Trouble Paying Bills? 69% Say They’ve Used This Surprising Method To Earn Extra Cash for Everyday Expenses

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If you’re struggling with inflation, as so many people are, you may be considering taking on a side gig or starting a home-based business to help stretch your dollars. But a large majority of people have also adopted other measures to save — and earn — money.

A new survey from OfferUp, a mobile marketplace for local buyers and sellers, revealed that 85% of shoppers have bought and/or sold secondhand items in the past year, an increase of 27% from last year’s Recommerce Report.

Plus, 69% of those have used the money they made by reselling unneeded or unwanted items to pay bills or meet everyday living expenses, OfferUp’s 2023 Recommerce Report revealed. That number is up by 3% from 2022. Additionally, 39% said they were using money from reselling to “make ends meet.”

OfferUp’s Senior Vice President of Product Ken Murphy revealed that he was surprised by this data since past reports showed resellers using secondhand sales merely to earn extra cash — not to pay for necessities.

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“Americans have been feeling the impacts of a turbulent economy, and it’s clear that recommerce has been a trusted tool to get through it for many of them,” he said.

The market for buying and selling secondhand items is expected to reach $188.5 billion by the end of this year, and a whopping $276 billion by 2028.

“Helping drive this growth is a large influx of new shoppers who adopted resale in the past year, as 27% of respondents reported having bought and/or sold secondhand for the first time in 2022,” Murphy said in an exclusive email interview with GOBankingRates.

Changing Attitudes Toward Secondhand Shopping

The OfferUp report exemplified consumers’ changing attitudes toward secondhand shopping, with 41% of shoppers saying they view secondhand shopping as a “status symbol.”

“We found that 76% of shoppers say the stigma around secondhand shopping has decreased,” Murphy said. The top three reasons for the change are:

  • Affordable options (57%)
  • Changing societal attitudes toward consumption and waste (55%)
  • Increased availability and variety of secondhand items (54%)

Murphy added, “Savings and value continue to be huge drivers for shopping resale.” Quoting the report, he pointed out the following reasons people cited for shopping secondhand:

  • Securing a good deal (78%)
  • Avoiding higher prices due to inflation (58%)
  • Maintain their desired lifestyle within budgetary constraints (34%)
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With these benefits to shoppers come expanded opportunities for resellers. Whether you are looking to earn extra money for a vacation or to bolster your retirement savings, or you need funds to pay bills, reselling offers an easy side gig that has the added benefit of helping you clear clutter from your living space.

Seven Ways to Earn More as a Reseller

Murphy offered tips to maximize your profits as a reseller, especially if you leverage the OfferUp platform to save time.

“All it takes to sell something of your own is to take a few pictures with your phone, add a description, and set a price,” he said. “We are focused on helping people buy and sell more simply, and we help people do it faster, with more transparency along the way.”

Think Beyond Clothing

Your first instinct might be to re-sell clothing your children have outgrown or even designer pieces that no longer match your style.

But, Murphy pointed out, “People are shopping resale for everything. Typically, people associate resale with apparel, but the reality is that apparel only makes up 23% of the recommerce market … [T]he other 77% of recommerce happens in categories such as electronics, furniture, home goods, home improvement, sporting goods, outdoor equipment, and auto parts.”

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It might be worthwhile to ransack your parents’ attic as well as your own garage or kitchen cabinets, to find unused items that could become someone else’s treasure. Murphy said that some of the most popular categories include “basic or everyday items that are still in good condition, name-brand items at a more affordable price, and unique or vintage items.”

Follow Seasonal Trends

Listing your used Christmas tree in July may not net you the biggest profit. Instead, hold onto it until the holiday season begins, when you can command a higher selling price.

Paying attention to market trends, along with seasonality, can also help you list the right items at the right time.

“Since we’re in back-to-school season, OfferUp is seeing a spike in searches for items like desks, so now is a great time to sell those things and get top dollar,” Murphy said.

Showcase Your Products in the Best Light

Whatever you list — and whenever you list it — make sure you’re using “great photos and descriptions,” Murphy advised.

Using the right search terms counts. You can even use AI like ChatGPT to help you craft descriptions. Photos should be well-lit and enticing. Use the photo editor on your phone or an easy program like Canva to help you create captivating images.

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Be Responsive

Just as you would expect when you shop at any retailer — secondhand or not — customer service counts in your dealings as a reseller. Respond to queries promptly and offer a fair starting price for your merchandise.

Be Open to Negotiations

Many secondhand buyers enter every deal with the intent to negotiate. Murphy said this can work in your best interest as a seller, too, setting you apart from competitors and helping you move your inventory faster.  

“OfferUp sellers are frequently open to fair and reasonable negotiation,” he said. “Being open to reasonable offers from buyers is a key to selling your items quickly and at a price that works for you.”

Choose the Right Platform

Finally, resellers have many options to list their secondhand items, including eBay, Facebook marketplace and sites like OfferUp. Explore your options carefully to find the ones that meet your needs the best. Look for a site, like OfferUp, that doesn’t charge fees or take commissions from in-person sales.

Stay Safe

Safety is paramount when you’re dealing with strangers on the internet and the exchange of merchandise for money. Murphy pointed out that OfferUp uses tools like “TruYou verification” to ensure that users are real people, not bots, and to detect and prevent identity fraud. The site also provides 2,000 Community MeetUp spots, nationwide, where buyers and sellers can meet safely to exchange items.

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Final Take

Reselling items can provide an alternative to relying on high-interest credit cards if you need some extra cash or money to pay bills in today’s economy. Approach it as a business, with the goal of providing the fairest prices and best customer service, for the greatest success.

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