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  • Planning Your Move Ahead of Time

    The following is a post from Jenna Smith. Consideration was received for the editing and publishing of this post.

    The time between the decision to move and actually moving is a sort of crazy limbo. The urge to just start tossing your stuff into boxes as soon as you make the final decision to relocate is strong. At the same time, you don’t want to get stuck having to unpack the kitchen every time you need to use a frying pan. You can’t decide if you should save up a bunch of money first and then, when you can’t stand it anymore, flee to the best place your savings can afford, or if you should choose your new place (at least vaguely) first and save up to make sure you can build a real life there. All of this uncertainty means you spend a lot of time standing still, too scared to move until it’s too late and you’re in panic mode.

    Let’s break that cycle. Here is how to organize your move so that you don’t spend too much money, risk living in a tomb of boxes, accidentally pack all of the things you meant to donate to Goodwill, etc.

    1. Pick Your Neighborhood, Do Your Research

    Figure out the neighborhood in which you most want to live and then get to work. What is the cost of living there? What is the average rental price (we’re just going to assume that you’re not ready to buy a house yet) for the size of the home you need? How much are groceries? How much will parking cost? Is there transit, and if so, is it reasonably priced and reliable?

    2. Build Your Budget

    Figure out how much it will cost you to live in your new neighborhood, in the apartment you want, for at least six months with no income. Yes, you might already be gainfully employed and planning on keeping your job but moving is expensive! And, in this economy, it’s better to save up just in case, right?

    Add to that the cost of packing materials, movers, utility and rental deposits, rental application and holding fees.

    Tack on an extra 15% to account for hikes in rental prices, and other unforeseen expenses (there are always a few).

    This number? This is the number that you need to reach before you can start looking at apartments and planning out your move.

    3. Start Sorting

    Even if you aren’t ready to apartment hunt just yet, you can start sorting through your house now. The sooner you start sorting and decluttering your kitchen and other rooms, the easier the process will be. You’ll also have a much easier time making informed decisions about what to keep and what to toss. Get rid of anything that doesn’t have massive sentimental value and that you do not use at least once a year. Pack up anything that you don’t foresee needing until after your move (off season clothing, decorations, attics, basements, etc).

    4. Sell Your Stuff

    Yes, I said “sell” instead of donate. Right now, you’re trying to save up for your move and looking for ways to offset your moving costs. Selling the stuff you were going to be getting rid of is a fantastic way to do that. You can list the items on Craigslist or eBay or hold a yard sale. It is amazing what people will buy. The sooner you start doing this, the more time you have to sell things.

    5. Hunt for Housing

    When you’ve got your “moving nest-egg” it’s time to start looking for housing in your chosen neighborhood (or one close by). If you can at all help it, do not give notice on your current rental until you have a new rental lined up. It’s better to let your rents overlap for a week or so than to have to rush and choose a less-than-worthy place.

    6. Pack and Move

    Once you have a definite date for moving in to your new rental, you can start packing up the rest of your home and hire some movers. Yes, you read that right. It’s true that, on the surface DIY moving looks cheaper, but consider this: you’re charged through the nose for gas, mileage and time on rental vans, and if you’re injured over the course of your move you have to pay your own money for medical care. When you hire movers, though, all of that is insured. According to, insurance helps protect you for the full value of your belongings (sometimes more) if anything happens to them during the move. Plus, directing movers is much less stressful than trying to carry all of those boxes of books that you packed!

    By stretching out the moving and packing process, you can save yourself a lot of stress and a ton of money!

    Midday Coffee: Cyber Monday, Round 2 – Victoria’s Secret freebies, Cheap Lysol wipes & More

    This roundup includes the best of the latest coupons, deals, and info I think you may find interesting. Prices and deals can change at any time so be sure to verify them before making your purchase. Please note this post contains affiliate links that help support this site at no additional cost to you. Thank you for using them! You can read CFO’s full disclosure here.

    And … Cyber Monday continues with even more deals:

    ~ Today only at Victoria’s Secret: Make a $10+ purchase and use code SECRETBONUS to get TWO FREE Secret Reward Cards {worth a minimum of $10 each, valid 12/4-12/9; there are lots of cheap items around $10 like ornaments and Fantasies gift sets – they’ll be FREE or cheap after Secret Rewards!}

    ~ Today only at 3-pack of Lysol Disinfecting Wipes for just $2.99 {limit 3; Staples Rewards members get 5% back + FREE shipping; $1 per canister is a GREAT price – I bought the max!}

    ~ 3 new Beauty Boxes for $5-$10 shipped! {$20-$50 value + coupons}

    ~ UGG shoes for as much as 70% off + FREE shipping and extended returns

    ~ 50% off on everything + FREE shipping

    ~ Target Cartwheel: 50% off “Hot Gifts for Cool Kids” {one toy per day through 12/24}

    ~ Coupon Geek: Free Redbox rental code via text

    ~ Good Cheap Eats: Freezer-friendly homemade enchilada sauce

    ~ Sprinkle Bakes: Lollipop sugar cookies

    Banner ad via Escalate Media Network

    How to Pick the Best Credit Card for Your Spending Habits

    The following is a post from Jenna Smith. Consideration was received for the editing and publishing of this post.

    There are some people, like Dave Ramsey, who insist that credit cards are evil and should be avoided at all costs. If you have a shopping problem and aren’t good at paying your bills, then yes: credit cards are not your friend right now. Otherwise, credit cards can be incredibly useful tools if you choose the right one and use it wisely. So how do you do that? How do you make sure that you get the best card for your needs and, more importantly, for your shopping habits?

    Your Credit Report is Always First

    Before you apply for any sort of monetary credit, whether it’s a credit card or a loan, it is important to check your credit and make sure that it is free of mistakes. This way you won’t allow yourself to get talked into exorbitant interest rates or crazy high fees. It is also a good way to gauge how much credit you should be seeking and if you should be trying to get credit at all.

    If your credit report is bad–if there is a lot of debt or if you have accounts that have been sent off to collections–you probably aren’t going to be approved for unsecured lines of credit. This doesn’t mean, however, that you cannot open a line of credit! In fact, opening a secured card can be a great way to start rebuilding the positive credit section of your credit report, which will help you get approved for unsecured credit later on if that’s what you want. There are several websites the show various credit card reviews detailing the pros and cons so that you can make an educated decision.

    Look at Your Lifestyle

    What do you buy? How often do you buy it? Do you love to travel and wish it were more affordable? These days your personal habits and hobbies are important factors when trying to find the right credit card. A few years ago they didn’t matter all that much, but now that there are dozens of different rewards programs out there all vying for your attention, they matter a lot. For example, if you want to be able to travel more, you’ll want to look for a card that offers you great travel rewards.

    In this vein, it is also important that you find a card that doesn’t penalize you for certain types of purchases. For instance, many cards will assign one interest rate to credit purchases made in stores and another for cash advances (and then, they don’t let you “pay off” those cash advances until all of your in store purchases have been paid because they want to get as much interest as possible out of you). Others will give you X amount of points for purchases made in certain stores and Y amount of points for shopping anywhere else. If you constantly shop at those certain stores, that’s a great deal!

    Pay Attention to the Details

    Do not choose a card specifically based on points. A lot of creditors will promise amazing points rewards but then actually redeeming those points will be a nightmare. Before you sign on the dotted line make sure you understand how the points systems work and that all of the points you earn will be redeemable. Another trick that is often used is only awarding a small amount of points until a specific amount of money has been spent. The companies do this in the hopes that you’ll rack up lots of interest-worthy debt very quickly. Don’t fall for it!

    What Are Your Payment Habits

    Are you really good about paying your bills or do you sometimes miss their due dates? Have you ever completely missed a payment? Are you bad with details? Make sure that you choose a card that won’t overly penalize you for these mistakes!

    And, of course, once you choose a card and are able to use it, make sure you use it responsibly! Don’t let the lure of points coerce you into ruining your credit!

    Morning Coffee: Downton Abbey deal, New Energizer coupons & More

    Morning Coffee - Nov 23, 2014 @
    Morning Coffee is published daily and includes the best of the latest coupons, deals, and info I think you may find interesting. Prices and deals can change at any time so be sure to verify them before making your purchase. Please note this post contains affiliate links that help support this site at no additional cost to you. Thank you for using them! You can read CFO’s full disclosure here.

    ~ Today’s Gold Box Deal of the Day: Up to 55% off select Logitech Products, including mouses {is the plural for a computer mouse really mice?}, keyboards, gaming controllers and more

    ~ Today’s Bonus Gold Box Deal of the Day: Downton Abbey: Seasons 1-4 on DVD for $36.99 and Blu-ray for $39.99 {over 60% off!}

    ~ New printables:

    • $4/2 OxiClean Extreme Power Crystals
    • $2/1 Energizer Portable Light
    • $2.50/1 Energizer Ultimate, Advanced or Recharge Batteries
    • $1.50/1 Energizer MAX Brand Batteries {goes with B1G1 Free sale at Walgreens!}
    • $1.50/1 Energizer EZ Hearing Aid batteries
    • $3/1 Systane Brand products
    • $5/1 ICAPS Eye Vitamin Brand
    • $5/1 CLEAR CARE or OPTI-FREE Solution

    ~ New printable coupon for $1/1 SUPERPRETZEL® BAVARIAN Soft Pretzel Product

    ~ Love & Olive Oil: Printable recipe cards and tags for gifting cookies

    ~ Hip2Save: Cheap Skippy peanut butter at Target

    ~ For the Mommas: 100 free Disney Movie Rewards points

    Banner ad via Escalate Media Network

    The 80/20 Rule of Efficient Moving

    The following is a post from Jenna Smith. Consideration was received for the editing and publishing of this post.

    I’ve always been partial to the “80/20 rule,” which has many different connotations but the big one is that 80% of your return comes from 20% of your effort. In the simplest of terms, it’s doing the one or two major actions that lead to the major wins.

    Abiding by the rule, in terms of moving, puts you in a mindset so you’re not scrambling to throw things in boxes, trying to find help, and rushing out the door at the last minute. The rule gives you the ability to look at the challenge and break it down into logical steps so that it’s extremely efficient.

    In this article, we’re going after three major themes when moving:

    ·  Do-it-yourself
    ·  Hassle-free
    ·  Inexpensive

    Let’s Start with Packing

    Packing is generally the most stressful of all the moving because you are literally up-rooting your belongings, throwing them in a truck, and hauling them to a new, exciting location. When you’ve made the decision to move, you suddenly realize that you have a lot of stuff.

    From my experience, I would have to say these are the best tips for packing:

    ·  Organize each room prior to getting the boxes ready so that when you do go to get everything together you can simply keep a set of boxes per room.

    ·  Skip the boxes from the liquor store (that people recommend all too often) because they are generally small; use quality boxes you can get from places like thrift stores or bulk shipping suppliers and then cut handles into the sides to make carrying them way easier on the back.

    ·  Use every inch of space you can before loading it in the box by combining items such as shoving socks into extra pairs of shoes or wrapping glass with shirts (you get the idea).

    ·  Be aware of transporting hazardous materials, which may become lose and cause damage to your items during the transit.

    ·  Liberally use extra sheets & blankets, along with plastic wrap, to protect your furniture and sensitive belongings.

    In terms of the 80/20 rule, what we see here is that by placing 20% of your time into organizing your items prior to packing, 80% of the actual boxing and moving them to the truck becomes an ease.

    The In-Between

    While waiting for the big moving day, it would be wise to spend that time to make sure everything will go according to plan before, during, and after the arrival.

    Some of those “in-between” activities include:

    ·  Doing a thorough clean-up of the place you are leaving to ensure you get back your security deposit (or at least avoid being charged for fixes).

    ·  Set up appointment for utilities in advanced so that they arrive shortly after you get there rather than spending a few days without electricity, water, or Internet.

    ·  Make sure your references or associations are in order and leverage those contacts to see if you can score better deals on moving services, avoiding down payments on utilities, or other important services you may need before & after the move.

    ·  Hire a maid or handy-man service to visit your new destination to clean the place or repair any issues with the mechanical items like the washer, dryer, dish washer, and others.

    Our 80/20 rule comes back into play here because the 20% of that down-time you have while waiting to move can handle 80% of the nuances before you get to the new place.

    The Big Move

    Today is the day that things are going in the truck and you’re saying your goodbye’s to the old place.

    A few things to keep in mind to make it easy, cut costs, and keep it hassle-free:

    ·  Consider using a professional moving service, which will handle the truck, aid the transition thanks to helpers, and give you peace-of-mind because they are insured. Take a look at a moving service provider like United Van Lines and get estimates on how much your move will cost along with some additional tips from the site.

    ·  Take inventory of everything that is going into the truck and make sure that it stays organized the way you had set, so that when you do arrive the boxes can go into their respective rooms.

    ·  The earlier the better–plan the move for the crack of dawn so that you have additional time to stop for breaks, call utility companies, and have enough time to set up a few basic items (like the bed) before it gets too late at night.

    With the 80/20 you are spending about 20% of your budget to go toward professionals that will handle 80% of the heavy lifting and transportation which creates real efficiency.

    What are some of your ways to create efficiency in the moving process?