The Home 
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Using Craigslist to Sell Your Stuff

I have been a big fan of Craigslist since I found out about it after college.  I don’t usually buy much from it, but I have used it to sell a bunch of things including old electronics and furniture.  In the beginning, it took a few weeks to sell an item, but now I can easily have things sold in a single weekend.  The trick has been figuring out how to make posts that can catch and hold a buyer’s interest.  A great Craigslist listing needs a few things – a good price, a solid description, and a flattering picture.

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 Personal Finance 
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How to Find the Best Place to Sell Your Gold Jewelry

We Buy GoldIf you pay attention to financial markets, you are probably aware that the price of gold has been skyrocketing. Not to long ago (the end of 2003), gold sold for $400 an ounce. Now, gold is above $1,400 an ounce. Gold has risen rapidly since the financial crisis, thanks to a number of factors. First of all, gold is seen as a safe haven. Many investors piled into gold for its “tangible” value in the wake of a financial crisis that had many uncertain over an economy based on fiat currency.

On top of that, gold is also seen as a hedge against inflation. With central banks around the world engaging in practices designed to kickstart inflation, gold seemed a good choice. And, of course, now many are worried about what happens to countries with large debt burdens. Debts left over from before the financial crisis, plus the new debt created to create economic stimulus, have some looking to gold. All of this means that gold prices are through the roof. Many, hit hard by the economy, are thinking that now might be a good time to sell their gold jewelry. After all, you can get $1,400 an ounce, right?

Not so fast. Chances are you won’t be getting $1,400 an ounce at all.

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 Personal Finance 
12
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Furnishing Your New Place

Fancy Schmancy FurnitureWhen I moved from Pittsburgh to my new apartment near Baltimore, I had almost no furniture. I had a desk from IKEA that we still use today but very little else. When I made it to Baltimore, I didn’t buy any new furniture because my roommate already had a whole bunch of stuff like couches, dining table and chairs, etc. I moved two more times after that, once to be closer to work and then again into our first, and current, home; and felt lucky that I “accidentally” learned the key to furnishing your apartment: keep things inexpensive and light.

Inexpensive because you will want to save as much money as you can for other things, be it trips to the bar to socialize with new friends or an emergency fund. Light because you will probably move again and you don’t want to burden yourself with a lot of “stuff” so early on.

If you’re moving into a house that you bought, consider buying furniture that lasts because you won’t need to move. Otherwise, keep it light and cheap. You’ll thank me when you move in a year.

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 Frugal Living 
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Where to Sell Old Unwanted Stuff

Stuff for Sale HereAccording to Wikipedia (and they don’t cite a source), there were 50,000 self storage facilities and 2.35 billion square feet of self storage at the end of 2009. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates there are 307 million people in the United States. That’s over seven and a half square feet of self storage for every man, woman and child in the United States.

It’s clear, we have too much crap and not enough money. So the only solution is to get off your butt and sell some of that unwanted stuff. If you rent a storage space, clean it out and save yourself even more money.

If you aren’t sure how to sell your stuff, here are a few suggestions:

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 Career 
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Best Employment & Job Search Websites

Job FairWhen it comes to finding a job, it’s a numbers game. As much as you turn the numbers to your advantage of tailoring your resume, writing a well-crafted cover letter, or only applying to the right jobs – the reality is that you need to pepper the job boards with resumes in the hopes that some of them stick. If you send out ten resumes and get one response, you’re doing pretty darn good. With the economy where it is and unemployment at 10%, it’s more likely that you’ll need to answers fifty job listings just to get one answer.

To counter this, you need to take advantage of the power of the Internet and the various job hunting and employment websites. They’ve been around for years and only the strong have survived, having been gobbled up by others, and I’ve looked through the bunch to try to select the best of the best. These are for the general job boards, not industry specific ones. If you are in a particular industry, try to find a job board (or use my first recommendation, SimplyHired) specific to that. For example, Dice.com is the #1 job board for tech and IT jobs.

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 The Home 
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8 Great Frugal Tool Options for Home Improvement Projects

You probably already know that tackling home improvement projects on your own (or with some friends) is one of the best ways to build equity in your home. Skilled construction and remodeling labor commands a premium price in the U.S. By doing it yourself, you save the cost of that labor; plus you get the added satisfaction of showing off your improvements to your friends.

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 Personal Finance 
36
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13 Quick Ways to Make Extra, Easy Cash Money

$1,025 in credit card offers!If cash is getting a little scarce around your household and you’ve cut back as many expenses as you possibly can, it’s time to look at the other side of the equation – the income side. There are many ways you can earn some extra cash and below I’ve listed thirteen that range from really quick and easy with no headaches to a bit more cumbersome. There’s no order to the list other than that’s how they came out of my brain.

1. Rent out a room. If you have a spare bedroom in your home, you might consider renting it out to someone. While this may not qualify as a “quick” way, it’s certainly something that can really put a lot of extra cash in your pocket. The only downside of this is if you select a bad roommate, always a distinct possibility, because it could be difficult getting rid of them.

2. Rent out parking. If you live in a parking-strapped city and have a parking pad, consider renting out any “extra” spots you may have (or even your spot). You incur the headache of finding a parking spot every night but you may be richly rewarded for doing so.

3. Baby-sit. Teenagers do it, why not adults? Baby sitting is a great way to earn easy money without dealing with a lot of headache. Just brush up on your first aid skills, know your emergency contact numbers (or better yet, program them into your phone), and start offering your services to friends, neighbors, Craigslist, etc.

4. Hold a yard sale. The weather up in the Northeast may not be accommodating to this particular idea but yard sales are a great way to turn your clutter into cash. If you don’t have a lot of stuff to sell, round up your neighbors and see if you can scare up enough stuff for a community yard sale.

5. Sell high dollar items on Craigslist or eBay. If you have any valuable items, consider listing them on Craigslist or Ebay rather than going the yard sale route. Yard sale aficionados are looking for deals more than they are looking for specific items, chances are a customer won’t value items as highly as you will. By going online, you stand a better chance of finding someone who really wants what you’re selling.

6. Return stuff you bought but haven’t used. This is more of a stretch but if you have anything you bought and haven’t used and can return it, just return it! That’s immediate cash money in your pocket that you didn’t have before and it took almost no effort.

7. Participate in focus groups. I participated in a 90 minute focus group in Baltimore about windows and was paid $100 cash. Do a search for local focus groups and you might be able to score some easy cash if you qualify.

8. Take paid online surveys. There are a lot of junk survey sites out there and I’ve stayed away from most of them but my experiences with Opinion Output and Pinecone Research have always been positive.

9. Donate plasma. I’ve always heard about donating plasma but really learned more about it when I was reading Adam Shephard’s Scratch Beginnings. Donating plasma doesn’t seem like fun but it pays and you can do it twice a week. (Men can donate sperm as well, but you’ll probably have to go somewhere else for that)

10. Put advertising on your car. If you do a lot of driving, especially on highways and in very crowded areas, considering getting your car wrapped. Advertisers will pay a few hundred bucks a month to get your car draped in their logo, colors, everything. The nice thing about this is that the wrap can be removed without any damage to the car. This option may not be as easy given economic conditions but it’s certainly worth considering.

11. Tutoring. Are you particularly strong in math or verbal skills? Did you crush the SATs or the SAT IIs? Are you a maven in the sciences? Consider tutoring either online through services like Tutor.com or locally in your area. Check your local area for opportunities to educate our nation’s youth (for a modest fee of course).

12. Seasonal labor. Check out the stores at your local mall, grocery store, and even the post office to see if they have any seasonal labor opportunities. Retail sales are expected to be weaker this year but you may still be able to find some work since there should be an increase in activity, especially at the post office. (You can always get a part time job or become a temp too)

13. Start a part time business as a dog walker, errand runner, or handyman. The easiest “business” you can start is one that uses your existing skills – everyone’s capable of running errands, walking dogs, and, for some, by a handyman (or woman).

If you have any good ideas I’ve missed, as I’m certain there will be plenty, please share them in the comments! Also, if you’ve tried any of these and could share your experiences, I’m sure everyone would be very appreciative.


 Personal Finance 
8
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Best Site To Sell Your Stuff

Recently I’ve been doing some cleaning around the house and thinking about how to unload some of the stuff we’ve acquired over the years. I have a ton of junk that’s just taking up space in closets, on bookshelves, in basement rooms, etc. Fortunately, with the power of the Internets, it’s actually quite easy to sell the stuff you don’t need. Here are my favorites:

Textbooks

Everyone knows the school store is the worst place to sell a textbook but there are easier and better alternatives. First, I’d check the bulletin boards of your school, both online and offline. By selling it through the bulletin boards you save on shipping and selling fees. My online favorites are Amazon.com and half.com because you can list in minutes once you setup a Marketplace account. Then, you can enter the ISBN number (the numbers underneath the bar code), product quality, sale price and Amazon will set up the rest for you. For the convenience you do pay a price, Amazon.com takes a 15% commission on the sale price, so try offline first.

“Commodity” Goods

I’ve always said that eBay is the prime place for anything that can be considered a commodity. A commodity is a DVD, watches, a car part, or any number of items in which one of them is is essentially interchangeable with another. What you get with one particular I Am Legend DVD is going to essentially be the same as any other, minus different scratches and the like. For items like that, eBay is king. eBay is king because they have useful tools to help in the listing process of commodity goods and because you get access to a huge buying community. Commodity goods also ship well, which means that geography isn’t a liability as it is with furniture.

Clothes

Used clothes are always difficult to sell but if it’s a particularly unique piece then you can always try local consignment shops. If it’s a suit, consider snapping a few photos, getting the dimensions, and listing it on eBay. In college my friend used to buy suits from Goodwills in affluent neighborhoods and sell them on eBay for a tidy profit, so it’s certainly possible. In general though you’ll probably get a better return donating them and taking the tax deduction.

Furniture & Other Large Items

Craigslist baby. Furniture (and other large items) is often big, difficult to ship and transport, so you’ll want to keep the buyer in the same geographic area. eBay isn’t a good option since shipping will make something too expensive. You can often find a major city Craigslist site near you but expect a lot of false positives. I recently gave away a dishwasher and had many false positives (and it was for free!). If you do have a weaker piece of furniture or a larger item that you don’t think you can sell and you don’t think Goodwill/Salvation Army will accept as a donation, giving it away on Craigslist is a good alternative to the dump or recycling facility. (large items can include basically anything heavy like tools, appliances, etc.)

There you go, four major clutter categories and the places you can unload the loot you’ve acquired all those years.


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