Get Maximum Value out of a ‘Thrift Shop Day’

Shopping at a thrift store for something you’re specifically looking for is a great frugal strategy. It’s a way to save quite a bit of money on things like clothing, small kitchen appliances, dishes, furniture, hobby items, and other odds and ends.

One of the best ways to turn frugality into even more of a positive is to seek ways to make it fun, and the most powerful strategy for making frugality more pleasurable is to make it social. By finding ways to engage in frugal activities with other people, you add the joy of hanging out (which is fun in the short term and builds relationships in the long term) to the act of saving money.

What’s the game plan when it comes to making thrift store shopping fun AND frugal? Turn it into an all-day social thing with friends, where you mix frugal shopping with social bonding.

In this article

Pick a day and ask some friends

The first step is to gather those friends. The easiest way to do this is to pick a potential day when you think you and your friends will mostly be free, then invite them. You’re simply planning a day where you go thrifting, including lunch. You might want to consider choosing a community yard sale day for this, for example.

Choose friends that you think will get along well enough to spend a day together thrifting. You want to invite a largeish group because it’s likely that some people won’t be able to do it. If you invite eight people and four say yes, then you still have a nice group size.

Start and keep a list

Before the thrifting day, start making a list. You’ll want to identify things that you actually need that you might come across at a thrift store or at a yard sale. Are there clothing items you need? Are there any small kitchen appliances? Are there tools you may need? Collectibles? Sporting goods?

The list you’re building serves as guidance for thrift shopping, providing a sense of intent. If you go knowing you need two new tops, a new microwave, and a soccer ball, you’re focused on finding those specific things. Without that guidance, your eye may wander to things that you buy on impulse, and those purchases often wind up being regrets (and often find their way right back to a thrift shop in the future as a donation).

Pack a lunch

If you’re going to make it a “thrifting day,” plan an appropriate lunch. One easy way to do this is to simply make a sandwich for everyone who’s going, then just ask everyone to bring a drink and some sort of snack to share. Maybe two friends will bring chips, and another friend will bring some veggies and dip, and you’ll have sandwiches. All of you were able to spend very little, but you wind up with a lunch together with a lot of variety.

Choose a nice park to eat at, ideally one with a shelter house in case of inclement weather. This lets you enjoy the beautiful outdoors together with friends, enjoying a very inexpensive and varied picnic lunch (costing everyone just a few bucks each).

Thrifting tips

Here are some tips to get maximum value out of thrift and consignment shopping.

Shop with cash only

Before you go, determine how much you want to spend, then withdraw that much in cash. As you’re thrifting, stick to that cash budget. If possible, leave your cards at home so that you’re not tempted to spend even more with plastic. By setting a clear physical limit on your spending, you make a smart spending decision before you ever leave. 

Aim for shops closer to expensive residential areas

Look for thrift stores, consignment shops and yard sales that are closer to expensive residential areas. The sales and thrift shops in this area tend to have newer and higher quality items from affluent people who turn over their possessions very rapidly. While the prices are sometimes a bit higher, you’re much more likely to find high quality versions of the goods you’re looking for.

Look for both fun and useful clothes that are made well

While many items at a thrift store might be worn or not well made, you can find lots of well-made and interesting clothing gems. 

At Treehugger, Kathleen Martinko offers great advice for identifying well-made clothing that will last. Look at the stitches and seams. Make sure they’re evenly spaced and appropriately aligned. Stitching that’s crooked or broken is likely to fail much sooner and is likely a sign of other shoddy aspects of that article of clothing.

Plug in any electrical items you might buy

Thrift stores are a great place to pick up small electrical items and kitchen appliances, but you don’t want to walk out the door with something that doesn’t work. Plug in any secondhand electrical item that you’re considering buying just to verify that it actually works. If they won’t let you do this, skip that purchase. Many thrift stores either have items plugged in or have a plug nearby where you can test the item.

Drop off a few items, too

A thrifting day isn’t just a day to get new things. It’s also a great opportunity to downsize a little, too. Before you go, identify some items that you can donate. What items have been relegated to the back of the closet or the bottom of the drawer? Take those with you and donate them. That way, you have space for the things you pick up on your big thrifting day.

We welcome your feedback on this article. Contact us at with comments or questions.


17 Ways to Dig Yourself Out of a Financial Hole

 At age 47 I was jobless, emotionally broken after an abusive marriage, and running through savings to keep a divorce attorney in my corner. Grieving my mother’s death and terrified that my disabled adult daughter and I would end up homeless, I couldn’t see any kind of future for myself.

Within five years I had earned a university degree on scholarship, found a new career as a personal finance writer, paid off divorce-related debt, and started rebuilding my cash reserves. In the next four years, I would open a Roth IRA and a SEP-IRA. I never was homeless, and I’ve never carried any debt since then.

Dig out of a financial hole

It’s possible to dig yourself out of a financial hole if you’re willing to do the work. But you can’t stop there. It’s absolutely crucial to establish smart money habits in order to build your financial future — and to keep from winding up back in the hole.

Maybe you’ve stalled financially because you never learned how to manage money. Or maybe you’re mired in debt due to circumstances beyond your control, such as job loss or serious illness.

It doesn’t matter how you got there. What matters is that you get yourself out. Use these basic tactics to get a handle on your finances.

The best time to have started getting your finances together was 20 years ago. The second-best time is right now.

If you’re in debt, quit adding to it. Easier said than done, I know: My divorce attorney charged by the minute, for heaven’s sake, yet I couldn’t do without representation.

What could I do without? Almost everything else. I’d always been fairly thrifty, so it wasn’t as hard for me as it might be for others. However, I hadn’t done such a deep dive into frugality since my single-mom days, when I did all the laundry (including diapers) on a scrub-board in the sink. Not everyone can (or wants to) go to the lengths I did, such as living mostly on dry beans and homemade soups, using coupon/rebate deals to stretch my budget, buying almost no new clothing for years, recycling cans picked up on walks around the neighborhood, looking for any possible side gig (babysitting, participating in medical studies, shoveling snow) to add a few dollars to debt payoff.

If you find it tough sledding at first, welcome to the club of being human. Then think about your spending in this way: Adding more debt doesn’t just mean paying extra interest, but also something called “opportunity cost.” Every dollar you spend is a dollar that can’t work for you any other way.

While you’re still in the hole, this means dollars that can’t help you dig your way back out. And once you’re debt-free? It means dollars that can’t help you meet new financial goals: retirement savings, paying off your mortgage, a trip to your family reunion, or whatever will make your life better.

To be clear: Your tolerance for frugal hacks is as unique as you are. I can’t force you to wash out Ziploc bags or to shovel snow for that matter. What I can do is urge you to adopt the main attitude that helped get me through those five years — something I call the Frugal Filter:

  • Do I really need this whatever-it-is?
  • Is there something I already have that might work?
  • If I absolutely must get this item, is there a way to do so for free (borrowing it from a friend, using Freecycle)? And if not, how can I make it as affordable as possible? (Some examples: thrift store, yard sale, cashing in rewards points for gift cards to pay for it.)

Start by adding up all your income sources. Next, list all your obligations, including but not limited to mortgage, minimum credit card payments, utilities, insurance car note, and legally mandated payments (e.g. alimony or child support).

Subtract the second number from the first. If your monthly expenses are lower than your current income, that’s a good sign. But keep in mind that these are your anticipated expenses. You’ll also need money for irregular expenses such as home repair or a replacement vehicle, as well as for vacations, gift-giving, and other things that make our lives richer.

Tracking spending means you’ll know where you stand. The next thing to do is look for the best ways to use your money.

A lot of people swear by the 50/30/20 plan: Spend no more than half your after-tax income on needs, 30% on things you want, and 20% on savings and debt repayment.

Arrange your current spending into those categories. If you’re spending more than you should in any given department, find ways to bring costs down. For example, you might be able to refinance the mortgage and cut grocery costs (more on that in a minute) to get your “needs” spending under 50% of your take-home pay.

The categories can be flexible, though. For example, if debt repayment is more important to you right now than going out to eat, you could use some of your “wants” dollars toward paying down your credit cards.

Speaking of which, you also need to…

Earlier you added up your basic monthly expenses. But what’s the total amount owed? A lot of people honestly don’t know, because they never added it up. Full disclosure: I still don’t know how much my divorce cost, because I don’t want to know. (Hint: It was a lot.)

Don’t be like me. Add up your credit card balances while seated, because the total might make you feel a little faint (especially when you consider how much interest you’re paying). Let that Big Number inspire you to get real about paying it off.

First: If you’re making extra payments on your current mortgage, stop for now and put that money against your credit card balance. Talk with a mortgage specialist about the possibility of refinancing; your loan would be longer, but the money you’d save each month can be used against higher-interest debt.

Next, call your credit card issuers and ask for lower interest rates. There’s no guarantee you’ll get them, but it can’t hurt to ask.

Some people swear by the “debt snowball.” You pay minimum payments on all your credit cards except for the one with the lowest balance (but not necessarily the lowest interest rate); for that one, make the biggest payment you can. Once it’s paid off, you attack the card with the next-lowest balance, and so on.

The theory is that paying one card off quickly encourages you to keep going. Then again, you’re paying more interest on the other cards. That’s why some suggest it’s better to pay off the cards with the highest interest rates first.

Do what works best for you. If you need that encouragement, go with the debt snowball.

Another option is a 0% balance transfer credit card: moving all your debt onto a new card that offers 0% interest for 12 to 18 months. You’ll pay a balance transfer fee, typically about 3% of the total debt. However, if you pay the card in full during the introductory period, you won’t owe any interest.

This could save you a ton of money. (Wish I’d known about it back when I was paying off my divorce debt.) However, you shouldn’t get a 0% balance transfer card unless you have an ironclad plan to pay it off. Otherwise, you’ll wind up paying a ton of interest anyway, in addition to the transfer fee.

Another credit card debt tactic is a personal loan, that is if you can get a decent rate. You’d need an ironclad payoff plan for this option, too. And no matter how you pay off your debt, you absolutely need a plan to keep you from running up the credit cards all over again.

Our consumerist culture tells us that if we want something, then we should have it. This is why some people shop for fun, I guess, even if they don’t technically need anything.

“Need” is the operative word. Food, shelter, basic clothing, and utilities are needs. Everything else is a parade of wants.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting things. But there’s a whole lot that’s wrong with buying things we can’t actually afford. So if you shop for fun, stop doing that. Stop it right now. Un-bookmark your favorite shopping sites. Avoid brick-and-mortar stores.

Delete your stored credit cards, and remember that “one-click” shopping is of the devil.

Sound harsh? Reframe that thought right now: This is prudence, not punishment. It’s part of your plan to meet financial goals, including getting out of debt.

Since we get a nice dopamine rush whenever we find that Really Good Deal, our brain will try to trick you into “just looking.” Look for other ways to feel good, whether that’s The New York Times crossword puzzle or bingeing your favorite shows on an affordable streaming service.

Find a friend who’s also trying to get out of the financial hole, and the two of you can support each other. (“I just saw the most amazing price on cheese straighteners and I really want to get one! Talk me out of it!”)

Here’s what worked for me: Thinking about what I did have, rather than obsessing about what I didn’t. Sounds corny, but hear me out. While living on about $1,000 a month (and still helping my daughter), I made an actual list of my advantages: decent health, a university scholarship, a library card, a part-time job, a 99-cent radio from the St. Vincent de Paul thrift shop, and the absolute conviction that I would one day be back in the black.

The only person who can help me is me,” I said out loud, more than once, developing a stoic pride in — once more! — making do on nothing. I was dirt-poor but I was not dirt. I had a plan. (I also still had the scrub-board, and even used it sometimes.)

Sure, sometimes I still wanted stuff I couldn’t afford. Most of the time, my attitude of gratitude helped me power through. After all, I had things that were important to me and I knew if I just kept working at it, my debt would be gone. It wasn’t easy. But as my dad used to say, “That’s why they call it ‘work.’ If it were fun, they’d call it ‘fun.’”

Be an adult. Own your mistakes or your misfortunes. And do the work.

Part of the reason I went broke was the financial support I gave to my daughter, whose disability benefit was minuscule. Ultimately she got married, found a job she could do from home, became self-sufficient, and moved to a different city. I kept giving, though: treating them to multiple meals out when I visited, sending numerous “just because” gift cards throughout the year, forgiving them a decent-sized loan (as a wedding gift).

Maybe you do this sort of thing, too. Keeping your grown kids on the family phone plan. Paying for their health insurance. Covering some (or all) of their rent. A financial planner told me some clients routinely buy extra stuff at Costco to bribe their children to drop by.

Perhaps your own kids don’t have to drop by because they’re already there: boomerang offspring who came back due to job issues, or who live with you so they can save up for their own homes. Or maybe your kids never launched in the first place — and why should they? Mom and Dad have a comfy home, a well-stocked fridge, and all the streaming platforms.

It’s natural to want to give our children the best. But here’s the thing: You cannot finance retirement. Your kids have many decades to build their financial lives. You, on the other hand, have a finite number of years to make the right money choices.

If you are in debt and/or have an underfunded retirement, do not set yourself on fire to keep someone else warm. Doing so could leave you out in the cold, financially speaking.

To be clear: I would have helped my daughter forever if necessary, but I’m very glad it wasn’t. Those dollars wound up going to retirement savings, my emergency fund (more on that below), and some cash reserves. I refuse to put my daughter in the position of having to support me if I run out of money in retirement. Don’t put that burden on your kids, either.

This may sound counterintuitive. Why save for retirement while I still have balances on 18% credit cards?

Because you can’t finance retirement, remember?

Retirement isn’t a question of simple-interest savings. It’s about growth, and growth takes time. The years you spend not contributing will be felt keenly when you retire — especially if you, like me, got something of a late start.

As noted, the 20% part of the 50/30/20 budget includes saving for the future. Ideally, you’ve already got some retirement savings from your current (or recent) job, and it will continue to grow as you figure things out. Resist the temptation to raid it early; the longer it stays there, the better your chances for its lasting throughout your retirement.

For some people, a 10% (or higher) contribution to their house of worship is absolute. If that’s you, know that it still may be possible to keep tithing at that level — but the money has to come from somewhere else in your budget. As noted above, you can find other ways to cut in order to keep the tithes coming.

If need be, talk to your religious leader about temporarily cutting back or even pausing your contribution. You could always promise to restart and to make up for the lost time.

Even when things were pretty dire for me I gave $20 a month to my church. Sure, that money could have gone toward my credit card debt. But giving to others got me out of my own head. That $240 a year reminded me that not only were my basics covered, I could even afford a little help for others who needed it. Never underestimate the satisfaction and peace this knowledge can bring.

I kept a certain amount of liquid cash while paying off the divorce-related debt. It was tempting to throw every dime I had toward the balance. But I also wanted cash on hand so I could pay for utilities, car insurance, and food in case my job went away.

Some money experts suggest having a year’s worth of expenses banked. Others say that amount discourages people from even trying to save. Instead, they suggest one to three months’ worth as an initial goal, with additional contributions when possible.

I’m in the latter camp. Rather than pressuring yourself to come up with tens of thousands of dollars, aim for a single month’s worth. Go back to that household budget and look for places to cut. Canceling a subscription box you’ve stopped being thrilled by, skipping that automobile detailing you normally get every couple of months, dropping the gym membership that you haven’t been using anyway — these and other budget trims can help plump up the EF faster than you would have thought possible.

Food is the budget category with the most flexibility. You probably can’t negotiate your car payment or your son’s college tuition, but you can cut down on meals outside the home and be choosier about shopping.

Accustomed to stores like Whole Foods and Sprouts? You might be surprised by the organic options available at regular grocers and even discount markets. Take an hour a week to browse different stores, and plan future shopping accordingly.

If you eat most of your meals away from home, gradually change your ways. Buy good-quality coffee and breakfast ingredients so you aren’t tempted to grab takeout every morning. Batch-cook and freeze breakfast sandwiches on weekends, or buy premade ones from a warehouse club (still more affordable than breakfast out).

Carrying your lunch just one day a week could likely save you $10 to $20, or $520 to $1,040 a year. Over time, work your way up to brown-bagging it at least three times a week, and put the thousands of dollars you save toward some other financial goal. In the four years it took to get my degree, I never once bought a single meal at school. An occasional snack or drink, maybe, but I carried all my meals. Again, I’m hardcore and looked at lunch as the fuel I needed to get through the day. Your mileage may vary. Just make sure it’s something you actually like to eat — and again, start slowly so that you don’t set yourself up to fail.

Dinners can be tough since most people arrive home as tired as they are hungry. A little weekend planning or some monthly batch cooking — especially with an Instant Pot — can change the way you eat, and will certainly change how much you spend.

Don’t know how to cook much, or at all? Do an online search for “easy affordable recipes with [your favorite ingredients].” Remember, you didn’t know how to use a smartphone until you made it your business to learn. The same is true of cooking.

It is worth it to shop around for something like car insurance.

Ask me how I know. When I arrived in Seattle, fresh out of my horrible marriage, I used the insurance agent a relative recommended. And wound up paying about $700 more a year than I needed to, for five years. Still shake my head sometimes about that $3,500 worth of opportunity cost, but I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

Look for better deals on Internet, phone, and cable service, too. This can save you some serious bucks, especially if you bundle services.

Note: Many people have ditched cable entirely in favor of streaming services. If you haven’t investigated these lately, you’ll be surprised by the options — and the potential savings.

All of it. You won’t get out of the financial hole overnight, so it’s essential to note individual steps along the way. For some, a spreadsheet makes things easier.

Or use my daughter’s method, which is to list debts on a whiteboard. Each time you make a payment, you get to amend the total to reflect the change — and oh, my, how satisfying it is to literally wipe the debt off the board.

Once you’re back in the black, keep those savvy money moves in place. Spend less than you earn. Contribute to retirement regularly. Build an emergency fund to guard against the unexpected.


20 Places To Sell Your Old Smartphone For Top Dollar

We live in an age where technology is constantly evolving, and newer and more advanced smartphones seem to come out on a weekly basis.

When you bought your iPhone, it was the cream of the crop – the best available on the market.  While it still works just fine, you’re in love with the newest iPhone that was just released with that fancy new feature that you just can’t live without. (Sound familiar?)

The only problem?  That new smartphone is expensive, and you’re not sure you can justify the expense.

If your old phone is still relatively new and in demand, you may be able to offset the cost of that new device by selling your old one.

Places To Sell Old Smartphones

There are a lot of places where you can sell your old smartphone for a decent amount of money. Some places you can even sell your broken phone for parts and still make a decent amount! Today I’d thought I’d list a few of the more popular ones.

Quick Navigation is the US’s largest price comparison site for selling old mobile phones and tablets – they compare all of the key BuyBack companies in the market, saving the user the time of visiting lots of other websites to get the best deal for an old device. They guarantee that the user will always get the maximum cash when selling an old device on and offer users a Best Price Guarantee – if they spot a higher price on another site, they will refund the customer double the difference. They also show each BuyBack company’s user ratings from sites likes ReSeller Ratings, Trustpilot & BBB for peace of mind.
Top Places To Sell Your Smartphone

  • Decluttr: Decluttr will buy your cell phones and other tech gadgets. They process fast next-day payments for your Apple and Android phones, game consoles, and other technology items. Read a full Decluttr review here. UPDATE: Get an extra 10% on electronics traded in using code:  ELECTRONICS10
  • Whistle: Whistle offers consumers a quick and easy way to sell almost any used electronic device (phones, laptops, tablets, gaming consoles, smart speakers, etc.). You indicate what you have to sell, and Whistle extends you an offer. If you accept it, Whistle provides free shipping and fast payment, so that the transaction can be completed in under a week. Whistle is the fastest, easiest way to sell used electronics.  
  • ItsWorthMore: ItsWorthMore is a well-rated buyer and will buy anything from an Android device to a Macbook or an iPhone. They have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, an Elite Rating with, and payments within 2 days.
  • BuyRUs: They buy used phones, tablets, laptops, consoles, and more. Just get a quote, ship off your item (with free shipping), and then get paid within 24 hours of them receiving your device. Buy through our link and use our invite code: V0T6J4 to get extra back!
  • This is a new buyback website that specializes in buying cracked, broken or financed iPhones, iPads, MacBooks and Apple Watches. Get a quote, ship with a free label, get paid via Venmo, PayPal, Check, or Zelle. Use promo code: “moneymatters” to get a $10 bonus!
  • BuyBack World: They’ll buy iPhones, iPads, media players, and a host of other electronics. They even buy unwanted gift cards.
  • With an A+ Better Business Bureau rating and a price match guarantee, they are well respected. They issue payments within 2 days via PayPal or Check.
  • BuyBack company where you can sell a huge variety of Phones, Macbooks, iPads, iPods, Game Consoles, GoPros and other electronics. Simple and easy to use platform. Just get an instant quote, ship your item for free, and then get paid within 48 hours of them receiving your device.
  • OCBuyBack: Sell your used or broken iPhones, iPads, iPods, Samsung Phones even MacBooks. From the OCBuyBack team: “Help us keep e-waste out of landfills. We keep a low overhead to give you a bigger payout.” Get free shipping and fast payment via check or paypal.  Use our exclusive promo code MONEY5 to get $5 added to your trade-in!
  • QuickSell: QuickSell is a trade-in website that offers competitive prices for used, cracked, and broken iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches. They offer multiple payment options, quick payouts, and free shipping on all orders. Use promo code “MONEYMATTERS” at checkout to receive an additional $5 on your order!
  • Buy Back Pros: They pay cash for cell phones, computers, electronics, laptops, smartphones, tablets, & more.  Find your device, accept their offer, and get paid within 2 days of the device being inspected.
  • Swappa: A great place to sell your late model phones, tablets, wearables, and some computers.  Buy from other phone owners!
  • Glyde: They buy iPads, iPhones, Samsung phones, tablets and more.  You get paid 3 days after delivery to the buyer. Simple.
  • Green Buyback: GreenBuyback will pay you for your mobile device, from cell phones and tablets to a wide variety of other electronics. GreenBuyback will give you free shipping and quick payment. We worked out a special deal with them and if you use promo code: moneymatters when checking out at GreenBuyback, you’ll get an extra $5 for your device.
  • ecoATM: ecoATM has ATM-like machines in high traffic locations that will buy your phone or tablet. Use our promo code: peter at the ecoATM kiosk checkout to get an extra $5 on your order! Find a location near you here: ecoATM locations.
  • eBay: Over the years I’ve done pretty well selling relatively new electronics on eBay, especially devices that are only a year or two old.  Selling on eBay may mean more hassle than selling elsewhere since you have to deal with the auction, answering questions, and then mailing out the device. You also have to pay listing fees and fees on the final price of the winning bid, but in the end, you may come out further ahead.
  • They buy your used iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, and other Apple devices.
  • Apple products are the most in-demand on this site. They buy everything from Apple TV and Apple Watches to Mac computers.
  • UpTrade: UpTrade is a great choice if you want to keep the process of buying or selling a used phone simple. For buyers, every listing includes HD quality photos of the exact phone being sold, along with a phone history report.
  • Sell On Amazon:  Just search for your item on Amazon, then look for the button that says “Sell on Amazon”. You can then create a listing to sell your used item via Amazon. You’ll just pay a small listing fee and a pay a percentage when it sells. I’ve had good success selling this way.
  • Facebook “Yard Sale” Groups: My wife has been using Facebook to sell things lately, and typically does pretty well.  Typically she will find a local Facebook yard sale group for one of our local areas that is big enough to have quite a few members, and then she’ll list the items on there.  When someone wants to buy the item you connect and figure out all the details to complete the sale.
  • Craigslist: Selling to people on craigslist typically works better for me for larger items like furniture, but it can work pretty well for electronics as well. The only hassle is having to connect with a person in real life – and the dangers associated with doing so.  Many local police departments have started to have designated Craigslist transaction areas where people can meet and complete a sale, and not have to feel like they’re in danger.
  • Amazon Trade-In program: Ship your old items, not only electronics, to Amazon and receive Amazon gift cards in return. It should be noted that they don’t typically pay a ton.
  • Sell Broke: Get an instant quote to sell laptops, phones, tablets, or other electronic devices – even if they’re broken.
  • Gadget Salvation: This website will take most electronic devices, even those that are broken. Get a quote through their website.
  • MaxBack: This site pays cash for cell phones, tablets, and other devices!
  • GizMogul: Sell anything from old iPhones and smartphones to tablets, watches, Macbooks and more.
  • YouRenew: Sell your old phones, tablets and other devices.
  • uSell: Working or damaged, sell your used phone in seconds.
  • iPhone Antidote: Mainly buying Apple products.
  • SellMyCellPhones: They claim to offer the “best price when you sell your old cell phone, iPhone, iPad or tablet”.
  • Gadget Traders: Recycle your devices and get paid. They accept Apple products, Android phones tablets, iPods, and more.
  • Gadget Gone: Sell your iPhone and get the most cash, fast.
  • Get Top Dollar By Selling Before An iPhone Launch

    As I write this Apple is expected to announce the release of the new iPhone 12 in early October. With the release, many people will be selling their iPhone 11s and Xs in order to fund the purchase of the new model. In fact, 40% of iPhone owners plan to purchase the new model according to one recent survey.

    The earlier you sell your older iPhone, the better off you’ll be. Once the new phone comes out and more and more people flood the market with old phones, the value of your phone goes down each day, especially after the big announcement.

    Top cell phone buyer and seller Gazelle has discussed the trend.

    Trade-ins typically spike around each iPhone cycle as consumers seek to get maximum value for their old phone and take advantage of special offers. This year, consumers can lock in their best price with Gazelle on an iPhone, Galaxy, or any unwanted phone starting 9/5 to 9/22, and will have until 10/22 to mail it in – plenty of time for their new iPhone to arrive. But the earlier you lock in the better, because the value of your phone goes down each day – and especially after Apple’s 9/12 announcement.

    So to get top dollar on your old phone, sell before the market is flooded after a new phone is released!

    Selling My Old Smartphone

    The last time I sold an old smartphone I had purchased an Android phone and used it for a couple of years. The phone was no longer state of the art but was still usable on a national network.

    I searched for completed listings on eBay, but the phone was going for next to nothing there because it was so common.

    I searched phone buying sites. Those sites gave me at most $10-15.

    In the end, I sold the phone on for about half of what I originally bought it for. The buyer was happy because it was less than what the phone cost new, and I was happy because I got more than I would have through other venues. It took a little while to sell, but in the end, the wait was worth it.

    Get Top Dollar By Selling Your Old Smartphone ASAP

    One thing you must keep in mind when selling your old smartphone, the amount you receive for your phone will be directly correlated to the demand for that phone on the current market.

    If it’s a high demand phone like an iPhone from a recent generation, you may do better than you will for an old Android phone from 6 years ago.  It’s all about demand, and how much the phone is still desired by buyers on the marketplace.

    Your best bet is to shop around, figure out what forum will give you the best return for your device, and then go for it.

    Finding Out What Your Phone Is Worth

    To get an idea of what your phone is worth I suggest doing the following:

    • Search eBay for completed listings: Do a search for your phone’s make and model on eBay, and then make sure to check the “completed listings” checkbox on the search filters. It will show you what your phone sold for – in real-world listings.
    • Get price quotes on several smartphone buying sites: Try getting a price quote on a bunch of sites to see what kind of offers they’ll give you on your phone. If you only want to do a few, I suggest established sites like Gazelle,, Decluttr, Green Buyback, Buyback Boss or BuyBack World.

    Once you find the place that you think will give you the best return for your phone (when taking into consideration the amount of time you have, how much you want to get for your phone, and how much hassle you want to deal with), go for it!

    Do your research, and you’ll likely come out with a nice chunk of change to help pay for your new phone. Good luck!

    [embedded content]

    Just Sold Your Old Phone, But Need New Service?

    If you’re selling your phone and looking for a new mobile provider, there are a ton of great low-cost providers out there. Here are some of the best that I’ve found:

    Moble Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) Mobile Network Minimum Plan Price Free Tethering Review
    Gen Mobile Sprint $5 (Unlimited Text – No Talk, No Data) $10 (300 Min Talk & Unlimited Text – 1GB Data) Discounts if prepaid for 3 months. Yes Review
    Tello Sprint $5 (100 Min Talk & Unlimited Text – No Data) Yes Review
    Twigby Sprint, Verizon Wireless $9 (300 Min Talk & Unlimited Text – No Data) Yes Review
    Ting Sprint, T-Mobile $9 (100 Min Talk & No Text – No Data) Yes Review
    Red Pocket Mobile Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile US, Sprint $10 (500 Min Talk & 500 Text – 500 MB Data) Yes
    Republic Wireless Sprint, T-Mobile $15 (Unlimited Talk & Text – No Data) Yes Review
    Mint Mobile T-Mobile $15 (Unlimited Talk & Text – 3GB Data) If prepaid for 1 year. Prepay in 3,6, 12 month increments. Buy 3 Months, Get 3 Free) Yes Review
    Unreal Mobile AT&T $15 (Unlimited Talk & Text – 3GB Data). Prepay in 3,6, 12 month increments. Yes Review
    TracFone Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile US, Sprint, U.S. Cellular $15 (200 Min Talk & 500 Text – 500 MB Data) If put on auto-renew save 5%. No
    Google FI T-Mobile, Sprint, U.S. Cellular $20 (Unlimited Talk & Text – No Data) Yes
    Total Wireless Verizon Wireless $23.70 (Unlimited Talk & Text – No Data) $25 without auto-pay. Yes
    Cricket Wireless AT&T $25 (Unlimited Talk & Text – No Data) No
    Boost Sprint $35 (Unlimited Talk & Text – 3GB Data) No
    Straight Talk Wireless AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon $35 (Unlimited Talk & Text – 2GB Data) No
    Visible Verizon $40 (Unlimited Talk & Text – Unlimited Data) Yes Review

    20 Places To Sell Your Old Smartphone For Top Dollar


    How to Organize a Garage Sale Like a Boss

    This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more information.

    You’ve been feverishly decluttering your house and now the weather is nice enough that you’re thinking about hosting a garage sale before you bring everything to the thrift store.

    Before you get your price stickers and signs ready, you should do a little preparing so you can organize a garage sale that will make you as much money as possible.

    How to Organize a Garage Sale

    There are several steps that go into hosting a successful yard sale.

    First, you have to schedule a date for your sale. This may not be a problem right now but usually there’s a lot going on where I live so I wanted to pick a day with as little happening as possible.

    It would suck to plan this whole thing to find out it conflicts with a major event. I used the “Events” tab on Facebook, you can input a date and it’ll show you upcoming events.

    Disclaimer: If your only available day conflicts with a big event, don’t worry too much. Serious garage sale shoppers stop at nothing to get their fix.

    The other important detail is day and time. We decided to hold ours on a Saturday from 8am-5pm. We held our sale in a fenced-in backyard so we could set up the night before and minimize work in the morning.

    <img data-attachment-id="928" data-permalink="" data-orig-file="" data-orig-size="370,228" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta=""aperture":"0","credit":"","camera":"","caption":"","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"","orientation":"1"" data-image-title="Yard Sale" data-image-description="

    yard sale

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    our sale on and poppin!

    I read that serious buyers would show up early and without fail, at 7am they were there. We were mostly set up so we just let them in.

    The morning was the busiest. We were steady until 1:00 then really quiet for 45 minutes. We had a late rush at 1:45 then it was steady again for another hour and a half. It started sprinkling at 4 so we packed everything up a little early.

    I’m glad we decided to start at 8, I couldn’t imagine people showing up at 5 or 6am. There is not enough coffee in the world for me to be ok with that. If I could do it over I probably would’ve ended at 1. The last rush of people was nice but not worth the sitting around.

    How to Advertise Your Garage Sale

    The key to a successful sale is good advertising. You can have the best stuff but if no one knows or there’s no incentive to come then you wont sell them. There were three things we did to make sure as many people got to our house as possible.

    1. Have Multiple Sellers

    We were inspired by another sale that had six or seven different people selling in one place. Having a “multi-family” sale not only means more items but also a larger variety, that gives more people incentive to come, even people who might not be into yard sale-ing.

    People with different interests accumulate different stuff and if you don’t jive with one seller’s items you might like what another seller has to offer.

    If it is a lot of the same stuff, consider theming your sale to set it apart. JD Roth from Get Rich Slowly looked at what he had most of and listed his sale as a “Geek Garage Sale.” You might think you’ll drive people away by niching down but you actually make your sale more attractive to non garage salers.

    Multiple sellers also means more exposure. The more people you have selling, the more people you have sharing the event with their friends.

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    garage explosion

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    probably no room for multiple sellers here

    2. Coordinate With Another Garage Sale

    Sales that happen on the same day aren’t competition, they’re advertising! I discovered this one by accident and it by far brought us the most traffic. A friend at my work had planned a sale for the same day as ours. She was nearby so I suggested we print out fliers for each other’s sales and hand them out to people as they left.

    The flier was a simple half-sheet of paper with the sale address, times, and highlights of what we were selling. This is a great option for people who want to host a multi-family sale but don’t have space. And I’m sure if none of your friends want to host you could easily find nearby sales on Craigslist and email the seller to set something up.

    3. Post Your Garage Sale Online

    Craigslist is where all the serious buyers and sellers go. I posted on Monday and then another with a rephrased title on Thursday. Then I posted in Facebook Marketplace and in relevant local Facebook groups.

    I also Googled “garage sale” and posted to every site that popped up on the first page. Most of the garage sale listing sites are in the same family of websites which made filling out the details easy (thanks auto-fill!).

    yard sale

    <img data-attachment-id="3908" data-permalink="" data-orig-file="" data-orig-size="1000,1500" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta=""aperture":"0","credit":"","camera":"","caption":"","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"","orientation":"1"" data-image-title="How to Have a Safe Yard Sale" data-image-description="

    Do you want to get rid of the stuff you have been purging? It is a perfect time to have a safe & profitable yard sale. #yardsaletips #yardsaleideas #makeextramoneyathome #sidehustles #yardsalehacks

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    How to Prepare Your Yard Sale

    Go through the boxes of stuff you haven’t seen in years before you put them out for sale. My husband was going through one I’d put out and found a copy of my social security card, I had not intended to sell my identity.

    And if you can’t put everything out the night before like we did, you should do as much as possible to limit your stress on the morning of and have time for more coffee.

    1. Garage Sale Pricing

    We used a combination of methods for pricing. For clothes and items we had a lot of I made a sign with individual and bulk prices, I bought price stickers and put them on other items. A lot of stuff we left blank. When people asked how much we either yelled out a price or asked “How much you offering?”

    If we’d had a smaller sale I wouldn’t have priced anything. When people name their own price they’re more likely to buy the item. The nice thing about putting prices on some stuff was that I didn’t have to talk as much. Introverts will appreciate pricing items individually.

    I found pricing suggestions on Angie’s List and found that people will haggle you down whether the price is fair or not, so best practice is to price high.

    <img data-attachment-id="930" data-permalink="" data-orig-file="" data-orig-size="400,300" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta=""aperture":"0","credit":"","camera":"","caption":"","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"","orientation":"0"" data-image-title="beanie babies" data-image-description="

    beanie babies

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    People will pay $1 each for beanie babies

    2. Garage Sale Signs

    I bought signs to stick in the ground and neon cardstock to post on poles, fences, etc. I thought four signs would be enough but my paranoid husband thought we could put up every sign we had. He was right.

    It was the signs on neon poster board that attracted the most attention. People saw the white signs in the ground but they got to us by the bright ones. Our signs just said “Yard Sale” with the address at the bottom and an arrow in the middle pointing the way to treasure land.

    If you can, have someone check your signs midway through the sale. One of ours fell and was pointing AWAY from our sale.

    What to do The Day of Your Garage Sale

    First, give yourself more time to post the signs than you think you’ll need. We had a debate on which illegal places would be least illegal to post our signs. Every city has their rules so check yours to be sure.

    I posted a Facebook Live video on my profile giving a tour of the sale. I called attention to some of the more enticing items and introduced all our sellers.

    Here are some essentials that kept our ship sale-ing (lololol):

    Chill music– It’s too early in the morning for all that hip hop, play something inviting that will keep the people browsing and your neighbors from yelling at you.
    Fanny pack– Keep your money close and your fanny pack closer.
    Free section– There are some things that no one will buy at your yard sale, doesn’t mean you can’t put them out, but don’t waste your time pricing them.

    With a few hours left in the sale, I started posting big ticket items that didn’t sell to Facebook Marketplace. By doing that I was able to secure a home for almost everything I posted.

    I posted midday thinking people would come while we were still selling but nobody could make it until the next day so you could probably wait until your sale is over to post.

    Warning: responding to all those Facebook messages was almost more tiring than the actual sale.

    What to do After a Yard Sale

    Take down the signs so people don’t continue to show up at your house, delete your Craigslist and other ads so people don’t roll by your house trying to get free stuff, and count your money!

    We took name brand clothes that didn’t sell to Plato’s Closet and made $15 more. And we continued to post big-ticket items to Facebook Marketplace.

    Bring leftovers to a thrift store or call one to see if you can have your stuff picked up. We made around $400 not including the furniture we sold on Marketplace the next day.

    For the amount of work we put (and didn’t put) into it, I’m glad we did it. Purging is so cathartic and to get some spending money in exchange is just a bonus.

    Tell me: What do you think about garage sales? Do you have any interesting garage sale stories or tips to share?

    <img data-attachment-id="4130" data-permalink="" data-orig-file="" data-orig-size="1000,1500" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta=""aperture":"0","credit":"","camera":"","caption":"","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"","orientation":"1"" data-image-title="How to Organize a Yard Sale without the Headache- Even During Coronavirus" data-image-description="

    Do you want to sell the stuff you’ve been decluttering while you were at home? Here are some tips to have a safe and succcessful yard sale without a headache!! #yardsale #howtohaveayardsale #moneymakingtips #howtomakemoneyathome #sidehustleideas #howtomakemoremoney

    ” data-medium-file=”″ data-large-file=”″ loading=”lazy” class=” wp-image-4130″ src=”” alt width=”587″ height=”882″ data-pin-title=”How to Organize a Yard Sale without the Headache- Even During Coronavirus” data-pin-description=”Do you want to sell the stuff you’ve been decluttering while you were at home? Here are some tips to have a safe and succcessful yard sale without a headache!! #yardsale #howtohaveayardsale #moneymakingtips #howtomakemoneyathome #sidehustleideas #howtomakemoremoney ” srcset=” 200w, 400w, 768w, 1000w” sizes=”(max-width: 587px) 100vw, 587px” data-recalc-dims=”1″>

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    Run a yard sale

    ” data-medium-file=”″ data-large-file=”″ loading=”lazy” data-pin-description=”Do you want to get rid of the stuff you have been purging? It is a perfect time to have a safe & profitable yard sale. #yardsaletips #yardsaleideas #makeextramoneyathome #sidehustles #yardsalehacks” data-pin-title=”How to Have a Safe & Profitable Yard Sale This Year” class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-976 jetpack-lazy-image” src=”” alt=”Run a yard sale” width=”400″ height=”707″ data-recalc-dims=”1″ data-lazy-srcset=” 400w, 170w, 339w, 100w” data-lazy-sizes=”(max-width: 400px) 100vw, 400px” srcset=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7″>

    <img data-attachment-id="976" data-permalink="" data-orig-file="" data-orig-size="400,707" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta=""aperture":"0","credit":"","camera":"","caption":"","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"","orientation":"0"" data-image-title="Run a yard sale" data-image-description="

    Run a yard sale

    ” data-medium-file=”″ data-large-file=”″ loading=”lazy” data-pin-description=”Do you want to get rid of the stuff you have been purging? It is a perfect time to have a safe & profitable yard sale. #yardsaletips #yardsaleideas #makeextramoneyathome #sidehustles #yardsalehacks” data-pin-title=”How to Have a Safe & Profitable Yard Sale This Year” class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-976″ src=”” alt=”Run a yard sale” width=”400″ height=”707″ srcset=” 400w, 170w, 339w, 100w” sizes=”(max-width: 400px) 100vw, 400px” data-recalc-dims=”1″>

    Jen Smith is a personal finance expert, founder of Modern Frugality and co-host of the Frugal Friends Podcast. Her work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Lifehacker, Money Magazine, U.S. News and World Report, Business Insider, and more. She’s passionate about helping people gain control of their spending.


    Tips for De-Cluttering Your House and Getting Paid for it

    This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more information.

    When you’re trying not to spend money, there’s no better way to spend your time than making money. And you know what my favorite way to make money is?


    I couldn’t make a living off of it but it’s a great way to build an emergency fund or earn a little vacation money. The feeling of a good purge is half the reward anyway.

    And with the rise of blogs, books, and movies about minimalism, I think you guys agree. Whether you’re venturing into minimalism, doing a No-Spend Challenge or just trying to spend less, getting rid of stuff is a wild way to spend a Friday night and a cathartic activity.

    So if you want to go further than just “not spending” and make your home and life more minimalist and cozy, here are 7 tips for de-cluttering your house and where to sell your stuff for quick cash.

    Also, if you like this topic I cover this and much more in my book The No-Spend Challenge Guide. Check it out to help you save more, spend less, and make the most of your time paying off debt.

    1. Mentally Prepare

    When purging unused items it’s important to go in knowing what you’re up against. The goal isn’t to go from hoarder to Ikea in one day. Purging is a process. The reason I love de-cluttering while on a No Spend Challenge is that it’s unlikely I’ll replace the stuff I get rid of during that process.

    Also, you have to give up the “I paid $$$ for this” mentality. What you paid for it mattered to your budget (or lack of) when you bought it. It’s non-use matters today. If you haven’t used it this year then you can live without it.

    2. Physically Prepare

    You can start your purge up to a year before you actually get rid of anything. Try this hanger trick, made famous by Oprah. Go into your closet and turn all the hangers the wrong way (whatever that means to you).

    Whenever you put a garment back into the closet after wearing it put it in with the hanger facing the right way. At the end of six months or a year whatever hangers are still facing the wrong way can easily be gotten rid of.

    3. Keep – Sell/Give – Store

    For going through drawers and closets that have become a black hole of clutter, find three boxes and label them: keep, sell/give, and store. There could also be a fourth box for trash but I like to keep it simple and just bring the trash can over.

    The “Keep” box is for things you use and still need to easy access to. The Sell/Give box gets an attempt at selling then if that fails goes to charity, and the Store box is for things you need or want but can go into deep storage.

    I also like the Store box as a tester for getting rid of more on my next purge. If you’re holding that snow globe from middle school and you’re having a hard time parting with it, you don’t have to make a decision yet. Put it in the Store box and come back to it in a month.

    4. Don’t Call It Junk

    When we were hosting a garage sale for my mom we had a lot of clothes leftover. I went through and tried to separate out what we could sell to Clothes Mentor which buys and sells gently used clothes for women.

    There were these two pairs of corduroy overalls, one with Eeyore on the front, the other with Pooh and Piglet. Assuming that I knew what was in style I put those in the Give box but Travis saw me and was convinced they would sell. I don’t remember everything I said but it was something to the extent of “you’re crazy, these are ugly.” But because I wanted to prove him wrong I let him take them.

    We ended up taking the clothes to Plato’s Closet, which sells teen clothing because Clothes Mentor wasn’t buying at the time. I was prepared to make very little because the clothes were definitely for an older crowd. When we picked up our two bins of clothing they’d agreed to buy three items from us. Two of them were the overalls.

    That story to say, I don’t call anything junk anymore (well, I’m at least trying now). You’d be shocked at what people will buy online or at gently-used stores. It’s usually the things we think will sell that don’t and the things we think will never sell do the quickest.

    5. Free Your Flat Surfaces

    I read this online and it’s become my mantra when I only have five minutes to clean. Clearing off countertops, the coffee table, dining table, desk, anything flat can transform your house.

    This is especially true in a small house. We didn’t have many flat surfaces in our apartment; it was pretty much just the kitchen table. So it ended up being a catchall for mail, papers, etc. The first thing to get cleared was always that table and it made a huge difference right off the bat.

    6. Find Storage

    Don’t buy storage. You’re trying not to spend money remember? You don’t even know how much storage you’re going to need until after you finish. Trust me, I too have dreams about the Container Store but use it as a reward instead of a necessity.

    Use what you have for free first. Wrap boxes with ribbon or washi tape for custom storage or look for free storage on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. I try to make it my goal to get rid of enough stuff to eliminate the need of containers.

    Wait a few months after finishing the de-clutter, if it still bothers you then you can go buy exactly what you need, but chances are you won’t even think about it once it’s done.

    7. One Room at a Time

    Don’t try to tackle the whole house in one day, not even a month. 2-4 hours is about how much most people can handle. So start small and tackle one room, closet or drawer at a time and just keep going.

    I suggest starting with the most used room down to the least. For me that’s the bedroom or kitchen.

    Suggestions for quick purges:

    • Old Magazines
    • Stretched out Hair Ties
    • Unused CDs & DVDs
    • Unused Makeup & Skincare
    • Free T-Shirts
    • Unwanted Gifts
    • Unused Purses

    Now here’s the fun part. Where you can make some money off your efforts. There are a few ways to go at this. You can sell items yourself on eBay, Poshmark, or Amazon. Or you can sell to reselling services like DeCluttr, ThredUp, and Gone.

    You’ll get more money doing it yourself but it also takes more time. Either one is a good option because you’re making some dough and you have a clean house! Here are some more ideas on where to sell your stuff and what these services buy:

    • DeCluttr- Games, CDs, DVDs, Books, Tech
    • Gone- Electronics
    • ThredUp- Clothes
    • Poshmark- Clothes
    • Facebook Marketplace
    • Letgo
    • OfferUp
    • Mercari
    • Amazon

    If you have a lot of stuff to sell (or you have friends with stuff to sell too) you can go with a good ol’ fashioned garage sale. I highly recommend having a multi-person yard sale. We did one this way and in addition to having more variety, we had a lot of fun together.

    So what are your tips for de-cluttering your house? What’s the first drawer, room, or closet you’re going to tackle this weekend?

    <img data-attachment-id="1557" data-permalink="" data-orig-file="" data-orig-size="750,1300" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta=""aperture":"0","credit":"","camera":"","caption":"","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"","orientation":"0"" data-image-title="How to Declutter Effectively" data-image-description="

    How to Declutter Effectively

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    How to Declutter Effectively

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    <img data-attachment-id="4550" data-permalink="" data-orig-file="" data-orig-size="700,1350" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta=""aperture":"0","credit":"","camera":"","caption":"","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"","orientation":"1"" data-image-title="Tips to Declutter and Make Fast Cash" data-image-description="

    How to declutter your home and make tons of money!! #declutteryourhouse #howtodeclutteryourhouse #makemoneysellingyourstuff #sellingyourthings #flippingforprofit #makemoremoney #sidehustles #sidehustleideas #makemoneyfast

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    Jen Smith is a personal finance expert, founder of Modern Frugality and co-host of the Frugal Friends Podcast. Her work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Lifehacker, Money Magazine, U.S. News and World Report, Business Insider, and more. She’s passionate about helping people gain control of their spending.


    9 Ways To Pinch Pennies Around The House

    Pinch pennies around the house

    9 Ways to Pinch Pennies Around the House

    I’m certainly not an extreme frugalist. I’ll never reuse plastic bags or ration toilet paper into a certain number of squares per use, but if I can save a few pennies here and there, we all know they add up to dollars. Every dollar counts, especially if you are trying to get out of debt, save for a goal, or plan for retirement. Here are nine simple ways to pinch pennies around the house.

    Read on to learn how to pinch a few of these.
    photo credit: r-z via photopin cc

    1. Eliminate Food Waste

    According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, Americans throw away 25% of the food they buy. While that’s wrong to think about on many levels, it also adds up to lots of wasted money. Some easy ways to prevent food waste are using leftovers for brown bag lunches, freezing fruit and veggies for later use in smoothies or stir fry, and taking a week each month to eat out of your pantry or fridge instead of grocery shopping.

    2. Turn the Thermostat Up or Down

    We used to keep our thermostat on 70 degrees pretty much year round but have realized that if we turn it down to 66-68 degrees in the winter and 72-74 degrees in the winter, it saves about $20 per month on utility bills.

    3. Don’t Buy Expensive Cleaning Products

    Fancy wipes or lemon-scented cleaners are certainly nice, but they are expensive. You can clean just about anything with soap, warm water, vinegar, and a little bleach for a fraction of the cost. Buy a lemon candle if you really miss the smell.

    Save the life of your clothes and some cash by air-drying.
    photo credit: tracitodd via photopin cc

    4. Hang Clothes to Dry

    Hanging up some of your clothes to dry after washing does save a few dollars in utilities, but it also makes clothes last longer. We never dry any of our work clothes or most synthetic materials. My clothes never shrink and last longer without repeated tumble drying.

    5. Drink Tap Water

    If you think about the fact that bottled water is more expensive per gallon than gasoline, it makes tap water very appealing. If the water in your area tastes bad, filters are plentiful and affordable.

    Pinch pennies around the house

    6. Reduce Home Entertainment Costs

    My family used to be die-hard cable lovers. We rationalized it by saying that paid TV was our entertainment since we don’t go out much. After cutting the cord last summer, I can honestly say we don’t miss it at all. An antenna and Netflix is more than enough TV. You can also check your local library for DVDs before paying for rentals. Even if you do keep cable, it never hurts to call and ask for a better deal. If you threaten to cancel, companies start throwing discounts your way.

    7. Clean Out Your Closet and Junk Drawer

    I’m happy and a bit ashamed by how much stuff we found while cleaning the closets recently. I won’t need to buy shampoo for a while, and we may never need to buy paper clips again. Don’t let being messy cause you to buy something you don’t need because you can’t find it or forgot about buying it in the first place.

    8. Sell Your Stuff

    After spring cleaning, make a point to sell some of your old stuff. Used cell phones and electronics, name-brand clothes, and old cameras may have good resale value on eBay. Your gold chain from high school can fetch good money when sold as scrap. Having a yard sale, using consignment stores or Craigslist will make your home less cluttered and bring in extra money.

    Get ready to fill up this bad boy!
    photo credit: 401(K) 2013 via photopin cc

    9. Put a Bucket in Your Shower or Sink to Save Gray Water

    We live in a dry area that is often under water restrictions. Even if we didn’t, catching gray shower or sink water and reusing it to water plants and trees is a great way to recycle and save money on your water bill.

    If you can adopt a few or all of these penny-pinching ideas, you’ll find they are pretty painless. Seeing your money go further toward things you really need or want without feeling like a miser is always worth the effort.

    Kim Parr is an optometrist and financial blogger. She writes about her journey toward 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar. You can also follow her on Twitter.

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