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Trash to Treasure

June 26th, 2008 at 11:43 pm

Sidestream Income:
$3214.93 old total
$40.00 TV
$25 moving boxes
TOTAL: $3279.93

I'm still in the throes of unpacking but I want to track my cash inflow before I forget.

Two days before the move we decided to sell our TV ($40) and just now I sold all my old moving boxes for $25 on Craig's List. The sale of the moving boxes was quite a score since they were all boxes I collected for free. I listed the entire "lot" plus packing paper for $25. Sure enough, someone who is moving this weekend and in dire need of boxes scooped them up.

Staying Cool When it's H-O-T

June 9th, 2008 at 11:48 pm

We're in the middle of a heat wave and I sold my air conditioner a few weeks ago. What's a frugal gal to do?

Close all the windows and doors and draw the blinds. I'm surprised by how many people don't know this trick! As the temperature starts to rise, you want to trap the cool air in your house and keep the heat from seeping in. I've actually had people come into my house during hot weather and assume I have central air conditioning because the house is so much cooler than the outdoors. I don't have central air, but I do have I have an indoor/outdoor thermometer. Once I see the temperature outside is cooler than inside (probably around 9pm) I'll open everything up to let the cool air in. For safety reasons, I sleep with everything closed, but when I'm up in the morning I'll open everything up again until the temperature in the house starts to rise.

Break out the Crock Pot. No cook meals like salads are a great idea when the weather is hot, but I'm moving in a week and trying to eat down my pantry and avoid going to the store. Crock Pots are great for hot weather because unlike your oven or stove top, they contain most of their heat. Furthermore, if you have a porch, garage or basement you can let the Crock Pot work it's magic outside the living quarters to further prevent additional heat in the house.

Last night I found this unique recipe for

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Slow-cooker Chicken in Spicy Peanut sauce and Link is

Slow-cooker Chicken in Spicy Peanut sauce
. I was thrilled because I could use 2 cans of tomatoes AND the remainder of my peanut butter plus the 2 chicken breasts that have been in the freezer for GodKnowsHowLong. I threw the ingredients in the Crock Pot and plugged it in in the basement before I went to work. When I got home, I put some rice in the rice cooker and plugged it in on the front porch. Before long, I had a hot meal and a cool house!

Not So Frugal Fries

June 1st, 2008 at 03:01 am

I submitted my dissertation to my committee on Friday. I still need to get through the defense but this is a step in the right direction!

Thursday night I stayed on campus until about 8:30pm finishing up some last minute revisions. Walking home I was hungry and feeling celebratory, so I decided to stop at

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Five Guys for a burger. I had never been there before, but had heard that their burger and fries were among some the best in town. Plus, it fit the bill for what I wanted: tasty, cheap, indulgent, and quick.

I ordered a little cheeseburger and medium fries (medium and large are the only sizes available) without paying much attention to the price aside from noting that the "little" burgers (which were still pretty big) were at least a dollar less than the original burgers.

I was just cleaning out my wallet and entering expenses into Quicken this evening, I noticed that my cheese burger was $3.29 and the fries were $1.99. That seems like a lot for fries. I think it's one of those things where if you go to a burger joint it's almost sacrilege not to get fries.

I'm not that big of frugal nut that I'd skip the fries if I go there again since I eat fast food about 1x/ year. It's just interesting to note that they weren't that good and cost nearly 40% of the total bill. I wouldn't recommend eating this type of food regularly, if you do it's pretty easy to see how just making minor adjustments to your order could save hundreds of dollars over the course of a year.

More Sales!

May 26th, 2008 at 04:39 pm

Sidestream Income:
$3154.93 old total
$60.00 AC unit

TOTAL: $3214.93

My AC unit (priced at $75) didn't sell at the yard sale. The Craig's List ad elicited some calls and emails, but no one came to look. So, when a college kid offered me $60, I decided to accept the offer.

I'm nearly at

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last year's total for the
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$20 Challenge!

5 Yard Sale Tips

May 25th, 2008 at 03:09 am

Sidestream Income:
$2993.93 old total
$161.00 yard sale

TOTAL: $3154.93

Today's yard sale was a success!! I surpassed my expectations and made $161.00. That doesn't include the $60 I'll earn when I deliver my dehumidifier to a neighbor. I don't move for another month and I don't want to stop using my dehumidifier until then. I posted a sign at the sale saying "Dehumidifier Available: Inquire for Details"-- the "details" included the fact that I would take your name and number if you were interested and call you in a month. My neighbor expressed great interest, so I feel pretty confident (more so than I would with a stranger) that the deal will go through. In fact, he even offered to pay me now but I said I'd rather wait until delivery.

I'm surprised I sold over $150 worth of stuff because much like

Text is my last garage sale and Link is
my last garage sale, I seemed to be selling a whole lot of nothing. My biggest sale was a set of shelves for $25, followed by my kitchen curtains for $10 and a hand held vacuum for $5, but after that it was all small ticket items. Truly all those $2-$3 sales (often comprised of a bunch of $0.25 and $0.50 items) add up!

Tip #1: Advertise
I placed two free online classifieds and four homemade, easy to read signs pointing car and foot traffic to my location.

Tip #2: Organize and Stage
It takes a little extra time, but items that look gently used sell a lot better than items that look like they fell off a garbage truck! For example, I had two small rugs in my basement that looked so dirty I nearly threw them out. However, after a few minutes of vacuuming with my powerful Hoover, they looked good enough to sell. I marked the rugs at $1 / each and they were promptly scooped up within the first hour. In their former state of filth, I would have been embarrassed to put them in the free pile! Be certain to price all your items. People are shy. It's been my experience that marked items sell better. Set the mood. I have a little wicker table that I positioned in the sunniest part of the yard where I displayed all my glassware and linens for sale. Even through the table itself wasn't for sale, it evoked a garden party image and (I think) created a vision for what people could use the items displayed on it for. I covered all the rest of my tables in inexpensive plastic yellow table cloths (leftover from a baby shower). Nothing fancy, but better looking than the icky folding table underneath. I also mowed the lawn the day before and swept the sidewalk and walk way. A clean yard signifies a home in which the items for sale were cared for.

Tip #3: No Holds Barred!
If you're having a sale because your moving, don't be afraid to sell everything! For example, I had a big package of styrofoam cups left over from when I brought a hot beverage to a charity walkathon. I have no use for them. Had I not been moving, I might have been tempted to stash them away "just in case", but there's no need for me to transport styrofoam cups across three state lines "just in case"!! Sure enough, the cups sold! Another example of an atypical yard sale item was my random assortment of holiday paper napkins and plates. I bundled them together and sure enough, they sold, too! These are just a few examples of things that could have been thrown out, but instead helped me to earn some cash.

Tip #4: List Big items on Craig's List
List your big items on Craig's List. With any luck, the items will sell before the sale. This didn't happen for me, but I had people contact me about 2 of my Craig's List items after 9pm on Friday night so I replied and said that it would be at my yard sale the following day. Both people showed up to purchase the item they wanted from Craig's List and picked up a few extras.

Tip #5: Have Fun! Make small talk, meet the people in your neighborhood, and enjoy the opportunity to make a little cash while parting with stuff you'll never miss!

Prepping for the Yard Sale

May 23rd, 2008 at 03:09 am

Preparing for this upcoming Yard Sale is exhausting!

I put some of the bigger ticket items (air conditioner, microwave, glassware, curtains, etc) on Craig's List. I've had a number of emails, but only one sale: a bicycle for $125.

I don't know what my goal for the Yard Sale is-- I guess if I make $100 and get rid of stuff I'll be happy. Whatever doesn't sell on Saturday is going to Goodwill on Sunday!

Sidestream Income:
$2868.93 old total
$125.00 sold bike

TOTAL: $2993.93

I've also been thinning out my pantry in preparation for the move. Tonight I had the Thanksgiving perennial 'Green Bean Casserole' for dinner so I could use up 2 bags of frozen green beans and a can of mushroom soup!! Not exactly a springtime dish, but hey- that's the beauty of cooking for one.. there's no one to complain!

Decluttering, selling, defending

May 21st, 2008 at 01:23 pm

Sidestream Income:
$2818.93 old total
$50.00 rideshare

TOTAL: $2868.93

I went back to look at apartments this past weekend. Luckily, I was able to find another rider and earn $50 to cover the gas. On another good note, we did find a place to rent. The price is $1800 / month but it beautiful (no damp basements!). I think I will be happy there.

I've been in massive de-cluttering mode and plan to have a garage sale Saturday. I don't expect it will be a big money maker, but it encourages me to get rid of things I don't have the heart to throw away but don't seem appropriate for GoodWill (ie- used but perfectely re-useable baby shower decorations, books, etc).

Someone from a moving company is coming to give me an estimate on Tuesday. My re employer re-imburses up to 3K in moving expenses. I don't think I will have a problem staying under that limit.

Oh yea, and I'm defending my dissertation in month! THAT at least, seems to be under control!

Rental Sticker Shock!

May 5th, 2008 at 03:19 pm

Sidestream Income:
$2765.93 old total
$50.00 rideshare
$3.00 PineCone surveys
TOTAL: $2818.93

I drove down to see Mr. Bean this weekend and to look for a new apartment for the two us in his area.

Oi Vey! Sticker shock!!

Would we like to live in a dark, damp basement for $1600/ month? No, not really! We saw about 15 places and put an application in for one. Unfortunately, I think there were other applications ahead of us so I'm not holding my breath.

On the upside, I was able to take someone with me and get $50 in gas money for the round trip ride. We also got a better understanding of what our money will and will not get us. If our application on the one place isn't successful, we're going to start looking into some condo units that aren't selling and are going up for rent. W
e looked at one and I must say that although the location was a little far from public transportation, the unit was beautiful!

Housesitting $$

March 19th, 2008 at 02:17 pm

Sidestream Income:
$1589.93 old total
$420.00 housesitting
TOTAL: $2009.93

I got paid $420 for the Spring break house / dog sitting stint. The money is in my checking account at the moment, but I'll contribute it to my Roth IRA by the end of the week.

Feeling glamorous!

March 13th, 2008 at 08:53 pm

I went back to the Beauty School yesterday and had my hair highlighted and cut for a grand total of $33 + tip.

I love it!

Hopefully I can find another beauty school to visit after I move.

Sidestream Income

March 10th, 2008 at 06:00 pm

Sidestream Income:
$1549.93 old total
$40.00 babysitting
TOTAL: $1589.93

Another $40 from babysitting on Friday night. I'm house/pet sitting this week, so I'll have another large addition to add by the beginning of next week.

Other than that, nothing new on he money side to report!

Crock pot extravaganza and Side Stream Income

February 29th, 2008 at 03:26 am

Sidestream Income:
$1509.93 old total
$40.00 babysitting
TOTAL: $1549.93

I made $40 babysitting last night.

I've also been working really hard this month to eat from my pantry and freezer. I should run the numbers and see if my grocery bill was any different this month.

I've also been making great use of my beloved Crock Pot:

Text is Tonight's creation and Link is
Tonight's creation used up some bulgur I've had on the shelf for some time. I skipped the parsley because it would have required a trip to the store. I didn't precook anything and just tossed everything in and cooked on low all day. I also used homemade
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chicken broth made from a chicken carcass (mmmm, tasty) I had stored in the freezer. The end result of the bulgur pilaf was decent. Not something I LOVED, but good enough. The chicken broth, on the other hand, was great. I really like how the recipe has you puree the chicken meat and vegetables into the broth rather than just toss them. It gives the broth a richer flavor and adds more nutrients.

Ripped Denim

February 21st, 2008 at 03:49 am

Sidestream Income:
$1474.93 old total
$35.00 babysitting
TOTAL: $1509.93

I made $35 babysitting tonight and then fell on the sidewalk after leaving their house and ripped a hole in the knee of

Text is splurge jeans and Link is
splurge jeans. Uggh. Ripped designer denim IS NOT the look I'm going for!

Sidestream Income

February 19th, 2008 at 02:29 am

Sidestream Income:
$1114.93 old total
$360.00 House / Dog sitting
TOTAL: $1474.93

I received payment for the house / dog sitting I did earlier this month. I've decided to deposit all house sitting money in my Roth IRA to help me reach this year's 5K maximum contribution.