Each Monday, Julia Scott offers a collection of savings tips -- including some of the week's best links from around the Internet -- to InvestingAnswers readers. Julia is the founder of the savings and coupon blog BargainBabe.com
My husband recently negotiated an 18% raise, so our favorite topic of late is how we should spend the extra money coming our way.
But what we should be talking about is how to invest and save it.
Unless you're a super saver, chances are you don't have enough money stashed under the proverbial mattress. Sorry to hit you with bad news on a Monday.
I also have good news, however. I brainstormed nine ways to find extra money to save and invest!
1. Head to the recycling center. Each soda can and beer bottle is a nickel you are giving away. I know you're a generous person, but why not 'donate' that money to yourself?
2. Sell it. We've all got junk sitting around our house, lots of it. Why not sell those items on Craigslist or Ebay? If they're homemade, try Etsy. Or if you've got a knack for photography, price them on Pinterest. Heck, before the weather gets cold, hold an old fashioned garage sale.
3. Donate it. Whatever you can't sell is a tax deduction waiting to happen. Each year, you can donate up to $250 of goods without a receipt. Why not swing by one of those giant metal clothing bin collectors or look up your nearest shelter, Salvation Army or Goodwill? Bankrate's guide to valuing donated items is helpful.
4. Swap it. Then sell it! (Revisit No. 2).
5. Shop once a year. Instead of buying a little of everything you need, buy a lot of the one thing you've run out of. If you spend 45 minutes tracking down the best price for, say, dishwasher soap, I guarantee you'll get a knockout price. The trick is to buy enough to last you a year. Then continue watching football knowing you've saved a bundle. (If you shop online, buying a year's supply means you'll likely get free shipping, too. Plus you'll get a cash back rebate using Ebates).
6. Edit your insurance. Do you have insurance for every valuable? Then you are probably over-insured, as the Living Stingy blog discovered. What is the one thing you cannot afford to lose? Protect that, and let up on the rest. Another option is to raise your deductibles. Make sure you can afford it, however, because the doggy doo-doo will one day hit the fan, and I won't be around to blame.
7. Show me the money. Literally. When I convinced my husband to take his years-old stash of coins to our local Coinstar machine, it turned out we had been sitting on $233! Plus, we got the money as an Amazon gift card, so there was no Coinstar fee taken out! Currently, Coinstar offers customers 38 gift cards with no fee.
8. Move it. One of your biggest expenses is your rent or mortgage, no? Find a smaller, cheaper spot to call home and cash in on a lower housing tab. Lower your rent by just $83 a month and you'll save $1,000 over the course of a year. In the process, hold a massive garage sale to make money off all your possessions that won't fit into your cozy new space. Whittling down his possessions to just 100 items is the focus of the blog Guy Named Dave.
9. Holiday limits. put limits on the amount you'll spend on gifts for friends and family. Discuss an acceptable limit beforehand so everyone knows the game. Heck, you might consider adopting a 'homemade only' policy. For frugal gifts, check out Money Crasher's ideas for five unique and frugal gift ideas.