In this time of economic uncertainty, ways to earn extra cash are often on many people’s minds. Whether its because you lost your job during the recession and are looking for ways to keep the bills paid, or whether your just looking to make a little extra cash to put into savings each month, most of us could always use a little extra cash in our wallets each month. There are plenty of ways to earn extra cash, especially with so many new opportunities rising up online. Some are far less fun then others. Especially now that the summer months are upon us, picking up a second job in a seasonal market probably still remains the most used method for earning extra cash in the summer months. But for me, maintaining the one regular full time job is as much as I have the stamina and sanity to deal with. Still, as I am hoping to begin saving for my first own home someday soon, ways to earn some extra cash to sock away without running myself ragged are definitely at the top of my list. So I’m trying to look at some more fun ways to earn a little extra spending money.
The best way to earn extra cash, without taking on a second or third traditional part-time job, is to find a niche in something you already enjoy. Believe me, finding a way to turn a hobby that you already enjoy into a way to generate a little extra cash is very satisfying indeed. Not to mention, with enough practice or with a little luck along the way, forming a hobby into earning a little extra cash just might end up creating a whole new business opportunity for you as your full-time earnings venture. For some that may be more difficult then others, but with a little creative thinking, one could probably turn just about any hobby they could think of into a money-making opportunity. There are lots of different routes one could take. But I’m going to hit upon the one way I like to make a little extra money that I enjoy, and that’s buying to resell.
Buying items you can find cheaply to resell for more is an old stand-by that people turn to as a way of making extra cash. But for me it has always been enjoyable. I was raised in part by my maternal grandmother, who was an avid yard-saler. She lived for weekends, when people would turn their yards or carports into temporary flea markets, buzzing with people asking “will you take $1.00 for that” or “how much for all this” and things of that nature. So naturally as I was growing up, I too spent most of my weekends tagging along with her to as many yard sales as she could find, helping her look for house numbers, and paw through boxes looking for bargains. My grandmother loved buying things she could use for much cheaper then she could find new in a store. But she also saw the opportunity for putting aside a little extra money by buying items she didn’t want but were cheap enough for potential resale. And so, she would spend months going to yard sales, and storing up a huge treasure trove of other people’s unwanted items. When she had enough, she’d plan for her own yard sale. I remember we used to have huge yard sales each year, with our yard completely covered with tables of all sorts of things we’d collected to resell. I loved my grandmother’s yard sales, and would typically throw a fit or pretend to be sick so I could stay home from school to help. My grandmother was such an avid yard-saler that she would usually make my mother and I watch the yard sale first thing in the morning so she could still go to other people’s yard sales. I remember that some of the other relatives probably thought it was borderline insane, since she would go to the other yard sales while we were having one of our own just to buy items from one sale that she would immediately put out onto the tables at our own sale. But it was what my granny loved, and what I came to love as well. I don’t typically have the time to go to or have my own yard sales anymore, now that my grandmother has passed away. But I still continue the tradition when I can, finding my own ways to add to it. We still try to save up items and have at least one yard sale per year – this year we are planning to try to have on during the week of the fourth of July. But having something of a mind for business, I’ve looked towards other forms of buying and reselling beyond the ways my grandmother was so fond of.
For us, its always been just as fun to buy and sell a whole host of different used items, rather then just focusing on one market in particular. Although my grandmother was a collector of depression glass, we would typically buy anything of use that we thought was cheap enough to resell for more later. My grandmother didn’t have huge expectations. Her yard sale efforts succeeded well for her because she didn’t have huge expectations; if she could find an item for a quarter that she thought she could resell for fifty cents, she was happy. It was worth her time because she enjoyed the thrill of the hunt for items to resell. But for most, especially given the cost of gas these days, trolling around in the wee hours of the morning to buy items you may only make a quarter on probably doesn’t sound appealing. But there are a lot more opportunities available today then in the past. For starters, the best approach begins with finding a niche market to focus on rather then just buying anything you find. Although it certainly is possible just to buy and resell anything you can find cheaply, the best earning capabilities come from specializing in something, while still always keeping your eyes open for new niches you could fill.
My grandmother’s efforts were fairly local, but if you want to earn some extra cash buying and reselling, you have to think more global now. Check around your local thrift stores, yard sales, consignment stores, charity stores, etc and do a little research on what sells cheaply in your area. There is always usually something you can find that isn’t desirable in your local area, but that may be desirable in another area. Maybe you’ve noticed you can get used books and DVDs very cheaply in your area, or maybe used clothing just doesn’t sell well in your local markets. But even though it doesn’t sell for much in your area, there are other areas where good used books or name brand clothing (or whatever item you discover to focus on) sell very well. There are several options available for buying and reselling these niche-market items you discover. If you prefer to keep it on a smaller, more local scale, you can purchase items cheaply locally, gather them up, and take them to a consignment store or flea market in some other nearby area. You would be surprised what impact just a short distance can make on items’ sell-ability. I know of several people who patrol the local yard sales in my area looking for items to fill their flea market booths a few towns over. With the rising price of gas, you’ll definitely want to pick a consignment store or flea market that does not have a strict “daily limit” so you can gather up a bunch of items to take all at once. But it is very possible to find items for a quarter and fifty cents in your local area, and take them a couple towns over where they will net quite a bit more. I personally no longer go this route, however, as I have found most of my own local consignment store options to be less then ideal. But you can also seek out specialty consignment events instead of traditional consignment stores.
Seasonal consignment events instead of year-round permanent ventures are gaining in popularity. Do a little research on consignment events in your areas that may specialize in one particular market. Take for instance Rhea Lana, which is a children’s consignment store semi-annual event which is becoming an increasingly popular way for people to buy and sell good name brand clothing for their children as well as toys, books, and maternity clothing/items. A specialized annual or semi-annual event may be a more ideal option that garners a bit more return on your items, if your willing to store up items for a few months that is. But if your not looking to have to wait months for a return, there’s still plenty of options too. You often may find resale shops which will buy clothing or specific items from you directly. Take for instance Plato’s Closet, a second-hand store that specializes in children’s and junior’s name-brand clothing at affordable prices. They do not operate like a consignment store, as you don’t consign your items there. You actually can sell your clothing directly to them for cash on the spot. There are plenty of other shops like this franchise for children and young adults clothing, and there are plenty of other shops out there for non-clothing items if you do a little research.
Think outside the box a little on this one. Take for instance my local area. Used clothing, even the name brand items, don’t sell too well at yard sales in my local area. But while visiting my uncle who lives one state over, we noticed that used clothing in fact does sell very well and for a lot more then we were used to here in our area. We used to joke how we could make a killing bringing along our yard sale items when we went to visit my uncle. And even though we never actually did that, for lack of convenience, we definitely could have made quite a bit of extra cash had we been able to take the used clothing we bought cheaply locally to sell in his local area. Although something like hauling a bunch of stuff with you when you go to visit a relative may not be practical, it just sets an example that you should always keep your eyes open for new opportunities. If there is an area that you visit often that has a niche market you can fill with items you buy locally much cheaper, then its definitely worth looking into. After all if you are going there on a steady basis anyway, it can’t hurt to look into doing something like we always toyed with doing while visiting my uncle in the next day.
If your not willing to save up for semi-annual consignment events, or are looking for returns greater then selling directly to other second-hand stores (after all, they won’t offer you as much as the items are worth as they want to make a profit too) there are plenty of other options. eBay and Craigslist, as well as other auction websites, are a great place to sell second-hand items you have bought locally on the cheap. Again find yourself a niche – if you can get used books cheaply in your local area, start with that, as books are a great selling item on eBay and sites like it. If you’re the mechanical type, try buying non-working items to sell for parts. This can range to small things like electronics, to big things like cars or watercraft. Or on another note, if your mechanical, it might be a great idea to learn how to fix something specific up that you can specialize in selling on eBay. If you can readily get yourself a source of broken electronics like game consoles, etc that you can fix up to sell, then you are looking at a great source of steady extra earnings. Think outside the box on this one too. Maybe you don’t want to mess with selling something like books here and there for a buck or two or you don’t want to mess with the hassle of having to take measurements on clothing. Maybe there is some specific type of item that you can buy cheaply locally, and trade it for something more desirable that may be easier to sell on sites like eBay. Use sites like Craiglist combined with eBay to maximize your earning potential. You never know what people may be willing to trade for – you could potentially trade a bunch of little items for one or two bigger items that would be easier for you to sell. Again this might be something you could think outside the box on. Maybe you have a local second-hand store that buys items outright, or better yet, offers in-store credit for your used items. Typically, any store that does buybacks on used items will offer you more for in-store credit then for cash outright. If you can trade a bunch of little items that aren’t worth your time to sell individually for credit you can use to buy one bigger item to sell, then you’ll have an even better, easier source of items to sell online. Use any local resource you can find to your advantage. Buying, selling, and trading can be a lot of fun, and often times you’ll also get yourself a host of items you want for yourself along the way. Nothing is sweeter then making a little extra cash, while also picking up a set of books you’ve looked everywhere for for yourself along the way. Never limit yourself. If you have enough knowledge to design your own website (something which is becoming increasingly easy to do with what-you-see-is-what-you-get design software available for cheap or even free), then you may even want to look into building your own website to sell your niche items. If you have your own website generating traffic, this also gives you the ability to make a little extra money with something like Google AdSense. Be advised though for most, selling on already established sites like eBay is a lot easier, as you have to do a lot of promoting to start your own website for selling stuff. But it is possible, especially if you are a fan of social networking.
All in all there are a ton of ways to make extra money buying items cheap to resell. It doesn’t even have to be used items – you can often find opportunities you least expect, like buying items at your local Sam’s Club or Costco (although those require memberships) to resell online. For me, the second-hand market has always had the biggest opportunity for the largest returns, and is just a lot more fun to deal with. Just remember to never limit yourself, and always be on the look out for new niches you can fill, and you’ll be well on your way to having a fun way to earn a little extra cash this summer!