With so many people struggling financially in this still anemic economy, a little extra cash could could provide a little relief to many families. But, what are the easiest, safest ways to make some quick cash to relieve the stress of a strained wallet and pocketbook? Well, you don't need to go far. Just look around your house! Give your family its own “economic stimulus package” by selling clothing and household items you no longer use. You even can sell your old car for extra cash. Planning and managing wisely, you can turn your cast-offs into cash.
Match Your Items to the Markets
As you prepare items for sale, carefully estimate their genuine value. Garage sale and flea market buyers regularly pay one-third of your items’ original sales prices. Therefore, think about selling your exceptionally valuable items online or on consignment, where you can command higher prices. Try always to be realistic. When you hold-out for higher prices, you inevitably will wait longer to close the sale. In the resale world, “value” is a function of price versus time-to-sale.
You have at least four viable markets for the items you no longer use. Think about selling your old car, clothing, and household items at…
Designer clothes and decent used cars sell well on consignment. If you sell your gently used clothing at a resale boutique, the store manages all the details of the sale and splits the proceeds with you. Expect to sign a consignment agreement that guarantees you between 40 and 60 percent the sale price. Selling a car on consignment, you give the retailer power-of-attorney to execute the sale and manage the paperwork. When the car sells, you officially transfer its title, and the consignment dealer pays-out your percentage of the sale.
Consignment retailers offer at least three advantages over other options: First, the retailers incur all the promotional expenses, devote their full time to selling your clothing or car, and take all the risks associated with completing the sale. Second, because they draw in customers eager to buy high-end merchandise at low-end prices, retailers carefully display your items, and sales associates take time to showcase your items’ finer features. Third, a consignment store will get more money for your items, because the retailer marks it up and sales associates do not haggle. In the end, your 40-to-60 percent of the take may exceed your earnings from selling your items on your own.
Your Greatest-ever Garage Sale
Garage sales turn great profits when you take time to plan and manage them professionally. Plan, advertise, stage, and manage your garage sale with high-volume sales in mind. First, most people shop on Saturdays and Sundays, and strategic garage marketers spread their sales across these two days. Garage sale shoppers get up early, shop hard, and go home. The hard-core buyers will arrive on your driveway at first light. Get your signs posted the night before the sale, and plan your displays for easy early-morning set-up. Prominently display the best stuff, and risk selling some high-quality stuff as “loss-leaders.” Although you expect to negotiate, put price tags on all your merchandise to open haggling in the right range. Plan to sell some items in bulk. T-shirts, for example, will not sell individually, but a bundle of five for 50 cents will disappear in no time.
If you plan to sell your car at your garage sale, get it test-driven and quick-sale ready long before your sale. Have all your service records and sales documents handy, and make sure you understand all the legal requirements of your sale. Your would-be buyers expect your transaction to take about fifteen minutes; if you properly prepare, you can satisfy their expectations.
The Flea Market
The flea market, of course, is the community’s big-big garage sale at a heavy-traffic location. By selling your personal and household items at the flea market, you are guaranteed lots of traffic and buyers ready to spend. Just as at your garage sale, so at the flea market: neatly, strategically display your merchandise and add signage to attract attention to your best items. If you plan to sell your car in this venue, make sure you have properly prepared the vehicle and the paperwork. When a buyer pulls out his cash, you should pull-out pens and forms, closing the deal right there on the spot.
Major E-commerce Sites
When you post items for sale on the internet, the whole world becomes your market. People shop Craigslist.com for bargains on cars, appliances, furniture, and big-ticket items, and they generally do not object to a few dings, dents, glitches, and hiccups if the price is right. CraigsList is an especially good place to list slightly older consumer electronics still in working condition. When you list items, pictures and detailed descriptions help to promote your stuff, and they especially cut down on nuisance phone calls and e-mails. Use eBay to sell your very best items, because the original-and-still-the-greatest auction site lets you control all the details of your sale. If you have genuinely “vintage” or handcrafted items, sell them at etsy.com.
Some Things Deserve Second Life
In some cases, you can do more good and make more money from charitable donations than from sales. Many charities accept cars, boats, and planes as donations, and most will accept them “as is,” running or not. Many schools seek computer and electronics donations, stipulating that you scrub the hard drives before you deliver them into the hands of children. The IRS actually has an itemized list of clothing and household items and their deduction values. Surprisingly, the tax man is often more generous than the garage sale shopper. By selling most and donating some, you turn your downsized goods to substantial dividends.
Mary Clouse is a freelance blogger who writes advice on how to sell used items. If you are looking to sell your car, consider visiting this site, which buys used cars.