How We Fund Purchases With Cash We “Found” Around Our Home

cash around the house

Guest post from Tiffany of Don’t Waste the Crumbs

Since climbing out of debt seven years ago, my husband and I have made purchases based on a motto: “In order for something new to come in, something else must go out.”

While our motto has helped us keep house clutter down, it’s also helped us to afford items we ordinarily wouldn’t be able to. Essentially since what we own is given monetary value, which means we have money in places we never thought to look!

If you’re wondering how you might fund your next purchase without breaking the bank or dipping into your savings account, try looking around your house. You might be surprised how much “cash” you find!

Here’s how to get started:

1. Inventory what you have.

Make a list of items that you have that you don’t use, hardly use, and/or that you’re willing to part with. Write these items down on a sheet of paper, whiteboard, or track them in a spreadsheet.

Keep these items out in the open, not in a closet or storage, so that you see them everyday. This will make you want to get rid of them that much faster.

2. Determine the market value.

Find out how much your items are worth by checking sites like Craigslist, Ebay, and other online auction type sites with buyer/seller relationships.

Be realistic. What you paid $500 for two years ago, may only be worth $75 now. Don’t hold on to items just because you think you paid a lot for it. It’s a fact that items depreciate over time. Sell it now and recoup what you can.

Tip: When selling locally, consider asking a little bit more than the going price. This leaves you room to negotiate down, but always have a lowest price in mind.

3. Sell it.

When marketing your item, clean them up, take good photos, and write a very descriptive ad. These extra steps add “curb appeal” to your items and help them sell faster.

Four places to sell your stuff:

1. Craigslist. Our preferred method since it’s free, local, and easy.

2. Ebay. The final price is not set in stone, but you have a wider audience. Be sure to consider shipping and packaging costs into your asking price.

3. Garage Sale. Advertise your sale in the local paper and online. Be willing to negotiate.

4. Newspaper. Although the internet is more popular, this is still an avenue that may work well in your area!

4. Barter if necessary.

Bartering is viable alternative to selling when cash to buy is unavailable.

5. Use funds to buy new item.

Before you spend anything, check Freecycle to see if anyone is giving what you’re looking for away.

In the same way you used Craigslist, Ebay, garage sales, and the newspaper to sell, check those same places when you buy!

Over the years, we’ve used these methods to buy lots of higher-end purchases — including a laptop, bicycle, dining room set, and iPods.

There is always a market to buy and sell, and remember that one man’s “trash” is another man’s treasure!!

Tiffany is a frugal foodie – passionate about feeding her family healthy food while being a good steward of her family’s finances. She shares her enthusiasm for affording real food without going broke at Don’t Waste the Crumbs.

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We Paid Cash: A New HVAC System

We paid cash!

A testimony from an anonymous reader

We’ve known for several years now that our HVAC system was dying. As a family, we were all uncomfortable and the unit often reminded us of its impending “death” with loud rattling that shook walls.

Knowing that we had waited and patched the units as long as we could, we began to get quotes for a new system. When the time came to receive our first quote I almost fell out of my chair when they handed me the paperwork showing a total cost of $12,000 to replace both our units and repair the duct work.

This company did however offer financing, and it looked like we might have to utilize the “financing option” to purchase the new HVAC system.

After a few more quotes and some discussions with the companies I started asking if we could get a discount if we paid in cash. To my shock, we were quickly offered discounts from 5-8% if we paid in cash! On a $12,000 bill that is not an insignificant amount of money.

With this new knowledge in hand, we put our nose to the ground and decided to save, save, save! We had less than one year to save before we would face another blistering summer in Georgia.

Here is what we did:

  • We held a family meeting
  • We examined our budget
  • We cut expenses on “non-essential” items
  • We planned to put our entire tax return to the new system

Our children are old enough to understand our budget and the need to replace the HVAC unit (they were hot!) After the family meeting, everyone was on the same page and we were all on board to save up for a more comfortable summer next year.

Already having a tight budget, at first we thought we would never be able to save enough, but soon, small decisions started adding up. Every time we saved any amount from a monthly bill, we diverted those funds directly into savings.

Because our budget was already tight we called our service providers for cell phones and internet and negotiated lower rates. The difference went straight to savings every month, we decreased the “food” budget which meant less eating out and we had very simple holidays. Soon we were on track to make our goal!

This weekend, we will have our new system installed and we will be paying CASH!

Our new HVAC system will cost us $8,000 — by paying cash and having the work completed before summer we were able to negotiate the best price, saving us $4,000. What a great feeling we have as a family to know that we all worked together to achieve our goal and we all be cooler this summer!

Have you saved up and paid cash for something — large or small? Submit your story for possible publication here.

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Healthy Fettuccine Alfredo

Skinny-Fettuccine-Alfredo

Guest post from Brooke of Skinny Mom

Who doesn’t love Fettuccine Alfredo?

It’s a favorite with my family. My little man, E, loves to slurp up the creamy noodles one at a time and his little fettuccine-covered face creates an Instagram moment every time we have it for dinner.

This used to be a meal that we splurged on when eating out at our favorite Italian restaurant but I was determined to create a more affordable, and more waist-line friendly, version that I could prepare at home.

The most economical aspect of this recipe is that you likely have most of the ingredients needed already (butter, garlic, flour, milk, etc.). The few items you may have to add to your shopping list are the whole wheat fettuccine, which can also be substituted for spinach fettuccine depending on which one might be on sale or you have a coupon for.

In addition to the cheese, the recipe calls for fresh parsley, but if you don’t have this on hand, you can opt for the dried seasoning in your spice cabinet to save a few dollars.

Preparing homemade sauces, dressings, and other condiments can usually be surprisingly less expensive than you might expect when you realize the foundation ingredients are already in your pantry and refrigerator. This is a great way to control the amount of artificial ingredients, added sodium, calories, and fat that can be hidden in the canned and jarred ready-to-use options.

Don’t be afraid to make more of this recipe than you need for one meal. I promise, your family will love it and it’s just as scrumptious served as leftovers the next day. You can even jazz it up with some of your pantry staples by adding tomatoes (canned or fresh) and/or some spinach (frozen or fresh) when you serve it for lunch or dinner the next day to mix up the presentation.

Enjoy!

fettuccini

What are your favorite frugal dinner recipes?

Brooke is the founder and CEO of Skinny Mom, the digital lifestyle brand that gives moms the skinny on healthy living. Brooke is also a certified personal trainer and fitness enthusiast, however Brooke’s most important job is being a single mom to her 3 year old son. In her spare time Brooke loves cooking skinny meals and running outdoors

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Kristen’s Target Shopping Trip: $29.47 worth of items for $13.51 out of pocket!

Kristen Target

Kristen emailed her Target Shopping Trip:

Target Shopping Trip

1 bunch of celery $1.79 – used $1 off Target Mobile Coupon

4 bags of baby carrots $1.49 each - used $2/5 off Target Mobile Coupon

2 FUJI apples $.79 each - used $1 off Target Mobile Coupon

1 Market Pantry Frozen Fruit bag $1.99 - used $1 off Target Mobile Coupon

2 Market Pantry Canned Corn $.89 each - used $.50 off Target Mobile Coupon

2 Nature Made Fish Oil Supplements – $6.59 each – used $2 off manufacturer’s coupon - received $5 Target gift card

1 package of chicken drumsticks $3.19 – marked down to $2.49 – used $1 off Target mobile coupon

Total before sales and coupons: $29.47

Total with tax ($1.24) after sales and coupons: $13.51

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Stretching the Grocery Budget with Eggs

stretching the budget with eggs

Guest post from Tanya of  Springs Homestead

Eggs are not just for breakfast, they make great snacks and delicious dinners. Although the price of a carton of eggs has increased some; they are still cheap and healthy. Plus, they are loaded with protein and vitamins B12, A, D, and E.

If you’re looking for a simple way to stretch your grocery budget… here are some ways eggs can help you do just that!

Eggs for Breakfast

Eggs can be served in numerous ways for breakfast. There is the basic scrambled, fried, and poached. Or, if you would like to get really creative try a frittata, omelet, or soufflé.

Eggs really are a great way to start the day and there are numerous breakfast egg recipes.

Snack Time

I like to keep hard-boiled eggs in our fridge for anyone looking for a snack. They can be packed into lunch boxes for school, work, or for us on-the-go homeschool moms. Eating a hard-boiled egg after a rigorous workout can also give you that much needed protein boost.

Snack time, with eggs, can be simple, nutritious, and kind to the wallet.

Dinner with Eggs

During the spring and summer, my hens lay many eggs. In order for my family not to grow tired of eggs, I have amassed quite a collection of egg recipes. I never knew there were so many ways to serve them. Even if you are buying your eggs, these are very economical dinners.

Here is a recipe that we particularly enjoy.

What are your favorite ways to serve eggs?

Tanya married a farm boy named James and together they are restoring his family farm after 20 years of neglect. When Tanya is not homeschooling their three children or working on the farm, you can find her concocting something in the kitchen or writing on her blog  Seven Springs Homestead.

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4 Ways to Combat the Urge to Spend

4 Ways to Combat the Urge to Spend

Guest post by Jessi of The Budget Mama

Once upon a time, there was a girl, who thought she needed designer jeans, Ray Ban sunglasses, Coach purses, sports cars, and a California King size bed.

In order for her to acquire these items, she had to max out her resources. She swiped those eight different super shiny, color-coordinated credit cards like they were going out of style. She was a pro at signing her name, and at the “bill me later” game.

Oh but how the mighty have fallen. That same girl no longer drives a GT Mustang, owns a single pair of Ray Bans or a Coach purse, and no longer has room for that California King bed.

That girl had to give up all those super nice things because she was dead broke. She may have looked like a million bucks and been able to play the part well; but the truth was, she had no money.

She had accumulated over $11,000 in credit card debt alone. That was over half of her salary as an Administrative Assistant. She had to learn the hard way that there is a fine line between appearing to have money and actually having money.

That was a tough lesson, but it was a lesson learned nonetheless.

Does she regret her choice to sell off all of those fancy items to help pay back the debt? No. Did selling those hard earned items pay back all of her debt? No, she still had to work hard and throw every extra penny and tax return check at her debt to pay it all back.

I am the girl in this story, and I was dead broke at 21 with a mountain of credit card debt. I was raised in an extremely frugal household, where I got the crazy idea that I had to have designer items and huge inventory of stuff, I have no idea.

Wherever that idea came from, it has been hard to keep it out of my head.

We all want things. Maybe it is because of our society that we want so much, or maybe it is something else entirely. What matters is that you learn to control that voice that wants you to spend money you do not have.

These are the four ways I combat the urge to spend money:

  1. I carry cash with me whenever shopping and leave my debit card at home.
  2. I always make a shopping list. Even if I am going clothes shopping for my boys, I make a list of the items needed and I stick to it. In fact, I carry the list around in my hand as I am walking through the store. This keeps my mind on my list and helps keep my eyes from wondering.
  3. I remind myself that most people do not know the difference between designer and no-name brands. Would you honestly know the difference between a pair of shoes bought at Ross and a pair bought at Macy’s? Probably not.
  4. I focus on the fulfillment and freedom I receive from paying cash. Paying cash for something that you once could only afford with a credit card is a life-changing experience. I had racked up $3,000 on a credit card for furniture. Fast forward five years later; I paid $5,000 cash for new furniture. That was a very liberating experience, which I remind myself of whenever the urge to spend creeps up.

If you are fighting the debt monster, keep going. It is a long, bumpy road but it is very worth it in the end. I hope my story will encourage you on the road to becoming debt free.

Jessi is the author of the frugal lifestyle blog, The Budget Mama. She is an avid budget fanatic and dedicated to helping others reach their full financial potential. Jessi shares her real life on a budget along with DIY projects, recipes, organization, and more.

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