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15 Thrifty Ideas for 
Making & Saving Money

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It has been said that thriftiness is a virtue. Here are a few Lessons in Frugality from someone who has been dubbed ďThe Queen of ThriftĒ by family and friends (uh, that would be me).


There could be enough money in your house right now to fill your gas tank, take your family out to dinner, make your car payment every month, or take a fancy vacation!  Before you start digging up floorboards, let me clarify --  someone likely will pay money for all those unwanted clothes hanging in your closet and that junk in your garage.  

Here are the best ways I've found to turn them into cash:

1. Consignment shops

Consignment shops resell clothing in good condition and split the profit with you.  Some establishments offer a 50/50 share of the selling price, and others keep 60% and give you 40%.

Check your local yellow pages for consignment or resale shops.  Call and ask about their terms, including the length of time the shop will stock your items and what becomes of the leftovers which donít sell. I like to take those left over items down the street to another consignment shop ... which usually depletes my supply of unwanted clothing in no time.

(Another hint:  shop the super clearance racks at consignment stores and take those items to another resale shop.  Iím sometimes able to purchase things like that for $2 or $3 and receive $10 or more when it sells at the next shop.  Yard sales can be an even better source of inexpensive clothing, especially after you haggle for the lowest price.)

Some consignment shops also accept household items and furniture, so load up your truck and turn your unwanted stuff into liquid money!

2. Garage sales

If you live in a residential area which permits garage sales, you may be able to cash in on that dust-laden exercise equipment, your teenagerís baby crib, and other items no longer in use.  Since ďone manís junk is another manís treasure,Ē youíll be surprised what kinds of things you can sell.  I once sold a set of steps to a man who insisted on paying me MORE than the pricetag asked for (so I let him)!  Get together with friends and relatives for a multi-family sale ... it attracts more customers. Or join your neighborhood's annual community yard sale if they offer one.  With good advertising and a desire to haggle, youíll soon be raking in the dough.     

If you live in an apartment, or just donít have the time to host a yard sale, as mentioned above some consignment shops accept household items and furniture in addition to clothing.  Also, check the classified ads -- there are people who actually want to buy boxes of saleable items and will haul them away for you.

3. Online auctions

This has quickly become my favorite source of extra income. My love blossomed in March 2000 when I was searching for a way to sell a transcription machine. I've been hooked ever since! Yahoo is my favorite because it has the 2nd largest audience and the lowest selling fees. Click here to see what's currently for sale in my Yahoo auction booth. Ebay is my second favorite because it has the largest audience, and when you set a Reserve Price and bidders don't reach it, you can see their email addresses and try to negotiate and possibly gain a buyer anyway.

You can find some great deals at yard sales and thrift stores and turn around and re-sell them on auctions. Another great source of items to sell is finding friends who have valuables they want to unload. Offer to create and manage the auction for them at a reasonable commission rate. I've sold a number of original artworks this way, also some antiques. And if you have any friends who are wholesalers, even better! You can sell their stock on auctions on a regular basis. I've made huge chunks of money this way in the past and currently.

If you're really brave, you could also try the above suggestion and sell strangers' items. Whether you sell things for your friends or strangers, you'll definitely need a written contract to avoid misunderstandings and to make sure everyone is "on the same page" with the arrangement. Terms and payments will need to be outlined very precisely before entering a business agreement like this. Click here to check out the contract I use, it covers everything you need to specify and has worked perfectly in my deals.

Don't miss this spectacular SECRET info on how to be a successful online auction seller. You'll find out how to get inside tips which have helped many make ebay and other auctions their job. I've taken 10 vacations in the past 2 1/2 years from the extra money I've made selling on auctions, including a cruise to the Bahamas!! This is a great market.

4. Do odds and ends for family and friends

People you know may be more than happy to pay you to mow their lawn, clean their house, do their windows, fix their microwave, detail their car, babysit their kids, etc.  Look for innovative ways to fill a need. 

My husband and I have done those things, and a side job Iíve had for several years is planting flowers at various places of business.  Think about it:  most stores and offices have no time to maintain a flower bed, but enjoy the ambiance of colorful flowers greeting their customers.  Why not approach a few business owners?  They supply funds for the plants, and you charge them for labor.  Every couple of months, itís time for a new batch, a little weeding, and maybe some fresh mulch.  

If youíre not sure how much to charge, just estimate how long it will take you to buy the supplies and do the work, then decide how much your time is worth.  Itís that simple.

5. Affiliate Programs

If you have a website, you can earn unlimited income as an affiliate of merchants all over the internet. All you have to do is put the merchant's banner or link on your site, and you can earn money either every time someone clicks on it and/or when they make a purchase or register for something. I make a nice amount of extra money this way. Click here to see over 20 different advertisers I work with AND how to find nearly 2,000 online stores and merchants who want and need you. Companies like Amazon.com, PayPal, Half.com, Fingerhut, etc. They're willing to pay generously for your efforts, so check it out! There's no better way to SELL WITHOUT BUYING.


6. Buy secondhand items

Why spend a small fortune on retail clothing when you could find something comparable (and sometimes better) at a consignment or thrift store?  The  opportunities  are  boundless.   There isnít enough space here to write about the DEALS  I have found at such stores (furniture, small appliances, shoes, bags, coats, you name it).  And get this ... certain stores of this type will actually trade with you -- you give them a few articles of clothing, and they either give you a few or allow store credit.  Plan ahead, too.  Some thrift stores slash prices on certain days of the week.  In that case, sometimes you can catch a 50% off sale just for shopping on the right day! And many have those wonderful BAG SALES ... stuff as many clothes as you can into a paper grocery bag for $5. That has been my biggest jackpot.

7. Shop at online auctions

I've gotten some fantastic deals this way ... cologne, perfume, movies, books, and more. Not only can you find quality used items on auctions, but there's a growing trend for retailers to offer their BRAND NEW items up for auction at below retail cost. Here are the best ones I've found so far:
Sam's Club Auctions

8. Check prices online before buying retail

You'd be shocked at how much money you can save buy purchasing things online verses retail stores. For example, recently I was just about to run over to Office Max to buy replacement ink cartridges for my printer for the painful price of $52 when I found an incredible deal online instead. Instead of $52, the same items cost $31.50 with shipping included! I saved a cool 20 bucks AND got to stay home in my pajamas too. Check it out:  You will never pay retail again for ink cartridges. Click Here .

To find these valuable online deals, check if your favorite store is online or do a search engine search for the product and be sure to use tip #10 below for extra phenomenal savings.

9.  Half.com, buy for half....sell for half

Once just famous for books and movies and half price, they've expanded to DVD's, computers, software, video games, electronics, sporting goods, trading cards, toys, garden items, home & family items, jewelry, musical instruments, office furniture & equipment, and tools! New or used items. This is the first place I go when I need to buy something.

10. Coupons and rebates

Most weekend editions of the newspaper contain literally hundreds of coupons for food, health & beauty items, etc.  If youíre going to buy the product anyway, why not save a few dollars?  Keep the coupons organized and carry them with you each shopping trip. 

To optimize coupon usage, use them on things which are on sale.  The store flyer can be reviewed ahead of time, and your weekís menu planned around sales and coupons.  Iíve done this every week for the past eight years and save more than enough money on each trip to make the effort worthwhile.

Rebate offer forms can also be found in those coupon inserts with the weekend newspaper.  Look for additional forms on the shelves or bulletin boards of grocery and specialty stores. Hardware and software now offer some outstanding rebates, so don't overlook those when shopping offline or online. Rebates can earn you anywhere from $1 to $50, depending on the product, so start saving those UPC symbols.  

I've recently found an incredible collection of online store coupons and rebate notifications. Now you'd better be sitting down for this one ... quite frequently you can get expensive items, including computer equipment for FREE or ALMOST FREE!! Recently I used these combinations to get a free printer and a free scanner and walked away with an extra $10 to boot! Don't miss this little-known secret to saving money. 

Here are 3 gigantic collections of online coupon codes and printable retail coupons available anywhere: www.wow-coupons.com and www.a2zdeals.com and coupongirl.com

11. Find out what's on sale in stores this week with one mouse click

SalesCircular.Com provides information about products advertised by local retail stores in 45 states every week, so you can compare prices and get the best deal! Product categories currently covered include consumer durables, electronics, computers, software and peripherals, etc. Stores include Walmart, KMart, Best Buy, Sears, Radio Shack, and more. Also find out about current rebates for further savings.

12. Barter for products and/or services

The idea in #2 above can be expanded upon by trading services with someone you know or even someone you don't know. I trade flower maintenance services for my weekly chiropractic adjustments! I'm sure the fact that she was a client of our office cleaning service at the time had something to do with the generous bartering arrangement, but it illustrates the opportunities that are out there if you just use a little creative thinking. Lately I have been able to trade the package of 100 Secret Freebies on this page for great stuff online -- I just inquire of the seller if he or she would mind doing a barter of my package for their product or service since my package is valued at over $3,375. Just about every person agrees to the trade and I get things for free this way. This product is another great thing to barter with, I market it for $59.95 but is value is in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Once in a while you can find a business person who will agree to barter.  We have enjoyed saving money this way on occasion.  An artist friend of ours has traded art prints for carpet, furniture, plants, a boat, legal and dental services, restaurant meals, and even a pet

Interestingly, there are several barter exchange networks which maintain a database of membersí goods and services available for trade.  Some charge a fee for this information, and others donít. Search the Internet for bartering associations, or check your yellow pages.

Visit this page for more details on the smartest form of shopping ... swapping! 

13. Get online freebies

You wouldn't BELIEVE how much free stuff you can get on the internet -- samples, coupons, etc. Here are my favorite places to find whatever my little heart desires:

Secret Freebies -- my own collection of over 100 special deals
The Free Site -- the Web's largest collection of freebies. A categorized directory of hundreds of sites where you can all kinds get free stuff from samples to software and everything in between! Free newsletter too

14. Get manufacturer samples

A great way to save money on your favorite products is to write a letter of appreciation to the manufacturer. Do you love the new and improved ziplock packaging on the shredded cheese you always buy? Are you happy somebody finally started making little waterproof round spot bandaids? Tell the manufacturer how much you love their product and why. There's always an address somewhere on the package, so take a few minutes to hand write a thank you note and complement them on their product. Almost every time, you'll receive a nice letter from them thanking you for your feedback ... and enclosed will be samples and usually some cents-off or even FREE coupons for the product! Plus, you'll probably make someone's day with your kind words of praise.

15. Develop and stick to a budget

Click here for an online solution, including a free debt calculator. Smart Money Tips!

With just a little creativity and a commitment to cutting corners, you may actually begin to enjoy squeezing every last drop out of your precious greenbacks.  S-t-r-e-t-c-h  those dollar bills!


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