Your friends' junk could become your new treasures.
Want to get a head start on your yearly spring cleaning by de-cluttering? Try a tactic recommended by a Smart Spending message board reader posting as "AwakenedSpiritHawk1." Twice a year, this reader and her friends have a "shopping party" with food, fun and freebies.
Got a stack of books you've read? Home decor items given as gifts that simply aren't your style? A shirt you rarely wear? Here's your chance to clear closets, bookshelves and tabletops. Think of it as your own private Freecycle. After all, one person's discard is another person's great find.
This isn't regifting because no one's forced to take anything. Everyone brings food and drink to share, and everyone has fun, the reader wrote on a message board thread. "We hang out, enjoy each other's company, eat and shop for free."
One hour's pay out of every paycheck will add up fast.
You know you should be building an emergency fund. Yet somehow there's too much month left at the end of your money.
A Smart Spending message board reader posting as "Eek17" suggests a fairly simple way to set aside some cash: Save one hour's pay out of every paycheck.
"I have built up a nice EF this way. It's easy, convenient and I don't miss that small amount out of my check," the reader notes in a general frugality thread.
I couldn't turn a blind eye to family's plight.
Last July, a fellow driving an SUV called me a sucker for giving money to a homeless man. The incident upset me deeply, so I wrote an essay called "Why I gave a guy a dollar."
What I didn't mention in the piece was how I happened to be walking down that particular street. I was on my way home from the bank and the post office, having just mailed a cashier's check to a long-time friend whose home was about to be foreclosed upon.
She and her husband have three kids still at home, and in the past year they've both had spells of unemployment. They'd been late with the house note before, and this time the mortgage company issued an ultimatum: two months' worth of payments by July 16, or foreclosure.
A backup can be a lifesaver in an emergency.
Recently I treated my daughter and son-in-law to sandwiches (using a coupon, of course). At the register I heard those words no one wants to hear: "I'm sorry, this card was declined."
I responded with the same words all the deadbeats use: "That can't be right. Run it again."
He did, and it was declined again. Face aflame, I paid with a different card. (Yes, I could have paid cash but I use credit cards for the rewards. And ever since I got out of divorce debt I have paid my balances in full each month.) When I got home I called to ask why my plastic had been declined -- and the answer was also one of those things that no one wants to hear.
Blogger offers tips for minimizing conflict.
Many people have had a bad boss in their career -- a supervisor who is manipulative, deceitful, vicious, grossly egotistical or all of the above.
- Bing: Bad-boss stories
There is a caveat here: These tips will work best if the boss’s bad behavior is directed specifically at you and not the entire workforce. "It's a lot more difficult to avoid conflict if your supervisor treats everyone the same way," Patrick writes.
Any one of these practical measures can help you build wealth.
Perhaps the most frequently asked question in all of personal finance is this: How do you become a millionaire? Although we often focus on the idea of becoming a millionaire, there's really a different question lurking just below the surface -- how do you become financially independent? It's financial independence that we are really seeking, although for most of us, achieving millionaire status would get us there or at least be a great start.
While $1 million is a big number, it can be attained. The journey to $1 million may be a long one, but each step along the way is not difficult. In fact, each step is downright easy. With the right planning, commitment and execution, anybody can become a millionaire. While there are certainly more than five ways to build wealth, what follows are five of the most practical concepts and methods that anybody can follow to become a millionaire in the making.
Some are a bit naughty, some are nice.
For all you slackers out there (myself included): Last year for Halloween I went as a rock star, but I'm thinking of going as a blogger this time around. According to a friend, though, that means I have to put on a pair of nerd glasses and hike up my pants like Urkel! I think my friend is confused. We're more like this guy. I mean, come on.
- Bing: Famous haunted houses
Actually, I have no idea how to dress as a blogger. I'm just being lazy. More than likely I'll paint the black nail polish back on and sharpen me up some rocker tattoos again. I already wear ripped jeans and T-shirts anyway, so it'll cost me a big fat $0. And I don't have to worry about any props getting stolen by drunkards!
Haven't picked a costume yourself? Check out some of these clever ideas from me and friends around the net (thanks, everyone):
Leftover Halloween treats will go to U.S. troops.
Do your kids usually get way more Halloween candy than you want them to eat? Did you buy more than you needed for trick-or-treaters who didn’t show?
Sell it back to your dentist.
Dentists and orthodontists nationwide are participating in this year’s Halloween Candy Buyback, in which dentists will pay people $1 to $2 per pound for their leftover candy. Some dental offices are throwing parties, giving out prizes (including toothbrushes) and donating additional money to local charities as well.
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
ABOUT SMART SPENDING
LATEST BLOG POSTS
Saving just a single month of expenses may take longer than you think. See how your savings rate affects how quickly you can build a solid emergency fund.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
BLOGS WE LIKE
MUST-SEE ON MSN
- Video: Easy DIY smoked meats at home
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'