junk in your garage

If you're waiting for spring cleaning season to get you motivated to get rid of the junk in your garage, chances are you won't get too far in cleaning it up.

Like many people, I have too much stuff in my garage, and every time I enter it, I vow to do something about the clutter. I don't consider myself a packrat — no one probably does — but I'll admit my garage is a mess and needs to be cleaned out.

Craigslist a start for removing junk in your garage

Below are some ways to get some money out of the junk in your garage, though I have to admit I haven't used any yet. Like many goals — they're on my to-do list. I'm a fan of Craigslist and Freecycle, and most recently used Craigslist to sell my old car.

But the free Craigslist ad brought too many cheapskates to my door, or at least to my phone, as they tried to talk me down in price for a good, reliable car that I was already offering a deal on. If I can avoid Craigslist, I do for this reason. ...continue reading

outIt’s a Saturday evening and no one feels like going out or you’re all tired of your normal spots. How can you shake up your usual routine and find some new fun things to do with your friends? The best trick for getting out of a rut and building some memories is to do some totally new things and to go to some totally new places. Here are a few ideas:

  • Celebrate a holiday. Doesn’t matter what the holiday is or what time of year. Just throw a party and get into it. Put up decorations, make a Thanksgiving dinner, put up Christmas decorations, put on Halloween costumes. Make it a last-minute event with whatever you have on hand or plan ahead for it. Hit up your local party stores for off-season goods. Make a special effort to get the special meal just right. Get something to commemorate the event like a bottle of wine etched with a message like from Etched Expressions.
  • Try some place new. A lot of times, we tend to rely on routine for comfort and ease, but it can really end up making us feel trapped and bored. An easy way to fix that is to just try someplace new. Take a walk in a new part of town, find a new restaurant or bar, check out some new shops. It’s not a huge commitment like planning a big day trip, but it will definitely be different. Make it a weekly or monthly habit to try something new. Do some research to find out about some of the must-try restaurants, foods, drinks, events, etc. in your area.
  • Learn something new. There are all kinds of opportunities for free or cheap classes in most cities. Check out local parks and community postings to learn about some free or low-commitment classes in things like dancing, wine tasting, bootcamp, or yoga.
  • Teach each other something. In a group of friends, everyone brings something different to the table. Try teaching each other about your job, your favorite hobby, some subject you like, etc. For example, if you were a barista in college, teach everyone how to make their favorite drinks at home. If you like to play weekend volleyball, take everyone to the park and teach them how to play. If you like fashion, take some of your friends to the mall and do make-overs.
  • Take turns taking on the task of planning a day of activities. This way, everyone gets to try something new, but you take turns dealing with logistics and planning. For example, you might plan a day doing a bike tour of town finishing up with a brewery tour. Or you might plan a day at the local pool. Just remind your friends each time that they should plan to be easy-going and to let you be in charge of everything. The point is to try something you might not try otherwise.
  • Put together a book club. Some people avoid book clubs because they think of them as an activity for fussy old ladies, but there’s no reason that a group of friends who like to read can’t have a book club of their own styling. Sit down together and come up with some titles that seem interesting to you and plan a monthly discussion.
  • Sign up for some volunteer work. There are lots of opportunities in most areas to get involved. Look up some causes and organizations with local presence to find out about opportunities for involvement and organize with your friends to make sure everyone can participate.
  • Put together little competitions. Organize scavenger hunts and divide your friends into teams to hunt around town or your home for clues. Or split into teams and have a weekend-long prank war. Or do something more traditional like a soccer tournament among your friends. Change up the groups, if you have a fair amount of people, to have different matches.
  • Do something crafty. Lots of people have an idea board brimming with crafty ideas that they never actually get around to trying. Have your friends get together and pick out some of the crafts that look most interesting to you and actually do them together. This is an especially good idea if you’re on a tight budget.

This is just a starting point for fun ideas to try with friends. Everyone wants to find new opportunities to build new memories. So shake things up and try something new next time your group gets together.

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image2Are you someone that gets paid only to be broke the very next day? Don’t worry, I’m not singling you out or anything, it just seems to be one of those things that happens if you don't track your spending. One minute you’re excited to get paid and by the weekend you don’t have a cent to your name. While there could be a host of reasons why this happens, one that held true for me was poor financial management. Haphazardly paying bills and spending money each pay period without having the slightest idea of my finances left me broke more times than not.

You see the thing about effective financial management is first having a clear understanding of exactly where your money is going. Without having an honest and accurate account for where things are going, you cannot have an accurate budget of any kind. While it could be very true that you make just enough money to pay your bills each pay cycle, chances are you’re doing some excessive spending in places that you can cut back and save money. If you’ve never truly tracked your expenses in the past, here are a few ways you can start.

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