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Kids are expensive! How to earn quick money before the baby arrives

Updated on October 4, 2012

Well I actually made the mistake of going “window shopping: with the Mrs. over the weekend. Apparently this kid is going to be really expensive to raise! According to the book she is reading, it costs over $5000 on average to actually raise a kid each year. I don’t know about you but I’m not really able to just simply cut a check for that amount. I’m already working full time, and so is she, but I could always use an extra few bucks. I have found a three fold approach that not only helps get some extra cash, but also some space.

Im having a fire sale! Ok, so nothing is actually on fire, and I have approximately 7 months at this point, but I’m eager to start making some extra cash on the side to buy things like cribs, and baby room furniture and what not. So here are each of the approaches that I’ll be doing over the next few months that will not only put some extra cash in my pocket, but will also free up some space for the baby’s actual arrival:


In my opinion this is the quickest and easiest way to make a little extra spending money that requires ZERO out of pocket expense. Let’s face it, you need some extra cash, not another full time job right? The really awesome thing about Amazon is that there is no fee to actually list an item for sale. They only take a commission if/when your item sells for the price you have actually listed it for. Lets take for example, your massive DVD collection. How many times can you honestly keep watching the Survivor All Star Season DVDs? There is only so much Rupert I can actually take. Why not convert this into cash? Once you have actually setup an Amazon selling account, you simply find the item on their sight. Once you have found it, (the easiest way is actually by searching by the ISBN number on the barcode of your item) there is a button that actually says “Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon”. Just click the button, log into your account and it’s pretty simple from there. You just state how much you want to sell it for, and how you would be wiling to ship the item. You set the cost, so there is no haggling involved. Once the item sells, you’ll actually get an email from Amazon telling you that the item sold and where to send it to. You can even print out the postage labels online, so no trips to the post office. Make your mail carrier actually work for their cash and have them pickup at no cost. You can purchase bubble mailers in bulk online for a discount, or to just get you started, check out your local Dollar General store for cheap mailers. Once a month, Amazon will deposit your earnings to your checking account of choice. If you want your money earlier, you can actually trigger a deposit, but it takes about a week to get cash in hand. Amazon is great for book,s movies, music, and a wide variety of items. A bit of advice though, generally don’t sell anything for less than $4.00, or you might wind up actually losing money after amazon takes their cut.


This process is a bit more involved, but can really pay out. There are books available online on how to go through the process, but overall it’s not that bad. Generally I use eBay of items that are older, and have a bit of a higher value. For example, I have a hand held radio scanner that is about 5 years old and no longer manufactured. It doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable, but since it’s no longer being produced, someone looking on Amazon would need to be looking for that exact model instead of just scanners in general. The calculation of profits can be a bit more complex, as eBay actually charges you to list items. usually it’s for less than $1 for each item depending on the minimum you list them for, but remember, eBay will also take a cut of the final value that it sells for. This is known as a Final Value Fee. But wait there is more! Don’t forget your postage, packaging costs, and if your winner bidder paid via Paypal, (which is really the only acceptable way to get payments through eBay), they take a cut as well. On average, figure you’ll actually get to keep about 70% of what your item actually sold for. Not bad if you are selling $150 items, but bad if you are trying to get rid of your collector’s set of Elvis plates from the Franklin mint that “Aren’t guaranteed to go up in value....” and are now selling at $3 each.

Yard Sales

This is probably my least favorite method of making money. It’s generally labor intensive, hot outside, and you deal with tons of jerks trying to nickel and dime you for your favorite childhood items. It is however a very important step in my process though. Anything that doesn’t sell on Amazon on eBay, set aside and wait till you have collected a pile. Once you have have enough junk to warrant a Saturday afternoon festival of haggling and horse trading, put an add on Craig’s list and go from there. THe secret however is that when the sale is over pack everything that was on sale in the back of your car and take it to a local charity. Lets face it, if someone didn’t want to buy it for a quarter, odds are you really don’t need it either or it wouldn’t be in your garage collecting spiders and dust. Find a local thrift shop or charity of your choice and make sure you get a tax receipt. What’s that you say? If you itemize your taxes, you can use a charitable contribution as a tax write off. So all that crap you weren’t able to sell can actually help you out come tax time. Now make sure you put that receipt somewhere or you just made a donation out of the kindness of your heart.

I’ll be posting individual guides on how to actually go about selling items on eBay and Amazon shortly. Neither is a tough process, but can be a bit scary for a first timer, so I’ll help walk you through it.

What I don’t recommend:

I am not yet a big fan of Craigslist for selling individual items. What sort of treason have I just spoken for those of you that are Craigslist loyalists? I don’t have anything against the site, but lets face it you are trying to make a quick buck here.. Ok so it might be a good resource if you are selling a large, heavy, not easily shipped item like a hot tub or yard tractor, but I personally don’t want to deal with the hassle. I don’t want to get phone calls in the middle of the night, I don’t want strange people knowing where I live, and lets face it you are doing this to help start a family, not expose your new family to a possible security risk. THat is that last thing I want is to get robbed for a hot tub... Maybe in the future I might recommend it, but as of now, I’m a bit paranoid.


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