Five Things in Your Purse that Can Make You Richer

You see women at the mall weighed down with handbags slung over their shoulder while trying to balance car keys and packages. You see women lug around clutches in one hand and baby strollers in the other. Everywhere we go, our purses go too. Purses are our daily luggage, our security blankets, crammed full of stuff we think we might need in an emergency away from home. And most of us haven’t really taken a good look at what we’ve got packed away in the bottom of our bags in months, maybe years.

As gas prices rise, and the economy tightens, now might be a good time to search through our purses, handbags, wallets and pocketbooks to find some gems we may have unwittingly let go to waste. Here’s a list of five things you might find in your purse that could make you richer.

1.Unopened Cosmetics.
We’ve all had a well-meaning friend or relative give us cosmetics that we knew instantly, we were never going to use. My mother-in-law thinks my skin tone is about three shades darker than it really is, and periodically buys me make-up that I just can’t wear. Recently, she gave me a compact facial-powder which I dumped in my purse after giving her polite thanks for her thoughtfulness, and then proceed to forget all about. Imagine my surprise when I was browsing Ebay one day, and found that exact same facial-powder selling for 15 bucks. Go through your purse and collect all of the unopened cosmetics that you know you’ll never use, take a few snapshots of them with your digial camera, and throw them up on Ebay. You’ll make a few bucks that you can squirrel away for a rainy day, and declutter your purse in the process.

2.Coins.
Fess up. How many nickels, dimes, quarters and pennies have fallen into the crevices of your handbag never to be seen or heard from again? Does your purse jingle when you walk? Do you need a zippered compartment to keep your change from falling out whenever you drop your purse? If so, it’s time to do a little housecleaning. Over the course of a few months, change that we get returned to us from toll booths, stores, and gas stations accumulate. We keep telling ourselves that one day we’ll get to the bank, get our hands on those paper rolls, and sit down and organize all our coins so that we can deposit them in our accounts. Well . . . get real. If you don’t have the time to clean your coins out of your purse on a regular basis, you don’t have time wait in line at the bank during the two hours they’re actually open and you’re not at work. You don’t have time to horse around with counting rolls of pennies. Put the coins into a plastic bag, bring them to the nearest CoinStar Machine, and dump them in the basket. The machine will charge you a nominal percentage fee for cleaning, sorting, and depositing your change-and in return, it’ll hand you a receipt for cold hard cash that you can redeem at the register.

3.Coupons.
If you shop at large grocery chains, every time they hand you a receipt, they’re going to hand you a strip of coupons with it. No doubt, you shove these into a pocket of your purse, and forget all about them. Make a weekly habit of emptying your coupons from your purse into a box or bin dedicated solely to coupons. The next time you’re about to go shopping, peruse the coupon box or bag for anything that might save you money. If you don’t have time to sort them, then just make a habit of doing it while you’re in line at the checkout counter. Go rifling through the coupons in the coupon section of your purse, and see what you find that might save you a few cents. As my mother likes to say, take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.

4.Pad and Paper.
It’s good to keep a small notebook in your purse, because when you’re out in the world, that’s when you’re bound to make clever observations. Magazines and publications throughout the country, and even the world, are always looking for filler-witty little sayings, jokes overheard, pithy anecdotes about daily life and people. You can earn cash by emailing just a few words a week.

5.Paper Clips.
You think I’m joking. But what if I told you that starting with one red paperclip, one enterprising individual was able to make a series of trades that eventually bought him a house. Now, I’m not saying you should value the paperclips at the bottom of your purse like gold; I’m telling you not to overlook the potential of small and otherwise disposable items that you carry around with you every day. By keeping an open mind about who might need something you take for granted, and making wise exchanges, even something as little as a paper clip can make you richer.

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