Buy Tools Not Toys

When it comes to buying something new for yourself, do you ever consider if that thing could make you money? I mean, wouldn’t it make sense to buy something that was a tool and not a toy?

When Grandma sends you a care package at college and includes some cash, what do you spend that money on? I know I spent any extra cash on pizza, but that was before I realized how crippling my college debt was.

So here is where I am going with this question. There are some possessions that have the ability to earn money for you. Some would call them an asset, but they are worth far more than their face value. They provide you with a way to make money because they are tools.

Let me give you some examples:

Lawn Mower

As a student, perhaps one of the quickest ways to turn your hard work into cash would be with a lawn mower. You can find them used for $60 or maybe less. Ten lawns a week at $30 each is good money. Not a bad way to spend your pizza money.

Find an elderly couple within two blocks of the school, offer to mow their lawn for free in exchange for a corner of their garage to store your mower.

Shovel and Ice Chisel

Where I come from, there is lots of snow on the ground for most of the school year. A shovel and ice chisel can be be purchased for very little, especially if you find them used. These can definitely be turned into money when combined with hard work. Your ROI will be huge!

When I was a married student, I shoveled driveways and sidewalks between classes for grocery money. Those were desperate times, but I learned how important it was to find a way to make money.


Yes, I know that a “grocery getter” has a cool factor of zero, but it is possibly the best tool for making money. Most college students need transportation of some kind anyhow. Why not buy something that can literally be the difference in making money or not.

Any service business you start will be made easier with a minivan. You could haul around your lawn mower with it. You could be a window washer, house cleaner or handyman. All these and more could be facilitated with a minivan.

Inflatable Rental

Last year I bought a high quality bounce castle and have rented it out dozens of times in the last two summers. It paid for itself in less than three months. While this took more than pizza money to buy, it could be a perfect college student business with a little planning. (Guess what, we deliver the castle to our customers in our MINIVAN!)

Hopefully this post will give you some motivation to buy tools not toys. If you have the choice, I recommend purchasing the tool every time.

Do some brainstorming of your own. What tools do you already have that could be turned into a business? Do you have a trailer? What about a cooler? (selling ice cream treats) How about a sewing machine? Construction tools? Laptop to buy and sell used merchandise.

If you don’t have the cash to buy the tool you need now, what about renting it in the meantime, or better yet, borrowing it? Get creative, and make this thing happen!

Need some help with an idea? Leave a comment below and I will help you out. Let’s connect on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for reading!

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About The Author

Duane Rockensock

Duane (Rocky) Rockensock is a husband, a dad, and the National Reconditioning Manager for AmeriGas Propane. Since he was a teenager, Duane has loved hearing the stories of how people have started creative businesses or found ways to use their talents to accomplish amazing things. For that reason he started this blog to encourage teens and adults to find their purpose and to provide the tools and resources to make that happen!