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Ready for the Post Office

January 31st, 2016 at 01:18 pm

I continued my purging of books, dvds, etc. I boxed everything up and I'm ready for a trip to the Post Office to send them on their way and get me closer to my snowflakes! Here's the tally:

Replacements .com: $57.68
FYE .com: $9.85
Decluttr .com: $6.50
Sellbackyourbooks .com: $5.90
Chegg: $1.08

Total: $81.01

That's in addition to another $1.08 from Chegg that I just got, and $12.25 I'm waiting on from Powells.

Regarding the books and dvds, it really pays to shop around, as the offer prices for books and dvds vary wildly. You do have to be aware of minimum # / $ amounts, and the terms for their free shipping offers, but it's definitely worth the extra few minutes.

Purging my house of this stuff is also helping me to meet one of my other challenges for 2016, the "Bag a week". I'm trying to rid my house of at least one hefty bag worth of "stuff" every week, in an effort to declutter, simplify and organize. The "stuff" can be sold, donated, or tossed - doesn't matter, as long as it's out of my space. Hubby and I cleaned out a corner of our garage two weeks ago and found receipts for stuff dating back to 2008! I'm not kidding.

I think my next focus will be on CDs and old cell phones. We have one or two old iPhones lying around, as well as other non-smartphone models. Not sure if they're worth much, but I'll at least check it out. Anything is better than nothing.

$1.08 Snowflake from Chegg

January 30th, 2016 at 08:13 am

I go through my books, dvds, etc. a few times each year and see if I can sell any online for a few dollars here and there. Last week, I sold 1 book to Chegg for $1.08 and 3 books to Powells for $12.25. I've sold to both for years always with good results. I received the $1.08 from Chegg today, so that's the official start toward my goal of $1000 in snowflakes this year!

Has anyone ever sold to Replacements.com? I have some old china from Dad's. I listed on Ebay a few times with no results, so I considered them. It'll probably be worth about $50 from them, but I'll have to pay the shipping. Better than nothing I guess.

Snowmaking Challenge

January 2nd, 2013 at 07:49 am

I had a thought while trying to get to sleep last night. So many of us are trying to accumulate snowflakes to help pay down debt. I thought, wouldn't it be great to have a "snowmaking" challenge, kind of like the ski resorts when they manufacture snow at the beginning of the season, to help everyone get started.

So here's the challenge: over the next few days, post your BEST pieces of advice for accumulating snowflakes. Not a laundry list of every thing you do to save money, but the couple of things that will make the readers say "aha, I've got to try that."

And readers, if you try any of the ideas and have success, post it and let us know! I'll keep track of the nuggets and the savings that result. Who's in?


Here's my nugget to start off the snowmaking challenge:

If you pay your property tax and house insurance as part of your monthly mortgage payment, look into paying it yourself. (This may not be possible if you have less than 20% equity). The banks are allowed to keep in escrow amounts above and beyond what they need to pay the bills. If you start paying directly, they will refund the extra to you. Many towns allow for automatic debiting of property taxes, and you can usually do auto debit or charge to your cc for insurance. I did one better and took advantage of a $100 account opening bonus at Chase, so I keep these funds segregated from the rest. It's a 1-time benefit, but may result in a few hundred dollars or more.

On other fronts, I tallied up my year end account balances for my accounts (401k, etc). It's amazing how these things grow when you're not looking at them every day.

I cleaned house yesterday and sold approx $32 in video games, DVDs, and books to Secondspin, EagleSaver, and Powells. I won't get to the post office until Saturday, so I won't get the cash for a week or two, but it should definitely hit in January.

I also paid a few bills (all budgeted), submitted a claim form for the kiddies' visit to the dentist, and ate breakfast at home, saving a few bucks. A good start to the new year!

Great start to the year

January 1st, 2012 at 07:28 pm

With the exception of the Cowboys getting absolutely crushed by the Giants, today has been a great day. I slept late, spent time with hubby and the kids, walked the dog, and did some MAJOR, desperately needed cleaning in our den.

Here are the highlights:

While cleaning out the den, I went through all of our books and dvds so I could figure out which to get rid of. (I don't think my 11- and 13-year-old kids need "Biscuit Takes a Bath" and "New Tracks for Thomas"). I sold 8 DVDs to SecondSpin .com for a total of $22.50. Assuming they are all accepted, that money will go toward the HELOC.

I listed the books and the rest of the dvds on Paperbackswap .com and Swapadvd .com. I don't get any money for these, but I'll get credits which I can then use to get books or dvds that I'm interested in. I use it primarily to get summer reading books for the kids and new movies. Definitely recommend checking it out if you haven't already. Anyway, 7 books have been claimed already, and another 17 are on people's wish lists, they just need to be claimed.

I still need to update the books on half .com, but that'll be one of tomorrow's to-dos.

While cleaning out the den closet, I came across two old direct tv receivers and a few Lenox and Mikasa bowls and vases that I've never and will never use. My first thought was to list the bowls and vases on Ebay and chuck the receivers, but then I thought, what the heck, let me search ebay and see if there are any on Ebay. Sure enough, they're both listed, one for a low price of $20 and one for $12. I'll undercut that by a few bucks and consider it gravy if they sell. Three of the Lenox/Mikasa things are listed by others too, for prices between $10 and $25. Two more are not currently listed, so I'll put them up and see what happens. I don't have a ton of experience with Ebay, but what do I have to lose? They've been collecting dust in my closet for years anyway, so a few more weeks won't matter.

I filled 3 garbage bags as well. Much of it was due to shredding documents that I can't even believe I still had. I'm talking every pay stub since I started working in 1991, and bank statements from our first account as a married couple, back in 1994. I have enough shred for a ticker tape parade.

I found another $.65 while cleaning, and I didn't spend any money all day.

On the docket tomorrow is some more cleaning and cooking. Kids don't go back to school until Tuesday, so another quiet day in store.

$158.22 to HELOC

January 27th, 2011 at 08:05 am

I put $158.22 toward my HELOC principle in January. I'm pretty excited about this, as I haven't made a payment toward this debt in years. The money came mostly from my 2011 $20 challenge, including the half .com and secondspin .com sales and some shopping rewards. Now the challenge is to find $150 every month! I've got a few more shopping rebates and half .com sales that should come in February, so that's a start.

$20 Challenge Deposits

January 22nd, 2011 at 05:06 am

I received the transfer from half .com sooner than expected. $98.62 into my account, for 17 books/cds/dvds that I sold earlier this month. Of that, I need to pay myself back $31.39 in shipping charges, leaving $67.23 to go to my $20 Challenge, and be transferred to the HELOC. I updated my sidebar with the new totals.

I also received a check for $11.92 from a shopping rewards program that I belong to. This credit, and several others pending, are from Christmas gifts I purchased, where I got a % back for shopping the sites through their link. I don't do a ton of online shopping, but when I do, I usually check that site out first. The check took a long time to come (I ordered on 12/10), but when it arrives it's like found money. So that, too, is going to the Challenge and the HELOC.

I'd be pretty excited if I could find an extra $100+ each month. Hopefully, I can keep this pace up...

Banner Mail Day!

January 18th, 2011 at 02:08 pm

Great mail day today. Got a $50 Staples rebate card for a cordless phone I bought for the holidays. Got a $25 check from the company's reward program. (Got a $50 Foot Locker gift certificate for $25. Received the check for the $25 difference today). Also received the check from Secondspin .com for $11.50 for the DVDs I sold earlier this month.

So $61.50 will go toward the HELOC, 11.50 will be added to the $20 challenge total, and the $25 will go back into the checking account to my "clothing" category. If only every day could be like this...

Found a penny / Errands

January 11th, 2011 at 10:55 am

Found my first change of 2011 - $.01 on the streets of New York City! I'll keep track of the money I find this year. I can only hope to be as successful at Baselle at this - she's a change magnet! I never seem to find any!

I went ahead and sold the cds to secondspin .com. 9 cds for a total of $47.25. I won't count it until I get paid, and will get them out in the mail today. Also sold 2 cds on half .com, along with a number of dvds.

Went to 2 different CVSs yesterday to take advantage of their ECB deals and they were sold out of so much. I hate that. At the second one, I managed to get some of what I want, still at a good deal, so that's better than nothing. I need to stop at the A&P today for a few things. It's going to be mobbed! We're supposed to get 8+ inches of snow tonight into tomorrow morning, which sends everyone into a panic. I for one am excited about the snow. I'll work from home, the kids will be off from school, so we'll have a no-spend pajama day. Woohoo!

I keep checking to see if my 1/15 pay stub is posted but it's not up yet. Curious to see what changes will take place with my take home pay, given changes in taxes and the like. Quiet day all around...

Extra newspapers

January 9th, 2011 at 07:04 pm

The coupons in the Sunday paper were so good, I actually went back to the 7-11 and bought 6 more. I only intended to get 3 @ $1.50 each, but they package them as "2/$2 - Double the Coupons!" so I picked up 6. Will more than get my money's worth. They have the $5 off Maalox (moneymaker at CVS, plus DH uses the stuff regularly), Ensure coupons (dad drinks 3/day and it is expensive!) and some others that I'll definitely make use of. I was dying to ask the guy what they do with their unsold papers at the end of the night, hoping I could convince him to save the inserts for me, but I didn't have the nerve. (I'm not a regular customer, and there were others in line behind me). I'll have to work up to it.

In book and dvd news...I listed close to 80 CDs on half .com and secondspin .com. I can sell 9 for $47.50. I'll put through the transaction tomorrow. I also sold 2 more dvds on half .com, so continuing to make progress there. Next step is to list a bunch of the kids' books. They don't typically do as well, but I'll get them up there anyway just in case.

Big plans for the week include getting to the post office, returning a dvd to FYE, and taking advantage of some deals at CVS and the grocery stores. I also have to take down the Christmas decorations. A little each night will be the approach there...

My First Half.com Deposit

January 8th, 2011 at 06:17 am

Woohoo! I received my first half.com deposit for a whopping $6.21! Of that $1.56 was for shipping costs, leaving me with a profit of $4.65. I included it in my $20 Challenge, and moved it immediately to pay down my HELOC. I'm tracking both on my sidebar. I'm so thrilled...that HELOC has been sitting out there untouched for years, and I'm tired of looking at it. My goal for the year is to throw anything I make through the challenge towards it.

Off to do my first load of laundry for the day!

Staying organized

January 4th, 2011 at 05:43 pm

I returned the modem to Cablevision (we switched to Verizon Triple Pay). They'll credit my account for the $100 equipment fee, which will leave me with a $17 credit. Unfortunately, that will take up to a month to receive. I'm also waiting on a $133 credit from Direct TV - same deal - up to 30 days.

I also went to the post office to mail 2 more DVDs, and sold 2 more which will go out tomorrow. This decluttering thing is working well for me. I'll have to find stuff to list on Ebay when the books and dvds dry up.

Bonus - Got a $3 coupon from Petsmart for my dog's birthday this month. Totally unexpected, so that's pretty cool. (Doesn't come close to covering the cost of this dog - he lives better than I do, but he's worth every cent!)

I'm slowly working through my financial to-do list. On the docket for tomorrow, along with another trip to the post office: Return a dvd to FYE that we ended up not giving as a gift, make sure my old long distance is cancelled as a result of the move to Verizon, and pickup RX from CVS and submit to FSA. It feels so great to be making progress...

Half . com and gift cards

January 3rd, 2011 at 05:46 pm

I sold another dvd on half .com today. That makes a total of 6 dvds for $24.25. I also had the sale at secondspin .com for another $14.50. Pretty good way to start the 2011 $20 challenge!

I got a $25 Lowes gift card for $15 in the mail today. My company offers a shopping program to employees (% of at various merchants). Each day they offer "outrageous offers", which are like black Friday deals every day. They're usually really good (like the $25 gift card for $15), but they're hard to get (e.g., open only to the first x hundred that claim them). In addition to this one, I got a $50 Best Buy credit for $25. My plan is to go for these deals throughout the year and use those credits / gift cards for birthday and Christmas gifts.

Other than that, I've been battling with our flexible spending provider at work. No matter how I fill out my claim form, there's always some problem. It's killing me. I have $411 left from my 2010 allocation, and I have until March 15th to use it up. Looks like new Rx sunglasses for me and contacts for hubby, along with visits to all of my medical professionals! Fortunately, I scaled way back this year, to only $600 for the year. I heard that next year, which will be a biggie (DS will need braces), they're lowering the total from $5,000/family to only $2,500. Bummer.

I also have to battle with Cablevision. We switched to FIOS, and haven't sent the modem back yet, and they tried to charge me a $100 equipment fee. Ouch. That will be going in the mail tomorrow! I'm NOT paying that...

So that's it. Just keeping things tracked and organized, and making slow and steady progress.

Starting the year off fresh

December 31st, 2010 at 04:08 pm

I'm rarin' to go for 2011. My new year actually started yesterday, when I got my year-end pay stub. I paid all of the bills and am starting 2011 completely fresh. Moving to a mostly cash / envelope system. Even though I pay off the cc bills each month, I'm always astounded at how high the balance is, so I figure using cash will make me more aware of what I'm spending.

I had two great accomplishments today. I went to the grocery store for this week's food. My goal was to be under $100, and I spent $92.35. It'll be a stretch to keep it at $100 going forward, because I'm benefitting from a lot of leftovers and stuff in the freezer, but I'll do my best.

My second great accomplishment was going through my old books and dvds. I am getting rid of 5 books through paperback swap .com (and two more on the way), I sold a dvd on 1/2 .com for $4.50, and sold 5 dvds through second spin .com for $14.50. So I'll mail all of those out Monday, will count $19 toward my 2011 $20 challenge, and will pay the $19 to my home equity line.

So I'm off to a good start. Quiet night at home tonight watching the ball drop with hubby and the kids. Then back at it tomorrow.

Happy New Year everyone!

$20 Challenge Challenge

January 26th, 2010 at 08:48 pm

A big component for my 2010 challenge was going to be the use of the Caregivers Marketplace rebates. If you buy certain items geared toward old/young people (e.g., diapers, denture products), you would get some money back for each item. I shop for my dad each month, and he drinks a ton of Ensure ($1 rebate each). He also uses Polident, which was another $.75 or so. I was making over $10/month on this last year.

Well Ensure and Polident are not participating for 2010. I'm totally bummed. That's $120 I'll have to make up some other way to meet my goal. Hmmm....

2 Feet in the Pool

January 11th, 2010 at 01:15 pm

Boy, there's no easing into the New Year. After the kids being off for 10 days and me spending a quiet week at work, I thought I could ease back into the craziness that is my life. No such luck, two feet in the pool!

I'm doing well with the spending plan so far. The one glitch is that we got the final bill from the landscaper from last fall and it's legitimate, but higher than I thought it would be. I really want to get off on the right foot with the Freedom Account, so I don't want to start borrowing money from one account to pay that bill. I'll have to think about that one a bit.

I received the checks for the two book sales, as well as the $5 Rite Aid rebate and a total of $11.50 in CVS ECBs, for a total of $53.66 to be added to my $20 Challenge, bringing me up to $94.00 so far this month. I have a few rebates to get in the mail over the next few days.

I need to call our auto insurance company. It looks like my rate is going up $150/year, and I'm not sure why (no tickets or accidents). I'm really disappointed about this, and am sure they'll say it's an across the board increase, but I'll make the call anyway.

I should be able to see my 1/15 pay stub any day now, which will give me an idea of what my new taxes and take home will be. I'll spend some time over the next day or so getting my checkbook in order and making sure everything's up to date.

That's about it for now...

First addition to the 2010 Challenge

January 3rd, 2010 at 05:27 pm

I went grocery shopping today, to CVS and ShopRite. I'm applying some of my coupon savings toward my 2010 challenge:

I had 3 CVS ECB coupons, for $10/$50, $10/$50, and $5/$25. I also had a $5 ECB coupon and a coupon for a free 6-pack of Ensure ($8.99). I planned it out really well, buying stuff I would buy anyway, matching sales and coupons. I picked up Ensure for my dad too, which he goes through like water.

At Shoprite, I turned in recyclables for $1.10, and used canvas grocery bags, which saved me $.25.

Grand total to Challenge: $40.34, which I've already transferred over to my HELOC. Off to a great start!

Closing out my 2009 Challenge...

December 23rd, 2009 at 08:24 pm

...with $158.62. Not bad for 2 1/2 months. I'm not anticipating anything else coming in over the next week, and if it does, I'll likely not get to the bank anyway.

So the 2010 challenge is on!

I'm setting my goal high at $100/month. I'll be off to a good start because I'm still waiting for $15.20 in rebates that I haven't yet received, I need to mail in a rebate for about $10, and I just sold 4 books for a net of $37.16. I also never opened up my additional checking account (need to find the best bonus going), and I never cashed in all of my coins (though I did raid it of all its quarters on the day I went to the laundromat). Nothing like getting off to a good start!

Regarding the books, for anyone that's interested in selling books online, it really pays to compare prices. I had 4 hardcover books to sell. If I sold all 4 to Cash4books I would have gotten $28.99. If I sold all 4 to Powells, I would have gotten $32.50. By comparing the price for each of the 4 books, I'm selling 2 to Cash4Books and 2 to Powells for a total of $37.16. That's a big difference! In one case, I received $9.50 instead of $3.23, and in another I got $12.98 instead of $9. It only takes a few minutes to run the ISBN #s through both sites, so definitely worth it.

I spent a bit more than I wanted to for Christmas. More than last year but less than the year before. I'm happy with what I got though, generally bought on sale, and things that I think were really wanted and would be used and enjoyed.

Grocery shopping tomorrow, dinner at a cousin's tomorrow night, then hosting Friday. If I don't get a chance to get back on I'd like to wish my blogger friends a peaceful, merry Christmas filled with love and laughter!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

November 26th, 2009 at 07:11 am

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I'm thankful to Lux for getting me back to blogging regularly. It's so helpful!

I took care of 3 of the to-dos from Tuesday. The other 4 will wait until tomorrow. More importantly, I got the house ready for my brother and his family, who arrived at 2:00am Wed morning.

I received $33.75 from Powells for the last book order. That brings the Challenge up to $143.62!

Have a great day everyone!

Challenge Update

November 19th, 2009 at 02:27 pm

I received 2 of the payments from Powells. Unfortunately it was $6.25 less than I thought (didn't meet the conditions, my bad), but it did total $22.75, which will be added to my challenge along with the $.03 I found on the street Smile.

I also went to the post office and mailed the box of books for the third Powells order, so I should see that in about 2 weeks.

I've amassed 29 credits on Paperback Swap, and 2 more on the way. I think the next step in my challenge will be to check out high value books for sale on cash 4 books and see if I can get any of them through paperback swap. It's a bit of a risk in that the paperback swap books take about 2 weeks to get here, and the prices on cash 4 books changes, but given that I'll have no money out of pocket it may be a risk worth taking.

My challenge is now up to $109.87, so my other next step is to open up a bank account with a sign-up bonus. I have an offer at Chase for $100, but before I sign up I'll check out a few others to see if there's anything better. I'll use this new account as my "Freedom Account" that Mary Hunt talks about.

All in all, a good day...

2 Days worth of stuff

November 12th, 2009 at 03:15 pm


Felt well enough to run a bunch of errands including:
1) Went to library to pay for lost cd ($20-grrr). I've searched high and low, but if I'll try again because if I find it within 30 days I'll get $15 back.

2) Went to Staples and bought some stuff for hubby using a Staples Rewards check (no out of pocket).

Also finished helping DD with her Social Studies project. I hate projects. Can't they just sit at the desks and do reading, writing, and arithmetic?!

And I did spend money. Bought tickets for the opening night of New Moon for the family and Grandma. We can't wait for it to hit the second run theater!

Feeling 95% back to normal. One more good night sleep ought to do it. Great challenge day!
1) Found $.34 ($.01 in Hoboken and $.33 all at once in NYC). That makes $.35 so far. I'll start tracking this on the side separately, but it will also be added in the challenge.
2) Mailed the last round of books to Powells and sold another $34.25 that I need to box up and get out in the mail tomorrow or Saturday. I am tickled pink with the way this is going!

I also got my $10 Kelloggs rebate. Won't go to my challenge, but will go to my checking acct Smile.

I saw a great Dave Ramsey show yesterday. I don't usually watch him, but the topic was unique things people were doing to make extra money (not just the 2nd job in retail kind of thing). The ideas were great, and so creative, ranging from giving drum lessons, donating plasma, driving around to look at foreclosed homes for insurance companies ($8/house!). I started watching halfway through...I wish I taped it. I didn't hear anything that I could do myself, but it sure gets the creative juices flowing.

And if nothing else good came of my being sick, I am FINALLY, FINALLY caught up on my laundry! My goal is to keep from getting so behind on that again.

Challenge Update

November 10th, 2009 at 02:42 pm

Feeling a little perkier today. Still tired, but was able to get up and around. Went to dad's house for a few hours to go through his mail, pay the bills, etc.

On the way home I stopped by the library to return the video we borrowed. While I was there, I inventoried the used books for sale. Took about 45 minutes, and I was able to find 6 books to sell for $6.50 (cost to me - $2). A net of $4.50 is not great, but I'll take it and add it to my challenge.

I also received a notice from Paypal that I received my Cash4Books payment of $16.61, so that brings my challenge to $74 and counting.


November 6th, 2009 at 02:35 pm

I FINALLY got out of the house today and got something accomplished!

I went back to the library to pick up the rest of those books from the book sale. The bad news is that of the 18 I was looking for, I could only find 13, and in the week and a half that passed since I initially priced them, Powell is no longer accepting 2 of them.

The good news is that I was still able to pick up 11 books which I can sell for $22.50 (cost to me = $5.75).

The other good news is that the reason I couldn't find the rest is that it seems like they got a boatload of new books in for the sale, so I'll have to stop back when I get more time and go through the new ones.

I completed a rebate for laundry detergent that will go out in the mail tomorrow.

I also scored huge on A&P doubling $1 coupons last week. Bought shaving gel for hubby for $.37, a box of Celestial Seasons tea for $.50, and a jar of Smart Balance peanut butter for $.99. If only I could always find deals this good...

We're having our first fire of the season tonight. It was in the high 40s all day, but felt so much colder! Our tradition in the winter is to light a fire on Friday nights and play board games with the kids (and a glass or two of wine!). It's a great way to kick off the weekend.

Successful Day

November 2nd, 2009 at 07:36 pm

Today was successful because I had both kids home sick and still managed to be productive!

Took DD to the doctor and he said her strep test came back negative - it's just a cold. They told DS the same thing before the overnight strep test came back positive, so we're waiting to see if we get a call tomorrow. Either way, she's not in terrible shape, and DS seems to be on the mend. Lux, I'm going to stock up on the Sambucol for next time (because there WILL be a next time).

Fortunately hubby was home for most of the day, so I was able to make a big dent in my to-do list. Did pretty much everything except:

1) Go to library to pick up the rest of the books to sell (Tues/Wed)
2) Call Verizon Wireless - I dropped a service last month and it's still showing up on my bill (Tues)

I also am almost caught up on my mound of laundry. At least what's left is all in baskets instead of covering the floor of my closet!

I made out great at the grocery store today. A&P had 4 "super coupons" where they'd double $1 coupons to $2 (normally they only double to $.99). I got Smart Balance butter spread, Smart Balance butter sticks, Danimals, and 2 Friendship sour creams for free, after using the coupons. I also had a coupon for a free Ronzoni pasta and a free roll of Marcal paper towels. I bought a bottle of laundry detergent that will be free after rebate and, as an unexpected bonus, I got a catalina coupon for $3 oyno from the detergent company. So I'll count that $3 toward my challenge. When all was said and done, I bought about $97 worth of groceries for $57. Not bad. I have 2 more sets of 4, so I'll have to get back there by Wednesday.

DS's birthday is Friday, so I need to do some shopping for him. Our anniversary is Thursday, but we went away in August to celebrate, so that should be low key. I need to start thinking about Christmas so it doesn't sneak up on me the way everything else has this year!

ETA: I had $4 left over from my allowance last week, so I put that toward my challenge. I'm up to $65.14 now.

Back to the Well

October 28th, 2009 at 08:43 am

On Monday, I blogged about hitting a local library's used book sale. I found 7 books that I could sell for $16.61 (-$3 to buy them) and I was quite pleased with myself.

Last night, while surfing the forums, I came across a post about selling used books to Powells Books online. I still had the list of all the ISBN #s that I wrote down from the book sale, so I jumped onto Powell's website and checked them out. Ready for this? Powells will buy 18 books for $43! Assuming that they're all hardcover, I'll have to pay $1 each, for a net of $25. The best part is that I already did the leg work of copying the ISBNs during my first go-round, and was really careful to identify the location of each book by shelf, so all I need to do is stop back there, pick them out and box them up! Assuming I can find them all, this book sale will have netted me over $38 toward my $20 challenge. Not too shabby! I'm not sure if I'll get over there tonight, but if not, tomorrow, Saturday at the latest.

My $13.75 rebate check from Caregivers Marketplace came in the mail yesterday, along with the rebate from Seattle's Best Coffee, so I added another $14.75 to my challenge.

Today's To-Dos:
1) Go to post office and mail books.
2) Drop off grocery gift cards

Feels like a Monday

October 27th, 2009 at 07:22 am

What a crummy day. 50 degrees, damp, rainy. I would have done anything to stay in bed for a few more hours, but I had to get the kids to school and me to work. Blah...

I had a terrific day yesterday. Ran all my errands. I closed out a checking account I had at Citibank and was shocked that neither the customer service person nor the teller asked me why I was closing it. I had no great reason, I just didn't need it anymore, but figured that they would be interested in why they were losing a customer. Guess not.

I also went to the post office and mailed some books. Another book was claimed last night, so that will have to go out tomorrow. Getting rid of these books is like a slow leak, but it's really adding up.

Speaking of adding up, I went to one of the local libraries that has an ongoing book sale, looking for books I could buy and resell on Cash4books .net. This is really hit or miss, because you never know how many books they're selling, if they're the right ones, etc. This particular one was pretty big (probably 150-200 books). I did ok. I found 7 books to sell for $16.61. It cost me $3 to buy them, and cash4books pays the shipping. So I'm netting $13.31 for my $20 challenge. Door to door it took me about 1 1/2 hours, which works out to $8.87/hr, tax free. I'll take it. They have to go to the post office tomorrow too. I'll also write myself a note on the calendar to go back again in 3 months.

Here's today's to-do list:
1) Transfer money from Paypal to checking
2) Check out times for New Moon on 11/20 and preorder tickets (we're rabid Twilight fans...)
3)Package up the books for the post office tomorrow.
4) Get checkbook / budget up to date.

That's it. It's a pretty small list because I'm so sluggish today that I know not much else will get done. So why put it down, not do it, and feel bad about it? Smile

Challenge Update

October 23rd, 2009 at 09:24 am

I received the full credit of $13.38 from Cash4books. It was deposited into my Paypal account today. Not bad. Took just over 2 weeks. So that's $13.38 more for the challenge, bringing me up to a whopping $49.39. I may have to scrounge around the house for some change to get it up to $50!

Two more books were claimed on paperback swap, so I'll need to add "going to the post office" on my list of to-dos tomorrow.

Hubby will be travelling over the next few weeks, so I plan to take a few vacation days while he's gone (to cover pickup and drop off of the kids, NOT to celebrate the fact that he's gone and have a wild party). I'm hoping to use the time to organize and declutter more of the house. Where to begin?

Another $11.75 for Challenge

October 22nd, 2009 at 07:28 pm

I was pretty productive today. Here goes:

(X) Sign kids up for Basketball and Indoor Soccer ($350 ouch).
(X) Update credit cards / budget spreadsheet.
(X) Contact Caregivers Marketplace re rebate
(X) Contact Staples re Easy Rewards
(X) Mail dad's credit card bill

I emailed Caregivers Marketplace because I was expecting a rebate of $13.75, but the check I got in the mail was for $11.75. The customer rep emailed me right back and told me that the $11.75 was for a previous rebate I submitted, and I'll be getting the $13.75 next week. Hot dog, that's another $11.75 to my $20 Challenge!

I also picked a penny up on the street today, so it's actually $11.76. (Baselle, I'm still amazed that you found $20 in a year. I work in NYC and was sure that I'd find a few cents each day. I've been looking for about a week now, and that penny is all I've seen).

I planned out my next attack for the $20 challenge. I like the book/dvd thing and most of the libraries in my county have used book sales. I went online and got the schedule for each one, and I'm planning on hitting them over the next few months. I'll write down the ISBNs, use the library computer to check right away what will/won't be accepted, then buy the ones I can resell. In most cases, hardcovers are $.50-$1, paperbacks are $.25-$.50 and DVDs are $1 or less. I'm hoping that I'll strike some gold (or silver at least). I'm not at all a garage sale person, but I bet the same approach would apply there, especially for DVDs.

Big day tomorrow, with lots to do. Here's the list in advance, so I can get cracking on it first thing:
( )Drop off gift cards
( )Go to bank
( )Close Citibank Checking account
( )Submit and mail credit card rewards form (there's about $450 there. What am I waiting for?!)
( )Finalize menu for Saturday and grocery shop
( )Laundry (DD needs uniform for Saturday, so this is a must!)

Class Trips, To-Dos and $11

October 20th, 2009 at 07:08 am

I'm inspired by everyone cranking through their "to-do" lists, so I'm going to try posting my top 5 to-dos on my blog to keep me accountable. So here they are:

1) Complete the paperwork to be reimbursed for my kids' dentist visits.

2) Deposit check at the bank and set up transfer to money market emergency fund.

3) Go to post office and mail paperback swap book.

4) Pickup grocery gift cards for school fundraiser.

5) Register for 2010 health benefits at work (it's open enrollment time!).

Let's see how I do...

OK, on to my class trip rant. I'm all for kids going on field trips to enrich whatever learning goes on in school. But it's costing me a fortune! Last week, 2 permission slips came home in the backpack for DD. The first is for them to see a Broadway show ($102), the other was for a teambuilding field trip ($34). She had one earlier in the year for Ellis Island ($32). DS already had a field trip for ($28). This was all unbudgeted (though you'd think after 6 years in the school, I'd realize that I get hit for stuff like this every year and plan for it. Lesson learned for next year!). Anyway, is it all really necessary, or can they sit in school and do reading, writing, and arithmetic?

$20 challenge update: I received notification from second spin .com that they accepted my order and deposited $11 in my paypal account. Not bad for getting rid of 4 dvds that we never would have watched again. The turnaround time was pretty quick - less than 2 weeks from order to payment. I'd definitely recommend them. They also take cds and video games. So that brings my $20 challenge up to a whopping $24.25! Woohoo!

Trip to the Post Office

October 8th, 2009 at 08:43 pm

I signed up for an account on cash4books and sold 6 books for a total of $12.99, plus a 3% Paypal Bonus = $13.38. I'll box them up and get them to the post office tomorrow, and add that to my $20 challenge when I get the money.

I also signed up for an account on second spin and sold 4 DVDs for a total of $11. The bummer is that I need to pay for shipping, which will eat into the profit a bit, but still better than nothing. The difference will go to the $20 challenge also.

Four people requested books that I posted on Paperback Swap. No money for these, but I'll get them out of my house, and I'll get credits for books that I want to buy in the future. Those will go out tomorrow as well.

And finally, I have a rebate check for $13.75 from the Caregivers Marketplace that will count toward the $20 Challenge. For anyone who doesn't know about Caregivers Marketplace, you should check it out. They give you rebates on all sorts of items that caregivers (both of babies and elderly) would need. For example, Diapers, Depends, Polident, Ensure, etc. You submit your receipts and they give you $ back for each (usually $.75-$1). They're prompt with the payments. This will be the third rebate I've filed with them.

I'm not planning to include coupon/rebate savings in my challenge unless it's something I would have bought anyway, or if I made a profit (e.g., free after rebate and a coupon). In this case, I bought stuff for my dad during my monthly shopping trip for him that he reimbursed me for. The rebate is gravy, so I'll count it.

I'll update my sidebar to keep track of my Challenge on the progress. The books could work. I had some success with that a few years ago. We'll see.

Tomorrow should be quiet. It's supposed to rain all day (no soccer practice? Fingers crossed). I have to return some clothes to Target. And of course, get to the post office!

$20 challenge update - Books & DVDs

October 7th, 2009 at 08:13 pm

I logged most of my books into Cash4books.net. I can sell 5 for about $10 (but one of them I want to read again before I sell, so I'm going to make good use of my long commute tomorrow, then process them tomorrow night).

I cross checked the books on ebookdrop.com, but they weren't buying any of them. At the same time, I logged any books I didn't sell onto paperbackswap.com. You don't get paid for these books (members swap them for free), but for every book of mine someone wants, I get a credit to get a book for free. Comes in handy to buy Christmas gifts, kids' summer reading lists, etc.).

Then, someone in the forums mentioned secondspin.com as an option for selling used dvds. I logged a bunch of our dvds in. Many were only getting $.25 or $.50, so I'll hold onto them, but quite a few were getting $2 and one got $5. Initially, I think I'll part with 4 (for $11) and see how smoothly it goes.

So I'm going to process these orders tomorrow night and assuming I get the checks, that will be an extra $20 or so toward my challenge. Hmmm, a 100% return in 1 day. Wish I could keep that up!

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