I’ve done a bit of reading about frugality lately – I’m enjoying the topic of living simply, within my means and not spending unnecessarily.
As a freelancer I’m always fairly aware of my bank balance. What’s coming in one month could be gone the next and I need to plan for the worst financial scenario constantly. That makes my work sound awful, and it can be a stress at certain times of the year (like this month – paying a month’s childcare fees and renewing my car insurance in the same day wasn’t fun), but everyone has those stresses and I feel like they’re more than made up for by how much I love what I do.
But where there is extra cash to be found, I’m on it, and last summer I came up with a really easy way to find a bit of money from hardly any work at all.
We started renovating our house last summer, and with that came a lot of moving stuff from one room to another, and discovering how much we wanted to get rid of. A lot went to charity – old clothes, kitchen bits and pieces, but a lot was still perfectly functional – good enough to sell, so we did.
I listed a few things on Gumtree, and when they sold almost instantly I decided to see what I could get out of it. I aimed to make £100 by clearing out old bookcases we didn’t need or want, and picking out things that might have otherwise gone to the tip but needn’t have. I made almost £300 in a couple of weeks, and that money then paid for all of our family days out over the summer. We had a clearer, tidier house, more cash, and had some lovely trips – win win! (Or should that be, win win win?)
I think the key thing here was timing. Over the summer student landlords are also renovating, and they want to fill their rooms with cheap, usable furniture which might only need to serve its purpose for 12 months, therefore they’re not willing to buy new a lot of the time, so selling at a time when others are actively looking for stuff was really helpful.
Gumtree is free to use, and I generally find it’s a quick way of getting rid of stuff. Buyers come to collect from you too, so I often use it when I don’t want to arrange for something to be picked up and taken away, saving yet more money.
It was so successful that I plan to do the same again this year (although we don’t have as much to get rid of this time!) and aim to make another £100, again to enjoy over the summer.
If you want to do the same, but feel like what you have to offer is as bulky as furniture, try these tips:
- Bagging clothes together to form a collection of stuff in the same category, e.g. same size, same garment type.
- Try selling at a car boot. Most sites will cost you under a tenner to get into, then you can place everything on a table top or clothes rail. DVDs and games tend to fly out, as does jewellery.
- Team up with a friend or neighbour to offer sets. You might have chairs to get rid of, someone else might have a dining table. You’ll be able to sell it easier if it’s a whole collection. Last year we got rid of our bed really easily by offering it as a bed base, headboard and mattress set.
- Consider if people might pay more for something if it’s given a bit of polishing up first. It only takes a few minutes to cover a table top in a coat of paint but could see you an extra £20.
- Know what people don’t want: books! Just charity shop ‘em.
- Have a look on selling sites to get an idea of prices and how popular items are before you sell.
- If you want to go even further, you can visit secondhand furniture shops. They often sell things incredibly cheaply, and if you’re willing to take a risk, you can extra money by updating furniture with paint and reselling online.
Share your £100 challenge results in the comments 😊