Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Right Tools for the Job

It has taken me almost an entire week, but I've checked off all of my non-project items from the 'To Do' list. It should have happened last night, but shopping got in the way. I hate shopping for clothes, but somehow, I LOVE shopping for tools. I want to buy ALL of them. Having a workshop full of every tool imaginable sounds like a FANTASTIC idea to me. Seriously. I picture myself doing all kinds of things with these imaginary tools, and ending up with the coolest house ever! Have I mentioned I'm terrified of my circular saw? Yeah. I keep it in the house for the men folk to use. I'd like to keep all my limbs.

I didn't see the point in paying full price for the tools I needed, so I went to the pawn shop and bought a miter saw. I've been talking myself out of it for a few months now. I need it for a picture frame project I have dancing around in my mind. I also wanted to purchase a palm sander while I was there for the spice rack project I have planned, but the guy didn't want to work with me on the price even after I showed him his sticker price was only $3 less than Lowes. He came down some, but we were still too far apart.

The pawn shop was nice enough to let me know they had used the saw just yesterday and it needed a blade, so I actually ended up going to Lowes to purchase one, but OMFG $60 for a 12" blade?!?!?!? I don't think so! The nice lady at Lowes told me Harbor Freight was just a block down the street and they should have something cheaper...and they did. I picked up a new blade for about $30. I'll have to figure out how to install it tomorrow.

Back to the To Do list. I downloaded an app to my phone earlier in the week, typed in my list (I previously kept it in a Word doc), and have been steadily checking things off ever since. It's called "Pro Do" by Othelle Soft. I really like it because you can do subtasks. On my paper To Do list, I had everything arranged by room, and the tasks I needed to complete in that room, so this app is working out pretty well for me. The other thing I really like is, it records the day and time you entered the item on the list, so when you click the check-box the length of time the item on your list is displayed below it.

I think my goal for tomorrow is to refinish what will become my spice rack. That's where the sander comes into play. I purchased a brand new one at Lowes, for less than the cost of the one at the Pawn Shop. I don't think I have the energy to try and figure out how to replace the saw blade just yet.

Next weekends project will be adding some shelving to one wall of my closet, and painting the inside of the closet to match my bedroom, and the shelves white. I totally lucked out and was able to take some wood home from work on Friday. I'm very thankful for that, because I don't have to purchase it now (was actually on my To Do list). 

The week without TV has been surprisingly nice, and I haven't missed it nearly as much as I thought I was going to. I bought a Roku box a few months ago, in anticipation of cutting the cord from cable (my cable bill is currently more than my gas and electric bill!). This coming week's challenge is to see if I can survive on just what's on the Roku/Netflix and seeing how many of my shows can be found on the internet. 

I would consider trying to go another week without TV at all, but I have some organization type projects that are going to take a LONG time (Scanning the remainder of my old photographs) and digitizing all my old cassette tapes (I bought the converter on eBay late last year). Thankfully all of my CDs are already ripped to MP3. I will be catching up on my shows while I do this mindless scanning after work, probably every day this week.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

It's like eBay wants me to be debt free!

I've been a seller on eBay for over 10 years now. I would say 95% of what I sold falls into the costume/garb category. Some creations of my own, some I purchased for myself and have since grown tired of, some items purchased with the pure intention of reselling them on eBay.

As my student loan finally came due, I renewed my selling efforts. I can't stand debt. Since November, it has been my mission in life to pay off my two outstanding debts (other than my mortgage). I paid off my car 6 months early, at the beginning of March. This month has required some financial investments in my future (Exam fee, conference fee, and a few other larger than I'd like charges), and as a result, has pushed back paying off my student loan. Luckily, it isn't a large sum, but I still want it gone. My goal is to have it completely paid off within the next two months.

eBay was super fantastic to me in November and December, offering multiple special "List for Free", or "1 cent Listing" days. Otherwise, I have been taking advantage of the "No insertion fees" on your first 50 listings, each month. As stated, garb has been what I've primarily sold. With being in school practically non stop for the last 5 1/2 years, I haven't had much time for sewing. Well...that, and the fact that I can't figure out the bobbin on my sewing machine, and I've seized something on my previous 2 sewing machines because I didn't oil them. Who knew?

This post inspired me. How I paid off $15,000 in 9 months selling my 'stuff' on eBay I see eBay, coupled with some other income generating efforts (on top of my actual salary), as a fantastic tool in erasing my little bit of outstanding debt, doing things I like, without having to get a "real" second job. I don't really have many big ticket items, but every $20, or heck, even $1 helps my bottom line.

Because I have a little (ha!) touch of OCD, I, of course, had to find a way to organize everything I am trying to sell on eBay. I wanted to give away a cheap bookcase I've had for about 10 years, but the person who said they wanted it, never made arragements to get it, so it has become my eBay staging area. I walked around the house and thought to I love this item? Do I use it? Do I have a use for it? Is there a negative memory/emotion attached to it? I pretty much cleared out anything that didn't make me feel good or help me lead the life I want for 2012 and beyond. It is a big help that I really can't stand clutter. I only allow this bookshelf to be messy because I don't spend any time in my basement.

I considered cropping the picture, but then you wouldn't be able to see the two dead sewing machines on top of the beer fridge (which actually holds no beer, but a bunch of wine and liquor). This picture was taken at the beginning of March. I see many items that have already sold. More items have been added, listed, and sold, as I continue to purge the main house of its clutter.  Having everything in one place, makes it easier to take advantage of eBay's free listing days. They don't like to give a lot of advance notice.

I have found, people will buy practically ANYTHING on eBay. Really! Here are a few items that have sold this year. I wish I still had the pictures of the blank cassette tapes, answering machine tapes, and other truly random things I sold at the end of 2011.
These mugs were purchased for 80 cents each at my favorite thrift store. I sold the lot of them for $10.50.

When I helped clear out my Grandmothers house, I rescued this barbecue set. The pair sold for 99 cents.

Ahhh. Once upon a time, I thought I would try Weight Watchers (I lost about 10 lbs). I never used the dining out guides. WW is wonderful to get you thinking about what you are putting in your body. I scanned the Welcome-Week 6 guides previously to give to someone, so it's not like I can't still do the program if I wanted to. This item sold for $19.99.

It is my goal to make at least $250 each month from selling my "stuff" on eBay. Once I have a better handle on said "stuff" (and a few more projects off the To Do list), I will start sewing again (garb to sell on eBay, and maybe a few new bodices for myself)'s a little look at the fabric I need to use up...The china hutch, and everything on top of it is pretty much ALL fabric. But...that's it. All together, and actually sorted by what I intend to do with it. Bodices, Skirts, Shirts, and Cloaks/Capes.

Oh, hey! Look, there is ANOTHER sewing machine. That's the one I have to figure out the bobbin tension. Sigh.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Provident: What's in a Name?

What's in a name? What's it mean? Provident, according to means the following:

Definition of PROVIDENT

1: making provision for the future : prudent

I feel like I am doing both, thus the choice of Provident for both my name, and blog. Couldn't very well choose "I'm a cheap chick" now could I? Of course I could, but I think Passionately Provident has a slightly better ring to it. 

This blog is started with many intentions. This week, I've challenged myself to going a full 7 days without turning on the television. As I write this entry, it's 6:28pm Wednesday. So far, so good. Why am I fasting TV? A couple reasons. I was told a few months ago, that sometimes you/I may want to pray with intention (I think that's what it was called), meaning give up something, kind of to show God you mean it? I don't think I've gone an entire week, well...ever, without watching any TV at all. I'm interested in seeing if I can actually do it.

I'm an avid list maker. Of course, I have a 'To Do' List, which is generally updated every Friday before I leave work, with the thought, "This weekend I WILL mark XYZ off the list". I'm not saying that I don't get things done, and off the list, but there are a few things that have been lingering for WAY longer than I'd like. Some, because they're larger projects that have been lower priorities. My thought behind no TV for the week, is to see if I can get a bunch of things marked off the list, because I'm using TV time for something more productive. I was inspired by MSP, when he indicated he hadn't caught up on GRIMM because there was so much to do around the house. So there, MSP. This blog is dedicated to you. Showing off my homemaking skills again. Yes, I am.

Why the blog? Maybe if I put in writing, for a wider audience to see, I will have more incentive and accountability to complete some of my tasks. Plus, I really miss writing. 

Why Provident? Because, I am planning for the future. Looking at my HOUSE now, you wouldn't know I actually have a degree in Interior Design. Not in the least. I have been making strides in turning my HOUSE into a HOME, since completing my THIRD Degree in the Summer of 2011. It's time to be creative, and do some problem solving, outside of the educational arena. 

But, I'm still cheap. There are plenty of things, already in my house, left from previous owners that can be turned, frugally, into what I think will be show pieces. By choosing to be thifty in my homemaking, it will help me achieve my ultimate goal...paying off my house before I have one foot in the grave.