Our personal challenge for this month is to make an extra $100. For months, we have been talking about selling our used junk and this is the month we are going to kick it into gear. There are many benefits to selling stuff and the money is just a part of it.
Make an Extra $100
Why $100? Well, admittedly, it is an arbitrary number but it is enough to motivate us. Also, it keeps us engaged since we will have to sell multiple items to hit the goal. Additionally, we need for this to be worth our time. If we make an extra $100 we will feel that it will have been worth our time.
If we were to make $100 every month that would be $1,200 a year. Not bad. That is a lot of money for many people and could really help towards debt payoff. Eventually, we’d run out of stuff to sell so can’t say we would reach $1,200 but if we don’t start then we surely won’t reach it.
The barrier to entry is low. Pretty much everyone has something around the house they aren’t using that has some value. So, grab something that you forgot you even had and sell it. You won’t miss it.
There is no investment involved. In fact, you have already made it. Forget about what you paid for something. Don’t let that be the reason you hold onto something that you don’t like, need or use. It is a sunk cost and is worth most to you sold.
Besides something that we had been talking about for a while there was something specific that gave us this idea to try to make an extra $100 for the month of December.
A few weeks ago, Erin listed an item we were previously given a few years ago on eBay. We had sold some stuff then to help us get out of debt but never got around to listing that item. Well, it sat around for a while and it was always in the back of our mind to sell.
While Erin was reading the new Chris Guillebeau book Side Hustle she randomly decided to just list something and put that item up on eBay. While I don’t think she will be starting a Side Hustle now it does seem she will be leading the charge on selling stuff this month.
It is kind of a Side Hustle but the distinction I would make is that if it is just our stuff we sell then eventually we’ll run out. If she was buying and reselling items then it is a side hustle. Maybe the knowledge gained from selling our stuff will lead to other avenues but for now it is OK to just focus on what we have.
We listed it once and had no buyers. We listed it again for $5 less and sold the item for the minimum bid. At the end of the day it made about $17 when everything settled. It took us a few hours to get it shipped but that was because we were a bit rusty at shipping items. We’ll get into that later.
There are many benefits to selling stuff. A rule I like to apply to decisions is how many areas does one decision benefit me. Essentially, how efficient is a decision or how much bang for your buck do you get? If there are 2 or 3 benefits to a decision then you are starting to find efficiency in your choices.
To me, there are three solid reasons for us to start selling stuff.
- Clutter – The initial reason we wanted to sell stuff wasn’t due to money but just wanting to shed items that had lost their value to us. That stuff adds up and takes up space. It helps clear up our physical environment. A clear physical environment can positively influence your state of mind or overall sense of well being.
- Extra Money – This is the whole point of this month’s challenge. Extra money is great to have on hand. I don’t think I need to explain why.
- Good Momentum towards a side hustle – This is probably the most specific to us whereas reducing clutter or getting extra money is more universal. For us, we are looking for ways to use our extra (who has that?) time. By getting into a rhythm or routine we hope it will help us in the future as we maybe seek other income earning opportunities.
What Do We Sell?
We don’t really buy much ‘stuff’ anymore but man, do we still have a lot of stuff from when we got married or before. We also randomly get items from family for when they are clearing out their houses. If we see value in it we will take it or maybe look to sell it.
The problem is that the items we have received with the intention of selling later have just sat there in our storage shed. We are getting close to maxing our storage out and instead of getting more storage we need to reduce our possessions and be more efficient.
Now there are a lot of items that will be tough for us (really only me) to part with. We aren’t starting with those items. The items we are starting with neither of us have much attachment to or just flat out don’t ever use. We have a decent amount of stuff that has been in boxes for years. It is time to clear out those boxes.
If we can’t sell something then we’ll donate it. It still helps reduce clutter at the very least.
Depending on your method of selling it really doesn’t take that much time to sell the items. You just need to be prompt with them once sold which can be difficult. If you make a sale you need to be ready to ship it.
If you are shipping I have the following tips.
- Have boxes and shipping supplies such as tape and dunnage at your disposal. Know the costs of these items and factor that into the sale price.
- You need to be able to ship as soon as you receive payment. Most websites have ratings and a bad rating can really hurt the perception of you as a seller.
- Don’t put something up for sale that you don’t know how to ship. Plan ahead and know how you will ship it prior to listing it.
- Calculate the shipping costs ahead of time. If you assume wrong you will eat into your profit which leaves a sour taste in your mouth.
Where Do We Sell Stuff
Here are the various venues that we could sell our crap, I mean, our lovely valuable stuff that you should buy.
This will be the primary venue for us to sell items. It opens your listing up to a wide audience which will help with some of the more random items we might be trying to sell.
This is similar in that you can list your products on the Amazon Market Place as a third-party seller. I don’t anticipate using this option but it is available.
We have a piece of furniture that we might sell on Craigslist. The part I am less comfortable with is having people come by the house when it is just Erin and the kids. Selling it would actually be a big chunk of the $100 but I might wait until we have a yard sale.
Speaking of yard sales, we hope to have one in February. We won’t have one this month so that won’t help us towards this goal but it might dictate what we do want to sale. Finding the items that we can get more online is what we should sell now. Other items might be easier to get rid of at a garage sale so we just need to be strategical about what we chose to sell.
For some of the items we’ve been given that are older there might be some opportunities for trade in. It really just depends on the value of the item and finding buyers that understand the value.
What To Do With the Money
So, once we have the money what should we do with it? Let’s make it count. We’ll invest it into a Roth IRA probably. If you have debt, it needs to go towards the debt. Every bit of extra income you get needs to go towards debt.
By selling stuff to payoff debt you are accelerating your debt payoff. This shortens the period which already feels like a marathon. This seems obvious but you need to keep yourself engaged and motivated while paying off debt. Waiting every 2 weeks for another paycheck can get boring quick and cause you to lose interest.
Take your debt payoff into your own hands and start making stuff happen. Just like using a debt thermometer to your advantage, use the stuff you have to help you out as well. It essentially is an ‘all hands on deck’ mentality. And it won’t cost you anything to do.
I’ve never sold any used things online, only in yard sales. I think it’s time for me to move into the 21st Century, but it’s a little intimidating. Thanks for the tips! And the motivation.:-)
I guess the first thing to do it just start with one item and see how it goes. It can be a bit intimidating without having gone through the process but once you do it demystifies it. Fortunately for us, Erin used to sell a bunch of stuff on eBay back in the day so the process is natural for her. Always good to marry up!