Monday Money: Make Money From Your Closet {Like $250 in Two Hours}

How To Make Money From Your Closet {Like $250 in Two Hours!!}

Source: Make Money From Your Closet {Like $250 in Two Hours}

You can make money in the most unexpected places.

Sometimes it is the couch cushions. Sometimes it is the cup holders of your car. And sometimes it is your closet.

Here is a brief summary of how I was able to make $250 from my closet in under two hours.

How To Make Money From Your Closet

1. Clean out all pockets of coats, blazers, and vests.

We’ve all done it. Throw a $10 bill and lip gloss in a coat pocket for a quick run to the store. And now the change from that $10 bill is still in your coat pocket three months later.

Go through and check all the pockets of your winter/fall/spring coats, blazers or vests. At the same time, take out any lip glosses, tissues, candy wrappers, etc. and put them in the right place.

Time: 15 minutes Net: $7.50

2. Clean out your “other” purses.

Here is another place where money likes to hide…in our “other” purses. I’m notorious for leaving five or ten dollars in a clutch I used for a Girls Night Out. Take a few minutes and go through each of your purses and pick out any lose change or random bills.

Time: 15 Minutes Net: $5.78

3. Find all unredeemed gift cards in your wallet or “other” places in your house.

We all have gift cards in our house (wallet, envelope on the fridge, in a basket) that we received as a gift, reward or promotion. And then they sit, unused, like wasted money.

Get on the computer and check the balance of each unredeemed gift cards. (Instructions are usually on the back of the cards.) Write the balance on the card with a sharpie marker. Then make the following decision:

If your gift card is VISA, American Express, or MasterCard, make the commitment to use it immediately or load the amount to your Amazon account. (Because we all shop at Amazon.)

If you have a specific store or restaurant gift card and it is a business you like, make the commitment to use it in the next 30 days.

If you have a specific store or restaurant gift card and it is for a business you don’t like, sell it.

There are several places on online where you can sell your unredeemed gift cards for up 95% of the retail value. So while you may “lose” a little money, you will receive “hard cash” that you can use for something else.

Here are just a few online gift card companies that I trust: Raise.com, GiftCardGranny.com

Time: 30 minutes Net: $96.43

4. Sell Your Clothes.

We only wear 30% of our clothes. So why not sell part of that 70% and make a few dollars?Consignment stores buy gently used in-style clothing for an average of 10 – 25% of the retail value, depending on the age, condition, and style of the item.

There are two types of consignment stores: local and online.

Local Consignment Stores

Advantages: You will know instantly if you will be receiving money for your clothes or not. There is no delay in payment. May accept clothing that will be declined online. For example, a local store may be known for having an awesome business attire selection and will accept your dress suits, while the online company will not.

Disadvantages: Have to drive to multiple locations to sell your stuff. Local stores pay less than online consignment because local stores have more overhead.

Online Consignment Stores

Advantages: Sell a bunch of clothes at once. This is awesome if you have an eclectic group of clothing (a few jeans, a dress shirt, a couple sweaters and a formal dress). Each site will outline what brands they are more apt to accept. Make sure to review those standards. Pay more than local consignment stores.

Disadvantages: Can take over a month to get paid. It takes a week to receive the “selling bag” for your clothes. The review process can take up to a month and then it usually takes five business days to receive payment.

Time: 15 minutes
Net: $76.94

5. Donate.

Unfortunately, you can’t sell all of your clothes. But luckily, you can still make a little money for the clothes you donate, through a tax deduction.

While you can’t deduct the full retail amount of your clothing purchase, you can deduct a “fair market value” which is usually 25% of the retail price. Also, you have to “donate” your items to a qualified organization – which is basically tax exempt status from the IRS.

Plus, you’ll also need to do some documentation, including:

  • The number of items and the condition they’re in.
  • The dates you received or bought the items — if you don’t know exact dates, use approximate dates.
  • The original purchase prices.
  • A quick snapshot or video of the items you’re donating — this will substantiate your contribution if questions ever arise. Keep the visual record with your tax records.
  • Signed and dated receipts from the organization receiving your donations — when Goodwill asks you, “Do you want a receipt?” say “yes.”

Still a little unsure? Here is a great breakdown on How Old Stuff Can Save You Big Tax Dollars.

Does this step take a little bit of time? Sure. But, if you have a smart phone and the Evernote app, you should be able to get it done in under 30 minutes. I was able to donate two garbage bags full of clothes and was able to get a tax deduction worth…

Time: 30 minutes Net: $64.00

So there you go! In under two hours, I was able to make money from my closet. Like $250 worth!! That’s over $125 per hour. Now, I wonder what other areas of my house have hidden cash just waiting to be found. Any ideas?

Read More Here: Make Money From Your Closet {Like $250 in Two Hours}

Sunday Saving: How To Save Money On Holiday Travel

6 TRICKS FOR SAVING ON HOLIDAY TRAVEL

Budget travel hacks to try while booking your holiday getaways.

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With the holiday season sneaking up on us, it’s officially time to start making winter travel plans. Whether you’re jet setting off for Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s, traveling this time of the year is always a crowded and chaotic feat. To avoid holiday price increases, crowded travel time and overbooked hotels, we talked to Cheryl Rosner​, the CEO of travel site Stayful.com, for the best budget tips. Here, six key ways to make your holiday vacation more affordable:

1) Don’t book too far in advance. According to Rosner, “people like to book their travel plans way too far in advance, which sometimes leads to overpaying for something you could’ve gotten a discount on. For example, Stayful allows you to only book 30 days out and the hotels are willing to give you a better price because they are looking to fill the void of the unsold rooms.”

2) Be flexible with your vacation dates. Rosner recommends traveling during the work week, when airfare prices are lower.

3) Book your trip on a Tuesday. Tuesday is the best day of the week for saving money on booking hotels, travel and flights, says Rosner.

4) Opt for a city getaway. “People are leaving the big cities during the holiday time. Think NYC, Boston, Chicago. These cities are full of holiday cheer and if you stay on Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day, you are most likely to get a better deal because they are looking to fill the unsold rooms,” Rosner advises.

5) Try more of the off-beat tourist attractions. “While you’ll want to see all the tourist attraction in the cities, visiting smaller destinations and less traffic-y sites could help to reduce the cost of your trip. Pretend to be a local. Ask around (concierge at the hotel) for things that the locals do.”

6) Include a Sunday night stay. Most travelers book their trips for Friday and Saturday night stays, so there’s more availability and inexpensive hotel rooms on Sunday nights.

Source: How To Save Money On Holiday Travel – Budget Travel Hacks

Saturday Shopping: Saving on holiday shopping and nine other money stories you may have missed this week

Saving on holiday shopping and nine other money stories you may have missed this week


Black Friday looms and at least one company is closing its doors for the day

MarketWatch rounded up 10 of the most interesting money stories published over the past week that readers might have overlooked.

Holiday shopping bargains
Yes, the children have Halloween on their minds, but you are probably already quite worried about fulfilling their holiday wishes. Then again, your biggest concern may be coming up with thoughtful presents to give to your parents. That’s an annual nightmare for many people.

Catey Hill provided a detailed plan for maximizing savings on holiday purchases on the “day you want to do it least.”

What about holiday stocks?
As we continue the traditional annual holiday-spending orgy, we might as well try to make some money at the same time. Tonya Garcia discussed a new survey indicating that the average holiday spending by U.S. consumers will increase by 12.5% this year, with the biggest gain in home and holiday furnishings. This underlines the theme that the furniture industry is growing faster than the overall economy.

Resisting Black Friday
Not everyone is content to follow the herd of “sheeple” and scramble like mad to get their share of bargains on Black Friday.

Barbara Kollmeyer covered outdoor retailer REI’s plan not only to close on Black Friday but to make it impossible to place orders on its website. Jerry Stritzke, the company’s CEO, said the day after Thanksgiving would be reserved to go hiking.

Dreaded accounting problems
We saw on Oct. 21, when shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. VRX, -15.90% dropped 19% after the company was accused by a short seller of incorrectly reporting revenue, how quickly investors can run away from a stock. Valeant’s free-fall has continued, as the company admitted its relationship with Philidor, a specialty-pharmacy company, get cut off by benefits providers. Valeant then severed its ties with Philidor.

Shares of Valeant were down 29% from a month earlier through Thursday’s close at $111.50.

Nobody can blame investors’ natural instinct to bravely run away when a company has any hint of accounting problems. Another fine example, discussed by Tomi Kilgore, is Marvell Technology Group Ltd.’s MRVL, -0.06% 45% decline this year amid accounting-related announcements.

Read More Here: Saving on holiday shopping and nine other money stories you may have missed this week – MarketWatch

Thursday Tools: How to Save for a Home When All Your Money Is Going Toward Rent

How to Save for a Home When All Your Money Is Going Toward Rent

Source: How to Save for a Home When All Your Money Is Going Toward Rent

save for a home

Renters everywhere are feeling the constraints of rising rents. Higher rents erode your ability to save the cash you need to buy a home. Your living situation becomes a Catch-22: the longer you rent, the bigger percentage of your discretionary income you may need to save to offset rent increases.

Saving up to buy a home is no easy feat. You typically need at least a minimum of $20,000 to cover a down payment plus closing costs. That’s because you’ll need at least a 3.5% down payment to qualify for a mortgage and closing costs can be around $7,000 to $10,000 (about 2% to 3% of the purchase price). This goes without saying, but the higher the home price, the more funds you will need for the down payment.

(Keep in mind, you’ll also need a good credit score to qualify for the best mortgage rates. You can get your credit ready to buy a home by checking your free annual credit reports at AnnualCreditReport.com and looking at your credit scores for free each month on Credit.com.)

Picture this scenario: you’re diligently putting away at least 15% of your gross monthly income to buy a home in the near future. If your income is $8,333 per month ($100,000 a year) either from you or a spouse or combined, you would be saving $15,000 per year (or $1,250 a month) to meet that 15% mark.

Savings Tip: A 15% home savings rate is a figure you may want to aim for if you make at least $60,000 a year and are looking to buy a house within the next two years. In some markets, however, your savings rate may need to be higher to be consistent with the cost of living in that area.

As demand for housing remains strong, monthly rents are subject to change commensurate with what the market will bear. Let’s say your rent payment is $2,200 per month now, but rises to $2,500 due to housing market changes. You would need to find a way to recover the $300 increase if that money was formerly going into your savings fund. How do you do it?

How to Keep Rent Increases From Ruining Your Plan

Taking no action and using the money you would be saving for a home to cover the higher rent payment will lengthen your homebuying trajectory as your savings rate diminishes. With the rent now at $2,500 and your annual income still at $100,000, your savings rate, as a consequence of losing that $300, falls to 11.4% a year.

You may still get you a home, but will perhaps have to look for one in a lower price range or a different neighborhood. Alternately, you can lengthen your timeframe for making your purchase. You can also cut expenses to offset the rent increase. Here are a few ways to possibly do so:

  1. Cut an expense equal to the rent increase. Sounds obvious, but if you can find another spending area to cut back on (Daily Starbucks? A rarely-used gym membership? Online shopping?) rather than diverting the home savings to cover your higher rent, you’ll be able to stay on track.
  2. Look for a new place with a lower rental obligation. The process might be difficult, but could be worth it for the greater good of buying a home in the near future.
  3. Move in with family to aggressively save for your new house. Going from $2,200 a month in rent to $0 can super-accelerate your homebuying timeline.
  4. Get a roommate to help pay the rent and offset the increase. 
  5. Lock in your rental amount with a lease, keeping in mind that a lease binds you to the property. This contract, however, might not be such a bad thing if the term of the lease is consistent with your savings and homebuying plan.
  6. Consider buying a home sooner, if you’re financially able to do so. Many 401(k) and retirement fund accounts allow for special privilege borrowing provisions to buy a primary residence. If you have a slush fund in your 401(k), this could be a good option and the money comes out of your paycheck pre-tax.

Wednesday Whatever: Last Minute Halloween Costumes

If you’re reading this, it’s too late.

Let’s face it, you were most likely living your best life in the real world so Halloween costume shopping wasn’t exactly high on your to-do list; it happens.  Now it’s 2 hours before that costume party all your friends are going to and you don’t have anything to wear.  Don’t be that one weirdo in regular clothes. Instead, try out one of these cheeky last-minute costume ideas so you can join in on the fun. Focusing on minimal effort and maximum convenience, I’ve put together a list of 4 easy-to-DIY costumes that require little more than the arts & crafts skills of a 4th grader and hopefully some items you already own!

Now get to it – you’ve got to leave for the party soon…

Ghost

Groundbreaking, right? Purely for the massive amount of real-life LOL’s this will bring to the party, consider this your top choice. This costume basically needs no explanation. With nothing more than a $10 flat sheet (or the one from your bed can work) and a pair of scissors, you’ve got a cheeky QUICK costume. Unfortunately, ghosts don’t have noses so you’ll be the annoying mouth-breather all night but a small price to pay for maximum laugh potential. For the extra time-strapped (or just supremely lazy), you can also forgo the scissors and opt for a sharpie – just draw on the face. And for the extra ambitious last-minute Halloween partygoer, stop by your local convenience store and pick up a pumpkin basket to complete your holiday look.

Mummy

Consider this a more advanced last-minute costume for those of you responsible enough to have more than one extra roll of toilet paper lying around.  Start by outfitting yourself in all white. (It’ll help disguise the gaps in your toilet paper rolling technique and serve as a good base for when someone inevitably decides to rip off your costume.) The next step may require some assistance from a friend because you’ll need to wrap yourself from head to toe in toilet paper, tucking in, taping, or tying the ends of each roll as you go along. And…that’s it. If you want to ensure that your costume makes it through the night, consider making this costume out of elastic bandage wraps. Then again, you probably don’t care that much if you’re here in the first place.

Zombie

So this costume is all about the makeup. If you have a girlfriend or access to makeup, you’ve saved yourself an important step. First start with some old clothes then shred, rip, and tear them up a little. Then take fake blood or rep lipstick and strategically cover your face and clothes with it. I’d suggest drawing some blood stains around your mouth to get the full effect. Bonus points if you can paint your face white to achieve that realistic “undead” look.

Cowboy

This option is for the guy with a more extensive wardrobe. Things you’ll need to pull this off: plaid shirt, blue denim, brown boots, bandana. Tuck a plaid shirt into your jeans and tie the bandana “shoot em up”-style around the front of your neck. If you happen to have an old western hat or large rodeo belt buckle lying around, great! Add that to your costume for maximum effect. If not, try to play yourself off as a cowboy anyway and if that doesn’t work, you can always say you’re a farmer.

Tuesday Tips: 7 Ways to Cut Down on Holiday Gift-Giving

Putting a halt to endless gift exchanges with family and friends will save you time, money and stress.

A small gift in a man's hand.

Setting a realistic budget before you shop and asking about alternatives to gift-giving can help you save money on holiday shopping this year.

As the holiday gift-giving season approaches, we often are filled with a sense of dread: How will we ever find the perfect gift for everyone on our list, the time to finish our shopping and the money to pay for all the stuff we need to buy?

Some Americans are saving money and sanity by changing their gift-giving traditions and, in some cases, eliminating gift-giving entirely.

“I just gave up altogether,” says Sandy Smith, a human resources professional in New York City who blogs at Yes, I Am Cheap. Several years ago, after realizing she had blown a substantial bonus on gifts people had long forgotten, she told her parents, brother and sister that she was no longer going to buy Christmas gifts for them, and she didn’t want them to buy her anything, either.

Instead, she would take the family out to dinner at her expense. Her brother has since joined her in financing the outing, which the family looks forward to every year.

“We’ve enjoyed going out and hanging out and enjoying different cultures and cuisines,” she says. The first year she took the family to an authentic Chinese restaurant in New York City’s Chinatown. “It was such an exotic experience for my parents, and they loved it,” she says. “We’ve been introducing them to different foods all over the city. They’ve had a good time traveling the world through food.”

Holiday traditions are important to many people, but you may find that your relatives are happy to quit exchanging gifts, especially as the family grows.

“It’s all about time, money and energy,” says Stefanie O’Connell, founder of the personal finance blog The Broke and Beautiful Life. “I think that the gift-giving process is a toll on all three of those things.”

She suggested to her four siblings several years ago that they quit giving each other holiday gifts and concentrate on their parents and older relatives. Not only did she save money, she discovered that she had more time available to spend with her family since she wasn’t out shopping. Her friends draw names for a Secret Santa exchange and they have the added bonus of enjoying the get-together where they exchange the gifts.

Some families find it easy to limit gift-giving among adults but still want to make their children’s holidays magical. But buying fewer things may be better for your children, says Andrea Deckard, a mother of three boys in Cincinnati and author at Savings Lifestyle.

She and her husband decided several years ago that they would buy each of their three boys only four gifts every year: Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read. They coordinate with grandparents and other relatives, so that if someone else in the family is buying one of the boys a jacket, the parents will get him socks or underwear, for example.

“We want to make sure they’re not getting too much junk,” Deckard says. How do the kids react to receiving fewer gifts? “It’s not as much of an issue as some people might think it is,” she says, adding that her sons, who are now 8, 11 and 16, have learned from the experience. “Our kids now realize that it’s stuff and we don’t really need all this stuff this time of year.”

Getting off the gift-giving merry-go-round starts with a frank discussion with friends and family.

Smith, whose blog chronicles her journey of paying off $120,000 in debt from student loans and a failed business venture, has been vocal in recent years about her less stuff, more time philosophy. She believes it frees her friends from worrying about whether they need to buy her something because she’s buying them something.

“It turns into this crazy thing where they’re not really giving you a gift because they want to but because it’s a pre-emptive strike,” Smith says. “When you put it out there, it makes things easier for everyone. … I think a lot of people want to go back to simpler things. I don’t think people will protest much.”

Here are seven ways to cut down on holiday gift-giving, while saving you time, money and stress:

Set a realistic budget, and then figure out how to stay within it. Many people buy gifts without calculating their total expenditures and are surprised when the bills arrive. “Getting honest about what those numbers look like is a way to get grounded,” O’Connell says. “You don’t want to be paying your Christmas bills when spring comes.”

Talk to your significant other about alternatives. O’Connell and her boyfriend put the money they would have spent on gifts toward trips they take together. Other couples may prefer a night at the movies or a romantic weekend at home.

Suggest to relatives and friends that you end or limit gift exchanges. Some families may draw names for gift exchange, do a Secret Santa drawing, set dollar limits or end gift-giving entirely. Others, like Smith’s family, may do something together instead of exchanging gifts. “It’s been better for my relationship with my family,” Smith says. “The experiences have been so much better than the gifts that I was giving.”

Coordinate gift-giving for kids with other friends and relatives. Deckard’s family members keep in touch to make an effort to limit the gifts they buy to things the children actually want or need. If your child wants something expensive, all the relatives might go in and buy that one gift, rather than buying individual gifts.

Opt out of office gift exchanges. Bake cookies for co-workers or write each a note about what you appreciate. O’Connell, who works in theater in addition to writing, gave up participating when she noticed how much some co-workers worried over the gift exchange. “The Secret Santa became this financial stressor that people weren’t finding joy in,” she says.

Ask your relatives if they would prefer alternatives to gifts. Many older people don’t want more things. Grandma may have all the sweaters she needs, but she may really want you to come over with dinner one evening or clean her gutters. Or, perhaps all the relatives can go in together and buy a year of housecleaning for the grandparents. Young families may appreciate an evening of babysitting, and teens may really enjoy an outing alone with a relative.

Bring edible gifts to parties. O’Connell comes from a big Ukrainian family where guests are expected to bring gifts. “You don’t come anywhere empty-handed,” O’Connell says. But a $5 bottle of wine is considered gift enough, she says. Wine, chocolate, cookies or other food items don’t cost much and won’t end up on a shelf collecting dust.