Want to save money? Toss these 5 items while spring cleaning

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Expert Reveals Tips For 'Spring Cleaning' Your Finances

Temperatures are finally starting to feel like summer is around the corner, which means spring cleaning is in full effect. According to Statista, a statistics website, 72 percent of Americans took part in some form of spring purge in 2013, up 10 percent from the prior year. While your inner 16-year-old may still be clinging to that U2 Zootopia concert tee, keeping other items like aging gadgets, appliances and makeup may end up costing you.

Here are five ways to say goodbye to old stuff without causing a hole in your wallet:

Ditch the ancient electrical items and appliances. If you are a gadget and appliance aficionado, you live for new product launches. The opposite extreme is keeping outdated items in heavy rotation. According to a study from Energy.gov, appliances account for 13 percent of your household's energy costs; even more if you don't have EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) Energy Star-compliant items. The worst offenders include: dishwashers, air conditioners and washers and dryers. Likewise, an iPhone 4 uses more energy than an Energy Star-rated refrigerator (if you include wireless connections, data usage, and battery charging), according to Mark Mills, chief executive of Digital Power Group. Bottom line: If your gadgets are more than 5 years old or your appliances are so ancient they aren't Energy Star-certified, consider tossing or replacing them.

SEE MORE: 12 Ways to Save Money at Home

Say "no" to magazine purchases and subscriptions and go digital. If you still get magazines sent to your home every month, you aren't alone. On average, around 14 million people still subscribe to news magazines, according to a Pew Research Center study. This number is far less than it was 10 years ago and continues to decline as more people get their news digitally. (Case in point: You are reading this piece online, right?) Subscribing to two or more magazines can cost you upwards of $150 a year. Do you have a weekly habit of picking up the latest issue of Elle, Vogue and Wired while grabbing milk at the grocery store? In addition to causing massive clutter in your home, your average magazine costs $3.99. If you're grabbing three per week, you could spend well over $600 per year. Take this advice and go digital: It's cheaper and more environmentally friendly.

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Want to save money? Toss these 5 items while spring cleaning

Dog-sitting, babysitting, or house-sitting

These jobs are always in high demand, and the best part: you can name your price and create your own schedule! Post an ad on craigslist, or use your friends' and family's connections to get your name out there. 

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Rent out your space 

List your apartment on Airbnb or another rental site, and make some easy cash by staying at a friends and renting out your place for the weekend.

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Share your space

Just as you can rent out your full apartment or house, you can also post a free room (or even just your couch!) on sites like Craigslist or Airbnb. This way you can split your living expenses -- and maybe even make a new friend!

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Sell your body parts

Now here's a weird one: Donate your hair, breast milk, or even plasma for a profit. According to Grifols, if you're healthy and weigh above 110 pounds, you can earn up to $200 a month donating your plasma to life-saving medicine. 

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Sign up to participate in medical tests and clinical trials. 

Universities constantly need volunteers to test new medicines and treatments -- and because the pool of willing participants is limited, there is typically a large compensation for being a guinea pig. 

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Participate in a focus group

Companies and organizations will pay you to join a focus group. These can be conducted in person, online, or via phone. You will most likely be reimbursed in cash or gift cards -- plus, you often get to test out fun new products! 

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Take online surveys

Similar to focus groups, you can get paid to give your time and insights on an online questionairre. Plus, you can do this from the comfort of your couch. 

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Bank on your sperm

Although we don't necessarily recommend this option, there is a very high demand for healthy sperm donors. Keep in mind some of the obvious drawbacks, but sperm donation is non-invasive and highly compensated. 

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Crowdfund your dreams

Crowdfunding allows you to raise monetary contributions from a large group of people who want to support your venture. Post your project or idea on a crowdfund site, like GoFundMe.com, and see the cash pile up.

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Become a tutor

If you're qualified, post an ad online or on a community board to tutor children on their school courses or for the upcoming SATs.

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Get a part-time job

Capitalize your free time (on the weekends or after work hours) by working a part-time job. A bartender, waiter, or Uber driver are all great options for an additional source of income -- and great tips! 

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Resell tickets

Take this suggestion at your own risk: If you're staying within legal limits, buy tickets low and sell high as an effective way to source additional money. (Just make sure to check your state and local laws first!)

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You can sell anything on the internet these days... including your companionship! Get paid to go on a platonic outing for a few hours and enjoy your afternoon with a new friend. 

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Rent out your parking spot

Make sure to check with your landlord first, but if you have the option to park your own car further away, lend or share your parking space or driveway for the hour, day, or even month! 

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Keep a coin jar 

This one takes patience before a big pay out, but keep a spare jar or drawer for loose change that you usually toss anyway. It will keep it all in one place -- and those quarters do add up! 

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Make something to sell 

If you have a knack for arts & crafts, create jewelry or other handmade gifts to sell on sites filled with other thrifty vendors like Etsy

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Sell items online

This effective strategy requires low effort with a high return. Post photos of your used or non-used items on sites like eBay or Craigslist, and let the bidding begin! 

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Have a yard sale

Sell clutter you've been meaning to get rid of right in your front yard. This simple tactic is convenient, and guarantees a wad of cash right to your pocket.  

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Return past purchases

This tip may seem obvious, but is often overlooked: Take your recently-purchased items that are laying around back to the store for either store credit or a full refund. 

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Recycle scrap metal and cans

Collect cans and scrap metal out your own garbage, basement, and street and bring to your local recycler to exchange your findings for money.  

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Embrace and invest in new thermostat technology. Since temperatures are rising, the urge to keep the air blasting all day is strong. Don't. Turing off the air conditioner for up to 8 hours a day (say, while you're at the office) can cut your bill by 10 percent or more. Programmable thermostats are relatively inexpensive, with certain models priced under $25. Side note: This works for the winter, too.

EXPLORE MORE: 12 Habits of Phenomenally Frugal Families

Replace regular light bulbs with LED lights. LED lights may not be on your radar yet, but they should be. Let's break it down: LED bulbs last close to 20 years. While they may initially cost more than regular bulbs (they run, on average, $15 to $22), you won't have to replace them as frequently.

Throw out and replace old cosmetics often. Few things are worse than having to replace items from your makeup bag. But using old makeup not only leads to disappointment (items lose their potency over time), it could cause you to spend more to compensate for the loss in effectiveness. Studies have shown that makeup immediately oxidizes and degrades the minute you open the packaging, and after a couple of months, it can accumulate bacterial and fungal growth. Let's say you're cool with that, but fungal growth is now causing skin issues. There goes another $500 to try and rectify the problem. Do yourself and your wallet a favor: Throw out and replace anything that's more than a couple of months old, before bacteria wrecks your perfect skin and annual beauty budget.

SEE ALSO: 10 Quirky Ways to Save Money

Spring cleaning can be viewed as an annoying chore or the greatest purge of the year. If you would rather stick toothpicks in your eye than organize and clean, think about the potential savings you'll reap by setting aside a weekend to organize and purge. With the leftover money, you can celebrate not having to partake for another year!

RELATED: Check out 15 kitchen items you should throw away immediately:

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Want to save money? Toss these 5 items while spring cleaning


This should be an obvious one, but if you haven't even opened an item, definitely don't buy more. If you think you can use it, look around for a fun recipe. If not, toss it or donate it.


Leftovers make for a great lunch, but they can only last so long. Toss ones that smell or look funny.


Make sure to check the nutritional label on "low fat" foods. In many instances, sugar replaces the fat.


Super processed snacks are convenient, but not very healthy. There are a lot of recipes for snacks that don't come out of a box. Try making popcorn for a satisfying crunch.


There's no need to keep unhealthy candy around as a sweet temptation. Swap sugary candies out for dark chocolate to satisfy any springtime cravings.


Soda is okay for a treat, but it's not necessary to enjoy at home every day. In addition to hurting your teeth, soda has actually been found to increase appetite (even the diet kinds).


By now you've probably heard refined flour isn't the best for your health, so the white bread can go. Whole grain bread is a lot healthier and keeps you satisfied for longer.


If you can't tell what it is anymore or don't even remember freezing it, toss it. Make room in the freezer for things you'll actually eat, and try out a marking system to identify how long different foods have been in the freezer.


Unless you're a serious athlete or working out constantly, water is a perfectly acceptable post-workout drink. Sports drinks and flavored waters can have a deceptive amount of sugar in them, which can send you way over your recommended daily intake.


Sure, they have fewer calories than regular sugar, but many artificial sweeteners are filled with chemicals, and since they're lower in calories, sometimes you end up wanting to eat more.


Sadly, herbs older than six months begin to lose their flavor. So if you've been storing that parsley for a while, it's probably best to let it go.


Margarine can have high levels of trans fats, which experts believe raise cholesterol.


Unlike certain cheeses where you can cut off the moldy portion and continue eating, you should probably avoid eating produce with mold on it. Definitely throw out fruits and veggies that have started showing signs of mold.


Many studies have found that meat isn't always good for you. Deli meat is particularly unsavory because it often contains nitrates.


While bars can be great quick snacks, it's generally better to stick to real food. Like other processed foods, energy bars can contain a lot of hidden sugars and fat.


Copyright 2016 U.S. News & World Report

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