Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Frugal Files: Declutter Time: Clear it Up, Give it Out

We're at the end of March and finishing up our Spring Cleaning tasks toward our finances. This month we've projected our budget sheets and tracked both our spending and our income. Doing so allows you to see exactly where money is going and what adjustments can and should be made to our budget. We have also improved the way we treat our money. Implementing respect for our money allows it to grow, as we expect to have it; allows it to come easily and quickly as we treat it with the value that it is to our lives.

Lastly, we've attacked our fear of "the credit report", and found that it isn't to be feared at all. When used, it is a great tool to grab hold to our finances and whip them into shape. It shows us the mistakes we made in the past, as well as brags about what we did right in our fiscal affairs. Looking at our scores, coupled with a plan to increase the number, is exactly what the finance Dr. ordered.

This week we want to look at the area that may have lead us to the rise or downfall of our previous subjects of budget, money treatment and credit score: our accumulation of STUFF!! In what areas have you been spending your money? Do you use cash or credit? How has that affected your overall financial life, which in turn affects your family and everything else you do?

I'm thankful for the beautiful and warm weather we've been having lately. It was like we barely had a winter. As I pull up to my driveway and see the new blooms beginning to come in, I smile. Then my smile fades, as I realize I need to clean out my flower beds, as there's still leaves there from the Fall and twigs from when the snow became too heavy for the branches. It's time to clean it up and out, so my flowers can have room to bloom the way they want to.

Begin to take inventory of your belongings. Remember, we're Spring cleaning and not everything needs to go with you to the next season. Just like my leaves, some of your things need to go and now is the perfect time to determine those. So, it's time to DECLUTTER!! Make room for what wants to come into your life: wealth, abundance, love. Give room to bloom by getting rid of the junk of your past. Here's what you need:
- 2 large boxes (or more)
- a little time and creativity

Label your boxes: SELL and GIVE, then take a walk. Grab a pad and pen and walk through every room in your home. Scour the room with an eagle's eye and grab the items you no longer need. This especially includes anything broken, old/outdated or you simply no longer love it. Perhaps you never loved it. It's time for those things to make their exit from your home and from your life.

Your SELL box is self-explanatory. These are items that are new, like new or in good enough condition to sell to someone else. Dust and clean them off, snap a photo and list it on sites like craigslist.org. There is no fee to sell your items there and you set up an online garage sale for the whole world to see. You can also put up flyers where permitted for additional local exposure. Once your item is sold, you have money to pay off debt, save or invest and you have more space available for things you really love. Need help selling, refer back to Sales Part I and Part II.

Your GIVE box are things that can be donated to anyone of your choice. Freecycle is one of my favorite ways of keeping junk out of the landmines, but you can opt to give to Goodwill or Savers or another thrift store. Consider donating to organizations that serve the populations related to the things in the box. Not sure where you can donate? Check out this list of places: 23 Ways to Recycle Your Stuff. Don't forget, before leaving your treasures with their new homes, be sure to grab your tax deduction slip to write off your donation at tax time.

I'm decluttering right along with you. With my recent coupon adventures, my stockpile of donation items have indeed piled up and it's time for me to send them away. My sorority adopts organizations yearly at the national, regional, state and local levels. Next month the Great Lakes Region has adopted Covenant House, in Detroit, who provides shelter and support to homeless teens. Feel free to join us. So clear it up and give it out!! Enjoy your week!!

Frugalicious Diva

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