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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?

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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.
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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....