Just by looking at your budget, you might be thinking that it’s going to take half a year to just save one month’s worth of expenses.
Maybe you’re a little depressed because you calculated your debt elimination plan and found out that it’s going to take you 4 years to get out of debt.
In either circumstance, the motivation just might not be there.
There’s good news though! You might just be sitting (literally) on a small stockpile of easy cash to help jump start your plan!
Inventory Your Stuff
One of the tasks in Step 2 is to complete a net worth statement.
When you’re reviewing the things you own, you’re also outlining how much some of those items could sell for if you desperately needed money.
I’m guessing that when you valued some of those items, you only totaled the things that you truly care about.
Well, what about all of those toys the kids no longer play with? How about those slightly outdated electronics that you’re no longer playing with?
These things still have value to someone and yet they’re just sitting in your house collecting dust. You need to get off your butt and sell some it!
You may have $100, $200 or even $1,000+ worth of stuff just sitting around. Would that make a nice dent in your debt? You bet it would!
So, my first task for you is to go around to each room in your house and start pulling things out that you no longer have a use for. Just stick them in the middle of the floor so you can come back to them later.
What should you be looking for? Well, try looking at an item through the eyes of someone else. Would you pay something (anything) for it? For most things, the answer to that question will be yes.
Here are some items with value that you might find in your house and/or garage:
- Old technology (cell phones, laptops, video games, tablets, cameras, etc.)
- Designer clothes
- Sporting equipment (bikes, skis, etc.)
- CD’s, DVDs, Blu-Ray discs
- Baby supplies (cribs, shoes, other furniture, etc.)
- Musical instruments
- Lawn equipment
That list could go on and on, but hopefully you’ve noticed a few things you could easily grab and start selling today.
Where To Sell Your Stuff
Now that you have piles of stuff sitting around, I bet you’re wondering how you’re going to sell it all.
Well, there are a number of different avenues out there for you and a lot of it depends on what it is that you’re selling.
Have you ever shopped for a product on Amazon.com and noticed that little box called “More Buying Choices”?
That section is the Amazon Marketplace.
It’s where individuals and businesses can sell the same product that Amazon is selling.
Since a lot of buyers want a good deal, some of them buy used items (your stuff!) in the Amazon Marketplace.
It’s a great place to sell some of your items because you get to piggyback off of the description of the product that Amazon.com has already created. You just need to briefly describe your products condition and determine how much you want to sell it for.
If you’re looking to sell your item fast, I recommend finding the lowest priced item on there and beating it.
The downside to the Amazon Marketplace is the fees. They’re relatively high compared to some other options, but for some items, it’s worth the cost. You also need to ship the items directly to the buyer which can be a bit of a pain.
Personally, I always sell the following items on the Amazon Marketplace:
- Non-collectible books
- CD’s, DVDs, Blu-ray discs
You’re probably familiar with eBay. It’s the online auction site that became extremely popular in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.
When eBay first started, it was primarily focused on the collectibles market. That was the majority of their auctions. Although they have since expanded to almost anything, it’s still a great place to sell your collectibles if you have any.
It’s fairly easy to sell an item on eBay, but you should really take your time and do it right to ensure you get the top dollar for your items.
If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of setting up your own auctions on eBay, you can even have someone else do it for you.
As with Amazon, there are fees associated with eBay.
They typically charge you a listing fee and also take a cut of the final sales price.
If you want to accept credit cards, you’ll also pay a fee for that.
You can typically have your buyer pay for shipping so there isn’t really a cost. You just need to pack the stuff up and run it to the post office.
Here are the items I’ll typically sell on eBay:
- Musical instruments that can be easily shipped
- Video games and consoles
- Cell phones
- Laptops and tablets
Craigslist is an online directory of items for sale in your local area. Just think of it as an online version of the classified page in your newspaper.
Craigslist has a ton of different categories in which you can list your items, but it’s best suited for items that are extremely difficult to ship such as furniture, appliances, bikes, recreational vehicles, etc.
You can certainly sell almost anything on Craiglist, but some of the other sites open you up to a much wider audience of possible buyers.
One of the biggest issues with Craigslist is the large amount of spammers. There’s been several occasions where I was selling something and had 5+ spam emails from “buyers” who wanted to send me a money order for more than what I was asking if I would ship it to them. Um, no thanks!
I recommend checking out Lifehacker’s post on avoiding scams at Craigslist before you list your first item.
One of the biggest advantages of Craigslist is that it’s FREE.
Here are some things that I have or would sell on Craigslist:
- Bikes or other large pieces of sporting equipment
- Boat, motorcycle, jet ski, etc.
- Large power tools
- Lawn equipment
- Baby items
If you still have stuff left over, it’s probably time to have a yard/garage sale.
Out of all of the options listed so far, this is probably the least profitable behind flat out donating it. However, you’re still earning something which is the goal.
This is where you can sell most of your clothing and other small household items that no one is going to be looking on Craigslist for. That might include dishes, small appliances, decorative knick-knacks and outdated fitness equipment.
It can be extremely beneficial to hold your yard/garage sale at the same time as others in your community as there is more advertisement and it makes it convenient for the people shopping. Be sure to check with your community before having your own sale.
If you still have stuff left, it’s time to take it to the local donation center. You want to get it out of the house, right? Then this is the way to do it when all else fails.
If you itemize your deductions (file a Schedule A), on your federal taxes, be sure to have the donation center give you a receipt. Donating your goods will not net you immediate cash, but it can help you save a little on your taxes which can help free up some cash at a later date.
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When you finally reach the end of this process, you’re going to feel pretty good.
Not only will you generate a little cash to get you started, you’ll also clean out some of the stuff that is cluttering up your life. You might even realize that your house is too big for your needs!