January Money Diet Challenge – Bring In Some Cash

Sell unwanted items for cash during the January Money Diet

Happy Monday! We’re almost at the halfway point of the January Money Diet, and I have been absolutely amazed by your wonderful comments, stories and ideas. It’s great to be dieting in the company of such creative and committed people. Shall we get started?

Show Me the Money

This week’s challenge is to bring bring some extra cash in, and then immediately put the money toward debt or invest it. There are many creative ways to do this.

Did you receive a gift card for Christmas that you don’t really want or need? You can sell it on eBay or get paid immediately with a site like CardCash.

Do you have a bunch of airline miles sitting in an account that you don’t plan to use? A site like Flip My Miles will pay you cash for them.

Do you have any outstanding rebates due on a credit card? Or do you have something  you purchased sitting in a closet with the price tag still on it, ready to be returned?

Let’s Trade Stuff for Cash

Cow salt and pepper shakersAnother way to raise money is to find something unused among your treasures and sell it to a buyer for cash. You’ll benefit three ways from this strategy:  you’ll eliminate clutter and free up some space, you’ll improve your net worth, and you’ll keep one more thing out of landfill.

Do you have some broken pieces of gold jewelry or lone earrings that you don’t wear? You can sell the gold to a dealer and pocket the cash. I’ve done this several times with satisfactory results, and my biggest piece of advice is this: Don’t take the first price the offer you. Ask if they can do a little better, and they nearly always will.

It’s not difficult to sell unwanted books, DVDs and CDs on Amazon. You don’t need to take any photographs; just sign up for a seller account, list your items (Amazon gives you very specific guidelines so you can accurately list the quality of the item) and wait for the orders. Books and discs are easy to ship, and Amazon reimburses you for the postage. If you use the USPS’s media mail, you might even make a little profit on the shipping fee. The downside is that the profits are generally slim here unless you have some hard-to-find items that are in demand.

EBay takes a little more effort, but the results can be amazing — especially if you have a hot collectible. I’ve sold hundreds of things on eBay, and they make it easy to list your items. Just set up a seller account, take a photo of your item, write an accurate description, and carefully pack and ship your item. If that sounds like too much, you can use a third party seller who will take care of the transaction for you in exchange for a cut of the sale.

CraigsList can be great for getting rid of larger items like unwanted furniture or appliances. You could also offer dog sitting services or tutoring or any other skill. If you have unworn clothing, you can take it to a retailer like Plato’s Closet that pays cash on the spot for trendy clothing. If you live in a warmer climate, you could hold a garage sale. Ask your neighbors to join you in holding and promoting a sale, and you’ll attract more traffic.

Keep your mind open for opportunities to bring in a little cash this week. If you’re successful, don’t put the money in the general fund. Instead, use the cash to directly improve your net worth. Be sure to let us know what you do to bring in income.

Good luck and hugs,

The signature for Eliza Cross

P.S. You could win a deluxe Happy Simple Living gift box by participating in the January Money Diet. The box includes a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card, $25 cash, pantry staples like bean soup mix and organic quinoa, signed copies of three of my cookbooks, homesteading supplies like soap, candles and eco-friendly cleaning supplies, and much more.

At the end of January I’ll choose one winner from among everyone who comments–someone who has participated in this 31-day challenge with heart and soul and achieved good results. Good luck!

Photo: Chazzvid

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

16 comments to January Money Diet Challenge – Bring In Some Cash

  • Cindy

    I returned a bunch of items to the stores that I really didn’t want or need. I hadn’t used the items and had the receipts. In the past, I wouldn’t have returned them and would have just kept them hanging around. Not only did I get about $300 from that, it helped me become more conscious of my buying habits in the first place. Don’t buy it if I don’t love it.

    I also figured up my trip expenses (from a trip I returned from two months ago) and told my sister how much she owed for her half. I’ll be getting a check from her at the end of the week.

  • Catherine Godfrey

    Starting to collect yard sale items, but nicer stuff going on eBay & Craigslist. It makes me sick to think how much I paid for stuff & only selling for pennies to what I paid. I do like going to yard sales myself, but I’ve had to stop I don’t need to bring home someone else’s junk.

  • On Monday, I had a client ask to extend her session, resulting in unexpected money. I have committed to finally listing the things I have gathered for Ebay. And, I have $50 in rebates I can use up.
    Thank you for opening the door to this feeling of money falling from the trees. I am loving this challenge.

  • Samantha

    Just went crazy and took back most of my Christmas gifts for cash and paid off a credit card and stocked up the pantry for two months! The gifts were all things I really could live without and knowing that credit card is pif and the pantry is loaded is SUCH a great feeling! Loving these challenges…

  • Cindy

    I just went to FlipMyMiles and asked for a quote. I’d be happy to sell miles for an airline I don’t use anymore. I hope I get a good quote. Thanks so much for the tip to FlipMyMiles.

    I started decluttering as a result of this Money Diet and have made great progress. I’ve given lots of stuff away to family members who can use it and I have sold a couple of things on Craigslist. I find Craigslist a bit hit or miss and have had most luck with children’s clothing items that are still in good shape.

    I’ll be getting my Costco rebate soon and also get rebates from Eddie Bauer ($85 just in the past 6 months).

    I am periodically given Starbucks gift cards, which I don’t use since I don’t like Starbucks. I re-gift those to people who love Starbucks. It’s like getting extra money for me, because I don’t have to spend money on a gift.

    Some friends of my parents used to track all the money they saved at the grocery store and other places using coupons. They immediately put that money into an account and used that account to pay for their vacations each year.

  • Laura

    I am taking a load of outgrown kids clothes, toys, and books to our local kids consignment shop. Last time I did this we made $50! I’m also posting a stroller and rug on Craigslist. I’ll make sure to report back on how much we make from the sales!

  • susan m.

    I redeemed my rewards from my credit cards and i am putting the gift cards straight into my christmas budget jar.

  • Tricia

    I have done this over the past few years and it has been a huge help. I have put a variety of items on consignment at various places (great because you still get paid some for your stuff and they do all of the marketing, etc). I have also used E-bay and Craigslist and done garage sales. The extra money has helped to pay down bills or helped us get through those financially challenging times. I have also taken on a 2nd job at times… partly to because I enjoyed it and partly to help fund my hobbies, so that they didn’t add additional burden to our regular expenses. It took a bit of effort to do each of these things, but it was well worth it in the end.

  • I took an extra shift at the hospital for someone who was sick, and I will put the income straight into a new savings account. Thanks for all the encouragement.

  • Jennifer

    I can’t focus on selling items anymore. Too much time and effort and it teaches me a hard lesson when I lose on an item. (I did make over $2000 from a yard sale on my children’s toys a couple years ago!) I now immediately take my items down to our local outreach center or if the items are too big, like my washer and dryer set, I leave them at the end of the drive with a Free sign and someone always picks it up and hauls it away for me. It blesses others and helps me declutter. I have had great success with eBay in the past also.

    This month, I earned enough of a Costco rebate to pay for my next year’s membership!

  • Lisa F

    I just received my quarterly credit card rebate check. I also put everything on it and pay in full before the due date.

    Thats $45 of free groceries!

  • Lisa

    We also have had success with Craigslist in the past, though it has been hit or miss lately. And we have learned to distinguish between honest replies and spam (which usually have lots of grammatical mistakes.) Most recently, we sold our dining room table which has been more of a buffet table in the last ten years. The money from selling it will go towards new wood floors – our carpet is 23 years old and the stains no longer come out. We agreed we wouldn’t buy the materials until we sold the table, so we were preventing debt.

  • Lynn Louise

    I have almost $500 in cash back from my credit card. I earn anywhere from 1-5% on things I buy anyway so I put EVERYTHING on my credit card. And I make sure to pay it IN FULL every single month. The cash back is FREE MONEY. So I am putting the money towards my balance this month. I also am posting several items on craigslist. Like my daughters college loft bed. And my sons old snowmobile jacket that he outgrew. I have sold furniture and some clothes on Craigslist in the past. It’s wonderful. And free. I have been getting so many things done around the house using this challenge as a motivator. This past weekend, I patched 3 pairs of my husbands jeans and fixed a whole in our flannel sheets. Cleaned the laundry room and organized a closed. Plus I balanced the check book and went through some old papers that we no longer needed and shredded them. Things are starting to look up around here.

  • SanDandy

    I did your debt diet last year and referred 2 friends this year. Thank you for doing this.

  • Joann

    I’ve already made over $30 this month selling purged items on a local yard sale site! Feels great to get rid of clutter and make a few bucks at the same time.

  • Steve

    I agreed to chaperone a dance at my school (paid) to bring in extra cash, which I will put toward my mortgage.

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