Sometimes, when you have budgeted your primary income and have allocated your side hustle towards your financial priority (be it debt, savings, or a big purchase), you find that you have nothing for that cup of coffee or those cute new flats. You wish you had an extra $20 just for some fun spending. I know the feeling all too well! There are a few tried and true ways to bring in smaller amounts of cash with very little effort. This week I’ve earned an extra $15 just by selling off a few things.
Most of the time my ‘found’ money is small amounts like this, just enough for a breakfast taco or a few drinks. To me, both of those sound like big nights out! When you’re saving money, it’s easy to get trapped in your house. It’s hard to justify spending any money on frivolities when money is in such short supply and debts are looming so large. Using money that comes from non-specific side hustles for a bit of fun makes for guilt free fun!
Back home in the northeast, I have a treasure trove of books. Oh so many books, carefully preserved over the years. I love reading and have rows and rows of books in my closet, book case and yes, under my bed. Each time I go home, I bring some of these books back to Austin. Yes, I fly them halfway across the country! I sell them at a used book store in town and pocket the cash. There isn’t a bookstore that buys books within 45 minutes of my house back home and when I’m visiting, I don’t usually have the time to take a trip somewhere that would buy them.
This week I’ve sold about 15 books and made $8. It’s not a great return, but those books were just going to be sitting in my old closet. So I’ll take what I can get! I also sold a few books that a roommate left here after they moved out. Double score!
Again, I have to tip my hat to my former roommate. Knowing I do clothing swaps every few months, they generously left two bags full of clothes for me. I went through and picked out the nicest pieces of clothing, combined them with clothes from my own closet- and brought the whole load down to Buffalo Exchange. They didn’t take everything (they never do) but I brought in $6.90 with very little effort. Plus I still have great swag for the clothing swap!
A few other ways of finding money- cash in your coin jar, utilize coupons and gift cards and look for specials around town. If you hit a happy hour with $15, you could be looking at an appetizer and a drink. You can take the week off from driving and use your gas money for a dinner out. Be creative and get out there!
Now, I haven’t made enough to do…well, pretty much anything. But that $15 is enough money to buy myself and my boyfriend one drink each at a cool bar I’ve been wanting to check out. Or enough for a few drinks at the coffee shop I do work at. Or a meal out on the cheap. Using ‘found’ money like this alleviates me of guilt, provides me a good time and helps me lessen the amount of stuff I have to my name. All good things to me!
Kara Perez is the original founder of From Frugal To Free. She is a money expert, speaker and founder of Bravely Go, a feminist financial education company. Her work has been featured on NPR, Business Insider, Forbes, and Elite Daily.
5 Replies to “Using ‘Found’ Money for Your Fun Spending”
I am a big fan of found money. Being frugal on a tight budget can be tough. Your social life suffers and you can feel as though you are missing out. That little bit of extra cash can be a big lift to your spirit. If you are on budget and don’t need the money for bills or savings, then treat yourself to something that will make your day.
It’s amazing how our perspective changes along with our situation. The way you’ve shifting your perspective to appreciate the found money says a lot about your outlook on things. It’s awesome to see you focus on what you do have right now. You can still have fun while being frugal as you have proved – you just seem to appreciate it more. And when you do move up in your career, that’ll be compounded, I’m sure! 🙂
I’ve really come to appreciate how much change we’re capable of and how much I already have. When you stop looking for things, you really see how much is already there. I feel lucky, in some ways, to be able to think this way. Life is what you make of it!
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