9 Clever Ways to Save and Make Money Without a Job

How to end up with some extra cash in your pocket

Allison Heithoff, Editor-in-Chief of Quintessence

1. Sell Your Old Books

Even with the shift from physical books to ebooks over the past few years, chances are you still have quite a few lying around your house. Whether they are previously required books for school or even books buried away from when you were a kid, instead of having these sit in your house and collect dust, take them to someplace like Half Price Books. They will buy the books from you and make them available to someone who will put them to better use.

2. Rent a Movie From Redbox

Movie ticket prices are fairly high at the present moment, but there is another way to see the most current movies without paying an outrageous price. Redbox sells one-day movie rentals for just $1.50, offering movies that have just recently stopped being shown in the theater. So if you aren’t in a huge rush to see a specific movie, waiting a little longer until it gets to Redbox can save you a lot of money. If you can’t wait that long, however, theaters like Village Pointe Cinema offer $5 tickets on Tuesdays, which is half the usual price.

3. Use eBay to Sell Old Electronics

Before most of us were allowed to get smartphones, there were the good old days with the iPod Touch, iPod Nano, and MP3 Player. As far as video games, there was the Nintendo D.S. and also more outdated versions of the PlayStation and Xbox. Believe it or not, you can actually get quite a bit more money than you might think out of these old electronics. I happen to have firsthand experience selling one of my old electronics on eBay and with success too. I no longer had a purpose for my old iPod Nano because all my music is on my phone now, so I listed it on eBay not really expecting to get much interest or money for it. Within five minutes of posting, however,  I already had an offer and it ended up selling for $50.

4. Eat Out 1-2 Days Less a Week

I have recently started to notice just how much I go out to eat as a high school student, and not only that, but how much money that adds up to over time. Cutting back the number of time you go out to eat a week by just one or two times can end up saving you around an extra $30-50 a month, which translates to $360-600 over the course of a year.

5. Consider Splitting Meals and Ordering Water Instead of Pop

You know those times when you go out to eat with friends and aren’t all that hungry but end up ordering something anyway just because everyone else is? Well, sometimes you might not be the only one who feels that way. If so, someone might be willing to split something with you which also means you can split the cost of the meal. Also, making small changes such as ordering water instead of pop every time you go out is not only better for you, but will translate to savings over time.

6. Make Money From the Clothes You Don’t Wear

We all have those pieces in our closet that we bought thinking we would wear but actually ended up sitting in our closet and not getting worn a single time. Even clothes you have worn before that maybe you have just moved on from might be wanted by someone else, especially if it is a brand name that you spent a decent amount of money on. Check out last year’s issue of Quintessence for an article I did on consignment shops in Omaha that will buy your clothes, in addition to a few apps where you can list and sell items.

7. Go to the Sales Section First

Most stores have their sale and clearance sections hidden or isolated in the back and sometimes you get wrapped up in the other items in the store that you overlook them. However, sometimes you may be pleasantly surprised to find something you happened to be looking for already on sale. It sure doesn’t hurt to go there first, look at your options, and if you don’t find anything then move onto the regular price stuff.

8. Start a Change Jar

I know this one might seem cliche, but I am continually amazed at how much my small jar of change adds up to when I bring it to the bank. I would venture to guess I fill my jar up once about every two months, and it always adds up to at least $20 each time. So even though change is annoying to carry around and may seem worthless, it is one of the easiest ways to score some extra cash.

9. Get Cash For Unwanted Gift Cards

I’m sure all of us have been given a gift card at some point in our lives to some store we never shop at and would honestly rather have it be cash so it can be used for something you actually want. There’s actually a website out there called Raise.com that provides this solution by selling your gift card within 24 hours and giving you cash for it.