With the economy in a downturn and the holidays coming up, everyone could use extra cash in the bank. There are two main ways to make that happen:
1. Make money.
2. Save money.
If you have neglected belongings sitting around the house, you can make money. And everyone has plenty of ways to save money.
Want some tips for fattening your wallet?
Love It or List It
There are now more ways than ever to make money off all that extra stuff you have sitting around. The world has expanded far beyond eBay and garage sales, though those are still good options. Try Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist if shipping sounds like a hassle—both are easy to use and you can set up a safe way to handle the transaction ahead of time.
If you have cute clothes to sell, you could always try a local shop like Plato's Closet. To cast a wider net, head to Depop and Poshmark, two sites that make it easy to sell your quality clothes for a good price. Or take your extra free time to pick up a hobby and start a store on Etsy, creating jewelry, pottery, cross-stitches, face masks—whatever you like!
Plenty of West Michigan restaurants and other venues feature rewards programs, offering you free stuff simply for dining there. Fratelli's Kitchen & Bar gives you $5 for every $50 you spend, while HopCat makes it $10 for every $100 spent—basically the same thing. The Gilmore Collection and 4GR8Foods (Beltline Bar, Rockwell/Republic, et cetera) both have programs that work across their respective group of restaurants. These programs also tend to have special offers for signing up and for your birthday.
You'll even find rewards with Twisted Hot Yoga, for all your bending and stretching.
Join the Club
Mug clubs make you feel part of a brewery, taking you from customer to VIP. Not only do you get a special glass to drink from, your membership comes with great deals every time you visit. Grand Rapids Brewing Company's mug club, for instance, means $1 off beer and bigger pours every day, along with half-off food on Mondays and access to special bottle releases. If you drink or eat somewhere often, this will definitely save you money over time.
Similarly, Mertens' Coffee Card is $15 per month, providing you unlimited free coffee—all the time—for the price of a few cups.
If you're flexible, you might catch great deals as they come by keeping a close eye on your favorite establishments. Places like Maru Sushi and MOD Pizza have frequent deals you could stay on top of by following their social media or getting on their email lists. Your dinner plans might be made for you when you find out sushi is 15% off for carryout, tonight only.
Technology has made this age-old tactic for saving money easier than ever. The Meijer app makes it simple to search for coupons as you're shopping in the grocery store. All you have to do is hit "Clip" and then enter your phone number during checkout. You could easily save dozens of dollars per trip with this.
When you're going to go out to eat anyway, leave a bit early from work and make it to happy hour. It's not for bargoers only — restaurants like The Green Well and Graydon's Crossing offer great specials on starters and drinks. You should also learn the daily deals, such as Harmony Brewing's Cheap Pizza Tuesdays, with $6 cheese and $7 pepperoni pies. While some of our favorite deals and happy hours are taking a break during the pandemic, we hope they'll be back in full force when it's all over.
The best way to save money is to not spend it. If you need a little extra accountability, see if your bank or credit union has a "Holiday Club," a special savings account created for gift money. This year's holidays are fast approaching, so if you need more lead time than this, keep it in mind for next year!
Josh Veal is the managing editor of Revue and a former nonprofit reporter. He keeps in the know on local restaurants, breweries and venues through ample firsthand experience. Josh enjoys cocktails on the porch, graphic novels, social justice and biking through nature.
This article originally appeared in the Oct/Nov 2020 issue of West Michigan Woman.