Kids flown the nest? Retrocycling could leave you £735 better off

Do you have a classic Furby in the loft?

It’s a cliche, but I know that when I moved out, I started clean and minimalist and left the bulk of my prized possessions cluttering my mum’s house. So did all three of my siblings. Eventually, my mum’s house was bursting with deserted boxes and bags that none of us wanted to collect, but none of us wanted to throw out.

Something had to give, so one day my mum declared she was having a clear out. We came, we took what we genuinely wanted, and all the rest went up for sale, to the charity shop, or in the bin. It took about a month, but suddenly my mum had a house again, not a well equipped storage unit.

And it turns out this isn’t an uncommon tale. According to research from Lloyds TSB Insurance,  nearly three quarters (73%) of parents are left to look after their children’s possessions after they move out. These items add up to an average of £735, and can often languish untouched for up to 20 years.

Tim Downes, senior claims manager, Lloyds TSB Insurance, said:

“Items that have been gifts in the past can sometimes hold more value than they did when first opened, so it is worth checking, in case they have become valuable collectors’ items that could generate some extra cash for the start of the year.

“January clear-outs provide an opportunity for the family to take a trip down memory lane while organising the home. To start off on the right foot, remember to notify your insurer of any valuable new additions to ensure you are adequately covered.”

Dr Kairen Cullen, chartered educational psychologist, said:

“Hoarding items for longer than required could be a sign of a bigger issue, yet ignoring the problem for another year is rarely the best way to address the situation.

“People can hold on to objects that give them a sense of safety and well-being. Taking steps to clear out unnecessary items can help us start the New Year with a new sense of purpose, while benefiting from the positive feelings associated with finding their items a better home and starting afresh.”

Feeling inspired? Here’s a list of the most popular ‘retrocyclables’ and what they could be worth:

Old toys (80%)

  • Transformers G1 Optimus Prime (£70)
  • Original Furby (1998) (£49)
  • Barbie Camper Van (£68.99)
  • Tracy Island (£30)
  • Original Buzz Lightyear action figure (£54.99)
  • Original Twister game (1966) (£21)

Books (80%)

  • Beatrix Potter: World of Peter Rabbit collection (£40)
  • Encyclopaedia Britannica 1995 – 23 book, complete set (£99)

Clothes (61%)

  • Original Nike Air Jordans (1985) (£1,257)
  • Original United Colors of Benetton sweatshirt (£22)

Music (46%)

  • Now That’s What I Call Music Volume 1, vinyl (£22)
  • Signed framed WHAM promo LP ‘Fantastic’ (£195)

Sports/hobbies equipment (44%)

  • Andre Agassi junior tennis racket (£22.49)
  • Fisher Price children’s Grow With Me rollerskates (£25)

Gadgets/technology equipment (34%)

  • Nintendo Original Gameboy, plus four games and accessories (£49.99)
  • Acorn BBC micro-computer (£54)
  • Sega Master System II console with 14 Games Bundle (£39.99)

So, what could you gain when you clear out the clutter?

How to celebrate Easter in style

Everyone’s favourite spring holiday is coming up, so it’s time to make a game plan about how you’ll celebrate Easter. If there’s usually a family dinner with the exchange of baskets full of goodies for the little ones, you may want to switch it up this year by getting your adult relatives a little something, too. While creating a goody basket for everyone may be a bit overboard, giving Easter cards is the perfect way to express your love and excitement for the holiday. If you want all the best tips on how to celebrate Easter in style, read on.

Celebrating with a card

To start, don’t be surprised if you’re not the only passing around adorable cards with bunnies and eggs dancing across the front of them. BBC News reports that the UK purchases the most greeting cards of any other country, with the total coming close to 2.5 billion cards produced annually. Get in on the action by choosing some special cards of your own to give at this year’s celebrations.

If you truly enjoy the art of picking the perfect card for each person that you intend to give something special, then going to the store and sifting through an entire row of sentimental, comical, or short and sweet messages is probably an enjoyable time for you. But if you’ve got a busy schedule and simply can’t stop for cards on your way home from work one day, you should try ordering cards online. You can either have them shipped directly to the recipient, or you can order a whole stack of cards to be delivered to you so that you can give them out yourself. One of the most comprehensive services with one of the widest array of cards is the site for Hallmark Greeting Cards.

And if you want an easy and fast way to send an Easter message to the people that you won’t be able to see face to face this year, you can use the same service to send e-cards. They can even be personalised with music, animation, and your own written message so that you can get a chuckle out of your loved ones, or at least make them smile. E-cards are a great way to communicate because they nod to the digitisation of the way we connect, and they can be stored on the recipient’s email to view again later. Don’t forget about this convenient holiday trick, because you could also use it year-round to send birthday cards.

Whether you deliver your card via the postal service, face to face, or through email, don’t forget to pair your Easter message with some of the holiday’s most delicious staples, such as delectable chocolates or gourmet jelly beans. You can make a big statement by choosing some of the very best edible treats to go along with your card, and your family and friends are sure to love it.

Sending Easter cards should be fun for both you and the people who receive them, so make your gifts extra special this year with heartfelt messages and the fun, whimsical colours of spring. That’s how you celebrate Easter in style!

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How to get Easter presents for free

Easter toys

Christmas is long gone, and Valentine ’s Day is, too. But there’s one spring holiday that everyone looks forward to. If Easter is a time of celebration for you — a time that you usually spend with family and close friends — make sure that it’s even more spectacular this year than last.

But you may be wondering how you can do that with a drained bank account and loads of food and gifts to buy for your family celebration. However, if you coordinate your Easter holiday with your spring cleaning, this problem is already solved. Read on to find out how.

Clearing your clutter for cash

If you’re going to make money off of your old belongings, it is best to start with the big-ticket items, such as that old treadmill that has been stashed away in the garage for years or the old sofa that you never use in the family room. Furniture and exercise equipment can be sold relatively quickly online because there is always an audience willing to take these off of your hands. Your best bet is to use a site that allows users to post and monitor their own items, such as Ebay or Gumtree.

After you get started with your first big chunk of change, you can move on to smaller yet just as popular items. Getting rid of old clothing is always a good way to clear out space and make money at the same time. If you have older pieces from previous decades, you can either sell them as vintage fashion or as potential costume pieces for a “Back in Time” or “Blast from the Past” themed party. And if you have more current, gently used items, any consignment shop will be happy to take them off of your hands and do all the work involved with selling them.

Another profitable area of second-hand sales is CD buybacks. MusicMagpie, for example, is a site that functions as a service for people who want to make money off of the old music that they no longer want. You can upload the bar code information for each disc that you want to sell, and then the site will arrange a courier pickup or send a pre-posted package for you to use. This means that you can get a cheque without even having to leave your home.

The best way to take your Easter profits to the next level is to think of multiple ways to use these selling outlets to your advantage. Consignment shops, for example, will also take your accessories and baby clothes, so you could potentially double the amount of money that you make from selling. And MusicMagpie also allows you to sell DVDs online as well as computer games, so it is a helpful service no matter what discs you want to clear out of your home.

As you anticipate a gleeful Easter holiday, you can rest easy knowing that not only did you pad your bank account but you also got to some much-needed cleaning. When it comes to optimising time and money, there’s no better way to do it.

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Pocket Money – guest post from Nina Wright

Every week when we go shopping the same questions pop-up again and again.  “Can I have this please mummy, can I have that please mummy, ooh can we buy this mummy, ooh can I have that mummy!”

Unfortunately for my two boys the response is always, “not this time darling, mummy doesn’t get paid until next week and it is not in the budget for that!”

This led to a rather pondering question from my husband, “at what age do we give them pocket money?”

I sat and pondered.  Tilted my head from side to side trying to think of a profound answer when all I could really come up with was “perhaps when they know the value of money”.  To which my husband replied, “But will this not help them learn the value of money?  If they are given 50p and have to put 5p away in savings and 5p away to charity then they can have the rest.  If they want something else then they learn to save for it with a bit of help from us!”

I am continuing to think this through.  Are they too young for pocket money?  At nearly 6 and 5 will it help them to value?

365_258 - Loose Change
Image by Guin’s View via Flickr

I don’t know!  These things I am thinking through.  It will be good for them to have a strong basis to start, and I do so want them to have a good money sense.  One where savings is encouraged but also where they are not afraid to be generous by giving away to those who need help.  I want them to learn to save for things rather than being like my generation and relying on credit!  I would like them to be able to buy upfront after saving rather than buying and then paying back!

The eldest is only just learning about coins at school.  Perhaps that will be a good time to introduce pocket money.  Oh I don’t

know.  It is a hard one!  I want to provide for them, but I want them to understand they can’t have everything!   So I continue to ponder and now begin a parent survey:  Looking for parents who already do this, already give the pocket money.  Perhaps from conversation of those who have already been there, done it I can come to my own conclusions!

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