Installment 6 of 6
This is the very last installment of 31 Essential Frugal and Wise Actions (sorry that it did not get posted during the Longest Month of the Year.) I hope these 31 suggestions help you get 2017 underway with a terrific start!
- Sell unused items on eBay or Craigslist – liquidate your unused, unwanted possessions for cash! Two such avenues are eBay and Craigslist. Note that selling items on either venue takes time and effort – be sure the potential proceeds are worth your time and effort.
Be aware that both eBay and Craigslist have their downsides. Your eBay sales proceeds are greatly eroded by eBay and PayPal fees. Shipping costs may also be a factor. It also takes time to pack and ship your merchandise. With Craigslist, be very careful about whom you deal with. If possible, meet at a public place to complete the transaction. Craigslist is a good alternative way for large items too expensive or bulky for shipping. For either sale venue, you will need to take photos and create your listing. Before listing, check out the competition – listings for similar items as well as sales history. This will give you some idea of how to price and describe your offering..
I recently had a good experience selling printer ink cartridges on eBay – both unopened and used. My home office printer died and of, course, the new printer uses a different type of cartridge. However, the ink cartridge proceeds covered half the cost of the new printer!
- Declutter, Donate and Ditch – take arms against your sea of stuff! Go room by room and assess the situation. What items do you use regularly or really want to hang on to? For everything else, separate it into 4 categories (1) things valuable enough they are worth selling on eBay or Craigslist (2) things worth donating or giving away – be sure to get a donation receipt for tax records (3) things not good enough to donate but may have some value, such as building materials or scrap metal – put them out at the curb and wait for someone to pick them up (4) things that simply need to go into the trash or recycling. Decluttering has an intangible benefit as well; you’ll feel much better about your surroundings.
- Make sure your credit cards are working hard for you – this recommendation applies only to those who pay credit card balances in full each and every month. Otherwise, paying off credit card debt should be among your highest priorities this year. That being said, you should be able to get, at minimum:
- 3% rebates on groceries
- 2% rebates for gas
- 2% rebates on department stores
- 1 ½% rebates on everything else
- No annual fees, or an annual fee that more than pays for itself with increased rewards
- No foreign transaction fees
OK, it takes more than one card to get all these features. But the combination of just 2 cards: the American Express Blue Cash card and either the Capital One Quicksilver Visa or the Chase Freedom Unlimited Visa will get you there. For more information on credit card deals, check out the FW&W posting My Favorite Things Part I or visit the NerdWallet credit card site. P.S. don’t forget about bonus sign-up offers!
- Spend less by shopping less – limiting time spent shopping can reduce spending and maximize your savings. This holds true whether visiting brick and mortar stores or shopping online. If shopping is a recreational activity, perhaps it’s time to find other diversions. When you do shop, have a list and a plan. Resist ‘off-the-list’ impulse purchases. Some people go as far as declaring a spend-free day. Or weekend. Or week. Or even a month! Give it a try.
- Find fun things to do on the cheap – you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a lot of fun. Pack a picnic rather than eating out. Hold a game night with friends. Go walking or hiking. Watch a classic movie on a DVD borrowed from the library. Look for free and discounted cultural events in your community. (for the Philadelphia area, check out phillyfun guide funsavers) You get the picture. Create your own list of fun activities to do this year, on the cheap.
© 2017 Paul J Reimold