You Can Easily Turn Your Spring Cleaning, Into Some Extra Cash For The Upcoming PCS Season.

Yard saleSpring is upon us, you know what that means. Time to give the home a deep cleaning and do some organization before the PCS move. More often than not you will realize that you have tons of stuff that you rarely use so it gets boxed up and moves to the next duty station in the box, or sits an attic collecting dust when it could be making you money! The average home has $7,000 worth of unused items simply taking up space according to a study by market research firm NPD Group.

 

This weekend Money and I took on our garage, there is no reason our garage should be doubling as a storage unit. As I looked at all the items we really could do without and have been moving from duty station to duty station, I decided with this upcoming PCS no more moving our storage unit (aka garage). One of my favorite quotes I am taking to heart “Get rid of anything that isn’t Useful, Beautiful or Joyful” Regina Brett. For example the large treadmill collecting dust for 2 PCS moves. I set out to research the help of great websites and apps, which would help us on our journey of purging. I had previously used Gazelle to sell some old cell phones, I knew there had to be a site or app for it. I was surprised of the value I received for my Iphone 4  $100.00  so you just never know. They paid right when they said they would. I highly recommend Gazelle for resale of old phones.

Gadgets: Old cell phones or Ipads

Even a limited spring-cleaning spree should include assessing older model smartphones, laptops, tablets and other electronics. Gadget trade-in has become a competitive market, Gazelle.com

Nextworth.com Sell everything from smartphones to video games, and laptops for cash. They’ll pay upfront within a week by Paypal, a check or a Target gift card, and they will wipe your item clear of personnel info. (I actually recommend before sending setting your electronics back to factory settings.)

Gift cards

Unwanted gift cards could be worth as much as 92.5 percent of their value on the secondary market, according to GiftCardGranny.com, a site that aggregates offers from various resellers. Now you can trade in those unwanted gift cards you aren’t planning on using for cards you will use, or sell them for cash. I have personally used this one and loved my experience.

Books

Haul a bag down to the nearest secondhand bookstore, or try your luck online. Powell’s Books and Cash4Books.net. Now if you know Money we have TONS of books.   I believe this accounts for a ¼ of our shipment weight during our PCS Moves. I do like bookscounter.com very easy to use. Type in the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and the site will search more than 40 book buying sites that are used textbooks and other books to give you a quote for yours. Best part of the site it is free with no registration required that aims to help you find the best place to sell your used book

Media

So Chloe Grace is nervous over this one, I have my eyes on old Video games. Old CDs, DVDs and video games can be a tough sell on the secondhand market if you haven’t kept the original cases with the artwork, extra materials and UPC code intact. That’s a must at sites such as Amazon, Decluttr.com and SecondSpin.com.

Clothing

Now we move on to clothing…Yes I am a shopper and I usually give most of my clothing away or donate to shelters that can use it. But since I love the ability to sell or trade items on line and with ease. I had to try Thredup.com I was surprised at the ease of this site. You fill a prepaid, pre-addressed bag with used or new clothing and you can earn up to 80 percent of the resale value in cash or a shopping credit back to the site. They accept and sell adult and children’s clothing. We are testing this site out with Chloe’s clothing, she jumped right up to volunteer with some items she out grew still in great shape.   Our agreement all the money we received from her clothes she could buy new ones. I also came across on my online quest for resale wash Therealreal.com , wow one can still dream! This is high end clothing and bags, you can earn up to 70 percent of the resale value for your clothing, by selling your Chanel Bag or Prada shoes.

 

Good look with your journey to cashing out this PCS move season!

 

Have you ever rented a home without personally seeing it Live? … I have!

rentWith the summer PCS season coming up quickly and orders are arriving, I have had several friends ask me,  Have you ever rented a house without seeing it? Should I consider doing this?  I have, and their mouths drop open. I will suggest this if you have done your research about the area and new duty station. Today, with many us about to PCS the military member might be deployed, and the family in another location where it makes it hard to make a trip to see a home. As a landlord also I am on both sides of this question. There are so many things to consider when you rent a house without seeing it.  Is it on a busy road?  Are the pictures old?  Is the yard safe?  Are there scary rooms?  As a landlord, I want my tenants to be happy.  I try to send current pictures and video (real time Face time or Skype) that show as much as possible, and explain the neighborhood and area.  There is always the fear that if the tenant is not happy in my home, they will consciously or subconsciously blame me, and as a landlord I strive to have happy tenants. Housing is the single largest expense for most families, and of course you want to make sure you are making good use of your BAH dollars.  Have any of you ever rented a house without seeing it in person? My experience of renting a home without seeing it turned out wonderful for our Family. The landlords were Military as well, the home and neighborhood turned out to be better than we had expected. My last piece of advice is to have several conversations with the potential landlords ask all the questions, I have listed a few below that are common ones you might of  forget.

If you’re renting a single family house, you should ask who is responsible for maintaining the exterior of the property. Some landlords expect the tenants to mow the lawn and shovel the snow, while others do it themselves so they know the property is being maintained correctly. These responsibilities should be spelled out in the lease so there’s never a question about who is supposed to do what.

  • How’s your cell phone signal? You don’t want to be forced to have all phone conversations while hanging out your window or the one tiny corner where you manage to pick up a signal.
  • How big are the rooms, really? Great for video or skype. You and the  landlord may have different opinions on what room size comfortably fits a queen size bed.
  • How’s the water pressure? Don’t forget to ask the follow up, including is the shower pressure weak? How long does it take for the water to get hot in the morning?
  • Is the rental noisy? Be quiet for a minute and listen for ambient noise, such as weird fans, generators, barking dogs, loud trucks, trains or noisy neighbors.
  • How is the view? Are there enough windows to provide you with the natural light you want? If the curtains are closed, pull them open to check out the view. You might not want your living room overlooking your neighbor’s bathroom.
  • What is the heating situation? Because people often rent during the summer, they neglect to ask about the heat.  Find out if the heating is individual or shared, such as an uncontrolled radiator, and find out the costs.
  • Who do I contact for repairs and how long does it take for someone to come make the repair from the time of my call?
  • Are there any repairs that I am required by the lease to pay for myself?
  • Who is responsible for the Utilities? What do the utilities cost for the house? (ask for a few past bills to verify)
  • What appliances are guaranteed with the lease and which are not repaired or replaced if something happens to them?
  • Lastly can I have a dog? Rules on size?  Very important to our family, we love our Zoey…pictured below.

Zoey

 

Good luck with the summer PCS Season!

The Big Moving Adventure…There is an App for that!

The Big Moving Adventure

Children in military families move six to nine times between kindergarten and high school, and a mobile app launched in December can help them cope with leaving a familiar place for the      unknown. Military parents face unique challenges during a move, and the app helps their young children through the experience.

The Big Moving Adventure app lets children create a Muppet friend to help them through the moving process.

Developed for the Defense Department in partnership with Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization The National Center for Telehealth & Technology (T2) behind Sesame Street, the mobile app is available for download from the App Store, Google Play and Amazon for Kindle Fire.

Chief Tecumseh (Poem from Act of Valor)

Williamsburg Military Insider:

I had not read this since I first posted back in 2012 to my Williamsburg Military Insider blog. Wow! Chief Tecumseh poem inspires me to Make this life count, and live to the fullest having used all my talents and have no regrets. Rereading the poem inspires me to ask what can I give, and not worry about what I don’t have. This life is short and too short not to live every day to your fullest potential.

Originally posted on Williamsburg Military Insider :

By: Williamsburg Military Insider

The movie Act of Valor at the end, has this amazing poem by Native American Shawnee Chief, Tecumseh. I wanted to share it with you all. As a Current Military Spouse it has a special place. It’s truly amazing and I hope that it inspires you to make this life count, to pursue noble undertakings, and live to the fullest  having used all your talents and have no regrets.

“So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.

Always give a word or…

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Senate Armed Services Subcommittee Hearing on Personnel March 26 #KeepYourPromise

NMFA

When you break a promise you’re tampering with the delicate formula upon which the strength and vitality of all – volunteer force is based.

The National Military Family Associations continues to fight for Military Families in this budget  battle. Members of NMFA team will be joining other organizations to testify before the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel next week March 26, telling Congress to KeepYourPromise Tell National Military Family Association, what do you want Congress to know? The National Military Family Association is counting down the days until they testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday. Tell them what you want Congress to know about how the proposed budget that will  affect Military Families at Info@MilitaryFamily.org.  For a listing of the members of the committee http://www.armed-services.senate.gov/hearings/active-guard-reserve-and-civilian-personnel-programs_03/26/14

Trans- Siberian Orchestra…I had no idea of their support for the Military.

TSO ConcertTrans- Siberian Orchestra…I had no idea of their support for the Military.

Last night I had the privilege of going to my very first Trans-Siberian Concert. I was so excited you would have thought I was going to the candy store on our drive to the Concert. I have wanted to always go for the past 10 years, my husband could not contain my excitement for this 30 min drive. This year was possible, my girls were finally at the age were they would appreciate it and enjoy!

Right before the show started Al Pitrelli came out on stage with a group of Marines from the St. Louis area. He introduced the Marines to the Audience and told us that with every concert Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO) does they donate one dollar to a local charity. They choose to donate to the Marines Toys for Tots programs. They donated over $8000.00 last night. Being a Military Spouse I was impressed TSO would do this. I later learned at every concert they do in the United States they donate to a Military related organization, for example also the USO. So let’s do the Math, they do approximately 70 Concerts here in the United States in November and December and donate one dollar of every ticket sale. This brought such joy to me that an organization supports the military as TSO does.

Just as I thought the concert was about to end, Al came up to the Microphone the words that came out amazed me. Trans-Siberian Orchestra wanted to salute the Military and thank them for their service and sacrifices. Because of every member, present and past thousands of Men and Women have stood up to give us the freedom to perform as we do. At this point I am starting to tear up, that they would recognize all the members of the Military who will not be home with their families this Christmas. I now know why I have loved Trans-Siberian Orchestra for so many years, not just their amazing talent but the goodwill they have towards others.

One of my favorite songs: Christmas Canyon

If you get the chance to attend one of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra Concerts I highly recommend it!

Military PCS …Renting a home and how to start my search?

homeflagYour orders are in hand and you are deciding do I live on Base/Post or the economy?  Where do I start my search ? There is  also a valuable  resources for renting at a new duty station by using Military by Owner.   These homes are listed by current home owners and some Property Managers in Duty Station Areas. Also check out the AF Housing page for your specific area.  Remember to check on your new BAH rates for 2014 for many have changed.

Many of us are used to looking up homes to rent on ARHN which was sponsored by DOD. Effective 1 January 2014, the Department of Defense sponsorship of AHRN will expire.

The website will remain active as a commercial site. The housing offices continue to provide support services to members and their families; military housing encourages service members to visit the AF housing public website at www.housing.af.mil.

Look the properties   over carefully and be sure to ask questions about any apartment or house you are   considering renting. Consider the following:
Some quick questions to consider when living off base or post:

Does the rent cover all   utilities, or will you be responsible for paying for them yourself? If you will   be paying for heat, water, or other utilities ask whether the landlord can   provide an estimated monthly or annual cost for the rental   property.

What kind of security does the building have? Are the doors,   windows and entrances secured? Are the stairs safe and well lighted? Are the   fire escapes easily accessible?

What sort of commute will you have to   school or work and what is nearby in terms of restaurants, shopping,   entertainment and other places you frequently visit? Also, what are the   neighbors like (students, families, retirees) and is this the right setting for   you?

Who is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of common areas   (stairwells, hallways, etc.) and appliances, furnace filters and other items   within the property which may need to be serviced?

Is the landlord or   property management readily available during nights and weekends and what are   the procedures for emergency services, repairs or lock-outs?

What kind   of parking is available? Is there an extra charge for a parking   spot?

Are storms windows, screens and shades   provided?

2014 Basic Allowance for Housing rates will increase an average of 5 percent for 2014.

AR-130119943[1]2014 Basic Allowance for Housing rates will increase an average of 5 percent when they take effect on January 1, 2014. An estimated $20 billion will be paid to approximately one million service members during the year.

Ever wonder how they get the BAH Rate? Three components are included in the BAH computation:  median current market rent; average utilities (including electricity, heat, and water/sewer) and average renter’s insurance.

Total housing costs are calculated for six housing profiles (based on dwelling type and number of bedrooms) in each military housing area.  BAH rates are then calculated for each pay grade, both with and without dependents.  An estimated $20 billion will be paid to approximately one million service members in 2014.

Get more details about the rate changes and how they will affect you, http://go.usa.gov/ZgHw.

The Ability to Repay Rule…One of Seven New Mortgage Rules that take effect in January 2014

ImageFor many Americans, buying a home is one of the biggest purchases they will ever make. People want to make their own purchase, but they want a little help: someone to stand by their side and make sure they are not getting tricked into a bad deal. They want a deal that’s clear and understandable, and they want to know that if you do your homework and follow plain logic, you can make a responsible decision that you can live with over time. And if you do run into trouble down the road, you will be able to talk with someone who is responsive in helping you work through your options. 

That’s why CFPB has taken action to make the mortgage market work better. CFPB is  making it a priority to give you the information you need about shopping for a mortgage, maintaining your current mortgage, and getting help if you need it. It’s why CFPB wrote the Ability to Repay rule. It’s a straightforward rule that does not change anything about your current mortgage, but for new mortgages received after January 10, 2014, it puts behind us the irresponsible lending that disrupted the housing market and so badly damaged our economy. But while it provides strong new consumer protections, it preserves needed access to mortgage credit. 

The Ability to Repay rule is one of seven new mortgage rules that take effect in January 10, 2014