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3 Easy Ways to Make Money from Your Junk

3 Easy Ways to Make Money from Your Junk

You’re surrounded by clutter, and you wish you could wave a magic wand to make it all go away.

I don’t have that kind of lifehack (yet!), but as someone who’s become a pro at minimalism and creating an adventurous life on a budget, there are 3 easy tips I can share to help you quickly make money from your junk and create more room in your life.

Best of all, none of them require a lot of work.

Reverse Birthday Party

When I was 39 and on the verge of selling everything our house to travel around the world, I didn’t know how to get rid of those things I no longer needed but still really loved, such as:

The buttery leather coat

The giant leopard cocktail ring

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The colorful silk scarf

The black stiletto boots

The red wool beret

You probably have things like this, too, maybe items you love and are good quality but you never, ever use anymore. They just don’t fit who you are now (or maybe they never did). But you can’t figure out how to get rid of them so they just sit there, taking up space and cluttering your life.

The solution I came up with was a Reverse Birthday Party. In honor of my 39 years of living, I picked 39 of these great items and made tags describing why I bought them, loved them, and needed to release them. They were displayed on a metal shelf in my living room.

Then I invited about 20 friends over my Reverse Birthday Party, requesting that they shop my closet and contribute to my upcoming trip rather than buy me a gift. Add some wine and food to the mix, and you have the makings of a very good time.

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My friends were instructed to write their names on the tag of any item they wanted, and if more than one person liked it, we had a runway ‘style off’ to the sound of Carly Simon’s You’re So Vain. Whoever wore it best got to keep it.

As my friends collected their items, they dropped a donation into our trip fund box, took a picture with me and the item, and then waltzed that possession right out my door.

It was a great way to release what I no longer needed, make new memories with friends, and have a permanent reminder of the fun evening with the digital photos, which don’t take up any physical space.

Indoor Yard Sale

It’s exhausting to even think about putting together a yard sale, and if the weather’s turned cold, this usually isn’t an option anyway. But there are times when you really want to get rid of big things like furniture, artwork, accessories, and linens.

When we were about a month away from closing on the sale of our home, we invited several friends over for an indoor yard sale. It took almost no planning or set up on our part, and we were able to continue using the necessities until the day we moved out of the house.

First, we invited friends who were in need of household items. These included a recently divorced friend, a couple buying their first home, a couple who had just moved in together, and a couple who bought some land to build a small retreat in the mountains.

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When they arrived, we fed them snacks and drinks to create a party atmosphere. People are likely to buy more when they’re having a good time.

Then we gave each person/couple a sheet of colored sticky dots. They took these dots around the house and put them on the items they wanted. After they were done shopping, we simply went around with them to talk about the group of items and negotiate a price and a date for pickup.

It was incredibly easy because we didn’t have to price or move anything, and we didn’t have to give up our couch or dishes while we were still actively using them.

If you’re getting ready to move or downsize, this is the perfect way to get rid of what you no longer need in a comfortable setting with people you trust.

Craigslist Store

Lots of people sell odds and ends on Craigslist, but by creating a staging area for all your Craigslist items, you can sell more of them in less time.

We began saving and decluttering for our travels 2 years before we left. During that time, we had a goal of selling at least one thing every week. We knew it would be less stressful and more profitable to do it that way instead of waiting until the few weeks before departure.

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What we didn’t realize was the power of a Craiglist Store. Now, there isn’t an official store, so don’t go looking for it. The store I’m talking about is the one you create in your own home.

  1. First, find a space in your home you’re willing to let strangers see. We created our staging area in the small front room by the door.
  2. Then use this space to attractively display all the items you have for sale. Think of it in terms of a store display and show how pillows, rugs, and other items go together.
  3. When a buyer comes to buy the camera, frame, or toaster you have advertised, make the transaction in the room that holds your Craigslist Store. Let your buyer know that all those things are for sale, and you’ll be surprised how often they buy more than what they came for.

We sold thousands of dollars of items this way, and we met a lot of interesting people who were curious as to why we had a Craigslist Store in our front room in the first place.

Your junk is not doing anything for you right now except taking up space in your life. Try one of these methods for getting rid of what you no longer need and you’ll have a nice sum of cash to fund something that fits you perfectly.

It sure beats paying the price for keeping what you no longer need.

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Last Updated on January 2, 2019

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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How It Leads to Financial Improvement

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

Types of Personal Finance Software

When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

When to Use Personal Finance Software

So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

1. You Have Multiple Accounts

There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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How to Get Started

From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

Final Thoughts

Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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