Pack And Move Yourself To Save (And Make) Money

I’ve seen a lot of posts from fellow bloggers about moving. It does seem to hold true that summer is the most popular time to move, whether it be to a bigger place or across town or even across the country.
In a lot of discussions, I’ve seen various points or questions raised regarding whether to move yourself or hire movers.
I’ve done both.

  • After college, when moving from my parents house to my first apartment, I ended up enlisting the help of friends and my roommate to move my stuff. That was a pretty simple decision since I didn’t have a lot of stuff.
  • A couple of years later, when moving from my apartment to a temporary living situation, I hired movers. The justifications were that it was relatively inexpensive since I still didn’t have much stuff, it was wintertime, and I had a (at the time) very nice television set that I was afraid of anything happening to
  • A few months after that, I moved again when the temporary living situation expired. I moved into my own condo. Again, I hired movers (the same movers that had done the first move). The reasons were the same. Overall, I sort of regretted paying for movers twice in just a few month time frame, but they gave me a slight discount for the repeat business, and I also justified it because the reason for the temporary living situation was so that I could live rent-free for a few months.
  • Eight years later, when I moved from my condo to our home, I went back to moving ourselves. With the help of friends and family, we were able to handle everything. We were trying to save some money, we had people willing to help, it was spring/summer, and the TV (still with me) was now 10 years old and no longer a prized possession.

One of the things that I learned with the last move is that by doing it ourselves, we were able to save not only the money for paying the movers, but that I was able to get rid of stuff that I might not have had I not moved.
Let me explain.
When I was doing my own packing (something that I always advocate no matter what, even if you get re-location that will do this for you), I had to touch virtually everything that I owned. Whether it be clothing, knick-knacks, kitchen items, tools, paint supplies. I had to touch everything, and when I did, you tend to start asking yourself the same question over and over:
Do I really want to deal with moving this?
You start thinking about whether this is something that you will use. Whether it makes sense to pack and unpack it. Whether it makes sense to find a new place for once you get settled into your new place.
For most things, the answer is obvious. But, when you’re going through linen closets and basements and the back of closets, and junk drawers, you really start finding things that you can weed out.
So, you can save in a lot of ways:

  • Save money on packing supplies for the unneeded stuff – Less boxes, less packing material
  • Save time in having to pack and unpack items
  • Save space in your new place

Plus, if you’re really industrious, you can take some of that unwanted stuff and turn it into money.
If you have time for a garage sale or can spend some time on Craigslist or eBay, you can turn some of this stuff into cash in your pocket.
In a lot of cases, I imagine that this could even cover the moving costs of doing it yourself.
I couldn’t imagine not having packed all of my own stuff, because I know that if I hadn’t, I would have certainly moved a lot more stuff that would have turned into unneeded and unused clutter.
So, if you can, always pack and always move your own stuff. I guarantee it can add to lots of different type of savings in the end!

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

My Brush With Identity Theft

I’ve never had my idenity stolen. I’ve read many of the horror stories that come along with it, but have never had to go through that.
But, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t come close. Or at least feel like I came a little close. Because there was one time where someone came pretty close, or at least a little too close for comfort.
A few years ago, I went through my mail, and there was what appeared to be a bill from UPS. I don’t make any shipments, and when I do, I typically pay for them at the counter. The bill was for a few dollars.
So, I thought nothing of it and threw it away.
A few weeks later, I got a second bill, again, not for very much money, but for a larger amount, but still under $50. Again, I discarded it thinking it weird that I was getting bills for something I didn’t use.
They got my attention a few weeks later when they sent another letter indicating that if I didn’t pay my balance, I would be turned over to collections. So, I immediately got on the phone.
My conversation went a little like this:
Me: “I’m calling about a bill that I got for a bunch of packages.”
UPS: “Yes, we need you to pay that.”
Me: “I’m confused, I didn’t send any packages using UPS.”
UPS: “But it has your name and address here.”
Me: “While that’s true, I didn’t ship any packages. In fact, the ’ship from’ location for all of these is in California.”
UPS: “Yeah, and?”
Me: “I live in Michigan. How would I have shipped these packages from California?”
UPS: *long silence*
Me: “How would someone have opened an account with my name and address?”
UPS: “Well, that’s all you need to open an account.”
Me: “You don’t need a credit card? A social security number? A drivers license?”
UPS: “No.”
Me: “So, anybody could just find someone elses name and address and open an account and start shipping packages, and UPS is OK with that?”
UPS: “Yeah, seems a little strange, doesn’t it?”
Me: “So, you’re going to take those charges off my account, the one that I never opened, and close the account, too, while you’re at it?”
UPS: “You’re sure you never opened that account or shipped those packages?”
Me: “Positive.”
UPS: “OK, then, we’ll take care of that.”
Pretty amazing stuff, isn’t it? Now, this was a few years ago so I’m really hoping that UPS does not simply allow accounts to be created in such fashion. It seemed that before, you could just create an account and start shipping with it. Granted, the number of shipments was small, so I’m guessing (hoping) that for bulk shippers, they would have required a line of credit.
But, really, who knows?
At the time, I didn’t really think much about it, but it was about as close I could have gotten to having my identity stolen without it actually happening.
It taught me a few lessons though:

  • Pay attention to your bills – I simply threw the bills out because I knew that they weren’t mine, but if I hadn’t, who knows if UPS would have somehow been able to find me and put a blemish on my credit report. It doesn’t seem likely since they didn’t have my SSN, but then again, I would have thought it pretty unlikely that they would open an account without somehow verifying the person opening the account.
  • Be careful of your personal information – Keep your personal information, especially things like account numbers, drivers license numbers, and other key information, safe.
  • Check your credit report – I check my credit report (and my wife’s) every four months, using our three free reports from AnnualCreditReport.com. After this, I have always kept an eye on it to make sure that every single creditor is someone I know. So far, I’ve had no surprises.
  • Check your balances often – Did you know that the longer you wait before notifying a bank or credit card company of fraudulent activity, the more you’re responsible for? I try to check my balances every day or two days on my bank accounts and credit cards.

Any other tips on preventing or dealing with identity theft? Any close calls?

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Resume Tip Number 1: Proofread Your Personal Information

Every day, there are new articles about things to do to improve your chances on a job search. Many of these concentrate on tips tied to your resume, and how to make sure it stands out and presents you in the most favorable light to get that ‘dream job’.
I’m here to reinforce one tip, and that’s tied to proofreading: Make sure you proofread EVERY part of your resume. And I mean every single part.
Here’s a true story that illustrates the reason for this:
A week or two ago, I came in from work, excited as always to see my wife and newborn son. I heard my wife’s voice from another room and could tell that she was just answering the phone. Her end of the conversation went something like this:
“Hello?”
“No, you have the wrong number.”
“It’s OK, but this is like the third or fourth call I’ve received today for that name, so I’m not sure what’s going on, but I’d really appreciate if the calls here could stop.”
“Oh, really, then she has the wrong phone number listed on her resume, because this has been my phone number for years.”
“Thanks, goodbye.”
That’s right, folks, the calls that my wife was receiving was for someone else’s job search. They posted their resume online, and had my wife’s number listed as their own. The person obviously must have had quite a resume, since she seemed to be getting a number of calls.
Still, this is one of the more bonehead moves I could think to make when posting your resume. It’s one thing to spell a word incorrectly or to make a gramatical error, but to get probably the most key piece of information besides your name incorrect?
I just hope she wasn’t applying for a position of proofreader.
So, it just goes to show that reading every part of your resume is critical before posting it or sending it to prosepctive employers. Who knows how many of the recruiters that had been calling simply bypassed her and went on to the next resume after realizing that the number they were calling was incorrect? In this job market, I certainly wouldn’t blame a recruiter for saying “Hmmmm….doesn’t list own phone number properly….REJECTED” and hitting the next resume. Somebody may have been kind enough to alert her (possibly through e-mail or snail mail) of the error, or she realized it herself, because the calls have stopped.
Yet, I wonder, could she have missed out on her dream job because of not re-reading every part of her resume?

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Cheap Ways To Extend Your Computer Life

We’ve all had the itch for a new computer. I work with computers, so I know how quickly technology changes. With that comes the ever-present knowledge that today’s technology will become tomorrow’s obsolete dinosaur.

My computer is now four years old, and I have noticed it slowing down. Not just because it is slow compared to other computers, but because that’s what computers do over time, especially if you run Microsoft Windows.

There are some good ways to put the itch to rest for awhile. None of these will get you to where your computer compares to the latest and greatest, but they can get you noticeable improvement over what you have today.

  • Defrag – Most computers have a tool where you can defragment the drive. The operating systems are lazy and will just place data on the drive any old place it can. Over time, this leads to the data being spread out. The computer runs better when the data is on one part of the drive, and the Defrag tool can assist you with this. Note: If you haven’t run defrag in a while, you may want to run it a few times in a row to get things organized.
  • Spyware and Virus Removal – Many people have programs to check for viruses and spyware, but do you really know if they’re working? Check into them to make sure that they have the latest definition files, so that it recognizes the latest attacks. Make sure to do a full system scan if you’re not sure that it runs regularly. You’d be surprised what little buggers might be on your computer slowing them down.
  • Temporary Files – Most programs are supposed to clean themselves up but many do not. Most programs will create files in the system TEMP folder, which is normally under C:Documents and Settings%USERNAME%Local SettingsTemp. Find that through ‘My Computer’ and clean it up. I typically go after anything older than a month, which should help minimize the risk that you’ll delete anything important. Tip: Do this before you defrag.
  • Add memory – My computer shipped with 512MB of RAM. Good at the time, but not so much now. I recently added 2GB to bring it to 2.5GB total, and it’s helped. Memory is pretty cheap. It cost $20 to add that amount to my computer.
  • Start from scratch – After awhile, it might just make sense to start from scratch. You probably want to be pretty savvy or know someone that is, but most computers come with a system disk that will let you re-create it as it was ‘out of the box’. There’s a lot of work involved in getting it up to where it needs to be. You need to re-install any programs. You have to re-create your settings. You need to install all security updates that have come out since then, which can be daunting. But, this is probably worth around the three year mark. Tip: The ideal way to do this is to purchase a new hard drive and start from scratch on that one. You can still keep your old one plugged in and boot to either one. That way, it’s much easier to transport your ’stuff’ over, and it also gives you the flexibility to log into your ‘older’ system if need be.

There are a lot of other things you can do, but this is a few things that might help extend your computer life. In this day where we’re holding onto things longer (a good idea), hopefully this helps get you started.

Happy computing!

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.