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How to Make Extra Money - Sometimes it Just Takes a Little to Make a Big Difference!

Updated on February 20, 2010

Would Even a Little Extra Money Help?

Sometimes all it takes is a little extra money to ease your money woes. If you break it down into smaller "wants" money wise, it's easier to believe that you can achieve those goals and therefore make them happen. Sometimes being overwhelmed is the biggest barrier to getting anything done.

If you think "I'd be fine if I didn't have that credit card minimum" or "if I didn't have my cell phone bill", then keep it simple and just try to find a way to pay that one bill. If you can alleviate even one bill a month, you might feel better. Then once you figure out a process for eliminating that one bill and it becomes routine and easy, you expand and try to eliminate one more bill.

If you already have a full time job and a "real" second job doesn't seem like an option, you're better off finding something that you can work on whenever you want. Plus, if you work for someone else every day, it's fun to have your own side project where you're the boss. You work on it when you want and how ever you choose to do it. It should also be something you enjoy, so if you're a shopper by nature like me, you'll be happy with these options for how to make extra money.

How to Make Extra Money - Goodwill Book Store
How to Make Extra Money - Goodwill Book Store

Making Extra Money with Half.com

Half.com is an ebay company that is specifically set up for people to sell their books, movies & text books. If you've ever wanted to sell on Ebay but it seems too overwhelming half.com might be an easier introduction into selling online. With Ebay you have to know what an item is and a ton of detail to be able to accurately sell it. With Half.com, you don't need anything other than the number on the back of the book (the ISBN) and a visual determination about the books condition.

Starting the selling process is very simple. You sign up for an account and start listing items. All you have to do it type in the number on the back (bar code like number) and it'll pull up a photo of the book. You then mark its condition and pick a price. They tell you what the last one sold for and what the average price is for ones that are currently listed. It's VERY simple. Then when an item sells you get an email with all of the information you need to mail (via media mail) the item out. You are reimbursed a flat amount for postage, so the profit is the profit and you don't have to worry about what to charge for shipping like you do on Ebay.

If you've got a ton of books sitting on shelves and you're not attached to them, I would just list all of them. You might only get a dollar for some of them, but hey if you really need money and you have a lot of books it might be worth it.

My favorite way to sell on Half.com is to spend a day combing through the books at local Goodwill or Thrift stores where you can buy books for 50 cents to $1.99. The ones that will sell the best are the newest of course. You don't make much on fiction, but if you happen to find a bestseller that's pretty new you'll likely make a little bit on it. The best way to tell is to use the internet on your phone and look up how much it's currently selling for Half.com. Once a book is everywhere and tons of people are selling it, the price plummets to 75 cents. So looking it up on your phone will save you from having a huge inventory that won't sell or sells for less than you paid for it. After you've been doing it for a while, you'll find that there are certain authors that will always sell. One being Jodi Picoult. Her womens fiction books always sell, not at a high price unless they just came out, but they always sell. So if you find one for 50 cents, it's not a huge gamble. The best score at Goodwill or thrift shops is to find a fairly new text book. Don't even bother looking it up if it's more than a few years old. I once bought a three year old marketing text book for 99 cents and sold it on Half.com for 60 dollars. It doesn't happen often, but if you keep your eyes open and take the time to look at the year and research the price on your phone, you never know what you might find.

Tips:

  • Some Goodwills have specifc book stores now and there are also outlet stores. The outlets are a mess and you have to dig through bins of messy book, but if you're willing to, you'll definitely get a good deal and probably make a few bucks.
  • When you get to Goodwill, check out the 50% off color of the day and check out those books first.
  • You'll make the most on soft cover books. The hardcovers look all shiny and pretty and expensive, but for some reason people always buy the soft cover version. Also, they're only 99 cents at most Goodwill stores, so you're taking less of a risk than spending the 1.99 for hard cover.
  • Go to Goodwill stores that are in a fancy neighborhood or near one.
  • I find the best deals on Saturday mornings. I'm not sure why, but it's what works for me.
  • Buy your mailing envelopes online for a huge discount. The less you spend on mailing the more profit you'll have since you get a flat amount per item.
  • To take the hassle out of going to the post office and waiting in line, try an at home program like stamps.com. It's much easier to get your mailings all ready to go at home and then just drop them off at the post office. Plus, you always have tracking on stamps.com and you end up with a perfect accounting record of everything you mailed out.
  • If you have an iphone or a blackberry, check out the apps that allow you to take a photo of the bar code and it'll look up the prices it's selling for online. It would be a pain to do for a large number of items, but if you find something you really think is worth something it works well.



Making Extra Money with Ebay

It's tough, but if you find the right items it can be done. I like to use something similar to the half.com methods mentioned above. I only sell items that I know something about and I would be confident in explaining it's value in the description.

I comb the thrift shops for my Ebay items as well. I like to hit the ones in the nice neighborhoods and look for items that I know something about. I know handbags and shoes, so I start there. If I find something I'm pretty sure about, I look it up on my phone and see if it's currently selling and if there are a lot of other ones listed. If there are tons of brand new ones listed at a low price and the one I found is used, it's not worth it at all. I like to stick to things I know just in case I can't sell it. If I'm really unsure I only buy something that I wouldn't mind keeping. This is also a nice way to ease yourself into selling on Ebay. You don't have to spend much and you get something that you wouldn't mind if it didn't sell.

Clothing is tough, but vintage items are sometimes worth far more than you'll pay at a thrift store. If you find a vintage concert tshirt or a designer item that looks classic, definitely check it out online. Having the internet in the palm of your hand in a store is really revolutionizing things for resellers. There's much less of a gamble in the game these days!

Making Extra Money with Craigslist

I know, the Craigslist word probably makes you cringe. It does for me too, but I've actually had a little bit of luck with it. There are some crazies on there, but there are also some legit business that simply need a little bit of help. In this economy, offices have less staff and I'm seeing a lot more ads for simple office work on Craigslist. If you're looking for just a little extra spending money or money to simply pay your cell phone bill each month, you might find a job where you do someones filing for a few hours a week or answer phones on Saturdays.

One thing to keep in mind on Craigslist is of course, if it seems shady, it probably is. If there are misspellings and a vague job description, stay away. I feel like I can usually tell what's legit and after calling or corresponding with the person, it's usually very clear.

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