Jul 26, 2011

Beachin' it? Bring the water

There are many days I think about ways to save a ton of money, but even more frequently I think of little ways to save a buck of two. I spent the past two days at the beach and the thriftiest thing I brought with me was bottled water. You may be confused as I have blogged about avoiding bottled water in the past, but in this case, bottled water really saved the day.

When lounging on the beach in the hot sun, it's easy to get desperately thirsty and drop $2 + on each bottle of water throughout your stay. To avoid this travesty (and I do mean travesty), I would recommend packing a few bottles for your trip and bringing one or two along with you each day. This helps avoid impulse beverage buys on the boardwalk ($3 lemonade, mostly ice) or buying a beverage with meals if you're ordering at the counter.

Another option is to fill up a reusable water bottle in the hotel or consider investing in a water bottle with a built-in purification system. Personally, I'm too much of a water snob to use the hotel water and just haven't bought the purified bottle, but what I did worked for me, and sure did save me a few dollars.

Jul 15, 2011

5 Job search tips

We all know a good job is hard to come by. Jobs with good benefits, decent pay, and coworkers we don't despise are not exactly numerous these days. Unfortunately, many of my friends and family members are in a similar place of being jobless and desperately seeking employment. As a recent graduate, I also fall in this category. If you don't have a job, you don't have money, which makes you possibly more drawn to my blog, but that's not exactly how I want to gain readership. This is my second go at actively seeking full-time professional employment and I've learned some things along the way that I would like to share to help out all those in a similar position.

1. Don't expect to get your dream job tomorrow. So many of my friends still think, despite the economy, that they will and a job in just a month or so. The most important thing I want to stress is to be realistic in your job search. I don't need to tell you that hundreds of people are applying for each job that you are applying for. Expect to find a job 3-6 months at best.

2. Consider seeking out temporary employment while you search. Go to a temp agency or apply for part-time jobs. I currently have a part-time waitressing job and if anything, it motivates me to find a professional job faster. If you are afraid you might get stagnant in the job search by taking something temporary, ask a couple friends to keep tabs on your job search (in an encouraging manner).

3. Have someone review your resume. Ask a friend who has some business success or know-how to take a glance at your resume OR, seek out your old college/university career services staff; those offices are set up to serve their alumni and trained to help you on your job search. Since your resume speaks for you until you get an interview, make sure it's the best it can be.

4. Consider volunteering. The best piece of an advice I got from a professor was to volunteer or somehow get involved in your field while jobless. Go to local meetings, try to join committees, offer to help out with projects of interest in the area for free. By getting involved, you'll meet people, gain current references and gain more experience in your field.

5. Get the word out that are you are job seeking. It's so important to explore your network of friends/church members/family members and seek out old colleagues to see where they're working and who they know. If they are in the same field as you, ask if they know anyone to pass your resume along to. It never hurts to let people know that you are actively seeking employment. Along the same lines, if you meet someone who has a job in a field that you aspire to work in, ask them to meet you for coffee or lunch to find out more about their company/job and seek advice on gaining a similar position. I've done this several times and usually the person is more than happy to share their connection, help me get interviews or tell me about jobs not-yet-posted to the web or newspaper.

I want each of us to have a job we are satisfied with, but even when we get them, we must not forget our thrifty roots. Find a job but don't forget the little blogs that may have helped you on your search!

Jul 1, 2011

What to do with old CDs: Abundatrade review

A secret passion of mine, besides thrifting, is organizing and getting rid of stuff (and trying to get money for it). In these past few weeks I've moved, and therefore have been going throw all my things to figure out what to keep and what to chuck. I LOVE doing this, it's like a disease.

One collection I've thought about parting with for sometime is my CD collection. I've spent hours ripping all my CDs to my computer and then transferring the MP3s to my iPod (which I got on craigslist for dirt cheap). Now I hate having the clutter of the discs and the cases...who needs them really?

But the question is, what do I do with all these CDs? I don't want to lug them around every time I move considering they can be easily consolidated in mp3 form. I paid maybe anywhere from $10-15 per CD back when I was just a kiddo...now I want to part with them by taking a trip to Goodwill? It's unjust really! So I started to wonder, what are my other options?

I googled "sell used CDs", but didn't come up with much, so I eventually asked around. One friend who tried to sell his collection on facebook, told me about a site called http://abundatrade.com/. I took a peak.

Abundatrade is a website that buys your old CDs from you and then resells them on the website. I entered in just a few of my CDs and it turns out that some of them are worth between $1-2.50 each, which is excellent for old, used CDs. Plus, this site allows you to buy used CDs for cheap as well. Overall, it seemed like a good idea to me.

So, I went through the tedious process of entering each CD UPC code into an Excel spreadsheet and uploaded it to the website. I decided I would send them every CD worth more than 50 cents. With that being said, the amount they would give me was about $60. I was a bit skeptical of the total considering the website said the prices were assuming these CDs were in "like-new condition", plus you have to pay your own shipping fees.

BUT I just received my check in the mail from Abundatrade for $45. In their letter to me they told me three of the CD cases didn't have CDs in them (whoops) and only 2 were not in the proper condition. I was pretty pleased with the check amount considering FYE and other stores buy back old CDs for mere pennies; this is a considerable improvement. Plus for the optimal CD condition, I employed a trick at the advice of a friend. I took all the CDs that were worth something, that were housed in ragged cases, and swapped the cases and with CDs that were worth nothing but in better condition, thereby improving the condition of the CDs I could get some money for. This seems to work out well.

After I got my check and those CDs were gone, I took all the leftover CDs that I did not send and sold them at a couple yard sales for 50 cents each, and make around $10. All in all, $50 for all my old CDs is certainly not ideal, but it's better than getting nothing for them.

More to come on this topic. Hope all my thrifters have a super holiday weekend!
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