The holidays can take a heavy toll on your bank accounts and credit limits. Come January, many of us who splurged need to either tighten the purse strings or find a new source of income. So, if you are thinking of new ways to bring in some extra money after the holidays, here are a few ideas to turn your trash into easy cash.
Upcycling Your Trash into Cash
Upcycling has become a popular trend among those who can spot a diamond in the rough. Perhaps you have read new stories about professional dumpster divers who make a killing from what they find. Maybe you know someone who has built a business by upcycling other people’s trash by restoring it or repurposing it into something new. With a little creativity and a shrewd eye for a deal, you can easily turn someone else’s trash into a real treasure.
Recycling Trash into Easy Cash
If you don’t have the time or skill to get into upcycling, you can always find ways to make money by recycling various materials.
Right now, scrap metal prices are at an all-time high. You can get a fair price for metals when you sell your scrap for cash. However, copper, brass, and aluminum bring the best prices. When you take a load to the scrapyard, they will pay the current going rate. Although prices have remained fairly stable, they can fluctuate daily. If you prefer to have someone else do the heavy lifting, you can also find people online who will pay for your scrap and haul it away for you.
At some point, every kid tries to make a fortune by collecting aluminum cans. Although you probably aren’t going to be able to retire on your earnings, recycling can earn your money while you help the environment. On average, most centers pay $0.50 per pound. And to give you an idea of the earning potential, there are about 34 cans in each pound. If you have a steady source, it could pay off some of your smaller bills.
People have been recycling glass bottles for cash since companies first introduced them. Today, only 10 states in the U.S. (California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, New York, Oregon, and Vermont) pay for glass bottles. However, prices range from $0.05 to $0.15 each. If you aren’t a resident of one of these states, there are other options. Do a local search to sell glass bottles in your area. Local recycling centers, breweries, vineyards, and homebrew supply stores may be willing to purchase them as well.
If you have a ton of cardboard boxes from your holiday purchases, you can turn your trash into easy cash. After you join the online marketplace, you can list them for free on Boxcycle. People who are looking for cardboard boxes can connect with you and arrange a time to pick up your boxes. Then, you will receive payment via PayPal. It’s simple, convenient, and an easy way to make money from stuff laying around the house.
Anyone who has done remodels or flipped a house knows that these projects can produce reusable lumber. And with wood in high demand, you can get a great price for reclaimed wood. For those in rural areas, old barns are also a great source of materials. Local dealers and sites like Antique Beams and Boards pay well for a high-quality wood. You can call companies in your area or go online to get a quote. But, be sure to include the length, size, type of wood, and photos for an accurate estimate.
Most places will give you a discount on car batteries when you trade in your old car battery for a new one. But, if you have several batteries that are taking up space, you could try to sell them to junkyards, auto parts stores, or online marketplaces. While they aren’t the most valuable thing in your garage, they usually bring between $5 and $12 each. Selling them is a good way to squeeze a little more life out of your old batteries.
Have you been holding onto your old ink cartridges? If so, you can turn your trash into easy cash. After you sign-up with the eCycle Group through their website, they will provide a prepaid envelope for your items. You can view the set price list so you know exactly how much money you will be receiving. One thing to note is that you must send a minimum of 20 at a time. If you don’t have that many, you can also turn your ink cartridges in at local retailers. Staples, Office Depot/Office Max, and Best Buy offer in-store rewards and discounts for each one you bring in.
If you are an oenophile and enjoy fine wines, chances are you have plenty of corks leftover. Although you probably never had reason to save them, selling wine corks is another way to turn your trash into easy cash. Many people want them for art projects and various uses around the house. Currently, you can find them on eBay for about $0.10 a pop. But, keep in mind you’ll have to pay their seller and shipping fees if you use their site.
Selling after an Upgrade
Selling Old Appliances
When you are upgrading your large appliance, you can resell your old ones to recoup some of the cost. Try to list them in local marketplaces to connect with potential buyers. Although, if they are out-of-service, you can contact local repair shops to see if they will buy them for spare parts. Otherwise, you can always sell them to the local scrap yard as well.
Selling Used Electronics
If you just got a new device for the holidays, you can sell your old smartphones, laptops, and tablets for cash. Gazelle lists its prices online. So, once you find your specific make and model and answer a few questions, you can send it off in one of their prepaid envelopes. Plus, you can choose payment by check, PayPal, or Amazon gift cards, giving you even more options.
With limited supply chains and delayed deliveries, people are hunting for cheap materials and good deals. These ideas are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ways to turn your trash into cash.
Have you found an innovative way to turn your junk into a paycheck? Tell us how in the comments below!
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Jenny Smedra is an avid world traveler, ESL teacher, former archaeologist, and freelance writer. Choosing a life abroad had strengthened her commitment to finding ways to bring people together across language and cultural barriers. While most of her time is dedicated to either working with children, she also enjoys good friends, good food, and new adventures.