h2>2. Start an emergency fund</h2> <p>An emergency fund can make or break your finances. Though experts say you should ideally have six months' to a year's worth of living expenses saved in an emergency fund, you don't have to let that amount overwhelm you. Even $500 can protect you from many financial emergencies.</p> <p>You can easily start an emergency fund by opening a new savings account that is specifically for emergencies. You can auto draft a few dollars out of your paycheck every pay period. This will automatically build your emergency fund without any additional effort on your part. Don't forget, these funds are only to be used in emergency situations, such as for a medical expense or car repair bill. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-life-is-amazing-with-an-emergency-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">11 Ways Life Is Amazing With an Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h2>3. Prioritize debt</h2> <p>Debt, especially high-interest debt, can completely derail your finances. And if you're broke, it can feel nearly impossible to make any progress in paying it off. If you're having problems even making the minimum payments, it's vital to speak with your lenders as soon as possible. They may be able to get you on a repayment plan that works for you.</p> <p>The more quickly you pay off debt, the less you will pay. Even if you are struggling financially, try to find small ways to slash your budget and earn more income in order to put more money toward debt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-first-steps-to-paying-off-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Easy First Steps to Paying Off Debt</a>)</p> <h2>4. Start small with investing</h2> <p>I know, I know; when money is tight, the last thing you think you should do is siphon off money for investments. But investing even a few dollars now can change your financial future for the better. Start small. If your employer offers a match when you contribute to the 401(k) plan, aim to contribute at least enough to receive the full match. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-should-know-about-your-401k-match?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Things You Should Know About Your 401(k) Match</a>)</p> <h2>5. Automate your finances</h2> <p>Automating your finances is an easy way to ensure all your bills are paid and you meet all of your savings goals. You can set up autopay for most bills. Some companies, or even student loan servicers, offer a small discount if you sign up for autopay, so it is certainly worth considering.</p> <p>Keep in mind, it's a good idea to still thoroughly look over every bill even if it is on autopay. You will want to ensure that you're being billed accurately. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-autopay?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Pros and Cons of Autopay</a>)</p> <h2>6. Find a better bank</h2> <p>Most people find a bank and stick with it. But what if you could earn more money simply by switching your financial institution?</p> <p>When searching for a bank, there is a lot to consider. Everyone has different personal preferences, so it's important to find a bank that works for you. For instance, do you prefer to go into a physical branch? If so, you should make sure there are locations convenient for you. Are interest rates important to you? Shop around for the best deals. Do you frequent ATMs? Find a bank that offers plenty of in-network ATMs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/switch-to-a-better-bank-in-5-easy-steps?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Switch to a Better Bank in 5 Easy Steps</a>)</p> <h2>7. Live frugally</h2> <p>Living frugally doesn't mean you have to be cheap. You can practice frugality by simply making a few small lifestyle changes.</p> <p>Cook at home instead of eating out. Turn off the lights when you leave a room. Cut back on expensive hobbies and events. You don't have to cut everything out entirely, but by making a few frugal choices, you can save significant money every single month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-6-rules-of-frugal-living-you-need-to-know?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Only 6 Rules of Frugal Living You Need to Know</a>)</p> <h2>8. Track your spending</h2> <p>When you're broke, every cent counts. The most valuable tool at your disposal is a budget. In order to start a budget, you will need to track all of your spending. Where does your money actually go? You might be surprised.</p> <p>Luckily, tracking your spending doesn't have to be an arduous task. There are plenty of apps that will automatically track your spending for you and provide analytics about your budget. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-apps-will-help-you-finally-organize-your-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">These 5 Apps Will Help You Finally Organize Your Money</a>)</p> <h2>9. Cut out expenses entirely</h2> <p>While you're tracking your spending, you are likely to find expenses that you didn't even know you had. What could you cut out?</p> <p>Things like cable TV, magazine subscriptions, or cleaning services might be nice, but they aren't necessary, especially if you're struggling to make ends meet. Cut these expenses out entirely and you may be able to free up a few hundred dollars in your budget every month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-spending-too-much-on-normal-expenses?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Are You Spending Too Much on &quot;Normal&quot; Expenses?</a>)</p> <h2>10. Communicate with your family</h2> <p>Communication is key to financial success. You'll find it very difficult, if not impossible, to succeed financially if your family is not on board. Talk to your family and friends about your financial goals. Make goals together, so that everyone is on the same page. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-talk-to-friends-and-family-about-money-without-making-everyone-mad?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Talk to Friends and Family About Money (Without Making Everyone Mad)</a>)</p> <h2>11. Get organized</h2> <p>Organization can greatly improve your finances, and it costs almost nothing to be organized.</p> <p>Figure out systems that work for you. How will you track your income? Expenses? Net worth? How will you budget? Make sure all your bills get paid on time? Save money?</p> <p>You can organize your finances by setting aside as little as one hour per week. Use that hour to update your numbers, check in with your financial goals, and communicate with your family. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-quick-tips-for-organizing-your-finances?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Quick Tips for Organizing Your Finances</a>)</p> <h2>12. Prioritize your financial goals</h2> <p>If you're saving for an emergency, socking away retirement funds, paying off credit card debt, sending your kids to college, and plugging away at your mortgage, it can be nearly impossible to hit all of your financial goals at once. Achieving your personal finance goals requires prioritization.</p> <p>Determine what goal is most important to you right now. Maybe your initial goal is to simply organize your finances, and then focus on paying off credit card debt. Once you set a focus, you'll feel less overwhelmed and you'll be better able to make discernible progress (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-money-milestones-anyone-can-hit?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Simple Money Milestones Anyone Can Hit</a>)</p> <h2>13. Avoid unnecessary fees</h2> <p>Fees are typically penalties for small financial blunders, but they can add up quickly. For example, say you miss one bill because you didn't have enough money to cover it. That biller could charge you a late payment fee, plus you could receive an overdraft fee from your bank. One late bill could cost you an additional $50 or more in fees.</p> <p>If you have a couple of these a month, you'll find it hard to ever get ahead financially. By budgeting hard for a few months and building enough of a buffer in your checking account, you'll be able to prevent unnecessary fees.</p> <h2>14. Increase your income</h2> <p>Increasing your income is one of the best things you can do for your financial situation. Unfortunately, many people don't think they have control over their income. They might believe that their income is at the sole discretion of the organization they work for.</p> <p>That's not true. While your boss probably has the final say over your pay, you can always work to earn income outside of your 9-to-5. Whether you start freelancing, baby-sitting, or working a part-time job, there's no shortage of ways to earn extra cash. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-best-side-jobs-for-fast-cash?ref=seealso" target="_blank">14 Best Side Jobs For Fast Cash</a>)</p> <h2>15. Have fun</h2> <p>Remember, you won't be successful for long if you don't allow yourself to have some fun along the way. Prioritize the things that are important to you, even if they cost money.</p> <p>Of course, you'll have to make many sacrifices, but by treating yourself every once in awhile, you will be better able to sustain your new financial lifestyle for the long haul. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/yes-you-need-fun-money-in-your-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Yes, You Need &quot;Fun Money&quot; in Your Budget</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F15-smart-things-you-can-do-with-your-finances-even-if-youre-broke&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F15%2520Smart%2520Things%2520You%2520Can%2520Do%2520With%2520Your%2520Finances%252C%2520Even%2520if%2520Youre%2520Broke.jpg&amp;description=15%20Smart%20Things%20You%20Can%20Do%20With%20Your%20Finances%2C%20Even%20if%20Youre%20Broke"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/15%20Smart%20Things%20You%20Can%20Do%20With%20Your%20Finances%2C%20Even%20if%20Youre%20Broke.jpg" alt="15 Smart Things You Can Do With Your Finances, Even if You're Broke" 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/rachel-slifka">Rachel Slifka</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-smart-things-you-can-do-with-your-finances-even-if-youre-broke">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/7-money-moves-every-new-college-student-should-make">7 Money Moves Every New College Student Should Make</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/7-easy-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund-from-0">7 Easy Ways to Build an Emergency Fund From $0</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/8-factors-that-could-keep-you-broke-forever">8 Factors That Could Keep You Broke Forever</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-signs-youre-making-all-the-right-money-moves">6 Signs You&#039;re Making All the Right Money Moves</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/5-ways-your-money-is-being-a-jerk-and-how-to-fight-back">5 Ways Your Money Is Being a Jerk (And How to Fight Back)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living automating bills broke emergency funds investing money moves organizing paycheck to paycheck savings Tue, 20 Feb 2018 09:00:06 +0000 Rachel Slifka 2098610 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Sell Your House Despite Your Messy Kids http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-house-despite-your-messy-kids <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-sell-your-house-despite-your-messy-kids" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/curly_little_boy_playing_with_toy_cars.jpg" alt="Curly little boy playing with toy cars" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It takes a lot of moving parts to sell a home, and it can be frustrating when one or more of those moving parts just won&rsquo;t sit still. I&rsquo;m talking about kids. Kids who, despite your best efforts to present your home in its optimal condition, don&rsquo;t give a good gosh-darn that Mommy and Daddy are trying to make a sale.</p> <p>But there&rsquo;s still hope. As the old saying goes, if you can&rsquo;t beat &rsquo;em (and you definitely cannot), join &rsquo;em &mdash; with these helpful tips on how to sell your house despite your messy kids.</p> <h2>Conduct a purge before the house goes on the market</h2> <p>Your house is for sale, which means you&rsquo;re probably moving soon. Now is the best time to cut your clutter so you don&rsquo;t have to drag all that junk from one house to another. Set a week aside to organize your purge, then pack up and ship out whatever you don&rsquo;t want or need anymore.</p> <p>&ldquo;We end up with a lot of baggage over the course of our lives, and while a lot of these items have sentimental value, that's about the only thing they're worth,&rdquo; says Texas realtor Abigail Vytlacil. &ldquo;Donate what you can, toss what you can't. Then, pare your home's contents down even more by storing anything and everything that isn't being used. Surfboards, bikes, winter clothes, baseball uniforms and equipment, golf clubs &mdash; get as much as you can out of the way, out of the house, as possible.&rdquo; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-16-favorite-ways-to-get-rid-of-clutter?ref=seealso" target="_blank">My 16 Favorite Ways to Get Rid of Clutter</a>)</p> <h2>Have the house professionally cleaned</h2> <p>Kids or not, a well lived in home has years of dust and dirt buildup in the corners and hard to reach places. A deep clean will give that extra sparkle to impress buyers. While it is more expensive to hire a professional cleaning service than doing it yourself, it&rsquo;s better. It&rsquo;s hassle-free for you, and you can take the little ones out for the day while the service works their magic. You'll get to spend quality time with your kids instead of screaming at the little buggers because they keep tracking mud across the floor you&rsquo;ve freshly mopped.</p> <p>At the same time, have the carpets cleaned. Removing stains and odors from the carpets is just as important as anything else you&rsquo;ll beautify in the house to make a good impression.</p> <h2>Touch up or repaint the walls and doors in high-traffic areas</h2> <p>A little paint goes a long way to freshen up walls, doors, and baseboards that have encountered your children and pets over the years. You may not even notice how grimy these areas have become, but get up close and you&rsquo;ll agree that they need tending to. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-paint-colors-that-can-boost-your-homes-value?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Paint Colors That Can Boost Your Home's Value</a>)</p> <h2>Organize cabinets and closets</h2> <p>Buyers will absolutely want to look in your cabinets and closets to get a good idea of what kind of space they have to work with. So, take the time to tidy these areas up. Fold and organize the clothing in the closets (a good time to eliminate clutter here, too; donate whatever your kids haven&rsquo;t worn in awhile or items that no longer fit), and get rid of any expired foods and open bags/containers in the pantry. Streamline the contents of your kitchen cabinets &mdash; toss dishes you don&rsquo;t use or that your kids have outgrown &mdash; to make the shelves more aesthetically appealing at quick glance.</p> <h2>Concentrate on areas to clean based on the type of buyer</h2> <p>If the potential buyers stopping by for a showing are not parents, concentrate on cleaning up the areas that have your kids&rsquo; proverbial handiwork all over them. These buyers want to know what the house will look and feel like for them, not a family of four. Likewise, if you&rsquo;re showing to parents, focus more on the family gathering places that will be most important to them.</p> <p>&ldquo;If something is going to be messy, let it be the children's actual rooms that are messy,&rdquo; adds Michigan-based real estate broker Jon Boyd. &ldquo;I've never had buyers not buy a home because of the condition of the children's bedrooms. However, if there is junk or clutter in the kitchen, bathrooms, dining areas, and living areas, it is going to be a challenge.&rdquo;</p> <h2>Draw buyers&rsquo; attention away from problem areas</h2> <p>Open your blinds and curtains to let in the sunshine; many buyers are attracted to how well a home receives natural light, and that may distract them from your kids&rsquo; belongings lying around. Create focal points in the least attractive rooms using art, flowers, or mirrors, the latter of which can also help seemingly expand the space through optical illusion. Whatever works. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-stage-your-home-without-hiring-a-pro?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways to Stage Your Home Without Hiring a Pro</a>)</p> <h2>Offer incentives to your kids for keeping their rooms clean</h2> <p>Yes, I&rsquo;m telling you to bribe your children. Increase their allowance for helping you keep the house extra tidy. The end result will pay off much bigger than the extra few bucks you&rsquo;re shelling out per week to keep your kids in line.</p> <h2>Keep the kids&rsquo; rooms brightly lit</h2> <p>If you don&rsquo;t have a magic wand to send all your kids&rsquo; bedroom junk back under the bed, use a light bulb.</p> <p>&ldquo;Make sure the light switch near the door works in the kid's bedrooms, and make sure it is a reasonably bright bulb,&quot; Boyd suggests. &ldquo;A well lit but messy bedroom won't stop a motivated buyer, but a poorly lit messy bedroom might give them second thoughts.&rdquo;</p> <h2>Use totes to pick up and store clutter in a flash</h2> <p>If you&rsquo;re short on time before a showing and everything your kids own is spread across your house, use totes to quickly gather up the mess and toss them in the garage, basement, or attic. This smarty-pants tip is courtesy of realtor Denise Supplee, co-founder and operations director of Spark Rental.</p> <p>&ldquo;I tell clients to purchase a bunch of non-see-through totes,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;Keep them on hand. Have your agent provide you a heads-up of showings of an hour or so. Take everything that is on the floor, tables, beds, and throw it in the totes. Stack them neatly. People will expect to see them because you are moving.&rdquo;</p> <h2>Set specific times for showings so you can always prepare in advance</h2> <p>You&rsquo;ll have a better chance of keeping the familial chaos under control if you discuss with your realtor a set schedule for showings, with available times on weekdays and weekends. If you know that there will be showings on Sundays from noon to 2 p.m. and Wednesdays from 6 to 7 p.m., for example, you can plan ahead and stay prepared.</p> <h2>Enlist help to get the kids out of the house</h2> <p>It&rsquo;s difficult to get the joint spick-and-span when your kids are coming right behind you to mess up what you&rsquo;ve done. Why not pawn them off on their grandparents or a favorite aunt or uncle for the afternoon? They&rsquo;ll get to spend time with someone they enjoy (and probably enjoy being a little spoiled), and you can focus on your long list of showing-prep to-dos.</p> <h2>Create a &quot;buyer&rsquo;s book&quot; to showcase what you love about your home</h2> <p>If you don&rsquo;t have time to douse the house in bleach or make it look like the maid just left, fortify your efforts with a book of photos of your home looking its best &mdash; including before and after pictures if you&rsquo;ve made any improvements &mdash; to help buyers see the home&rsquo;s full potential.</p> <p>&ldquo;Add a little extra to your showings by creating a listing binder or 'buyer's book' that showcases why you've loved the home, what it's like living in the area, things your family likes to do, and other pertinent information to a new homeowner like average utilities, association dues, and anything else that would help them make an informed decision faster,&rdquo; says Vytlacil. &ldquo;It may seem trivial, but you'd be surprised at how much these little touches affect a prospective buyer.&rdquo;</p> <h2>Let your family come and go using one door</h2> <p>You&rsquo;ll reduce your cleaning workload substantially if you restrict your family&rsquo;s access to the home to one entrance while it&rsquo;s on the market. Fewer paths of entry equates to less dirt and outside gunk tracked into your home from multiple directions.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-sell-your-house-despite-your-messy-kids&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Sell%2520Your%2520House%2520Despite%2520Your%2520Messy%2520Kids.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Sell%20Your%20House%20Despite%20Your%20Messy%20Kids"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Sell%20Your%20House%20Despite%20Your%20Messy%20Kids.jpg" alt="How to Sell Your House Despite Your Messy Kids" 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/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-house-despite-your-messy-kids">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/8-ways-to-stage-your-home-without-hiring-a-pro">8 Ways to Stage Your Home Without Hiring a Pro</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/8-easy-ways-to-keep-your-family-organized">8 Easy Ways to Keep Your Family Organized</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/7-money-lessons-kids-can-learn-from-the-tooth-fairy">7 Money Lessons Kids Can Learn From the Tooth Fairy</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-fun-games-that-teach-your-kids-about-money">6 Fun Games That Teach Your Kids About Money</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/should-you-make-your-young-kids-pay-rent">Should You Make Your Young Kids Pay &quot;Rent?&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Real Estate and Housing children cleaning clutter homeowners kids messy organizing painting selling a home strategies Wed, 20 Dec 2017 09:30:09 +0000 Mikey Rox 2073560 at http://www.wisebread.com Why Holding Onto Too Much Stuff Is a Burden for Your Loved Ones http://www.wisebread.com/why-holding-onto-too-much-stuff-is-a-burden-for-your-loved-ones <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-holding-onto-too-much-stuff-is-a-burden-for-your-loved-ones" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/over_head_view_of_collectables.jpg" alt="Over Head View of Collectibles" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>My father-in-law passed away in February. The morning after his passing, my mother-in-law went into downsizing mode. She wanted all of her dearly departed husband's things out of her home. In her words, &quot;These things are making me too sad. I don't want to live inside an altar. I have 60 years of good memories of him. That's all I need.&quot;</p> <p>Since my in-laws already lived pretty light in a small, one-bedroom apartment, my family initially thought that downsizing such a small space would be an easy task. We were so wrong. Finding new homes for all of my father-in-law's things turned into a two weeklong, full-time job for two people.</p> <p>Here are the lessons we learned, and why we should all consider downsizing before we go, so that our heirs don't have to. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-decide-what-to-keep-when-downsizing?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Decide What to Keep When Downsizing</a>)</p> <h2>Not everything is an heirloom</h2> <p>With the exception of some midcentury furniture, the family's six children and eight grandchildren did not want most of my father-in-law's belongings. This lack of interest is partially because my in-laws had already parceled out a lot of the &quot;heirlooms&quot; to the family during previous house moves, but mainly it's because all six of the kids and all the adult grandchildren already have houses full of things. They don't need another bookcase, kitchen table, or toaster oven. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-to-ask-yourself-to-help-you-declutter?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Declutter</a>)</p> <h2>Not everything old is valuable</h2> <p>Many of the hottest collectibles of the 20th Century, including Hummel figurines, Depression glass, Roseville pottery, comic books, baseball cards, lunchboxes, vintage denim, Happy Meal toys, and, of course, Beanie Babies, are worth just a fraction of their former values in the 21st Century.</p> <p>If your Hummel clown collection is your pride and joy, by all means, enjoy it. But if you are hoarding porcelain figurines so you can gift a clown portfolio to an unsuspecting relative with the belief that it will be a life-changing windfall, it might be better for everyone involved if you know the market value of each piece on eBay.</p> <p>I own a rhinestone brooch that has value because Lucille Ball was its original owner. If the brooch didn't have this famous provenance, it would be worth next to nothing. If I kick it tomorrow, my husband knows not to sell it at a garage sale.</p> <p>Get your valuables appraised and let your loved ones know of any back story with a particular &quot;priceless&quot; item. Don't forget about getting valuations for guns, record albums, and cameras.</p> <h2>Forced minimalism is a growing trend</h2> <p>Due to skyrocketing housing prices in many of the hottest job markets, people have to live in smaller places than ever before. This means that even people who don't enjoy the minimalist aesthetic live more minimally than earlier generations. My sister-in-law doesn't want any of her parent's things because she is in the middle of downsizing her own belongings. Your children might love your style, but they won't be able to fit the contents of your 2000 square foot ranch house into their 400 square foot apartment. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ease-into-minimalism-with-some-simple-steps?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Ease Into Minimalism With Some Simple Steps</a>)</p> <h2>Thrift stores are at capacity</h2> <p>When my parents downsized 20 years ago, they made one call to their local resale store. The store owner showed up at my parent's house with a truck, loaded up all their old furniture, and wrote them a check on the spot. Sadly, this kind of one-stop un-furnishing no longer exists. Because two generations of people are downsizing simultaneously, thrift stores are crammed with merchandise. Even big charity shops are now placing limits on how much you can donate at one time.</p> <p>The main reason why it took us two weeks to divest my father-in-law's things is because we had to do a lot of legwork in order to find charities that would take donations.</p> <h2>Garage sales and curbing can be risky</h2> <p>I supported myself for two years by trash picking furniture from the curb and reselling it at garage sales. Unfortunately, there are laws that thwart this type of industry in many communities. Pro Tip: To avoid hefty fines, check with your local government before curbing possessions or hanging up garage sale signs.</p> <p>If she didn't live in a swanky resort town, my mother-in-law could have simply dragged everything she didn't want out to the curb and left it for the taking, but her community has strict rules against dumping.</p> <p>Another obstacle that slowed the downsizing process: my mother-in-law lives in an assisted living facility. So, alas, she lacks a public space she could use to have a garage sale. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-garage-sale-items-that-sell-like-hotcakes?ref=seealso" target="_blank">12 Garage Sale Items That Sell Like Hotcakes</a>)</p> <h2>You don't need &quot;things&quot; to tell your story</h2> <p>Americans are especially good at using our possessions to tell our life stories, which explains our voracious appetite for vacation souvenirs, baseball bobblehead giveaways, and status purchases. Because we often use mementos as physical manifestations of our best memories, we tend to tremendously overvalue our things. Alas, sentimental value is subjective.</p> <p>In a way, my mother-in-law lucked out. Her home is full of nice things, so she got tremendous satisfaction out of the fact that we were ultimately able to find a home for pretty much everything she didn't want to keep. What she didn't get was cash. Shelves of books and DVDs were welcomed by her public library as donations, but worth next to nothing on half.com. My father-in-law shopped in the husky department, so all his gently used, retired rocket scientist clothes weren't sellable to consignment stores, but were snapped up by the local homeless shelter. With the advent of flat-screen TVs, the armoire they used as a TV cabinet languished on Craigslist before a neighbor took it off our hands to use as tool storage in his garage.</p> <p>The lack of income didn't bother my mother-in-law one bit. Fortunately, she doesn't need the money. More importantly, she just wanted the stuff out of her house and into the hands of people who would enjoy it. She had no expectation that the family would absorb her husband's old possessions into their own homes. Because she made no assumption that her old belongings would have great monetary or sentimental value to anyone else, her downsizing story ended with everyone happy. She was able to achieve her goal, and her family was able to help her achieve it.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhy-holding-onto-too-much-stuff-is-a-burden-for-your-loved-ones&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhy%2520Holding%2520Onto%2520Too%2520Much%2520Stuff%2520Is%2520a%2520Burden%2520for%2520Your%2520Loved%2520Ones.jpg&amp;description=Why%20Holding%20Onto%20Too%20Much%20Stuff%20Is%20a%20Burden%20for%20Your%20Loved%20Ones"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Why%20Holding%20Onto%20Too%20Much%20Stuff%20Is%20a%20Burden%20for%20Your%20Loved%20Ones.jpg" alt="Why Holding Onto Too Much Stuff Is a Burden for Your Loved Ones" 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/why-holding-onto-too-much-stuff-is-a-burden-for-your-loved-ones">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/7-things-you-can-downsize-right-now">7 Things You Can Downsize Right Now</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-to-decide-what-to-keep-when-downsizing">How to Decide What to Keep When Downsizing</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/12-garage-sale-items-that-sell-like-hotcakes">12 Garage Sale Items That Sell Like Hotcakes</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/25-things-to-throw-out-today">25 Things to Throw Out Today</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-reasons-to-get-spring-cleaning-done-during-winter">7 Reasons to Get Spring Cleaning Done During Winter</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Organization cleaning declutter decluttering tips downsize organizing swedish death cleaning Tue, 24 Oct 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Max Wong 2040660 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Moves You Should Make Now for Your 2018 Taxes http://www.wisebread.com/6-moves-you-should-make-now-for-your-2018-taxes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-moves-you-should-make-now-for-your-2018-taxes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businesswoman_accounting_at_office.jpg" alt="Businesswoman accounting at office" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Fall is full of wonderful things: pumpkin lattes, crisp autumn air, changing leaves, and tax preparation. OK, tax preparation may not hold the same wonder as fall flavors and vibrant foliage, but this is a critical time to get your financial house in order before the end of the year. In particular, here are six easy tax tasks to take care of before we enter 2018.</p> <h2>1. Re-evaluate your withholding</h2> <p>Did the size of your family change this year? If it did, contact your human resources department to update your withholding so that you aren't overpaying or underpaying your taxes throughout the year.</p> <h2>2. Compare your life situation this year versus last year</h2> <p>Get out your 2016 tax return and consider any changes that have happened in your life since you filed your taxes for that year. Did you move to a new county, city, or state? Did your marital status change, and you'll now be filing jointly? Did you switch jobs or take on some freelance work? All of these changes can impact your tax filing, particularly if you itemize your expenses.</p> <p>For example, let's say you moved to a new city this year and now work full-time from home. You'll want to have any job search expenses, home office and work-related expenses, and any moving costs detailed and organized before you visit your accountant or start the preparation and filing process yourself. All of these costs are potentially deductible on your taxes if you have well-organized records of them.</p> <p>If you moved this year, make sure your employer(s) (full-time and freelance) from 2017 have your updated address so that you get your W-2 forms without delay.</p> <h2>3. Max out your retirement contributions</h2> <p>Are you maxing out contributions to your 401(k), 403(b), and/or IRA accounts? If not, could you afford to increase your contributions to meet or get closer to the max for the year? You can contribute up to a maximum of $18,000 (plus an additional $6,000 if over age 50) to your 401(k) or 403(b) for 2017 until December 31. IRAs give you more flexibility with your 2017 contributions &mdash; you can contribute right up until you file your 2017 taxes or Tuesday, April 17, 2018, whichever comes first. You can contribute up to $5,500 per year to an IRA (or $6,500 if over age 50).</p> <h2>4. Make your freelance income work for your retirement</h2> <p>Do you do freelance work? You still have time to set up and contribute to a retirement account that will have tax benefits for the 2017 tax year. In particular, look into opening a Simplified Employee Pension Individual Retirement Arrangement (SEP IRA) account. SEP IRA accounts are specialty retirement accounts that were created for the advantage of business owners and their employees. This applies to you if you're a freelancer.</p> <p>These accounts can be opened and funded independently from any other retirement accounts you have, such as traditional and Roth IRAs as well as 401(k) and 403(b) accounts from employers. Like other IRAs, you have until you file your 2017 taxes or Tuesday, April 17, 2018, whichever comes first, to set up and fund an SEP IRA for 2017. For 2017, contributions to an SEP IRA cannot exceed the lesser of 25 percent of your compensation or $54,000.</p> <h2>5. Prepare your deduction receipts</h2> <p>This is a task I always leave right until the end, but this year I'm trying to get ahead of the game. I itemize my taxes each year and have to keep track of all of my receipts to make sure I itemize properly.</p> <p>Rather than letting my receipts stack up over the year, I've been tracking them in a spreadsheet each month to make my tax filing quicker and easier. Don't forget about any job-hunting expenses, either: Make sure to take special note of those expenses related to job searching, as they will be itemized in their own category.</p> <h2>6. Consider homeownership changes</h2> <p>Did you buy or sell a home in 2017? This change has huge implications on your taxes. Make sure you have all of your home purchase or sale paperwork organized so that you can account for it appropriately in your filing.</p> <p>Fall offers us a slight pause before the rush of the holiday season that ushers us into the new year. Take a little time now to get a head start on tax preparations, and your future self will thank you!</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-moves-you-should-make-now-for-your-2018-taxes&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Moves%2520You%2520Should%2520Make%2520Now%2520for%2520Your%25202018%2520Taxes.jpg&amp;description=6%20Moves%20You%20Should%20Make%20Now%20for%20Your%202018%20Taxes"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Moves%20You%20Should%20Make%20Now%20for%20Your%202018%20Taxes.jpg" alt="6 Moves You Should Make Now for Your 2018 Taxes" width="250" height="374" />&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-moves-you-should-make-now-for-your-2018-taxes">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/are-you-withholding-the-right-amount-of-taxes-from-your-paycheck">Are You Withholding the Right Amount of Taxes from Your Paycheck?</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-to-budget-consistently-without-a-steady-paycheck">How to Budget Consistently Without a Steady Paycheck</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/5-tax-mistakes-freelancers-need-to-stop-making">5 Tax Mistakes Freelancers Need to Stop Making</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/self-employed-heres-how-to-get-your-apartment-application-approved">Self-Employed? Here&#039;s How to Get Your Apartment Application Approved</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/five-easy-steps-to-keeping-track-of-expenses-for-the-self-employed">Five Easy Steps to Keeping Track of Expenses for the Self-Employed</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes freelance homeownership itemized deductions organizing paychecks receipts retirement contributions self employment withholding Thu, 19 Oct 2017 08:00:07 +0000 Christa Avampato 2038829 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Decide What to Keep When Downsizing http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-decide-what-to-keep-when-downsizing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-decide-what-to-keep-when-downsizing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_moving_boxes_494760324.jpg" alt="Woman deciding what to keep when downsizing" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Having trouble downsizing? You're not alone. Many of us are attached to our <em>things</em>, and that can cause anxiety when it's time to clear out the clutter. But when you start looking at your possessions practically &mdash; do they all serve a real purpose? &mdash; you'll have a better idea of what stays and what should go. Here are a few suggestions for the former. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-mantras-to-sharpen-your-resolve-to-downsize-and-declutter?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Mantras to Sharpen Your Resolve to Downsize and Declutter</a>)</p> <h2>1. Photos</h2> <p>My home is filled with lots of photos because I enjoy having those memories visible at all times. Of course, the other upside to keeping your pictures when downsizing is that they barely take up any space. The framed photos do, of course, but frameless photos hardly require any real estate in your home. In fact, I have hundreds of pictures in an old shoe box that go back more than 20 years. And that's all I'll ever need for real-world photo storage, especially nowadays.</p> <p>If you want to preserve your photos even further and eliminate the shoe box or album altogether (because there is a chance it could get lost or destroyed, especially if stored in a basement or attic), scan everything into your computer. If you feel the task is a bit more than you're willing to take on, consider sending the hard copies off to a professional photo-scanning operation &mdash; there are plenty of options online at various price points &mdash; that will take on the grunt work for you and send back a flash drive or DVD of your digitized photos. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-smart-ways-to-organize-old-photos?ref=seealso" target="_blank">12 Smart Ways to Organize Old Photos</a>)</p> <h2>2. Clothing</h2> <p>Twice a year I go through my closets to edit my wardrobe. Anything I haven't worn in a year gets the boot along with items that look worn, torn, or otherwise out of style. I know I keep way more than I should, but dressing nicely is important to me, so I justify the abundance that I have because it makes me happy.</p> <p>If you're not emotionally attached to your clothing, but still have too much of it, start thinking about the items as <em>function </em>and not <em>fashion</em>. Start with a base of two weeks' worth of clothes &mdash; pieces that are good for work, weekends, and leisure time. That includes undergarments, pants, shirts, and other daily pieces. I'd suggest this strategy for all four seasons so you have items that will carry you through the entire year and whenever you travel.</p> <p>Next, focus on the specialty items &mdash; like your wedding, funeral attire, and suits for business meetings. Keep one outfit for each and eliminate the rest. You need a couple pairs of shoes, too &mdash; ideally dress shoes, sneakers, and a pair of boots. Once you set all that aside, revisit your closet and pick a couple pieces you really love and resolve to part with the rest. You can hand them down to family members (all my excess goes to my nephew), sell the in-great-condition items on Swap.com (I've made over $100 in the past two months), or donate to charity, preferably a local mission that outfits the homeless or low-income job seekers.</p> <h2>3. Important documents</h2> <p>Certain documents, such as tax records, should be kept for seven years. Others should be kept forever, including marriage licenses, deeds to your home(s), military documents, birth certificates, passports, life insurance policies, immigration records, and more. Consult our list of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clear-out-financial-clutter?ref=seealso" target="_blank">important documents to keep</a>, if you're not sure.</p> <p>To ensure their safety, consider scanning documents that aren't already in digital format and save them in two separate but secure locations, one of which should be an external hard drive that you keep hidden or locked in a safe. The other could be a flash drive in another location &mdash; neither should be internet accessible. Failing to secure these items could result in you becoming the victim of identity theft, like the 13.1 million Americans who lost $15 billion to identity thieves in 2015.</p> <p>Shred any other documents that contain your personal information, as some identity thieves will go through people's trash looking for data found on important papers. Use at least a crosscut shredder, which is more secure than a standard strip-cut shredder. A micro-cut shredder provides the highest level of security.</p> <h2>4. One item from your collection(s)</h2> <p>I won't get on you about how whatever you're collecting is probably costly with no real return on investment, and how all it does is take up space in your home while providing a place for the dust bunnies to live. No, I won't do that, because I'm guilty of the same thing. I have just one collection &mdash; Pez dispensers &mdash; that I've been adding to for the past two decades, but all the toys do is sit in a trunk in my basement. I know I should get rid of them, but it's hard to part with something that makes me smile. Seeing as how they have a home in the basement and I'm not currently downsizing, I think I'll keep them around a while longer. When I do decide to sell them off, I'll keep just one set &mdash; <em>Tom &amp; Jerry</em> characters I picked up in Spain in the mid-90s. Those are my favorites.</p> <h2>5. Practical furniture</h2> <p>You need three major pieces of furniture, essentially: a bed to sleep in, a couch or chair in your living room, and a table at which to sit and eat. If you need to downsize even those items, it can be done easily by choosing smaller versions of whatever you have now. What you absolutely don't need is furniture that doesn't have a function, like the desk in the office you never use or that formal dining table that no one ever dines at.</p> <h2>6. Necessary tools</h2> <p>If you work with a lot of tools, edit your collection at your discretion. But if you're like the rest of us and reach for a hammer or a screwdriver a couple times of year, sell off the rest of the stash that you purchased for one-time projects. Saws, benches, landscaping gadgets, and more have to go if all they're doing is taking up space in your shed or basement.</p> <p>If you're in a giving mood, hand them down to younger family members, newlyweds, or someone you know who's just starting out in life. Otherwise, tools have great resale value; try Craigslist or the letgo app to recoup some of your costs if you prefer to make a buck instead of giving the lot away for free. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-household-tools-every-frugal-homeowner-should-own?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Household Tools Every Frugal Homeowner Should Own</a>)</p> <h2>7. Your &quot;good&quot; dishes</h2> <p>One of my biggest pet peeves is opening a cabinet full of mismatched, random dishes. You'll recognize this symptom of my OCD in my own home, where every dish is white, evenly numbered, and aligned perfectly in my cabinets. You'll understand what I'm talking about when you purge your kitchen of dishes you don't need and pare down to only the good stuff. The ones you bring out for company. Because life's too short to save those for holidays while you eat off cheap plastic plates the rest of the year.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-decide-what-to-keep-when-downsizing&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Decide%2520What%2520to%2520Keep%2520When%2520Downsizing.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Decide%20What%20to%20Keep%20When%20Downsizing"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Decide%20What%20to%20Keep%20When%20Downsizing.jpg" alt="How to Decide What to Keep When Downsizing" 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/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-decide-what-to-keep-when-downsizing">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/10-smart-ways-to-keep-your-entire-life-clutter-free">10 Smart Ways to Keep Your Entire Life Clutter-Free</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/12-garage-sale-items-that-sell-like-hotcakes">12 Garage Sale Items That Sell Like Hotcakes</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/why-holding-onto-too-much-stuff-is-a-burden-for-your-loved-ones">Why Holding Onto Too Much Stuff Is a Burden for Your Loved Ones</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-spring-clean-your-whole-life-one-step-at-a-time">How to Spring Clean Your Whole Life — One Step at a Time</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Organization cleaning clear the clutter declutter downsizing keepsakes minimalist organize your life organizing Thu, 04 May 2017 08:30:09 +0000 Mikey Rox 1939974 at http://www.wisebread.com My 2016 Budget Challenge: Three Lessons About Saving One Husband Learned in a Year http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-three-lessons-about-saving-one-husband-learned-in-a-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/my-2016-budget-challenge-three-lessons-about-saving-one-husband-learned-in-a-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_paying_bills_506247566.jpg" alt="Husband learning savings lessons in a year" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>[Editor's Note: This is another episode in Max Wong's journey to find an extra $31,000 this year. Read the whole series </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/max-wongs-budget-0" target="_blank"><em>here</em></a><em>.]</em></p> <p>Oh. My. <em>God</em>. Mr. Spendypants has been pretending not to read my Wise Bread articles all this time. How do I know this? It's only recently that he's become suspiciously competitive with me about my monthly savings. &quot;I'm putting $1,000 a month into savings. How much are you saving?&quot; And, just this morning he demanded, &quot;Why isn't my name Mr. Saveypants?&quot;</p> <p>He is so busted.</p> <p>To be fair to my husband, who had no clue what he was signing onto when I told him I was going to publicly out our personal finances to the world for 12 straight months with this series, he's been an excellent student of thrift this year.</p> <p>Here are some of the big lessons that he's learned.</p> <h2>Stock Up on Basics When They Go on Sale</h2> <p>At the beginning of the year, I bought 33 pounds of Plugra, a fancy French butter, on sale. At $2 per pound it was cheaper than buying the generic store brand. Although Mr. Spendypants has been enjoying a superior butter experience all year long, he's feigned annoyance at how much freezer space is taken up by my Plugra stash. He uses this as an example of my minimalist hypocrisy. After all, how can anyone who complains about clutter as much as I do think bulk purchasing is an acceptable idea?</p> <p>But recently, Mr. Spendypants had a change of heart. Earlier this month, we were in Whole Paycheck (our nearest purveyor of bulk dry goods) stocking up on pantry basics, when we discovered a huge sale on fair trade soap. <a href="http://amzn.to/2ielR5x" target="_blank">Alaffia soap</a> normally sells for $7.99 per bar on Amazon. Whole Foods was selling it that weekend for $1 per five-ounce bar. At that price, it was cheaper than buying soap with a coupon at our local grocery store.</p> <p>After a ton of haggling, Mr. Spendypants agreed to buy two cases of soap, or 72 bars, for $72. &quot;Soap doesn't spoil. I think we should buy more,&quot; I insisted as we waited to check out. No dice. I hauled my hard-won two cases, and only two cases, down to the car.</p> <p>We were halfway home when Mr. Spendypants turned the car around. &quot;How many cases of soap do you think we can fit in the house?&quot; he asked. We returned to the store and bought another two cases of soap for a total of 144 bars for $144.</p> <p>Yesterday Mr. Spendypants announced that we use five bars of soap per month. He's been keeping track of our soap usage in his personal calendar. According to his projections, we have 26 more months to find another soap deal.</p> <p>Woah. Tracking soap usage is some next level thriftiness.</p> <h2>Compound Your Savings</h2> <p>Before I forced this experiment on him, my husband had never tracked his luxury spending. Mr. Spendypants considered whatever sum was left over at the end of every month after putting money into the retirement fund and paying the bills to be play money. His financial thinking went something like this: &quot;Save money on butter? Great! Now I can buy more board games!&quot; It was impossible to convince him that banking all the small savings throughout the month could lead to great wealth, even though I am a living success story of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-how-to-buy-a-house-when-you-live-paycheck-to-paycheck" target="_blank">compound savings</a>.</p> <p>In an effort to help me make my goal of finding an extra $31,000, Mr. Spendypants has been dutifully monitoring his spending and has been shocked by the results. Specifically, he's shocked that he hasn't felt any deprivation, even though he's been socking away an extra $1,000 or so each month instead of toy shopping. He's now on my case about compound saving next year so we can afford to take a trip to Easter Island in 16 months for his 50th birthday. Crap. He's already being such a nag about it, too. What have I done?</p> <h2>Out of Time? Losing Things? Perhaps You Have Too Much Stuff</h2> <p>My husband is one of those people who believe that the house would look less cluttered if he could only find the right storage container. I can't tell you how many hours he's wasted rearranging the Island of Misfit Tools A.K.A. our garage.</p> <p>In the meantime, he's constantly misplacing his keys, his wallet, his sunglasses, and his cell phone. You know, all those things you actually need for your life to work smoothly. If only he had the right system in place, then he would never forget his lunch, his keys, his wallet, his phone, or his sunglasses on the kitchen counter.</p> <p>I have the perfect system for never losing the things I need to make my life work. It's called a purse.</p> <p>But back to the 10 pounds of crap in a five-pound bag situation in our house&hellip;</p> <p>I am not sure which lost key/phone/prescription glasses event precipitated the change of heart in Mr. Spendypants, but he finally bought a &quot;satchel&quot; (purse). More importantly, he's started sorting through his things looking for stuff to sell for money.</p> <p>In the last month he's moved 10 boxes of potential merchandise out of his office and into the garage. He can't believe how much more productive he's been since he downsized. Hmmm&hellip;it's almost like taking care of all that extra stuff was taking up tons of time. It's like ownership is a job in itself.</p> <h2>Progress So Far</h2> <p>Mr. Spendypants made an extra $1,000 DJing a party, but we used $745 of that money to fund our Thanksgiving trip home to visit the Spendypants relatives. So he came out $255 ahead.</p> <p>In addition to making $715 from writing gigs, I started selling everything that's not nailed down in our house. I managed to sell $55.76 worth of vintage hardware on Etsy, $122.49 worth of Tupperware (I used to be a Tupperware Lady) at a friend's house party, and $20 in books to my local used bookstore. At the end of this pay period I was able to pay down our home equity line of credit by $913.25.</p> <p><strong>Goal:</strong> $31,000</p> <p><strong>Amount Raised:</strong> $26,387.42</p> <p><strong>Amount Spent:</strong> $13,598.66</p> <p><strong>Amount Left to Go:</strong> $18,211.24</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this artice? 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%2Fmy-2016-budget-challenge-three-lessons-about-saving-one-husband-learned-in-a-year&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FMy%202016%20Budget%20Challenge-%20Three%20Lessons%20About%20Saving%20One%20Husband%20Learned%20in%20a%20Year%20(1).jpg&amp;description=My%202016%20Budget%20Challenge%3A%20Three%20Lessons%20About%20Saving%20One%20Husband%20Learned%20in%20a%20Year" 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/My%202016%20Budget%20Challenge-%20Three%20Lessons%20About%20Saving%20One%20Husband%20Learned%20in%20a%20Year%20%281%29.jpg" alt="My 2016 Budget Challenge: Three Lessons About Saving One Husband Learned in a Year" 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/my-2016-budget-challenge-three-lessons-about-saving-one-husband-learned-in-a-year">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/my-2016-budget-challenge-reduce-debt-or-save-for-an-emergency">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Reduce Debt or Save for an Emergency?</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/my-2016-budget-challenge-how-to-turn-your-spouse-into-a-money-saver">My 2016 Budget Challenge: How to Turn Your Spouse Into a Money Saver</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-2016-budget-challenge-job-creation">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Job Creation</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/my-2016-budget-challenge-what-to-do-with-a-totaled-car">My 2016 Budget Challenge: What to Do With a Totaled Car</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/my-2016-budget-challenge-affording-education">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Affording Education</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living budget challenge bulk shopping clutter max wongs budget organizing paying down debt saving money Fri, 30 Dec 2016 10:30:25 +0000 Max Wong 1865097 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Clear Old Debt From Your Credit Report http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clear-old-debt-from-your-credit-report <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-clear-old-debt-from-your-credit-report" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_bills_100668055.jpg" alt="Woman clearing old debt from her credit report" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Trying to get your credit score back on track? There are lots of things you'll need to do &mdash; like start using credit wisely instead of as a crutch. But before you can rebuild from the bottom up, it's important to clear the old debt you've accumulated from your record. Here's how.</p> <h2>1. Compare All Three of Your Free Credit Reports</h2> <p>Credit reports are not always created equal, which is why the process of clearing old debt from your credit card should start with comparing your credit reports from the three major bureaus &mdash; Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Download them for free annually at AnnualCreditReport.com</p> <p>What you're looking for when you receive the reports are inconsistencies. Debts may be listed by one bureau, but not the others. If this is the case, you may need to contact the bureau to check into the problem and dispute any irregularities, information for which will be included on the report.</p> <h2>2. Make Sure Your Delinquency Dates Are Correct</h2> <p>A delinquency on your credit report means that you've defaulted on the payment of your bill &mdash; this could be a credit card, car note, or a number of other loans that you've been provided. The real problem is that this lack of funds (and judgment) will stay on your credit report for about seven years. If that amount of time has passed since your delinquency date, however, and it's still on your report, you should contact the bureau that's misreporting it and rectify the situation.</p> <h2>3. Dispute Discrepancies With the Credit Bureaus</h2> <p>To dispute any delinquency discrepancies, it's best to write letters to the credit bureaus to request an investigation of a collection on your report. Send them by certified mail so you have a paper trail of evidence that you're being proactive about the situation. Credit Infocenter also has <a href="http://www.creditinfocenter.com/repair/">some important tips</a> that may be helpful in this regard.</p> <h2>4. Find Out Who Owns the Debt If It Was Sold to Collections</h2> <p>If collection agencies are calling your phone nonstop, that means your debt has been sold by the original agency to the proverbial muscle men of the financial world; their sole job is to get the money you owe. If you've been avoiding these phone calls all along &mdash; a very common practice among those who have the misfortune of having collection agencies on their backs &mdash; you may not know who to contact once you're ready to talk to collections to finally settle the debt.</p> <p>Personal finance blogger Jeff Campbell offers some tips on how to proceed.</p> <p>&quot;If the old debt has been sold to collections, it would be important to verify who currently owns the debt,&quot; he says. &quot;Then it would be important to find out how much has been added to the original debt in terms of fees or penalties &mdash; these are all highly negotiable. The larger problem of ignoring old bad debts is that while in theory they drop off your credit report after seven years, when the bad debt gets sold (very common), that can sometimes start the seven-year cycle over again, so it's always better to deal with the issue and take care of it.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Validate the Debt</h2> <p>Before you pay anything to collection agencies, you need to validate the debt first to make sure it's accurate. By leveraging the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the collection agency will be forced to provide documentation that everything is on the up and up. Credit Infocenter suggests <a href="http://www.creditinfocenter.com/rebuild/debt-validation.shtml">writing a letter</a> to the collection agency (sent by certified mail) in hopes of settling the matter amicably, but if they're unresponsive you may have to threaten a lawsuit.</p> <h2>6. Settle Debts Higher Than $1,000</h2> <p>For any remaining debt under $1,000, you'll likely be required to pay it in full. If the debt is higher than a grand, however, there may be some wiggle room. Collection agencies don't want to keep your debt forever, and in many cases they're willing to negotiate a reduced amount that requires a lump-sum payment. For instance, I once had a $1,100 delinquent credit card that I was able to get down to $800. As part of this deal, you need to have the collection agency agree to remove the listing from your credit report.</p> <p>When it comes time for the actual payment, be smart and trust no one.</p> <p>&quot;Don't pay anything electronically as it's highly possible they will charge more than agreed to,&quot; Campbell warns. &quot;Pay by cashier's check or money order only once they agree in writing to settle the account as paid in full for the agreed upon amount and agree to remove any entries pertaining to this debt with all credit bureaus within 30 days of receiving payment.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Appeal to a Higher Authority</h2> <p>If your collector is a bank and you've reached out about removing old debt to no avail, you still have recourse. According to Bankrate, these institutions have federal regulators who field your complaints to keep everybody on the up and up. Again, rather than spending countless hours on the phone getting the runaround, send in a certified complaint with your evidence, which should include copies of your correspondence and return receipts along with the agency's complaint form that you can print online. At this point, the regulators' job is to contact the company on your behalf and get to the bottom of the ordeal. And start in your own state opposed to the creditor's state.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-clear-old-debt-from-your-credit-report&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Clear%2520Old%2520Debt%2520From%2520Your%2520Credit%2520Report.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Clear%20Old%20Debt%20From%20Your%20Credit%20Report"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Clear%20Old%20Debt%20From%20Your%20Credit%20Report.jpg" alt="How to Clear Old Debt From Your Credit Report" 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/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clear-old-debt-from-your-credit-report">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/your-bad-credit-isnt-the-end-of-the-world">Your Bad Credit Isn&#039;t the End of the World</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/7-things-your-credit-report-does-not-include">7 Things Your Credit Report Does NOT Include</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/5-steps-to-getting-excellent-credit">5 Steps to Getting Excellent Credit</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/this-is-why-your-credit-limit-was-lowered">This Is Why Your Credit Limit Was Lowered</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/15-surprising-ways-bad-credit-can-hurt-you">15 Surprising Ways Bad Credit Can Hurt You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance credit history credit reports delinquencies discrepancies old debts organizing settling debts Mon, 24 Oct 2016 09:00:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 1817657 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Money Moves to Make Before the Leaves Change http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-moves-to-make-before-the-leaves-change <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-money-moves-to-make-before-the-leaves-change" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_fall_leaves_81399473.jpg" alt="Woman making money moves before the leaves change" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As yet another fun summer season winds down, there's no better time than the start of autumn to take a look at our finances to see where we can make adjustments. Consider these 10 money moves to make before the leaves change.</p> <h2>1. Get Back to Budget Reality</h2> <p>Summer activities can put budgeting on the back burner as we spend more and save less over vacation. A little splurging or a savings vacation isn't the end of the world, as long as it isn't a permanent getaway that drains your accounts. With autumn right around the corner, however, now's the time to get back to basics and rein in spending. Summer can be expensive, but you can regain control of your money by coming up with a spending plan that helps you curb impulse buys and save more of your income for a rainy day.</p> <h2>2. Start a Holiday Fund</h2> <p>The beginning of fall means the holiday season is only three months away. As you revamp your budget, start putting money aside for the end of the year. Whether your plans include taking an end-of-the-year vacation or buying gifts for loved ones, early planning can ensure enough cash so that you don't have to rely on credit cards.</p> <h2>3. Ask About Flat-Rate Billing</h2> <p>If your gas or electric bills trigger heart palpitations, talk to your utility company about flat-rate billing. The company looks at your past electricity or gas usage and uses this information to estimate your expected usage over the next year. Based on this estimation, you're charged a flat rate for the next 12 months. Flat-rate billing protects against higher utility bills during the winter and summer months, and as a result, budgeting is easier because you know exactly what you'll owe each month and there are no surprises.</p> <h2>4. Review Your TV Habits</h2> <p>Fall signifies that start of the new prime time television schedule &mdash; one of my favorite parts of the change of seasons. This is an excellent time to evaluate your TV viewing habits to see if you can do without cable, downgrade your package, or otherwise modify your home-entertainment budget to better suit your needs. With so many options these days, you can likely stream many of your favorite shows at a price that's far less than cable.</p> <h2>5. Pay Off Summer Debt</h2> <p>Carrying credit card debt from month-to-month is expensive. If your credit cards took a beating over the summer, come up with a plan to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">eliminate this debt</a>. Give your credit cards a break and pay for everything with cash, and then cut back on unnecessary spending to free up cash in your budget. Use the savings to double or triple your minimum payments and pay off balances sooner. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">5 Day Debt Reduction Plan</a>)</p> <h2>6. Prepare for Colder Days</h2> <p>Temperatures cool down around September and October, so to trim your heating bill, take steps early in the season to keep the heat in and the cold out. This includes replacing missing insulation in the attic, weatherstripping your doors and windows, sealing any cracks around windows and electrical outlets, installing a storm door, hanging heavy drapes, getting a programmable thermostat, and closing your fireplace flue.</p> <h2>7. Check Your Savings Contributions</h2> <p>If summer fun threw off your savings goals, you can play catch-up by taking advantage of your company's retirement plan, or increasing your contributions if you already have a 401K.</p> <p>&quot;An employer may offer to match a percentage or all of your contributions to a retirement account,&quot; says Jim Poolman, retirement expert and executive director of the lndexed Annuity Leadership Council. &quot;Some employers may even contribute to your retirement account each year whether you save or not.&quot; Any employer retirement contribution is considered &quot;free money&quot; and can maximize your savings at any age.</p> <h2>8. Balance Your Portfolio</h2> <p>In addition to contributing or increasing contributions to your company's retirement plan, you should get serious about balancing your portfolio to protect against market shifts. It isn't enough to have a 401K. Poolman suggests adding more conservative, low-risk products, such as fixed indexed annuities (FIAs) to balance your retirement portfolio.</p> <p>This is important as you become older, because a savings strategy that worked in your 20s might not be the right fit in your 30s or 40s.</p> <p>&quot;Assessing your investment mix at different stages in your life is key,&quot; Poolman warns. &quot;When you're young, a higher-risk investment strategy may be more effective, whereas the closer you are to retirement, the more important a low-risk portfolio may be.&quot;</p> <h2>9. Have a Money Talk With Your Partner</h2> <p>It's also important to sit down with your partner and/or a financial planner to review your overall financial picture and determine where you can improve. For example, when was the last time you reviewed your life insurance policy? If you've recently tied the knot, had a baby, or purchased a home, can you increase your coverage? Or if you're self-employed, could you increase contributions and max out your IRA, which can grow your money and help you save on taxes? A yearly review can ensure a firm financial foundation and help you hit your goals.</p> <h2>10. Make Doctor's Appointments</h2> <p>A flexible spending account (FSA) lets you set aside a percentage of your pretax pay for eligible out-of-pocket medical expenses. These accounts effectively reduce health care costs for doctor appointments, prescription medications, vision care, and dental care. You can withdraw funds to pay for covered expenses. The catch, however, is that funds in a flexible spending account must be used in the plan year. Some employers don't allow funds to carry over into the next year, or they only allow employees to carry over $500. If you don't use the money, you lose it. So with three months left in the year, schedule your doctor, dental, and vision appointments to avoid forfeiting your unused balance.</p> <p><em>What steps are you taking to prep your finances for fall?</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/10-money-moves-to-make-before-the-leaves-change">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/6-reasons-why-financial-planning-isnt-just-for-the-wealthy">6 Reasons Why Financial Planning Isn&#039;t Just for the Wealthy</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/7-signs-youre-financially-ready-to-start-a-family">7 Signs You&#039;re Financially Ready to Start a Family</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/5-money-mistakes-to-stop-making-by-50">5 Money Mistakes to Stop Making by 50</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/15-smart-things-you-can-do-with-your-finances-even-if-youre-broke">15 Smart Things You Can Do With Your Finances, Even if You&#039;re Broke</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/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves">Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance advice autumn budgeting debt fall health care money moves organizing paying bills savings seasons Mon, 22 Aug 2016 09:00:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 1775890 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-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/how-to-decide-what-to-keep-when-downsizing">How to Decide What to Keep When Downsizing</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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <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> <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/save-some-cash-with-these-6-clever-cleaning-hacks">Save Some Cash With These 6 Clever Cleaning Hacks</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 Everything You Need to Know About Switching to the Cash Only Lifestyle http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-switching-to-the-cash-only-lifestyle <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/everything-you-need-to-know-about-switching-to-the-cash-only-lifestyle" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shopping_cash_000009192860.jpg" alt="Woman learning everything she needs to know about cash only" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you considered using the cash system to get your budget under control? You're not alone. But what are the best practices? I'm going to share a few tips and tricks that work for my family. If you're totally new to this method, these tips should help you become a cash-carrying ninja in no time at all. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-6-reasons-why-using-cash-only-rocks?ref=seealso">Top 6 Reasons Why Using Cash-Only Rocks</a>)</p> <h2>1. Plan Ahead</h2> <p>Carrying money around can be horribly inconvenient and even intimidating without a good plan in place. When I started out with cash, I was always worried I wouldn't have enough to cover what I was buying. Worse, I didn't have a clear understanding of exactly how much I spent in each of my budget categories.</p> <p>Now? I use cash for all our variable expenses. These core areas for my family include groceries, clothing, entertainment, household items, allowances, and other activities. At the start of each month, we get out half of the budgeted amounts in cash and divide them up into the categories. We get the second half out at the next pay period during the month.</p> <h2>2. Get Organized</h2> <p>A lot of people use an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system">envelope system</a> to organize their cash. And it makes good sense. Once you have planned ahead and budgeted out your amounts, you simply label envelopes, distribute your money into them, and get to sensible spending.</p> <p>I personally like to use one of those <a href="http://amzn.to/1Rhrlv1">mini expanding files</a> to keep everything together and clearly labeled. I also have a paper register where I track how much cash I've taken out of each category. It's a little old school, but it's a system that works well for me. You may want to use an Excel spreadsheet or budget app to manage your paper money.</p> <h2>3. Keep Track</h2> <p>At the end of each month, I try to make some mental notes about how everything went. Our needs as a family change and evolve over time. For example, we haven't bought many clothes lately, so we've been able to reallocate some of those funds into our grocery budget that seems to have ballooned since our daughter transitioned from toddler to preschooler.</p> <p>I also track any extra money we have leftover at the end of each month by category. As I observe the trends, I customize our budget accordingly. The thing I like about cash is that it's so physical. There's no ignoring it. It's either there or it isn't. So, it's a nice, in-your-face reminder of how we're doing with our variable expenses each month. The extra time it takes to pay attention is well worth it.</p> <h2>4. Mind Leftovers</h2> <p>Usually we use the surplus to do something fun as a family &mdash; go out to dinner, enjoy a movie, etc. Though lately we've considered adding it to our savings since we're expecting baby number two in the summer. The cool thing about leftover money is that it's, well, leftover. You can do whatever you want or need to do with it, depending on your current lifestyle and financial situation.</p> <p>We keep our excess funds in a big jar. This method, if you can call it that, might not work for everyone, but our budget is tight enough that it isn't overflowing. Still, it's a good place to grab cash as needed for incidentals, like random ice cream dates. If you're more into getting ahead or saving, you could consider pitching the money forward and taking out less for the next month. Or when you visit the bank for next month's withdrawal, put the leftovers straight into your savings account.</p> <h2>5. Think Safety</h2> <p>Above all, if you're carrying a load of cash around, you want to be safe about it. I try not to carry more than I need for any given shopping trip. So, if I'm going grocery shopping, I won't bring any of the other envelopes unless I need to. (If I'm getting household products in addition to food, for example.)</p> <p>I also don't bring the entire month's worth of funds with me when I go shopping. Instead, I calculate how much I might spend beforehand and bring only that much (or just slightly over what I expect to spend). It can be tricky, but with a little practice, you will get the hang of it. The worst that can happen is you have to leave something at the store.</p> <p>With regard to safekeeping at home, there are definitely good and bad ways to store your cash. Our jar is well hidden in the kitchen cupboards (though, I should probably go move it after telling you that). Also: We don't keep more than a set amount at home. If you plan to keep lots, make sure you add that amount to your home or rental insurance in case of emergencies. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-places-to-stash-cash-in-your-home?ref=seealso">The Best and Worst Places to Stash Cash at Home</a>)</p> <p><em>How do you handle keeping cash at home?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Feverything-you-need-to-know-about-switching-to-the-cash-only-lifestyle&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FEverything%2520You%2520Need%2520to%2520Know%2520About%2520Switching%2520to%2520the%2520Cash%2520Only%2520Lifestyle.jpg&amp;description=14%20Behaviors%20and%20Attitudes%20That%20Can%20Drive%20Workplace%20Success"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Everything%20You%20Need%20to%20Know%20About%20Switching%20to%20the%20Cash%20Only%20Lifestyle.jpg" alt="Everything You Need to Know About Switching to the Cash Only Lifestyle" 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/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-switching-to-the-cash-only-lifestyle">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/how-to-budget-when-you-rely-on-cash-tips">How to Budget When You Rely on Cash Tips</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/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</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/is-an-all-cash-diet-right-for-you">Is an All-Cash Diet Right for You?</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-7-things-every-frugal-person-should-have-in-their-wallet">The 7 Things Every Frugal Person Should Have In Their Wallet</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/managing-your-short-term-money">Managing Your Short-Term Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting cash Envelope system expenses money organizing planning Mon, 28 Mar 2016 09:00:05 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1678001 at http://www.wisebread.com Zen Spring Cleaning (and making a little cash off it too) http://www.wisebread.com/zen-spring-cleaning-and-making-a-little-cash-off-it-too <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/zen-spring-cleaning-and-making-a-little-cash-off-it-too" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cleaning.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>This is it. Tomorrow is the beginning of the big day the husband and I have waited anxiously for all winter: spring-cleaning. The kids are going to grandma&rsquo;s over night and armed with a couple of Dwell Magazines and a few books on creating Zen in the home, we&rsquo;ve vowed to organize the garage and kick the clutter habit once in for all or at least for 2008. Our goal? Nothing stacked on any surface and nothing double stacked in the bookcases. We want to walk in the living room and see flat surfaces everywhere.</p> <p>My mother was actually the queen of this. Before every Christmas she&rsquo;d place two grocery bags in the middle of the living room and tell my brother and I that they had to be filled with things we didn&rsquo;t play with or read anymore before Santa would come with new things. As a spring take on this, my husband and I are shooting for twenty brown shopping bags filled with things we don&rsquo;t want or use&ndash;&ndash;wish us luck. It&rsquo;s good to create your financial goal for spring-cleaning too because it helps you let go of things that may be worth something that you don&rsquo;t really want or neat. We&rsquo;ve set the goal of $1000 of selling on eBay from our Spring-cleaning and $300 for a garage sale. That&rsquo;s almost as much as George Bush&rsquo;s economic stimulus package for a family of four.</p> <p>My husband is better at this than I am. As a former eBay Powerseller, he doesn&rsquo;t even let something in the house unless he can assess its resale value the moment it enters the house. I don&rsquo;t quite think that way though I&rsquo;m learning. Here&rsquo;s a list of a few household items and perhaps the best thing that can be done with them and when.</p> <p>As I look across the living room and out the window into the garage the number one thing I see cluttering our lives is reading material: books, magazines, comics. You name a magazine and we&rsquo;ve got an issue somewhere. But our house is a dainty 1000 square feet and there is literally no room left in the six bookcases in the house. If this sounds familiar to you, stop and ask yourself what the hell you need all these books for? Even if you&rsquo;ve already read all the books in your collection (I&rsquo;m betting you haven&rsquo;t, because I sure as hell haven&rsquo;t) when will you have time?</p> <p>So, the husband and I had a book chat this evening and I think it was a pretty sound agreement: here&rsquo;s how we are dealing with the books in the house and in the garage:</p> <p>&bull;Out of print and rare books stay<br /> &bull;Current reads for research, interest stay<br /> &bull;Children&rsquo;s books stay<br /> &bull;Books used for school stay (I teach)<br /> &bull;Mass market books, even those we like, go<br /> &bull;Current Best sellers go<br /> &bull;Books we love go if there&rsquo;s no chance we&rsquo;ll re-read them in less than 5 years</p> <p>This is making organizing the bookcases much easier. The living room bookcases will now house out of print, rare, and current reads. The garage bookcases will store books used for school and rows of books scanned and ready to sell on eBay and Amazon. Oh my goodness! Space has opened up! But what to do with the &lsquo;go&rsquo; pile?</p> <p>Garage sale, donate to your local Friends of the Library, sell or swap online (<a title="www.bookmooch.com" href="http://www.bookmooch.com">www.bookmooch.com</a> or <a title="www.titletrader.com" href="http://www.titletrader.com">www.titletrader.com</a> for example). Books I love I often give away to friends and students. We usually send friends not one present, but a Christmas or birthday box of presents. Throwing a couple of good books in gives the recipient good reads and opens up space.</p> <p>One tip for selling books on eBay and Amazon, go through the book collection and see if you have any college reads. Set those aside and label that box college. Come August, list that box of books on eBay once students have started scouting for this semester&rsquo;s list. No matter what you charge, it&rsquo;ll be cheaper than the college bookstore and that&rsquo;s what they&rsquo;ll be looking for. Books have such little resell value that the only time to cash in is really at the beginning of each semester.</p> <p>As they are heading out of your dominion, label the boxes of books appropriately so you don&rsquo;t have to go searching through them again and again to find out what&rsquo;s in there.</p> <p>Magazines and comics, believe it or not, have a much higher resell value. I attribute this to there being more photos and pictures and Americans not having the patience for books without such things. While my husband has ever copy of WIRED magazine ever printed, and I hold onto the National Geographics and Harper&rsquo;s, most other things we&rsquo;ve agreed not to hold onto. Yet somehow, there are stacks here and there. It seems a shame to have them go to the recycling. Especially the ones we didn&rsquo;t get around to reading. What to do?</p> <p>&bull;The ones with good ads and photos put in the kids are supply bin&mdash;you never know when you are going to need to make a collage with the preschoolers.</p> <p>&bull;Library free table donation<br /> &bull;Waiting rooms need you&rsquo;re Sun Magazines to balance out the Good Housekeeping&ndash;&ndash;if you have a lot of cool small press magazines drop them around town strategically and it&rsquo;s as good a political statement as any. Hooray! The religious homeschool kid just picked up your copy of Bitch Magazine: Feminist response to pop culture! Your job is done.<br /> &bull;All music or acting related magazines are going to go on eBay. Because someone somewhere wants that Vanity Fair with Harry Potter and my Bust Magazine with Sandra Oh. Currently my husband is unloading a secret stash of Rayguns he forgot he had. Every one of them got a bid.</p> <p>Next we have too many DVDs and CDs. If it ain&rsquo;t something you&rsquo;ll watch time and time again or is a classic then why have it? Keep The Princess Bride; get rid of Kindergarten Cop. Once my husband has made files of our CDs to play on our computers and iPods, we rarely ever see the CDs again. So why keep them? Occasionally nostalgia will get in the way. I&rsquo;m not giving up my tape of Leonard Cohen&rsquo;s I&rsquo;m Your Man because I bought it for .99 back in the day and it was the first time I&rsquo;d ever heard him and the record store I bought it at has long since closed (what a sap).</p> <p>Then there are the hidden items in the house taking up valuable real estate in the closets&ndash;&ndash;the clothes and shoes. My husband insists that he should have no more than six pairs. OMG! Only six?! Yeah, that&rsquo;s not working for me but I can make an effort not to go beyond 20. If you haven&rsquo;t worn it in two years it should be in the bye-bye pile. Clothes are another matter entirely. There are clothes you wear and then, if you are like me, clothes you collect. And then there is the matter of keeping at least five different sizes.</p> <p>I apply the same get rid of stance that we apply to the books:</p> <p>&bull;Keep rare, vintage, interesting pieces<br /> &bull;Keep functional things you wear everyday<br /> &bull;Get rid of anything that makes you look fat because, it&rsquo;s always going to make you look fat (odds are it&rsquo;s not just the clothes)<br /> *Get rid of everything else.</p> <p>The get rid of pieces do best at garage sales or donations to the thrift store. My advice is to find smaller thrift stores to donate to or make friends with someone who works or manages one. Odds are that if you drop off five boxes of clothes and you see a sweater you like, you can get them to give it to you. I have two I donate to that I also shop at and I try to only buy from them on days I&rsquo;ve donated. They either give me a huge discount or let me walk away with a free bag of goodies. It feels very freeing to get rid of the wait of five boxes with a simple cardigan in your hand.</p> <p>Toys! That&rsquo;s the hard part. There are our kids&rsquo; toys and all those remnants of our childhoods we&rsquo;ve bought on eBay. My husband&rsquo;s solution for toys and Zen Spring Cleaning was to create a whole wall of shelving in the garage with white storage boxes. He&rsquo;s labeled them things like &ldquo;Superheroes&rdquo; and &ldquo;Thomas the Train&rdquo; and &ldquo;Hello Kitty&rdquo; and &ldquo;Lego.&rdquo; Each kid gets access to one box from the toy wall a week so that there are no more than two toy boxes in the house at any one time plus art supplies and puzzles. We continually sift out toys we don&rsquo;t want in the house to garage sale, donation, or giveaway prizes.</p> <p>There's also the karmic side to it. I find the more stuff you give away, the more things you want seem to come your way. My daughter receives hand me downs with the tags still on them and I can't help but think that if I quit giving away her things she's outgrown, my freebies would go to.</p> <p>Finally, return everything you may have borrowed to their rightful owners. The owners will be mad you are returning stuff they have no room for, but insist. It&rsquo;ll get the ball rolling for their spring-cleaning too. And have that garage sale next weekend too.</p> <p>What&rsquo;s lurking in your closet, garage and living room that you should get rid of? Where will it end up?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/maggie-wells">Maggie Wells</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/zen-spring-cleaning-and-making-a-little-cash-off-it-too">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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-garage-sale-items-that-sell-like-hotcakes">12 Garage Sale Items That Sell Like Hotcakes</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-get-rid-of-your-junk">How to Get Rid of Your Junk</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/ebay-s-non-paying-bidders">EBay’s Non-Paying Bidders</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/who-moved-my-stuff-0">Who Moved My Stuff?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> amazon marketplace eBay garage sale Making Extra Cash organizing spring cleaning thriftstores trades Sat, 05 Apr 2008 08:47:04 +0000 Maggie Wells 1980 at http://www.wisebread.com