Four Surefire Ways of Making Extra Income in a Financially Tight Situation
Do you find yourself staring down the yaw of yet another lean month wondering how you're going to pay those unexpected bills or fill up your gas tank? Before you decide to hotfoot it down to the nearest payday advance store, thereby putting yourself on that go-nowhere treadmill of borrowing money only to pay it back at exorbitant interest rates, look at some of these tips for making quick cash. With a little ingenuity, these ideas can help you over the rough patches, and even enable you to save money so you can build a financial cushion to help you during lean times.
Definitely not the most glamorous but this is probably the easiest way to make quick money; however, it does take effort and a certain measure of humility. I have a friend who has made a business out of collecting bottles, cans, glass, and plastics while on his way to and from work, and during his free time on the weekends. He always carries a large tote bag over his shoulder and fills it to the brim each day, adding more space by smashing the bottles and cans to condense them. He stockpiles anywhere from 300 to 500 bottles, cans, and other recyclables per week. At five cents per bottle and can (check to see how much your state pays - some pay more, some less), this can fetch you anywhere from sixty to one hundred dollars a month. Of course, you would have to do diligent collecting to garner the same results; but you'd be surprised how quickly your cache can actually grow. The best places to look are parks, recreation areas, trash bins around fast food restaurants and stop and go marts, and along street curbs. You can enlist others to help out by asking them to donate any bottles, cans, glass, or plastic containers to you (some states, like California, do not accept milk or similar containers; also, some liquor bottles may not be redeemable). To make the daily expeditions less painful to your pride, I suggest creating a banner to place on your tote sack with wording like, "Recycling For The Planet," or "Recycle Junkie," or something similar. This way, it shows the world you're civic-minded as well as thrifty. Granted, it won't make you a fortune; but the dollars can rack up pretty quickly with diligent collecting. If you're squeamish about picking up from trash bins or curbs, wear an old pair of gloves while gathering, use a trash pick-up stick (check the dollar stores for inexpensive brands), or simply use a plastic sandwich bag as a makeshift glove and begin collecting away.
This is another terrific way to raise cash in a hurry. Everyone loves browsing at a yard sale; but keep in mind, people come to these events to find cheap bargains. Set your prices right and you can make bank. Some best sellers at yard sales are clothing of all kinds, especially blue jeans, women's tops, men's shirts, and shoes; baby items; electronics (TVs, radios, dvd/cd players); books; dishes; and small furniture such as end tables, chairs, and bureaus. Novelty items such as figurines, ashtrays (a real find nowadays), and boudoir lamps also sell very well. Just about anything you lay out in a yard sale will appeal to someone. Clean out your closets of any clothing and shoes you no longer use; salvage good, usable items from your garage; look around for old blankets, sheets or curtains (another great seller) you have in storage but don't need; any items that you can turn into quick bucks for your bank account!
Probably not as good as holding a yard sale where you keep 100% of the profits; but a good way, nonetheless, of making a little extra cash. Sell good suits, dresses, shoes and furniture for a percentage of the profits at local consignment shops and/or boutiques. Some items, such as a wedding dress or a well-maintained sofa, can be sold at premium prices depending on the quality of the merchandise, thereby garnering you a greater profit.
My particular favorite is refurbishing old pieces of furniture and crockery found at yard sales, thrift stores, or better yet, on street curbs, then reselling them for a tidy profit. If you have a creative knack (even if that only extends to holding a brush and paint can), you can do very well, indeed. All it takes is some paint, some stenciling brushes, a few patterns (unless you're gifted with drawing talent) and a little creative imagination. I once found an old night table that someone had discarded on the street. I took it home, sanded it down, put a coat of primer on it; then painted it with bright pastel colors. I added my own unique design with striping and a new, wooden knob for the drawer (striping is easy; simply place painter's tape where you want the stripes, let the outer paint dry; then pull off the tape and fill in the stripes as desired). It turned out beautiful! I sold it for twenty-five dollars in a yard sale. Not a bad profit for minimum work on an item that was free! I also once found an old floor lamp at a thrift store and gave it new life by painting it antique white, then revived the shade by gluing fabric and fringe to it. It became the focal point of my living room. Old dishes can be made works of art with some crafters acrylic paint and a little imagination. Swirl decorative vines or flowers around the rims using stencil brushes; dip the brushes very lightly in acrylic paint, lay a stencil pattern over the area you wish to decorate, and swirl away! (You can always make up your own patterns, too, or hand-paint your own decorations). Gold trim around the edges create a lush look (plain dishes are best for this). Make matching plates, bowls, and cups; then sell in a yard sale, boutique, or rummage sale. Of course, the best items are those you pick up for free; you can find some fine pieces on the street. These may not look great at first glance; but by visualizing how a piece could look with a little creative magic, you can bring real dividends to your pocketbook. Thrift stores tend to be a bit pricey nowadays; but if you look sharply for the odd item here and there, you're bound to find a bargain that you can later transform into a financial profit.
Theresa A. Nixon