My nationally syndicated column Do Just One Thing comes out every day in newspapers across the country and I thought I would use today’s post to share our current 5 tips. So maybe it should be called Do Just FIVE Things, instead?
Have a great weekend and I’ll see you all Monday!
- With so many environmental, conservation and scientific nonprofit organizations, it can be overwhelming when trying to choose who to donate money to. The best advice is to not be afraid to ask questions: where is your money going, how much will be spent for overhead and can you earmark it towards a very specific project? You can also search on the website GuideStar where a database of more than 1 million nonprofit organizations exist that you can search and learn more about how they operate to make an informed decision, too.
- Doing some home improvement work this weekend? When painting walls, make sure you buy just enough paint. Go to popular home improvement Web sites like lowes.com and search for “paint calculator.” Type in the dimensions of your room, and it’ll compute exactly how much paint you need to buy. No more overbuying and a lot less waste.
- Donating an old car to charity seems like a good idea: it gives you a tax deduction, it helps a worthwhile case and your car can be “recycled” for a good cause. But if you ever donate to a non-profit that has large billboards, TV ads or newspapers that make it easy for them to pick up your car and do it for you, be sure to avoid them. They are actually for-profit intermediaries who take a huge chunk of the proceeds—up to 90%—and donate the rest to the actual charity. If you want to really, truly help a non-profit, donate directly . Or better yet: sell the car yourself and write a check to the charity of your choice.
- Wedding gowns can cost if hundreds if not thousands of dollars to create the fairy tale wedding of your dreams. For something that is only worn for a few hours just once in your lifetime, this is the time to think about getting more dress for money by thinking “once wed.” The online store www.oncewed.com has an online marketplace of almost-new wedding gowns be re-sold at a fraction of the price. In-demand designers like Vera Wang and Monique Lhuiller can be found up to 90% off their original retail price. With the money saved, you can use the savings to honeymoon at a 5-star eco-resort after the wedding.
- Barbecuing tonight? Here’s a quick entertaining solution! After the burgers are grilled and the corn is cooked, recycle the hot coals in the grill for dessert! Scoop the hot coals into fireproof bowls and ask guests to search the woods for a toasting stick. Bring out bowls of marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate bars. Instant S’mores!