You're freaked out about money. Food prices are up, your home's value has depreciated and your job is on the line. While there's not much we can do to reduce the cost of fixed expenses like a mortgage and taxes, there's a great deal of miscellaneous savings staring us right in the face.
Here are some quick cash fixes that can save you at least $100 a week
Monetize Empty Rooms
Rent out an extra bedroom or finished basement. Get a roommate or an exchange student. Exchange student programs often offer a monthly stipend of up to $500 a month.
Clean the Closet
Cash out your overflowing closet. Unwanted clothes, handbags and lightly worn shoes from your closet—preferably still carrying their price tags—price well at second-hand, vintage or used clothing stores. In this economy, resale shops are getting tons more items, as folks look to turn their unused garments into cold hard cash. Best to bring in items from the past two or three years, best if the item is still in style. Depending on the store’s policy, you can generally earn up to 50% of the resale price.
Do Some Light Lifting
Turn your couch cushions upside down! America could be $10 billion richer (that's $90 per household) if it simply cashed in all the loose coinage lying around the house, according to Coinstar, which operates coin machines in more than 15,000 supermarkets worldwide. It costs 8.9% fee to convert coins to bills, but free when turning coins into a gift card or gift certificate. (Meanwhile, Commerce Bank’s Penny Arcade machines are free to use - but are only available in some states.)
Use your kitchen. Reduce your eating out habits in half, since families spend more than 40% of their food budget on dining out, according to Consumer Reports. Save at least $100 a month.
Lose the Plastic
Using cash is a tried-and-true way to save and live within our means, since unlike credit cards, we can actually see how much we’re spending. Credit experts say we tend to overspend by 20% when we use plastic. In this economy, cash is further proving to be king. Why? In smaller stores, local mom and pops, using cash can sometimes score you discounts. Business, stung by the bank’s 3% credit card interchange fee, would much rather you leave your credit card at home to avoid paying the fee. You have to ask for the discount. Business owners don’t often advertise this. This strategy works best at gas stations, the local tailor, repair store, beauty salon and deli, small-time shops where that interchange fee really takes a toll.