Thursday, January 7, 2010

Snowflakes Are Falling, But Not From The Sky

I have become a new follower of Dave Ramsey and his financial program, "The Total Money Makeover". This is an incredible plan to spend less, live on less than you make, and pay off ALL debt.  That's right, ALL debt - not just your cards, or a loan.  All debt including your mortgage, credit cards, loans, cars, etc.  And with this plan, you can pay things off within years, not decades.  I love that.

So, over the course of the last 3 months, my husband and I have paid off 2 credit cards that thought they were in our pockets until death we did part.  We paid them off and said 'sayonara' to 2 whopping monthly finance charges.  Since then, we have paid for everything in cash (or debit card) - even all 4 of our birthdays (we all come within 6 weeks of each other!) and Christmas.  It has not been easy.  Not in any way.  But the rewards are starting to tumble in in the form of no additional credit card payments due because of overspending over the holidays.  We won't have to face several months of additional worry about how to pay for all those great gifts we found on sale - that never end up on sale after all the interest.

Through being a member of Dave's site, I came to know this great book buy-back program called Cash-4-Books.

First, you go collect all those books you don't read anymore - you know, the ones laying around collecting dust.  If you punch in the ISBN's of your unwanted books on the site, you can see what, if anything, they will offer you.  Then you send the books in and Voila!  The money shows up in your PayPal account (or through the mail).  It's a win-win, and I love win-wins!  It's not a ton of money - but I did get an offer of $33 on a book I only paid $29 for!  Most payments are in the $1-5 range - at least for my books.

But why sell our books?  I love books.  I literally have a visceral reaction when I walk into a library or book store.  I love the smell.  I love the idea that new information is there to be found.  It's like walking into a fairyland, waiting for the next adventure to begin around the next stack.  I can find information on anything in books.  Yes, internet is nice, but I love to feel the weight of the book in my hands and turn the pages that I assume no one else has yet turned.  But books also collect dust sitting on the shelves.  These books, which will not be read again, could benefit someone else.  I could donate them - certainly that would be easier than punching in all those tiny ISBN's, carting up the books and dragging them to the post office.  However, Dave's plan talks about selling everything not bolted down until your friends call you weird and the kids think they're next - just to get the bills paid that much faster.  Money earned this way is called a snowflake - typically (but not always) smaller amounts that are unexpected income.  The money I get from the books will go toward our 3rd credit card that will most likely now get completely paid off next month.

We won't really sell Everything.  However, have you ever looked around at some of the cool stuff you have laying around and wondered how much you could bring in to support your income?  I know many folks make a steady income on Ebay.  I couldn't do it, but it does intrigue me that it can be done - all from things you have lying around useless at home.

Dave's site has a membership, but you can check it out for free for a week.  If you do decide it's for you and want to become a yearly member, if you pay the full price up front (versus monthly), he sends you his Total Money Makeover book - so don't go out and buy one and end up with two.  The day mine arrived, I was literally on my way out the door to get a copy at the library.

Oh... but if you do end up with two... I know where you could sell it!!


Dogwood said...

Congratulations. You are doing a great job of getting out of debt. Thanks for all the great ideas and information.

Happy days to you...

Barbara Bechtel said...

Thanks Jill, I do a lot of selling on ebay as well as etsy for all things book, vintage, etc. I was wondering about the cash4books site as many of the books i have are only selling for 75 cents a piece or so on ebay and thus not worth the time/effort. that book site could be a great tool for me too!

what a great thing to be out of debt! it's a hard road and i'm still starting out on that journey but i've realized cash is king and not borrowing money for stuff you can't afford is key. it's a principle we've lost as a society over the last 50 years or so. hearing stories from my grandpa about how people back in the day would never think about taking out a loan from a bank (because very few people could actually procure a loan from a bank) and therefore had to save money in order to buy's an eye opener.

goldenbird said...

The Dave Ramsey book sounds good. How wonderful that you paid off two credit cards-- you must feel great about that. Credit card debt is such a burden. Thanks for the tip about selling your books. I usually bring mine to Recycle Bookstore to get new ones, but they don't always take what I bring them. I had a hard time letting go of books for a long time, but lately I'm getting better at it.

Jill said...

Hey Barbara- Are you a Dave Ramsey fan already? He always says 'Cash is King'.

We ended up getting over $100 for our first book sell-back. Not too shabby!