The stock market has become a volatile and unpredictable for average investors to gamble their hard-earned dollars. Savings accounts and CDs are completely useless, as average interest rates continue to hover slightly below one percent. Sound options have grown thin for families looking to secure their financial futures, while earning a few extra bucks at the same time. Those willing to think outside the box and take some unconventional steps can start saving immediately. Thought it may sound like the thinking of someone with schizophrenia symptoms, you may be setting yourself up for long-term financial security and stability.
Find out now: How should I save for retirement?
Solar power gets most of the attention from green energy advocates as the alternative energy of the future. But you can only efficiently collect power from the sun for one-third or less of every 24 hour day. Wind power can potentially be produced all day and night, while emitting zero greenhouse gases. Obviously, the amount of electricity produced depends greatly on weather conditions. Wind turbines are best suited for those living in windy places like the Midwest or cities like Chicago that get lake winds.
An 1,800-watt wind turbine could easily power a low-wattage refrigerator and several electronic devices. You could also run all your lights off the inverter and cut that portion of your energy usage from the utility bill. A high-wattage, good-quality turbine will cost around $2,000. The average American paid around $1,419 for a year of electricity in 2011, according to a USA Today analysis. Your utility bills will be lower and the turbine will pay for itself within 18 months. Unplugging alarm clocks, microwaves, washers, and other appliances that use energy while not in use will save you even more.
You are likely to earn about as much interest on your money in a savings account as you would by stuffing it in your mattress. A better option is to purchase precious metals. US Money Reserve and even local dealers sell gold and silver coins at cost, plus a small commission (which should never be more than 5 percent). You could either buy your own waterproof, fireproof safe to store your metals, or pay a bank to rent a safe deposit box. The price of gold nearly doubled from 2009 to 2012, and has held steady around $1,600 for most of 2013. Silver is far more affordable at $29 per ounce as of early March, while tripling in price in that same time period as gold. The global currency wars are bringing the price of both metals down. Now is the time to take advantage of the global market and stock up at a bargain.
A good number of American households already have aquariums with various species of fish in them. Quadruple the size of your operation, commit to one species of fish (rainbow trout maybe), and you have just created a renewable food source. Of course, there is a bit more to it than sprinkling fish food in the tank a few times a week and cleaning it once a month. There are several universities and colleges that offer online courses on aquaponics, that will also cover cultivating edible plants. The food you produce will be healthy, free from steroids and pesticides and will ultimately cut a chunk out of your grocery bills.
Making and saving money is no longer as simple as working 9 to 5 and stashing your earnings in the bank. The more unorthodox you’re willing to be, the higher your potential returns can be.