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Develop long-term relationships with folks who can make your life easier. Here’s my list (and I’m assuming everyone knows the usual disclaimers—it’s up to you to assure safety, honesty, good pricing, etc. I’m just suggesting it is exceedingly helpful to develop and nurture these connections):

Personal Property Manager: Someone who can analyze, oversee and complete whatever your personal home may require. Examples of projects I’ve successfully passed on: tree removal (paid her to meet with three companies, suggest best plan, meet them here, etc.—all I did was write the check); general list of smaller things (I keep an ongoing list of problems like light fixture replacements, hanging things, broken drawers, etc; I usually ask her to take care of them when I am out of town); she follows general maintenance and reminds me when things should be done (clean gutters, empty septic tank, re-pave driveway, seal deck, fertilize, etc.—she then tells me , I say ok, and she handles it); assessment (her company also cleans my house, but she’ll pass on potential problems she sees—wood rotting in window casings, floor warping, etc.—stuff I don’t have time or interest to look for); referrals (if I know I need something done and don’t know who to call, she always has a referral and makes an introduction call to them before she passes their number to me). Another bonus: we’ve been working together for a decade now--I trust her and know she will give me the best price she can—I no longer need ‘estimates;’ she completes the work and bills me.

Babysitter: If you need babysitters, use trial and error until you find the best person(s) for your family. Then offer to pay them an hourly bonus (I’d suggest 20-40% above your area’s going rate) in return for giving you first preference, especially on hard-to-fill times (like the 2-hour spot you need on Wednesday afternoon, or the night when everyone is attending a special event, or New Year’s Eve). Also remember a holiday gift.

Personal Shopper Wanna-Be: You don’t need to pay one person to do this—just find your own helpers. Pick out a favorite person at each place where you like to shop. Work together a few times until they know your tastes, styles, colors, budget, needs, sizes, etc. Then set an appointment with that particular person and ask them to pull whatever they think will work for you and have it in the fitting room when you walk through the door. Let them use their expertise to create complete outfits for you to try on—clothes, accessories, shoes, jewelry, etc.—and ask them to present mix -and-match pieces so you can choose whichever pieces work the best. Make sure an alterations option is available at the store. Also ask that person to review incoming stock for pieces you might like and call you (or email a picture). One friend who considered herself fashion-challenged actually asked the manager to make her a ‘picture book’ of possible outfits. The manager later presented her with photos of all options—she had laid out the completed outfits and snapped a picture of each! Also helpful to have a person at your favorite gift store—just give a call, outline the occasion and budget, and let them suggest options, then wrap and ship. You will likely be more successful finding personal shoppers at boutiques (hence spending more money to save time), but it saves huge clumps of time.

Chef-When-I-Need-One: Take advantage of those willing to cook for you. There are businesses where you can order meals and pick them up/have them delivered. There are businesses where chefs will come into your home, cook as many meals as you’d like, portion and freeze them (with labeled heating directions). There are community ‘shares’ you can purchase with weekly pick up or delivery of fresh seasonal produce. These services also make wonderful gifts for friends who are recovering from health issues, grieving, or going through other rough times. Remember when someone asks, “Did you make this?” the proper reply is, “I made this possible!"

Ad Hoc Help: When you have a problem, put it through the ‘who can help me?’ test. Think outside the box for surprising results. Recent example--
Yard Sale Manager: I have a lot of ‘good’ stuff to get rid of. Normally, I list & donate (see previous post on Its Deductible software), but in this economy I want cash. What I’ll do: post ad on craigslist (wonderful source when you want off-the-wall kind of help) with following idea: “I have collection of furniture, higher end items, plus the usual yard sale stuff. Want someone to handle it all—from sorting, pricing, laying out in driveway, selling, delivering leftover items to Goodwill, etc. Sale at my home in one of city’s nicest neighborhoods. “ I’ll choose an experienced yard hopper (believe me, they exist) and give them a share of the profits. My goal is to make a few hundred and not even be at home when it happens.

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Gertrude23 - you are my dream Diva !!

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The link doesn't work? Can you re-post it? Thanks!


Gertrude23 said: Instead of making own spreadsheet, use http://turbotax.intuit.com/personal-taxes/itsdeductible/index.js... I've used It's Deductibe for years--easy, and donations save a bunch on taxes. You used to have to pay for it, but now it's free. Estimates prices for items, calculates total, provides print-outs, etc. Great program.


OP: Keep a large cardboard box in a closet in your home. Any time you run across an item in your house you never use but haven't thrown away because it seems to have some value or potential use, put the item in the box. Once or twice per year, make a spreadsheet estimating the value of the items and then donate it to a non-profit thrift store. Keep this simple: 10 men's shirts @ $5 each. I got a tax writeoff of $2,000 last year doing this. Some charities will come pick up your items. Just get their tax ID number and have them sign a printout of your list as received. If you don't think itemizing is worth your time, just give the items away and feel good about helping someone and having superfluous stuff out of your way/life.

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http://TurboTax.intuit.com/personal-taxes/itsdeductible/index.jsp
Linky

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Thanks!

DavidScubadiver said: http://TurboTax.intuit.com/personal-taxes/itsdeductible/index.jsp
Linky

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Get a fingerprint reader for your computer that stores passwords. Restrict access to sensitive information without having to remember a bunch of passwords or type them in every time.

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Psycho41 said: Get a fingerprint reader for your computer that stores passwords. Restrict access to sensitive information without having to remember a bunch of passwords or type them in every time.That reminds me... I have two fingerprint scanners lying around somewhere. Maybe I'll see if they came with mac software. But, while I found the fingerprint scanning was fun, I ultimately liked roboform to go, so I would have my passwords with me when I needed them.

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Not sure if this was already mentioned (i made it about 2 pages into this thread)....

Mail to email services.

For around $10/month, there are companies who will receive all your mail for you. They then scan it all and email it all to you. The received PDF's are search able (OCR).

This way you always get your mail in a promp time (even on vacation, etc). Also, you'll always have a record of all your mail (i keep a copy in my imap mail directory as well so that I can access my e-mail and snail mail in the same place, from anywhere).

Don't spend time opening mail. getting the mail. shredding mail. taking out the recycling/trash generated from all that mail.


Also, some other suggestions that were mentioned earlier that I employ daily are outsourcing laundry (like said earlier, <$5/week in additional costs - and all my laundry seems to come out much cleaner, and better folded/etc)

Also cleaning servies....For $50/week my room mate and I split the cleaning of our place. That money couldn't be better split. I find myself so much more productive in a cleaned up environment.

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000Spike said: Not sure if this was already mentioned (i made it about 2 pages into this thread)....

Mail to email services.

For around $10/month, there are companies who will receive all your mail for you. They then scan it all and email it all to you. The received PDF's are search able (OCR).

This way you always get your mail in a promp time (even on vacation, etc). Also, you'll always have a record of all your mail (i keep a copy in my imap mail directory as well so that I can access my e-mail and snail mail in the same place, from anywhere).

Don't spend time opening mail. getting the mail. shredding mail. taking out the recycling/trash generated from all that mail.


Also, some other suggestions that were mentioned earlier that I employ daily are outsourcing laundry (like said earlier, <$5/week in additional costs - and all my laundry seems to come out much cleaner, and better folded/etc)

Also cleaning servies....For $50/week my room mate and I split the cleaning of our place. That money couldn't be better split. I find myself so much more productive in a cleaned up environment.


Any you recommend? Not sure if I'd trust sending some sensitive mail (bank statements, etc) to a 3rd party.

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000Spike said: Not sure if this was already mentioned (i made it about 2 pages into this thread)....

Mail to email services.

For around $10/month, there are companies who will receive all your mail for you. They then scan it all and email it all to you. The received PDF's are search able (OCR).

This way you always get your mail in a promp time (even on vacation, etc). Also, you'll always have a record of all your mail (i keep a copy in my imap mail directory as well so that I can access my e-mail and snail mail in the same place, from anywhere).

Don't spend time opening mail. getting the mail. shredding mail. taking out the recycling/trash generated from all that mail.


Also, some other suggestions that were mentioned earlier that I employ daily are outsourcing laundry (like said earlier, <$5/week in additional costs - and all my laundry seems to come out much cleaner, and better folded/etc)

Also cleaning servies....For $50/week my room mate and I split the cleaning of our place. That money couldn't be better split. I find myself so much more productive in a cleaned up environment.


You mean you use them as your mailing address, or you put all of your mail in a package and send it on. If the previous, what are you doing about credit cards, etc, which you actually want to have? Will they send mail of your choice on to you?

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thinwallet4d said: You mean you use them as your mailing address, or you put all of your mail in a package and send it on. If the previous, what are you doing about credit cards, etc, which you actually want to have? Will they send mail of your choice on to you?
You use them as your mailing address. They scan the envelope and then you choose whether you want them to forward it to you or open and scan the contents.

http://www.earthclassmail.com

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gargamel51 said: thinwallet4d said: You mean you use them as your mailing address, or you put all of your mail in a package and send it on. If the previous, what are you doing about credit cards, etc, which you actually want to have? Will they send mail of your choice on to you?
You use them as your mailing address. They scan the envelope and then you choose whether you want them to forward it to you or open and scan the contents.

http://www.earthclassmail.com


I can't decide whether this is more work or less.

It is cool that you can have an address on Park Avenue in Manhattan if you use them, though.

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Enlightening comments!

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To me it sounds like more of some work and less of other work. The question is, does it save time and what is the meaning of time. If I can go through my mail at work during slow times, it saves me the time of going through the mail when I go home, even if it takes the same amount of time to do. On the other hand, I could just change my address to my office, though that would mean moving the clutter from home to the office where its not needed either.

It certainly has the potential of reducing the amount of recycling and perhaps the number of trips to the curb, but somehow I doubt the service eliminates the paper mail, the flyers, etc., that I get. As with everything electronic, make sure you know what happens when you die. Presumably once their bill stops getting paid they bulk mail you all your crap so your family can see what is in the mail.

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228 Park Ave. South, New York, NY 10003

I am wondering what kind of mailling list would get you into with that address?

Might be you will be invite to rich's parties?

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For roboform pro users, there is a new beta "web" version of the program that will sycnh your passwords to the web so that you can have access to them anywhere. The downside to this, of course, is that one username/password will give someone access to all of your passwords. While this was also the case with Yodlee, I always used roboform to fill in what my username and password was, and to this day have no idea what either of them are since they are so long and scrambled.

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What kind of places will wash and fold regular non-dry-cleaning laundry? I would love to spend $5/week to have someone else do my laundry. Mom, where are you? lol

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jcbrooks said: What kind of places will wash and fold regular non-dry-cleaning laundry? I would love to spend $5/week to have someone else do my laundry. Mom, where are you? lol

i think most laundromats do that.

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k000 said: jcbrooks said: What kind of places will wash and fold regular non-dry-cleaning laundry? I would love to spend $5/week to have someone else do my laundry. Mom, where are you? lol

i think most laundromats do that.


Not for five bucks a week, though.

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Laundromats charge by the pound for clothes. Best thing about living in New York city is never having to do your own laundry because its as easy to drop your clothes off at the laundromat as it is to find an available washer/dryer in your building.

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jcbrooks said: What kind of places will wash and fold regular non-dry-cleaning laundry? I would love to spend $5/week to have someone else do my laundry. Mom, where are you? lolI think 000Spike meant "for <$5 more...."

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How much on average does a load of laundry cost? I mean I spend a total of 45 minutes a week bringing laundry from bedroom to basement, throwing in washer, adding detergent, hitting start button, transferring to dryer, bringing upstairs, putting on hangers and back into closet.

This would simplify the process but I would need to add in the time to put it in the car and drop it off - I do not see much time saved - it would definitely cost more. But I'd have nice wrinkle-free clothes instead of boxers with racing stripes on them. (What, I like Nascar!)

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I have been using earthclassmail for a few weeks now. <50 letters processed so i can't speak out of any great duration of experience...However...

I started getting mail within 3 days of signing up (mail from banks i had called and switched over).

I have everything sent there, I do not want any mail coming to any of my physical addresses.

As far as security, i'm not too concerned with someone working there stealing my identity as there is sure to be tons of mail going there, and I don't have any huge assets that make me feel like a target. My bank statements (and most cc statements) are online anyhow, so the mail I get is one time things, like policy changes, bills, invoices, purchase protection stuff (from when i file a claim), notice on credit limit decreases and such....



They receive the mail. I receive an email with a scan of back/front of the envelope. I can click recycle, shred, scan, or ship (i.e. ship it to my physical address).

So far I have only selected scan. The items within the envelope are scanned (duplex) within 2 days (at least on my mail so far that's how long its taken).

Also, on the flip side of trusting a third party with mail, I have been in many various living situations where others have had access to my mail in at least a limited capacity. I feel much safer if my pieces of mail are in with thousands of other pieces of mail, all going to the same address, as opposed to someone driving bye, liking the looks of my car, and doing a little poking around (or for that matter my next door neighbor doing it).

You also have the option to pick up your mail (they have like 10 addresses), if one is local to you, you can stop by once a week or whatever and pick up mail that you've selected for pick up.

I have no mail sent, but rather all of it opened, scanned, and then shredded.


Other ideas i really like:
- shopping with one click @ Amazon (got a blackberry app too...driving home, notice your ipod's dead, order an ipod charger right then, 0 seconds, without entering any billing/cc info.
- Dual monitors: Great idea Been using multiple displays for years, would never go back. They are cheap these days too. Also try using a mount to turn the widescreen displays vertical, thus making it much easier to view an entire web page at one (and multiple pages of a word doc at once, with ease).
- Auto Bill Pay/Direct Debit/etc: From my perspective, i don't see any reason to -not- sign up for automatic bill pay whenever/wherever available.

Yodlee: Keep track of your finances.

NetNewsWire: Synchronized news across multiple computers, website, & blackberry/mobile device. Get updated on whats going on (via rss) quickly, from anywhere, and never read the same story twice again.

Skype Call Forwarding: If you live internationally (or have family who does), setup a Skype in number for them, then set it up to forward to their home, office, cell, etc abroad. That way when you call their local us number, it will ring through to all their various phones, so no matter where they are, you are able to reach them (at some of the most competitive rates around).


p.s. Earthclassmail also gives you one address, that you can use wherever you are (traveling, moved, etc) that way your credit report doesn't necessarily reflect a dozen addresses. (not applicable in all cases)

Hope this answered any questions

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alpinewhite said: jcbrooks said: What kind of places will wash and fold regular non-dry-cleaning laundry? I would love to spend $5/week to have someone else do my laundry. Mom, where are you? lolI think 000Spike meant "for <$5 more...."

Exactly what I meant. For a $5 difference...it will cost me $5 a week to have my laundry done by someone else (as i'm already paying to do it myself).

Thanks for clarifying that though

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Other laundry outsourcing advantages:
- For those few dry clean only items you do have, usually the same place either does dry cleaning as well, or has an arrangement with someone who does (my laundrymat (sp?) receives it, sends it out to the dry cleaner, and has it back within 48 hours, so i can pick it up when i pick up the rest of my regular stuff).
- When I have to do my own laundry (on vacation for example...) it ends up not getting done as efficnetly. Usually i'm down to the last few items, and forced to re-wash everything, often preventing me from wearing the clothes I want, in the best condition possible. To me the organization factor is even more important than the time saved. I can drop off my laundry in <5 minutes and pick it up in <5 minutes any time during the week. There is always some laundry there and some laundry at home being used. So whenever I drop off laundry, there is always a bag of clean stuff waiting.

Folded. Clean. Organized.

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I disagree with paying to have oil changed. I can change my oil in about 30 minutes, and I buy and dispose of it on my way to other places. It takes longer than half an hour to pay to have my oil changed, unless I am paying someone to take my car to have the oil changed. Plus, I know it is being done properly.

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I just checked with a nearby dry cleaner's, and they charge $1/lb. for fluff and fold laundry (just regular wash, dry, fold, I guess), and they will dry clean most garments for $2.30/each, with the exception of button down dress shirts, which are $1.65/each.

That sounds like a good deal. I drop it off on the way to work, and pick it up on the way home. I will then have more time, and a reduced cost for my water, gas, and electricity... plus, I can delay purchasing a new washer and dryer set, which will need to be done sooner or later (more sooner, than later).

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Angelfoodministries.com - This seems to save time and money. You order food and get to pick it up. They can do prepared meals, as well, so it can save you a lot of time there.

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Dus- Weigh your hamper with and without clothes in it before you decide to do this you might be shocked at how much your laundry adds up to.

Re angelfood- it is ony once a month generally mediocry food, you must wait in line for it , you must buy their box as oposed to the bix of stuff you actually want. Not very convient to most people ect. If you can afford to have laundry done you can afford better food then anglefood ministries. safeway, giant, will deliever your groceries. Sams club will pull everything fo ryou so you just pick it up ect

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lindylady said: Dus- Weigh your hamper with and without clothes in it before you decide to do this you might be shocked at how much your laundry adds up to.

Maybe I can see how much they would charge just to fold... that is really what the big pain is.

lindylady said: Re angelfood- it is ony once a month generally mediocry food, you must wait in line for it , you must buy their box as oposed to the bix of stuff you actually want. Not very convient to most people ect. If you can afford to have laundry done you can afford better food then anglefood ministries. safeway, giant, will deliever your groceries. Sams club will pull everything fo ryou so you just pick it up ect

Perhaps, but I actually more interested in the prepared meals than just general groceries. Plus, I wouldn't expect it to handle all of my grocery needs, but take a significant chunk out of it. I tend to eat out a lot, so the prepared meals will help.

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Dus10 said: Perhaps, but I actually more interested in the prepared meals than just general groceries. Plus, I wouldn't expect it to handle all of my grocery needs, but take a significant chunk out of it. I tend to eat out a lot, so the prepared meals will help.

this is one area where i expect the US market will change dramatically in the next 2-5 years. the UK has a huge and very successful "ready meal" market, every supermarket chain has their own ranges of chilled prepared meals or meal elements. some are only OK but some are very well done. i have spoken with a company that currently supplies similar things to trader joes, and they have noticed a lot of interest from mainstream stores as well. huge time saver-- just stop on your way home and get a nice meal for far less than eating out, but with no prep time. a million levels above frozen dinners, as well. but for the moment, your best bet for something similar here in the US is to go to TJs or whole foods, who both seem to do at least a little bit of this.

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Most supermarkets have premade meals already. safeway Giant Mars Superfresh Trader joes whole foods all these near me have tons of premade meal options

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I am going to hire a Mexican in a pre-made Taco Cart outside my house. Those things rock.

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davegolden99 said: I am going to hire a Mexican in a pre-made Taco Cart outside my house. Those things rock.

mexican in a taco ???

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My laundromat charges ~$.75/lb for laundry. They always round down. They also put any nicer shirts on hangers for me so that they are nice and wrinkle free. I don't have to spend time putting things on hangers either, just hang it all up in the closet.

Care full with blankets and linens as they often charge a flat rate (like $10 or something) for these items. (The guy wehre I take my laundry just throw them in with the rest of my stuff...but beware

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I'm guessing a load of my laundry weighs at least 12 lbs. I pay $2 for wash/dry. So at $1/lb that would cost me $10 more. And I do 1 load a week (alternate between white/color). So that's $520/year. Quite a bit of dough. I could probably limit it to 1 color load 2 out of every 3 weeks. So that would be $350/year.

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In regards to laundry services, I am still considering this, but I am definitely not going to mess with sending bedding out to be laundered, as it is just super easy to handle, and I am thinking that I won't send out certain other items: towels, jeans, undergarments. It all depends on frequency, weight, and time to fold. I am going to give it a go with a load after I get home.

Another option I am going to check on is drying/folding. Maybe it will make it cheaper to wash it myself (super easy) and drop it off to have them dry and fold.

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Has anyone found that an executive physical was worth it? They can be expensive, even when partially covered by insurance, but would save a lot of time over going to lots of different doctors offices and labs.
I started a thread on this at: http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/927194/

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Well, I did the laundry service. My wife picked up the clothes, and the teenagers working their weighed it with the basket... so, diligence will be required. A bonus, though, is that they are on a local coupon website. I can buy a $50 gift card for $40, and they also have a coupon to for $3 off $15. So, I can potentially have my laundry done for as little as $0.60/lb., instead of $1.00/lb. FTW!

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If these places are going to weigh your clothes with the basket, take your clothes in big poly-bags, no need to pay extra for a basket that is not going to be washed.

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