Sometimes your income just isn’t enough to make ends meet, even if you keep a budget and strive to save money. In fact, 32% of adults report that they would have to borrow money or sell belongings to cover a $400 emergency expense, according to the Federal Reserve.
Whether you need quick cash or an ongoing side hustle to bring in extra income, we’ve got you covered with money-making ideas fit for stay-at-home moms and dads and full-time workers alike. Here’s how to make good money selling things online or locally.
What Can I Sell That I Already Own?
Used Clothing and Home Items
One of the easiest ways to make money fast is to sell the gently-used old clothes, furniture, and home goods that you already have lying around. Choose an online marketplace such as Poshmark or Mercari, or sell locally with OfferUp, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace. You can also sell furniture to antique stores. There are no startup costs, and you can make good money in your spare time.
If you have old toys, limited edition sneakers, out-of-print comic books, vinyl records, trading cards, or other antiques, you may be able to score top dollar for these items on eBay due to high demand. Be sure to research what similar items are going for so you get a fair price.
If you have old books collecting dust on your shelves at home, you can turn those past reads into extra cash. Local independent bookstores or chains like Half Price Books can appraise and buy your used books. Alternatively, you can sell online at Amazon, or use Bookscouter to compare price estimates from other online marketplaces.
If you have old phones, video game systems, laptops, televisions, or other used gadgets, selling these items could earn you decent money. Apple, Best Buy, and Amazon all have trade-in programs, and you can also sell tech items at an online marketplace like Decluttr.
Space in Your Home
Renting out your spare room, or even your couch, can be especially lucrative. For example, Airbnb hosts in Downtown Los Angeles earn an average of $2,475 per month for renting a private room. If you don’t have extra sleeping space available, you can also rent out your attic, garage, or other storage space on Neighbor. (Tip: Sign up for Neighbor through Swagbucks and get a free $50 bonus.)
Car Advertising Space
If you drive often, whether you have a long commute or work as a contractor for a ridesharing company, your vehicle’s exterior could become advertising space for a big brand. Wrapify estimates that a car with a full wrap can earn up to $452 per month, while Carvertise reports that you could earn up to $1,500 per campaign.
Brands want to know how consumers feel about their products and services, so they use survey sites like Swagbucks to conduct market research. Swagbucks provides points to its members for their opinions, which can quickly be redeemed for cash. Anyone can easily make a few dollars per day in their free time taking online surveys for money. Answer surveys from your couch, at the gas pump, in line at the grocery store, or any time you have a few minutes. Plus, you’ll get a $10 bonus just for signing up.
Gold prices are currently at about $1,672 per ounce, so if you have a lot of gold jewelry, watches, or precious home items lying around, you can earn some serious cash selling online. Online companies like CashforGoldUSA and SellYourGold offer payment in as little as 24 hours.
Do you have a nice guitar you no longer play or a drum set that’s just taking up space? Used musical instruments can snag you a chunk of change. You can keep more than 90% of the profits when you sell through Reverb, or you can sell locally on platforms like OfferUp and Facebook Marketplace.
Plasma, Sperm, or Eggs
If you’re not afraid of needles, regular plasma donations can be lucrative — and you’ll also be helping patients in need. Plasma donation centers generally pay between $30 and $60 per donation, and some centers tout the opportunity to earn $1,000 in your first month. And if you’re willing to donate your DNA, sperm donors can earn around $100 per donation. Selling your eggs, which is more medically involved and comes with risks, can earn you up to $10,000.
Unused Gift Cards
If you have unwanted gift cards lying around for stores you never visit, you can sell them for cash. You can earn up to 93% of the full dollar value for each gift card on sites like CardCash or GiftCash. Other platforms, such as Raise, allow you to set your own rate, but still take a cut of the profits.
If you’re crafty, why not try your hand at making money selling things on Etsy? Identify a product that can be profitable based on the going rate at similar shops. You might create personalized gifts, design your own shirts, knit scarves or blankets, create macrame wall hangings, or repurpose items you have at home.
Photography or Art
The thousands of photos on your cell phone could be a goldmine if you have an eye for photography and have captured interesting subjects and locales. Sites like Shuttershock and SmugMug make it easy to sell your photos online. However, these platforms take a cut of your earnings. As you develop a portfolio of work, you may also want to create your own website and sell photos to agencies directly.
What Can I Buy and Sell to Make Extra Money?
You may be able to make more money on a continuous basis if you can invest some cash upfront. There are a couple of ways you can make money buying and selling things online.
Consider visiting local thrift stores or buying used goods on Facebook Marketplace and reselling them for a profit. You could sell furniture, vintage items, or designer clothing, for example. Thrift store pricing makes it easy to turn a profit, and you may even be able to find free items on Craigslist that you can rehabilitate for resale.
Dropshipping allows you to sell inventory without paying for it first. You won’t have to worry about assembling raw materials to create a product, storing that product, or handling the shipping. Instead, conduct competitive research to find a niche product that will earn a decent profit, find a supplier, and build an eCommerce store. With tools like Shopify and Oberlo, your dropshipping business can provide passive income. You can also dropship with Fulfillment by Amazon.
What Are the Most Profitable Things to Sell?
The following used items are likely to bring you the most money:
- Jewelry, watches, and precious metals
- Registered firearms
- Power tools
- Smartphones, gaming consoles, and other electronics
- Musical instruments
- Sporting goods
- Antiques and collectibles
What Are the Easiest Things to Sell?
It’s easiest to sell items you already own that are in good condition. Kids’ toys can be especially easy to offload because they’re typically in high demand. Taking surveys online is another easy way to earn money since you can log in to Swagbucks from your phone and make money on the fly.
Which Products Sell the Fastest?
Some of the fastest-selling products on platforms like Facebook Marketplace include:
- Kids’ toys and clothes
- Sports, fitness, and exercise equipment
- Baby supplies
- Seasonal items, such as decorations
How Else Can I Make Money Online?
Watching Videos and Playing Games
Swagbucks offers a myriad of fun ways to earn extra cash besides online surveys — you can get points for watching videos, playing games, and even shopping online. While it’s no replacement for a full-time income, you can rack up enough money each month to treat yourself to dinner at a restaurant. And since Swagbucks allows you to cash out with just $3 in points, you can get more money in your wallet quickly.
If you have marketable skills in graphic design, writing articles, translation, accounting, video editing, social media marketing, or almost any other field, you may be able to find freelance work online. Start by searching for open freelance positions or listing your services on a freelance platform such as Fiverr. Eventually, you’ll want to build a portfolio, collect testimonials, and promote yourself on your own website.
Affiliate Marketing and Advertising
If you have a following on a blog or social media account, you can make money through affiliate marketing links or paid advertisements. For example, if you have a fashion blog, you might include affiliate links to the clothing items you mention. When your readers click through those links and make a purchase, you’ll earn a commission. If you have a large enough following, this can be a great opportunity to earn passive income.
Online Tutoring or Course Creation
Sites like Preply and VIPKid allow you to make money tutoring children from the comfort of your own home. It’s possible to make up to $25 per hour. Alternatively, if you have expert-level knowledge about a topic, you can create an online course with Teachable or Thinkific. Though it’ll take some work to develop the course content, you’ll earn passive income once the curriculum is complete.
Virtual Assistant Services
If you have administrative experience and a reliable internet connection, you can work as a virtual assistant from the comfort of your home. You’ll take care of important tasks like scheduling meetings, making travel plans, and taking messages. You can look for open positions, advertise your services on Fiverr, or apply to work for a company like Zirtual.
The Bottom Line
If you’re strapped for cash, there’s no need to panic. There are a variety of fun, easy, and fast ways to make money online. Your own closet or garage could be a treasure trove of items you can sell for cash. And if selling your gently used goods isn’t enough to supplement your day job, you can look into flipping or dropshipping as a lucrative side hustle. Just make sure to stash some of that extra income in a savings account — that way, you’ll be more prepared for your next emergency expense.
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