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How to Make More Writing Money by Shopping
by Jennifer Brown Banks

Admit it. For years you’ve been trying to justify your shopping sprees. To others you’ve rationalized that it’s “therapeutic,” that the mad dashing from store to store and aisle to aisle even keeps you in good physical shape. You’ve even rationalized how strategic bargain hunting can ultimately save you and your family money.

But to the average spouse this is probably a “hard sell.” However, (smart) shopping can actually be a way to increase your base of creative ideas and your bottom line if approached correctly.

Here’s an example.

I’m a big fan of shopping at (quality) thrift stores and antique outlets. At a trip to one of my regular local spots, I happened to browse their video section and came up with about a half-dozen 30 minute tapes on fitness and exercising. This collection included Richard Simmons and the ever-popular Tae Bo workout. The cost came out to about $6.00 including tax.

I watched them, compared the level of difficulty, penned a 500 word review for a singles’ publication, and earned 50 bucks for “exercising” a little creativity.

Here are a few other ways to cash in on your next shopping trip.

  1. Consumer Reviews—Whether it’s dining at a local restaurant, purchasing toys for little Tommy, or test driving new cars, take note. The cool thing about this type pf writing is that it doesn’t require any “expertise” or major time investment. Think about it. How many times have you bought something that you boasted to friends about? Or perhaps you’ve had a bad experience and had to craft a complaint letter. The sky’s the limit. Do tell.

  2. Shopping Tips—Can you stretch a dollar like African-rubber? Feed a family of six on a shoe string budget? Have a system for organizing coupons? Turn your know-how into net worth through essays, how-tos, and helpful hints fillers.

  3. Fashion Finds—Where’s the best place for women to buy blue jeans that flatter their figure? Which stores have great return policies and helpful staff? What local spot lets you be a diva on a dime? This valuable information is sure to find a home at places like Lucky Magazine, Consumer Reports, or many general interest magazines for women.

  4. Do-It-Yourself Wisdom—“Kids do not try this at home!” Share horror stories or humorous anecdotes you might have from Home Depot and a not-so-handy husband’s attempt to repair plumbing. Or perhaps you’re a gadget “guru”. Your reflections and revelations can help others to make their learning curve shorter, and save time and money.

  5. Paper or Plastic?—Are you a “conscious consumer?” Buy green products? How are they different? What effect do they have on the environment? What resources are available to learn more? Was the transition an easy one? Your green lifestyle can earn you green! Weigh in.

By following these five tips, you’ll never experience true “buyer’s remorse” again. Not to mention, shopping stimulates the economy.

Keep in mind that “you have to spend money to make money.” And if you’re reading this article, it’s proof positive that this system works. It just paid for my “after-the-holiday” shopping excursion.

© Copyright 2010, Jennifer Brown Banks

Jennifer Brown Banks is the former senior editor of Mahogany Magazine. She holds a B.A. in Business Management and blogs at Penandprosper.blogspot.com

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