Times are tight, and you are short of cash. A raise is not on the horizon, and you have bills coming up. You’ve already scoured the couch cushions, pants pockets, the lint trap in the dryer and all the nooks and crannies of the car for loose change, and come up short. The neighbor’s kid has already set up a lemonade stand – and you are too old for that anyway. What can you do?
Look around your house and yard. You probably have many resources that you do not use anymore or never used in the first place. Some of these can be turned into cash with a few simple steps.
- Hold a Garage Sale – Take a few days to clean out your closets, attics, storage units – and of course, your garage. Anything that is in reasonably good shape should be put out for sale, whether or not you think it will sell. You will be amazed at what people will buy.
Mark things up just a bit to allow for negotiation. Garage sale shoppers love to think they are getting a deal and enjoy dickering on prices. Be prepared for them to show up at least one hour before you open, lining up in in your driveway, with the most aggressive among them assuming a three-point stance.
In addition, while you may be too old to run a lemonade stand, you can sell refreshments such as snacks, coffee, or bottled water to those shopping at your garage sale. Cases of bottled water are relatively cheap, and on a hot summer day, you may make more on bottled water sales than you do with your stock.
Depending on where you live, there may be sales limitations or registration requirements for garage sales. Make sure you are not running afoul of any local laws.
- Sell Other Items Directly – You may have other resources that are unsuitable for garage sales but that have value. For example, there are online resources to sell or swap unused gift cards. Old cell phones and other electronics may have cash-in value, especially if they are still relatively new. Innovative companies like eBay and Paypal make it possible for you to sell these products with relative ease, and be safely paid for them.
- Sell Used Items on Consignment – From clothing to recreational vehicles, your unwanted items can be sold for you. Simply hand over the goods, get a receipt, and then collect your money when (and if) the item is sold by the consigner — less their commission, of course.
- Sell Scrap Metal – Any unsold materials that have scrap metal value should be taken in for redemption. Even heavily rusted metals can still bring a decent price.
- Use What Nature Provides – If you live in a rural area, you may be able to cash in on available free resources. For example, pecan and walnut trees drop thousands of nuts annually. Some landowners consider them a nuisance and will be happy to let you clear them off the ground so they don’t have to – and processed nutmeat can bring a great price.
Some flowers and ornamental grasses are cheap and multiply quickly – like liriope or surprise lilies – and they are easy to sell at farmer’s markets.
If you have available land and time, you can plant a small vegetable garden, eat some vegetables, and sell the excess – although there is nothing quick about that path.
- Sell Blood Plasma/Hair – A longtime favorite income source of college students, blood plasma is simple to donate and can be done regularly if you are healthy – potentially up to twice a week. You may also be able to sell long hair, if you have it and are willing to part with it.
These are a few ways to bring in extra money, and some of these offer the added benefit of de-cluttering your life. That may make it worth holding a sale whether you need quick cash or not.