With businesses still struggling to keep employees in this economy, 2009 year-end bonuses are in short supply. Even when bonuses were small, they were still fun little gifts that allowed you to put a few extra dollars into the savings account, buy a couple of fun items for yourself, and fix up your wardrobe. Just because your company might be foregoing your bonus this year doesn’t mean that you can’t find a few ways to give yourself a little financial boon or consumer pick-me-up without raiding your savings jar.
Have a Yard Sale
If you have extra furniture, baby clothes, toys, linens and other unwanted or unused goods taking up space in your home, then maybe a yard sale is in order. It might take more extra work than a year-end bonus would but think of the benefits—a cleaner, roomier home and a little bit of “found” money.
Exchange Your Books
Your local used book store would love to take your already read books off your hands, and they will even give you a store credit for every book you turn in. You can take that store credit and get yourself some new-to-you titles. Before you do this, be sure to call all the used bookstores in your area and compare rates. Some are more generous than others about the amount of credit you get per book.
Trade Your Clothes In
If you are the type of person to buy new clothes with your bonus money, then you might think your plight hopeless this year. Not so—why not look through your closet and take out all those clothes that you no longer want and bring them to your local consignment shop? You can take the money from the clothes they sell and buy yourself something new from your favorite store or the consignment shop.
There are a lot of things sitting in your home that you don’t use anymore — and that someone else might. From old video games to instruction manuals, old scanners to unused scrapbooking supplies, you could be collecting dust on things that others are willing to barter for. Check your local Craigslist for a “Barter” section and advertise the stuff you are willing to trade as well as what you might want in exchange.
Did you know that Craigslist has a “Free” section filled with posts about great stuff being left for dead on the side of the road? It’s true and if you check out the section you just might find a used appliance, furniture or entertainment item for your home…free! If Craigslist doesn’t work out for you, try freecycle.org a site devoted to helping people recycle their unwanted goods by giving them to others in the area—free.
Do Some Repairs
Do you have some clothes or shoes that you can no longer wear because they need a button, new heel, hem or other repair? Pull those odds and ends out and try to do whatever repairs you can yourself. Any that you can’t do you can bring to a professional. Chances are it will be cheaper than buying a new item to replace them so you’ll be expanding your wardrobe at a fraction of the cost.
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This post was written by Yolander Prinzel. Yolander is a financial writer as well as a series 7, 66 and 2-15 licensed representative. During her decade of financial industry experience she has been an insurance agency director of marketing and director of operations, a life insurance underwriter, and a trading service specialist for Raymond James Financial Services. She was a featured speaker at the 2006 Hartford National Sales Conference and the 2006 Brookstreet Securities Annual Conference. Check out her portfolio at
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