I recently moved into a new apartment that has a washer and dryer included in the place.
I obviously didn’t need my old washer and dryer and I had nowhere to store them, so it was time for me to sell the set.
I thought about using Craigslist, which is where I bought the set for $85 back in 2008. However, Craigslist can be a pain because you never know how long it’s going to take to find a buyer.
Luckily a friend of mine knows a guy who buys and sells used appliances. I gave this guy a call and asked him to give me a quote on my washer and dryer set. I sent him a few pictures and he responded with an offer:
I might have been able to negotiate and get a little more out of him, but I honestly would have taken $50 for the set. Heck, it even kind of leaks. I called it a deal and we set up a time for him to come pick up my appliances.
That’s a 75% Return on Investment
I bought a washer and dryer set four years ago for $85, and probably did hundreds of loads of laundry in them, and then sold the set for a 75% profit. How? Because I obviously bought them at well under market value.
While this may sound like a one-off situation, I’m sure it happens all the time. When people want to get rid of something in a hurry, they are willing to take very low prices just to get it out of their house.
The guy who sold me this set four years ago had just bought a new washer and dryer and needed to make space. He took a really low price because he wanted them gone IMMEDIATELY. Heck, he was so anxious to get rid of it he even delivered it to my apartment for me!
I Think This Happens Often
I actually did the same thing with my old bedroom set. I paid about $400 for my bed, dresser and nightstand from Ikea four years ago. I tried to sell it for $175 but didn’t get any offers, so I eventually dropped the price to $100 because I wanted it gone THAT DAY.
The guy who bought it also ended up taking a bunch of other furniture that I wanted to get rid of, just because he was willing to haul it away. I didn’t want to bother with selling it or throwing it away, so I just gave it to him.
He probably ended up with over $600 of furniture in pretty good condition for just $100.
You Can Make Your Living on Craigslist
There are people out there who actually make their living from buying low priced items from motivated sellers and re-selling them at market value. J.D. Roth from Get Rich Slowly highlights one of those people here.
If I were a handy man and had a truck, I would probably spend a weekend or two seeing if I could make some extra bucks buying old appliances. Unfortunately I had to get help mounting my TV to the wall and can’t fit much of anything in the trunk of my Camry.
I guess I’ll just have to settle for buying cheap stuff that I want and keeping it.
Readers: Have you ever considered trying to make extra money off Craigslist or eBay?
Carnival of Financial Camaraderie at My University of Money
Carnival of Financial Planning at The Skilled Investor
Totally Money Blog Carnival at Don’t Quit Your Day Job…
Festival of Frugality Funny About Money
Fin. Carn. for Young Adults at 20s Finances
Carnival of MoneyPros at Miss Wallstreet
Yakezie Carnival at Financial Success for Young Adults
Do young people need life insurance?
I’ve heard this question asked more than once, and unfortunately it’s a terrible question. Someone’s age has very little to do with whether or not someone needs life insurance. An 18-year-old might need life insurance more than a 90-year-old, depending on their situations.
Here is a list of some better questions to ask about life insurance:
What is Life Insurance?
In one sentence, life insurance provides your family with money if you die.
There are many different kinds of life insurance, and there is a great Huffington Post article on Life Insurance 101 that gives you more detailed information.
Does My Family Need Extra Income if I Die?
This is the first, most important question to ask, because this tells you whether or not you actually need life insurance.
Imagine a world without you. Do you even have a family who relies on you for financial support?
If you do, then does your spouse have/make enough money to live without you? If you have kids, can your spouse afford to take care of them without working, or can your spouse afford to pay for a nanny or daycare while he or she works?
If your family doesn’t need any more money when you die, then you don’t need life insurance. On the other hand, if they will need some money then you have to ask yourself the next question.
Can I Afford Life Insurance?
You may decide that you could use some life insurance, but you also might realize that you are drowning in credit card debt, don’t have health insurance, and have $100,000 in student loan debt.
You have to prioritize things financially. If you have kids, life insurance might be the most important thing in your life. On the other hand, if you have a spouse with a steady job and no kids, you might want to focus your money on some other financial priorities.
If you need life insurance and can afford it, the next question is the hardest.
What Kind of Life Insurance is Best?
The best way to pick a life insurance policy is to talk to a financial advisor. Life insurance is complicated stuff. However, the two basic types of life insurance are Term and Cash Value.
Term life insurance is where you set a time period (maybe 20 years) and pay some amount of money each month over that time period. If you die within those 20 years, the insurance company will pay your family some amount.
A Cash Value policy acts kind of like a savings account, which you use to not only pay monthly premiums but also save up for future, more expensive premiums. These can also be used as perfectly legal tax-shelters if you are rich enough and know how to work the system.
Again, these are very basic descriptions and the best way to get the right life insurance is to talk to a professional about it. This is complicated stuff that bloggers like me aren’t qualified to address.
Readers: Do you have a life insurance policy? If so, what kind do you have and why did you pick that one?
As I was browsing the news today I came across a story that literally made me sick. My stomach is all tied up in knots right now from hearing this.
A young high school football star, Brian Banks, who had accepted a scholarship to play college football at USC was thrown in jail because a girl at his high school, Wanetta Gibson, lied and said that he raped her.
He pled guilty on the advice of his attorney and his future was destroyed. He served six years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.
When he got out of prison, the accuser friended him on Facebook and eventually admitted to him that she had lied (as if he didn’t already know that). She offered to help him clear his name, but at the same time wouldn’t repeat the true story. Why?
Because she had sued the school district and was awarded $1.5 million.
Meanwhile, Brian served six years in prison instead of getting a college education, playing college football, and even potentially going to the NFL to make millions of dollars. He is currently training and hopes to get a tryout with an NFL team somewhere.
Wanetta Gibson Wanted to Keep Her $1.5 Million
This girl obviously knew it was wrong to lie. She obviously knew it was wrong to send a boy to jail for six years. And yet, she would have rather had $1.5 million than give this man his life back.
She knew she didn’t deserve the money. But she wanted it.
She didn’t care that the school district could have used that money for textbooks or supplies or to pay the annual salary of about 25 teachers. She didn’t care that hard working taxpayers of her community expected that money to go to the local school district.
She wanted that money.
The Most Logical Punishment for Wanetta Gibson
This girl is going to get in trouble, but my guess is that it won’t be nearly as much trouble as she deserves. They are probably going to put her in jail for a few months and ask her to pay back the $1.5 million, at which point she’ll just declare bankruptcy. And even if they put her in jail for life, how does that help Brian?
If I were in charge, here’s the punishment I would dole out:
- First, Wanetta Gibson should not go to jail immediately.
- She must pay Brian Banks damages for the wrongful conviction (which never would have happened without this girl’s lies). Thaddeus Jimenez got $25 million for 16 years in prison, or $1.5625 million per year of incarceration. Using that precedent, she owes Brian Banks $9.375 million. If she doesn’t have the money (which she probably doesn’t) then her wages will be garnished until she pays him back.
- Once she has paid her debt to Brian, her wages will continue to be garnished until she has paid back all $1.5 million, plus interest, to the school district.
- If at any point she decides that she doesn’t want to work, she will then serve 6 years in prison. And not the fancy schmancy Martha Stewart prison either. She should have to go to the female version of the maximum security prison where they sent Brian as a “rapist”.
What could be more reasonable? She can never give Brian the experience of playing college football at USC, getting an education, and potentially going to the NFL. Maybe meeting his wife, maybe having some kids… who knows? She can’t give him that time back, but she can pay him.
She should obviously have to pay the school district back if she ever had enough money to do so after paying Brian first. That’s a no brainer.
Also, bankruptcy should not be an option. I don’t care if she has to work until she’s 100 to pay these debts.
Finally, I don’t think taxpayers should be on the hook for Brian’s damages. The justice system worked as it is supposed to. The only person who is at fault here is the girl who lied under oath.
Actions Should Have Real Consequences
You can’t just say “I’m sorry,” when you completely destroy someone’s life and steal over a million dollars from a school district. I’m sure some people will say my proposed punishment is excessive, but I’m obviously going to disagree. There were real consequences to the lies she told years ago, and Brian and the school district have already paid them.
Wanetta Gibson’s repercussions should be just as real.
Readers: If you were the judge and the jury, what punishment would you hand down on Wanetta Gibson?
I’ve been told that travel tips are often rigid and impersonal.
I give tips all the time and I don’t think I’m rigid or impersonal, so I’ll give this a shot. Here are four fluid and personal travel tips for your enjoyment:
Roommates Aren’t So Bad
Remember when you were younger (maybe high school or college) and you used to sleep anywhere from 2-45 people in one bedroom just to save some cash. You might also remember that living in very close proximity to your travel partners is actually somewhat of a bonding experience.
My favorite vacation ever was spending 5 weeks in Europe sleeping in hostel beds right beside two of my friends and next to around 3-16 other complete strangers. Sure it was cheaper than hotels, but it also really helped me bond with those two guys. Bunk up and you’ll save a few bucks as well as get a little closer to your friends.
Trade Living Spaces
You probably have friends that live somewhere you want to visit. You probably also don’t want to stay with those friends because they have a small apartment or you aren’t really close to them or you are really embarrassed about your horrible body odor.
Don’t visit those friends; trade homes with them! Switch places with them for a week. You pay $0 in lodging for your trip and have a built-in housesitter to feed your dog. For the most advanced travelers, you can even set up a three or four way swap.
Don’t Travel For Stuff You Have at Home
I’ve never understood people who spend tons of money on flights and hotel rooms to go to a different city and do the exact same thing they would do in their hometown.
There’s no reason to fly to Vegas to go to bars when you probably have 100′s of places in your hometown you’ve yet to party in. Go to Vegas for the shows that you can’t see anywhere else. Similarly, don’t pay a bunch of money to go to Florida in June to sit around at a pool when you have a pool down the street. Go to Florida to surf or scuba dive. On the other end of the weather, don’t go somewhere cold like Canada just to hole up inside and sit in the heat. Get out, embrace the cold if it’s something you don’t have at home. Build a snowman. You can find plenty of cheap vacation packages that would involve or at least suggest some fun winter activities.
Getting away is great, but you’re only getting half the benefit if you’re only changing location. Change what you’re doing too.
Use Current Events to Your Advantage
I went to Mexico a few weeks ago for super cheap. I’m sure everything was cheap because of all the bad publicity Mexico is getting about violence and gangs, even though none of that affects the area I was in.
I’m sure there are some great travel deals in places like Greece, Italy and Spain right now, considering the fact that those economies are in the pooper and they desperately need customers.
Pay attention to the news and don’t do anything stupid like scheduling a trip to a border town of Mexico, but use the news to your advantage and get a great deal from people who are dying for your business.
Readers: How do you save money on traveling?
I mentioned yesterday that I moved into a new apartment last weekend. I guess I forgot to mention that I moved in with my long-time girlfriend Tag.
She is starting nursing school this summer and we moved close to her campus so she can have all the study time she needs without having to worry about a commute. Plus our new apartment is really sweet.
Tag also pointed out that I talk in the first person a lot on this blog when almost everything I buy is a joint decision with her. For example, she found and picked out the sheets I was raving about yesterday. All I did was agree with her that they felt amazing.
In fact, she actually bought them while I paid for a few other things.
The point is, Tag is awesome and deserves a lot of credit for any bright ideas that come out my my typing fingers.
Should You Have New Furniture Delivered?
Tag and I picked out an awesome new living room furniture set, and while we were making the purchase we were asked, “Would you like to pay $xxx.00 for delivery?’
I honestly don’t even remember what the price was because I immediately said “No.” Why would I pay for delivery when I can borrow Ruth’s dad’s trucks and pick it up myself?
The pickup date was last weekend, so we borrowed both of Ruth’s dad’s trucks, as well as her dad and sister to help with the move. The pickup place was about 30 miles away from her dad’s house, and then it was about 25 miles to my apartment. Then it was another 10 miles or so back to her dad’s house.
I also bought lunch for everyone as my way to say “thank you for helping move our crap.”
All in all, we spent about 4 or 5 hours picking up this furniture and getting it set up. I also spent about $60 in gas to replace the gas I used on the trip. Add in the cost of lunch and we’re up to almost $100 and 4 hours to pick up my own furniture.
Next Time I’m Paying for Delivery
I think delivery of the furniture would have been about $150 or so. Considering I spent $100 to pick it up myself, the question is whether or not 4 hours of my time (as well as 4 hours of three other people’s time) is worth $50 to me.
Of course I’d pay $50 for that!
Next time I need to actually think through what it will cost me to pick up furniture myself. In this case it definitely wasn’t worth it and my gut reaction was wrong.
Readers: When is the last time you tried to “save money” by doing it yourself but found out after the fact it wasn’t worth it?
If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “I want to make an immediate, dramatic increase in the quality of my life for less than $100″ then I have an idea for you: new bedsheets.
I bought my old bedsheets about four years ago. I spent about $100 or so and I thought they were pretty nice. They were cotton and something like 400 or 500 thread count. Nothing special; just regular old sheets.
I moved over this past weekend (which is going to be the theme of all my articles for quite some time) and I got an entirely new bedroom. I still have my 4-year old mattress (which will be good for at least another 6 years) but I got a new bed, new comforter, new dresser, and new end tables.
And while all that stuff is pretty awesome, there is nothing better than the new bedsheets I bought.
Pure Beech Satin Bedsheets Are Heavenly
I highly recommend the Pure Beech Satin Bedsheets I bought this weekend.
- It says it’s only 300 thread count. Don’t be discouraged, it feels more like sleeping on 300 clouds
- The satin feel is much cooler than cotton so I no longer get hot overnight and kick off the sheets and covers
- It’s so soft and wonderful that I literally had to be dragged out of bed this morning
When I think of heaven, I think of angels floating around and hanging out on clouds. And when I lay in my new sheets and close my eyes, it seriously feels like I’m up there with the angels. And here’s the best part:
It only costs $80 for the set! That’s a fitted sheet, a regular sheet, and two pillow shams for just $80 if you have a queen bed. It’s $100 for a king bed and if you have a twin bed then I think you’re out of luck. Sorry.
The moral of the story is that I FREAKING LOVE MY NEW SHEETS!!!! There aren’t a lot of things that cost less than $100 that can make such a huge impact on your quality of life, but these sheets are definitely one of them.
If you aren’t in love with your current sheets like I am and you have $100 or so to spend, you might want to check out Bed Bath and Beyond or some other stores that sell that kind of stuff. You might not love the sheets I got, but there might be a different set that tickles your fancy.
You spend 8ish hours a night sleeping. You deserve to be comfortable. The point of making money is so you can spend it on awesome things. Heavenly sheets are definitely awesome!
Readers: Is there something in your house that cost $100 or less and is so incredible that it is worth every penny?