Monday, October 31, 2011

DIY Hair Donation Update

Well, it's done - at least the cutting off part. So my hair donation in honor of my cancer-survivor friend and National Breast Cancer Awareness Month will go to Pantene Beautiful Lengths in the mail tomorrow. As you can see with the pieces laying on the label sheet (8.5x11 inches), I far exceeded the 8 inch donation requirement.

DIY Hair Donation Lessons Learned

So how did it go? It's a little shorter (ok, a lot) than anticipated. And we learned that shaping is best left to a professional. In fact, I plan to have it evened up the next time I'm out, which will probably be Nov. 8. Yes, I know that's a week and a half away, but I don't think I have any reason to make the 50 mile RT to town before then. Anyway, I'll post a picture of the new do once it's finished.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cash for Hobby Clutter

Get cash for hobby clutter!
I am so excited! I’m actually making money decluttering my hobbies! Over the years, I’ve accumulated an insane amount of sewing/quilting/craft stuff. It’s gotten to the point that I don’t even know what all I have. Really. Kind of embarrassing to admit, but it’s true. Well, enough is enough! So I’ve gotten serious about finding buyers for my excess. And trust me, MOST of it is excess.

First Step: Letting Go

The hardest part is letting go. I’m sure I have inherited hoarder tendencies (thanks Grandma H), which are compounded by living so remotely for much of my adult life that it just makes sense to have whatever you might need for any project always on hand. So I had to ask myself what is my REAL goal - and the real goal at this point in my life is to clear out the clutter. I have a ton of hobby stuff I will never use due to one or more of the following reasons:

  • No longer interested in that hobby
  • Aging eyesight and/or hands make it less enjoyable
  • I can’t possibly live long enough to use all this stuff

 Although I’d like to recoup some of what I’ve spent, making money is not the primary goal.

 Second Step: Finding Buyers

Although yard sales and Craigslist are common ways to sell your stuff, I haven’t used either for a variety of logistical and practical reasons. I have used both Etsy and Artfire with some success, but my best return for time invested lately has been Yahoo Groups. I’ve been a member of three very focused groups for years - Sew It’s For Sale, Craft Items For Sale and Quilter’s Flea Market. I used to be mostly a buyer but now have turned to just selling. (Well, I did backslide two days ago and order four books, but for the most part, I’ve been good!) The beauty of these groups is that I have a super-targeted audience looking specifically for the kinds of stuff I have.

In the past week+, I’ve unloaded nearly three dozen yards of fabric, six quilting patterns/books, five packs of grosgrain ribbon, and 11 fashion discs for a Singer 503A. After PayPal fees and postage, I’ve netted almost $250 - for stuff I no longer want. How cool is that? Am I going to get rich? No, but that isn’t the goal. Is this a long-term moneymaker? No, I WILL eventually run out of excess (yippee!). But for now, I’m going to thoroughly enjoy converting my clutter into cash.

So How About You?

Have you ever made any money decluttering your hobby? If so, how? And even if you haven’t, do you have some ideas to share?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

DIY Hair Donation - Who Knew?

My hair before donation.
Did you know that you can donate hair from home? I sure didn't! Maybe this is common knowledge but somehow I missed the memo. Anyway, I've always wanted to donate my hair but thought you had to go to a salon authorized to wash and cut the hair and then they send it in. The logistics (and expense) of having a professional cut don't work for me so I've yet to donate my hair.

Well, beings it is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, my longest-term friend (since 8th grade!) is a cancer survivor who did lose all her hair during chemo, and I'm about desperate for a trim now, I Googled "donate hair" and guess what? I can do this myself at home! Although there are several programs that take hair, I'm planning to send mine to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, which is a partnership between Pantene and the American Cancer Society. Another excellent program is Locks of Love, which provides wigs for kids, but they require 10 inches of hair and Pantene will take just 8 inches.

To donate to either place, you just wash and dry your hair without styling products, put it in a ponytail, and cut above the rubber band. Then you put the banded hair in a ziplock bag and send it in a padded envelope. How easy is that? So if you'd like to donate your hair, hit the websites for specific requirements. For instance, some accept colored (but not bleached or highlighted), permed or gray hair and some don't. Also, length requirements vary. So just read the donation requirements to make sure your hair can be used once it is received by the program.

So now all I have to do is get my SIL or DD to cut my hair. Once it's done, I'll post an after picture.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Our Univited Guest

My uninvited guest.
Well, I woke up to an uninvited guest in the kitchen this morning. That's right - somehow this scorpion found his way into our sink. Where did he come from and how did he get there? I sure would like to know! And he's not the first. I found a teeny, tiny one on my bathroom counter a few weeks ago. And another on the wall a few years ago. And even had one in my pant leg several years back (they sting, btw - good thing I'm not allergic).  Hmm. You'd think I live in the wilderness or something. Oh yeah, that's right - I do!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Debit or Credit - Which Card Should You Use?

Debit and credit cards are both convenient ways to pay for things without carrying cash. The beauty of using a debit card is that you are spending your own money in real time rather than borrowing it from your credit card company at what is most likely an exorbitant interest rate. I rarely use my debit card, however, except to withdraw money from my bank. I also NEVER pay interest. Let me explain.

I use my VISA credit card to pay for most everything that I can, including our car and home insurance, vehicle license renewals, etc. I then pay the balance IN FULL and on time each month, avoiding interest and late fees. My account has no annual fee and even earns points based on the amount spent, so each year I actually get a little back. But even if I got nothing, I’d still use my credit rather than my debit for one simple reason:

Fraudulent Charges

That’s right – fraudulent charges. I have two family members who recently dealt with fraudulent charges on their debit cards. Although unrelated, at different banks and months apart, both had charges of several hundred dollars originating in the UK hit their bank accounts. In both cases, the charges were obviously fraud but still took quite a bit of time and effort to resolve. We’re talking several phone calls, personal trips to the bank and paperwork. In the meantime, they were out the money – not a good thing if you have bills to pay.

In contrast, I noticed fraudulent charges on my VISA credit card account a while back. A simple phone call resolved the problem – the charges were immediately reversed and I was out nothing, not even for a minute. I also had the option of taking care of the problem online. I did have to wait for my new card to arrive (and I had my old number memorized – dang!), but that was the only inconvenience.

Should YOU Use Credit Instead of Debit?

So is using a credit instead of a debit card right for everyone? Only if you use your credit card like you would your debit card and spend only what you can pay in full each month. If you don’t have the self-discipline to do so, I guess you'd better stick with the debit card.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Walking in the Rain

First real rain of the season.
It's the little things you do every day that matter over time. This is true is all areas of life - money, health, relationships, etc. Fitness, for instance, requires regular exercise. My preference is walking each morning, followed by a routine of yoga and other stretches. Well, this morning was my first walk in the rain for the season. It was so fresh and clean smelling! It's amazing what a little rain will do - no dust on the trail, everything a little "softer" underfoot - really nice.

Do you have a regular fitness routine? If not, develop one NOW. Don't wait another day. Figure out what works for you and do it consistently. If necessary, try new things until you find the perfect fit. And if what you're doing quits working into your real life, tweak it. At any age, quality of life is key but it becomes increasingly important during the second half. Develop the habit of daily fitness to preserve your quality.