Is Silver Worth Its Weight In Gold?

I am a fan of Youtube. I love watching regular people helping others learn h

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A jeweler’s loop is a great tool for finding silver coins

ow to do what seemed impossible to an untrained person. From how to earn money to changing the fuse in your dryer, Youtube’s got a how-to and I applaud all those brave enough for the comments. One of my favorite channels on Youtube is “Ask Jeff Williams“. This guy is a gold miner and he has some of the cheesiest, entertaining and educational videos around to show people where and how to find gold. Watching him one day, I started seeing a lot of videos for silver “stackers” (people who stack large quantities of silver bars and coins for future use). Many doomsday preppers like stacking silver; there belief is that the gold market will crash, US currency will crash and all that will be left to buy with is silver.  Then there are those who just like to buy and sell silver for a profit, (probably selling a lot to these preppers!) The truth is silver is a profitable trade, and something that can be done part-time to make a little bit of extra cash. There are many options in finding silver to sell. Here are a few of them:

  • Fifty cent pieces: Many silver stackers purchase boxes of fifty cent pieces from their bank, pull out any pieces pre-1964 for the silver content and deposit the rest of them back into their account. Many suggest you buy them at a different bank than you deposit them so you don’t get the same box when you go to buy more. Some dimes have silver in them as well and you can do a similar thing with them. You can find the value of your change here.
  •  Garage Sales: This is my personal favorite. People sell broken jewelry, silver-ware and other silver pieces for cents on the dollar at garage sales. Another one of my favorite Youtube channels is “Silverpicker”who has lots of tips and tricks for garage sale finds. I suggest you watch his videos to see what kind of silver you want to look for.
  • Flea Markets: Flea markets are sometimes good and sometimes not. Some of the trendy “antique” malls know what they have and sell them at prices accordingly. Other, small town flea markets, people will sell items cheaper and you can find some good treasures there.
  • Silver-Plated v. Sterling Silver: Not all silver is made alike, but with effort, both can be valuable. Sterling silver is the grade A silver you want to look for. Silver-plated items take work and effort to get the silver off of them. Many people use chemicals to remove the silver from plated items, this isn’t to be done lightly. Noxious fumes and poisonous chemicals are not for a novice. But I did see a guy use a dremel tool and grind away the silver, then have it smelted down. *remember that sterling silver is not magnetic; a strong magnet can help you determine the value of the silver piece.
  • E-bay and smelting: Once you have your silver, you are going to want to have a smelter you can trust, especially if you have to ship him your silver and expect him to send you silver bars in return. If you sell your silver directly to him, you’ll want the weight of your objects in ounces, you’ll want to know the silver price for that day. In other words, know your stuff before you go to get rid of your silver. Many people also sell their junk silver, bars and coins on e-bay. Which is a very profitable way of doing it.

The price of silver has gone down within the last five years; like a lot. It is now only about 17.50 an ounce, compared to gold’s 1275.00 an ounce. So today, silver is not worth it’s weight in gold, unless you have 72.86 oz of silver. Man, that’s a lot of silver! But here’s the beauty of it all and why many of these guys are called “stackers”. You can buy this stuff for cheap over long periods of time, stack it away, and wait for that price to come back up before you sell or just sell it on e-bay to get a better price. In 2011, silver was at 42.58 an oz, so it is possible to make good money with silver, and some people find it easier to get silver than gold. Also, looking into other countries’ markets, silver is doing better, but buying in another market is way out of my league!

There are many things to ponder when considering silver as an equitable source, time, effort, money, worth, but I’m the kind of person who sees $17.50 as more money than what I had before. If I’m already looking at garage sales and happen to see some nice silver jewelry for fifty cents, I’m going to buy it. If nothing else, if it’s a pretty piece, I might just sell the jewelry to a jeweler, or on e-bay, or one of my flea-marketeers I know.

I also think a box of half dollars would be a nice gift to give my kid for his birthday. We have sat at the kitchen table many a day looking for imperfections in our change, or that rare coin that might bring him an extra $5.00. It gives us a “cents” of adventure; those are memories I get to share with him always and that’s worth all the money in the world.

Garage Sales: A Lucrative Business?

Build it, the weekend garage sale warriors will come!

garageIs it possible that garage sales could be a lucrative business opportunity?  Perhaps not having a garage sale every day is ideal; however, if you leased a building to sellers, you might find that is.

When I was a child, I lived in a small community in North Texas where garage sales were common on the weekends.  There was a place that you could lease to house your sale. Simple in design, the building was a small one-room, cement floor, brick building with a small bathroom and clothes racks on the walls and tables cemented in the floor. Designated times were rented for a menial fee plus a deposit and the renter was responsible for their own cleanup. There was usually a garage sale on Saturday and Sunday after church and a larger sale was both days.

This place was always booming with customers because it was the one place in town you knew you could check out and the  sellers always made very good money. The one who profited the most from this was the owner of the business considering  overhead only consisted of property fees and a menial utility bill.

Perhaps being a business owner is not something you are interested in. Consider the tax benefits. If you rent the building, all or part of the rent is deductible, your overhead is deductible, insurance, taxes, and interest are all tax deductible. If the building is at your home and is solely used for the garage sale business, part of your household expenses, such as a percentage of your utilities, are also deductible. For a full list of deductible items you can visit www.irs.gov.

There are pros and cons to owning this kind of business. Pro: maybe you like to go out of town on the weekends and you’re not interested in waiting around for someone to pay or bring you a key. No problem! Create a drop box or arrange pick up and drop off of keys during the week. The building may not be in use for five days, you can always go and check on the property Monday night. Con: considering this is only a part time business, I wouldn’t quit my day job just yet. A business such as this may not bring in a full time income, but the extra cash is less hassle than being a weekend landlord and the tax benefits far outweigh driving a pizza delivery truck .

If you don’t have the start up money consider finding an investor or a partner that you can buy out later, or keep them on and split the profits. Also, since the real estate market is so poor right now, you may be able to get a good deal on the property or consider renting the building yoursel for the tax benefits. Remember, the business can be used for more than just garage sales. Maybe you can find a leasor who sells antiques out of it Monday through Friday or create storage for tables and clothes racks and rent it out as a social hall during the week and on the evenings or use it for your own mini-store and sell your own products. It’s your building, do what you need to do to make the money.

The key to making this business work is location, tax deductions, and small overhead. Build it, the weekend garage sale warriors will come!