How To Make or Save Money With Stuff You Already Have

Apparently I have shocked many people with my blog from yesterday. This may have caused some minor discomfort for some of you and I would like to take this opportunity to inform you that I am truly and terribly disappointed. At you. As readers of my blog you should be expecting a certain degree of awkward sub-context or at least a bit of nauseating crude humor in every single post of mine. The fact that you expected a cleaner and, dare I say, more professional content from this blog, honestly, offends me. Hopefully we could use this as a ‘learnable moment’ and find ourselves in a better place in the future.

There were a few who asked why I did not attach the picture of yesterday’s quota of self-mutilation. To you I ask, really? When did we, as humans, reach this point? Is civility dead among humans? Are you so thirsty for blood? If this is what evolution can come up with then God help us.

I had to attend a company sponsored training regarding Agile development principles at my workplace today. My entire team plus a few members from other teams were in attendance and we learned all the whys, whos, whats and the hows of Agile processes and more specifically Scrum methods involved in software development. It was quite useful. As part of the training, we had to split up into small groups and participate in a little workshop where we had to come up with a product and its features and then present it to the other groups. Being the communist, bleeding heart, earth conscious liberals in the room, my group came up with an online service that allows product reuse by letting people buy, sell, trade and barter stuff with their friends and neighbors. Its kind of eBay, Craigslist, Amazon and BarterQuest all bundled into a single awesome product and we named it GreenMonster (Green for being eco-friendly and Monster for being a beast of an idea). We had a lot of fun with that imaginary product.

I am a big fan of reusing things. I try to use as much of the things I already have and try my best to not buy new things unless I have absolutely no way around it. Even if I find out that I have to buy a certain product I will try living without it for about a week or so and see if that thing was really as essential as I thought it was. Often times it isn’t. So I don’t buy anything that is not functionally essential. [Fair Disclaimer: This does not apply for Apple products, junk food and video games :)] Although there is a significant financial benefit to this approach, since you can save a lot of money if you just minimized the things you buy, there is also a deeper sense of meaning to the things you do end up buying. From the money I save from not buying stuff I enjoy things I like such as traveling. Given my inclination towards being anti-consumerist, it is kind of obvious that I really liked GreenMonster, even though it didn’t really exist. But the question I had was how do you maximize the return of everything you already own?

Lets face it. We all have things we only use once in a while. Be it an extra room in the apartment or an empty garage or even just a few hours of free time, there has to be a way to make those things useful for either us or at least someone else. As any self-respecting IT guy would do I launched a full fledged online search-athon regarding this, starting with lifehacker and wading my way through a whole bunch of great websites with seriously useful tips about getting more for your money. I am not talking about coupon collection or bargain hunting (not that they are bad in any way) but this is more about providing value to others using things we already have and may be even make some money out of it. I continued my noble quest (more of a search query really) and then stumbled onto this info-graphic.

Get More Out Of Your Stuff (click to enlarge)

This has to be the one of the most meaningful and straightforward info-graphic I have seen. When you enlarge it you can pretty much see how every single thing in a typical house, the things you most probably have already, can be a potential revenue generator. All kinds of extra or unused things, like bicycles, DVDs, spare beds and even the trash you have, there is someone who has a use for it and sometimes even willing to pay for it. My favorite part about the picture is that it also lists the websites next to the product categories which you can use to search for potential users. Now that’s what I call great idea. Simple and yet, powerful. Often times we know where we want to go but don’t know how. Pictures like these can act like a map to guide us.

I found this picture in a beautifully designed website called collaborativefund. Their aim is to encourage a climate of ethical values regarding who we work for, how we spend our money and our time, while also influencing a “shift from an economy based on hyper-consumption to one based on Collaborative Consumption”.  Check it out and see if it piques your interest.

[Post: 54 of 365] [Days Missed: 8]

I am on a blog-a-day-for-a-year crusade. Keep me motivated with your comments. Or find me some great coupons.