Saturday, August 15, 2009

Tips to save and make money

Alternate title : Saving, It's Not Just For Grandmas Anymore!

I sometimes feel a little ridiculous at the lengths I will go to save some money, even though in this economy being that kind of ridiculous is a good thing. Here are some things I do, and some things I should do, that can add up:

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1.Recycle! In NYC every beer bottle you return to the store nets you 5 cents, so rather then throwing them out I always save and return bottles. In addition Whole Foods credits you 10 cents for each bag you bring yourself to the store, so not only are you saving yourself space in your cup board (if you hoard all used bags as I do) you are saving some money.

If you're really insane (I'm not this insane yet, but just wait) you can do a little neighborhood clean and collect bottles you find on the ground to return. Near nightclubs and bars seems like it would be fertile pickings. I would feel a bit like a bag lady doing this, but hey, maybe you can get a group together for this and then buy a nice bottle of wine with the proceeds?

2. Sell your hair! This one's a little out there, but if you're planning on cutting it anyway and have healthy hair, why not? It's not like it's doing anyone good in a landfill. If you want to donate it that's nice too.

3. Cook enough food in one go that you have left overs. You're saving the electricity/gas used to cook a second time. If you're working outside of your house, it saves you the money you would have used to buy food. Plus, I'm lazy that way, so heating leftovers for 1 minute beats having to spend another hour cooking.

4. Online surveys. There's plenty of options - Survey Spot, Survey Savvy, HarrisPolls, Global Opinions Panel, etc. You're not going to get rich doing this but every dollar counts, right?

5. Sell blood/plasma/sperm/eggs. I haven't done any of these because I wouldn't want a mini me running around that I didn't know about, in the case of eggs. I would sell blood but they won't take mine because I've lived in Europe too long. Isn't that outrageous? With the blood shortages they have not accepting the blood of people who've lived in Europe more than 5 years? I believe it's a mad cow issue. Anyway, if you can and you want to I think you can make decent money doing these things. Even when money is not paid for blood, a lot of the volunteer blood centers give out t-shirts/coupons/bribes of some sort. I have several t-shirts collected from back when my blood wasn't considered to be on par with poisonous acid.

6. Sell used books/clothes/things. I have a bunch of used paperback books sitting in a box waiting for me to do something about them. I plan to one day to sell them, and probably should have already since they're taking up space and I already have three full bookshelves here and four full bookshelves in storage at my mom's. Strand in NYC buys used books but they prefer books in perfect conditions and they prefer hard covers for buy backs, so I'll probably have to go through Craigslist or something instead (the books I have are second hand romance and mystery novels, so not really what they're looking for...). I've heard some stories on the news lately about selling your clothes back to various stores and you can always put furniture for sale on Craigslist or in a garage sale or something. Especially because people throw furniture out all the time, if you were really motivated you could refurbish stuff you find and then sell it for a profit.

7. Raise your own herbs/veggies. This doesn't really work as well for city dwellers but if you can, why not? It's fun too.

8. My friend's host mom would use a loom to weave their dog's hair into yarn and knit sweaters. FOR REAL! Seriously. And they were soft too. I actually think this is pretty cool, so if you are motivated enough to do this not only will you get warm sweaters out of it but it is an instant attention getter at parties to tell people you do this (or know someone who does). If you happen to have such a sweater on hand, even better.

9. Umm, turn off appliances when not in use? I know, I'm starting to run out of ideas, since everyone knows this one already. But did you know that if the appliance is still plugged in it's still sucking some juice? So actually unplug for maximum benefit.

10. And just to throw some of the simple ones out there : Coupons, sales, buying used, LIBRARIES!, home cooking cheap food, paying off credit cards (saving interest), walk as much as possible (saving gas/public transportation money), add ads to your blog, etc.

Does anyone else have any tips? I noticed I was able to save a lot more once I broke down my budget into what I could spend per day, because that was easier to keep track of. I'm always looking for a new way to save money, so I sincerely welcome any new advice.

*On a side note, why does the text on different posts show up as different sizes? I don't try to change it, and I just select normal size when I try to fix it. What's up?

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