Make and Save Money Around the House
By Steve Gillman - August 31, 2013
This is our "around the house" post. It covers ways
to make money with things you might have around your home and
ways to save money as well. The latter ideas are included because
when you save money by spending less on the things you need it
can mean having more to spend on whatever you want. We start
with the making...
Sell Silver or Gold Items
You might have some gold or silver around the house without
realizing it. Gold is most likely found in your jewelry, and
silver is perhaps more likely to be in the kitchen. Most silver-containing
silverware is actually just plated, making it relatively worthless
(the amount used to plate items is miniscule), but if you ever
were given platters, forks, spoons, knives, gravy dishes and
other items from parents or grandparents, some of these might
be solid silver. Gold-colored rings and other jewelry could also
be either plated or solid, although even solid pieces are likely
to be less than pure gold.
If you are unsure about the gold or silver content of things
you own, there are many places where they will test them for
you for free, and buy them from you if they have some value.
In general you should stay away from the "We Buy Gold"
places that specialize in buying and selling things with precious
metals in them. Get a quote from them if you like, but shops
that sell coins and collectibles are more likely to give you
a fair price. I asked the guy at the counter of one of these
highly-advertised places what they would give me for a one-ounce
bar of silver when the spot price was at $32, and he said $14.
I could get at least $31 at one coin shop and others in the area
were probably offering to pay within $2 of the spot price.
Sell Your Textbooks
If you recently went to college you might have some textbooks
left over. It is easier than ever to find a buyer for these now.
Just go to one of the websites online, like Bookscouter.com to see if there are buyers for
your particular books. You can also check to see if your college
buys back textbooks, and then perhaps compare the prices you'll
Have a Garage Sale
For those readers who are not from the United States I should
point out that a garage sale is not about selling a garage. It
is a sale of unneeded household items, typically held in a garage
or driveway. I have seen people make a thousand dollars from
a garage sale, and my own $200 best isn't all that bad considering
the location (if you live near busy streets you'll do much better).
You can get some suggestions on how to do this here:
Sell Scrap Metals
Some of the things I have sold as scrap metal include soda
cans, old aluminum lawn furniture, a broken screen door, and
a washing machine. A car repair place broke a wheel on my car
once, and after they replaced it I sold the broken one for $5
or so for the aluminum in it. Copper (which can be found in old
air conditioners) and aluminum are likely to net you the most,
but gather up any other metal items that you don't need and see
what the scrap dealers will pay you for them. There is quite
a bit more information on this here:
If you want more ways to make money around the house, you
might want to visit my page on how to make money in an hour.
Spending Less of It
Pack That Freezer
Empty freezers are inefficient. Every time you open the door
all that cold air moves and much of it is lost. A full freezer,
on the other hand, uses less electricity to maintain the temperature.
If you do not want to load up on frozen foods you can fill the
space with a few plastic jugs of water (which would also be useful
here in Florida if a hurricane cuts off the water and electric
Don't pay for cleaning cloths. Instead save old t-shirts and
other clothing to cut up and use as rags. We have been doing
this for years. The cotton shirts work best for most cleaning
jobs. Cut a shirt (or anything else) into pieces of various sizes,
so you'll always have one that is the right size for the job.
Make Dish Scrubbers
The mesh bags that onions, oranges and other fruits and vegetables
sometimes come in can be used as dish scrubbers. Remove any metal
pieces and tie the bag in several knots to create a ball of plastic
mesh. These work well for scrubbing plates and pans.
Put a Litter Box Outdoors
When we had an outdoor area for our cats I made a large "litter
box" by creating a circle of rocks and loading the space
in the middle with sand that I gathered for free nearby. This
was well-used by the cats, which extended the time between litter
purchases for the indoor box.