Tag Archives: declutter

Five Fun Ways To Save Money

Five Fun Ways To Save Money

Too often we think that trying to save money must mean denying ourselves of things we like. Not only does this make life more stressful, but it actually makes it harder to save money as you have to exert a lot of mental effort to do so. Once life catches up with you and other stresses arise you won’t be able to expend that extra effort and you’ll be likely to slip back into those old not-so frugal habits.  Fortunately, this doesn’t need to be the case; here are some low-stress and even fun ways to save money.

Your frugal friend the pig.#1 – The Power of the Pig

You probably have not used a piggy bank in ages, but consider channeling your inner child in order to save money. Place a few dollar bills into a piggy bank a couple times a week and you will see the amount grow at a surprising rate over the course of several months. This is one of the more fun ways to save money because you can physically see your savings increasing. If you have children, this is also a great activity to teach them about the value of money and saving.

#2 -Use Your Skills

You’re awesome cooking skills (or computer know-how, or just about any talent that you have) might not be  enough to land you a high-paying, glamorous position as a world-renowned chef, but that doesn’t mean that your talent is worthless. Chances are one of your friends, family members or casual acquaintances would love for you to share your knowledge or ability. You can trade your skill with someone who needs your expertise and receive something valuable in return. You won’t have to purchase as many items and services, plus you get to do something that you love.

#3 – Second Hand Prices, First Class Style 

Few things can match the thrill of finding a stylish item on sale. Just because an item is not brand-new does not mean it cannot be new to you. Check out consignment and second-hand clothing stores for great deals on hot items. If you can find a beautiful jacket at 1/3 of the new price, you can afford to splurge occasionally. Plus, if you later decide that it is not as awesome as you thought, simply sell it to recoup some of the expense of your purchase.

Image credit: Λ W Λ, Flickr.com

#4 – Clear The Clutter

Ok, this one is really more of a way to make money, but it is still fun; hold a yard sale to sell the many items you do not need anymore. It will be embarrassing, but fun to go through your old clothes and other items and think to yourself “Why did I ever buy these bright pink high-tops? I hope there isn’t any photographic evidence of me actually wearing them.” Just remember that you will probably never use these things again, and you can get even earn some money for them. In fact, many old items are back in style now so you can earn decent money from selling them. As a bonus, you’ll gain some extra space in your closet and attic.

#5 – Entertainment Book

Many people love trying out new restaurants, but as hobbies go, this one can be quite expensive. This is where the Entertainment Book can make all the difference. The initial investment is $25 but it is going to pay for itself once you use it a few times. Most large US cities are represented the Entertainment Book and inside you will find coupons for fun restaurants and shops. There are also regional coupon books that have specials for all of your favorite local hotspots. Our favorite out here in the Pacific NW is the Chinook Book, (also available in a few a few other metropolitan areas) which tends to focus on local, “green” businesses.

These are just a few of our favorite fun ways to save money. There are plenty more out there. What do you do to have fun and save money?

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.