May 25

Ways to earn extra money: selling unwanted possessions


If your finances are suffering in the downturn and you’ve laready followed all the advice on saving money and cut your budget to the minimum, here are some usable and easy ways to boost your income.

Sell your unused and unwanted items

This is the most popular way for anybody to earn extra cash at any time, not just during a recession. Most people can’t (or don’t want to) make a living by selling unwanted goods but recent estimates show that the average household has £450 worth of stuff sitting around. Here we look at the pros, cons and costs of selling methods, to help you decide what should go and how to shift it.

Online Auction Sites

This is the most popular way of selling unwanted items among Which? members. From a previous survey, the organisation discovered that the top-selling items among members were CDs, DVDs and video games. These are ideal as they are easy to list and post.

But a vast range of items sell at these sites – some for amounts that you might find surprising. Clothes with designer or quality labels, handbags and shoes do well, as do mobile phones, computing equipment, gadgets and vintage or collectable items.

By far the most popular site is eBay.co.uk but there are others – ebid.co.uk is also worth a look. Before you place an ad it’s a good idea to browse lists of completed sales to get a feel for what your item might be worth. You can also use eBay Pulse to find out what people are searching for.

Car Boot Sales

These are a good second option for things you haven’t managed to sell online or for things whose value is too low to be worth listing and then sending. It’s also good for clearing out a lot of stuff at once.

Take someone with you to help you mind your goods and keep all your money in a safe place. Beware being besieged by experienced dealers as soon as you arrive. Make sure everything is priced and labelled beforehand, Which? advises.

You’ll have to pay around £10 for a pitch, and you may need to book in advance. Earnings depend on what you’ve got to sell, but around £100 a time for a boot-load isn’t unusual.

It may be easier and quicker to shift a lot of stuff in a car boot sale, but people are on the lookout for a bargain so you won’t be able to charge much. Books, CDs, kids’ clothes and games might go for around 50p to £1. Higher value items such as upmarket clothing may make more on auction or classified sites.

Car boot sales are listed in local papers.

Classified Ads

There are many online listing sites as well as more traditional places such as local papers. Amazon.co.uk is a popular site selling a wide range of new and used goods and has the advantage of having images and descriptions for items making the listing process simple.

In a recent survey, Which? members found Amazon very easy to use. Play.com is another option. Unlike eBay you can leave your item on these sites for as long it takes to sell. However, they do charge more than eBay.

Gumtree.com advertises services and products and operates locally so most people come and collect. Preloved.co.uk is another free classified site, as well as craigslist, which is becoming more popular in the UK .

Small ads in local papers or specialist publications are worth considering although there may be a charge. You can also place ads in your local supermarket or newsagent. These are a good option for large items (eg furniture or white goods) that cannot be posted.

Selling Books and Cds

I have already written about selling items on Amazon, but if you are selling popular novels and CDs, you are unlikely to make very much on them and you may have to be patient if you list them online, as there are so many about.

With unusual items, reference and text books or books on course reading lists, you might get a pleasant surprise. Greenmetropolis.com has a list of the most popular books sold on its site that might be helpful. Musicmagpie.co.uk is a website that buys CDs from you although most CDs make less than a pound.

Selling Mobile Phones

Websites such as www.envirofone.com or www.mopay.co.uk buy your old phone for cash or vouchers. You tell them the make and model and they give you a price and send you an envelope. These options may be better value than trading in your old phone at a high street shop, but the prices tend to be very low.

Auction Houses

If you have items that you think are antique or might have a significant value, you could try putting them into an auction. Auction houses will usually offer a free valuation if you send them a photo, and some run free valuation days where you can take your item in to be valued.

If you sell, you will be charged commission (around 15pc) and insurance (around 1pc-2pc). There may be other charges such as an entry charge or a charge if your item doesn’t sell.

Kids’ Stuff

If you have lots of baby clothes and toys that you want to get rid of in one go, consider local National Childbirth Trust sales (www.nct.co.uk). Community website www.netmums.com has a classified section if you want to shift your stuff online.

Antique Shops Etc

These could be a useful alternative to an auction house, and are worth trying if you have one nearby. Some shops (for example, dress and curtain agencies) will sell items for you, taking a cut of the sales price.

Using a pawnshop such as Cash Converters means you get your hands on the cash straightaway. However, any shop that you sell to will always be looking to make a profit on your goods, so you’ll never get as much as by selling them direct to someone who genuinely wants them.

Selling Jewellery

If you have jewellery to sell, research prices and selling options thoroughly before deciding how to sell. Try local independent jewellers as well as considering auction houses and online options.

Market prices for gold change all the time. It is sold by weight, so weigh your item and find out how many carats it is before you start getting prices.

A number of websites offer to buy your gold. You send it and they transfer the money to your account but don’t post your gold without having a good idea what you’re going to get for it. Some websites list their prices, others tell you to ring for a quote.

There are plenty of sites out there so ring a number to compare prices, make sure it’s a site you can trust, send it recorded delivery if it’s valuable and get comparison quotes from local jewellery shops first.


1 comment

  1. exchangeandmart

    Thanks for this, really helpful information. Exchange and mart is another good online venue to buy and sell safely, specializing in cars but lots of other stuff too, from home and DIY to fashion and clothing as well as baby goods .http://www.exchangeandmart.co.uk/

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