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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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Published on October 8, 2018

13 Incredibly Useful Tactics to Help You to Stick to Your Family Budget

13 Incredibly Useful Tactics to Help You to Stick to Your Family Budget

Are you having trouble sticking to a family budget? You aren’t alone.

Budgeting is difficult. Creating one is hard enough, but actually sticking to it is a whole other issue. Things come up. Desires and cravings happen. And the next thing you know, budgets break.

So how can you stick to a family budget? Here are 13 tips to make it easier.

1. Choose a major category each month to attack

As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” With that in mind, one approach to help you get into the habit of sticking to a budget is simply starting slow.

Spend too much on Starbucks runs, eat out too often, and have an out-of-this-world grocery bill? Choose one bad habit and attack.

By choosing one behavior to focus on, you’ll prevent yourself from being overwhelmed. You’ll also experience small victories, which help you gain positive momentum. This momentum can then carry over into your overall budget.

2. Only make major purchases in the morning

If you’re making large purchases in the evening, there’s a good chance you’re doing so after a long day and you’re probably tired.

Why does this matter? Because our judgement tends to be off when tired – our willpower is compromised.

Instead, only make major purchasing decisions in the morning when you’re energized and refreshed. Your brain will be firing on all cylinders and your resolve will be high. You’re less likely to give in and settle at this point.

3. Don’t go to the grocery store hungry

Have trouble with impulse buys at the grocery store? If so, there’s a good chance you’re going grocery shopping while hungry.

The problem here is that when you’re hungry, everything looks good. So you’re more likely to make split decisions on things that aren’t on your grocery list.

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Instead, make sure you eat prior to your grocery store trip. Then take your list, along with your full stomach, and go shopping. Notice how food doesn’t look quite so good when you’re not fighting cravings.

4. Read one-star reviews for products

Is there a product you just have to have (but maybe not really)? Check out the one-star reviews.

By reading all the horrible reviews, you may be able to basically trick yourself into deciding that the product isn’t worth your time and money.

Next thing you know, you didn’t make the purchase, you saved the money, and you feel good about the decision.

5. Never buy anything you put in an online shopping cart until the next day

If you are making a purchase online, it’s typically a two-step process. First, you click “Add to Cart” and then you go in to review your cart and pay.

The problem is that there not typically much reviewing during step two. It’s generally click pay and there you go. However, this is the perfect point to stop for reflection.

Once you add to your cart, your best bet is to step away until the next day. Let the item sit there and grow cold, so to speak.

This gives you a night to “sleep on it” and decide if you really want and need to spend that money. If you wake up the next day and still find the purchase viable, then perhaps it’s time to go for it.

6. Don’t save your credit card info on any site you shop on

One of the other pitfalls of shopping online is that fact that most sites ask you to save your credit card information.

While the sites will frame it as a method of convenience, the truth is they know you’ll spend more money in the long run if your credit card information is saved.

The “convenience” takes away one last decision-making point in the purchasing process. True, it’s a pain to get out your credit card and enter the information every time. But guess what? That’s the point. If that inconvenience helps you stay on budget, then it’s worth it. Which leads into the next tip.

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7. Tape an “impulse buy” reminder to your credit card

Credit cards make spending much easier than cash. When you spend cash, you can literally see your wallet emptying. A credit card comes out, then goes back in. No harm, no foul.

That’s why it’s a good idea to tape a reminder to your credit card. Customize a message that is something along the lines of “do you really need this?” or “does it fit the budget?”

That way when you pull out the card, you get one last reminder to help you question your decision and stick to your budget.

8. Only use gift cards to shop on Amazon

Amazon is probably the easiest place online to blow money. It’s just so easy to click and buy. However, one way you can slow the process down is buy only using gift cards. Here’s how it works.

If you plan on making a purchase on Amazon, go to the grocery store and purchase a pre-loaded Amazon gift card of the proper amount. There’s no convenience fee, so you literally pay for the money you’ll spend.

Now take that gift card home and load it to your Amazon account. There’s your money to spend.

Why does this help? It makes you have to purposely go to the score and purchase the card in order to purchase the item. That’s a pretty deliberate thing that takes some time, commitment, and thought.

This process will effectively kill the impulse buy.

9. Budget using cash and envelopes

As mentioned earlier, it’s a lot harder to spend cash than swipe a credit card. You can take this even farther by using only cash, and separating that cash by budget category.

Create an envelope for each category and stick the cash in there at the beginning of each month. When the envelope is empty, no more spending on that category, unless you borrow from another (be careful of that approach).

This can be pretty helpful for people that have a hard time following transactions in their checking account, or keeping a budgeting spreadsheet.

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The envelopes simplify the tracking process, leaving no room for error. Nothing hides from you because it’s tangible in the envelopes in front of you.

10. Join a like-minded group

Making the decision to stick to something like budgeting is difficult. It takes long-term commitment.

You’re going to feel weak sometimes. And sometimes you may fail. That said, support from others can help strengthen resolve.

Support can come from a spouse or a friend, but they won’t always have the exact same goal in mind. That’s why it’s a good idea to join a support group that’s likeminded.

No need to pay here, as there are tons of free communities that fit the bill online.

For example, reddit has multiple subreddits that deal with budgeting and frugal living. You can follow, subscribe, and get active in those communities.

This will open your eyes to new tips and strategies, keep your goal fresh on your mind, and help you realize there are others dealing with the same struggles and being successful.

11. Reward Yourself

When you set a budget, it’s usually with a large goal in mind. Maybe you want to be debt free, or perhaps you want to see $10,000 in your savings account.

Whatever the case, the end goal is great, but the end is often far away, making it hard to see the end of the tunnel.

With that in mind, it’s a good idea to set mini-goals along the way. This helps you still look at the big picture but have something that’s attainable in the short-term to help with momentum.

But don’t stop there – set rewards for yourself when you reach that small goal. Maybe it’s an extra meal out. Or a new pair of shoes.

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Whatever the case, this gives you something in the near future to look forward to, which can help with the fatigue that can result in pursuing long-term goals.

12. Take the Buddhist approach

You don’t have to be a Buddhist to recognize some of the wisdom in the teachings. One of the tenets of the philosophy involves accepting that we can’t have everything we want. And that’s okay.

Sometimes you won’t feel good. Sometimes you’ll have cravings. You can’t deny them. But you can recognize them, accept them, and let them pass by. Then you move on.

Apply this to the times you want to do things that will break your budget. You’re going to have the desire to eat out when you shouldn’t. You might want to stay out and spend too much at happy hour with your work friends.

The feelings will come. Recognize them, accept them, but let them go.

13. Set up automatic drafts to savings

If you wait until you’ve spent all your budgeted money to deposit money into savings, guess what? You probably aren’t going to put any money into savings.

It’s too easy to see that as extra money and end up using it to treat yourself.

Instead, set up automatic savings withdrawals. That way, the money is marked and gone before you can even think about it. It becomes a non-issue. It’s no longer “extra.” It’s just savings.

Conclusion

Sticking to a budget can be difficult. No one is denying that.

However, if you can do a few things to set yourself up for success, and put some practices in place to curb impulse buys, then you can (and will!) be successful sticking to your family budget.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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