Finding money in your house isn’t about actually finding money in your house. As satisfying as it is to be going through your laundry to discover a forgotten $20 in the back pocket of your jeans, I’m talking about saving and excess. Found money is saved money and saved money is found money. It’s one in the same. In order to find money, you just need to look in the same places you look every day. Here are a few ways to find money in your home:
Most of us have a lot of crap lying around. And most of us leave it lying around because we’re busy working and don’t have the time or energy to deal. But those items are valuable. I don’t mean valuable in a Christie’s kind of way, but every $15 or $20 you can make by selling something can be put towards groceries, car insurance, or your Netflix subscription. So, ransack your house and look for old books or that skirt you haven’t worn in five years and sell them on the Internet. Plus, you’ll feel better mentally after you purge your home and can make way for new things.
Reuse, Reduce, Recycle
Everytime you go to throw something away, ask yourself if it can be recycled instead. All those empty La Croix cans? The dead batteries from your remote? That iPhone you keep in your desk drawer just in case? Most states will pay you to recycle bottles and cans. You can also use apps like Decluttr to sell tech gadgets. This is especially useful as we continue to upgrade our devices. Instead of tossing your last generation iPhone in the trash, make some money off it.
Sometimes our most expensive habits aren’t ones that are necessary but ones that make us comfortable. Air conditioning, for instance, certainly makes living in the thick of August bearable. Yet we can usually survive without it. Next time you’re overheating and desperately want to turn on the A/C, try a face fan or drinking ice water. Obviously if you feel sick, go for the A/C. But try to find small sacrifices of comfort and ease. Instead of taking your laundry to a service, try hand washing some items instead. Instead of dry cleaning last night’s dress, steam out the wrinkles and sweat marks at home. For sweaters, you can buy a comb to help smooth that pilling.
One of the most costly weekly expenses can be groceries. And now that the pandemic has many people cooking at home, orders can easily get out of control. But ask yourself: Do I really need this bag of popcorn? Or that box of chocolate bars? Try to cut down on luxury snack items. Also, when picking out a recipe, try to find one that uses ingredients you already have in your fridge. That way, you aren’t buying an excess of ingredients. Eat what you have first and then try to use pantry staples. This will help you cut down on one-off items or ingredients that are specific to a certain dish.
Now that you’ve sold all your excess items and cleaned out your house, what to do with that empty space? Think of this newfound room as prime real estate. If you just dumped a bunch of junk in your garage and now have an entire section cleared, rent the space out to a friend or on Craigslist. That empty storage unit in your apartment? Store someone else’s stuff for a price. Maybe you make a few bucks off plant sitting for someone going out of town. Look around your house and use the negative space as a real estate investment. If you aren’t making money off your own junk, make it off someone else’s.
Remember that finding money in your house is about figuring out where to trim. You likely won’t make $100 by just selling one old novel on the Internet. But if you sell and condense items here and there, the money will add up. Think of the process like finding pocket change. One penny won’t make you rich, but fifty of them will be enough to buy some new shoes. Finding money might come in small increments, but it will add up.
A version of this article was originally published on Forbes.