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  • 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?

    Reminder: LAUSD Choices Application due tomorrow, Friday, November 14, 2014

    Choices Application 2015-2016

    If you are hoping to get your child into an LAUSD magnet school for the 2015-2016 school year, you need to make sure you’ve submitted your Choices application by tomorrow, Friday, November 15, 2014. You should also submit an application if you want to build wait list points to increase your chances of getting into a magnet school in the future.

    The easiest way is to apply is through the eChoices web site.

    Good luck!

    Review + Quick Giveaway: NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto

    I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central for NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto. I received products to review, and will receive a promotional item to thank me for my participation. All opinions are my own. Read the full CFO disclosure policy here.

    Nescafe Dolce Gusto Review + Giveaway -

    Allow me to introduce you to my new friend, the NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto:

    Nescafe Dolce Gusto Review + Giveaway -

    This little machine has stopped me from making daily trips to Starbucks! I was sent the most popular machine in the Dolce Gusto line, the Genio, which has a compact, space-saving design. With its 21-oz reservoir, the Genio can make 3 cups of coffee, and is a recipient of the 2014 Consumer Reports Award and the 2014 Gold Edison Award. The package that I received included three of the 19 varieties – Morning Blend, Cappuccino Ice, and Chococino. The Cappuccino Ice was definitely our favorite. My husband and I polished off the box before I could take a video and now this is all that’s left:

    NESCAFE Dolce Gusto review & giveaway -

    Here’s why the coffee is so good:

    Each beverage is made using only high quality ingredients, like specially selected coffee beans that are perfectly roasted and ground specifically for each drink. The milk is all natural and free of hormones and preservatives, giving it a clean, creamy taste.

    The custom scroll wheel and flow stop capabilities on the machine allow the user to adjust the strength and amount of coffee. Grounds are precisely tamped into each innovative, airtight capsule as if done by a professional barista, and each capsule is sealed to preserve freshness for up to a year. Coffee is delivered to the cup without ever coming into contact with the machine, meaning you don’t have to rinse the system between beverages.

    The Dolce Gusto is a coffee house quality machine designed with a 15-bar pressure system, which is comparable to those used professionally at coffee shops. Professional-caliber pressure works by very quickly and evenly distributing water over the coffee grounds, bringing out a bolder, more full flavor. And, superior pressure creates a velvety layer of crema, the rich froth that’s the holy grail for espresso aficionados. Pressure differentiates NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto from its competitors, and the SmartCapsule technology calibrates the right amount of pressure for each drink for optimal flavor.

    Here’s my Genio in action:

    As you can see, the Dolce Gusto is incredibly easy to use, and it works really quickly. I could have just added milk or cream to the coffee, but I love the Morning Blend + Chococino combo. That layer of foamy crema really sets the Dolce Gusto apart from every other homemade coffee I’ve ever had. My only complaint is that I can’t find the capsules in stores – but they are at least available online at Target, Amazon, and the Dolce Gusto website.

    Thankfully, Amazon lets you Subscribe & Save to Cappuccino Ice, so I can make sure I never run out. (I know it’s “Ice” but I like it hot too! So it will be perfect in the winter as well as summer.)

    And did I mention that with the Dolce Gusto, I no longer make a daily run to Starbucks? It’s really that good, plus it’s super fast – the machine warms up while you’re popping in the capsule, and it takes less than a minute to produce your coffee. And clean up is just as easy, since all you have to do is pop out the capsule and throw it away.

    Learn more about the Dolce Gusto via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

    You don’t have to be green with envy because I get to give a Dolce Gusto away! But enter now, because this is a very short, very special giveaway that ends at 12am PT on October 29!

    WIN IT!

    One lucky CFO reader will win their very own NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto system. To enter this giveaway, just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below:

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    RSS and email readers: Click here to reach the form.

    Morning Coffee: $10 Sunday LA Times subscription, 20% off oranges & More

    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.

    ~ Living Social: Get one-year of the Sunday LA Times for just $10 {$104 value; not valid at homes that have received delivery in the last 30 days}

    ~ Today’s Gold Box Deal of the Day: 45% Off New Balance Running Shoes {includes Men, Women and Kids!}

    ~ New printables:

    ~ SavingStar: Get 20% back WYB loose oranges

    ~ Wild for Wags: Kleenex for $0.64 at Walgreens after coupon, Register Reward and Ibotta rebate

    ~ Apartment Therapy: 10 ways to use car wax around the house

    ~ For the Mommas: Free sample of Nivea lotion

    ~ Hip2Save: Free download of Demi Lovato’s album Demi from Google Play

    Banner ad via Escalate Media Network

    The Balanced Approach to Credit Repair

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

    There are two basic camps when it comes to credit repair: those who insist that it can be done relatively quickly if you just follow specific steps and those who insist that it can take months or even years to truly improve your score and history. They are both right. Confused about how two opposing ideas can both be right?

    Fast and Slow at the Same Time? What?

    Here is the truth about your credit: a variety of criteria are used to evaluate your credit worthiness. Some of those things can be changed relatively quickly (within thirty days or so) and others take more time. For example: fixing mistakes can be done in a few minutes and those changes are applied to your report within a month. Disputing debts on your report takes a little longer. Building up a lengthy history of steady debt management can take years.

    So where does that leave you?

    “Just keep in mind that there are no magic fixes in the credit world,” Lexington Law reminds us. “Credit repair done right takes patience, persistence, and an understanding of how your credit score is calculated.”

    So if you are like most busy parents, the first thing you need to do is figure out where to start. That sounds redundant but you would be surprised at how many people decide that the first thing they need to do, when they want to get their credit under control, is start calling their credit card companies and begging for lower interest rates or raised limits. This is not your starting point.

    Your starting point is getting a copy of your credit report and seeing exactly what is on it.

    To do this, you need to officially request your report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. You’re allowed to get one free copy of your report every twelve months. It’s possible to make these requests to each agency individually, but you’ll save time if you use It’s linked to all three agencies and makes it easy for you to toggle between them as you request, download and examine your reports.

    Understand that you are not going to be given your current credit score along with these reports. The major agencies charge for that. Typically the fee is relatively low, but make sure you understand what you’re buying before you click “pay now.” You don’t want to accidentally sign up for a year of credit monitoring.

    That’s a lot of information! What do I do once I have it?

    There are two courses you can take once you are ready to get serious about your credit repair. You can make time to work on your reports every night—time for reporting errors, sending verification letters, etc. Or, if like most busy parents, you’re already operating on a time deficit each day, you can hire someone to work on your credit repair for you.

    Finding someone to take on this duty is going to be difficult. There are dozens of companies that promise you a quick or even an overnight fix. It is important not to be taken in by these “too good to be true” offers. A good credit repair agency can help you fix errors, reduce debt and improve your credit report over time, not overnight.

    There are, of course, other details that demand your attention. For example: should you settle some debts? Should you consolidate debts? For now, though, focus on what you can do and then take each next step as it comes. You can set up your next bill payments today (even minimum due payments are better than skipping). You can start putting together a household budget. You can research bill payment services so that you don’t have to worry about forgetting due dates. Once you start looking, you’ll be amazed at how much work you can do right now to help get your credit history in better shape for the future.