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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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    Last Updated on April 3, 2019

    How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

    How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

    Debt is never a fun thing to be in. But, there are many actions that you can take that will help you rid yourself of the burden of debt once and for all.

    By coming up with a set plan, eliminating your debt can feel much easier than constantly thinking about it.

    This post will provide some tips on how you can do this to help you nix your credit card debt in less than 3 years.

    Hint: there are ways that are easier than you think.

    1. Consider Consolidating Multiple Credit Cards If Possible

    This may not be applicable to you, but if you have multiple cards – it is something to consider. Keeping up with multiple bills is time consuming.

    It will depend on the balance you have on each. Consolidate ones you can but do not do it to the point that you get too close to the maximum limit. Also, it is ideal to pick the card with the lower interest rate.

    Consider if there are any fees or alternatively, rewards, with transferring a balance to another card. Watch out for fees. Note that some cards offer rewards for transferring a balance to them. This is extra cash that can help go towards paying off your debt.

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    Having one or two cards can make nixing your debt much simpler than keeping up with the balance of a bunch of cards. Keeping track of paying the minimum towards a bunch of cards is time consuming. Spend the time to consolidate instead to make the overall process simpler going forward.

    My tip: Have one main credit card. Have a second one that you use for necessities – such as groceries or gas – that offers rewards for those purchases (a lot of cards do) and set the second one on auto-pay. You should be able to pay off a smaller amount on auto-pay if it is a necessity. If you think you cannot, then you may need to cut down a lot on expenses.

    Why do I suggest doing this? Having one thing set to auto-pay is one less thing to think about. One less thing to waste time on. Same idea with consolidating to one main card. Tracking down too many is a hassle.

    2. Try to Pay the Full Balance You Spent Each Month at the Very Least

    You need to pay off the amount you are spending each month when that bill comes in. This is the amount you spent THAT month.

    Do not let the debt keep accruing while you work on paying any unpaid debt that has accrued. It will become a never-ending battle. Try as best as you can to be current on paying for each month’s expenses when that month’s bill comes out.

    If this is a strain, consider why. You may need to cut expenses. Or you may need to consider other cards. Or look at where this money is going.

    3. Pay Extra When You Can – Every Small Amount Counts

    This cannot be emphasized enough. If you are looking at a lot of credit card debt, it can look daunting, but each extra amount that you can put towards the debt will really add up – no matter how small it is.

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    It does not just reduce the principal amount that you have left to pay off, but it reduces the amount that is collecting interest. You will always save money with that reduced interest.

    4. Create a Plan on How to Pay Extra

    Back to the main point, having this plan is giving you one less thing to think about.

    This plan should be a plan that works for you. If it does not work for you, your spending habits, and your views on debt, then it will not be an effective plan.

    For instance, if a set plan of an extra $50 (or another amount that you know you can afford) works for you, then do that. Set that aside every month and pay that extra amount. Treat it like a bill. Choose an amount that works for you and pay it like clockwork as though it was a bill you had to pay each month.

    Little amounts will not nix it entirely, but they will help tackle it and having a set plan can make it less of a chore. Creating a new plan of how much to put towards it each month is an unnecessary added stress.

    5. Cut out Costs for Services You Do Not Use

    If you are signed up for subscriptions that you do not use because of some free trial or for some other reason, cut it out. Your overall financial position will look better.

    In turn, that will make cutting your credit card debt easier. Look at your statements to find these expenses. If you do not use them, you may forget you are paying some unnecessary amount each month. Cutting it out can really add up in savings that you can put towards other needed expenses.

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    6. Get Aggressive About It

    Consider these points:

    Depending on the interest and the level of debt, you may need to give up a few indulgences. For example, instead of ordering delivery or going out to eat, cook at home. Everything adds up.

    Other things may be more of a sacrifice. It may be a trip you wanted to go on, or a daily latte habit you’ve picked up. In these instances, consider how important it is to you and if it’s worth the sacrifice. And if it is a costly expense, think whether you can wait to indulge.

    Cutting an extravagant expense can really help make a dent in your overall debt. Try not to add to debt when you are trying to pay it off. It will be a never-ending battle. Make it less of a battle with these tips and it will feel easier.

    Bottom line: Do what you can to make this process easier for you. Implement steps that do this. It takes time now, but will help overall. Also, keep track of your spending and paying down of your debts. Which is the next point.

    7. Reevaluate Your Progress at Set Intervals

    Doing a regular check-in can help you see your efforts pay off or maybe indicate that you need to give this a bit more effort. If you check every 3-6 months, it will not feel so much like a chore or feel so daunting.

    By doing this, you will be able to better understand your progress and perhaps readjust your plan. Bonus: if you see it pay off, it will feel great to do this check-in. You will get there.

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    Finally (and most importantly)…

    8. Keep Trying

    Do not get discouraged. Pushing it off will make it worse. Just keep trying.

    Once your debt becomes lower, each monthly payment will reduce the balance more. Why? You are paying less towards interest. It will be a snowball effect eventually and it will become much easier to manage. Just get to that point. And know once you do, it will feel easier and motivating.

    Start Knocking out Your Debt Today

    The best way to eliminate debt is to get started right away. Begin by implementing the above steps and watch your debt just melt away. Try out some of the above strategies and see what works best for you. Soon you’ll be on your way to a debt free life.

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    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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