How to Sell Your Stuff at a Garage Sale

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How to Sell Your Stuff at a Garage Sale

Every few years, I get enough accumulated stuff that it becomes totally worth it for me to have a garage sale.  Garage sales are my way of de-junkifying–but, not in the sense that it is “junk.”  I want the stuff out, because it just is no longer working for me, but it is still really good, usable stuff.  Plus, the money goes straight into our vacation fund, so I can usually convince The Girl and Monkey Boy to help out.

I’ve learned quite a bit over the years about having garage sales–or even better stated:  having successful garage sales.

garage sale sign

First things first, advertise.  Use signs and craigslist to get the word out.  For higher ticket items, take some pictures and include them on craigslist.  People love that crap.  Also, get change.  You can keep it in a lock box, a money belt or wear an apron with pockets.  The good thing about the apron is that if you are alone, you don’t have to worry about stepping away from the money.  Also, have plastic grocery bags handy to bag people’s purchases.

garage sale price stickers tags

Price all of your items the night before.  This is essential.  You WILL have early bird shoppers who will cramp your style if you are still out there pricing.  The busiest time of the garage sale will be from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.  After that, things will slow down significantly, so it’s just best to be prepared to deal with your customers straight out of the gate.  Be realistic with your pricing.  People expect screamin’ deals at garage sales.  That’s the downside.  The upside is that you would have probably just donated it otherwise and made nothing.

Easy Crock Pot Vegetarian Chili Recipe

Next, get up extra early and make a crock pot meal {Go HERE for some recipe ideas}.  Otherwise, by the end of the day, you will be too pooped to pop and will end up loading the family into the wagon to go out.  This one little move cuts into your garage sale profits significantly.  I have learned it the hard way, trust me.

blueberry-muffins-with-crumb-topping-recipe

Have the kids set up a muffin and coffee/tea stand.  Lots of people do the slow drive by and then move on.  Early morning coffee and muffins always entice them to stop and browse.

Make sure everything is displayed as orderly as possible.  If you have clothes, hang them up–they WILL sell much better that way.

Haggling is a sport for some people–like they legitimately get thrills at the idea of it.  Don’t be offended when people haggle for your stuff–meet them with counter-offers, {The garage sale game is very Donald Trump like.  Embrace it.}  Know your bottom line and have a little fun getting there.

Around noon to 1 p.m., it’s time to start slashing prices.  Your traffic will slow down considerably, and unless you are interested in a marathon type garage sale, it’s time to make sure the stuff goes for at least some money.

Thrift store donation

Arrange for a local charity to swing by and pick up the leftovers or haul them that afternoon to the thrift store yourself.  That way, you don’t have to haul them back into the garage, where they could potentially take up residence again.

How about YOU, what are your tips for having a successful garage sale?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.



How to Clean Fireplace or Woodstove Glass

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How to Clean Fireplace or Woodstove Glass

Now that all of the cold weather is behind us, I decided to clean the glass on the fireplace.  I used an ash method, but there are a couple of different ways to do it.  You can use ammonia and water.  Fill a spray bottle with slightly diluted ammonia.  Spray it on a cooled glass only.  Wipe with paper towels.  Repeat until clean.  Resist the urge to use any sort of scouring pad or scrub pad.  It will scratch the grass.  You can also get commercial sprays to do the job, but since I don’t really know what’s in them, I wasn’t super excited about that method.

How to Clean Fireplace or Woodstove Glass

To clean the glass with ash {I liked this idea, because I already had the ash from having a fire in the fireplace}, lay down a good amount of paper on the hearth.  It will prevent everything from getting coated in a any loose ash.  Dunk some newspaper in a little water and then coat it in ash.  Scrub the glass until it’s sparkly clean.
fireplace

I will admit, it took a bit of elbow grease, but it did the job, and I didn’t really need any supplies I didn’t already have.

How to Clean Fireplace or Woodstove Glass

So pretty.  Isn’t it satisfying when you complete a job that you know you won’t have to do again for an entire year?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Spring Lawn Care Tips

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spring lawn care tips

As I mentioned last fall, taking care of the grass is totally my husbands department–but if watching him work counts for something, then I am a pro!  Ha.  Here’s a quick guide on spring lawn care, which we take very seriously here in suburbia:

If you didn’t aerate last fall, spring is another good time to do it.  With all of the spring rain, those annoying dirt clods will be gone in no time, and your grass will be the thick, lush envy of all of the neighbors.

Before you start mowing again, give your lawn mower the once over.  Sharpen the blades if they need it, change the oil, and give ‘er a good once over.  You can start out the spring with shorter grass, make sure to raise the blade as the weather gets warmer, though.  If you don’t mind the mess, taking the mower bag off and letting the grass clippings stay on the lawn is a great way to provide free food for the grass.

If you live in a rainy climate {like I do} let the weather do the work as far as watering.  If not, make sure to water less often, but in larger quantities {remember the good old days of flood irrigation?  Think about replicating them.}

Wait until it’s a bit warmer to apply fertilizer {at least 50-55 degrees soil temperature}, that will ensure that the grass is awake enough to receive a feeding.

That’s pretty much it for us around here.  What do you do to wake up your grass?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

DIY Homemade Febreze Recipe

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DIY Homemade Febreze Recipe

With two teenagers in sports, sometimes I feel like I should take out stock in Febreze, or at the very least, at the rate we go through it around here, a loan.  Luckily, making your own is super easy and costs literally pennies.

DIY Homemade Febreze Recipe

You’ll Need:

Spray bottle {a cheap-o dollar store one will do}
2 Tbsp. fabric softener {any scent that makes your sniffer happy or make your own}
Warm water
2 Tbsp. baking soda
A funnel

DIY Homemade Febreze Recipe

Directions:

Place the funnel in the spray bottle.  Add baking soda and fabric softener.  Fill up the remaining space in the spray bottle with warm water.  Screw back on the sprayer and shake, shake, shake.

Now get out there and freshen the crap out of everything you own {that statement might be an oxymoron, but whatever, you get the drift}. ;)

~Mavis

DIY Homemade Febreze Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Get a Price Adjustment from Amazon

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How to Get a Price Adjustment from AmazonYou know how it’s great to know an accountant during tax time, a personal trainer when you’re trying to lose weight or a stockbroker when you’re looking to invest? Having an expert at your fingers tips to give you insider tips is awesome. And I’m here for you. Not as a gardening expert today, but rather an Amazon expert.

I feel that the sheer number of purchases I make on Amazon each year totally qualifies me as an expert. So I’m here today to share one of my very favorite Amazon expert tips: Amazon price adjustments.

cast iron tea potHave you ever bought something on Amazon only to see the very same item drop in price the next day? It’s so frustrating knowing if you would have held out to buy it, you could have saved some cold hard cash. Well Amazon is so awesome, they’ll refund you the price difference if you ask. No, seriously.

Now before I let you in on this rarely known secret, there are a few things you should know.

1. This is not a formal Amazon policy, so your experience might be different than mine.

2. I’ve personally done this multiple times and it’s worked.

3. I’ve only ever tried it with items shipped from Amazon, so it might not work when you make purchases from an outside seller.

4. I’ve only ever received a price adjustment in the 1st week after buying, so I’m not sure how long they will honor it.

5. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

bob's red millHere’s how it works:

1. Scroll to the bottom of the Amazon homepage and click on the “help” button, which will take you to the Amazon help page.

2. Click on the yellow “Contact Us” button on the right hand side of the page.

3. Sign into your Amazon account.

4. Click on the “An order I placed” tab and find the purchase you’re requesting the refund on.

5. Under the “Tell us more about your issue” section, select “Payment issue” from the 1st drop down menu and “Price change on website” from the 2nd.

6. Select how you would like to contact them: email, phone or live chat. I always use live chat because it’s easy and fast.

7. Then simply explain the item you bought dropped in price, and you’d like a refund for the difference.

8. Amazon refunds your money. Wallah!

Like I said, it might not work every time, but it’s certainly worth a shot. Let me know if you ever try it and if it works for you.

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Sell Your Stuff on Craigslist

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How to Sell Your Stuff on Craigslist

Okay, so right out of the gate, I really need to say, I am probably the only person on the planet who is not a fan of craigslist.  Something about meeting a total stranger in a Walmart parking lot to do a transaction feels sketchy.  The HH loves craigslist, though.  To date, he has bought a weight lifting set, a punching bag, and some sort of weird storage rack for the garage. {All of which I ended up donating to the Goodwill because they were absolutely dumb purchases.  He felt bad not buying them during the meet-up, though, so he bought them anyway.}

SELLING your crap on craigslist is awesome, though, because you don’t have to pay shipping costs like you would on ebay, and you just never know, your crap can literally be the exact crap someone has been dreaming about.

How to Sell Your Stuff on Craigslist

Here are what I think are craigslist basics:

  1. Take pictures.  No one wants to contact you just to get pictures you promised them “if they are interested.”  Provide good quality pictures.  Plain and simple.
  2. On the same picture topic, clean up the area around where you will snapping the photo.  Yes, you may store the item in the garage, but if people see it amongst dust-laden items and on an oil-stained floor, they will automatically think it is dirty and used {which it might be, but there is absolutely no reason to advertise that.}
  3. Clean your item.  You are getting rid of it for a reason, but make it look appealing.  Dust it, vacuum it, spit shine it…whatever, just make it sparkle.
  4. Price it to sell.  This is where it gets tricky in my opinion.  Price it too high and you won’t get a single bite, price it too low and people will think something is wrong with it.  Search for like items in your area and set your price accordingly. How to Sell Your Stuff on Craigslist
  5. Write a good description of the item.  Give details–not the bad ones, feel free to leave out:  ”the cat peed on it last week.”  But provide details about how old the item is, if appropriate, why you are getting rid of it.  Be real about the condition of the item too {i.e. “Not in perfect condition, but perfect for a college student”}.
  6. If possible, meet somewhere other than  your home {in a neutral location–like a Walmart parking lot.}  It keeps you safe.
  7. Provide a phone number.  If you are serious about selling an item, don’t make it frustrating for the buyer, provide a phone number so that they don’t have to email, wait for your response, and potentially send follow-up questions.  When you list your phone number, spell out some of the numbers, like call at 5-five-five-5-five-five,5–that way you don’t get put on some random computer generated spam calling list.
  8. You will get offensively low offers.  It’s just what people do.  Know your bottom line and don’t be afraid to let a sale pass you by.  Say no, and wait for the right buyer to come along.
  9. #8 leads me to this little gem:  never be in a hurry to sell something on craigslist.  If you are, you will cave at the wrong price.  Patience is key.
  10. Forget listing it, take it to the Goodwill and then pay yourself for your time you would’ve spent selling it.  Ha!  Kidding, but wouldn’t it be soooo much easier?

Happy sales,

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Save Money at the Dollar Store

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how to save money at the dollar storeDo you shop at the dollar store?  I kind of have mixed feelings about it myself.  Sometimes, you can get things for a steal, other times, I think they kind of bamboozle {do you remember that word from the show Friends?} you into thinking that it’s a good deal because it’s only a dollar.  I typically do not buy food there at all.  Party favors, art supplies, seasonal stuff, yes.

Here are a couple of quick and easy tips to save yourself a dollar {pun intended} next time you are at the dollar store:

  1. If you are going to buy food, check the labels.  A lot of times, those off brands will skimp on ingredients to drive down the price.  Decide if it is worth it to you to consume potentially cheaper ingredients {read:  partially hydrogenated oils} to save what might amount to pennies.  Make sure to check expiration dates while  you are at it.
  2. Shop with a list.  It’s so easy to throw something you otherwise would not have purchased because “it’s only a dollar.”  If you went in to get wrapping paper, put your blinders on, get the wrapping paper, and get out.
  3. Greeting cards.  While the selection might not be stellar, greeting cards in the mainstream stores are pricey.  For kid’s birthday parties, etc. the dollar store is where it’s at.  Stock up on a few so that you don’t have to go in very often.
  4. Seasonal items.  The dollar store has pretty unique holiday decor and seasonal items.  It can be a great place to put together fillers for holiday presents, etc.  It’s also a great way to decorate for school functions, etc. on a budget.
  5. Stack dollar store savings with coupons.  Quite a few dollar stores are now accepting coupons, ask the manager.  If you get lucky and find name brand items {think:  toothpaste and soap} it could add up to pretty substantial savings.
  6. Cleaning supplies.  If you don’t make your own, the dollar store can equal pretty good savings.  Sure, you’ll get off brands, but the ingredients usually are the same.
  7. Common cooking spices.  If bulk is not an option for you, stocking up on basic cooking spices at the dollar store offers pretty good savings.
  8. Socks.  Weird, I know, but actually, they have a pretty good selection and they hold up just as well as department store socks, in my opinion.
  9. Open stock glasses.  If you are having people over or just want to add a little variety to your glassware–the dollar store is a great place to do it.  They usually have some pretty fun glassware and for a buck, you won’t be sad if they get broken.
  10. Flower pots.  Every year, my dollar store typically has smaller clay flower pots.  They make AWESOME herb gardens {think:  teacher’s gifts} and won’t set you back.

How about you, how do YOU save money at the dollar stores?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Find the Perfect Babysitter

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How to Find the Perfect Babysitter

I talk about a lot of things I love on this site: my chickens, gardening, yummy recipes, bartering, Lucy the Puggle Dog. But at the end of the day, nothing even comes close to the love I have for my kids. Being a mother is hands down my thing on the planet. Sure when they were little they made me want to rip out my hair from time to time, but they are really my greatest joys. I suspect you feel the same way, so leaving them in the care of others takes a bit of a leap of faith. Here are some tips to help you find the perfect sitter for your family (cause let’s be honest, sometimes that time away from them keeps you sane!):

1. Get referrals: Ask people you trust to refer people they trust. It’s a great place to start. Gather a list of names and numbers of qualified referrals your friends, neighbors and  family members have used in the past.

2. Check references: If you are unable to get referrals from people you know, make sure you gather and touch base with references from your potential babysitter. Don’t be afraid to ask pointed questions because this will be your only opportunity to get a glimpse of their previous babysitting habits.

3. Interview them: Conduct a phone interview with them to get to know them a little better. Do they have previous experience? Have they ever cared for infants? What is their hourly rate? Before you leave them alone with your kids, have them over for a short interview so you can meet them in person. It’s not only important to gain information from them (ie. are they CPR and 1st Aid certified? Have they taken any babysitting courses?), but to see how they interact with your children.

4. Trust your gut: If something feels off, pass. Even if everything about the potential sitter looks good on paper, if your “parent sense” is off, listen to it.

5. Agree on pay: Before you ever hire them, make sure you’re on the same when it comes to money. Ask what they charge. If they suggest that whatever you pay is fine, try to get them to tell you what they’ve been paid in the past, so you know what their potential expectations are. If you are clueless as to what to pay, pose the question to your friends on Facebook or to your neighbors and get feedback that way.

6. Check in on them: Once you’ve hired them, make sure you call to check in. Ask to speak to your children (if they are old enough) and see how things are going from their perspective. You can also ask a neighbor to peek in if you’re still nervous and they’re able. If you have one available, a nanny cam might come in handy as well.

7. Follow up: Make sure you ask the sitter how they felt the experience went. Did your children behave for them? Did they enjoy it? Then ask your kids how they liked the sitter. Only then will you know if it’s truly a good fit.

Any other tips or advice when looking for a new babysitter? What do you think a fair rate is for a sitter in your area is? Have you ever had a terrible experience with a new sitter?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How To Find the Best Deals at Costco

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Did you know there is actually a way to decode the pricing at Costco?!  I stumbled on to this little decoding gem on King5.com {a Seattle news station} a while back, and thought it was so cool I just had to share.

It all basically comes down to paying attention to the cents part of the pricing.  The amount of pennies on the price tag will let you know exactly what kind of deal you are getting.

How To Find the Best Deals at CostcoPrices ending in .99 are full price items.  {That doesn’t necessarily mean they are a bad deal, it just means that it is the standard set price for Costco to sell the item.}

How To Find the Best Deals at CostcoPrices ending in .97 indicates a deal decided by the manager.  So, this price might vary from location to location.

How To Find the Best Deals at CostcoPrices ending in .49 or .79 mean the item is a manufacturer’s special.  The price is lower than Costco would typically sell it for, because the manufacturer has set the price so that they can test it out at Costco.

Prices ending in .00 means the item is about to go.  These are probably the best deals you are going to find on that item, and once they are gone, they are gone.  The manager wants those items out of the store.

A price card with an asterisk {*} means the item has been both discounted and discontinued.  It’s an indication that this is your LAST chance at that deal.

This is totally going to change how I look at prices at Costco.  Did you already know this?  Has it changed the way you shop at Costco?

~Mavis

 

 

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Care for Your Septic Tank

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How to Care for Your Septic TankWe had our septic tank pumped yesterday and let me tell you Bob, I’m glad the HH keeps on top of the whole maintenance thing around here, because it made getting it pumped quick and painless.

If you are knew to the septic tank world, here’s a couple of guidelines to help you maintain it:

  1. Don’t overload it.  Plain and simple.  Try to minimize your water consumption, because when it’s full, you have to pay to pump it.  Fix leaky faucets, wait until the dishwasher is completely full to use it {all of the stuff you are probably already doing}.  The less water that drains into the septic system, the less often  you will have to pay to have it pumped.
  2. On mature properties, tree roots can become an issue fast.  They can damage the tank.  Keep trees 100-150 ft away from the septic tank.
  3. Don’t wash things down the drain or toilet that will clog up your septic tank.  Only flush toilet paper down the toilet–NOTHING else, and don’t dump coffee grounds, egg shells, grease, etc. down the sink.  It clogs up the whole system faster than you’d think.
  4. Keep the drainfield clear.  Don’t drive over it, build anything on top of it, etc.
  5. Don’t use harsh cleaning chemicals.  This includes laundry.  The more inorganic stuff that heads to the septic tank, the higher the likelyhood of trouble.
  6. Routinely check pumps, filters and controls.  If something is broken or amiss in any one, fix it immediately.
  7. If your system has a filter, make sure to clean it regularly.

That’s about it.  Any other septic tank people out there with more tips to offer?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

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