Saving and Making Money from Yard Sales

If you’re facing debt or looking for ways to make a few extra dollars, then chances are you have too much stuff. Many of us build credit card debt over time with simple purchases that accumulate, filling our house with things and our credit card statements with debt.

A yard sale is a great way to address both problems. Get some of that stuff you don’t need into someone else’s hands, and make some money in the process. If you’re not a seasoned trader, you might want to be careful how you plan your yard sale to make the most money for your efforts. Here are some tips:

Plan well ahead.

Have a closet devoted to yard sale items all year long. Any time you come across something you don’t need that might be worth some money, toss it in the yard sale collection. Also, start gathering shopping bags from the store to keep with your yard sale goods, so you have a supply to offer your buyers.

Partner up.

Maybe your neighbors have a few items to sell but not enough for a full-blown yard sale. Get together and make one big sale; it will make your yard sale more attractive to buyers, and you’ll get to split the labor with your partners. Check to see if your neighborhood is on Nextdoor.com for a way to reach out to your immediate neighbors.

Check with your neighborhood association.

First, make sure there are not rules against your planned sale, or specific dates your neighborhood plans to have yard sales. Then see if they can advertise your sale in the neighborhood association’s newsletter or on their Facebook page. And again, Nextdoor.com is a good place to find out if your neighborhood has rules about yard sales.

When pricing, do a little homework.

Chances are you’ll have shoppers with smartphones looking to see if they can re-sell your goods on ebay for a small profit. They’ll look up any books, video games or movies you’re selling and see if they’re worth more if sold online. If you’d rather go the yard sale route than become an online retailer, price your goods just under the online price so you don’t leave too much money on the table, but the buyer is still enticed to take advantage of your good prices.
Another homework step is to visit your local Goodwill or Salvation Army store to get an idea of what prices shoppers will expect for your goods.

Start early.

Seasoned yard sale shoppers will want to be first in line to snap up the best items at the best prices. Oblige them by opening up the sale as early as you can.

Be secure.

Don’t go with a cashbox—you create a theft target that can wipe out all of your profits with one fell swoop. Better to keep the money on you at all times when running a yard sale. And be sure to plan for the kind of cash you’ll need—expect a lot of $20 bills and be ready with plenty of $10s and $5s. And don’t put too many odd prices on your goods—use nice round numbers so it’ll be easy to make change.

Learn smart selling techniques.

Clean up your used goods so they look as good as possible—don’t let your shoppers think they’re buying junk. Have an extension cord so they can test electrical goods to make sure they work. And when talking about your stuff, be honest without being negative about anything you’re selling. Saying “I just don’t need it anymore” is better than “this old piece of junk is just taking up space!”

With a little bit of planning and diligence, you can make money, free up space, and de-clutter with a yard sale. Then use those profits to pay down credit card debt from buying all of that stuff in the first place!

Melinda Opperman

About The Author

Melinda Opperman is an exceptional educator who lives and breathes the creation and implementation of innovate ways to motivate and educate community members and students about financial literacy. Melinda joined credit.org in 2003 and has over 19 years experience in the industry.