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Making ends meet in 2012

Let's face it, 2011 was a tough year for everyone and more than a few have had to put a squeeze on the household budget. Fuel prices going up, increased unemployment, groceries costing more, all of these contributed to a year we would rather forget. While the outlook for 2012 doesn’t look much better, with every new year comes a new chance to change one’s own circumstances; as the saying goes -new year, new beginning.

 

So why not include some of these money-saving and money-making ideas:

Recycle what you no longer need

You could be sitting on a bit of extra cash without even being aware of it. Give your home a good sorting from top to bottom and put aside any items you no longer use - or need. This could be anything from a cell phone that has been replaced, jewellery you never wear, clothes that no longer fit, or furniture you don't have space for. There are plenty of places to drop off your items in exchange for cash, or sell them online. Check out gumtree.co.za, locanto.co.za or bidorbuy.co.za for online places to sell your items.

Craft a money-making business

Get paid to do something you love! Crafting has always been a great way to make extra cash and have a bit of fun at the same time and the Internet allows you to do both from home. Create a webpage where you can offer your goodies for sale. It's not that difficult and you will learn something new at the same time. There are plenty of online sites that offer ready-made webpages or will host a website for you.

For ideas and inspiration visit the etsy.com website. Launched in 2005, Etsy is an online community for buying and selling homemade and vintage items. The success of Etsy proves that there will always be a market for items homemade and unique.

One craft in particular that I know will do well is to manufacture slipcovers for furniture.

I often receive enquiries for where to buy slipcovers and know of no one that actually fulfills this need.

You could offer a unique service that includes custom slipcovers for dining chairs, sofas and ottomans, or even slipcovers for a headboard.

Another idea is quilted bedspreads. Vintage bedspreads are always in demand, and with more people looking for organic and natural options, a 100% cotton quilted bedspread is sure to sell well, as are quilted bed linen for a nursery or children's bedroom.

Create a range of tablecloths, table runners and table linen that cannot be bought in a home store. Linen, cotton, and canvas are natural fabrics that are easy to care for and look stunning.

Organic fabrics transformed into home decor accessories are guaranteed to be hot sellers. We are all looking for natural and earth-friendly options for home decor. Consider making burlap and canvas cushions, floorcloths or window treatments.

Even if you don't want to use your crafting talent as a full-time opportunity, there's still ways to make and sell as you craft. Use your imagination and research your craft to determine a demand.