Children and Sence about Cents

I have two children, one is 21 the other is 5.  The 21 year old, well I fear for her.  If something happened to me tomorrow, I’m not so sure she wouldn’t be homeless within a matter of a week.  The five year old however, well, if not for the obvious age barrier, he would do pretty good.

It’s amazing how one child may retain information and the other might just opt for, “boring mom.” and move on.  My son knows to look for sales.  Today we went to Walmart, he didn’t go to the video game section to look for his favored Skylanders or these Infinity things from Disney, he went to the clearance isle because he said they were cheaper there and he might get two for one.

Oh my son is going to make someone a good husband some day!

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Cents are Everywhere – Am I Obsessed?

Good question, “Am I obsessed?”  The answer to that is just maybe.  Especially after yesterday’s (2/27/15) adventure in Nashville, TN.  You see, I scored Maroon 5 Concert tickets so we went there.  It was a 24 hour adventure, started on Friday morning at about 6 and we hit the road at about the same time on Saturday (today).    So anyway, the savings.

Our savings began when we got into Nashville and went to the Loveless Cafe.  In my head, I was thinking, “how much of what (if I have anything listed) must I sell to put a dent in this meal at the Loveless.  Well, the answer came quickly.

Now, I’m admittedly somewhat of a hyprocrit when it comes to some things.  I demand my children (though the 21 year old doesn’t listen) put the cell phone or gameboy down when we are in public eating.  However, I decided to do a quick facebook check and “bumped” some of my listings so it would pop up on my local resell page.  Within 10 minutes (yes, the hyprocrit in me demanded this), I had sold three items which totaled about $20.00.  Alright, well my bill came to $45.00, so I fed my family of four for $25.00 (before the tip).  Then, you know I had to go get me some biscuit mix because they have the best biscuits.  Because I spent $40.00 (now this did NOT go in the bucket), they gave us a free box of bacon popcorn! (I never would have bought this BTW).  It was supposed to be $8.00.  Alright, well heck!  That’s not bad is it?

So it was on to the Parthanon.  A replica of a the Greek temple.  Well, my mom is a senior and I am prior military so we scored a $5.00 savings, not much but I took that money (which I already spent) and put it in that empty water jug as soon as I got home (along with that $25.00 from above).

After that, it was the Golden Coralle Restraunt.  I had a ticket for a kids eat free meal.  Well, that was  a $7.00 savings (this too went in the bucket).

Now, we went to the hotel and checked in.  We were going to go to the vending machine for some water (yes I have a healthy obsession with Dasani water), when I asked about it, the guy behind the desk gave us four bottles of water.  SCORE!  $4.00 (Into the bucket!)

Now, here is where some savings come in that were unexpected so they did NOT go into the bucket:  The Maroon 5 concert.  Outside of the Bridgstone Arena, there are always local radio stations lined up.  Well, they had games set up for free.  I played and my daughter played.  I’d been watching and remembered w here things were, so she scored the “Animal” cd by Maroon 5 because she was the first winner of the day.  Not bad right?

Unfortunately that ended my savings, we went home, I swung by the dumpster to peek to see if anyone threw away something I could clean and resell, found nothing.  Fed my son and then thought to myself, “Self, my all of four viewers might like to hear abut this!”.  I would really like to hear about your savings adventures be it with physical cents or using sense to save!

Let there be light! $13.00 and free stuff!

Through all the snow storms, ice, sub-arctic temperatures here in Martin, TN, there is a little ray of light.  Now, this post is a little more informal and a little personal, but I have to share this.  Yesterday was a very good day for me and my small family!

I managed to get a job at Lowes – which resembles a lot of what I did in the Navy as a Storekeeper some years ago.  Also, I was able to go to Goodwill and scored a pretty good haul!

I spent $27.00 (using my military discount and the green tag half off sale they had) and picked up the following, all of which was in mint condition.

1.  Fisher Prie Workbench (heavy plastic) with roughly 30 pieces of play tools for $9.99.

Goodwill Workbench

2.  Vintage Green Glass Covered Dish

3.  Wrought Iron (I’m sure that’s not the right spelling) three teared spiral wall hanging.

Goodwill Iron

4.  “Espresso Yourself” metal kitchen wall hanging.

Goodwill Espresso

5.  Heart wooden walls helf (this will be repourposed, painted purple and glitter then sold)

6.  The ellusive wood block that holds knives (there’s a crayon holder project I want to do with it I saw on Pintrest, scored for $.99)

7.  Two small wooden shelves, plain that I will paint for my son’s skylander things.

Ok that averages out to about $3 and some change for each item!

Well, I listed the fisher price toy for $25.00 on a local facebook resell page, got $20.00, I wanted to keep the black three teired shelf, but I have a rule, I have to try to sell things for at least double the price I paid for it first, and sold it for $10.00, and the “Espresso Yourself” sign towel holder sold for $10.00 also.

Drumroll folks….  I made $13.00 and got the two shelves for my son, the block for my craft and the heart shelf for completly free!

Not a bad day!

Little Adventures

Today was not such a good day for our small family.  Half of us are under the weather, there’s a ton of snow outside our front door and under that is ice.  Worse, I haven’t been able to go to my “haunts” to gather those unwanted cents!

So, I turned to my car and my house.  I cleaned both up best I could and scored just under three dollars in change. (which my son took because it was in coin form, hey, he’s five and knows the value of a penny!).

Maybe tomorrow will be better.  What have you done?

Sense In Slow Cents

I love the play on words in the title don’t you?  And boy is it fitting!  Today’s thought is on just how slow it might be in making cents make sense.  So what comes to mind? The old saying, “good things come to those who wait.”  What I mean by that is, sometimes you have to let things build up in order to reap the benefits.

Today’s example came after I cleaned up the kitchen (we are in the middle of a snow day so I figured to go deep just to see what I had in there), anyway, what I found were piles of box tops (among other points from other offers).  I got to thinking, that’s one way I make cents.  So here’s my tip to you.

What you will need:

2 – 4 magnets

1 plastic ziplock bag (Not an envelop, those get lost believe it or not)

a pair of cissors near by.

Convienance is everything.  I hung mine on the refridgerator.  The ziploc bag being see through reminds  everyone to put tops in there, and also reminds us to list every now and then.  Speaking of listing, for this you need an Ebay account (which most have), if you don’t have one, by all means get on it! Go to http://www.ebay.com and sign yourself up for a seller account. It doesn’t hurt and it comes in handy for selling things like this and others that I will give advice on every now and then.

When you list box tops, the title should look like this:  100 Box Tops and Labels for Education Neatly Clipped

The body / description should look like this:  None are expired (or) None expire until (insert the year).  Great way to earn money for your school!

The price should start off at:  $00.50 (to cover the cost of the stamp)

Easy as that!  The listings (mine included) usualy go between $8.00 yo $10.00 if you get the right people who don’t want to lose.  After fees, you should get about $7.00 – $8.50 (low and high on the $8-$10 estimated sale)

I do not touch my Paypal Account.  I just let that accumulate through the year.  You’d be shocked, even if you don’t like asking friends, family or if you are like me, while dumpster diving, how fast those points add up!

Just how fast to they add up?  No promises on your sales, but in this type of listing alone last year, I banked $180.00.  That’s not too bad if you think about it, considering I fogot the money was sitting in my Paypal account ready to use if my tires blew out or for a rainy day!

Now that’s  making sense out of cents!

Organizing the Disorganized

“How do you do it?”

That’s the question I get a lot when people hear that I got any given thing by making cents make sense.  To them I say, “I started at the beginning.  After that, everything fell into place.”

First let’s get the idea that this is really something you just do without a plan or any sort of organization out of your head.  The truth is, there is a lot of organization, planning, methods to this madness, but they come sort of subconsciously.  Meaning, I didn’t realize I was doing them until I was mid way onto my own path of being a sort of penny whisperer.

The first thing you should do, the thing I’d have done differently if I had it all to do over again, is to organize your space.  That’s right, clean your house.  Not in order to get yard sale or resell fodder (though that’s not a bad idea), but because this can take some space.  After you have freed up all the free space you can, reorganize what is left so that there is a larger section of free space.  It helps if this is a garage, but if you are like me, garageless, then a closet, a corner of an unused room or even bedroom will do.  Sometimes I use a little bit of space in various rooms because that’s all I have.

No, I’m not a hoarder, in fact my house is quite nice.  And the things you see, well, they are mostly for sale.  You see, unless it’s a picture or family heirloom (we don’t have many of those, those are kept tucked away in a trunk anyway), everything is for sale.  This creates a sort of dual use.  That is another topic for another blog though.

Once you have a feel for the space you have, now it’s time to figure out what it is you have, or will have, to make some cents.  Personally, I’d start and did start with personal inventory.  What can you get rid of and get rid of fast.  It can be anything, even a coffee mug.  You might think, “that’s just a coffee mug,” but, if someone is willing to pay you $.50 for it, then shouldn’t you snag it?  I’d rather have two quarters (or five dimes, or two dimes a nickle and a quarter…) than a coffee mug.  It’s all a drop in the bucket that will eventually overflow.

Yard sales aren’t for everyone, after all, there’s planning, waiting, praying the weather doesn’t change.  So I like to do online reselling through facebook.  That’s right, facebook.

If you search groups in your area, use the county you live in and the tag, “Resell” or “Resale”  or “Yardsale”, you will find many things I imagine.  You can use your city too as a search.  For example, and this isn’t mine, “Nashville Resell” or “Orange County Resale.”  You’d be shocked at the results.

You see, you don’t need great pictures, though they help, you just need a smart phone which most all have, snap a picture of the item, pick a price you want (Remember, this is a cyber yardsale so don’t ask full price for a used item), and list!  Use the structure below:

Item Price, Item Name, Item Condition, Item Location, Smoke Free or Pet Free Home, and thank them for looking.

Never meet at your house or theirs, always meet in an open location.  We’ve all heard of the Craigslist scares, but with Facebook, you can literally screen who is buying your items.  If something seems off, simply pass.  The key is to be honest.

Test the waters, see if that is something you would get into doing.  It helps to have a central meeting place.  For me it’s a Walmart Parking Lot, and i like to meet on Wednesdays, however if someone wants something earlier I have no problem doing that.

Here is where you can stop or continue.  By now you’ve seen if this avenue is the correct one you want to use to make cents make sense or not.

…Next time on CentsMakesSense, we will discuss why you chose to stop or continue!

How does making cents make sense?

I wouldn’t call myself stingy or a cheapskate, but I try to find money where I can.  Sometimes it’s kind of obvious, sometimes it’s not so obvious.  The trick with what I have done is to not wait until the time comes when all these pennies I am finding become the difference between eating and going to bed hungry.

Cents can come from anywhere at anytime.  Sometimes it’s literal, coins inbetween the cushions, under the car seat (where do they come from anyway?), on the ground in the parking lot or in the bottom darkness of a purse.  Sometimes it’s not so simple, sometimes the cents make you work to find them, for me metal detecting in parks, under benches, that sort of thing which for me is still fun.

But then, sometimes finding cents becomes actual work where the cents aren’t in coin form when you find them at all.  That’s where a bulk of my cents come from and trust me, it isn’t always pretty, but it’s always worth it in the end.

Cents are everywhere.  Don’t believe me?  Drive down the road.  Think that pinecone has no worth?  go to http://www.ebay.com and search “pinecones”.  You’d be shocked at what people can buy.    Take a drive by big dumpsters, often people don’t hit the dumpster when they throw out good items because they want people to pick them up.  Cha-Ching!  Cents are everywhere.  You just have to slow down and look around you.  It’s money, not much but if you nickle and dime it, you won’t be sorry.

That’s my thought of the moment on how I make cents make sense.