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Our step-by-step guide to creating a vacation budget


Spending too much money to make the seasons happier can lead to great post-vacation regrets.

According to the National Retail Federation’s annual Vacation Spend Survey, retail experts predict the average consumer will spend $ 997.73 on gifts, groceries, decorations, and more this year. Is There A Thousand Dollars More In Your Budget?

When you start out with your Christmas shopping, it is important to figure out how much money to spend before figuring out what to spend your money on. That means creating a budget.

If you take an hour to check your numbers and come up with a vacation budget, you can keep that Christmas cheer (and a little extra cash) going into the new year.

How to create a vacation budget

Feel free to create your vacation budget using your preferred method, be it an Excel or Google Sheets spreadsheet, pen-and-paper budget, or budgeting app.

Whichever you choose, having the information on hand can help you stay within your spending limit and avoid impulse buying.

1. Analyze your current debt

It may not be pleasant, but it is necessary: ​​Before doing anything else, you should take a close look at your debt – especially your credit card debt.

If you have more on your credit cards than you can withdraw this month, please reconsider participating in the Christmas shopping frenzy. A much better use of your hard-earned money would be to pay off your credit card balance.

Skipping expensive gifts doesn’t mean you can’t shower your friends and family with love. You can hand-make gifts (here are some affordable gift ideas) or give them service coupons for favors – like cleaning their house or preparing dinner for them.

Because a gift from the heart often means more than something that goes out of style next year.

2. Project your total vacation income

Credit cards in mind? It’s time to estimate the total amount you will make over the holiday season.

Getting the same paycheck every two weeks makes it easy – double your paycheck for your monthly income.

Pro tip

Think outside of the paycheck for your vacation savings pool: Do you have any old gift cards that you can use to buy (or give away) gifts?

If your salary is irregular, it will take a little more effort to determine your income. One option is to look at your pay slips or bank accounts from that time in the past year. (Check out this budgeting guide if your income changes month to month.)

If your job – or your salary – has changed since last year, you can calculate the average of your earnings over the last three months. (If you have a particularly high month, throw it away; better to be wrong on the lower side.)

Remember to include money from part-time jobs and seasonal jobs as well.

3. Make a list of expenses

Once you know how much you will be making during the vacation, it is time to calculate your expenses.

Before deciding how much to devote to vacation expenses, check your monthly budget to see what extra expenses you have – or what expenses you can cut back – to cover the extra expenses.

Subtract your regular expenses – like rent or mortgage, utility bills, groceries, and gasoline – from your projected income to find out how much money you have in your budget for the holidays.

Also, be sure to check your calendar: if the deadline for annual payments like car registration or HOA fees falls during the holiday season, be sure to include them in your expenses.

4. Assign categories for vacation expenses

Now is the time to figure out how to fit your vacation expenses into your budget.

Start by estimating your projected vacation spend by category, excluding gifts. Some expenses that might be on your list:

  • Travel.
  • Decorations.
  • Gift wrapping.
  • Holiday meals.
  • Holiday parties.
  • Vacation clothes.
  • Vacation cards.
  • Donate.
  • Professional vacation photos.

After you have determined these expenses, subtract that amount from your vacation budget. Now you have your purchasing budget.

Is the amount less than you would like? Consider cutting out other categories if gift giving is your priority.

5. Create a shopping list

All right, Santa Claus, who’s on your list?

It would be easy to spend too much if you stopped putting together the things you want to buy. Instead, create a vacation budget worksheet with the following information:

  • Surname
  • Budgeted amount
  • Gift idea
  • Where buy
  • Sales, Coupons, and Discounts (and deadlines or expiration dates)
  • Shipping

Keeping your list within your budget may take a little give and take. If you put your heart in buying mom that $ 300 blender but you can only spend $ 500 total, can you find inexpensive gifts for the rest of your list?

6. Start tracking prices

One of the keys to smart Christmas shopping is patience. Well, patience and research.

Check prices in multiple stores before buying. Price tracking and price comparison tools abound.

BuyHatke is a useful browser extension that compares and tracks prices. When you shop on Amazon, it also displays price history charts so you can see if the current price is really a bargain. Or try the SlickDeals app, which will notify you when prices drop in certain categories or in your favorite stores.

Or try out money-saving Chrome extensions that will do that for you – we have 15 that can save you money.

7. Stick with it!

This step may be the last, but it’s one of the most important (and definitely the hardest to follow).

Sticking to your budget is the only way to avoid a vacation hangover – at least financially. It takes some willpower, but it’s worth it.

To help, create a vacation expense category using an all-in-one tool like Mint (check out our Mint review).

Pro tip

Do you want to put an end to the endless (and expensive) pile of gifts? Try creating a new holiday tradition: the four-gift rule.

If you prefer it tactile, subtract your Christmas shopping budget in cash and keep it in a jar.

When you buy something online or with a credit card, take that amount out of the jar and put it in a separate envelope that you can put back into your checking account later. Once the glass is empty, so is your vacation budget.

Susan Shain is a contributing writer for The Penny Hoarder.

How To Get Help With Your Loans If Your College Has Scammed You


Get Help That Has Been Cheated By Your College

Borrowers who have been scammed by their colleges may be able to cancel their state student loans and have previous payments reimbursed by filing a borrower waiver defense.

If the discharge is approved, negative credit information about the loans will also be removed from the borrower’s credit history. Entitlement to state study grants will also be restored.

As of April 30, 2021, more than 350,000 borrowers have filed objections to repayment claims. And about 40% of the applications processed were approved. Could you also qualify for your student loan disbursement? How to find out.

What is the borrower’s defense against repayment?

The borrower’s objection to repayment is a set of regulations that determine when federal student loans may be dismissed due to harmful acts and omissions by the student’s college.

These regulations are authorized by the Higher Education Act of 1965 at 20 USC 1087e (h) which states:

  • Regardless of other provisions of state or federal law, TThe secretary lays down in regulations which acts or omissions of a university a borrower can assert in defense of repayment of a loan granted under this partExcept that in no event may a Borrower reclaim from the Secretary in any action arising out of or relating to any loan made under this Part in excess of the amount that the Borrower has received for such Loan has repaid.

The special rules that apply to your loans depend on whether they were paid out for the first time:

  • Before July 1, 2017
  • On or after July 1, 2017 and before July 1, 2020
  • On or after July 1, 2020

Recent changes to borrower defense regulations

The current regulations enacted during the Trump administration limited the borrower’s eligibility for repayment. In order to qualify for the relief of the borrower:

  • Incorrect information must have been provided with “Knowing its false, misleading, or deceptive nature, or with a ruthless disregard for the truth.”
  • The borrower must have suffered financial damage due to the false information.
  • The borrower’s repayment claim must be filed within three years of the student’s separation from college.

The Trump administration also adopted a partial relief formula that limited the amount of debt settled under the borrower’s plea to repayment.

The U.S. Department of Education announced on March 18, 2021 that it was lifting the partial relief formula and providing full relief to all borrowers with approved borrower defense claims. The US Department of Education also announced that it intends to enact new regulations for borrower protection when repaying. Further developments will be announced on the US Department of Education’s Borrower Defense Updates page.

The IRS has determined that the borrower’s defense against repayment relief is excluded from income. Borrowers are also not required to repay education tax breaks claimed on previous federal income tax returns. [Revenue Procedure RP-20-11]

Which borrowers are eligible to apply for borrower defense to repay the amortization?

How does the federal government determine who has been scammed by a college? Misconduct that could be covered by the borrower’s repayment regime includes fraudulent or unlawful acts by the college under federal or state law and misrepresentation. A couple of brief examples are:

  • Wrong recommendations
  • False certificates (such as the college’s signature of grant documents on behalf of the student)
  • Providing false information to college ranking organizations

Incorrect information includes not only false, erroneous and misleading information, but also Omissions that make the statement false, false, or misleading. Examples of misconduct are false statements regarding:

  • Admission rates (selectivity), university rankings and student admission profiles
  • The qualifications of the teachers and the quality of the training equipment
  • Graduation rates, employment rates and post-graduation earnings
  • The possibility of transferring credits to other universities
  • Admission through rates or admission requirements
  • University and course-specific accreditation, approval and certification
  • Tuition and fees as well as financial support
  • The terms or the amount of a loan
  • Type of loan (e.g. characterizing a loan as a grant)

If any of these false statements led you to take out student loans, you could be considered someone who was defrauded by your college. If so, you can claim repayment even if you are eligible for other types of student loan issuance. The college doesn’t have to be closed.

Objections of the borrower to repayment claims are listed under a. rated “The evidence outweighs standard.” In other words, in order to have your claim approved, there must be more evidence to conclude than against.

What loans are eligible for a borrower defense to repay the amortization?

Only federal educational loans in the Direct Loan program are immediately eligible. However, loans granted under the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) and the Federal Perkins Loan may be made eligible by being included in a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan.

Private student loans are ineligible and cannot be made eligible.

Entitlement to defense of the borrower for repayment relief

Federal loans for family education

How to file a borrower’s defense claim

Borrowers can file a borrower’s defense of repayment claim online, by calling 1-855-279-6207 (Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET), or by completing a 9-page Defense Against Repayment Application Form. The completed application form can be emailed to BorrowerDefense@ed.gov or by post to:

US Department of Education – Borrower Defense until Repayment
P.O. Box 1854
Monticello, KY 42633

Borrowers should include evidence to support their claim, such as:

  • Copies of the university’s advertising and promotional materials or the university’s website
  • E-mail or other correspondence with the university
  • The university’s course catalog
  • Enrollment agreements, enrollment documents, certificates and other evidence of enrollment data

Evidence of wrongdoing can also include legal action taken by the federal government (including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) and attorneys general against the college.

  • Beware of organizations that say they are bringing legal defense against a borrower on your behalf for a fee. Collecting an upfront fee for credit repair services (borrower defense counts) is a violation of federal and state laws.

Should loans continue to be paid while the borrower’s defense claims are being reviewed?

While the borrower’s defense against the repayment claim is being examined, the borrower can choose to defer his loans. However, if the claim is not approved, any accruing interest will be capitalized at the end of the deferral period.

With this in mind, you should continue to pay the interest during the deferral to prevent the loan balance from increasing. If your borrower’s plea for repayment is approved, the amounts previously paid on the loan can be refunded.

Other financial relief options if you have been scammed by your college

If your college closes during your enrollment or within 180 days of leaving, you may be eligible for a leave of absence on your student loans. In order to qualify, you would need to be able to prove that you have not been able to transfer credits or complete your education at another university.

Has your college applied for financial assistance on your behalf or signed your name on a Master Promissory Note (MPN) without authorization? If so, you may be eligible for a false certificate of your student loan.

Finally, students can qualify for compensation from state tuition fees and guarantees / performance bonds. This can provide compensation for expenses not paid with student loans. Information on these options can be found on the websites of the State University Council and the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

The NS&I Green Savings Bond is sold, but only pays 0.65% AER over three years


Can I get a better rate anywhere else?

Absolutely. As MoneySavingExpert.com (MSE) founder Martin Lewis points out, you can currently beat the Green Savings Bond interest rate of 0.65% with a single Cynergy Bank access account by 0.66% that you don’t have your money for have to lock away 3 years.

If you are ready to fix, you can comfortably beat the 0.65% interest rate on the Green Savings Bond. SmartSave’s best one-year and two-year fixes currently pay 1.34% and 1.58%, respectively (a minimum of £ 10,000).

If you can lock in money for the full three years, you can earn 1.81% (£ 1,000 minimum) with JN Bank – that’s almost three times the interest rate you would earn on the Green Savings Bond over the same period. All of these accounts can be opened online.

For more information on savings accounts, including a breakdown of the best interest rates, see our guide to the best savings accounts.

Who is this bond for, exactly?

If the return on investment you get is your main concern, better deals out there. As Martin puts it, with an interest rate this low, this is a savings product for those who put morality above money. While there are limited options for savers looking to invest their money to support green projects, this is a decent option if that is your top priority and you don’t care about maximizing your savings rates.

For a full summary of the Green Savings Bond, as well as information on other providers offering “green” savings products, see our complete Green Savings Bond Guide.

How does the green savings bond work?

If the interest rate hasn’t put you off and you’d like to use your money to support green projects, here’s the full information on NS & I’s new bond:

  • Green savings bonds are sold in the form of three-year fixed bonds, which means you’ll have to lock up your money for that period – although you have 30 days to change your mind.
  • The bonds are available to savers aged 16 and over.
  • The bonds can be bought and managed online.
  • The bonds will be sold until at least January 22, 2022.
  • You can save between € 100 and € 100,000.
  • The bonds will be available both individually and collectively.
  • Interest is paid annually on the anniversary of the account opening.
  • Interest is taxable, which means it counts towards your personal savings allowance – although most savers are not affected.

Are my savings safe with the green savings bond?

These bonds are operated by NS&I, which is not a bank but is supported by the Treasury Department. This means your cash is 100% safe up to the £ 100,000 limit (unless the UK goes bankrupt).

The savings protection is not limited to NS&I. Every UK regulated savings account offers up to £ 85,000 protection per person per institution. Read our full article Are Your Savings Safe? Guide to more information on protecting savings.

How can I buy the green savings bond?

The Green Savings Bond is offered exclusively by NS&I, which essentially acts as the state’s bank. The bonds can only be bought and managed online on the NS&I website.

Perhaps you already know NS&I for offering Premium Bonds, the UK’s largest savings product. Premium bonds are a savings account into which you can deposit money (and withdraw money at any time), where the interest paid is determined by a monthly raffle and not by a fixed interest rate. For a full breakdown, see our guide to premium bonds.

Best credit cards for medical purchases


Planned or unexpected medical expenses can be costly and create financial burdens. In 2020, approximately 7 million Americans had medical debt in debt collection, according to a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association.

It is generally not advisable to use a credit card for medical expenses unless absolutely necessary. This could end up costing thousands of dollars in interest and potentially leaving you in debt.

However, if you need to charge medical expenses to a credit card, there are cards that offer rewards and benefits for medical-related purchases – whether you’re paying for your prescriptions or going to a health care provider. Here are our top picks.

Here are the best credit cards for medical purchases.

AARP® Essential Rewards Mastercard® from Barclays

Our choice for: Varied medical expenses

Main Medical Rewards and Benefits:

  • 3% cashback at petrol stations and drug stores (except Target and Walmart).

  • 2% cashback on medical expenses.

Why we like it

the AARP® Essential Rewards Mastercard® from Barclays offers valuable medical rewards that can also be beneficial to AARP members and non-members. Cardholders receive 2% cashback on medical expenses that include a wide and comprehensive range of services and products such as dentists, orthodontists, osteopaths, chiropractors, optometrists, opticians, opticians and glasses, hospitals, medical and dental laboratories, hearing aids, emergency services, orthopedic goods , prosthetic devices, nursing and personal care facilities, doctors, and more.

In addition, the card earns an even higher rate of 3% cashback for purchases in drugstores, excluding Target and Walmart. This means that if you were to buy over-the-counter drugs from CVS or Walgreens, for example, you would be earning the card’s bonus cashback rate. Notice that a purchase or a service Dealer Category Code, or MCC, will determine whether your purchase is categorized as a drugstore and receive the 3% of the card back. Pharmacy purchases at grocery, wholesale, or discount stores are not eligible for this cashback rate on drugstore spending.

Upgrade to Triple Cash Rewards Visa®

Our choice for: Paying off debts

Main Medical Rewards and Benefits: Earn 3% cashback on home purchases, cars, and health products.

Why we like it

In addition to house and car purchases, owners of the Upgrade to Triple Cash Rewards Visa® receives 3% cashback for health-related expenses. This includes shopping related to sports and beauty and also things like hospital visits. Additional medical expenses that would get the card 3% back include services and products such as hearing aids, medical and dental laboratories, naturopaths, nursing and personal care facilities, optometrists and ophthalmologists, prostheses and more.

In addition, the card offers a unique advantage: if you still have credit on the card at the end, you can repay it within a fixed repayment period at a fixed interest rate, depending on what you qualify for. This can reduce the financial burden and prevent you from accumulating debt faster than you would with a regular credit card.

Citi Custom Cash℠ card

Citi Custom Cash℠ card
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Our choice for: flexibility

Main Medical Rewards and Benefits: 5% cashback on up to $ 500 spent in your highest spending category per billing cycle (from a list of eligible options, including drug stores) and 1% on all other spending in the category.

Why we like it

Rotating bonus category cards usually require some work to keep track of. But the Citi Custom Cash℠ card makes it easier for cardholders to keep track of the bonus categories. That’s because it pays 5% cashback in your highest Eligible Spending category each billing cycle, which is automatically adjusted based on your spending that month. And since drug stores are one of the card’s 10 fixed bonus categories, you will receive lucrative rewards when you use your card in these stores.

For the Citi Custom Cash℠ card, drugstore spending includes drugstore purchases in grocery stores, supermarkets, wholesalers, and warehouses – as long as the MCC of the purchase is “drug store” or “pharmacy”.

Due to the flexibility of the card, holders are not required to spend just one way to earn 5% cashback. For example, if you spend a lot in drugstores on medical expenses one month due to your needs, but your expenses are more grocery-focused in the next billing cycle, your bonus category will automatically be adjusted and you will continue to receive increased rewards (until you reach the spending cap of $ 500 per billing cycle achieved).

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card
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Our choice for: drug stores

Main Medical Rewards and Benefits: 3% cashback on drugstore purchases.

Why we like it

In addition to rewards for travel and restaurant purchases Chase Freedom Unlimited® deserves a solid cashback rate on drugstore spending – which can make it a preferred card for pharmacy-related spending in such stores. Please note that this cashback rate is not used for purchases in grocery stores, department stores and discount pharmacies.

Plus, the card earns 1.5% back when it is spent outside of the bonus category. Although this is not as high as some Flat rate cards on the market Offer, it’s higher than what most tiered reward cards offer for these expenses.

New account holders can also benefit from the card’s generous registration bonus: Earn a $ 200 bonus after spending $ 500 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account. And earn 5% cashback on grocery purchases (excluding Target® or Walmart® purchases) up to $ 12,000 spent in the first year.

Other contender: If you are a reward maximizer capable of tracking rotating bonus categories, here are some things to consider Chase Freedom Flex℠. She also earns 3% cashback for purchases in drugstores and receives rewards for food and travel expenses. In contrast to the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, it earns 5% cashback on quarterly rotating categories that you need to activate (up to $ 1,500 in combined expenses per quarter) – which historically included drug stores. This means that in addition to the potential doubling of the category, you can benefit from the current 3% of the card for drugstores.

The myWalgreens Mastercard

Our pick for: Walgreens

Main Medical Rewards and Benefits:

  • $ 25 in Walgreens Cash Rewards when you make your first purchase within 45 days.

  • 10% off eligible Walgreens branded items in stores, online or through the Walgreens app.

  • 5% off all other purchases in Walgreens and Duane Reade stores, online and through the Walgreens app, including pharmacy purchases.

  • 3% off non-Walgreens groceries and health and wellness purchases.

  • 1% back on all other expenses.

Why we like it

If Walgreens is your drugstore of choice, the myWalgreens Mastercard allows you to earn valuable rewards – for both personal and online purchases. Branded Walgreens is where you get most of the rewards, but you still earn a lucrative price on other purchases, including pharmacy, in-store and Duane Reade stores.

The Mastercard also receives rewards for non-Walgreens health and wellness purchases. Articles and services that fall under this category are determined by the associated customer center.

Walgreens Cash Rewards earned with the card can be redeemed at the checkout as discounts for in-store, online or in-app purchases.

Note that some pharmacy items purchased from Walgreens stores in Arkansas, New Jersey, or New York may not be eligible for cash awards.

Nerdy tip: Walgreens also offers the myWalgreens card, which offers the same benefits as the Mastercard version, except for cashback for non-Walgreens expenses. The card can only be used in Walgreens and Duane Reade stores, online at Walgreens.com and through the Walgreens app. An applicant’s creditworthiness determines which card they are approved for. Anyone who is not approved for the myWalgreens Mastercard will automatically be considered for the myWalgreens card.

Alternative options

The CareCredit Card

This card provides special funding for medical expenses that are not otherwise covered by insurance. the Care credit card is accepted by wellness and health care providers participating in the program, which includes over 225,000 providers across the country. The card offers interest-free periods of six, 12, 18, and 24 months on purchases of $ 200 or more.

If you settle your balance before the allotted interest-free time slot closes, you will not be charged any interest. However, the promotional offer of the card is a deferred interest Offer, which means that the interest will not be waived but postponed until later. So if you don’t pay the amount owed before the promotional period ends, you will be charged interest on the original loan amount, not just the balance – which can be very expensive.

General 0% APR cards

Wells Fargo Reflect Card
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If you have unexpected medical expenses that warrant funding, consider a. decide 0% APR card which is accompanied by a long interest-free period. Such cards come with interest relief, which means that you will not be charged any interest during the promotional period. Thereafter, only interest will be credited to the remaining balance.

For example the $ 0-Annual fee Wells Fargo Reflect℠ map comes with a potential 21-month 0% APR on both purchases and credit transfers: 0% introductory APR for 18 months from account opening for purchases and qualifying credit transfers, and then an ongoing APR of 12.99% – 24.99% Variable APR. Intro APR extension for up to 3 months with on-time minimum payments during the introductory and extension periods.

DOL is delaying enforcement of fiduciary rules until 2022


The Department of Labor is extending its grace period for those who work to comply with the fiduciary rule passed in the last few weeks the Trump administration.

While the rule about exceptions for prohibited transactions came into force in February This year, DOL originally gave trustees an assurance that they would have until December 20, 2021 to comply before the department considers prosecuting them for non-compliance.

But lobbyists and advocates claimed the industry needed more time to comply with the rule, and the DOL responded by extending the exemption period to the end of January 2022. In addition, the DOL announced that it would not enforce the specific documentation and disclosure requirements related to rollovers until the end of June next year.

“The class exemption provides meaningful protection for individual investors, and we continue to emphasize the importance of compliance,” said Ali Khawar, assistant secretary of the Employee Benefits Securities Administration, in a statement on the extension. “Based on the concerns raised, we have come to the conclusion that it is appropriate to provide additional transition relief to financial institutions that work in good faith to build systems that meet the exemption conditions.”

The rule, entitled “Improving Investment Advice for Employees and Retirees”, was originally written proposed in summer 2020 (after a federal appeals court shot down the Obama administration’s version of an escrow rule in 2018). Then-sec. Eugene Scalia claimed the new rule brought the guidelines of the DOL in line with the Best Interest Regulation of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The rule allows trustees to receive partial compensation from third parties for recommending certain investments if they adhere to a set of “impartial standards of conduct”. Although some wondered if the Biden government would allow it to go into effect, DOL announced it in February and allowed the Temporary Enforcement Policy which said DOL would not pursue enforcement of the rule provided the trustees worked “hard and in good faith ”to abide by staying in effect through December 20th.

A number of industry groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Financial Services Institute, and the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) sent a letter to the department in September calling on DOL to extend its guidance beyond December 20, arguing that extending it would “reduce consumer confusion and disruption”. In its own statement this week, DOL acknowledged that the December expiration date created “practical difficulties” for the institutes.

“These institutions have expressed particular concern that they would incur significant additional disclosure dissemination costs as December 20 is inconsistent with the regular disclosure cycle,” the statement said. “They also claimed that the expiration date would make it difficult to perform the required retrospective review on a calendar year basis.”

The DOL noted that the institutions argued that the rules for rollover recommendations were problematic and that they would have difficulty putting systems in place that would adequately comply by the December deadline. In a previous conversation with WealthManagement.com, named Jason Berkowitz, IRI’s Chief Legal and Regulatory Affairs Officer, rollovers as a worrying issue.

Berkowitz said advisors recommending rollover for clients of 401 (k) s in IRAs should be able to point out the contradictions between the options, but 401 (k) disclosure statements are not necessarily accessible, and firms are becoming an automated technology solution need in place. Otherwise, DOL risked trustees making lots of back-of-the-napkin sketches for clients who lacked consistency.

“There won’t be as much scrutiny within the oversight structure to ensure that information is presented accurately and appropriately,” said Berkowitz.

While the relief in the rollover requirements will be extended to June 30, 2022, the DOL affirmed that the relief in all other aspects will usually end on February 1 next year.

8 surprising household items you can sell for quick buck


Anneka / Shutterstock.com

As a long-time collector and reseller, I am constantly on the lookout for “sleeping items” – ordinary household goods that bring unusual prices on the resale market.

While other pickers are busy finding that one big score, I like to focus on the humble items that have a quiet but fanatical fan base.

Take a look around your own home. Does every drawer turn into a scrap drawer? Does your guest room look like an ad for Storage Wars? Why not clean up and make a few extra bucks along the way?

While eBay is my one-stop shop for selling online, Etsy works just as well. It is no longer exclusively for handcrafted goods. For larger pieces that would be difficult to ship, consider Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist.

Below are some surprising household items that you can sell for quick buck.

1. Lamp end pieces

End pieces are the often ignored threaded pieces that attach the lampshade to the lamp harp.

Plain metal caps are a dozen, but decorative brass, glass, crystal, and porcelain end pieces are consistently hot sellers at my online resale store. In fact, I often buy old lamps for a dollar or two for the end pieces only.

When you have a few disused lights in your basement or garage, take a look at the hardware.

Antique end pieces usually fetch higher prices. Frosted glass tails from the 1930s cost $ 30 to $ 50 each. But contemporary design is also in demand. In 2019, I sold a pair of modern brass pineapple tails on eBay for $ 32.

2. Swing-A-Way can opener

Swing-A-Way has been producing the classic manual can opener for decades. Although the style hasn’t changed much, manufacturing has shifted overseas.

Older models from the 1960s and 1970s are made of all-steel construction, have rubberized handles in different colors and are clearly marked “Made in USA”.

Shoppers love older Swing-A-Ways because they’re built like tanks and will last a lifetime. If you need to clean up a little clutter in the kitchen, this symbol of practical and effective design should not be overlooked.

Rubberized handles in bright colors such as red, blue and green sell best. I saw a vintage swing-a-way with royal blue rubber handles fetch $ 24.99 on eBay.

3. Ice scoops

An ice cream scoop is similar to an ice cream scoop, but shallower – imagine a scoop-spatula hybrid.

The best spades were made by a company called Vernco and made from solid stainless steel with rosewood or walnut handles.

Again, the simple design and amazing craftsmanship of these paraphernalia continue to attract buyers willing to pay $ 15-20 for a spade in great condition. With prices so sweet, who needs ice cream?

4. Vintage box cutter

There’s a collectors’ market for everything – even vintage box cutters. And as with most other collectibles, make, model, and rarity are everything.

Find Stanley Tools utility knives in your workshop or garage. The 199 and 299 models are particularly popular.

I saw a Model 299 with additional blades sell for $ 35.99 on eBay. Who would have thought that such modest items could bring such handsome prices?

5. Glass thermometer

The glass oral thermometers that older generations relied on have largely been replaced by digital versions. But there is still a strong – dare I say “feverish” – market for old-fashioned mercury-in-jar models.

With their simple, battery-free operation, all brands sell well. But check your medicine cabinet for thermometers from the three most popular brands:

  • BD (Becton, Dickinson and Co.)
  • Pymm
  • Faichney

I saw a single vintage BD thermometer with a protective cover fetch $ 29.99 on eBay.

6. Antique mason jars

A few generations ago, preserving vegetables, fruits and meat was part of everyday life. Glass mason jars from Kerr, Ball, Mason, and Putnam were handy items that helped families keep food safe.

Today, these household items are in great demand because of their rarity and simple beauty.

Buyers prefer glasses with original zinc or glass lids and pay an extra charge for unusual colors such as lime green, amber, purple and blue.

I saw a # 4 blue half pint ball glass sell for $ 134.99 on eBay, and a Putnam Model # 333 amber glass fetched $ 160. The lesson? Sometimes the simplest things are worth the most.

7. Vintage Polaroid Cameras and Films

Almost everyone has a box full of outdated technology. And if you’re old enough, yours might have a Polaroid camera or two.

Although most models resell for a meager $ 5 to 10, there are a few exceptions:

  • The Polaroid SX-70 is a collectible and can fetch $ 100 to $ 300 – or more if you have the original leather travel bag.
  • The Polaroid SLR 680 – which has a sonar range finder and an autofocus lens – typically resells for $ 250 to $ 300.

Do you have a couple of unused 668 and 669 film packs? Don’t Throw Them! A single pack of color film can cost anywhere from $ 20 to $ 30 on eBay.

8. Kirby vacuum cleaner

I always joke that there is more metal in a Kirby vacuum than in most new cars. But this durable construction is one of the reasons The Kirby Co. has existed for more than 100 years.

When compared to other popular vacuum cleaners, Kirby models are a bit unwieldy and their numerous attachments can be daunting. Nevertheless, vintage models retain their value. The Kirby G3, G4, and G5 – produced in the 1990s – can fetch $ 150 to $ 250 online.

If you’ve stashed an old Kirby in the hallway closet, it may be time to pull it out and cash it in.

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