Some of the stuff you might see as junk, other people collect. Others may actually need the items you never use. Unload the things you don’t need or use anymore and make some extra cash. Sell your unused items at a garage sale or through eBay. You may get more money for items on eBay and won’t have to haggle with your neighbors, which can be embarrassing.
Before placing items up for auction on eBay or a similar site, check to see how many items that are similar to yours are already listed and the asking price. Remember that eBay does not only allow you to sell items through auction, it also offers a “Buy Now” option for buyers who don’t want to wait and run the risk of not getting the item. Old toys, baseball cards, tools and more can all be worth a surprising amount of money to the right buyer.
Donate Unsold Items to Charity
The Salvation Army has an extensive list of items that they accept for donation, everything from books to used computer equipment, which does not even have to be in working order; they have repairmen that can fix and refurbish old items.
On their website is a suggested value for the items. If you obtain a receipt for your donation, you can calculate the worth of the items and deduct this amount from your taxes. If these are items that you would otherwise throw away (like an old computer printer that does not work any longer) or items in your garage or attic that are not competitively priced at Amazon or could not be shipped easily, donate them to a Salvation Army store or similar charitable organization to get a tax break.
Donate items in early December (when people will be hunting for bargain gifts!) and be sure to get an itemized receipt. This is ‘found money’ that can really make a difference when you file your taxes in the spring.
Consider the Tasks Most People Don’t Like to Do, and Offer Your Services
Someone might be thrilled to pay you to cut their grass or walk their dog. In fact, you can make several hundred dollars in a weekend by maintaining a few customers’ lawns. There are several odd jobs that can help you earn extra income:
- Shovel snow. Many of your neighbors may not have the time, energy or tools to clear off their driveways after winter storms. This is a great way to earn extra money if you have the right equipment, particularly a snowblower.
- Run errands.
- Be a personal shopper.
- Be a personal organizer. Help people sort their closets, hangers, drawers, seasonal wardrobes and crowded spaces. If you have the skills, you can also repair clothes, stitch up hems, replace missing buttons and perform other tasks that can help others stretch their dollar (remember, everyone hurts during a recession).
- Become a pet sitter. While someone is away on vacation, they can’t care for their own pets and kennels are expensive. Save them money by performing this service as a freelancer.
- Offer baby sitting services. If you are already staying home because you have a young child, consider this route. The people most in need are women with infants under the age of 6 months to a year, since most day care facilities will not accept children so young. If a woman is anxious get back to the workplace, she will be eager for reliable babysitting services.
- Become a wedding or party planner. People are still getting married and celebrating other special occasions during recession, but doing so in a more cost-conscious way. If you know how to organize really great social events and sniff out good values, this may be a whole new career for you — especially if you know a lot of people of marriageable age likely to tie the knot in the next few years.
Just think about all the annoyances in the world that people do not want to deal with or the things that people find most stressful, and you will be sure to find some extra work. Decide on your rates and stick a card in the local supermarket or launderette if they have a notice board, place an ad in local magazines and newspapers, and see the work come in.
Sign Up With a Temporary Agency
Temporary agencies exist to provide people with work. Many of the positions require little to no outside training, such as receptionist and customer service jobs. But there are also highly skilled professional positions available, such as a PowerPoint specialist, because temp agencies offer a wide range of positions.
All jobs are temporary. Some jobs may last just a day or two, but many are semi-permanent and may potentially lead to full-time employment. The temp agency will want to give you a computer skills test in Word and Excel for most office-based jobs, so study these skills online before going to the agency. View your trip to the temp agency as a great chance to practice your interviewing skills, and polish your personal presentation for the full-time jobs you might be seeking. There’s no doubt about it — after years of recession, times are tough. But when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Explore fun and simple ways to bring in more income and make the most of your skills, talents and free time. Try one idea, or multiple ideas, and get your family finances back on track gradually.