Tag Archives: thrifty

Recycle Electronics for Cash

We love that you want to sell your books to us! It’s a winning situation all around: you clear space and get cash and we sell your books to others who want to read them.  Less waste is sent to our landfills as the lifecyle of each book is expanded. But have you ever thought about all of the other things lying around your house that you don’t need? What about those used electronics?

E-waste sculpture

This would also be a cool way to recycle your electronics. It might take a bit more time than selling them to BuyMyTronics.com. Photo: Ross

Well now thanks to our friends at BuyMyTronics.com you can recycle your electronics for cash. BuyMyTronics is an electronics buyback company where you can sell your used electronics including iPods, iPads, smartphones and digital cameras. Check them out here and earn some cash for living green.

How to Avoid Valentine’s Day Fail

So, you’ve screwed up Valentine’s Day. You just completely forgot about it. It does seem land on a different February 14 each year, and all the holiday signs and advertisements are easy to overlook. Whatever the reason, it’s important to admit that you fail at life and strive to overcome that failure next year. The best way to accomplish this is an Emergency Gift Stash.

The Emergency Gift Stash is a box filled with emergency gifts and cards for birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. When Valentine’s Day is over and done, rush to all available stores and buy lots of Valentine’s goodies at a discount price. Keep in mind that all the best gifts will be gone, so it’s important to spend a lot of time looking for good cards and gifts (plush animals are good; jewelry is good) Also, don’t buy candy; it won’t be as yummy if you wait a year to eat it. Don’t buy flowers either; they’ll be dead in a year.

Dave Ramsey – Entre-Leadership Simulcast

Dave-Ramsey-Entre-LeadershipThis past November I had the opportunity to attend a one day simulcast of Dave Ramsey’s Entre-Leadership.  It was inspiring and motivating, and I brought back a number of concepts to share with my team at Cash4Books and MKZbooks.

It occurred to me that this is great material to also share on The Green Frugal, as there are a number of tips on credit, debt, savings, purchasing, and more.

Here are a few of the highlights from the Dave Ramsey Simulcast.  The debt snowball was not covered specifically in the simulcast, but I still wanted to mention it here as it is classic-Ramsey material:

  1. Avoid risk when making large purchases.  Buy USED whenever possible.  Do you really need a brand NEW car?  A brand new refrigerator? Washer/dryer?  Couch? Use craigslist.org to find some great buys on used items.  Or, check your local thrift store.  I was just at the Hillsboro Salvation Army with my brother-in-law Jordan, and they had a special going with 50% off everything in the store! He got a great deal on a couch.
  2. Try the Debt Snowball technique.  Many Americans are in debt… some of us severely in debt.  How do we get out of debt?  One technique is to take an inventory of every debt you have.  List them out on a piece of paper in order of the lowest balance owed to the highest balance owed.  Next make the MINIMUM payment on EVERY debt EXCEPT the one on the top of the list.  For the debt on the top of your list, pay the most that you can reasonably afford.  After you pay off the first one on your list, take your pen and cross it off.  Then attack the next one on your list. Crossing them off will give you quick “wins” and motivation to keep going until they are all paid off.  The money you gradually save on not having to make all the debt payments is snowballed into more money to attack the debt at the top of your list.
  3. Pay CASH. Cut up those credit cards!  Or, you could freeze them in a giant block of ice so that you always have a “cooling off period” if you struggle with impulse purchasing.  Debit cards are too easy to use–so, don’t use them.  My wife, Breanne, and I have found that it works best for us to budget with cash.  She takes cash out of the bank every week and uses it for groceries and other regular expenses such as gas for the car.  Many of our bills are paid through online bill pay, so there is no need to budget cash for those.  We rarely use a debit card and we no longer have personal credit cards (we haven’t for years).
  4. Budget your money. This seems cliche, but it is REALLY important to have a personal budget. I’ve uploaded an Excel spreadsheet to help you get started: Personal budget.xls

If you would like to see my PDF presentation of Dave Ramsey Entre-Leadership highlights and ah-ha moments, I’ve made it available as a link below.  I showed this presentation to my Cash4Books and MKZbooks team members!

Entre-Leadership-Ramsey-Nov-5-2010.pdf

Free Geek: e-cycling to the Nth power

Take a moment and think about that corner in your office, you know the one I’m talking about. Or maybe it’s in your basement, closet, attic, perhaps some other dark, dusty place in your home. You’ll try to ignore it, but how much more old technology is going to fit there? It’s overflowing, becoming a health hazard. Are you really ever going to use that enormous CRT monitor again? Come on, now.

Recently, I decided to tackle the corner; which is when I discovered Free Geek, a nonprofit organization that “refurbishes technology to provide computers, education and job skills in exchange for community service.”

Free Geek Portland

Photo cred. top row:Joan Stevens, bottom row:Carly Dennis

Here’s the deal with FreeGeek, they’re a multi-pronged operation where you can:

  • declutter. Drop off old electronics—computers and nearly anything that can be plugged into them.
  • volunteer. Spend some time helping out Free Geek, and get sweet stuff in return. Volunteers get free classes on building computers, tech support, and using a computer. Volunteers who have racked up a total of 24 hours or have built five computers get a free refurbished computer loaded with Ubuntu, an open source operating system.
  • donate. Non-profits in need of a technology upgrade can receive hardware grants. So far, the Portland location has granted out more than 2,800 refurbished PCs to schools, religious organizations, community centers, and the like.
  • purchase tech on the cheap. Free Geek runs a thrift shop, with all purchases directly supporting the Free Geek Community Technology Center.
  • recycle ancient tech. Outdated materials are “demanufactured” by volunteers and recycled responsibly.

Going through my corner-of-technological-shame, I came up with a full car trunk of old tech. Everything from a heavy, old-school e-mac to the coffee-pocalypse laptop, and the ever-present overflowing box of miscellaneous wires and plugs. All together, we’re talking 5 square feet of sanity returning to my little abode. Priceless.

Here in Portland, we’re lucky to have the original FreeGeek location, aka “the Mothership.” However, satellite locations are opening in urban areas around the country, and can be found at the Free Geek Intergalactic Page. Other certified e-recyclers can be found through e-stewards.org or your local government’s recycling website.

We’re all green here. We know not to dump old tech with our curbside garbage, or trust shady e-recycling programs. Appease the e-waste guilt. Recycle your electronics responsibly, if not creatively.