One day, you might find yourself in an emergency situation. You need money, and your next paycheck just won’t cut it. Don’t worry. There are a lot of ways to make some extra cash on the side by selling your used items.
20. Used Book Stores
While independently owned used book stores may be a dying breed in a world where Barnes and Noble and Amazon exist, they are still around in some cities. Search online for any local used book stores near you. Before carrying your books to your local shop, be sure to call or check their website first to learn about their buying policies. You don’t want to carry a box of heavy books into a store only to learn that they are not willing to buy them.
In some cases, you may only be able to trade your books for store credit. This might be helpful if you are a college student who needs to buy certain novels or textbooks that they have available. Your best chance at selling a book for cash is if you can prove that your books are valuable first editions, or expensive textbooks. Even then, you will only get a fraction of what the shop owner is going to attempt to sell them for.
Do you have some antiques hanging around the house? Or, maybe you just so happen to be skilled at a craft like knitting. Etsy specializes in handmade products, vintage items, and supplies for artists. The great thing about Etsy is that niche specialty shops do very well, and people sell items that you may have never even imagined. For example, one person might sell nothing but buttons, and another will sell old Kodachrome photography slides or vinyl records.
If you inherited a huge collection from your grandparents and you were never sure what to do with it, you should do a quick search on Etsy to see what those items are going for. Yes, it is a lot of time and energy to set up a shop. It’s not exactly quick and easy money. However, if you make the effort to list these collections, you might be lucky enough to get sales on a regular basis.
18. Fulfillment by Amazon
When most people think about buying and selling on Amazon, they imagine shelves of brand new products in those huge warehouses. However, a large portion of their products come from third-party sellers just like you, and it’s also possible to sell a used item, too. You will have to sign up for a selling account, and if you want your product to be sold on Amazon Prime, you will have to follow all of their instructions, which includes a very particular way they want you to ship items to their fulfillment centers. This is a long process, so be sure to read all of their instructions carefully, and don’t be afraid to watch tutorials on YouTube to help you out.
There is also the option of selling your used items on Amazon directly from your home, but it becomes your responsibility to ship the products and deal with customer services. This is far less complicated to figure out than trying to become part of Amazon Fulfillment. A great product to sell is old college textbooks, because students are always trying to save money. In some cases, Amazon may offer you a gift card in exchange for your book, too, without waiting for a customer to come along. Just keep in mind that while it’s faster to get the gift card, you’re losing out on the full value of what it’s worth.
17. Pawn Shops
Just about every town in the United States has a pawn shop, and all it takes is a quick online search to discover where they are. Pawn shops offer cash in exchange for your items, and they accept almost anything under the sun. Some go-to items that pawn shops buy on a regular basis would be iPods, phones, TV’s, and other electronics. Many places also accept jewelry, watches, and expensive sporting equipment like snowboards or skis.
Just keep in mind that the pawn shop owner is only going to give you maybe 50% of what he plans to sell it for in his shop. You will get far less money this way, compared to selling the item on your own. If you have an item that might be questionable, call ahead of time to see if they accept it.
16. Consignment Shops
Consignment shops are different than pawn shops, because they don’t buy your items outright for cash. The way it works is that they will put your items on display in their store, and give you a cut of the profits once it sells. Think of this as like renting the space in a business that is already established. The shop owner won’t let you put your items on display for free. Sometimes, you will get more money out of this kind of arrangement compared to a pawn shop. Many consignment shops have staff members that are experienced with identifying authenticity, as well.
The downside is that you have to wait until a buyer comes along. It’s best to choose a consignment shop that gets a lot of traffic on the weekends, and pick an item that is sure to catch someone’s eye. This works best with designer purses, shoes, clothes, and electronics. If you happen to have an expensive high-end fashion piece, it may also be worth the drive to a more affluent area, because the buyers will be more likely to afford the objects you are trying to sell.
15. Cash-For-Gold Stores
Not everyone has random gold jewelry lying around the house, but if you’re a woman, there is a chance that you have a jewelry box filled with necklaces, rings, and bracelets that have been given to you as gifts over the years.
Keep in mind that a lot of jewelry is “gold filled”, which means that it has a gold coating over top of a cheaper metal. Cash-for-gold stores will typically not take this kind of jewelry. If you have multiple chains that are truly made out of gold, it may be a good idea to remove the charms from your necklaces, and just keep one gold chain to keep for yourself, which leaves you free to sell the others. Some shops will re-sell your jewelry, while others strictly melt down the metal and recycle it for the scrap price. If the jewelry is more than just an old chain, the process may be heartbreaking, so try to choose pieces that don’t have sentimental value.
Also, please don’t accidentally sell a family heirloom. If you were given something as a gift from your grandparents, it’s best to check out the name of the jeweler with a magnifying glass. These cash-for-gold places make a lot of money profiting off of the fact that the average person does not have a lot of knowledge about watch and jewelry brands.
14. Local Auctions
You can sell just about anything at a local auction, and some people make it a habit of unloading all of their unwanted belongings before they are about to sell their house. Random household items usually get grouped in cheap “box lots”, while furniture, artwork, and collectables go for decent prices in a separate category.
Every auction house is different. Some are very fancy, while others are dusty rural farmer’s auctions where you might find actual trash mixed in the box lots. Then, there are others that are somewhere in-between. No matter what caliber of auction you go to, they all expect to make a minimum amount of money on your items. In most cases, they will take a cut of whatever you sell, but some auction houses will expect an up-front selling fee on top of their commission.
Depending on the location, auctions will go once a week, or once a month. If you’re thinking about selling at an auction near you, it’s best to visit at least once to get a good idea about the caliber of items that are being sold there. Don’t worry- it’s free to browse and look around, and it only costs money if you plan to bid on something. Once you have visited an auction, you will see if your items fit the vibes of that particular location. For example, no one is going to fight over your used IKEA furniture at a high-end auction, and you would just be embarrassing yourself. But a broke college student visiting a farmer’s auction would probably buy it.
Everyone knows about eBay, but there are some people out there who feel intimidated by the process. Unlike many of the other online selling platforms out there, eBay acts like a middleman to make sure no one is scammed out of their money. So, in a lot of ways, it’s much safer than other selling options on this list.
There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube to help you get started. Keep in mind that in order to sell on eBay, you will need a PayPal account. If you’re brand new to both accounts, the website may hold your money for 30 days, just to make sure you’re not a scam artist. This might be frustrating for someone who is trying to make money in a hurry. But if you have an eBay account that you have used to make purchases in the past, it’s best to pull out that old username and password.
If you haven’t heard of Poshmark by now, you should give it a chance. One of the major differences between Poshmark and most other online selling options is that everything is done on the app, and you won’t even have an option of selling on your computer. This can make the process easier for a lot of people. The customers already know they will pay $5 for shipping, and they have a great system in place to print out shipping labels.
Keep in mind that Poshmark is popular with young women, so the best-selling brands on there are ones like Victoria’s Secret and Gucci. You may want to steer clear of this app if you are a man, since it’s 90% women’s clothes, shoes, and accessories.
While it may have a sketchy reputation, Craigslist is still a popular place to buy and sell your used items. Sometimes, people even give things away for free, as long as you are willing to pick them up. Just be sure to bring a friend with you, and let your family and friends know the address of where you are going. It’s usually a good idea to meet up with someone in a public place, as well.
Be careful of Craigslist scammers. Many people will offer to send you money through PayPal if you agree to mail the item to them, only they will report you the transaction as fraud later to get their money back. Sometimes, they hack into someone’s PayPal account in order to do this, and the person who reports the fraud truly is a victim. If you are going to sell on Craigslist, make sure it is a cash-only transaction that happens face-to-face.
10. Flea Markets
In the spring and summer months, flea markets are happening every single weekend. If you’re lucky, there may even be an indoor flea market nearby where you can sell things even when it’s cold or raining outside, but there will probably be fewer customers.
Keep in mind that most flea markets will require a fee for you to sell your items, which is usually around $20 or $30 for the day, so you need to bring a lot of items with you to make up for the cost of the table, gas, and your time. At most markets, they will provide you one free table, and you will need to bring your own chairs or a second table.
It’s best to show up as early as possible. Flea Markets allow vendors to show up around 6 or 7AM to set up their tables. If you’re new to the scene, you will probably be swarmed with the regulars when you first show up. Don’t be afraid to politely ask them to come back later when you are finished unloading. Or, you may have the perspective that “everything must go”, and the early-morning swarm may actually be a great opportunity to make some quick cash. Crowds usually die down by around 2PM.
9. Yard Sales
One of the easiest ways to make money with your old stuff is to throw a yard sale. Before you get started, make sure you check with the rules of your local municipality, because some places require you to get a permit. Remember to put up an ad about your sale on Craigslist, and the Yard Sale Treasure Map app so that people know where to find you. It also helps to make signs that point towards your house, especially if you live on a side-street that is not easy for people to find right away.
Keep in mind that most people show up to a yard sale expected rock-bottom prices. So, if you ask for a lot of money, you will lose customers. People expect to pay $10 and under for most things, and they don’t usually carry a lot of cash in their pockets.
8. Recycling Centers
Depending on where you live, you might be near a recycling center that will pay cash for your old cans and bottles. In some places around the world, it’s possible to swap just a few bottles and pay for a meal, while some locations in the United States really only pay for metal, because the government provides homeowners with blue recycling bins in the hopes that you will recycle materials like plastic and glass out of the goodness of your heart. Do a quick online search for recycling centers in your local area, and check out the prices they offer for each type of material before you go.
Just be forewarned- In some states, the exchange rate for common household metals is barely worth the effort. For example, two massive garbage bags full of aluminum soda cans is only worth $2. However, some people will bring their old broken appliances and even cars in exchange for a lot of money.
7. OfferUp and LetGo
The OfferUp and LetGo apps are a lot like Craigslist for your smartphone. Instead of emailing or calling like you do on Craigslist, these apps have the added convenience of a chatroom that functions inside of the app. However, you may still want to call or text this person, so that you have their phone number on record, in case something goes wrong. You are meeting up with strangers in your local area to sell your used products in exchange for cash. It’s very important to meet in a public place that has security cameras. Whether you are buying or selling, there are plenty of cases where people have been ripped off.
Even when meeting up in public places with security cameras, people have still been robbed. WFLA News suggests that if you want to know with 100% certainty that nothing bad will happen, you can ask the stranger to meet up inside of a police station, because it is the safest place you can possibly be. Security cameras are everywhere, and if something goes wrong, the police are already a few feet away. People with criminal records will want to avoid the police station, and they will refuse to go there, while others who are equally as nervous as you are might actually find relief in the suggestion.
6. Facebook Marketplace
Facebook has lots of private selling groups to choose from. In the Facebook search bar, type in the name of your town, plus “Yard Sale Group”, and you will most likely find at least two or three private communities filled with people trying to sell their stuff. There is also a dedicated selling section open to the public called Facebook Marketplace. Unlike Craigslist, you have the benefit of sneaking a peek at the person you might potentially buy from. Other than that, it works very much like OfferUp, with the option to meet face-to-face, or pay through PayPal.
Before you sell to strangers, you may even want to simply post on your profile that you are looking to sell something from home. There is always a chance one of your friends or family members is looking for that exact object, and they will want to buy things from you. This takes away all of the stress of dealing with a complete stranger.
Selling on Instagram has become a very popular option for young people, especially when they are trying to sell their second-hand fashion. There are some popular hashtags people use, like #shopmycloset and #instashop. If you want to start your own Instagram shop, it’s best to check out some of the popular sellers and see what they are doing to attract their customers.
Both parties have to agree to send money on PayPal, and trust that the seller will send the product in the mail. Just be careful, because Unlike Craigslist scammers, people on Instagram have some sense of security, because they can check if this is a real person, and it is often connected to their Facebook profile.
4. Buy Back Programs
If you upgraded your phone recently, and you’re not sure what to do with your older model, you can swap your tech in with a buyback program. Some service providers will even offer a buyback program to get a discount on your new phone. There are a few out there, including eBay Instant, Gazelle, and BuyBackWorld. This way, you can mail in your product and get money for in, and you don’t have to worry about dealing with selling directly to a customer. Just keep in mind that the age and condition of your phone matters. If you have a 5-year old iPhone with a cracked screen, they probably won’t want it.
3. Selling Your Plasma
If needles give you the creeps, selling your plasma in exchange for cash may not be a very good idea for you. But this is a viable option if you are in good health, and you’re not afraid to let someone prick your arm. Technically, you’re selling part of your body, but it can help heal someone else who desperately needs plasma to survive an illness. Instead of going to the Red Cross or a hospital, private businesses specialize in collecting plasma to sell to medical facilities.
Each time you go, you can expect to make $25 to $50 within the course of one to two hours. The more you weigh, the more plasma your body produces. According to the laws of the FDA, you are only allowed to donate plasma twice a week, and it’s mandatory to wait 48 in-between donations to give your body time to recover.
2. Plato’s Closet and Buffalo Exchange
Traditional pawn shops usually do not buy clothing, and most thrift stores get so much free clothing from donations, they would never want to buy your old clothes. But the popular thrift store chains Plato’s Closet and Buffalo Exchange actually do encourage people to sell their clothes to them, because they are trying to cater to the college crowd. Keep in mind that they will give you more money in store credit versus cash. They also only accept clothes that are in good condition, and currently in style.
Some of their most popular brands are American Eagle, Abercrombie & Fitch, Nike, Armani Exchange, Hollister, and Adidas. Keep in mind that if you buy all of your clothes from cheaper places like Walmart and Forever 21, they will probably turn their noses up at those brands, only because they usually do not stay in very good shape after being worn for a while, and they are already affordable to most people when they are brand new.
If you are already familiar with the world of cryptocurrency, OpenBazaar is a place where it’s possible to sell your stuff in exchange for Bitcoin. Unlike eBay, the marketplace only works when both people are currently online at the same time, in order to exchange wallet information and your address. Of course, this requires you to trust a stranger on the internet without any real repercussions to get your money back, if something were to go wrong. Most people try to sell DVD’s and collectables, so that if they are lost forever, it’s not so much of a big deal. You can familiarize yourself with the platform on the OpenBazaar subreddit.