January 13, 2010
January has motivated me to save. I’m not sure why, but I have this sudden urge to revamp my finances. It got me to thinking about how much money we waste on things we don’t need (one look at my children’s forlorn toy box will tell you they play with one-tenth of what they own). It also has prompted me to consider five ways we can discover cash lying around the house (and I don’t mean under the couch cushions, either!) .
How? Look no further than your drawers and closets.
1. Sell your junk. During the winter months, a yard sale is a tough thing to organize, especially if you live in cooler climes. We once hosted a ‘moving sale’ in December. It rained cats and dogs, but we made over $1500. The term “moving sale” draws more people than the phrase “yard sale” as they know you’ll be selling off ‘good stuff’, too. eBay, the premiere online auction portal, offers a great opportunity to sell off some of the stuff you no longer need. Familiarize yourself with the rules, though. As a seller, you are obliged to pay a percentage of the end sale price to eBay itself.
2. Recycle. In some states (and countries), you receive a refund on return bottles and cans. Set up a recycling bin in your pantry or a corner of your kitchen to house the cash-based recyclables. In my car alone I have at least a dollar’s worth of bottles rolling around the back seat.
3. Turn those books into cash. If you have a shelf full of books you’ll never read again, consider selling them used on amazon. All you need is an amazon profile and a bank account. The most current books tend to sell the fastest. Price them competitively, but remember amazon takes a commission from the sale price. Read the terms and conditions to be sure you understand them before offering your wares on the site.
4. Donate items. An alternative to selling them, you can also benefit from a tax deduction when you donate books that are in good condition to your local library, for instance. Goodwill also provides an opportunity to write off household donations, clothing and more so start your spring cleaning early this year!
5. Clip coupons. Not all coupons are a good deal so be mindful when you use them. Only save those coupons that correspond to things you would normally buy. Take advantage of triple coupons where available.
Being mindful about your finances means investing some time to develop a strategy that works for you. You might not get rich recycling those cans, but you’d be surprised at how much cash comes loose when you look around you.