Vintage Scrapbooks Hidden Cash


Here is a vintage idea that has nothing to do with artistic scrapbooks.

An old fellow revealed that, as a young man, he had sought old magazines and newspapers of every description. Each page was studied for its value. He would snip out recipes, hints, facts, historical information... anything that might prove to be worth a penny sometime in the future. He used cheap but sturdy brown-paper scrapbooks which withstood the years of handling. An index was compiled so he could locate anything in a snap. This clever chap then made useful little booklets on every topic that people sought but had no time to look up. These he sold through small ads in newspapers. The postage amounted to a business-sized envelope and he kept the price of the booklet irresistibly low.

Over the years he counted up a little fortune, because although he was employed on a modest income, he made use of the hours that others let slip away. His outlay was minimal, and, being economically-minded, he purchased all his requirements for production at the lowest price. He created a second income by offering busy people a convenient and cheap answer to everyday questions such as:

"How can I grow prize tomatoes?"
"What is the secret ingredient in Aunt Betty's ginger cake?"
"How do I mend stockings invisibly and keep my wardrobe in order?"
"I want to start a toy train collection. Where do I begin?"
"Can I sew soft toys at home for profit?"
"What are some gifts that can be made at the last minute?"
"I can't seem to save. I constantly rob my money-bank."
"I need beauty tips."
"Is there some magic in producing magnificent roses?"
"How do I handle those daily disasters like milk splashed on the carpet?"
"Our bedroom needs pretty touches but I haven't spare money."
"What is the most effective system for cleaning the car?"
"I have a large bag of fabric scraps. How can I make clothes from these?"
"I have very little to live on and have to get the most from everything."
"My backyard is tiny. Is there a way of supplying my family with vegetables and eggs?"
"Is there money to be had in selling flowers?"
"Ways of using the garage for money-making?"
"What is a suitable small business the whole family could run?"
"I would like to make extra cash on the weekends."
"I can't get involved in any schemes that require an outlay."
"I have a knack for fixing appliances and those annoying, odd jobs."
"I enjoy weeding and want to earn some Saturday cash."
"Everyone says I do a perfect job painting a room."
"Could I set up an ironing service?"
"I receive great compliments on my fete and fair treats. I know they would sell fast."
"I want to earn money with an unusual hobby; something different."
"Beautiful items can be crafted from the sea. How do I start?"
"I love ancient history. How can I turn that into an income?"
"Over the years I collected all sorts of books. Could I run a library?"
"Writing western fiction is my hobby. How do you sell these?"
"For generations my family held on to anything useful. I live in the same old home and have
boxes of Victorian photographs. Could these be used without selling the original?"
"I want to try knitting for money and need a nutshell lesson booklet so I can start earning fast."
"I am a single woman, working in a busy drapery store and my means are slender indeed, yet I want to leap
ahead in life. How do I achieve success?"
"As an excellent, efficient typist, I was wondering if I could offer such a service from home?"
"Most letterboxes are sad and inadequate. How do I make a jolly one?"
"I like lucky charms. Is there a booklet on making a variety of them?"
"I have sold lots of things in my local paper, it seems to be almost a business. Could it be?"
"What can I do with a lot of glass jars? I don't like throwing things out."
"I want a handy booklet of economical sandwich-spread recipes for children's school lunches."
"Are there tips for making everything last longer?"

The old man revealed his best-sellers were the Depression Booklets. This salted information was eagerly gathered during the years when you had to be quite clever to eat and live. He aquired the knowledge of his grandfather who, through necessity, cracked the secret of survivial. He created sidewalk salads and helped himself to fruit from neglected trees. Food may be scrounged everywhere, if only you hunted. So those who coddled themselves went hungry.

You never know when skinny days will return. A Victorian lady remarked that she learned practical needlework because one never knows... someday you may be toiling at the end of a needle. So, secure your comfortable life now. The financial world that totters at its whim will not bruise you.

There is a game from the old-hard-days that cunning ones still play. It is variously called multiplying a penny, or pick up the first five cents. It consists of a concrete habit. You strike a starting point of keeping the first five cent piece you find on a road. It must be sought, not taken from your purse. Wash it well and perfume it (natural, essential oil). Figure out a way to increase its worth. It doesn't matter what you do... turn it over in a sale etc. Keep this up and you will soon have compounded the five cents. With the penny, find ways to expand its worth. Buy or make something to sell with the penny. Hold back the profit and re-invest. You cannot use the savings, but must take a new penny each time. Next, do this with several pennies.

In 1850 a poor shopkeeper took a penny and purchased an attractive bottle of talcum powder from a supplier. He set this on his counter upon a fancy stand and sold it in a flash. Reserving the original penny, he saved the profit and commenced again. This man ended up buying his own home for cash by putting in a cheeky offer at the right moment. He had been crouching in wait for such a lag in the market. By bits and pieces he obtained a life for his family that he never could have if he had not studied the ways of economy.

Relished in the old days, but out of favour now, economy is still the brightest word for the accumulators. Ask those wise grannies from the past how they kept the pinch away. Hear them cackle!

Now this same shopkeeper, becoming wittier with his pennies, concluded, after some mathmatics:

"One element of great importance in the Penny is this, that, although it is a coin of small value, it is divisible into four parts. And as, in most matters of trade, there are either three or four divisions of cost and profit (generally four), the Penny has become the most universal of all coins. The three or four divisions of the Penny may be thus exhibited:

Raw Material, two parts. Labour, one part. Profit, one part.

Or otherwise:

Raw Material, one part. Labour, one part. Wholesale Profit, one part. Retail Profit, one part.

Most matters of trade will be found to be subject to these elements of division in reference to the cost of production, and the division of profit. The Penny, possessing these convenient properties of division, is also a coin which, from its small value, is widely current. It is the coin of the million. It weighs down the till of every shopkeeper; it is counted and packed in paper every Saturday night, because the heap in which it has accumulated has become so large; it is the coin which the gentleman gives to the crossing-sweeper; which the rich man throws to the beggar; which the old lady gives to the child.

We have Penny postage, Penny newspapers, Penny reading-rooms, Penny ink, Penny blacking, Penny loaves, Penny banks, Penny clubs, Penny schools, Penny mechanics institutions, Penny shows. In fact, there is no article of trade, of which a “Pennyworth” may not be had; and there are few sources of recreation which have not, in their humbler forms, been offered to the people at the price of a Penny."