If you’re looking to invest a small amount of money for a potentially large future profit, your first choice should be to get into the stock market. But you also might look to the supermarket — and other places to pick up everyday items from today that could be very valuable tomorrow.
It’s a good way to make up for that stuff you threw out when you were a kid – and that now sells for obscene amounts of money.
#1: Funko Pop Figures
If you’ve never heard of Funko Pops, just dive into the nearest group of kids or collectors and ask for an explainer. What you’ll hear is that Pops are cool vinyl toys that depict celebrities, or characters from movies and TV.
While many Funko Pops are mass-produced, others are made in very small quantities and are usually available only at toy fairs, Comic-Con events and more.
Some of the rarer figures have netted staggering returns. A Chewbacca figure released at Comic-Con in San Diego in 2011 recently fetched $2,700 on eBay. Based on the usual retail price of about $20, that’s a 13,400% profit!
#2: McDonald's Toys
McDonald’s Happy Meal toys have been known to set off collector frenzies, but more mundane items from Mickey D’s can be worth putting aside, too, especially if they’re scarce or are likely to disappear.
The fast-food giant has begun shifting from plastic straws to paper ones, because of environmental concerns. In the U.K., where paper straws are already a thing, someone on eBay recently paid the equivalent of nearly $100 for 400 of the plastic sippers.
Other examples of why you might want to save stuff from McDonald’s: The old-school mini coffee spoons that were discontinued years ago and a limited-edition Szechuan dipping sauce for McNuggets also sell for surprisingly high prices.
#3: Recent First-Edition Books
Having the ability to spot a future best-seller right out the gate can be a talent worth a great deal of cash.
When a new book’s first edition is printed, publishers tend to release just a relatively small number of copies in order to gauge public demand. Consequently, first editions of popular books such as the Harry Potter series are relatively rare and sell for hundreds of dollars.
So if you were one of the lucky few who took a chance on a first-edition copy of Twilight, The Da Vinci Code or George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones, consider it a good investment.
#4: Cereal Boxes
Are you sure you want to toss that empty cereal box in your recycling bin? You might want to put it in the back of the closet instead, to sell it later on.
The history of pop culture can be told through cereal boxes, and collectors pay big money for vintage specimens featuring celebrities, popular cartoon characters, or unusual mail-away or in-the-box prizes.
Boxes with images of the Beatles have sold for thousands of dollars over the years. Recently, an unopened cereal box from 1989 with a hologram of Nintendo characters on the front fetched close to $1,000.
#5: First-Gen Technology
Anyone who still has a first-generation Amazon Echo speaker with Alexa and is thinking of upgrading should not toss out the old one or drop it off at the nearest thrift store. In fact, you might want to go buy an older model, if you can find one — and stash it away.
At the rate the technology is growing, it’s likely that a first-gen Echo may quickly seem like a relic. And the good news? People dig relics.
Case in point: Someone on eBay recent shelled out $250 for an in-the-box Motorola StarTAC flip phone, like the one you had in the 1990s.
#6: 2016 Election Newspapers
About the only thing that people across political lines agree on about the 2016 presidential election is that the outcome was stunning. It was one of those turning-point moments likely to go down in U.S. history.
Americans wanting to own a piece of that history are already buying up newspapers from Nov. 9, 2016, the morning after Election Day. Copies of The Wall Street Journal have been selling on eBay for up to $30.
Years from now, they could be worth more. Presidential election newspapers from the 1980s routinely go for up to $45, Poynter reports, and the legendary “Dewey Defeats Truman” error front page from 1948 can be worth thousands.
#7: Instant Photos
Though practically every phone now gives you the ability to take pictures, people are still buying cameras, including Polaroid-style instant cameras that will print you a photo on the spot.
Those instant pics are worth saving, judging from the current interest in old Polaroids and old 35 mm photo slides. It’s true: In the future, someone may want to pay for your old vacation snapshots!
Look around on eBay and you’ll see that some individual Polaroid photos sell for as much as $10 each, and slides of tourist attractions, vintage trains and beach scenes go for up to $50 apiece.
#8: Designer Goods from Mass Retailers
Every now and then, a mass-market retailer such as Target, H&M and Uniqlo will partner with a celebrity or a design house — and shelves and racks are quickly emptied.
In 2015, Target stores offered special items from the resortwear company Lilly Pulitzer, and the merch sold out almost instantly. It was a similar story in 2007, when H&M rolled out a line designed by Madonna.
Often, these collaborations are “limited editions,” and supply and demand does its thing. So get up early, grab your best credit card, and stand in line for this stuff, because you can be rewarded with a nice profit that will only go up with time.