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6 Places You Can Cash in Your Clutter

6 Places You Can Cash in Your ClutterI’m always looking for ways I can cash in my clutter. And since I go through minimalism kicks and seem to acquire more stuff than I care to admit, I’m looking to sell something at least every other month.

While browsing Pinterest the other day I saw this post where Bob Lotich, owner of Christian Personal Finance, sold all of his junk and walked away with $2,145 in one month!

I was inspired to see how much I could make by giving my house a deep clean and really decluttering. Instead of trying sell all of my items in one place I started researching where I could get the most bang for my buck.

Here’s what I’ve come up with.

Brand Name Clothing – ThredUp

Ever since I discovered ThredUp more than a year ago I’ve bought almost all of my clothes exclusively from them. ThredUp is online consignment shop that sells only high quality, second hand clothing.

They also buy your name brand clothing (in good condition) from you. I ordered a free bag from their site and stuffed to the brim with all of my nicer clothes as well as jeans that no longer fit either of my daughters.

Old Cell Phones – U Sell

I have quite a few old cell phones laying around I never knew what to do with. Do I save them? Toss them in the trash? Let my kids play with them? I don’t know. So I just kept ahold of them.

Then I did some research and found U Sell, a place that will buy your old cell phones from you. The two I have to get rid of were both quoted around $50.

That’s a pretty easy hundred bucks!

Books – Book Scouter

I had a few books left over from my last yard sale. They’ve since been sitting in my closet collecting dust.

They’re in good condition so I didn’t want to just throw them away, but I’ve been procrastinating on actually getting rid of them. Then I found Book Scouter through Bob’s article.

With Book Scouter you can enter the ISBN of the book you want to sell and Book Scouter will pull up the websites that will pay you the most money for your books.

Laptops & Tablets – eCycle Best

I have terrible luck with laptops, which is really my fault for always going with the cheapest model. I go through one laptop a year. (I’m now saving to get a MacBook though!)

I have two crappy laptops sitting on my office shelf. I plugged the model numbers into eCycle best and was offered $93 for one of these laptops and free recycling for the other.

I’m gonna take their offer!

You can also sell or recycle Tablets through eCycle.

Kids Clothing/Miscellaneous Small Items – Facebook Yard Sales

For small items like kids clothing, housewares, and inexpensive furniture Facebook Yard Sales are the way to go.

I’ve had so much success with Facebook Yard Sales and swear by them for fast sales! I have quite a few kids’ electronics that I’m going to offload this way.

Large Furniture – Craigslist

Craigslist – an oldie but a goody. Craigslist is the perfect way to sell large furniture and more expensive items.

The only downside is dealing with all the incoming texts and phone calls from people who have no intention of actually buying from you. I guess that’s just part of the game!

If you’re looking to earn some extra cash (and have a cleaner house) give some of these sites a try. I’ll let you know how much in total I end up earning toward the end of the month!

Are there any sites you’d add to this list?



Office Spaces: Money Saving Strategies for Small Businesses

You’re a business, and one of the most important things you must learn to master is cost-cutting. Businesses that don’t make money don’t stay in business for very long. Unfortunately, saving money is getting harder to do these days. But, fortunately, there are a few exceptional ways to cut costs in your operation without sacrificing quality or service to you customers.

Using Coupons

Using coupons is a simple way to buy what you’re already buying right now, but for less money. There are thousands of promo codes out there for printing supplies, office furniture and supplies, batteries, electronics, and even software.

These coupons help you save money on business items, almost regardless of where you buy them, as long as you get the manufacturer’s coupon and not a store-specific coupon.

Join A Shopper’s Club

A shopper’s club is a store where you pay a fee, usually a monthly or annual fee, for the right to shop in a particular store. In exchange for the fee, you get discounted goods and services. For businesses, this can be a great deal if you use a lot of office supplies and electronics.

For example, stores, like Sam’s Club and Costco, operate as a sort of warehouse. Paper products, clothing, office supplies, even furniture can be had for less than what you would pay through a retail office supply store.

Membership fees range from $50 a year at some stores to $200 for premium business memberships. Some stores also offer premium printing, and other related, business services. These stores sometimes also track the amount of money you spend with them, offering you additional discounts or rebates if you spend more than a certain dollar amount in a given year.

Not all businesses can benefit from shopping this way, but retail stores and businesses with busy offices often find they benefit.

Buy Used

There’s a stigma with buying used machinery and office equipment, but many businesses can save themselves a lot of money buy buying used. You don’t have to go for stuff that’s clearly distressed, but a business that’s getting rid of its office furniture because it’s going out of business might have something worth buying.

If you buy used printers, always ask how many print cycles it has been through.

Yet another option is to visit the local Goodwill or Salvation Army. If you have a lobby that needs furnishing, you can find some excellent buys in these places.

Examine Your Broadband Needs

Most businesses take for granted that they need high-speed Internet, but think about this for a moment before you sign up. Most business-class services are at least twice the price of consumer-level Internet, and some businesses just don’t need the speeds offered by the major service providers.

If the Internet is incidental to your business operations (e.g. you only send emails and occasionally surf the web), consider a low-tier service offering, like 5Mbps down or even less. They’re very reasonably-priced, and you won’t be paying for broadband that you don’t use.

Richard Turner has a background in personal finance and small business consultant. He is always on the lookout for innovative ways for businesses to save money and his articles mainly appear on small business blogs. Stay on top of discount coupon offers on Google+ and Twitter.

Link Love 10/17/14

Good morning :) Hope you had a good week.

I get to go eat lunch with my Kindergartner at school in a little bit since she’s student of the week. She’s been looking forward to this all week so I’m pretty stoked! Other than that just a laid back weekend in these parts.

If you’re in need of some weekend reading here are some posts from the blogosphere this week that I loved:

Have a good weekend!!

School Supply Lists by Age

Use these back-to-school tips to help budget for the changing costs of your child’s school supply lists

As your child gets older, his or her school supply list will change and often become more expensive. The required items may vary by school, and a supply list should be made available to you by your child’s teacher before the start of the academic year. However, we’ve created a list of the most common items they will need to help you prepare ahead of time. From crayons to calculators and college textbooks, learn more about the typical expenses you can expect by age group. Then use our back-to-school tips for making school supplies more affordable, and consider creating a back-to-school budget to prepare your checking account for your child’s ongoing school-related expenses.

School supply list staples to plan for every year

Starting in kindergarten, you will likely spend money on backpacks, lunch boxes, clothes and more each year when your son or daughter heads back to school. He or she will also need No. 2 pencils, pens, paper and notebooks. While you may not need to replace the larger items every year, it’s good to keep an eye on them to see when a new backpack is in order. As your child gets older, the bags can get heavier and may take a greater beating.

School supply lists for elementary students

A school supply list for an elementary student is fairly simple. Along with the basics needed every year, your elementary student will likely need the following craft and classroom materials: 

  • Glue bottle and glue sticks
  • Crayons and markers
  • Colored pencils
  • Construction paper
  • Watercolor paints
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Scissors
  • Tissues
  • Ruler

Common school supply lists for middle school

In addition to the basic supplies listed above, your middle school student may be required to have highlighters, paper clips, a dictionary, binders, pocket folders and locker organizers. To help minimize the amount you spend each year, it’s a good idea to keep an inventory of what you already have to determine what you will still need to buy. Also, if your child will be involved in any organized sports or out-of-town class trips, you may have more expenses. It’s wise to factor these into your back-to-school budget starting in middle school.

High school supply list

When your child enters high school, the cost of supplies will likely increase more than it has in previous years. If he or she will be taking Advancement Placement (AP) classes, playing high school sports or getting involved in extracurricular actives, your child may need course- or activity-related supplies, and the money you’ll spend on these supplies can add up quickly. Here are a few additional items you should budget for with your checking account when your son or daughter is in high school:

  • flash drive
  • Scientific calculator
  • Foreign language dictionary
  • Graphing paper
  • Sports equipment
  • Sticky notes or index cards
  • Band instruments
  • SAT/ACT test fees
  • AP test fees
  • Safety goggles for science labs or shop class
  • Art supplies like photography paper, sketch pads or paint

Once your son or daughter is a teenager, you may want to consider preparing him or her for financial independence. Many banks will allow you to open a joint checking account with your teen. Later at age 18, he or she will be allowed to open a checking account for students alone. If your child is earning an allowance or has just started working, open a joint checking account and provide guidance while allowing your child to take ownership of the money he or she earns.

Back-to-school tips for your college student

If your child will be pursuing a post-secondary education, you’ll need to be prepared for the new expenses and determine how much your child is responsible for. In addition to the costs of tuition and living on campus, your child will need to purchase college textbooks, and a laptop or desktop computer may be needed to complete college papers and assignments. Consider opening a college savings account for your child early to ensure your family is financially prepared.

Budgeting for school supply lists with a personal checking account

Whether you child is in elementary school or heading off to college, back-to-school shopping can be an exciting time of year. Your child may ask for a brand new backpack, wardrobe or the latest piece of technology, making it easy to spend a small fortune. To avoid putting a strain on your checking account, create a budget each year before you head to the store. Look at last year’s back-to-school shopping receipts to help get a more accurate idea of what you spent and inventory the supplies left over that can be reused. Shop back-to-school sales before the school year begins and get even bigger end-of-season deals after classes are in session. Consider buying in bulk and save the supplies for next year if you find good deals.

Throughout the year, set aside money from each paycheck into a savings account that will help cover the growing costs of your child’s back-to-school expenses. Then when you’re ready to buy, transfer the money online from your savings account to your checking account and help make your child’s first day back to school a success.

Sponsored content was created and provided by Citizens Financial Group.

Not the Average Investing Joe: How Alternative Assets Perk Up Your Portfolio

It is all too easy to get into a comfort zone and limit your financial exposure to the usual traditional fixed income and equity assets that the average investor will probably be holding as well.

Variety is the spice of life, so if you believe that saying, you should consider looking at alternative investments as a way of potentially bringing some significant benefits to your investment portfolio.

Not just for the super-rich

Just as forex trading and playing the stock market has become accessible to many of us, alternative assets are definitely no longer the exclusive preserve of the super-rich investor.

Alternative assets should not be classified as a direct fixed-income or equity investment such as residential property. An example of an alternative asset is something like a commodity futures contract for gold or maybe wheat or pork bellies.

There are also quite a diverse range of alternative assets strategies now available to investors through traditional vehicles such as Exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds and exchange-traded notes (ETN’s).

Lower entry point

The traditional view is that alternative assets are only applicable to high net worth individuals who have the level of funds and resources to speculate with some of their capital in illiquid secondary markets.

The evolution of more diverse and accessible global financial markets has led to a greater volume and depth of products available, giving average investors the chance to join in the alternative investment action by adding these alternative assets to their portfolios.

You will find that mutual funds, ETF’s and ETN’s all offer the opportunity in varying degrees, to directional alternative assets such as commodities, commercial property and foreign currencies. You can even gain access to certain hedge-fund strategies like buy-write.

Absolute return funds

One strategy that you might consider is to invest in an absolute return fund.

This term actually covers a variety of different strategies and the aim of the fund is to produce a positive return irrespective of which way the market is heading. It would seem to be an easy decision to make to invest in a fund that promises a positive return on your investment whichever direction the market is moving in, but it is never that simple.

These funds often employ complex strategies and they definitely do not guarantee to produce a positive return each year. Some of these funds invest in equity-based investments and others are focused solely on the bond markets, whilst others try to employ a mix of the two.

The purpose of an absolute return fund is that it offers the chance for shorting in a falling market or buying in a rising market, which is essentially hedging, but with a greater degree of transparency.

The main point to remember is that now that alternative assets are available to many of us, there is an opportunity to perk up our investment portfolio and even out the sometimes bumpy road that comes from investing in a single asset class.

Abbie Peacock is always on the lookout for way to diversify her portfolio. When she finds them, she likes to share them by writing about them online. Look for her interesting and informative posts on various websites and blog sites online.