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3 Easy Ways to Make Money from Your Junk

3 Easy Ways to Make Money from Your Junk

You’re surrounded by clutter, and you wish you could wave a magic wand to make it all go away.

I don’t have that kind of lifehack (yet!), but as someone who’s become a pro at minimalism and creating an adventurous life on a budget, there are 3 easy tips I can share to help you quickly make money from your junk and create more room in your life.

Best of all, none of them require a lot of work.

Reverse Birthday Party

When I was 39 and on the verge of selling everything our house to travel around the world, I didn’t know how to get rid of those things I no longer needed but still really loved, such as:

The buttery leather coat

The giant leopard cocktail ring

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The colorful silk scarf

The black stiletto boots

The red wool beret

You probably have things like this, too, maybe items you love and are good quality but you never, ever use anymore. They just don’t fit who you are now (or maybe they never did). But you can’t figure out how to get rid of them so they just sit there, taking up space and cluttering your life.

The solution I came up with was a Reverse Birthday Party. In honor of my 39 years of living, I picked 39 of these great items and made tags describing why I bought them, loved them, and needed to release them. They were displayed on a metal shelf in my living room.

Then I invited about 20 friends over my Reverse Birthday Party, requesting that they shop my closet and contribute to my upcoming trip rather than buy me a gift. Add some wine and food to the mix, and you have the makings of a very good time.

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My friends were instructed to write their names on the tag of any item they wanted, and if more than one person liked it, we had a runway ‘style off’ to the sound of Carly Simon’s You’re So Vain. Whoever wore it best got to keep it.

As my friends collected their items, they dropped a donation into our trip fund box, took a picture with me and the item, and then waltzed that possession right out my door.

It was a great way to release what I no longer needed, make new memories with friends, and have a permanent reminder of the fun evening with the digital photos, which don’t take up any physical space.

Indoor Yard Sale

It’s exhausting to even think about putting together a yard sale, and if the weather’s turned cold, this usually isn’t an option anyway. But there are times when you really want to get rid of big things like furniture, artwork, accessories, and linens.

When we were about a month away from closing on the sale of our home, we invited several friends over for an indoor yard sale. It took almost no planning or set up on our part, and we were able to continue using the necessities until the day we moved out of the house.

First, we invited friends who were in need of household items. These included a recently divorced friend, a couple buying their first home, a couple who had just moved in together, and a couple who bought some land to build a small retreat in the mountains.

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When they arrived, we fed them snacks and drinks to create a party atmosphere. People are likely to buy more when they’re having a good time.

Then we gave each person/couple a sheet of colored sticky dots. They took these dots around the house and put them on the items they wanted. After they were done shopping, we simply went around with them to talk about the group of items and negotiate a price and a date for pickup.

It was incredibly easy because we didn’t have to price or move anything, and we didn’t have to give up our couch or dishes while we were still actively using them.

If you’re getting ready to move or downsize, this is the perfect way to get rid of what you no longer need in a comfortable setting with people you trust.

Craigslist Store

Lots of people sell odds and ends on Craigslist, but by creating a staging area for all your Craigslist items, you can sell more of them in less time.

We began saving and decluttering for our travels 2 years before we left. During that time, we had a goal of selling at least one thing every week. We knew it would be less stressful and more profitable to do it that way instead of waiting until the few weeks before departure.

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What we didn’t realize was the power of a Craiglist Store. Now, there isn’t an official store, so don’t go looking for it. The store I’m talking about is the one you create in your own home.

  1. First, find a space in your home you’re willing to let strangers see. We created our staging area in the small front room by the door.
  2. Then use this space to attractively display all the items you have for sale. Think of it in terms of a store display and show how pillows, rugs, and other items go together.
  3. When a buyer comes to buy the camera, frame, or toaster you have advertised, make the transaction in the room that holds your Craigslist Store. Let your buyer know that all those things are for sale, and you’ll be surprised how often they buy more than what they came for.

We sold thousands of dollars of items this way, and we met a lot of interesting people who were curious as to why we had a Craigslist Store in our front room in the first place.

Your junk is not doing anything for you right now except taking up space in your life. Try one of these methods for getting rid of what you no longer need and you’ll have a nice sum of cash to fund something that fits you perfectly.

It sure beats paying the price for keeping what you no longer need.

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Last Updated on September 2, 2020

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

Personal finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. That’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

In this article, we will explore ways to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task, if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps to get you started.

1. Be Clear About the Objectives

Any goal without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream, and this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore, if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it’s for. It could be anything, including your child’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car, etc.

Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

2. Keep Goals Realistic

It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a Pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

3. Account for Inflation

Ronald Reagan once said: “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

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4. Short Term Vs Long Term

Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach to achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It’s important to bifurcate goals into short-term and long-term.

As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a short-term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long-term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short-term vs long-term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

By now, you should be ready with your list of financial goals. Now, it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-step process:

  • Ensuring healthy savings
  • Making smart investments

You will need to save enough and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals.

Ensuring Healthy Savings

Self-realization is the best form of realization, and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

1. Track Expenses

The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

Also categorize those expenses into different buckets so that you know which bucket is eating most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pumping up your savings rate.

If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

2. Pay Yourself First

Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

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Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world, i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and manage all the expenses from the rest.

The best way to actually implement this is to put the savings on automatic mode, i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc) every month.

Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely, but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options, and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

4. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that, in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

Make savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

  • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
  • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
  • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

The key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice, which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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5. Talk About It

Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission.

Therefore, in order to stay the course, surround yourself with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

6. Maintain a Journal

For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

If you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energized to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot easier for you to track your progress.

Making Smart Investments

Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

1. Consult a Financial Advisor

Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s wise to consult a financial advisor.

Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings, and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

Just like “no one is born a criminal,” no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference[2].

As a general rule, for all your short-term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature, for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds, etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less compared to equity instruments.

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3. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

Einstein once remarked about compounding:

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.”

Use compound interest when setting financial goals

    Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

    Start saving early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

    4. Measure, Measure, Measure

    All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

    If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

    Measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

    The Bottom Line

    Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

    and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

    More Tips on Financial Goals

    Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

    Reference

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