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Friday, September 20, 2013

How to Build a Wardrobe on a Budget

Those of you who have known me a while know that I lost a lot of weight over the past few years. I weigh about 60 pounds less than I did most of my adult life.

This photo is from my driver's license and was taken about 15 years ago.



I lost the majority of my weight by late 2010 through portion control and exercise and then I had some health issues that sidetracked me from working out from April 2011-January 2012. I maintained the weight I had lost but still wanted to lose more. 

In the spring of 2012, I began exercising again and found a program on television that started me on the path to additional weight loss and increased physical fitness. Within a month of beginning to do essentrics (http://www.essentrics.com/ and  http://www.classicalstretch.com/), I had lost a clothing size! I also lost 6 more pounds and am still working on about ten more to finish my weight loss goal from four years ago. 

I now weigh within two pounds of my high school weight and I feel great!


All this recent weight loss and improved shaping of my body has caused me to need all new clothes. I know, it is hard to sympathize with my problem! I have almost no budget for clothing so I did what I always do when confronted with a challenge. I prayed for wisdom and then formulated a plan of action. 

I decided to hit up the thrift stores but to focus on only buying from their daily sale promotions. At my local thrift store, a certain colored tag is chosen each day to receive a 50% discount if purchased.

I recently bought a pair of khaki Dockers, a pair of black crop pants, a Crazy Horse purse (division of Liz Claiborne), an exercise top, a top for work, and a casual top for fall for $13.00! I also received a sweater for free because it has a tiny pinhole in it and the store won't sell items with holes so they gave it to me! 

My recent purchases minus the khaki Dockers. 
I still need more clothing to round out a full wardrobe but I have a good start. I have made an concentrated effort to go to the thrift store at least once a week. I go to the racks and look for items in my size with the discounted tag and march off to the dressing room to try on everything I found that meets a need in my wardrobe. Sometimes I only purchase a single item. 

Just about every thrift store I have frequented has a daily sale of some sort. If you need clothing or household items I encourage you to give your local thrift store a shot at helping you fill your need without breaking your budget. 

Let me know of your deals, steals, and tips for building your wardrobe on a budget. 

I am off to the thrift store...talk to you soon!



Monday, September 9, 2013

Five Ways to Get Money Fast!



Recently I have been sharing ways to keep more of the money you earn. Sometimes being able to manage the money coming in is all you need to improve your life. Making your meals from scratch instead of eating out is a big enough savings that it can help you to free up money to use elsewhere. Changes like that put money back into your budget pretty rapidly. 


But then there are those other times when what you really need is to get some more money into your hands and fast! Perhaps you or your spouse has just lost a job. Even if you applied for assistance until a new job is found, that takes time to get processed and you still need to eat and keep the the electricity on. So, what is a stressed out, worried person to do?


I speak from all too much experience on this topic, so I will tell you some things we have done during job losses.



1. Hold a yard sale.  Some folks reading this know they have stuff to sell because they have a shopping habit. Some of us just have things that have piled up and are not currently needed. I had some car parts in my trunk that my mechanic and I had intended for him to use in making a repair to my car. It was not a pressing need...I had the parts in my trunk for a year! When I had another car issue that was a pressing need, I took those car parts back, bought what I needed, had enough left over to pay my mechanic, and had additional money to put towards some bills. 

Many years ago when my husband lost a job we had a succession of yard sales that netted us nearly $1,000.00, which was enough to keep us afloat while he looked for and landed a new job. Of course it would be much better to have an emergency fund ready and waiting. Due to the economic events of the past few years, many of us have not been able to stock an emergency fund so we need to explore other options.



2. Find and fill a need. Perhaps you have noticed that yards in your neighborhood are looking shabby. You  can approach your neighbors with an affordable offer to mow their yards. My husband has one regular mowing job for a neighbor down the street and an occasional mowing job for the neighbor next door. He wants to get several more in our neighborhood to help beef up our bottom line. Or, you notice the neighbor kids are home alone after school because they are hanging out at your house every afternoon playing with your kids. Approach your neighbors with an affordable offer to watch their kids after school. There are some local rules and regulations on child care so check into it first, but it is right now money right where you are. These are just two examples we have done in our family. Your skill set will determine what you can do.



3. Redeem aluminum, metals, and glass. Depending on where you live, aluminum cans and glass may have deposits assessed on them and you can redeem them for right now money. I just read recently about a woman whose 9 year-old son wanted some expensive shoes. She lived in one of these areas where cans have a deposit. Her son contacted neighbors, friends, and relatives who were only too happy to donate to his cause. He earned $161.00 in one month. Even in locales where all you can do is to sell aluminum cans, you can earn money that can put gas in your car. Aluminum cans are everywhere. I grab them whenever I see them. Every store parking lot has at least two near where I park no matter when I go. Copper is another metal that is worth a nice chunk of change right now. If you have any copper tubing lying around, you can sell it to a recycler and make a tidy profit.



4. Teach lessons in an area where you are proficient. One summer, I taught a week long morning craft class for kids in my home. I had lots of crafts I wanted to do with my five children and had to purchase a lot of materials. I defrayed the cost of materials, gave some moms five mornings of time to themselves, and taught some kids some fun activities, while putting some cash into my wallet. Do you speak a foreign language fluently? Do you know how to knit, sew, or crochet? Are you a whiz at cooking a special cuisine? People will gladly pay you to learn what you know. You can create a flyer and post it at your local library, on your church's bulletin board, or on Craig's List and be teaching and earning within a week or two or even sooner!



5. Rent things you own to others for short-term use. Do you have some tools or other items that folks are always asking to use? Perhaps you can make some money by listing them for rental to local folks. Do you have room in your garage, basement, or attic you can rent out? Renting a storage room can be quite expensive so you could offer someone a storage space for less and still earn decent money for yourself.
Check out this company (RelayRides) that helps you to rent out your car to others to earn money-https://relayrides.com/earn?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=ownernat. There are all kinds of websites set up to help folks rent their homes, vehicles, and more.

Will any of these ventures replace regular income? Not likely. What they will do is put cash in your wallet pretty rapidly and allow you a little breathing room while you regroup and get a plan of action in place.

Have you faced loss of income and needed money quickly? What did you do to meet this need? I love hearing from you, so please take a moment to leave a comment and let's help each other by sharing what we have learned.