The Final Push to $1000

We’re up another $100 this month which we received in cash as Christmas gifts from family unexpectedly.  We’re adding that to our goal to turn our unwanted stuff into $1000 cash and grateful family did not buy things we didn’t need this year.

Cash is always appreciated.  We may also be exchanging some games and gaming equipment for cash this week for an additional couple hundred dollars.  DH is still reluctant to exchange it for cash instead of store credit but I think it’s worth it to take the cash since we still have $100 store credit on the card from other games he exchanged earlier this fall.

We are currently at $400 extra cash made this fall!  We were hoping for $1000 and plan to invest whatever we make in stocks in January!


Windfall Wednesday

Well, not every Wednesday will be windfall Wednesday in case some of you were hoping I’d hit some sort of jackpot and planned to do a continuing series… but DH and I are rejoicing today because 3 things have happened this Wed. that have improved our financial situation and we will be financially richer for all of them.  We are always grateful, especially as of late while my hours have been unsteady at work.  Just in time for Thanksgiving 😉


1) Wed morning a buyer finally called from Craiglist and came to pick up my recreational equipment.  I had reduced the asking price significantly and she came and paid me that amount, without further bartering, and took it away.  I know my sporting goods have found a great new home and someone who will really enjoy them so that means a lot to me too!  And today, we’re $200 cash richer!

2) DH went dumpster diving when he went to take the trash out at our apartment complex Wed morning because there were giant t.v.s in there!  No, they aren’t flat screens but yes, they work!  It’s 8 inches (diameter) larger than our old t.v. and just needed to be “degossed” according to DH (yeh, I had to google it too- it has something to do with magnetic fields leaving purple colors on the screen) to improve the color on the screen.  We’ve been lamenting about our small t.v. and how we’d like a 48″ flat screen for Christmas but folks, Christmas has come early, and we have been provided with this new to us t.v. set which is larger than our old one and will provide many hours of cheap entertainment (movies, video games, and even internetting!) in the months and possibly years ahead before we buy our new t.v.!   Yes, I was getting sucked in by all the propaganda lately about how cheap t.v.s are going to be this holiday season… somebody else probably did too when they junked this one.  Savings: Over $700

3) My credit card statement reflected refunds Wed of the four magazine subscriptions I was fraudulently charged for last week.  Ooh, what’s this you say?  Technically, I authorized them to do it ONE YEAR AGO!!!  It was in the fine print when I finished a purchase of ballet tickets online and agreed to a year of magazine subscriptions at $2.  All went according to the deal as I understood it these past 12 months.  No funny charges on my credit cards.  No solicitations for more money.  Just $2 per magazine (4 magazines) on that one charge.  But, now a year later, they renewed me at full price for all four magazines.  No indication that they would do that.  They just went ahead and charged it.  So it cost me another $2 per magazine before I cancelled them but I figure the cost of 1 magazine is usually $4 so we probably got that much enjoyment out of it!  Savings: Over $100 in charges if it hadn’t been caught

Abundance Project- $51,200

Sorry, I’m still in vacation mode as we just got back from Aruba:



What I’d do with the money:

Do a world cruise with my husband.  In 3-4 months time we could visit cities on every continent and have money to spare for activities and snacks in several places.  One of our marriage goals is to visit every continent at least once early on in our marriage.  This would certainly make it a lot easier!



How I’d raise the money:

This goes along the same lines of thinking as the last idea.   PROPERTY!  I would buy a fixer upper in our area and rehab it cheaply and resell it.  The rehab project could be very educational and a lot of fun.  One day DH and I hope to buy a home and learn to do some basics with the help of Home Depot and construction friends.


Decorating could be really fun and exciting as well as we love to walk through model homes and watch HGTV.  Of course, this would all require a great deal of organization and budgeting to ensure a good profit but as those are my strengths I imagine this would be relatively simple for me!


I have some experience buying low in a market and reselling high.  Previously I bought low and sold to professional rehabbers and made nearly this amount of money in each sale.  Buying the house takes 2-3 months of looking but right now there are plenty of great deals to be had and buyers are willing to discount the prices due to the economy.  If you’re willing to do the rehab work yourself and consider it a project/hobby for several months then I imagine you could still make this amount even in this economy.


In lieu of a downpayment you could negotiate with buyers to continue making their monthly mortgage payments and take it under contract promising to take the mortgage in your own name within a certain time frame (say 1 year) in which time you would secure a buyer.  That way you could truly minimize the out of pocket amount needed.  If you’re really savvy, you could attend the local real estate meeting in your town and offer to partner with someone who has cash and would fund the project for you splitting the profits with them almost 50%.




Three things I’m thankful for this week:

-Beautiful weather every single day of our vacation this month

-The temperature in our home was not freezing when we returned

-There may be a potential buyer for my recreational equipment.  She sounds like a good fit and will hopefully have purchased it from me by the end of the week!


Abundance Project- $25,600

  The Abundance Project is a great idea I found over at and wanted to implement for myself over the next year.

Basically, it’s an exercise to expand your way of thinking.  Imagine what you would do with $100 the first week.  Double that each week you participate in the project (week 2=$200, week 3=$400, etc).  Consider how you could raise that sum of money to meet your goals and wishes.  Then, express gratitude for something in your life presently.

 Here’s a link to my first post if you want to start from the beginning (or click the abundance category link on the sidelines to see all the posts and go through them in order to review my money making- or radical spending- ideas!)

And here’s what I’d do with this week’s amount of $25,600.  My the money grows fast.  Only wish my bank account would double at this rate!  Geez, I wonder if we could resist the temptation to pull it out and spend it and be patient enough to just let it keep doubling at these rates???  Interesting concept.

What I’d buy:

That fully-loaded Honda CRV LX I bragged about not having last week…sigh.

I’d then have XM radio, space for a large dog (which we don’t have yet but would certainly buy!), and heated front seats to keep me warm this winter.  Aahhh… isn’t it a beauty??


The lovely Green Tea Exterior of my new crv

The lovely Green Tea Exterior of my new crv





Gorgeous interior fabric in Ivory

Gorgeous interior fabric in Ivory



How I’d raise the money:

I gave this a lot of thought this week.  There are a few homes in the area that are fixer uppers (not a lot of work needed but definitely some) and they are going for about the same price as a new one if you buy them in multiples.  Rent is extremely high in my area and with a little handiwork and a redirection of the money we have saved for a downpayment to a personal home, we could buy 2-3 rental properties and cashflow them.


The property insurance here is on the expensive side, especially for an investment property.  But, considering one deal I looked at this morning (3 properties downtown bundled for the price of 1 personal home in the area we’d be interested in buying) we would own the equivalent of 9 apartments.  After a year or so of treading water trying to get them in shape quickly and turn them into rentals to cover the mortgage and insurance, I think these could easily turn a profit for someone who is interested in owning.


One great idea I learned of long ago was to rent out individual rooms and hire a maid to clean the common areas.  That way you can make $2-400/room (depending on cost of living in your area) and possibly double or triple the amount of rent you would make otherwise all the while keeping an eye on the apartment by making the common areas shared spaces that you keep clean and tidy.  It’s almost a hotel deal at that point.  And, as we all know from Monopoly, hotels trump houses!


Three things I’m thankful for this week:

-Our vacation has finally arrived and DH and I are leaving the area and celebrating an anniversary alone with one another in the sun

-Three of the four new arrivals to our extended family this year have already been born this month and are thriving and healthy newborns

-The cost of fuel is coming down.  It’s down 25% from the end of summer in my area!  Hallelujah!!!



Abundant Living- $12,800

Generating an extra 13 thousand dollars.  Wow, I never thought I’d be brainstorming at this level before starting this exercise.  To read this through from the beginning, check out my initial post on “Abundant Living” here which explains the challenge in detail.  The basics are that every week or so I double the amount spent last time, figure out how I could raise that money, dream about how I would spend that money, and then express gratitude for 3 things currently in my life.


This week’s challenge: $12,800.


How I’d raise that sum:

Become a 1 car household.  Eliminate the need for a second car.  Resist the urge to replace the car that is dying/just died with a new car.  Any or all of those options will fit the bill!  DH and I have already done this and we will continue to do so until we find it impossible or become millionaires.  Sure, it’s inconvenient sometimes.  We both need the car at the same time some days.  We don’t always work the same schedule.  In fact, we don’t often work the same schedule.  This means that one or both of us must find another activity near work or be willing to walk home while we wait for the other person to come and pick us up once they’re finished.  We have to live relatively close to work and the things we like to do in order to make this work.  We pay a premium on housing to live in the city but save a bundle on the auto.  Here’s how:




photo courtesy of


The median price for a new 2009 Honda CRV (our car of choice after many discussions right now) is $25,000.  With sales tax, tags and title that sum could easily be $28,000.   Financed for 4 years at 9% (typical consumer loan rates for new auto loans with average credit in my area) that is a monthly payment of $700 or $8400 annually towards the loan value.


Cost of insurance for a newer car would significantly raise our current insurance rates by approximately $150/month because we would need better insurance and would be insuring a second driver (our current vehicle is 7 years old)   The savings totals $1600 annually.


Cost of gas would increase with a second car.  The car we desire for our area gets 10 less miles per gallon.  That’s an increased cost of filling the gas tank another 50% each month.  DH often walks when if he doesn’t have access to a second car now.  We also walk together sometimes because we are used to walking alone.  If we got another car, he would certainly drive more and we might stop taking purposeful walks as well.  Additional gas for this car: $100/month (minimum) or $1200 annually.


Oil changes, inspections, monthly cleaning costs and routine maintenance total $600 annually.


That’s $11,000.  Typical consumers would probably find an upgrade or two to include such as a warming package (if available in colder regions!), an upgraded cd player or sound system or an upgraded interior for comfort.  These could easily add another $1-2,000 to the cost of the car and increase the costs of maintenance (cleaning, fixing malfunctions, buying more cd’s!) annually!


The second car is a HUGE annual expense that we have been able to avoid early on in our marriage.


What I’d do with $12,800:

That’s an extra $1100 monthly.  We could certainly afford to upgrade our living status.  A good investment right now might be to seek out a home (which we were doing) and use that money to buy property close to the city to ensure our ability to afford living close to work and play for years to come.  A fun idea would be to begin renting a luxury apartment for $2000/month in our area (current rent plus added money not used for a car) which would allow us to invite friends over to enjoy the downtown amenities, pool, workout room, picnic areas and nightlife!


We enjoy renting and have decided we don’t want to live here indefinitely.  We choose to be a bit more boring with that money instead of hassling with a move and spending everything we are saving on present needs.  Instead, we’re investing for our future by opening ROTH IRA accounts at  Maybe it’s a sign but this amount seems to correlate perfectly with the contribution limits for 2009 especially for those age 50 and above:


IRA Contribution Limits




















Indexed to Inflation

Indexed to Inflation



Three things I’m thankful for this week:

1)      Two new family members that I was first to meet.  They are such a precious addition and DH and I are looking forward to babysitting them as they grow!

2)      Our shared passion for saving and investing in our future- the security I get from a bountiful bank account blesses my marriage in numerous ways

3)      The abundance of clothing we have.  We have plenty of clothes to stay warm, dress up appropriately, and be comfortable despite getting rid of 3 large hefty bags full of clothes earlier this week in my efforts to downsize.

Abundant Living- $6400

This idea came to me as we have been exchanging our things for quick cash at a variety of places.

How we could earn the money:

Start a part-time cleaning/junk removal business where you keep what you remove.  I can see a huge client base for this: retirees looking to move, children of deceased parents, those who are ill and cannot sort through their things, disabled folks who need your help to bring things up from a basement storage or down from an attic to help them sort… basically, you’re the junk service.  You go through the space in a set amount of time for a nominal amount ($50/hr) and you sort it into 3 boxes (garbage, pawn/trade, yard sale).  Every month you host a huge yard sale at your space and get rid of whatever is too good to throw away but not valuable enough to go to the pawn shop or other store.  Then, whatever you don’t yard sale, you donate to the local goodwill, taking the tax deduction to offset the business earnings.  You could offer the client a percentage of whatever you earn (say 10-20%).  That has to be good for an additional 1-2 thousand dollars/month if you take on 1 job/week and do 1 yard sale/month.  It would probably require an extra 5 hrs/week to go sort through the stuff and clear out the space per client as well as 5-6 hrs/week to shop it around (for all the clients) and then one or two 4 hr yard sale days at the end of each month.  For the really enterprising person, you could hire 2-3 people and pay them minimum wage to help you on an hourly basis.  You could pull down close to $6000/monthly with dedicated workers and just do the supervision and management if you prefer that side of the business.

For some people, organizing/antiquing/pawn shopping is a really fun activity and for them I think this would be a great second income and a way to own your own business!

What we would use the money for:

 DH would quit his job and run this business fulltime.  Part of that monthly income would go back into the business and part of it would go to continue to pay our monthly bills.  I think DH would be thrilled at the prospect of not working anymore and owning his own business 😉

3 things I’m grateful for this week:

-My family is in good health

-DH and I agree that while we will always want for things, we have what we need and we have been provided with enough to meet our needs

-Java chip frappucinos at Starbucks

Abundant Living- $3200

 This abundant living project is a great idea I found over at Millionaire Mommy Next Door’s Website  and wanted to implement for myself over the next year.

Basically, it’s an exercise to expand your way of thinking.  Imagine what you would do with $100 the first week.  Double that each week you participate in the project (week 2=$200, week 3=$400, etc).  Consider how you could raise that sum of money to meet your goals and wishes.  Then, express gratitude for something in your life presently. 

The abundance project carries on…

What we’d do with $3200:

 We would take that cruise next month that I saw yesterday.  $900 for 3 weeks of travelling on 3 continents.  I would love it.  What a fun Thanksgiving treat!  Of course, in reality, we’d have to okay the time off from work… but this is my place for dreaming big 🙂

How we’d raise the money:

 I could (and recently did) change my work schedule.  By changing my availability at work, I work fewer hours and get 4 extra bonuses annually!  These bonuses total close to $4000!  After taxes, it’s less than $3200 but it’s still very encouraging.

Three things I’m grateful for this week:

1) Ethnic food- I love that we can go out to eat or visit the grocery store and pickup food from other places while never leaving home.  The only “ethnic” meals my mother had ever eaten at my age were ground beef tacos and chicken chop suey from a can!  My taste buds love to experiment.

2)  A Barnes and Noble nearby- DH and I love to read.  Wherever we move is going to need a large library and ideally, ample bookstore resources, within minutes of our home!

3) Internet Giveaways- DH and I have entered many contests these past couple months.  We won some great free gifts (makeup, books, and gift cards!) just by using our free time to enter them.  It’s been a lot of fun to receive little unexpected gifts that I never would have purchased myself!