Month: May 2014

Have a Yard Sale (102/365)

You’ve gone through your clutter. You’ve sold off a lot of valuable individual items that you don’t want any more. You’ve also eliminated some of your collections by selling them off in bulk. But you’re still left with a giant pile of stuff. What do you do with the remaining miscellany? Have a yard sale, …

Reader Mailbag: Climbing Children

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Career change conundrum 2. Teaching children chess 3. Home alarms 4. Developing a savings plan 5. Financial advice media 6. 401(k) as mortgage savings tool 7. …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Sell Bulk Entertainment Items at a Secondhand Entertainment Store (101/365)

Yesterday, I talked about the value of selling individually valuable items using internet auction sites and classified listings. If you know something has significant individual value, you’re better off selling it individually, preferably directly to a buyer rather than through a middleman. However, a lot of the items we’ll find cluttering up our house have …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Passing Sickness Edition

On Saturday evening, my wife fell really ill. She was feverish and barely wanted to crawl out of bed. By Sunday afternoon, she felt fine. On Sunday afternoon, my youngest son fell really ill. He was feverish and barely wanted to move. By Monday afternoon, he felt fine. On Monday afternoon, I felt really ill. …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Sell Specific and Individually Valuable Items on eBay (100/365)

When you start going through your clutter, you’re going to find items of value that you simply realize that you don’t use any more. Video games. Movies. Painting supplies. Tools. Clothing. The list is as endless as the variety of things people buy. Once you’ve pulled out all of those unused items, the question then …

Is Renting a Car Cheaper for a Long Road Trip?

Monica wrote in with a question that I thought deserved a detailed answer. I’m going to be driving from northern Minnesota to Dallas, Texas for a week this summer, then returning home. I own a 2008 Toyota Corolla with 34,000 miles on it. I’m trying to figure out if it’s more cost effective to rent …

Realize that Clutter Itself Is a Giant Money Sink (99/365)

Whenever I see a cluttered mess, I see lost money. Think about what a cluttered shelf or a closet or a drawer really contains. It holds items that you don’t really have an appropriate storage place for. It usually contains at least some items that have been forgotten by the person using the cluttered space, …

Reader Mailbag: Easter Egg Hunting

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. Which loan to pay down? 2. Ending naptime 3. Roth or other investment? 4. “Credit” cards as windfall 5. What’s our next financial plan? 6. Moving …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Cut Dryer Sheets in Half and Reuse Them (98/365)

Dryer sheets do a pretty good job of reducing static cling on items in the dryer, plus they can add a bit of freshness to the smell of clothes and other articles. Still, the cost of these sheets adds up. For “name brand” sheets, you’re going to be paying about five cents per sheet. For …

Evaluating Savings the Frugal Way

Let’s say a reputable friend came up to you on the street and said, “If you make this one simple change in your life and follow it every day, I’ll give you $365 in one year’s time.” You’d probably be interested in that offer. $365 is $365, after all. That’s a healthy paycheck for a …

Use Household Items You Already Have to Remove Stains (97/365)

There are a lot of products out there that are marketed to make you believe that you need these items to remove stains in your carpet or your clothing. The truth is that you can achieve almost identical effects by using things you already have in your home. I’ve cleaned countless carpet stains (three young …

Ten Pieces of Inspiration #68

Each week, I highlight ten things each week that inspired me to greater financial, personal, and professional success. Hopefully, they will inspire you as well. I spent significant time this week finding quotes on the value of work for a presentation I may be giving in a few weeks. I intended to just use these …

Learn Basic Sewing Skills (96/365)

You lose a button off of your favorite shirt. What do you do? Your son receives a pair of pants where the length and fit is perfect but the waist is just too loose. What do you do? You accidentally rip the hem out of a really nice shirt, leaving it looking raggy. What do …

How We Plan for a Summer Vacation

A few days ago, I mentioned that my family and I are going on a summer vacation to South Dakota and eastern Wyoming, where we intend to see Badlands National Park, Black Hills National Forest, Devil’s Tower, Mount Rushmore, and several other things in the area. Several people wrote to me after that post asking …

Categories: Getting Started, Travel

Don’t Wash Clothes That Aren’t Dirty (95/365)

At the end of the day, when I’m changing clothes and getting ready for bed, one thing that I always do is examine the shirt and pants I’ve just removed. I look them over for obvious signs of dirt or stains or other indications that a cleaning is in order. I give the items a …

Reader Mailbag: That Old Familiar Song

What’s inside? Here are the questions answered in today’s reader mailbag, boiled down to five word summaries. Click on the number to jump straight down to the question. 1. SAHM finding work again 2. Spouse’s collection habits 3. Prenup concerns 4. Prenup concerns, part two 5. Anger management? 6. Thinking about value of money 7. …

Categories: Reader Mailbag

Don’t Buy Clothes Simply for the Emotional Rush (94/365)

This is one of those useful general tactics that spreads far beyond shopping for clothes and extends to almost anything you might buy. Never, ever buy items just for the emotional rush of doing so or the “high” of having something new. There was a period of about two years in my life where I …

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Volunteerism Edition

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, spring’s arrival means that my volunteerism goals are starting to kick into shape. My goal for the year is 200 hours of community service, which breaks down to about four hours a week. This week, my volunteer hours are going to top off at somewhere around ten, making …

Categories: Morning Roundup

Sell or Donate Clothes You No Longer Wear (93/365)

Over time, our life situation changes. We change jobs or even change careers. We gain some weight or perhaps lose some weight. Our complexion changes, as does our hair color. Our color preferences and tastes change as well. Eventually, you’re going to wind up with items of clothing that you don’t wear. A few days …