eBay Powerseller Personal Finance Tips – Turn Trash Into Cash

December 28, 2006

Many of us are feeling the financial pinch the few days after Christmas. The presents have been given and now we have to figure out how to pay for them all! One way to help make the payments is to turn trash into cash!

Thinking Inside the Box
What is one thing most Christmas gifts have in common? Almost all come wrapped in a box! Almost everything I sell on eBay has to be shipped somewhere, which means I’m always in need of boxes.

The first three things I sold on eBay actually lost me money due to the expense of buying boxes, packing peanuts, and bubble wrap. I quickly learned to factor the cost of shipping materials into the total price. Then last Christmas, as I watched nieces and nephews tear through box after box of gifts, I realized that I shouldn’t be spending money on packaging materials, they were all around me for free!

Turning Trash into Cash
Anytime I come across any already used packaging materials I store them on shelves or bins in my garage. I’ve spread the word to family and friends so now they collect their empty boxes, extra packing peanuts, etc. for me as well. Since I don’t have to buy the materials I can charge lower fees and still end up making a few extra bucks on each sale for shipping. I figure over the last year I’ve probably made $800-$1000 just by turning trash into cash!

Personal Finance Tips
There is “trash” all around us that can, with a little effort, be turned into cash. Anyone can do it but most people don’t take the time.

Printer Cartridges

Cell phones
or CellForCash.com

Buying new furniture but don’t have a truck to take it to Goodwill? Instead of paying to have it hauled away, sell it locally on craigslist.com.

Donate Items
Donating items such as used computers or clothing won’t put any cash in your pocket right away but the tax deduction at the end of the year can help.

Friends & Family Plan
Use the network effect to help you turn other people’s trash into cash. Let friends, family, and co-workers know you’re always looking for empty printer cartridges, old cell phones, or whatever “trash” you can turn into cash. Over time the word will spread and “trash” will start to trickle in.

eBay Tips
Another way to turn trash into cash is to sell your used items on eBay. If you go that route, make sure you save all the sturdy boxes you opened over Christmas to cut down on your shipping costs!


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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8 Responses to eBay Powerseller Personal Finance Tips – Turn Trash Into Cash

  • Brochure Printing

    Gather all the used paper, shred these, and then use it for packing material. Turning trash into cash is a great way to save really. You’ll also help mother nature by recycling. Go green!

  • Stingy Student

    I have the good fortune of having a lab building next door which goes through tons of boxes for lab equipment, so I’ve been scavenging their boxes recently. I wonder what sort of surprised look pops on the faces of my customers who receive 100 lb. boxes of rat food…..

  • moneysmartz

    You can also use your stacks of TPS reports from work!

  • jim

    Shred up some junk mail and use that as packing material, it works great 🙂


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