Frugal Tip: Sell Something

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Over the years when our budget has been tight, we’ve tried to be creative at spending less and earning more.

One way to make more is to sell stuff.

Oh my! How much “stupid tax” have I paid in selling expensive stuff that I shouldn’t have bought in the first place? Usually, I rarely get that money back when I sell it, so we chalk it up to a loss and try not to do it again. In some instances, though, we’ve more than got our use out of something and have been happy to part with it so that someone else can benefit from it.

Either way, the extra cash is helpful. In the past we put it toward our debt. Now, we use it to upgrade something that we have been wanting. One year when we were actively attacking our debt, there just wasn’t enough fat in the budget to buy some new homeschool curriculum I wanted. So, I rifled through my school supplies and sold a lot of books and resources that we didn’t use on ebay. In the end, I earned enough to buy the new stuff we wanted.

Out with the Old

There are lots of ways you can sell stuff and earn a little bit of money. Plus, you’ll be doing some decluttering in the process.

  • Hold a garage sale. The one time that I was really successful at this was when I had Money Saving Mom helping me. (Yeah, I lucked out major big time.) Check out Crystal’s 1o Tips for a Successful Garage Sale for her suggestions.
  • Sell on Ebay. It’s not rocket science. Really and truly. I never read directions, much to my husband’s chagrin. But, we have made a fair chunk of change selling books and music equipment on Ebay.
  • Advertise on Craigslist. We’ve had great success buying via craigslist. And we’ve sold a small handful of items through this free online classified ads service. Please use caution when selling. Don’t have buyers to your home if you are alone. Don’t reveal when you leave for work, etc. Creeps can still look like nice people. Safety warnings aside, craigslist can be a great, free resource to use in advertising things you want to sell.
  • Sell your books through book buying services. I’ve had great success selling books to both Cash4Books as well as CKY Books.
  • Trade or sell at Children’s Orchard. There are probably a number of used clothing stores for children like Children’s Orchard. This is the only one I’ve had experience with. I was amazed to walk away with $45 for items that my kids had outgrown or didn’t like or we had just too much of. I could have traded for a higher amount of store credit, but since we didn’t need anything, cash worked better for me. Chances are you have a store like this near you.

I’d love to hear what other ways you use to sell the stuff you no longer want or need.

And for that matter, what do you do to save money in general?

Share your great money saving ideas with us, too. Tell us in the comments or leave your link in the widget below. Can’t wait to see what clever ideas you have for spending less and earning more.

(Please no giveaways, deal posts, or affiliate links that do not impart money saving principles.)

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  1. I’m actually doing an entire series this month on how to afford to eat “real food” on a budget! Fits in nicely with this carnival. ๐Ÿ™‚ Saturday’s post is going to be all about how we finally got on board with Ramsey’s cash/envelope system and the effect it’s having on our budget!

  2. I’ve done a few posts on selling things. I’m a regular seller on eBay. It’s a part-time income for me. I also sell on Craigslist, Amazon, used books stores, garage sales, consignment stores, and I haven’t done it yet but I may sell at kids’ consignment sales in the future. It’s a great way to clean out and make some money for doing so!

  3. I’ve never thought about the tax I paid on stuff I shouldn’t have bought in the first place. Argh! I just got done selling some homeschool books and some toys on ebay. Before I sell toys on ebay I usually look around at things that have already sold to see if it’s worth it and is something that will sell. I’ve usually had good luck with ebay.

    1. Stupid tax is actually a phrase I’ve borrowed from Dave Ramsey. It isn’t federal or state tax. It’s the “tax” you paid for being stupid enough to buy the thing in the first place. So if I blow $100 on a dress I’ll never wear, I’ve paid a $100 “stupid tax.”

  4. I love Craig’s List. We are moving in a week and i have made $300+ while getting rid of stuff so we can downsize to a smaller place. Of course, much of it I wish I hadn’t bought in the first place.

  5. These are such good ideas. I have had such great luck with Craigslist. I’ve had buyers couches and refrigerators in less than 24 hours.

  6. I love yard sales and usually I try to hold two a year. One at the beginning of summer and one towards the end of summer. At the beginning I put out mainly summer items and then towards the fall time I put out “back to school” items or clothes. I do have the opposite on hand just in case someone asks and it is easily accessible. Great ideas!

  7. Right now I gave two of my kids a “business.” A daughter is allowed to keep the money from a clothing consignment store if she collects and delivers the clothes. A son does the same with books for a homeschool second hand store. I am trying to teach them how to make something out of nothing – or money from things you have on hand. I’ve also annually had a garage sale to teach them to continuously weed out all the “stuff” that accumulates and to handle money. If they do the work, they can keep the money. Love your frugal ideas. Thanks for posting!

  8. I’ve never had much luck with selling this – I guess we don’t have that much “extra.” I do save money by buying second-hand, though! It’s amazing what great deals you can find.

  9. Ah yard sales…I have a love/hate relationship with them. Typically we don’t make much, but I get depressed sitting there looking at all the STUFF that I no longer want and seeing $$ on all of it and how much we spent on an item that is now marked $0.25! {sigh} Live and learn. I’m now a lot pickier about what I buy – which saves me more money – and if we have a yard sale I think of it in terms of getting some extra savings money rather than trying to recoup our losses.

    1. I have never sold a computer, but I’ve seen lots on craigslist.

    2. @Abundant Living, I couldn’t help but add my two cents here. We once sold a 1-year old Mac on eBay, but most of our computers are used until they are OLD (in computer years) and at that point, no one seems to want them. I just did a yard sale with a friend and they had a full computer set up there for CHEAP (like $10) and no one even asked about it. ๐Ÿ™ If you’re just cleaning out you might consider donating it to a not-for-profit after school program or women’s shelter. I don’t think they are as picky about donations.

    3. @Abundant Living,
      Just remember for keeping your identity safe you should clear your hard drive. I believe bestbuy’s website -geek squad- tells you how. Or you could problably google how to clear your hard drive.

  10. Now that my girls have outgrown all of the baby gear, I’ve found Craigslist to be the best place to sell things like furniture, strollers, etc–the big ticket items. And yard sales are the best (cheapest) places to buy them.
    I’ve just started taking in the baby clothes and toys to a re-sale store, and was able to use my store credit for new-to-her clothes for my oldest! So, her new wardrobe basically cost me nothing!

  11. I wanted some new books about mid-way through the school year that I just hadn’t planned on purchasing, the money wasn’t in our budget, but I also sold some of my used books on a homeschool forum (who didn’t charge me anything) to get the money. It’s a great idea!

  12. This post is quite timely! My plan today is to get together a bunch of stuff to sell. At least here is Oregon there is no sales tax (at least not yet). :o)

  13. We’re having our first ever garage sale tomorrow-our subdivision is having a neighborhood sale. Hopefully it will be a success! We’ve tried to take the Moneysavingmom’s advice on how to go about it. Even if we don’t make much, it will be better than nothing, especially since we are looking to consolidate our belongings as much as possible before our move to California (and probably less square footage in our home than we are accustomed to right now!).

  14. Great timing! I just posted about selling my old cell phones and receiving a check in today’s mail for $160.60! Working to get out of debt, and every little bit helps. Gotta go see what else I can find to sell.

  15. I was excited when you mentioned the book-buying websites, because I have a TON of books, and could use some extra money. However, after entering the codes for about 20 NICE hardbacks, and getting NO hits (well, I got one hit for $0.50 on one site), I gave up. Great idea though!

    1. That is a bummer. Books don’t hold their value very well. Unless you have an emotional attachment, use it all the time (like a cookbook), or can’t get it from the library, many aren’t worth owning, unfortunately.

    2. @Christy,
      I’ve had a huge success selling books on It’s a part of ebay without all the fees. You should check them out. I was able to sell a bunch of books at cash4books but I still had many books that I thought were resellable. Good Luck!!

  16. Great post. ๐Ÿ™‚ We just finished our yard sale a couple weekends ago which wasn’t bad considering where we live. Now I have a stack of curriculum and a few other things (including a computer) to list on Ebay.

  17. We’ve done well with craigslist, yardsales and bookoo. As soon as we make money it goes into what we call a household fund. That’s the money we can use to buy more things for the baby and sometimes something needed for the home. Such an incentive to start clearing out the things we aren’t using anymore. We’ve made a lot of friends on bookoo, it’s one of our favorites.