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52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Turn Your Clutter Into Cash {Week 34}

Turn Your Clutter Into Cash

Every week in 2013, I’ll be sharing a different way you can save $100 this year. If you do all of these things, you’ll be able to save over $5,000 this year alone! Many of these things will likely be things you’re already doing, but hopefully all of you will pick up at least a few new ideas or some inspiration from this series.

This isn’t exactly a post on how to save $100, but it’s certainly a way to clear out some clutter and make $100 (or more) in cash fairly quickly!

Clear Out the Clutter

No matter how hard I try to keep clutter at bay, it constantly seems to be creeping and seeping into our home when I’m not looking. And that’s why I have to regularly go through our home and clear out the clutter — lest it take over!

Here are five questions I always ask when I’m clearing out clutter:

Do I Need This Item?

Need is the keyword here. If you could live without the item, than you likely don’t.

I’m not saying you can only have two outfits and one pair of shoes, but the exercise of objectively considering how much of the stuff you have is something you need for survival can help change your perspective on your stuff.

Do I Regularly Use This Item?

If you only use something once every six months, get rid of it. Christmas decorations are exempt, but if you have a food dehydrator lurking in a basement corner that you’ve only used once in the last ten years, you either need to pull it out and start using it or find a better home for it — preferably someone else’s home.

Do I Like This Item?

Sometimes, it is easy to keep clutter just because we always have. It becomes a part of our home without us ever examining whether it is a useful part or something we like and use. If it’s doing nothing for you and you don’t even like it in the first place, pitch it!

Is This Item Taking Up Space I Don’t Have?

Many people feel like they need a bigger home or apartment for all their stuff, but most people just need less stuff. When my husband and I first got married, we spent the first six months living in a one-bedroom apartment with one closet.

Where would we put the vacuum, or the suitcase? We made use of all our available room, from under the bed to under the bathroom sink, and learned an invaluable lesson: the less space you have, the less stuff you need.

Could I Bless Someone Else With This Item?

One of my favorite ways to “dispose” of items I no longer love, need or use is to share them with someone who will! Not only do I get the item off my hands, but I bless someone else in the process — and likely save them money, too!

Now, I am not advocating that you go dump of ten bags of junk on your friend’s doorstep, but if you know your friend could use some diapers and you have half a box that your son outgrew, stop letting them take up space in the nursery and ask your friend if she’d like them!


Need some inspiration for more clutter-free living? Read How I Keep My Kitchen Countertops Cleaned Off.

Turn Your Clutter Into Cash

Once you’ve cleared out the clutter, it’s time to turn that clutter into cash. Here are three ways to do that?

List It On Craigslist

If you live in a large metropolis, your local Craigslist is likely hopping with potential buyers. Take good pictures, use descriptive words, only include your email address (there are weirdos on the internet; no need to give them your home phone number!) and list your item reasonably.

Chances are, finding a buyer will be fairly simple. Best of all? If the item doesn’t sell, you’re out nothing but time and effort.

Craigslist is a great place to sell almost anything, but I’d especially recommend using it for selling exercise equipment, appliances and baby items.

Sell It On eBay

eBay may be a great option, but as it is so well-known, the market is often saturated. Before listing any items on eBay, do a search to see if an item you are considering selling on eBay is actually selling. If there are dozens of listings of your item and very few bids, you’re probably going to do much better selling your item elsewhere.

I personally have had success with selling items as “lots” as opposed to individually. This is a quick way to get rid of a lot of items at once. It will save you the time and energy of taking pictures and listing each thing separately and you’ll likely get more bidders. Make sure that you do have a few items in the lot that are hot sellers, use descriptive keywords in your title and listing, and take at least one or two high-quality pictures.

Turn Your Clutter Into Cash

Consign It

Consignment stores normally specialize in selling name brand used clothing. Children’s consignment stores also sell baby items, maternity clothes, toys and more.

There are at least one or two (or more!) available in most areas. All consignment stores have their own rules and guidelines, but most have you bring your unwanted clothes to them and they’ll either pay you upfront in cash or store credit. Or, they’ll display the items in their store and then pay you a percentage of the profit if it sells.

Depending upon what items you have, what condition they are in and what brands they are, this could be an excellent opportunity for you. I’d recommend calling around to local consignment stores to see what their rules and guidelines for accepting items are and how much they pay.

Find more ideas of things to do with your clutter here.

What are your best tips for turning your clutter into cash?

photo credit; photo credit

52 Ways to Save $100 Per Year: 3 Ways to Save on Online Orders {Week 33}

3 Tips to Save Money on Online Orders

Every week in 2013, I’ll be sharing a different way you can save $100 this year. If you do all of these things, you’ll be able to save over $5,000 this year alone! Many of these things will likely be things you’re already doing, but hopefully all of you will pick up at least a few new ideas or some inspiration from this series.

Christmas will be here soon and that means that many of us are doing more online shopping than usual. Whether you shop online all year long or just around Christmastime, use the following tips and tricks and you’ll probably save $100 or more on your online orders!

1. Look for a Free Shipping Offer

When I order online, I rarely pay for shipping. It’s just not worth it to me to have to pay high shipping prices — even if the online deal is spectacular.

I’ve found that if you’re willing to look around and be patient, you can almost buy just about anything online without paying for shipping. Many stores offer free shipping year-round on a minimum order or they offer free shipping codes at various times throughout the year. Check to find free shipping codes and offers available at thousands of stores online.

It’s best to shop when an online store is running a free shipping special that requires no extra code. This way, you can not only get free shipping, but you can also get a percentage off your order by using a coupon code. (Some stores do allow you to combine coupon codes, but many don’t — see point #2.)

Tip: See If the Site Offers Free Shipping to Your Local Store

If you can’t get free shipping, check to see if you can have the item shipped to your local store for free. This isn’t quite as convenient as having something shipped to your front door, but if the store is nearby, it could definitely be worth the effort to run by and pick it up and save on shipping.

2. Search for a Coupon Code

Up until a few years ago, I never even thought to look for a coupon code when I ordered something online. Now, my husband and I both have a policy to never purchase anything without first finding a coupon code to use.

I’ve tried a lot of different coupon code websites and I’ve also tried Googling for coupon codes, but in my opinion, nothing compares to They are the best coupon code website in existence so far. All you have to do is go to their homepage, search for the store you’re planning to shop from, and ta-da! you have a long list of coupon codes that have been rated by their large community of users.

More often than not, I’m able to find at least one coupon code from the long list that works for me. And, for possibly 1-2 minutes of effort, that coupon code will usually save me at least 10% off my order — sometimes even as much as 25%!

Tip: Try to Combine Coupon Codes

Sites like allow you to stack two coupon codes — one to get free shipping and one to get a percentage off your total. It’s always worth it to try to see if a site will let you use more than one coupon.

3. Shop Through a Cashback Site

Cashback sites work with online stores to offer you a percentage — usually somewhere between 3-6% of your total purchase — back as a rebate. While 3-6% might not seem like much, it can really add up over time.

My theory: if you’re already going to be making the online purchase, you might as well get a little money back, too, right? After all, it’s essentially “free” money!

Here are two cashback sites I recommend:

  • Ebates — One of the oldest cashback sites, Ebates has an easy-to-navigate website. You only have to earn $5.01 in rebates in order to get a check or Paypal payment. You get a $5 bonus upon sign-up, so with just one purchase, you can reach payout. However, payments are only sent every three months, so you have to wait awhile to get your rebate. Go here to sign up.
  • Mr. Rebates–A smaller cashback site, Mr. Rebates still offers a pretty good payout: you get a $5 bonus when you sign up and you can choose to request a check or Paypal payment as soon as you’ve received $10 in rebates. Go here to sign up.

When you are ready to make an online purchase, check both of these sites to see which one is currently giving the highest percentage of cashback and then shop through that one. To ensure your cashback is credited to your account, search for the store on the cashback site you’re using and then click through the store link. This should guarantee that you are credited for your purchases.

By combining free shipping, an online coupon code, and a cashback rebate on all of your online shopping purchases, you will make your money go a lot farther and you’ll likely save at least $100 per year (if not more!).

What are your best tips and tricks for saving money on online orders?

52 Different Ways to Save at Least $100 Per Year: Is this really a good deal? {Week 32}

4 Questions You Should Always Ask Before Purchasing Anything

Every week in 2013, I’ll be sharing a different way you can save $100 this year. If you do all of these things, you’ll be able to save over $5,000 this year alone! Many of these things will likely be things you’re already doing, but hopefully all of you will pick up at least a few new ideas or some inspiration from this series.

This week’s tip is so simple, but it can be extremely effective in helping you save at least $100 per year, if not more.

Before purchasing anything, ask yourself: Is this really a good deal? As I’ve often said, just because something is a great bargain, it doesn’t mean it’s a great deal for you.

Here are four questions to help you think through whether a purchase is a good deal for you:

1. Can I afford this?

If you can’t afford to buy something, it’s not a good deal — no matter how low the price. Period. You don’t need to go onto questions two, three, and four as you’ve already answered the question: don’t buy whatever it is you’re contemplating because you don’t have the money for it.

If it’s something you really want or need, wait and find a way to save extra money to pay for it. I promise it will be much more fulfilling to pay cash in full for something then to have to deal with a credit card bill that you can’t pay down the road.

2. Do I need this?

If your budget is really tight, train yourself to think in terms of need not want. This doesn’t mean, “Will this make my life easier?” Or, “Will this make me happy?” We’re thinking solely in terms of the question, “Can I live without this?” In most cases, you can probably live without the item.

This doesn’t mean you should never buy an item unless it’s an absolute necessity, but it does mean you should be aware of whether or not you can live without something when you’re contemplating whether something is a good deal.

3. Can I get a better deal elsewhere?

In many, many cases, there’s a way to find a better deal. Be it by buying used, asking for a discount, ordering online with a discount code, or waiting for a better sale.

Do your research and don’t just fall for a supposed great deal unless you know it truly is a great deal.

4. Can I use something I already have?

Instead of going out and shopping for new clothes, go through your closet and see what new outfit combinations you can come up with. Instead of buying a new appliance, see if you can fix your old one. Instead of purchasing a new couch, investigate the possibility of re-upholstering the one you already have.

See if there’s a way to make do with what you already have before rushing off to purchase that “great deal”. It’s almost always less expensive to use what you already have than to buy something new.

What questions do you ask yourself before you buy something?

photo credit

52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Eat Less Meat {Week 31}

Every week in 2013, I’ll be sharing a different way you can save $100 this year. If you do all of these things, you’ll be able to save over $5,000 this year alone! Many of these things will likely be things you’re already doing, but hopefully all of you will pick up at least a few new ideas or some inspiration from this series.

If you cut your meat consumption by $2 per week, that’s over $100 in savings per year! For most families, it wouldn’t be too hard to cut back on $2 worth of meat each week — especially if you’re willing to get a little creative.

Here are three ideas we’ve used to spend less on meat:

1. Substitute 30-50% of the Meat With Legumes

If your family isn’t keen on the idea of going completely meatless, stretching your meat with legumes is a great way to save money while still eating meat. Mexican dishes, bean soups, and chili are recipes that you can pretty easily add in extra beans to replace some of the meat without most people realizing it.

Lentils hide especially well in taco meat, too. Just add in cooked lentils to your ground beef along with your usual seasonings and there’s a good chance your family won’t even notice!

2. Go Meatless Meal Once a Week — For a Cause

Consider being intentional about skipping meat one night per week. While it can be a bit of a sacrifice, if you decide as a family to go meatless for a cause, it becomes much easier to do.

Maybe you go meatless in order to save money toward a family vacation. Or you go meatless to help pay down debt. Even if you don’t really need the extra savings for paying down debt or another savings goal, I’d still encourage you to consider going meatless in order to give the money saved to someone in need.

Making this sacrifice as a family can provide a great springboard for conversations on how richly blessed we are with abundance. It can be eye-opening and life-impacting for your whole family.

Plus, meatless doesn’t have to mean tasteless. Try making Bean & Cheese Burritos, breakfast for dinner, or even meatless lasagna. Need more ideas? Check out this list of 52 Meatless Meals that I posted earlier today. You can also read my post on How to Live on Beans & Rice for a Week.

Tip: Make a big batch of Crockpot Refried Beans for the freezer and use them to make Bean & Cheese Burritos for quick and easy lunches, dinners, and snacks.

3. Make Meat a Garnish

Stop centering your meal around meat as the main thing and instead view meat as a garnish. Use it as a topping for pizza or salads, or stir some into stir fries or soups.

The less the meal’s focal point is a big hunk of meat, the more you’ll likely save.

How do you save money on meat? I’d love to hear your ideas & tips!

52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Shop With Cash {Week 30}

Every week in 2013, I’ll be sharing a different way you can save $100 this year. If you do all of these things, you’ll be able to save over $5,000 this year alone! Many of these things will likely be things you’re already doing, but hopefully all of you will pick up at least a few new ideas or some inspiration from this series.

Week 30: Shop With Cash

I know all of you “But-I’m-So-Responsible-With-My-Credit-Card” people probably aren’t going to be happy with me for saying this, but I really believe it…

You will very likely see significant savings if you shop with cash.

You see, when you shop with a credit card (or even a debit card, for that matter!) you can have your budget in your head and you can do the best to stick with it when you check out, but it’s so much easier to go just a little bit over here and there when you’re swiping. You can justify that $2 you went over your budget to buy something that was a “great deal” when paying with your card.

$2 might not seem like much, but if you spend $2 to $3 more every week, that adds up to around $130 in extra spending over a year’s time!

Paying with cash forces you to stick to your budget.

When I know that all I have to use at checkout is the cash in my cash envelope, you better believe I carefully evaluate every impulse purchase or great deal I come across: “Do I really need this?” “Is this in the budget?”

Sometimes, it truly is a great deal and I have the money in my cash envelope to pay for it so it goes in the cart. Other times, I decide it’s a good enough deal that I skip buying something else on my list that we can do without in order to afford it. Or, many times, I put it back on the shelf.

Need more convincing? I highly recommend that you read these articles: 4 Reasons I Use Cash Instead of Credit, 6 Reasons People Argue Against Cash Envelopes — And Why I Don’t Buy Them, and 5 Ways a Cash Budgeting System Will Change Your Life.

The Cash-Only Challenge

Maybe you’re one of those extremely responsible–and very rare!–people who can stick to your budget while swiping a card. If you are, kuddos to you!

However, if you find yourself struggling financially and wishing you could figure out why your grocery budget is so high, can I challenge you to take a Cash-Only Challenge for 3 months and see if it impacts your spending over the course of a three-month period?

Here’s how the Cash-Only Challenge works:

1) Commit to only spend what is in your cash envelopes when you shop for the next 3 months.

2) Go to the bank and withdraw cash in the amount of your pre-determined Cash Budget. For more on cash-only shopping, read The Envelope System Experiment.

3) Leave your credit/debit cards/checkbook at home and only bring your cash envelope and a calculator with you to the store.

4) Calculate your purchases on the calculator as you add them to your cart. This will motivate you to carefully evaluate all purchases, will make you aware of how much items actually cost, encourage you to look for the best deal, and force you to get creative if your list is longer than you have room for in the budget.

5) Pay with cash when you checkout and see significant grocery savings–hopefully!

6) Decide you’ll never go back to paying with your credit/debit card. Well, okay so you might not get quite that drastic, but I can almost guarantee you that going cash-only for a short-time will have taught you something worthwhile!

By the way, if you want to stick with a budget, but you tried the cash system and it didn’t work for you, I’d heartily recommend checking out then. It’s a great way to stick with a budget, while not having to mess with cash envelopes.

Have you tried a cash-only system? If so, what benefits have you found from doing so? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Buy Used Clothing {Week 29}

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Every week in 2013, I’ll be sharing a different way you can save $100 this year. If you do all of these things, you’ll be able to save over $5,000 this year alone! Many of these things will likely be things you’re already doing, but hopefully all of you will pick up at least a few new ideas or some inspiration from this series.

Over the years, many of the clothes we’ve worn were purchased used. And no one has been the wiser. 🙂

I know that some of you might be turned off by the thought of wearing used clothes. While it doesn’t bother me at all — just wash them well before wearing! — I also find many new-with-tags clothes from used clothing stores and garage sales.

Here are some of my favorite places to get great buys on clothes:

1. Thrift Stores

Thrift stores are a treasure trove of bargains on used clothing. You have to dig, but if you are patient, you can find incredible deals.

One of my favorite ways to find good deals at thrift stores is to go on the dollar days. Not all thrift stores have them, but it’s definitely worth checking into to see if your local thrift stores offer fill a bag for $5 or $1 days.

Also, sign up for your thrift store’s email list to be notified of when they are having special offers and sales.

2. Garage Sales

Some areas have amazing garage sales where you can get nice clothing for $0.25 to $1 each. If you can find some of these sales and shop strategically, you can hit the deal gold mine!

I’d highly recommend reading this article on how to stockpile clothes by shopping at yard sales. If you want to be even more strategic, check out this article on How to Shop Yard Sales for Free.

3. Consignment Sales

We’ve gotten amazing deals at consignment sales over the years, especially on kid’s clothing. If you have extra time and energy, you can volunteer or sell at a consignment sale and you’ll usually be able to get first dibs on the deals — and possibly better pricing, too.

For more suggestions on how to maximize your consignment sale shopping experience, check out this article on Saving and Making Money With Consignment Sales and this article on How Selling on Consignment Works For Me.

4. Clothing Swaps

Our church regularly has what we call “Giveaways”. These are a one-day event where we all clean out our homes and bring the extra items to church for everyone to go through and take home whatever they want. Then, we donate the extra items to a local shelter.

Not only is this a fun way to share from our abundance (and clean out our homes!) but it also has been a great way to find some kid’s clothes that we need — for free! If you want to put on your own swap meet, check out this article on How to Organize a Clothes Swap Meet.

5. ThredUp & Like Twice

I’ve been very impressed with the clothing from ThredUp and Like Twice. It’s gently used and it’s a little more expensive than what you’d pay at the thrift store, but you can shop at home and you don’t have to go dig through clothing racks! Best of all, they have a lot of clothes that are new with tags.

Do you buy used clothing? If so, where do you typically buy it from?

photo source