Living the Dream

This is how you get what you want…

How to be smart about our money, and surviving these tough times. What do we do? March 4, 2009

(Image from icanhascheezeburger.com)

It’s no secret that we are all in an economic crunch. People are losing jobs left and right, while the price of gas keeps increasing. Stocks are definitely not the answer … and it seems like keeping your money in the bank is a bit risky as well… What are we to do?

In an attempt to be more economy / investment savvy, I have taken it upon myself to do some research. How do I save money? Where do I invest my money?

After surfing the web… I was a bit discouraged. There doesn’t seem to be a safe place for our money right now. Not only that, I’m not a finance / investment guru. I do not understand industry specific lingo – so half of the blogs / studies I read about went over my head.

THANK GOODNESS for this next website…
http://erictheanalyst.com is a great website to learn about investment and to really break down our economic status

Eric states that his goal is to explore investment ideas, discuss the current economy – in terms that even I can understand… and most of all … he will be giving out tips on how to save money, where to invest and even answer your questions! It’s a great deal for a $10 monthly subscription…. for $10 you will get access to all of Eric’s articles, a bi-weekly!! newsletter… and insight into what is really going on!

I know we are all strapped for money right now.. but just think of your $10 monthly subscription as one of your investments. I am sure that you will not be disappointed.

Check back often on our next 10 ways to save money blog … coming up in a few days 🙂

In the mean time …. check out  http://erictheanalyst.com

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How to hold a successful yard sale July 30, 2008

Filed under: Archives,How to... — mammyflop @ 11:55 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

“One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure”

aka a perfect time for a yard sale.

We have all heard of this proverb but rarely believe it. How could anyone else want my old shower curtain, or my old art supplies… You would be surprised. If you find yourself swimming in a house full of ”trash”, and want to do a nice purging of the living space a yard sale or garage sale is the way to go.

Although you won’t be able to go into retirement from your yard sale funds, it’s always nice to have a little extra spending / redecorating cash. Yard sales are a great way to motivate yourself to sort through those boxes and clean house. Don’t be too generous to the trash can when cleaning, you would be amazed at some of the things people want to buy… Think about it, you wanted that ”trash” at one point in time.

So next time you find yourself frustrated with the lack of space or annoyed because your house is full of junk, get everyone together to have a yard sale. This world is divided into those who like yard sales and those who think it’s a waste of time. My belief is that if you are going to get rid of the stuff, might as well make an event out of it. Who knows how much spending cash you can make in one morning!

Materials you need:

– Price Stickers

-Tape

-Change – coins and cash

-Calculator

-Mirror ( if you have clothing)

-Music

-Pen / Paper

-Poster Board / Boxes / Cardboard

– Tables

– Plastic Bags

– Lots of stuff to sell!

1- Before you can even get started with planning the ultimate yard sale – make sure you have enough stuff. Go through all your stuff and see what items are able to be resold. General rule of thumb is that even if you have used it – if it’s in good condition, and has some life left in it — you can sell it. *Make sure that your item is functional – last thing you want to do is sell a broken item *

2- Organize your items by category /price. For example, put all your books together and price them accordingly… Organization is key to a great yard sale!

3- Price your items individually. With the exclusion of grouped items ( books, pens/ pencils, old CDs, DVDs) make sure you price each item separately. Try to put a sticker on each item rather than grouping items and then having a price chart. Individual pricing makes is a lot easier to calculate your items, and less likely that people will try to trick you with the wrong pricing. As far as books and grouped items go, put them all in a box / container according to value – and label the box.

4- Pick a date. Make sure you avoid holiday weekends because a lot of people will already have previous plans, and miss your fabulous yard sale! Figure out what day you want to have it and also what time you want to start. Yard sales usually do better if you start early.. this is speaking from personal experience. *Not to mention, starting earlier means you can get out of the blazing heat faster* If you don’t want early birds, make sure you write that on your sign.. otherwise you may find people peering in while you are still setting up.

5- Know your demographic. When having a yard sale it’s important to know your ”client”…just like any other business. Knowing your client is important so you can have a good idea of what kind of items will sell, and for what price.

6- Check with your city, local government and / or homeowner’s association to see if there are any sign posting guidelines. Depending on your area, you may have to obtain a permit before opening up shop.

7- Start advertising! Make sure you give yourself enough time to put an ad in the local newspaper. Try posting an ad onto online communities and other classified websites. Good websites to post on are www.craigslist.org or www.pennysaverusa.com.

8-Time to make your signs! Don’t underestimate the power of the street signs. I am always surprised by the number of people who stumble upon my yard sales as a result of my bright, eye-catching signs. Signs are a great way to catch those yard sale shoppers. When making the signs try to use large, bold lettering and make sure you put an arrow in the right direction. Don’t put too much writing on the signs- you don’t want to cause any accidents from people trying to read the tiny writing. Write down the necessary info: YARD SALE, location, date, time. If you have the luxury to post the signs up a day or two early — do it! Just make sure you have the date on the sign. At the latest- try to post the signs up early, early morning on the day of your sale. Again, the longer your sign is up – the more people will see it. After posting your sign – drive by the signs to make sure they are visible. *If you don’t have the time / artistic skill to make bright, bold posters- generate an online poster. There are various websites with Yard Sale Sign generators and here are some: www.garagesalesource.com and yardsalesearch.com.

*A great sign making tip from the “YARDSALEQUEEN” at www.yardsalequeen.com is to use paper bags as signs. This is such a great idea! Get a hold of paper grocery bags- write your information on the blank side ( or post your poster onto the bag) – add rocks to the bottom – staple bag shut and you instantly have a great sign!! SUCH A GREAT IDEA ( easier clean up too!)

9- Day of your sale – make sure you stock up on plastic bags. Having plastic bags to put your sold items in will make the shopping experience that much more pleasant for the customer.

10- Get lots of change. Depending on how you price your items, you will need to have lots of change and small bills. When I had my last garage sale – I made sure I stocked up on a lot of quarters and coins, since I had a lot of smaller items.

11- Set up your sale in an orderly manner. An organized selling area will result in your customers wanting to take a closer look. It’s just like shopping at a sale in a department store, it’s so much easier to shop when it’s organized. Try to put your ”hot” items up in front – so people driving by can spot them. I put a lot of my larger, new items up in front so people can see the large showcase of items at my sale.

12- Be kind and greet all your customers. Time to release the inner salesperson. Make sure you explain the pros of the item your customer is interested in. If they try to haggle the price with you – use your own discretion. If you think another customer will pay the marked price- say no. If you don’t think there will be another buyer, take their offer.

13- I usually start slashing prices an hour before closing time. You will find that many pro- yard sale shoppers will come towards the end of the sale — and they are looking for the real deals. Try to package items up and sell them at discounted rates.

14- If you have a lot of items left over at the conclusion of your sale- you have a couple of options. Save the items you think have value, and bring them out for your next sale. Donate larger items to a charity of your choice (they will usually come pick up the items). Or, you can post an ad for free items and just get rid of everything.

15- Make sure you clean up after yourself- Take down signs.

Having a yard sale can be a therapeutic experience.. you get to cleanse your home, while making a little extra money. Although moments of the yard sale can be stressful, it’s a great way to recycle usable products to those who want a great deal!

There are so many factors that go into yard sales. I have found the following link to be extremely helpful in my planning / executing of yard sales. For more information on yard sales please visit the Queen, at www.yardsalequeen.com. She has some great do’s and dont’s, along with great links!

Good luck!

THANK YOU FOR YOUR COMMENT!  — YES, a free box does wonders! All the little items do extremely well with a free box. Concessions are great too… especially with the hot, summer days – cold drinks do great.  T

 

Top Ten Ways to Save Money – EASY October 1, 2007

Filed under: Top Ten — mammyflop @ 11:13 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Top Ten Ways to Save Money

Saving money is never easy… It’s like you can never have enough. And when I attempt to put some money aside, I always find a way to use it. Maybe not today, but eventually I am back to where I started.

At least that’s how it used to be before I started to practice the following tips. You may not be able to buy your private charter plane with your ‘piggy bank’ money, but at least you’ll have a little something when in need.

1. PAY YOURSELF FIRST ON PAY DAY : One of the best things to do on pay day is to pay yourself. No, this doesn’t mean in the form of new shoes, or even a night out. It means, take a chunk of your check and deposit into your savings. If you run across unexpected money, or if you get a bonus at work…. put it into your savings. I know it’s tempting to spend it on a night out, or a ‘reward’ for your hard work …. but putting it away will result in more return. Putting away your money into a separate account will make it harder for you to use that money. (Try to deposit into an account you don’t have a debit card for.)

2.STOP BUYING MAGAZINES, NEWSPAPERS, MOVIES, BOOKS: I don’t know about you but the amount of money I spend on weekly tabloids is a bit excessive. Ok, so $4 doesn’t sound like a lot for a week’s worth of celebrity gossip…. but $4 per week adds up. Instead of buying magazines opt for the e-zine (check out the top ten Celebrity blog sites for more info). Rent movies, rather than purchasing them. Go to the library to borrow books rather buying a book you may or may not finish.

3.CUT DOWN ON EATING OUT AND ORDERING IN:It may be less convenient, but it’s a lot healthier, and money savvy. You’ll save lots of money on food, and drinks.

4.USE YOUR PIGGY BANK- SAVE YOUR COINS: The change in your purse may not seem like a lot… but if you put it all into a piggy bank, you’ll be surprised at how fast it can add up!

5.COUPONS ARE A MONEY SAVER’S BEST FRIEND:Whether it be groceries, shopping, restaurants there are coupons available every where! Look online for deals, sales, specials. You can definitely save a lot of money doing this one!

6.CHECK YOUR CELL PHONE PLAN: If you are like me and my friends land lines are a rarity. Ask around and see what carrier your friends, family have. If you notice a trend, see how much it would cost to get unlimited mobile to mobile calls / texts. Mammy and I (Mammie) have the same service provider, and boy does it save us a lot of money!

7.RECORD ALL YOUR EXPENSES: You may not be able to record all your expenses all the time. However, try to commit to expense recording for one week. This way you can see where your money goes, and see some ways to cut out or budget your luxury items.

8. ”SALE” DOESN’T ALWAYS MEAN A GOOD DEAL:Make a list before you go shopping. Don’t buy unnecessary items. Yes, this sounds easy enough, but you’d be surprised at how many miscellaneous items I end up with. Just because something is on sale – don’t grab for it. Make sure it’s something you need. Honestly, if you don’t need it… wait …. it’ll most likely be on sale when you need it.

9. PAY YOUR BILLS ONLINE OR IN PERSON:41 cents doesn’t seem like a lot of money, but add up all those bills. Take some time to pay your bills online, or in person and you’ll be able to make sure you get your payment in on time.

10. TRY TO PAY WITH CASH: If you pay with cash, you’ll know when you are out of money. This is the best way to budget your expenses. Try to get rid of your credit cards, and pay with cash. You won’t have to worry about paying your bill on time, and / or interest. It’s the easiest way see how much you have to work with.

The above tips should help you save money — one penny at a time.

Any other tips on saving money? Let us know!