Make and Save Money Around the House

By - 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...

Making It

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 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 get.

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:

More Ways

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 supplies).

Make Rags

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.

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