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Great Ways to Get Rid of Your Old Stuff While Helping Other People

Great Ways to Get Rid of Your Old Stuff While Helping Other People


    Spring cleaning is the perfect time to declutter. But if you’re like me, it just doesn’t feel right just to toss out something that’s still perfectly usable, even though it may no longer be useful to you.

    You can always garage sale your stuff or try to sell it online for a buck or two. But here are some less conventional methods that, while they won’t earn you any money, will give you a great feeling of having done something good for someone you don’t even know.

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    Miscellaneous Items

    Freecycle: Post your unwanted items on a local message board to see if anyone’s interested in them. I’ve seen everything from pianos to pets to frozen pizza on my local Freecycle, and I’ve also seen how incredibly grateful people are for the things you’d just throw away. Maybe a local dog shelter could use your worn blankets to line kennel crates. Maybe a kindergarten teacher would love your empty coffee cans for an art project. It can’t hurt to offer.

    Tips: Be prepared when you post an item to get a flood of responses. I usually just go with the first person who responds when I’m deciding who gets my item, but you can also read through the messages to see who has the most compelling story. Also be prepared for a fair amount of no-shows; that’s one of the unfortunate downsides of dealing with a forum like Freecycle or Craigslist. Make sure to save all the responses you get so you can work your way down the list if the first person you promise an item to falls through.

     

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    Clothes

    In addition to Goodwill and The Salvation Army, here are two sites with a focus specifically on helping out job seekers.

    The Women’s Alliance: If you have gently used women’s business clothes and accessories, you can provide a low-income woman with a great opportunity. Everyone knows that making a good impression is key when you’re interviewing, but what if you don’t have the money for interview clothes? Your old work wear can help a women enter her job search on the right footing.

    Career Gear: Just like the above, but for men.

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    Cell Phones

    Shelter Alliance: Mail your old cell phones to Shelter Alliance using the prepaid postage labels you can print right from their site. They recycle the phones and put the proceeds (up to $30/phone) towards their fund for shelters that help victims of domestic abuse.

    Cell Phones for Soldiers: Like the above, except the proceeds from recycling your phone are used to purchase prepaid calling cards and other communication tools for members of the U.S. Military.

    Gift Cards

    Gift Card Donor: The cool thing about this site is that it lets you specify which charity the sale of your gift card will benefit. You can include your name with your donation or donate anonymously.

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    Video Games

    Donate Games: Donate Games repurposes used video games and gear and uses the proceeds to help children with rare diseases. They fund research, grant wishes, and provide hospitalized kids with brand new video games to help them get through their stay. Sure, you can probably make a pretty penny by selling this particular kind of stuff, but you have to admit that this is a really awesome cause.

    Sports Equipment

    Sports Gift: Donate your gently used sports equipment to impoverished and disadvantaged children. Sports Gift also accepts new items and provides instructions for starting your own community drive to help raise donations.

    Instruments

    The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation: Obviously items like pianos and organs aren’t shippable, but any other gently used instrument you (or your child) no longer plays can be donated to school music programs that don’t have the funds to buy their own instruments.

    What new uses have you found for your old stuff? What great avenues have you found for getting rid of things you no longer need? Share them in the comments below.

    (Photo credit: Donate Key via Shutterstock)

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    Published on January 8, 2021

    How To Pay Off Credit Card Debt Fast: 7 Powerful Tips

    How To Pay Off Credit Card Debt Fast: 7 Powerful Tips

    Ever wondered whether your credit card debt is the reason you’re in a bad financial situation? You can’t enjoy any fun activities because a good chunk of your money goes toward debt payment. Heck, you’re even behind on some of your monthly bills.

    The effects of clumsy debt management are too many to list here. This guide is going to help you discover how to pay off credit card debt fast and start chasing your financial goals.

    Debt problems are the last thing anyone wants to encounter. But things can get out of hand when all the “little debts” you take accumulate in interests.

    What if you knew some simple and proven ways to be debt-free quickly? Implementing them would mean better financial health for you. It becomes possible to free up cash for your “wants.” These include taking a trip or buying something you’ve always desired. All that while paying your bills on time!

    Let’s not wait any longer. Here are 7 powerful tips for paying off credit card debt fast:

    1. Pay More Than the Minimum Credit Card Payments

    Many people only pay the monthly minimum on their credit cards. Truly, that’s the right amount for staying on good terms with your credit card company. But you need a different approach if you’re looking to achieve financial independence within a short time.[1]

    Most of your payments go toward interest costs when you only pay the minimum amount. A substantial sum of your balance remains standing. As a result, it becomes more expensive to eliminate your debts.

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    You don’t want to wait more than 10 years to get rid of debt while it’s possible to do it sooner. All you have to do is double that $100 minimum payment to $200 or go higher.

    The good thing is that minimum credit card payments are affordable in most cases. By paying a higher amount, you reduce your interest costs, lessen your borrowing period, and boost your credit score.

    2. Start With High-Interest Credit Card Debt

    If you have more than one credit card debt, prioritize putting the extra money toward the ones with the highest interests. This debt pay-off strategy, known as the debt avalanche method, is essential for being debt-free quickly.[2]

    First, you need to list down all the credit card debts you have in the order of their interest rates. Next, you choose the one with the highest interest and pay a significant amount toward it each month. It can be an amount twice or even thrice larger than the minimum payment.

    At the same time, you make monthly minimum payments on the other debts. Their interest charges won’t be as costly as that of the first debt on your list. You only move on to the next high-interest debt after the first one is gone. Remember that your focus is on the interest rates and not the balances.

    3. Revisit Your Budget

    Budgeting is useful for tracking your financial moves. Once you create a budget, some tweaks along the way can make it work for you better. One situation that requires you to revisit your budget is when you’re struggling with debts. It might hurt a bit to slash some expenses. But you also don’t want to miss out on achieving financial freedom in the long run.

    You can reduce some variable expenses to free up more cash for credit card debt payments. They’re the ones that change from time to time. Some examples are groceries, fuel, and clothing.

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    Other opportunities for cutting down your spending lie in non-essential expenses. Instead of dining out all the time, you can cook at home more to save money. You can also share some subscriptions with friends and pay a fraction of the cost.

    If you’re determined enough, you can eliminate all your unnecessary expenses and focus on paying off your credit card debt first.

    4. Avoid Using Your Credit Cards

    Do you want to know how to pay off credit card debt with a low income? One simple way is to stop using them. Having your credit cards everywhere you go means that you’ll be more tempted to buy unnecessary stuff. In this case, you spend money that you don’t really own and get deeper into debt.

    The quickest fix to stop the debt build-up is spending with cash. You’ll be more aware of everything you can afford at any particular time. If you decide to keep one or two cards to ease the transition, always make wise choices. For instance, only use them when experiencing financial difficulties.

    It’s best to categorize your fun activities under “discretionary spending” in your budget. This way, you won’t need more debt to kill your boredom. By halting your credit debt from accumulating, it’s easy to pay down what you already owe and be happy with the progress.

    5. Start a Side Hustle to Boost Your Income

    You’re probably turning away a lot of money by not monetizing your skills. Everyone has something that they’re good at doing. And you can use that to generate extra income for attacking your credit card debt.

    If you look around your neighborhood, you can find several side hustle opportunities. It can be pet sitting, tutoring, or lawn mowing. You can start an online business by offering services such as digital marketing, content creation, and web development. Such skills go in high demand on freelance sites and job boards.

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    Finding clients on social media is also a good strategy to utilize your skills and make more money. Facebook groups, Quora Spaces, and subreddits are some places to look for side jobs. You only have to join a niche-specific platform, share your services, and respond to any opportunities.

    It’s possible to learn a skill, practice it, and earn from it. Use the free resources online or purchase some e-courses to get started.

    6. Sell Your Used Items for Extra Cash

    Starting a side hustle isn’t the only way to generate extra money. You can turn unwanted items into cash for paying off credit card debt. Whether it’s an old TV, book, or furniture, there is always someone itching to buy your used stuff.

    A garage sale, as much as it’s old-fashioned, is perfect for getting your neighbors and passers-by to buy from you. You keep all the money because there are no business permits or taxes involved. While you may not make much cash, it’s better than leaving your stuff to go defunct in your storage.

    Other than that, you can sell your used stuff on online marketplaces. Facebook groups are great places to start if you want quick approvals and hence sales. You only have to ensure that your listing follows Facebook’s commerce policies.

    When selling any pre-owned items online, ensure they’re in good shape to avoid problems with your buyers.

    7. Know When to Seek Help With Your Debt

    Asking for help with your credit card debt can be challenging to do. But letting it drown you is a road you don’t want to take. While you may feel embarrassed at first, it’s the best way to get back on track when you run out of options.

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    There are tons of non-profit credit counseling organizations that can offer you free guidance on how to escape the debt trap. An example is The National Foundation for Credit Counseling. They simply review your finances and help you determine the source of your financial problems. After that, they match you with an actionable debt management solution.[3]

    In extreme cases, the debt solution can be:

    • Debt relief – where your debt is partially or wholly forgiven
    • Debt consolidation – taking out one loan to repay others
    • Debt settlement – the creditor forgives a significant portion of your debt
    • Bankruptcy – legal process for seeking relief from some or all your debts

    It’s necessary to carefully weigh your options before deciding on the way to go. Find out how it might affect your credit score and any other risks.

    Wrapping It Up

    Debt is a major setback when you’re trying to prosper in life. Paying off credit card debt is essential if you want to reach your financial goals. That means having more free income, a good credit card score, and even a chance to retire early. You become more productive each day because of the peace in your mind.

    So, you now have some tips on how to pay off credit fast. Go ahead and get rid of that good life progress killer!

    More Tips on How to Pay Off Debt

    Featured photo credit: rupixen.com via unsplash.com

    Reference

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