Day 31 of Money Challenge #1: $500 in 31 days – Final hours

Last night, I came across a birthday gift from last year that I still hadn’t used:

I remembered that there’s a website where you can buy/sell gift cards:

So I sold my $25 gift card for $18.75. Not a bad deal considering I forgot I had it.

So my ending total is $ 306.89

Exactly $193.11 less than my goal.

I’m a little disappointed. Yes, I could have sold my plasma twice a week, participated in a medical study, or made it a point to list something every day on Craigslist. But I didn’t. I’m a little regretful about it. I think I could’ve done better. Granted, I don’t have expensive stuff lying around my house to sell and I work both a full time job and a part time gig. So I made only an average of about $10 extra per day. I can live with that.

Now here’s a picture of my cat Bazzy with all the money:


He wouldn’t sit still.



Day 31

Total amount accrued: $306.89



Day 28 of Money Challenge #1: $500 in 31 Days – Dare to Chair

As far as furniture goes, I got off pretty easy until age 24. When I went to college, my dorm room came furnished with a bed and desk. Then I moved in to an apartment with a friend who already had the place pretty well furnished. And even when I moved out into my own apartment, a friend who’d lived there before had moved across country and left almost all of her furniture for me. 

It wasn’t until I moved to Kansas City that I was faced with furnishing my own apartment. I slept on a mattress on the floor in an empty room for 8 months. 

Until I bought these babies: 


Two golden brown accent chairs. They were on sale at the furniture store for $120 plus a small end table between them. I was so broke but so desperate to have some kind of seating in my new apartment that I signed up for a credit card at the furniture store to finance the purchase. Not a wise money move, but it was 0% interest for the first six months and I paid them off in two so there was little harm done. 

If you’ve ever owned an accent chair, you’ll know that they’re not entirely comfortable. Just a plain cushioned chair. Now that I have a houseful of furniture, I found little use for these kids. They sat unvisited in the sun room and the cat was beginning to use one as a scratching post. So I decided to list them on Craigslist.

And they sold for a whopping $30 cash! They were picked up this morning by a nice lady in a minivan. I half hoped some poor recent college grad would nab them to carry on their tradition of first furnishings for desperate kids.

But alas, $30 more. Finally, a little money gained.

Day 28

Today’s gain: $30

Total amount accrued: $288.14

Left for the win: $211.86


Day 26 of Money Challenge #1: $500 in 31 days – Bookin’ it

While I have no bidders or watchers for my ebay listings, I figured I’d better find a different way to get some funds. I had read about Powell’s, the online book buyers, a while ago and decided to give them a try. Apparently, if you enter the ISBN of a book you want to sell and it meets their condition criteria (no rips, markings, water damage, etc.) then they’ll pay you for the books via PayPal and they’ll even pay the shipping costs!

I ransacked the bookshelf for things I either already read or could do without.



Yes, Bossypants is an awesome book and everyone should read it. 

I went to Powell’s and listed all the ISBNs to see how much money I could get for the lot.

I was optimistic.

And I was let down. They didn’t want my books. Not even Bossypants.

I think I’m just gonna try my luck again on Craigslist….

Day 24 of Money Challenge #1: $500 in 31 days – Car Change

So I was sick yesterday and today I had to take our cat Basil to the vet because he’s sick. What I thought would be a 40 minute vet visit turned into a two and a half hour wait with a $200 bill and the jury is still out on what the hell’s wrong with my cat.

So, in a pinch to make some quick cash today, I searched the car. I haven’t cleaned my car out in about a year and knew there’d be some change lurking in underbelly of the cushions.

I was right.



Yep. Eighty-five cents the richer. Honestly, I expected more pennies.

Now I need to go check on my cat.

Day 24

Today’s gain: 0.85

Total amount accrued: $258.14

Left for the win: $241.86

Day 23 of Money Challenge #1: $500 in 31 days – What to Sell

I called in sick to work today because I felt awful. Perhaps my illness has contributed to my lack of finding anything useful to sell around the house. Today, all I found was a leather LARPing cloak and a 90s film noir shirt.  Not anything that’s gonna bring me $250 in the next 8 days.

IMG_0856        IMG_0864

I’m hoping to get around $100 for the leather cloak and $15 for the top. But I realize I’m being optimistic.

Only time will tell…


Day 22 of Money Challenge #1: $500 in 31 days – Half Way There

Okay, so work got a little crazy and no one wanted to buy my stuff on Craigslist. Let me take a moment to share how frustrating it is to have 4 people in an hour email that they are interested in buying your stuff only to have none of them follow up with when they’d be able to pick it up. 

Luckily, I worked two small shifts at my PRN job and was able to make an extra $76.79 this week (after taxes). That brings me up slightly past the halfway point. Which is invigorating! But I only have 9 days left to make almost $250. Frankly, I don’t think it will happen. But I’m going to try hard to recoup that money streak I had the first week I started this challenge. 

My plan? 

Scour the house for valuables I can part with. Pretty original, huh? I just need to find one or two things that can go on ebay for a fistful of dollars. My goal is to pick 4 things tomorrow evening that I believe will sell and list them in hopes of recovering the final $250. It’s the FINAL COUNTDOWN.

Yes, I expected you to watch the whole video. Why wouldn’t you? G.O.B. would be proud. 

Day 22

This week’s gain: $76.79

Total amount accrued: $257.29

Left for the win: $242.71


Day 14 of Money Challenge #1: $500 in 31 days – Motivation Reminder

I didn’t realize how intense I was being about finding money everyday until I took a break. Now, I need to remind myself why an extra $500 is not only nice, but quite necessary. A little motivational wake up call on a Saturday evening never hurt anyone. So here goes:

I need an extra $500 because….

1. Taxes: It’s two weeks until taxes are due and we owe creepy Uncle Sam some money this year. I don’t know exactly how it happened but we somehow didn’t have enough federal funds withheld from The Beard’s job….like $1100 not enough. And while we have a separate savings fund that can handle paying about half that amount, I really don’t want to dig into our emergency savings fund to pay the other half. The only thing to do is make extra money so it’s not a financial hardship.


2. Home Warranty: The Beard and I bought our house last summer. Or rather, we took out a 30 year loan on our house last summer. Which we hope to pay off in about 17 years instead of the full 30. It’s a beautiful quarter acre property with a 75 year old house sitting on it that needs some tender loving care….A LOT of tender loving care. While we’re scrimping and penny pinching to pay for the major restorations and big money fixes, I’ve decided that we need the Home Warranty to help budget the bumps along the way. Case in point: last summer while replacing the main plumbing for the house, a surprise $3500 expense that wiped us out (ah, the joys of homeownership), our A/C went out, our blowing fan quit on us, our toilet leaked and our dining room light blew out….all within 5 weeks.  Luckily, because of the home warranty, we only paid $60 per service call rather than $650+. I don’t know exactly how much it will cost to get a Home Warranty this year but if it’s around $500, I want to be prepared. Because when you live in an old house, it’s not “if” something breaks down, it’s “when.”

3. Investing: While we have a checking account, a selective savings/sinking fund, an emergency savings, retirement savings, and a “just in case we need it” savings, we’re really lacking in investments. I would love to have an aggressive money market on the side. But most of the accounts I’m interested in have an opening balance requirement of $500-$1000 and we don’t have that kind of cash lying around. And in case I just sounded like we’re well-off by all the accounts I just listed that we have, let me clarify: we have a very frugal checking account, a simple selective savings, a growing emergency savings, meager retirement savings, and a “just in case we need it and it’s less than $600” savings.

4. Peace of Mind checking: I say that we have a frugal checking account because we live as frugally as practical and have a super thin cushion between paychecks after our allocations to savings, retirement, and debt repayment. It’s not uncommon for us to have only $80 in the checking account on Monday night before payday Friday morning. Needless to say, I wouldn’t mind depositing a fat wad of cash into our checking just to help with peace of mind between paydays.

5. Debt Repayment: The Beard and I have approximately $5000 in credit card debt that we plan to have paid off in 11 months.  Once it’s paid off, we’ll be able to allocate much more to our mortgage premium to reach our goal there. An extra $500 toward the credit card could mean that we’re able to begin our goals a couple of months sooner.

Right….any of those things sound great.

…Of course…the irresponsible part of me wants to save $500 to afford something so lovely only a picture can show you…


A beautifully crafted pair of buttery soft leather Made in USA Frye boots! These run about $350. Something to help motivate me…


Day 11 of Money Challenge #1: $500 in 31 days – Baby Come Back

A little over 6 months ago, I left my job for a better paying and less stressful gig. It was a great decision that I’m so glad I made. Fortunately, because I left cordially and gave adequate notice, my old job kept me on their payroll as a PRN employee. The term “PRN” is often used in medical/public health settings. It stands for “Pro Re Nata” which basically means “as the need arises”.  The benefit to staying on my old job’s payroll as a PRN employee means that once or twice a month (or more if my schedule allows) I can sign up for a shift where the full time employees are understaffed. For me, this is a win-win situation. I get to sign up for extra work that I already know how to do, see old co-workers I adore, and get extra cash while my former employer has the peace of mind that operations will be running smoothly with employees who know what they’re doing. 

I say all this because yesterday I worked a 5 hour shift from 5pm-10pm as a PRN worker. Yes, it’s a sad kind of feeling to leave your day job at 4:30pm and immediately rush to your next job, but it only happens a couple of times a month – I can tolerate that. And the “extra cash” benefits are outstanding. I didn’t have to sell anything, list anything, or coordinate with strangers to come buy stuff. I just went to my old job and made (after tax) an extra $48. Not too shabby…

Many people have former employers who would love to see them again and would certainly appreciate the extra help when needed by someone already trained. 

So as of Day 11, the stats for the challenge are:

Day 11

Today’s gain: $48

Total amount accrued: $180.50

Left for the gain: $319.50

Day 7 of Money Challenge #1: $500 in 31 days

I was walking around a new thrift store, thinking about how overpriced the stuff was until I came across the fabric section and saw two oddly fuzzy pieces of fabric hanging from the line for only 99 cents.  I was curious about what the hell this was, so I inspected the strange fuzzy fabric and found this:


The gold tag, not the white. It says “American Girl” and that means it’s worth more than 99 cents in great condition. So I bought the strange pieces of fabric with the intent in reselling them on ebay. Alas, I made $10.51 profit today with that instinct to resell them!

Finding weird things at the thrift store and reselling them is always a gamble. Luckily, I’ve been doing it for about 8 years so I’m finally at that point where I know what I’m doing. And trust me, it took all of 8 years to get to this point. But even a total newbie can see that American Girl is a seller.

And that’s how I sold these…


They’re some kind of bedding/rugs/faux animal hides for the now retired Native American Girl doll Kaya. They sold for $13 + $4 shipping, but after ebay fees, Paypal fees, and shipping costs, and what they cost me, I made 10 buckaroos.

Moral of the story: check out the fuzzy fabric at the thrift store….er, just keep an open mind when figuring out what you can sell for extra dough.

Day 7

Today’s gain: $10.51

Total amount accrued: $63.27

Left for the win: $436.73