Thursday, March 4, 2010

Using Thrifting to Make Money

Everyone is looking for ways to earn a little extra cash during this Great Recession.  It seems as if prices for everything from bread to gas keep going up while our wages remain stagnant as companies try to curb expenses.  As we all try to whittle down our spending to make ends meet, I sometimes wonder if buying clothes to fill my already full wardrobe is a little frivolous.  So to justify my spending, I have found a way to use thrift shopping to make money: reselling my finds on ebay!  

The key to successfully selling things on ebay is to know your buyers: how old are they?  How much money are they willing to spend?  How do I attract them to what I am selling?  In my case, I try to buy and sell clothes to women of my age demographic (18-35) because I know what types of clothes are in style and what their approximate resale values are.  Once I have figured out who my buyers are, I have to determine how to reach them.  This usually involves doing research on ebay for articles similar to what I am trying to sell.  For instance, if I am selling Gap jeans, then I will search for Gap jeans on ebay to see what they are selling for and what the demand is (i.e. how many bids).

Over the winter, I visited a thrift store during a bag sale and walked away with a shopping bag full of clothes that only cost me $0.25/article.  This is another key component to making money on ebay, you have to make sure you will make a profit!  Case in point, the ugly Christmas sweater that I previously blogged about.  I bought it for $4 and sold it for $9.99, but after all the ebay and paypal fees were deducted, I only made about $4.  Yes, I made a profit, but was it worth all the work?  So the lesson I learned was, buy cheap!  At least that way you know you'll make a decent profit when the item sells.

Of the items I bought at the sale, I was able to sell two so far:

This is an Abercrombie & Fitch mini skirt that I sold for $16.

These are a pair of Ann Taylor Loft cropped pants that I sold for $9.

In summary, I spent $0.50 on these two articles and grossed $25 for a pre-fee profit of $24.50.  In the words of Martha Stewart, "That's a good thing!"