Friday, March 25, 2011

5 Ways To Jump Start Your Savings This Spring

Spring time should be known for more than heightened allergies and losing an hour of sleep. It’s that time of year when even border line hoarders get the urge to purge through the mounds of unnecessary clutter in their homes. But instead of just throwing everything out, why not put a little planning into getting rid of clutter and make some extra money!?!

If you’re like most over consuming Americans, there are definitely valuable items lying around your house that you or your family no longer put much value in. It’s reported that the average American has almost $900 worth of unused “stuff” sitting around their home. Think about it:

What could you do with $900 right now?
Do you have an emergency/opportunity fund?
Do you have a kid that needs books next semester?
Want cash for your summer vacation? .

Well, what are you waiting for? Get up already and start cleaning!

Disclaimer: This is not just for “unwanted” stuff because folks love to talk about how they “might” use something “one day!” This is about clearing out unused items. If you haven’t used something in 12 months, much less 5 years, I think it’s safe to say you can live without it.

Here are 5 Ways Spring Cleaning Can Jump Start Your Savings

1. Sell Old Gold – I know you might think that you’re saving the gold nugget ring from ’78 or perhaps that coveted rope chain from the 80s just in case they come back in style, but the reality is if you’re in debt or don’t have any savings, it may be best to see if your prized collection of tangled necklaces and broken clasps can earn you some cash. There are tons of places that allow you to just mail the items in and wait for a check, but I suggest stopping in to a local “Cash for Gold” store front and getting an estimate in person and up front.

2. Cash in on Gift Cards – Are you still hanging on to those unwanted gift cards you got for Christmas? It’s estimated that in the $90 billion gift card industry, an average of 10% of gift cards goes unused each year. Check out sites like or to turn your unwanted gift cards into cash. Depending on the demand for the card, you can earn up to 90% of the value.

3. Find Local Consignment Stores – Ever feel like you wear the same thing all the time, despite having tons of items in your closet? I think we’ve all been there. The truth is we’re creatures of habit and once we find a pair of jeans we love or those shoes that seem to complete every outfit, everything else takes a back seat . . . sometimes for years! That’s why everyone should have two consignment stores in their area to sell their gently warn clothing to. First, you need the high end consignment store that is picky about everything they buy and will only take name brand clothing, shoes and purses. Then you need the store that is more concerned about the quality of the pieces and the season or time of year. If you have two, you cover your bases and increase your chances of being able to make some money off the clothing you may like, but just aren’t in love with anymore.

Related Post: 5 Habits You Need To Break

4. Sell Furniture & Electronics – Have a garage sale or list underutilized furniture and electronics on Craigslist. Be careful, however, not to sell yourself short. Research brands and model numbers for items in good condition. You may be able to sell unique or antique items to specialty shops or place collectible pieces on E-bay and get way more than you would at a garage sale.

5. Clear Out Books, CDs & DVDs – Call me old school, but I still love hard covered books and compact discs. Yes, at any given time, I have at least 2 books in my oversized hobo and CDs on deck, however, with the trend moving toward devices like the Kindle and Nook, MP3s players, I-Pods and even I-Pads more and more folks are moving away from these forms of prehistoric entertainment. If that’s you, maybe it’s time to sell your paperbacks to old timers like myself at a discount. If you search diligently enough, you can always find a store that will purchase used books, CDs and DVDs. You won’t make a killing, but every penny counts when you’re saving or paying down debt, right?

Make sure before you start out on your cleaning spree/treasure hunt, you are clear about what the money will go towards.  Set a goal so that you stay focused.  The point is not to trade stuff for stuff; sell stuff for money that will help you reach your goal.  Also, put a time limit on how long you will take to get rid of what you find. If you cannot sell an item within 2 weeks, donate it to charity. Take clothing and household items to places like the Salvation Army or Goodwill. And, your local library would probably appreciate your old books, cds and dvds. At the minimum, you can earn a write-off for next year.  Whatever you do just don’t put it back in the garage!

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In addition to making some quick money, you can clear the chaos in your mind too! Did you know your home environment is very closely connected to your personal environment, meaning your emotions, mindset and general well-being? Energy gets stuck in all your stuff. So simply letting go of stuff and releasing old, bad or negative energy may free you up to attract new and exciting opportunities in your life. If nothing else, clean up the mess and feel good about inviting friends over again!

Until Next Time,

Seek Wisdom, Find Wealth & Be Blessed!


Dennis Howell said...

Great post Patrice.

Another money saving idea for Spring is to CANCEL your cable television subscription now that the weather will be getting warmer.

If you plan on being out of the house a lot this Spring and Summer, why not save about $300 by trading in that TV time for family, fitness, and fun time.

Sounds like a "win-win" proposition to me.

Drew-Shane said...

I definitely just hit up a local consignment shop. I always do to get a little cash. Even though it is no where near what I paid for the item, it just helps recycle and whatever they don't keep I donate it.

I've been doing better about saving, budgeting and planning.

Kris said...

Thanks for the tips Patrice. Reduce, reuse, recycle. I've been purging, selling, donating, and giving some old clothes to my daughter to wear and repurpose with her new sewing machine.