Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pay Yourself to Clear Out Your Junk

There is often a dilemma when you go to clear out your old belongings. You see this 1943 whatever and you wonder silently is this worth something? You read or see on TV people finding things at a garage sale that are enormously more valuable than the original owner thinks. Well no one wants to give away the store so you need a place you can check real world prices on the items that are in question.

Guess what, there is such a place. It takes the pricing from recent eBay sales and matches them to your items. This helps you to see do I really want to give that 1943 gizmo away or do I want to sell it instead.

When the "clearing out" urge strikes go to www.itaggit.com and search for your items, the site will give you a value and show pictures too of recent similar eBay transactions.

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Boost Your Knowledge

There are free online courses available. Some courses may require you to purchase books or download some software but they are tuition-free. Yale, MIT and Stanford are among many universities offering no-cost knowledge. Visit www.education-portal.com then find the category "Free Online Courses" for a list of offerings by topic.

This is a great thing to do when you are inside during the winter months and can't get outside like you are used to doing.

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Do It Yourself or Not?

If you have a project you are considering taking on, you might want to check with some experts to determine if this is something you can handle or not.

You can get estimates of the difference in cost for a home improvement project at www.diyornot.com

Once you know the differences in cost you can determine if you want to take the time, energy and chance a mistake for the difference in cost.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Living Above Your Means

When speaking to friends, family members, and even clients about their finances, I usually find one common theme – they are living above their means. Living above your means seems to come from a particular mindset, shared by many, that is detrimental to our finances.

For some reason, we Americans have a sense of entitlement. We feel as though we deserve everything, no, the very best of everything, simply because we were born! Even with the move toward frugal living, I find that this sense of entitlement is very strong! Read the entire article at Not Made of Money.

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Revamping Your Budget For a New Year

Every January I go over the budget and consider each category and how this new year might affect it. Gas is a lot higher this year so I knew we needed a bit more in that category and utility rates have increased according to a notice we received.

Don't get stuck short at the end of the month ... give your budget a review. Here's a few ideas to get you moving in that direction from BeingFrugal.net.

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Torn Garden Bags = Savings!

Go to your big home centers and find out what they do with their torn bags of garden amendments.

Many of them will discount them substantially to get rid of them. Your best chance to get the torn merchandise is at the end of a weekend shopping day.

Make sure you bring duct tape to close them and tarp to keep your car clean.

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2 Easy Water Saving Suggestions

With the cost of water going up, it has become important to look for ways to save water whenever we can.

Here are 2 easy ideas that will give you a good return:

1. Save on each flush of your toilet - by putting a plastic bottle full of water, weighted with pebbles, in your tank. This causes each flush to take less water because you aren't having to replace the water that stays in the tank within the plastic bottle.

2. Stop that dripping faucet - 60 drips / minute will waste over 6,000 gallons of water per year, according to the US Geological Survey.

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Make Your Own Premium Dirt

Those "enriched" or premium bags of top soil boost flower growth but usually at a "premium price."

Why not make your own bags instead of paying the higher prices? You can do this, by taking 1 part of dirt or topsoil mix and adding it to two parts of compost (made from shredded leaves and branches), often this can be obtained for free from municipal recycling centers.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Cut Your Heating Bill

Lower your thermostat in the winter.  For each degree you drop, you cut your heating bill by 3%.

To feel more comfortable with the lower temperatures, place pans of water near heating outlets or radiators.  Water-filled air retains heat better, and the added humidity reduces itching and dry skin.

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Use 60% Less Energy

Use up to 60% less energy by boiling water in a microwave rather than on an electric stovetop. 

When you do need to use the stovetop make sure the pot or pan, that you are using, fully covers the heating element.

A 6" pan on an 8" element translates to an energy waste of 40%.

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Smartphones Sharing Your Secrets

Your smartphone may be sharing your secrets. Using 'spyware' that sells on the Internet for as little as $15, other people can hijack your phone. This allows them to hear your calls; see your text messages, e-mails, photographs and files; and track your location through constant GPS updates.

Your phone can even be turned into a surreptitious microphone. 'When the phone is off — in a pocket, purse or on a table — it can remotely be turned on so conversations around the phone can be heard,' says Tim Wilcox, owner of International Investigators Inc., an Indianapolis security firm. Read the entire article.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

3 Food Saving Ideas

1.  Don't buy canned food at the grocery store until at least half of the ones on your shelf are gone.  This helps you to use the cans at the back of the shelf that you otherwise wouldn't see.

2.  Keep condiments that are given to you with fast food orders.  Don't take more than they give you but save the unused condiments they add up over time.

3.  If you buy popcorn at the movies the bigger portion, which is $6.00 and is the best buy is the one to get.  If you would normally buy 4 small bags, which are $4.00 each.  You will save $10.00 buy splitting the big container instead.

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Car Problems and Repair Costs

Find out any problems or complaints on the car you are thinking of purchasing.  Just go to www.carcomplaints.com

There you will find what owners have to say about their cars.  Very easy to navigate site. 

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Idling Your Car Costs

Did you know just 10 seconds of idling your car's engine uses as much gas as restarting it?  Two minutes of idling will use as much fuel as it takes to drive a mile.  So turn your engine off, stop idling and save money.

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Finding Cheap Gas

You can compare prices of gas at a variety of websites.  Checkout these sites:

www.gasbuddy.com, www.gaspricewatch.com, www.autos.msn.com and www.everyday/gasstations.aspx

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Tired of Early Flights?

If predawn flights are getting tiresome, check out sleep-and-park packages that combine a night at an airport hotel, a shuttle to the terminal and parking at the hotel for 7 to 14 days.  These deals often cost about the same as parking at the airport.

www.parksleepfly.com, stay123.com and parkingaccess.com are good places to start.

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Drive for Free

You can drive for free by signing up at www.autodriveaway.com for cars they need to have relocated.  There's no rental charge, only a $350.00 refundable deposit and the first tank of gas is free.

Another option is to call rental car companies and find out if they have any one-way deals to relocate their vehicles.

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"Simplicity of living, if deliberately chosen, implies a compassionate approach to life. It means that we are choosing to live our daily lives with some degree of conscious appreciation of the condition of the rest of the world." Duane Elgin

"Do what is good with your own hands, so that you might earn something to give to the needy." Ephesians 4:28