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5 Tips To Running The Best Yard Sale Ever

5 Tips To Running The Best Yard Sale Ever

When’s the last time you cleared all the junk out of your house? It was probably longer than you care to admit. Chances are your house is full of things you haven’t had use for in years.

In your closets, the back of your shelves, the bottom of your drawers and the corners of your rooms are probably a slew of items you’ve forgotten about entirely. They’re taking up space and not doing you any favors. The best way to get rid of them is sell them, and the best way to sell your stuff? A yard sale.

A poorly planned yard sale, however, can attract little to no attention. In order to maximize sales, you need to do some research. Here are five tips to run the best yard sale ever, and get rid of all your old junk doing it.

  1. Advertise heavily

If no one knows your yard sale is happening, no one will show up. The best way to ruin a yard sale before it even begins is not putting in the time to advertise your sale. Make sure you put thought and effort into figuring out how best to advertise your yard sale.

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Identify spaces with high foot traffic, and put flyers in places that are easy to notice. Potential readers should be able to stop and read your sign without getting shoved by an angry crowd, but still be able to see it from their walking path.

Place advertisements in local community spaces. Create a Facebook event and invite your local friends, and urge them to invite their own local friends as well. Make a Craigslist post, or advertise on online yard sale spaces, and make sure your advertisements are detailed and thorough. Include the address, the times available, the range of prices, the category of goods you’re selling and the date of the sale. Be sure your advertisements go up several days before the yard sale.

  1. Prepare for payment haggling

Yard sales are a casual, unlicensed event, and customers come in with a different attitude than they would a brick-and-mortar store. Expect people to negotiate with you on payment—expect to negotiate, not just on how much they should pay, but also on how they should pay.

Someone may try to barter with you, but if your goal is to raise some cash, resist any bartering offers. The goal of a yard sale is to get rid of junk, not switch it out for other junk.

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Others may want to pay with cards, especially if you’re selling things that might quickly add up in price. Luckily, accepting credit cards is increasingly easy for the layperson to do. Squareup charges a nominal 2.7 percent fee to allow you to process credit cards with your phone.

  1. Buddy up

Although you want to move your products, you’ll attract more customers if you have more to sell. Ask friends or neighbors if they have goods they’d like to sell as well, and make your yard sale a multi-seller event.

Multiple sellers means people have more options for clothing sizes and types, or more varied genres of books and movies. It promotes a wider audience, rather than just attracting those interested in your size medium shirts and size eight skinny jeans, or your collection of Michael Buble CDs.

Better variety encourages more shopping, and more shopping means more money. Don’t think of other sellers as competitors. Think of them as another attraction to draw customers in.

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  1. Present your goods wisely.

Humans are visual creatures, which means we’re visual shoppers as well. How products are arranged can influence how much interest someone will have in your stuff.

This doesn’t have to be complicated. Arrange clothes by size and category. For example, if you have specialist items, such as shoes for nurses, you may consider grouping them with other nursing items. If you have a pile of books, arrange them by subject matter and have them stacked neatly so people can pick them up. Arrange DVDs on the table so customers can see multiple titles at once. Keep different categories clumped together.

If you have any particularly exciting wares to sell, arrange them so they’re closer to the sidewalk and easier for passerbys to see. Something fun may draw them in and encourage them to shop around.

  1. Offer some free stuff.

Although this seems counterintuitive, it’s a good sales technique to get people more willing to part with their money. A box of free goodies, or a collection of free with purchase items, can convince people that the $7 you want for a DVD is more worthwhile. People like free things, and giving stuff away has long been a well-used marketing technique.

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Free snacks, especially if they were advertised on the flyer, can also draw customers in. Chips in a bowl, a tray of cookies or some dip platters can feed browsers and put them in a better mood to spend. Fill their stomachs and empty their wallets with kindness, and you’ll have a much better yard sale.

Think carefully about how you want to plan your sale. With some clever moves and trusted marketing techniques, your yard sale can be a successful and worthwhile one.

Featured photo credit: Barb Crawford via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 2, 2020

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

Personal finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. That’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

In this article, we will explore ways to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task, if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps to get you started.

1. Be Clear About the Objectives

Any goal without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream, and this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore, if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it’s for. It could be anything, including your child’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car, etc.

Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

2. Keep Goals Realistic

It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a Pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

3. Account for Inflation

Ronald Reagan once said: “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

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4. Short Term Vs Long Term

Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach to achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It’s important to bifurcate goals into short-term and long-term.

As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a short-term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long-term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short-term vs long-term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

By now, you should be ready with your list of financial goals. Now, it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-step process:

  • Ensuring healthy savings
  • Making smart investments

You will need to save enough and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals.

Ensuring Healthy Savings

Self-realization is the best form of realization, and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

1. Track Expenses

The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

Also categorize those expenses into different buckets so that you know which bucket is eating most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pumping up your savings rate.

If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

2. Pay Yourself First

Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

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Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world, i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and manage all the expenses from the rest.

The best way to actually implement this is to put the savings on automatic mode, i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc) every month.

Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely, but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options, and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

4. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that, in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

Make savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

  • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
  • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
  • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

The key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice, which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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5. Talk About It

Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission.

Therefore, in order to stay the course, surround yourself with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

6. Maintain a Journal

For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

If you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energized to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot easier for you to track your progress.

Making Smart Investments

Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

1. Consult a Financial Advisor

Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s wise to consult a financial advisor.

Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings, and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

Just like “no one is born a criminal,” no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference[2].

As a general rule, for all your short-term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature, for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds, etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less compared to equity instruments.

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3. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

Einstein once remarked about compounding:

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.”

Use compound interest when setting financial goals

    Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

    Start saving early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

    4. Measure, Measure, Measure

    All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

    If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

    Measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

    The Bottom Line

    Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

    and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

    More Tips on Financial Goals

    Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

    Reference

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