When money is tight we often think about what we don’t have rather than what we do have. I get it – but I also know that is a self-defeating mindset and a surefire way to miss an opportunity.
Looking for money? Start your search at home and shift your thinking to what you do have. My guess is you probably have more than you think. Making the most of what you do have is like finding money. Let me show you how it works by starting at home.
3 Places to Find Money in Your House
1) Act Like a Beancounter!
We may like to make fun of them but a good beancounter not only looks at how much was spent but why and asks, “could there be better solutions?”
How it works: Review every purchase over the last year. Get out the checkbook register, credit card statements and piles of receipts. If you make a lot of cash purchases – track every dollar you spend for a month.
Why: No don’t worry I am not going to ask you to give up that latte. I want you to know where your money is going and even more importantly ask if there are better deals for your regular purchases- the boring stuff like car insurance and internet access, a storage unit. Every family who has done an audit for me has found hundreds of dollars in savings without sacrificing anything. This is found money!
Key to make it work: Look at every purchase and ask is this the best deal or the best fit for me or my family where we are today. Routines we had 5 years ago may not work for us today.
2) Treasure Hunt!
Go through your house and make a list of all you have – not just the obvious stuff but the hidden possessions to.
How it works: Go through those boxes buried in the back of closets, the attic, garage or basement. The stuff you’ve moved from place to place without unpacking- what is in there? The baby gear you’ve been holding on to- do you still need it? The recreation equipment that you used to use- but just don’t have the time to use these days- clearing out this stuff will not only give you the gift of new square footage- but it could put cash in your pocket.
Why: if you are not using it anymore then you need to ask yourself if warehousing it is really worth it- because that is exactly what you are doing- paying to store it. Taking a hard look at what you no longer use and investigating whether it can be sold to someone else or donated can give you cash, space or a tax benefit.
Key to make it work: This can be a dirty job and you will make a mess before you get the space back. So get a partner to help you. A partner will also help you when you start rationalizing why you should keep something that has outlived its usefulness.
Tip: To find out what something is worth – list as much info as you have: make and model, year purchased, use, etc. Then jump on the internet and try to find similar items for sale. That will teach you where the item should be sold and how to price it. If it is an antique, don’t repair, but clean it up. You’ll get more money for the item.
Forget the caffeine, I want you to think, gas, electric and oil. A simple assessment of your home’s energy use can save you big bucks.
How it works: No need to install a major geothermal system- chances are simple weather-stripping and caulk can go a long way. I like to call it sealing the envelope of your home. Don’t want to pay for an assessment (about $150) you can do it yourself. click here to learn how http://maryandmoney.com/videos/diy-energy-assessment/
Why: It not only saves you money when its hot and when its cold- it also makes your home more comfortable year round!
Key to make it work. Follow up. Find the leaks and the big problems and fix the cheapest stuff first. If you need to make big changes- check into state and federal programs for tax incentives and low interest loans.
Some helpful links