but before i begin, you don't need a computer to be money savvy! there are the obvious, tried-and-true ways to hold onto your pennies, including
- redeeming bottles and cans for deposits-- in addition to the case of seltzer i buy each week, i also pick up redeemables from my parents' house, and i make back about $10-15 every other month from them at my grocery store's bottle redemption room.
- buying in bulk-- this works for things like toilet paper, laundry detergent, and cat litter. but when smaller packaged items are on sale, check the unit prices, because sometimes it is more economical to buy the smaller one.
- clipping coupons-- i don't get the weekly paper, but there are tons of great coupons at coupons.com, and you can do an online search for coupons to particular stores.
- buying sale items and store brands (when you can)-- this isn't always feasible, as some generics just aren't the same, but for things like milk, cotton balls, and shredded cheese, you'll never know the difference by buying whatever's cheapest that day.
- donating to charity and claiming the receipts on your taxes-- sure this makes it take a little longer to do your taxes, but if you are someone who gives away a lot of stuff, this is just smart. last year the addition of my charitable donations (about $3000 in clothing and household items) earned me over $900 back in my tax refund!
- selling your old stuff-- why give it away when you can get some money for it? you could hold a tag sale, if you have the time, or you could try consignment shops. at least twice a year i bring my children's old clothing, toys, and dvd's to once upon a child, a chain of secondhand shops that pays you cash on the spot for gently used kids' items.
i love the internet!
but there are so many other opportunities out there, if you are willing to do a little work, and a little research!
in six months, from from june to december, 2013, i netted $788.96 from selling on the internet!
it was relatively easy, but time-consuming and a little annoying at times, having to deal with people who want something for nothing! but it helped out big time when it came to buying my kids birthday and christmas gifts and unexpected expenses.
and it's just always nice and rewarding to earn cold hard cash, even if it is just a little at a time!
just ignore those people!
if your items are worth the money you are asking, and there is a demand, you will be able to sell them.
i like to use amazon, because you can find pretty much ANYTHING on there! and you can put in a barcode or isbn for quick access to most items!
ebay is another great research tool, since you can not only see the prices people are offering, but also whether or not these items are selling. then you can decide if you still want to offer the item for sale, or if you want to offer it at a lower price. (this is also a good tool for items that are not current or are unavailable on amazon, like that handknit sweater or coach purse from 15 years ago.)
where to sell
once you decide to sell items online, you need to decide where. i have already mentioned amazon and ebay as research tools, but they are also great places to sell your things. and of course there are other comparable sites, such as poshmark, copious, and etsy (for handmade or vintage items only).
all these places have their pros and cons, so you will have to do more research, on things like posting and selling fees, return policies, shipping costs, and the general buying community of the site, to find the forum(s) that you like best.
be sure to take several really good pics of your item-- from different angles, a closeup (especially if there is a defect to note), and a tag if it is an item that needs to be authenticated, like a designer handbag.
collect as many details as you can about the item. buyers need to know the size, color (if the photos are unclear), brand, material, and measurements, such as the inseam on pants. other important details, depending on what you are selling, incude model number or version, whether the item is new or used, if it is new with tags (NWT) or new in box (NIB), if it is true to size (or does it say M but fit like a S?), and of course if there are any flaws or defects, including scratches, tears, stains, etc. (believe it or not, people will buy items with defects if the price is right!)
once you have things listed for sale, you have to make sure that you stay connected. check your email at least once a day, keep your shop up-to-date (if selling on a site like poshmark or etsy), and post sales when applicable-- offering special deals at the holidays, for example, will lure people in.
need your money right away?
good things about using a local tag sale group include
- no fees-- what you sell your item for is what you get!
- immediate payment-- no waiting or having to withdraw your money.
- no packaging or printing packing slips and postage-- just stick the item in a shopping bag!
- no traveling to the post office-- unless you agree otherwise, your buyer comes to you!
- easy and quick communication online with your buyers-- no middleman or e-mail messages.
- cash on the spot-- who doesn't like that?!
but with the good comes the bad-- being sure to follow the rules of the group-- some things can be downright petty!; having to be invited to join the group-- they are usually private; coordinating a pick-up date/time with your buyer; and of course, dealing with those people who want something for nothing!
last month i listed a high-end blender for sale, for 25% of the retail price and $5 less than the going rate on amazon for a used one, since mine is broken but easily repairable with a $1 part. a potential buyer actually asked me not only to lower the price another 33% but also to drive 20 minutes to meet her somewhere for the purchase!
but like i said, if your item is worth the price and in-demand, it will sell!
- survey apps: e-rewards mobile earned me $50 in express store gift cards last year.
- secret shopper apps: mobee pays you money to frequent local stores and restaurants and give feedback.
- shopping apps: i earned $54 last fall with ibotta, which paid me to shop at certain stores, restaurants, and theaters.
- store apps: these don't earn you money, but you can get free things and save money with apps such as target's cartwheel, michaels, panera bread, starbucks, mc d, and dunkin' donuts.
so what are you waiting for?
go clean out your closet and pantry and get to selling! there's tons of cash out there with your name on it!
good luck, and don't spend it all in one place!