Begin Preparing Now For Christmas Expenses To Avoid Holiday Debt

Last week on Facebook, I saw a meme that said, “17 More Fridays Until Christmas!”

Yikes.  Can it really be true?

Unless you’re someone who revels in Christmas festivities and wishes it could be all year long, you likely are not giving much thought to Christmas now.  After all, it’s still summer, albeit the end of summer.

However, now is actually the perfect time to start planning for Christmas and the spending that goes with the holiday.

prepare for Christmas Expenses early

prepare for Christmas Expenses early

Christmas Spending – It’s Not Just Presents

Shoppers around the country said they were planning to spend an average of $929 for gifts the 2016 holiday season, up from $882 in 2015, according to the 32nd annual survey on holiday spending from the American Research Group, Inc.

Sure, presents eat up a sizeable portion of our Christmas spending, but they’re not the only extra expenses you’ll likely have in December.  Too often December expenses surprise us because we forget all of the little ways we spend money this month.  Make sure to consider:

  • Food: You may have a get together or two at your house, but you’ll also likely plan on attending several potlucks this month.  It’s not unusual for your grocery bill to be higher than normal for these reasons and because Christmas dinner itself is usually a bit fancier (and more expensive).
  • Parties: Oh, the holiday parties in December.  Maybe you’ll need to bring a bottle of wine to one party and a hostess gift to another.  All of the parties that you attend will spread the Christmas cheer. . .and thin out your wallet.
  • Tips: We all plan for gifts for our loved ones for the holiday season, but what we often forget is that we should tip those who help us in our lives.  Do your children have a daycare provider?  You’ll need to give her a sizeable tip or Christmas bonus.  There is also the mail carrier, hair dresser, your children’s teachers, the list goes on depending on how many service providers you have in your life.

How to Save For Christmas Ahead Of Time

December is likely one of your most expensive months of the year, but you can start planning now so that you have the cash upfront instead of being blind-sided by the expenses as many people are each December.  If money is tight, there are several strategies you can utilize to find the money you’ll need well before December is here.

Put Aside A Certain Amount Every Month

If you have some wiggle room in your budget, simply decide how much you want to spend in December for the holidays.  If you’re going to spend $900 and currently have nothing saved, you’ll need to put aside $300 for the next three months.

Sell Some Items Around The House

We all have items that we could part with to make some extra cash.  I have four outgrown kids’ bikes in my garage right now that I could sell, and I’m sure I could find some other items.  Declutter your house and make money for Christmas spending.

Have A Pantry Challenge

If you’re like most people, you have a bulging freezer and pantry.  Why not take a certain amount of time, say one week for each of the next three months, and just don’t go to the grocery store. Live off the food you already have in your house.  Take the money that you save from not grocery shopping and putting it toward your Christmas fund.

Curb Your Social Life 

Likewise, consider cutting down on your social life.  If you go out three times a week, can you cut that to one or two times a week?  Take the money that you would have spent going out that additional time each week and put it in a Christmas fund.  Instead of taking the family out to a movie at the theater, stay home and catch a movie on Netflix or Sling TV.  You’ve just saved at least $20 that can go to your Christmas fund.

Use Cash Back Sites Like Swagbucks & Ibotta

Do you have a Swagbucks account?  If so, now is the time to start using it again.  If not, sign up for one now! For every 2,200 Swagbucks that you earn, you can get a $25 Amazon gift card.  If you start now, you could easily get $50 to $75 in Amazon gift cards.

Another great cash back site to use is Ibotta.  The app has a ton of rebates available, and you can get cash back via PayPal and Venmo for buying things you are buying at the grocery store already anyway. Just find the rebates for the things you buy and add them to your account. Then scan your receipt once you’re done shopping and you’ll get the cash credited to your account in no time.

What steps are you taking to prepare now for Christmas spending?  

Source: biblemoneymatters.com

Is The Middle Class In The Same Financial Class As Low Income Earners?

You may have heard of the Economides.  They are a family of 7 who made a name for themselves thanks to their penny pinching ways.  They’ve been able to get ahead financially and save money even though they were a one income family for most of their marriage and even though they had 5 children who are now grown.

Now, the Economides are teaching others how to be financially responsible and save for their futures.  I recently saw them interviewed on U.S. News Money, and what struck me was something that Annette Economides said at the end of the interview (at minute 8:52):

“The other thing that I think is a common mistake that Americans are making today is debt.  The middle class is really almost no different than the low income because they don’t own anything.  They have no accumulated wealth.  They have car payments, they have house payments, they have credit card payments, they have school loans.  There is no accumulated wealth.  The only difference between the middle class today and the low income is that they have a degree or they have a better career or they have a better looking car or house.  So they earn more money, but they’re not accumulating.  Their net worth is about zero.  They are three to six months away from homelessness if they lose their job.”

Avoid The Debt TrapAre You Middle Class But Saddled With Debt?

What Annette Economides said rang true for me.  I have a Master’s and my husband has a Ph.D.  My husband has about $30k in student loan debt, and 14 years after I completed my Master’s and graduated with a little over $20k in student loan debt, I’m less than $3k away from paying it off.

We’ve set a goal to get my student loan paid off by the end of summer, but the irony that I’m no longer even using my degree (I was a teacher for 10 years but quit 3 years ago) is not lost on us.  The degree was earned, I worked in that field, quit, and now, 3 years after I quit the job, the loan will finally be paid off.

We’re actually in a better position than most because our car is paid for and we don’t yet own a home.  However, we do have those pesky student loans and one credit card to pay off.  We’ve set aside $800 a month to pay down debt (which is more than the minimum we have to pay), and we funnel as much extra money on the debt as we can.  We are probably averaging $1,000 a month on debt repayment.

Essentially, that is $1,000 a month that we don’t have to accumulate wealth as Annette Economides says.  That’s money that can’t go in our retirement fund or our children’s college fund.  It’s money that can’t be used for a house payment or to build up a 6 to 12 month emergency fund.

Basically, that debt reduces our income by $1,000 a month, and without factoring in that money, we are indeed at the low income level of earning.

Take One Action To Prevent This Situation

Steve and Annette Economides offer a solution to this problem at the end of the interview:

“I would say today, be careful about that debt that you’re taking on.  It’s one thing to have debt for one thing, but by the time you take on debt for five different things, you’re up to your eyeballs.  So one of our mantras is to keep our overhead low.  So we would never take on payments.  What we would do is save the cash in advance and buy the thing for cash.  We remodeled two kitchens, paid cash for our cars, and paid cash for all of our vacations.  Basically we determine what money we have, and then we determine what we’re going to buy.  It’s not the other way around.  One of the things we say is that debt destroys and frugality frees.  I wish more Americans would realize that.”

Are you middle class but feel like you’re living a low income life because of your debt burden?

Source: biblemoneymatters.com

4 Ways To Slay The Dining Out Dragon  

Ten years ago, when my husband and I only had one child, we ate out. . .a lot.  Every Friday night we ate out, but dining out two or three other times during the week was not unusual.

We spent hundreds of dollars every month at restaurants.

Our experience was not unique.  “According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2014, the average American household spent $2,787 on restaurant meals and takeout, compared to $3,971 on groceries.  But in 2015, the average amount spent on restaurants and takeout jumped $221 to $3,008” (Fox Business).

save money by eating at home

save money by eating at home

Now days, we have three children with growing appetites.  Taking the entire family out to eat can easily run us $75 to $100, depending on the restaurant.  So, we rarely eat out.  Usually, we eat out less than a handful of times per year.

If you’re trying, like us, to keep more money in your wallet and slay the dining out dragon, here are some ideas that may help you:

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Quick Fix Meals.)  Another idea is to make double of any meal that you cook; eat one that night and pop the other one in the freezer.  Then, you’ll have your own fast food in the freezer.  Simply pull out a meal to defrost in the morning, and cook it up at night.

Make Meal Time Easy

make meal time easy

make meal time easyWeeknight meals don’t have to be complicated.  Pick simple meals for busy weeknights.  Bacon, eggs, and toast (our favorite dinner—breakfast for dinner), comes together quickly.

Hearty salads don’t take long to prepare if you have the ingredients prepped ahead of time.  Grilled cheese or homemade burritos can be made quickly in a pinch.

For inspiration, check out one of my favorite cookbooks, The Weeknight Dinner Cookbook.  Online, you can find great recipes on Food Network—try 30 Minute Dinner Recipes.

Buy Some Convenience Foods

Even with the best laid plans of making meals ahead and trying to make quick meals, you may still find yourself empty handed some nights.  For nights like these, you’ll want to have some convenience foods in your pantry and freezer.  Yes, convenience meals cost more, but you’re still saving money compared to what you’d pay to eat out.

Buy Some Comfort Foods

Many times, years ago, I wanted to eat out because I was tired and stressed.  I wanted comfort foods.  We all have days like this.  Rather than turning to dining out, create or buy your own comfort food.  One of our favorites is Chicken Pot Pie, but I also buy frozen egg rolls for my kids when they’re craving Chinese.  True, these aren’t the healthiest foods, but somedays we just “need” comfort foods.  If you allow a time and place for these foods at home, you’ll be more easily able to resist the desire to eat out.

How many times a week do you eat out?  How do you combat the desire to eat out more frequently?

Source: biblemoneymatters.com

7 Ways To Save Money On Your Pets

We have two cats in our home.  In fact, I’ve had cats, and sometimes dogs, as pets my entire life.  I’m not alone.

Approximately “70-80 million dogs and 74-96 million cats are owned in the United States. Approximately 37-47% of all households in the United States have a dog, and 30-37% have a cat” (ASPCA).

While pets can enrich your life, they can also cost a small fortune if you’re not careful.  However, there are steps you can take to have a pet without ruining the budget.

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Review Journal).

If you want a pet but don’t have  a lot of extra money, consider smaller pets like fish, hamsters, or a bird.

Keep The Pet At A Healthy Weight

Each year when I bring one of my cats in for his annual check-up, he has gained a pound.  This has happened over the last three years, so he’s now quite obese.  This year, the vet told me to only feed the cat ½ cup of food once a day.  Otherwise, he warned me, the cat was likely to get diabetes and would require daily insulin shots.  That’s not something I want, both for the expense and the oh, so fun aspect of chasing a cat around with a needle.  Just like humans, cats that maintain a healthy weight are more likely to live longer with fewer medical issues.

Buy Pet Supplies At Big Box Stores

You can get almost everything cheaper at stores like Costco or Sam’s Club.  We buy 40 pound bags of cat litter at a ridiculously low price at Costco.  We buy our cat food in bulk on Amazon.

By shopping this way instead of just picking up what we need at the pet store or the grocery store, we save a significant amount of money.

Create Your Own Pet Insurance

Pet insurance can be expensive, and just like other insurances, it rarely covers the entire price of a procedure.  Add in exclusions, and you may find that you’re breaking even between what pet insurance will cover and what you’re paying in premiums and deductibles.

A better way is to create your own pet insurance by setting aside a certain amount for pet care every month from the moment you bring your pet home.  Set aside $50 a month, and in four years, you’ll have $2,400 saved for any expensive procedure your cat or dog may need.  Continue to do this throughout your pets life, and by the time they reach 10 years old, when many medical issues crop up, you’ll have $6,000 saved.

Decide How Much Care You Can Afford

Another important step you can take is to decide how much you’ll spend on your pet.  With today’s medical advances in pet care, treating your pet for any number of conditions is possible, if you have the money and are willing to spend it.

Groom Your Pet Yourself

As much as possible, groom your pet yourself.  We routinely brush our cats, cut out matted fur, and clip their nails.  By doing these tasks ourselves, we easily save over $100 a year, if not more.

Owning a pet is a privilege and a delight.  However, if you take the right steps, it doesn’t have to be expensive.

Do you own a pet?  What do you do to reduce your pet care costs?

Source: biblemoneymatters.com

Balancing Biblical Financial Principles Of Contentment, Hard Work, Stewardship And Generosity

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As I’ve studied personal finance in the Bible, I’ve found four main financial principles that God emphasizes, repeatedly.

Those principles are contentment, hard work, stewardship, and generosity. As I’ve written about these principles and discussed them with others I’ve discovered that balance is absolutely essential. When we overemphasize any of these four principles it can be detrimental to how we are honoring God through our finances.

To get a better idea of what I’m saying, let’s look at what happens when you focus too much on just one of these principles and downplay the rest.

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biblemoneymatters.com

5 Strategies To Keep Your Budget In Check This Holiday Season

Ah, December.  The season of holiday parties, family togetherness, and gratitude for Jesus coming to save us all.  These are the blessings of the month.

But there is another side of the last month of the year.

There is stress, both emotional and financial, as you feel obligated to do more than the limited number of hours in your day allows and as you may feel the need to spend more than you have to avoid disappointing people.  However, with a few simple strategies, you can bring joy back to the holiday season and maintain your budget.

Christmas Budget

Christmas Budget

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more than you can afford based on what you think they will give you.

One year, my husband and I, just newlyweds and broke, bought what we could afford for my family.  However, once we saw all of the presents my mom got us, we worried that we hadn’t gotten enough.  We were out buying more presents on December 24th.  Imagine how sick we felt the next day when we realized half of the presents my mom had gotten for us were items she had purchased at the dollar store just to make it look like she had gotten us many presents.  We spent three months paying off those last-minute gifts we purchased when we were playing the comparison game.  Don’t make the mistake we did.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the Christmas frenzy.  Instead of doing so, stick to your financial plan and enjoy the season rather than giving into the emotional and financial stress.

How do you stick to your budget during the holiday season?

Source: biblemoneymatters.com

How We Have Saved Almost $1600 Dollars A Year On Our Monthly Bills

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A few weeks ago I wrote a post that called “How To Save Money On Just About All Your Regular Monthly Bills“, where I went in depth talking about ways that you could save on all of your regular bills, from your utility bills to entertainment costs to insurance premiums.  We gave over 25 ways to save on your regular monthly costs.

While I had already put a lot of the tips I shared in the post into practice, I knew there were some areas where we could definitely improve.

We were still paying far too much for our home phone and internet services, and we also were paying for redundant services that we already had through another provider.  In addition we’ve obtained new homeowner’s and auto insurance, which also saved us a ton of money.

Over the past couple of months we’ve been able to cut back and save in a number of areas.

When all is said and done we’ve been able to save almost  $1600 a year just by making a few changes.  Those changes didn’t mean a significant drop in services enjoyed, just more money in our pockets.

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Netflix subscription we still were paying for but barely using.  While we love Netflix, and like receiving movies in the mail, after looking at it logically we realized Netflix wasn’t a cost efficient entertainment option for us.  We were only getting a couple of movies a month and we could save money just by getting them at our local Redbox for $1.

We had also considered doing Netflix streaming at one point, but Amazon Prime now also has a streaming service which is just as good or better – and we’re paying for Amazon Prime already. That service is only $79/year or about $6.58/month, and we get other extras along with that subscription like free 2 day shipping.  So we cut the Netflix and saved about $95.88/year.

Dropping Our Landline For VOIP Service

I’ve been trying to get my wife to drop the home phone for some time, but she’s always insisted that she liked having a landline that she could talk on and didn’t want to use only cell phone service.  Add to that the fact that our home security system needed a landline to function correctly, and we’ve never even considered stopping the landline service.  We recently, however, discovered that there are other options for security service that don’t require a landline, so that meant if we could find a suitable replacement for the home phone we could cancel our $43/month phone bill.

Shortly thereafter I discovered a VOIP home phone service called Ooma that allows you to have a home phone with no costs beyond taxes and 911 service charges.  After buying the initial equipment at $140, we’ll only be paying $4.53/month for our home phone service.   So we’ll be saving money about 4 months after canceling our landline.  I set up our Ooma Telo home phone device a couple of weeks ago now and after an initial hiccup with some dropped phone calls (which apparently was due to our Internet provider not Ooma), it’s been working great for the past couple of weeks.  So canceling our home phone means we could also get rid of that $43/month phone bill and save $321.64 the first year, and $461.64 each additional year (after factoring in equipment and new service costs).

Save Hundreds By Asking For A Discount

Another place that we saved money this year was in the services that we didn’t drop.  Within the past couple of weeks I’ve called both Internet and TV providers and gotten reductions in our monthly bills just by asking.

Getting A Discount On TV Service

First, I called our provider for TV service, Dish Network.  We had a 2 year contract with Dish Network and that initial contract expired this past month.  While I could have cancelled the service and probably saved more by switching to another provider, I didn’t want to deal with the hassle right now as we’re hoping to be moving in the next few months. When we move we’ll switch to a new provider and get a new customer discount.   In the meantime I just called and asked to get a discount of some sort so that we could stay with the service.

I’ve called Dish Network and succeeded in getting a slight rate reduction in the past, and this time it was about the same story. I called and was able to get a $5 drop in my monthly rate for 12 months after saying we were considering canceling service.  So if we do end up staying with them that will mean a savings of $60/year.

Getting A Discount On Internet Service

After we dropped our landline (see above), we kept our DSL internet service after checking around and finding that while service elsewhere might be slightly cheaper, we’d have to either buy or lease a new modem almost negating any savings we might see.  Before our landline cancellation went through I called and confirmed our Internet service would continue uninterrupted, and while I was on the line I asked to see if they could find a way to reduce my rate.  After checking around the rep said that we currently had a special “price for life” guarantee on our account, but that if we dropped that feature we’d end up paying like $4 or $5 less per month for service.

After we ported our phone number to Ooma and our phone was cancelled I called back and asked about getting that rate reduction on our monthly internet service.

This time the rep was even more helpful, and she was able to find a deal for long time customers that meant our rate would go from $46.99/month to $24.99/month for one year, and we’d get the same level of service that we currently have.  I could have increased our speed as well for the same price, but our modem wasn’t compatible and I didn’t want to buy or lease a new one.  I went ahead with the deal and that means we’ll enjoy savings 0f $263.90/year, just by asking!

Save Hundreds By Getting Quotes On New Services

The other big area that we’ve saved money in the past few months was by shopping around and getting quotes on new homeowners and auto insurance.  While I thought that my premiums were a bit high, especially on my homeowners insurance, I didn’t know just how high they were.  In the past I had saved over $1000 on my auto insurance, and I was about to find similar savings on our homeowner’s policy.

Getting New Insurance Coverage

We shopped around for new homeowner’s insurance using the quote engine that I have on this site.  After getting quotes from about 5 or 6 companies we weren’t seeing the rates that we wanted. After working with a final insurance broker we found through the quote engine, she was able to find us a savings of almost $844/year when we switched our homeowner’s and auto policies. Not only that but our level of coverage would increase!  To use the quote tracker spreadsheet that we used and to get your own quote check out the full homeowner’s insurance switching article.

This isn’t the first time we’ve saved on insurance.  A few years ago we saved almost $1100 by switching!

Almost $1600 In Yearly Savings

After our blitz of cost cutting we’ve been able to save our household $1585.42/year, or $132.12/month.  That’s a nice chunk of change that could be put to better use elsewhere.  What would you use that money for? For us right now we’re putting all savings towards a house down payment.

What did it take to get these savings?  Nothing more than a little bit of time and research, and then a few phone calls.  We dropped some services, asked for discounts on others and got quotes for new service for still others.  The small amount of work that it took was well worth it in the end.

How about you, have you tried cutting your monthly bills recently? Share your successes in the comments!

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Source: biblemoneymatters.com

Is Your Desire To Save Money Costing You Money?

If you’re on a tight budget, you may do anything you can think of to save money and make your hard earned dollars stretch further.

While there are plenty of strategies to save money, one technique that has gained favor in recent years, especially with the super coupon phase, is to spend money to save money.  However, if taken too far, this technique may actually cost you money.

I went through a time when I spent money to save money, thinking I was being a smart shopper.

I wasn’t, though.  Here’s how this technique cost me money and may be costing you money, too:

Is your desire to save money costing you money?

Is your desire to save money costing you money?

Stock Up On Great Deals At A Low Price

This is what all smart shoppers do, right?  They stock up when things are at rock bottom prices so that they never pay full price for anything.  While this is a good technique, too many people carry this too far and buy more than they need.

For instance, when one of my children was a baby, I found a great diaper sale.  I stocked up on diapers, making multiple trips to the store.  I had diapers to last for a few months.  However, my child grew faster than I expected, and I ended up with two boxes of diapers she couldn’t use because she didn’t fit in them any longer.  I did sell them on a mom e-mail group, so the investment wasn’t a total loss, but I still lost money because I stocked up too much.

Buying Items Months In Advance

Similarly, some people buy items months in advance when they see a low price.  While this is a good practice in general, if your money is very tight, you’re tying up money for something you don’t need right now.  This could cause a budget crunch.

We homeschool, and my daughter loves a certain series of history books.  There are 30 books in the series, and we have slowly bought her them on an as-needed basis.  However, just a few days ago, I was able to snag a Cyber Monday deal and get the books at 66% off their regular selling price.  Sure, I grabbed a good deal, and now my daughter has all the books in the series.  She will use these for the rest of our homeschool year.

But, because I bought the remaining 14 books all at once instead of a few at a time as I had previously done, I now don’t have that money available in my budget.  I’ll be honest—I probably shouldn’t have bought the deal because there wasn’t room in our budget for it.  Now, I have to cut some other areas, which will be difficult.

Often It’s Cheaper Not To Buy Anything

Another frugal principle is to wait a certain amount of time to buy something.  This principle is often forgotten, though, when people are in a rush to get a good deal and “save” money.

What some people fail to realize is that it’s often cheaper to not buy anything.

For instance, last Black Friday, I went to the fabric store and got some fabric at rock bottom prices.  My intention was to sew some historical costumes for my daughters for Christmas.  Only, my December was busy, and I didn’t get to it.

This year I also had good intentions, but once again, I don’t think I’ll get to it.  Even though I got the fabric for a great deal, I honestly wasted my money because I haven’t yet done anything with the fabric.  It would have been better if I just hadn’t bought anything.

As you can see, I’m one of those who likes to spend to save money.  Sometimes that works, but often, like the fabric purchase, it doesn’t.  I’m trying to become more of a minimalist and recognize that often snagging the good deal isn’t really saving at all.

Do you struggle with spending money to save money?  If you do spend money to save money, are there any purchases that you regret?

Source: biblemoneymatters.com

Having A Baby Can Be A Good Excuse To Simplify And Declutter

For the past few months we’ve been preparing ourselves for the exciting event of becoming parents for the second time.  We’ve been having baby showers, buying all the baby related items we needed and just stocking up.

Through all this we realized that even before we started buying all of this baby stuff that we were starting to run out of room, and we really had a lot of stuff in the house that we no longer needed.

While we certainly aren’t hoarders (1.4 million Americans DO suffer from chronic hoarding & clutter.), and we weren’t trapped and killed by our piles of stuff like this unfortunate fellow, we didn’t want to have our home stuffed to the gills with things we didn’t want or need.

We decided to simplify, and to declutter.

clutter free home

clutter free home

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10 Reasons To Get Rid Of Your Stuff“.

Our Criteria For Getting Rid Of Stuff

  • Are we currently using this item?
  • Are we likely to use it in the future?
  • Is it sentimental?
  • Even if we’re using it, does it take up more space than it is worth?

More often than not we’re not really using the item anymore, and in many cases we’re not even sure why we saved it.  Old shoes, old magazines and CDs we hadn’t listened to in years went out the door.  Old computer motherboards and computer cables? Gone.

Of course there are the exceptions – things that I will always refuse to get rid of – like my guitars and my old baseball card collection.

How To Get Rid Of Things When You Declutter

There are a lot of ways to get rid of things when you declutter your house.   You can sell it, donate it, give it away or  junk it.

Sell The Item

When we’re deciding what we’re going to do with an item we go through a mental inventory to decide on if the item is actually worth anything.  If it is, we try to sell the item.  Our favorite places to sell things are online.  They include:

We recently sold a couple of old rugs, and some old electronics we had in storage on Craigslist.  In the end we made a couple of hundred dollars on the items. Money for baby stuff!

My wife has found she has a knack for selling things like old baby clothes and accessories on Facebook via mommy pages and garage sale groups for our local area.  Usually she’ll list more popular items on there and we can have the items sold within a few days.  We sold our son’s old baby clothes that we had been saving for several hundred dollars that way.

We’ve also sold old technology items using electronics buying sites.  We recently had an old Samsung Galaxy phone to get rid of.  We checked prices at a variety of sites, including the ones listed above, and ended up finding the best price with Decluttr.com.  We were able to make some money on a phone we weren’t using, and someone else will get a like new Galaxy phone for a low price.

If selling our stuff online doesn’t work, and if we have enough items, we will sometimes have a garage sale.

The problem with garage sales is that far too often you put in more effort to have the garage sale than you actually make in selling the items.   Another alternative is to ask family or friends if they’re having a garage sale anytime soon.  If they are, ask them if you can bring your items over to sell.  We did this last year and sold several larger ticket items – and had fun hanging out with friends all day!

Donate The Item

If we don’t believe we’ll get enough money for the item to make selling it worth our while, quite often we’ll donate the item to a local charity.  We have a goodwill store pretty close to our house, and quite often we end up donating the items there.  Remember, you can often get a tax deduction if you donate items!

Some options for donating items:

For some more options on places to donate your things, check out this great post: Where To Donate All Your Unwanted Stuff.

Give The Item Away

If you can’t sell the item, and charities don’t take your item as a donation, you can always give the item away for free.  Place a free ad on Craigslist offering the item for free – or leave a post on a site like Freecycle.org.  Usually you can find a taker for just about any item you’re getting rid of.

Junk The Item

If no one will take your items, even for free, you can always just dump them.    If the items are too big to throw in your own garbage receptacle, you can use one of these options:

  • 1800GotJunk.com
  • Your local dump
  • Some communities have a “large trash item” day once a year where they’ll pick up your larger items.

Get Rid Of Your Excess Items – You’ll Be Glad You Did

When we started getting rid of things from our house, at first it was a bit painful.  We were both coming up with excuses about how we would use items in the future, about how certain items meant so much to us, and how we could continue to store items because we wouldn’t want to re-buy them again in the future.

In the end we realized that we were making a lot of rationalizations, and that things we weren’t currently using were probably going to remain unused for the foreseeable future.  It just made sense to get rid of all these things that were weighing us down.

After we started getting rid of things it felt really good to be rid of all the excess baggage.  It was a like a weight lifted off of our shoulders, and we felt so much more free!  We have free space in the house!

So if you’re thinking about getting rid of your things – just do it!   It may be hard at first, but it will get easier, and the freedom you’ll feel by having de-clutterfied will be priceless!

Have you recently tried decluttering your house?  Was it hard to get rid of things – even the things you weren’t using anymore?  Why do you think that “things” are able to get such a hold on our lives?

Source: biblemoneymatters.com