Oily Rag: Turn time into money

By Frank, Muriel Newman

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Sell your surplus produce at your local farmers' market and feather your financial nest-egg.
Sell your surplus produce at your local farmers' market and feather your financial nest-egg.

We, like most of you, are curious to know how very financially successful people have achieved their success.

Fortunately, the answer is usually far more mundane than the movies would have you believe. It's usually about service with a smile, enthusiasm and optimism; a frugal eye on costs; and investing generously in things that increase sales.

You can apply the same approach to your household - if you live frugally, you will be able to accumulate a nest-egg so your money works for you instead of you working for money. Frugal households use these principles to make the most of their dollars - you want to make your dollars and your time as productive as they can possibly be. Here are some tips to turn your household into a thriving business.

Turn hobbies into cash spinners

Keen gardeners, sell your surplus produce at a growers' market or swap it for things you'd otherwise pay cash for, such as maintenance on your house or car.

Enjoy painting or art? Offer your work for sale to friends or on the internet. Hold an exhibition yourself of your work then invite friends and family around for a viewing (and, hopefully, buying session). It's so easy to sell your creations online via trading sites, and listing is free!

Find rewards

One reader participates in online surveys. She says sometimes she gets rewarded with points that can be redeemed for gift vouchers; other times the payment is in cash.

Get growing

If you like gardening, when your plants grow big, divide them, pot them and sell them online. A green-fingered oily ragger from Whangarei propagated the seeds from an ornamental banana plant in their garden and sold them online for $15 each. A nice little cash bonus that cost nothing but a little bit of TV time.

Hunter gatherer

We also notice used golf balls for sale online, which reminded us of this tip: "How about gathering golf balls - water traps are the best so put on your wetsuit and get into it."

But be careful as the tale of one good keen oily ragger from the UK shows. He plunged the depths, retrieving up to 1200 golf balls at a time. At about 50c each for poor-quality balls, it was a nice little earner.

However, his initiative landed him in jail. He got sentenced to six months for theft, but after a public outcry was released after only nine days! The moral of the story: there's money in golf balls, but ask first!"

Find competitions

V.M. from Levin writes, "If you have time, enter online competitions at winstuff.co.nz. Also, if there's a competition in the paper or on a chocolate wrapper enter it. I have won loads of stuff over the years. From prams to makeup, label clothing and more. Lucky Break and That's Life are very generous and have sent me cheques for photos I sent by email and forgot about! Not only do your children get published in a magazine, you get $50! My children have also won prizes from these magazines. It's fun and it's great receiving prizes in the post!"

Tutor the kids

A reader says, "I taught children to play the recorder for 25 years. The last 10 years were the most enjoyable because small groups of children came to my home for lessons. There were no distractions or pressures, no parents hovering nearby. Home tutoring is nothing new, but is particularly effective when it takes place in the tutor's home and the pupil does not feel his parent's worries, hopes, and ambitions on their shoulders. All kinds of tuition would be successful if conducted in the tutor's home, not the pupil's home; both adults and kids could benefit. Reading, computer skills, confidence-building, making party desserts, anything."

Become a collector

Start a coin jar. It's amazing how quickly the money builds up to become hundreds of dollars. By concentrating on needs not wants and focusing on getting the best value from every dollar you spend, you can turn cents into dollars, and those dollars become a nest-egg that can keep providing for you forever (if the nest-egg is not raided!).

Do you have a favourite tip you'd like to share? Send it to www.oilyrag.co.nz or write to Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei.

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