The secret to making money isn’t working at a high-paying job, it’s finding creative solutions to people’s problems, and it doesn’t take a fancy degree to do that. To get your creative juices flowing, check out these common and not-so-common ways of lining your pockets. Below that, you’ll also find more general financial advice as well as some money making ideas for kids.
Buy underpriced used books. Outfit a phone or PDA (personal data assistant) with a scanner, scan the ISBN numbers of books at used bookstores and thrift shops, and compare the asking prices with what the books are selling for on a site like Amazon. Whenever you get a good hit (which won’t be often but, since the process is fast, won’t take long, either), buy the book and resell it online. Be discreet about this, as the store managers probably won’t like what you’re doing.
Bargain-hunt at yard and thrift sales. If you have a bit of knowledge in a particular area (ex. Taxco Mexican silver, action figures, classic National Geographics) or even just a good eye for quality, visit private sales early and often to find unexpected deals.
Go to police auctions. You can find incredible deals here, and though may not be able to resell a car that was involved in a serious crime, you can probably find some spectacularly cheap jewelry that someone else would be happy to buy off you.
Refinish ratty furniture. If you have lacquer thinner, sandpaper, stain, and some craft sense, you can buy worn-out furniture and fix it up for a great resale price.
Rescue battered wood. Pallets and pallet stock are cheap (or free) and easy to come by. Look for untreated specimens at construction sites, community colleges, buildings under renovation, or shipping warehouses and plane them down and/or kiln-dry them in a homemade kiln-dryer to uncover their hidden beauty. You can then resell the wood as is or even turn it into beautiful furniture. (Be sure to advertise that the wood is “reclaimed,” as people are often willing to pay much more for this.)
Flip houses or apartments. If you are a handy(wo)man with great design sense, a knowledge of what’s valuable in the construction of a home, and assets you’re willing to play with, consider buying, fixing up, and reselling real estate. This requires quite a bit of up-front cash and elbow grease, but the payoff can be big.
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