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Money Makers: Making extra cash often ends up costing you more

The idea of saving money is pretty much spelled out in the name alone and actually is quite simple when you do the math.

Income minus expenses equals profit. Often where the masses struggle is the expenses aspect of their budget, specifically exceeding them either by a few hundred dollars or by gross amounts of money.

Reactions to losing money can vary incredibly based on your financial aptitude. The more savvy consumers tend to start cutting expenses, even where it hurts.

Yes, that means your shopping spree set for “Black Friday” is off the books for now until you get situated financially. And, with the holidays coming, you don't have to necessarily be the Scrooge of the family, but they'll need to know that you won't be spending, or overspending, your usual amount.

Those who aren't ready to throw in the white towel as it relates to admitting that they're overspending tend to think outside the box, which isn't always a good thing.

You see auction sites and garage sales tend to be so remarkably appealing to the masses who might be deep into credit card debt or struggle financially on a month to month basis but believe wholeheartedly that these quick fixes can alleviate all their money woes and worries.

The problem with the garage sale for example is the bad tends to outweigh the good. Think about the average newspaper ad for a garage sale, still the typical means of promotion, costs around $100. Let's say you take the time to dust off all your old “vintage” items and believe you have enough worthwhile items to make this endeavor a profitable one.

The issue might be how others view what you have. Garage sales are tailor made for bargain shoppers, so if you believe that hardly used sofa is worth $200, you'll be lucky if you get an offer of $50. And that still is a big maybe.

In the end, your garage sale might only net you a profit of a few bucks and when you subtract your time, you really don't have much to show for it other than a being minus a few shirts, a lamp here or there and perhaps a bed set you could have done without, but hardly the haul you expected.

Furthermore, eBay and auction sites take a portion of not only what your final sell price is but also charge an upfront listing fee. The tendency of those in desperate need of cash is to sell low and keep the shipping number reasonable, if not under what the actual cost will be. Let's say you sell a DVD box set of a television series for $20, but only price it at $4 to ship. For example, eBay takes a few dollars to list, plus another percentage when you sell it. And let's not forget about PayPal, another entity that takes a dollar or two. So that's $6 off the $20 total, plus your $4 shipping amount you thought ends up being closer to $8. That leaves you with a paltry $10 profit on a box set you probably paid five times as much for initially.

Hardly the windfall you were expecting. And that's why the safer bet is to budget accordingly and leave the sales and subsequent money making tricks to the experts.

Home Despair: Saving money on home can be dicey situation

Everyone interested in saving money looks just about everywhere to find a few dollars to spare or expenses to cut, even if it means going without or using every skill imaginable, even if it isn't necessarily one that isn't one of your strong suits.

The expense cutting is rather simple when you consider all of what you're paying for and ultimately determine what is needed versus what is considered expendable or, perhaps a luxury. Your rent, car payment, utilities, food and gas probably can't be manipulated much (aside from maybe taking the bus a few days per week).

The real cost cutting comes in the form of restaurant dining, cable television or phone bills, the frills of spending money on clothing or taking vacations when the “staycation” is your most viable option.

The restaurant dining is an interesting point based on the idea that those aforementioned skills you might want to tap into could come into play in a positive way. Let's say you start using that expensive at home interest service to start researching recipes and that translates into buying food to prepare and cook versus the huge markup that is restaurant food.

Seems simple enough, right?

The dicey part comes when you start looking around the house at home repairs that seem easy enough to tackle but ultimately could lead to you causing more harm than good. That equates to not saving money but rather having to spend more to have a qualified repair person do what you couldn't.

When it comes to saving money on your home as it relates to fixing it in truthfully any room, you not only have to rely on your skills but tap into those of the people who work at various home improvement retailers. They're often not prepared to tell you home to build an entire home addition or even an outside deck, but they can be a money saving resource of the rudimentary.

Fixing a leaky sink pipe or drain, repairing the runny toilet tank with a new “flusher” or even that stubborn drip on your air conditioning unit are the kind of run of the mill messes that you can tidy up rather easily with either the help of a Home Depot or Lowes personnel or just assessing the situation with common sense and the little bit of do it yourself wherewithal that you already possess. Often things might need an inexpensive washer, plastic fitting or just a quick tightening. In those instances, your money is better spent buying what you need and avoiding the high cost of hourly work that typically comes with at home repairs on any level.

Leaving it to the professionals always is a prudent move but not all incidence or issues require that kind of money out of pocket. Saving money starts with surveying what you have on your plate first before you start shelling out cash for perceived convenience.

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