By Jack Sheppard - Last updated:
With Christmas just around the corner, many of us are looking to make a bit of extra cash to help us through the festive period. What people overlook, however, is that one of the best places to make money is within your own house. We all have boxes of stuff we no longer want piled up in our attics or basements, whether it’s clothes, DVDs, or even old wedding dresses, our houses are full of junk we can sell, and some of it might be worth more than you’d think.
It’s the most famous market place on the internet, and often pays the best. When you sell on eBay you get to decide the selling price, shipping costs, and how far you’re willing to send it.
However, it can also be a complex and lengthy process if you don’t know what you’re doing, so it’s best to look up the best ways to sell on eBay before getting started. eBay also takes a 9% commission up to a value of £50 on everything, so although your goods may go quickly when you list them on eBay, you won’t necessarily get the price you’re after.
If eBay looks too complicated, then another great way to sell is to post a classified ad on a site like Gumtree. These work exactly the same as the classified ads you’d find in a newspaper or shop window, but reach a much wider audience. All you need to is post a description of what you’re selling and a few pictures, as well as an asking price and your contact details.
This can be a great way to sell your unwanted goods, as like eBay you get to choose the price, but unlike eBay, you keep all of the profits. Most sales are face-to-face, meaning you get the money immediately and so don’t have to worry about postage. There are shipping options available however, if your buyer is not within a convenient distance.
Gumtree isn’t the only site offering classified ads, and it’s becoming increasingly popular to advertise and sell your goods on Facebook. There are now hundreds of local “Buy & Sell” groups on the site, which like Gumtree, allow you to advertise your goods locally for free and arrange posting and pick up yourself. However, these groups may not be moderated, so check your potential buyer’s reputation before selling anything.
If you have any DVDs, CDs or video games you wish to sell, you’ll probably be better off selling them in bulk to a trade-in site, such as Zapper, CeX or Magpie Music. These sites are very easy to use and often give you instant quotes for your discs, and so are an incredibly easy and stress-free way to make a bit of money.
The selling rates will vary from site to site, and will also be dependent on the quality and demand of what you’re selling; however, the going rate is £1 for CDs, £1.50 for DVDs and £10 for video games. You may get more money for some items by selling them on eBay; however, where trade-in sites excel is in their ease of use and convenience when selling in bulk.
Like with discs, you might make more money by selling some books on eBay; however, this will require a lot of time and effort if you have many books to sell. Selling with Amazon Marketplace can be a lot simpler. All you need to do is search for the book you want to sell and write a sort description of your copy’s quality, and it will stay listed on the market place until it is sold.
Amazon charges £1.50 for each book you sell, plus 15% of the listing price for the first 35 books you list each month. If you list more than 35 books, there is an additional £28.75 monthly fee; however, the price to list each book is then reduced to 50p each. The amount second-hand books sell for varies greatly, from under a pound for old paperback novels, to over £100 for rare textbooks.
However, if you don’t want to go through the hassle of selling them yourself, there are trade-in sites online, such as webuybooks.co.uk, which like other trade-in sites, will buy your books to sell forward, for a fixed price.
There are many "cash for clothes" companies across the country which will pay you by the kilo for any unwanted clothes you want to get rid of. They will often buy anything from shoes, to tops, and sometimes even bed linen, as long as it’s clean and in good condition.
The amount they are willing to pay varies between companies, but is typically around 50p a kilo. When selling by the kilo, you should always sell in person and don’t send anything by post, in case it’s not returned. You should also check your clothes’ labels before sending them off- you might make more money by selling designer items individually on eBay or elsewhere.
If your kids are getting older, you’ll probably have crates of Lego that you don’t know what to do with. Music Magpie and Zapper both buy good quality, second-hand Lego by the kilo, or half kilo. Zapper’s rate is £7/kilo, and Music Magpie’s is £4. However, you’ll need to sell a minimum of £10 and £5 worth of goods at Zapper and Music Magpie respectively in order to be eligible. As long as you’re sending them genuine Lego, both are willing to pay you via cheque, bank transfer or PayPal within eight working days of receiving your goods.
If you have a lot of stuff you want to sell, then a car boot sale is a fairly convenient way to do it. Carbootsales.org lists most of the car boot sales in the country, when they’re open, and their pitch fees. There are many things you can do to ensure that you make as much money as possible at a car boot sale, but it’s important to remember to price everything you’re going to sell beforehand and keep track of what you’re selling.
You may find you have a lot of interest when the sale first opens, but be careful as these will often be dealers, who are hoping to sell your goods on for a profit, so only sell to them if you are happy with the price.
If your old wedding dress is just sitting in the loft collecting dust, it may surprise you to know that it could be worth hundreds of pounds. Many people are willing to pay over £500 for a sought-after dress by a well-known designer, and there are many sites online where you can advertise your second-hand dress for free. Gumtree is probably the most obvious example; however, thedressmarket.net is dedicated to the sale of second-hand wedding dresses, and like Gumtree is also free to use.
Always ensure you sell valuable items like wedding dresses in person and with cash-in-hand. The exception to this is eBay, which tends to offer better protection, but also takes a cut of the profit.
Music Magpie, Zapper and CeX all buy electronic goods such as IPods, tablets, laptops and phones. The amount you get will largely depend on the quality of your product; however, CeX will usually pay the most, and will pay even more if you’re willing to receive the money via in-store credit rather than in cash.
However, it’s always best to shop around and find the best deal before selling. CeX is also most likely to offer the most when buying a mobile phone. However, sellmymobile.com has a “best price guarantee”, and says that if you find a higher price within 24 hours, it will refund you double the difference.
Over the last few years we’ve been bombarded by adverts from companies wanting to buy your scrap gold for a small fortune. Whilst many of these sites can be extremely dodgy, if you look in the right place, you could end up making a mint. A 9 carat stud earring could sell for as much as £14, with an 18 carat (3g) ring selling for £67.
The best places to sell your unwanted gold to is the jewellers, as not only will they give you cash-in-hand but they are often reputable High Street businesses. Online buyers can be unreliable or poor payers, however, there are a few golden nuggets out there. Hatton Garden Metals, Lois Jewellers, and Gerrard’s all have very good feedback, and often pay well.
Despite this, you should always remain vigilant when selling your gold online, and make sure that you never send any jewellery that contains precious stones or is branded. Always send your gold via Special Delivery to ensure that it arrives to its seller safely, and don’t send any gold coins or medals, as private sellers will probably be willing to pay more for them.
For more money saving tips that don't include selling things you own, part 2 of this article gives you more methods for increasing the amount of money you have in your pocket.