We all buy things we don’t need or never use, things that truly fit the description of “stuff”. Find out how to make money selling stuff on Craigslist for extra cash.
We talk a lot about long-term strategies for making money from home on the blog but some of the strategies work for extra cash as well. Craigslist is the best example. While you can make a lot of money buying and selling on the site, you can also make money selling stuff that you just don’t need anymore.
“I’m going to buy that treadmill! It’s expensive but it will force me to start exercising and will be worth the price tag in the long-run.” That’s what I told myself before shelling out $280 for a treadmill at Walmart.
Three months later and the treadmill had been used maybe ten times and was buried under a pile of clothes and boxes. It had turned into what I refer to as “stuff”.
It’s a pretty common story and I would bet you’ve got a similar one.
We all have stuff lying around that seemed like great buys but turned out to be something we never used and really didn’t need. It may even be stuff that got a lot of usage but has been forgotten after you bought something newer.
You don’t have to sit there and regret wasting your money. Your stuff can be useful again for making money on Craigslist.
How to Make Money Selling Stuff: What and Where
We live a fairly frugal lifestyle in the Hogue house but I found a whole list of “stuff” in just a few minutes.
Starting in my office and staring me right in the face is a stack of books that I will never read again. I really enjoyed Henry Kissinger’s book Diplomacy but it’s nearly 900 pages long and I’m about 99% sure that I’ll never read it again. I’ve also got an old office chair that I didn’t like and replaced but is still sitting in the corner.
Looking through the rest of the house found TVs in several separate rooms, these are rarely used and only act to isolate the family from each other. There are old tech gadgets scattered around the house, things that have been replaced or upgraded. Our son’s room is full of toys that he’s outgrown or no longer has an interest in them. I also came across the most expensive coat rack we’ve ever bought, that treadmill.
Online auction site eBay used to be the favorite for making money by turning stuff into quick cash but Craigslist seems to be the preferred choice now. You might be able to reach a bigger audience with eBay but the shipping costs just aren’t worth it for a lot of smaller ticket stuff. Use eBay to check out prices of things you want to sell but I would list them first on Craigslist.
Craigslist is a great resource to sell your stuff because it’s local so there are no shipping costs. Craigslist has built a good reputation with a lot of people for a quick way to make money selling stuff so there is always a lot of people posting on the site and looking for bargains. It’s free to post your stuff for sell and you can hide your actual email address. The process of selling something on the site is really easy.
- Search for your local site with “Craigslist [your city]” in Google
- Click on “Post to Classifieds” on the top-left of the screen
- Select the type of posting, i.e. for sale by owner
- Choose the most relevant category
- Your actual email address will be hidden using the Craigslist mail relay
- Include title, price and other details
- Upload a picture of the item
- Verify your listing through an email
The drawback to Craigslist is that your posting can get buried under others very quickly, especially in larger cities and for popular categories. This means you may have to re-post your items a few times before you get many offers. You are allowed to renew a Craigslist post every 48 hours, which will move it to the top of the for-sale listing.
Craigslist is so popular that many people have made decent money with buying and selling items on the site. I detailed the process of how to make money online selling on Craigslist in post on my personal finance site, highlighting the steps to buy merchandise that you can turn around and resell.
Beyond Craigslist, you might want to consider selling your stuff through local consignment shops. These businesses resell your used clothes and other items and take a cut of the total sale. It can be a better way to make money selling clothes or other very inexpensive stuff. For used books, most cities have a Half Price Books or a used book seller. You won’t get more than a few bucks for each book, at the most, but it can add up and it is money for something that was just collecting dust.
The two sources to sell your stuff I would absolutely avoid would be pawn shops and garage sales. Pawn shops make their money from people that need quick cash and have no other option. They are going to offer you much less than you could get through Craigslist or another source. I was practically raised on garage sales and still like them for finding kids clothes and the occasional deal but for making money selling your own stuff, garage sales are a waste of time! You will end up sitting outside all day to make maybe $50 max. You are not going to get rich selling your stuff on Craigslist but at least it won’t consume your entire day.
How to Make Money Selling your Stuff: How
The process to sell your stuff online is pretty easy. I’ll talk through the process of selling your stuff on Craigslist here but it can really be applied to eBay or any online site.
The most important part of your advertisement is the title. Without a good title, people won’t be tempted to click through and look at what you’ve got for sale. Resist the temptation to “trick” people into looking at your ad with lots of exclamation points or asterisks, this will just annoy people. Do not use all capital letters in your title, it’s the equivalent of online shouting and will turn buyers off.
Instead, write a clear and concise title that describes what you’ve got for sale. Include a few adjectives to give it persuasive power.
Look to the retailer’s description on websites where the product is sold new for help in writing your description. Explain why you are selling the item and that it is still in good condition with lots of life left. Make your description easy to read with short paragraphs and bullet points.
Photos of your stuff to sell are absolutely critical but you don’t need more than five. It’s best to use your own picture of the item instead of one from a retailer’s website. Posting a retailer’s image will make people wonder if the one for sale isn’t in good enough shape to photograph or if it’s even a legitimate posting.
Try taking at least two or three pictures from different angles and using a white sheet as a background. If you’ve got a lamp, set it up so the light shines on the product for a brighter, clearer picture.
Check out what other people are selling the same product for and know how much it costs new. This will help when someone tries to low-ball you with a ridiculous offer. Have a bottom price you will accept in mind and be ready to tell the buyer you cannot go any lower.
How to Make Money Selling Stuff and Turn it Into Thousands
So you’ve gone through the trouble of cleaning up your old stuff and selling it online or through consignment and you’ve got a few hundred dollars in your pocket. Is it even worth it to sell your stuff and can it really help you reach financial freedom?
Would it be worth it if it meant an extra $3,700?
You might not get much money selling your stuff, maybe a few hundred dollars if you’ve got some big ticket items, but it can go a long way if you use the money correctly. Just $350 used to pay down credit card debt, at the average credit card rate of 13.0%, saves you $3,700 in interest over 20 years assuming you continuously keep a balance on the card. Even investing the money at a long-term return of 7.5% on stocks and that $350 will grow to $1,486 over two decades.
I never thought buying and selling on Craigslist could be a legit way to make money but I’m convinced after a few experiments on the site. Even if it’s just to sell the stuff laying around the house, your Craigslist money could go a lot farther than you expect. Making money on Craigslist isn’t a big part of my work from home money but it’s a regular part that I can turn to when other sources fall during the month. Check out all the ways to make money from home in our directory and share your ideas with the community.