Now that we’ve mostly come out of hibernation (are you with us, Minnesota?) it’s time to air out and clean out. Done any spring cleaning yet? You can clean out and organize your closets and clean your car all while saving some serious cash (and teaching your kids about money while you’re at it). Here are some tips:
1. Steer clear of the car wash. Unless you’re in a drought area, you have everything you need to make your car sparkle-rags, soap, water and a hose. Get some fresh air and sunshine… and maybe have a water fight with the kids. Now where did I put those old plastic water pistols?
2. Stash the cash. While you’re vacuuming out the car, you will undoubtedly find coins under the seats. And when you’re cleaning around the house, bits of loose change often emerge from containers, nightstands and sofa cushions. I keep a change jar in the kitchen and this stuff really adds up! Empty your wallet and pockets every few days and add to the change jar. Put the money toward a vacation, a new appliance, or paying off a debt. The list is endless, and it’s a painless way to save. (Bonus: Take the $10-15 you would have spent at the car wash and put it in there for a day with you and the kids.
3. Garage sale, anyone? We all have things that we don’t use. Maybe they don’t fit or the kids don’t play with them anymore. They seem to multiply while we sleep! Do you still have so-called “someday” clothes, the ones you say you’ll wear someday, when you lose those extra pounds? This is the time to go through closets, drawers, shelves, the basement and, of course, the garage. Dads, do you have tools hanging around for projects you may never get to?
As for your kids, get them to think about what you have more than enough of and how having less stuff can make your life easier (and keep their parents off their backs about cleaning up). Parents, help your kids make choices about what they can give up, give away or throw out. Generally speaking, too many kids have way more stuff than they need. This is a chance for you to make some extra cash and share with those who truly need what you take for granted.
These are not big moneymakers, but they add up. And if you can use the extra cash (and who couldn’t?) they’re a great way to start. Huge chunks of money won’t magically appear and make your wishes comes true and debts disappear. Small, repeatable actions will do that. So what are you waiting for? That loose change is calling your name.