Your car is on empty, your rent check is late, and your fridge is bare. Clearly, you’re facing a cash-flow crisis. Whether your empty bank account is due to an unexpected emergency or ongoing budgeting issues, one thing is obvious: You need money, and you need it now.
Fortunately, there are ways to get your checking account back in the black. One is to get a short-term job or side gig, such as babysitting, delivering for Postmates, or driving for Lyft. Cutting expenses is another option. You can probably live without Netflix and a gym membership. Long term, you can work on finding a better-paying job and sticking to a budget.
You can also sell your stuff. Trading your possessions for cash is one of the easiest ways to make money fast. Purging your valuables has other benefits, as well, such as reducing clutter and even forcing you to rethink your spending habits. You might be less apt to whip out your credit card in the future once you realize how much junk you accumulated in the past.
Ready to turn your closet chaos into a financial windfall? Here are 10 things you can sell to make money today.
You probably won’t get rich selling old books online. But clearing out your shelves can be a way to stretch your budget until next payday. Dozens of sites, including Amazon, will pay for your unwanted paperbacks and college textbooks. Many sites offer fast payment options either via gift cards or PayPal.
2. Gift cards
A gift card to a store you never shop at is basically wasted money. Fortunately, you can turn that plastic into cash (or another gift card). Start at Gift Card Granny to find out which websites (such as Cardpool and Raise) will pay you for your card. If you have an e-gift card, you should be able to get paid right away. Physical cards will need to be mailed and usually take longer to process.
You upgraded your bedroom set, but the old one never made it out to the curb. Selling old furniture that’s taking up space in your basement or attic is one of the best ways to make cash fast. And your old tables and chairs will usually fetch a higher price than a stack of books. Craigslist is the obvious place to list your old furniture. It’s free to post. And you can find local buyers, so you don’t have to deal with shipping. Apps, such as Krrb and AptDeco (if you’re in New York or Washington, D.C.), can also connect you to local buyers. If you have a piece you think is more valuable, such as a mid-century modern chair or antique sideboard, try an antiques dealer.
Your crowded closet could help solve your money woes. Sites, such as Poshmark and Tradesy, provide a platform for listing your unwanted duds, but you’ll have to wait for a buyer to come along. If you’re in a rush, try online consignment store ThredUp, which will buy your name-brand skirts, sweaters, and jeans directly. Or head to a brick-and-mortar secondhand store in your area, such as Buffalo Exchange or Plato’s Closet.
You’ll probably only get a fraction of the retail price for most items, but if your closet is full of designer labels, you’ll fare better. Try The RealReal if you’re consigning luxury items, where most sell in just a few days.
5. Sports equipment
Your kid might not be able to snag a college sports scholarship, but his old sports equipment could put a small dent in the tuition bill. Play It Again Sports is a national chain that will buy your unwanted gear. Or you could list your old hockey skates, golf clubs, snowboard boots, and other sports paraphernalia on a peer-to-peer marketplace, such as SidelineSwap.
6. Disney VHS tapes
Your media library might be mostly digital these days, but Disney fanatics are still eager to get their hands on old VHS copies of classic animated films. If you still have those tapes in their clunky plastic clamshell boxes, you might be able to turn a small profit on them.
Although reports that you can make thousands of dollars selling old copies of Beauty and The Beast are an urban legend, you might be able to sell your old tapes for anywhere from $5 to $25 on eBay (more if they’re sealed). This vintage version of Mary Poppins on VHS sold for $61 back in December 2016.
Disney movies aren’t the only VHS tapes that can fetch a good price online. Obscure horror movies, many of which aren’t available on DVD, can sell for $100 or more on eBay.
7. Scrap metal
Scrap metal might look like a tetanus case waiting to happen, but it can actually be quite valuable. Some people make a living selling metal (and thieves often steal it to make a quick buck), but anyone can get in on the action. If you have old appliances, kitchen pans, metal patio furniture, construction materials, or even aluminum cans in your home or garage, they can be sold for scrap, according to Capital Scrap Metal. Copper is especially valuable and can be found inside old electronics.
8. Kids toys
Kids outgrow their toys fast. And after they’ve tired of the latest gadget or gizmo, it might seem destined for the trash heap. But before you toss your kid’s old playthings, see whether you can sell them. Stores, such as Once Upon a Child, will buy toys that are clean and in good condition. (No one wants a ratty stuffed animal or busted tricycle.) You can also try selling directly through Facebook groups in your area or on Craigslist. Budget-conscious parents will probably be eager to snap up your child’s castoffs.
That tacky heart-shaped necklace your ex gave you for Valentine’s Day has been sitting in your jewelry box for years. Why not make some money off that failed relationship? Selling unwanted rings, bracelets, and other fine jewelry has long been a popular way to make extra cash. The American Gem Society suggests visiting a few different shops to compare offers before you sell. Make sure to temper your expectations, though. It’s rare to sell fine jewelry for anything close to what you paid for it, according to the Los Angeles Times.
10. Vintage stuff
Do you have a crate of stuff from grandma’s house sitting in your attic or a box of childhood toys gathering dust in your basement? Those items might look like junk to you, but there’s good money to be had in selling vintage items online, provided you can find the right buyer.
On sites, such as Etsy and eBay, buyers snap up retro typewriters, milk glass vases, ’80s-era see-thru telephones, and other ephemera. Do a quick search of current listings and previously sold items to get a sense of whether your stuff is worth anything. Then, list away. Although you might not be able to make money instantly, the profits can be good if you’re patient.