In all honesty, we all buy things we don't need — especially with Amazon's growing market and their ever expanding hand in consumerism. It's literally so easy to buy things nowadays and with Amazon Prime, the gratification is damn near instant.


However, once you realize you don't need all this stuff — or once you don't need it anymore — it can be pretty hard to return.

Amazon has a trade-in program that a very small number of people actually know about. They take the items you don't want and in exchange, give you Amazon credit. You can either search for the product in the regular search bar or browse by category. Amazon takes products in categories such as gaming, electronics, books, TV shows, movies and more.

Although the trade-in price is usually a lot less than the buying price, it's still nice to get something for old items you don't use anymore.

For example, my younger brother used to read the "Captain Underpants" books and still has a box set that's collecting dust in our basement. We went to its product page on Amazon and found that it's eligible for trade in — for $4.71.

Amazon's Trade-In Program https://www.amazon.com/New-Captain-Underpants-Coll...=sr_1_36?s=tradein-aps&srs=9187220011&ie=UTF8&qid=1500487789&sr=1-36

Other than giving us an already depressingly low price, Amazon can also lower the price even more if the books aren't up to condition. It's in the mail right now so fingers crossed! However, if the Amazon employee decides it's not up to par, they will give you the option for the item to be sent back or kept for less credit in return.

For the book, they asked me four questions about the condition and to verify the ISBN number. If you answer any of the questions "wrong," Amazon will automatically tell you so not to waste your time. How thoughtful.

Shipping is free if you use their label with UPS — otherwise, you'll have to pay. So after we brought our package to a UPS Access Point in a little convenience shop, we were pretty much done.

Don't worry — we didn't go through all that trouble just for four bucks. After much consideration, I also decided to trade in the Nikon Coolpix I'd gotten for Christmas a few years back from a distant relative who wasn't aware of all the DSLR's I already had in my possession.

Given that I didn't have the original packaging and my brother had made a few scratches on it, Amazon brought us down from $80.58 to $52.95.

Our experience was still pretty good! The prices are fair and the process is a lot easier than going on Craigslist or haggling with a friend. So the next time you do some spring cleaning, be sure to give Amazon's Trade-In Program a try.

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The Federal Reserve sets the guardrails for the federal funds rate, and through that helps control the money supply for the nation.

When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.

A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.

One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.

The Federal Reserve The Federal Reserve


The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.

This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.

The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.

Getty Images/Maria Stavreva

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