When you’re flat broke, it can be hard to keep food on the table or the lights on at home. While this isn’t a situation you want to find yourself in, it can happen to anyone — often when you least expect it.
If you find yourself facing desperate times, there are ways to stay afloat. One of those ways is to scour every corner of your home to see what might be worth selling. Chances are, some of your personal items have more value than you realize — value that can be converted into cash at a moment’s notice. Of course, this isn’t a long-term solution, but it could be enough to get you by for a few weeks or even months.
With that in mind, here are the top things to sell when you’re broke.
Whether you’re an avid or casual reader, there’s a good chance you have some books on your shelves. Some of these books might even be worth a good deal of money, particularly if it’s a first edition or a bestseller.
“If you are an avid reader like me, it is possible that you may have created a collection of bestselling titles that are just sitting there on the bookshelf,” said Young Pham, financial advisor and investment analyst for BizReport. “There is nothing wrong with selling some of these books to raise some money for your own survival. While old books may not necessarily raise a lot of money, they can provide a small relief that at least allows you to get by for another day or week, depending on the number of books sold.”
Anything from televisions to computers to mobile phones can be sold for some extra cash. Even accessories for these items, such as spare charging stations or cords, can go for a bit of money. Some of these items could be worth hundreds of dollars, especially if they’re relatively new and in good condition.
“Most homes these days have more than one TV,” said Pham. “It doesn’t have to be in the bedroom, of course, but when you run into financial issues, you surely don’t need more than one TV. Sell extra TVs and raise money. Unlike old books, electronics can, in fact, raise a decent amount of money that can make a big difference.”
If you have more than enough clothes in your wardrobe as it is, consider selling some of them on sites like thredUP, eBay, or even Etsy. As long as they’re in good condition, you could get a decent profit from them. This is especially true when it comes to formal attire like a suit you wore to an interview, or a wedding dress you no longer need.
Some of these garments can be tough to part with it, especially if they hold sentimental value for you. Browse through your closets and old storage bins to see what might be worth something, and what you’re willing to let go of.
Jewelry and Accessories
Watches, necklaces, rings, bracelets, designer bags, scarves and other accessories can all go for a decent price on sites like Poshmark or eBay. If you don’t have that kind of time, you could instead visit a pawn shop.
“Unexpected expenses are hard to plan for, and when you don’t have a savings or emergency fund, it can be necessary to sell items of value for quick cash,” said Megan Kelly, financial advisor and the communications director at GoodCheddar. “A visit to the pawn shop with anything of value like electronics, jewelry, or other items may help.”
A pawn shop can provide you with some quick cash, while giving you the opportunity to buy back your items. But if you fail to repay what you owe, the pawn shop can take your items and sell them to recoup their loss. On the flipside, if you don’t really need or want your things back, there’s minimal risk going this route.
Furniture can be quite valuable, especially if it’s in good condition or comes in a set. Check around your home to see if you have any spare tables, dressers, beds or patio furniture you would be willing to sell. Then, list these items on a platform like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist for some extra money.
Like jewelry, art can be valuable — but it can also hold emotional significance. Look around to see what types of art you have; this could be anything from paintings to sculptures. Then, determine what you can part with and consider selling it.
“I know most homes will have some pieces of wall art and other crafts typically used for decor,” said Pham. “You can gather some of this art and see how much money you can raise by selling it. Of course, it will hurt, but at this point, anything you can do to get on your feet, the better.”
If you have a second vehicle, or a rarely used car at your disposal, you may be able to sell it for a few thousand dollars. Make sure you don’t currently owe money on your vehicle, though, or you could end up paying for something you no longer have. Or, if you do still owe, make sure you keep up with the monthly payments.
Instead of selling your vehicle outright, you could also consider getting a title loan, but be careful as this can be expensive.
“The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) says 20% [of people who] have taken car title loans have had [their vehicle] repossessed when unable to pay,” said Kelly. “[This] is a bigger loss than you might presume, since a title loan will appraise a vehicle at 25% to 50% of its value. If your car was worth $10,000 and a title loan gave you $2,500 but you failed to pay, you would have lost $7,500 as a result.”
Home appliances range from blenders and coffee makers to microwaves, refrigerators and ovens. Not all of these appliances are necessary, but they could be worth some money if sold. Before selling any appliances, figure out which ones you need versus which ones you can live without.
Even if you’re in a tight spot financially, try to take a moment to determine what’s worth selling, and what you’re OK parting with.
“When someone is broke, it’s important to assess what they own to decide what to sell,” said Sebastian Jania, owner of Ontario Property Buyers. “The best solution is to order items and assets from least needed to most needed. Need is defined by the frequency of use; something like a house which is used every single day would be high on the needs scale versus something like old collectible trading cards would be low on the need scale.”
Consider your current needs versus your wants. This can help make your decisions easier and get you back to where you need to be.
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