Getting Free Stuff
There's something about the word "free" that brings a smile to everyone's face. Quite often the free whatever is less important than the fact that it is free. Advertisers know this. That's why "buy one, get one free" or ``2-for-1 Sale'', or ``50% off with purchase of Two'' often appear on sale signage. Of course, we all realize that the item included in these sales is not actually free—it's just half price. Free sounds so much better though doesn't it?
Would you be surprised if we told you that there is actually a lot of stuff that you can get for free? Here is a partial list of things that we've found online for FREE: products and samples, shipping, software, music, books, college courses, advertising, games and movies, and just about anything else you can think of including the kitchen sink. The Internet is a great resource, for sure!
We've looked at how you can get free stuff—something for nothing—but what if you have things you'd like to get rid of and you feel they still have some value for which you'd like to be compensated—nothing for something/[i].
How can we use the Internet to find buyers for our [i]nothings? Here are some suggestions:
- Use your social network to sell to family, friends and co-workers.
- Use online markets like Half.com or Amazon.com.
- If items are hard to ship then list them on CraigsList, Kijiji.ca(Canada) or eBayClassifieds (USA).
- Use auction sites.
- Set up your own online store. Check it out at Amazon.com, eBay.com or Shopping.Yahoo.com.
- Use a company to sell on eBay for you—like Bidadoo.com.
If you aren't comfortable with selling online, and if you want to take a more traditional route for selling your things, then you can hold a yard sale. To be more successful, put in some effort beforehand. Let people know that you are having a sale. Public bulletin boards provide free advertising. You can post signs around the neighborhood or put an ad in the local paper. You can also use free online advertising sites like CraigsList, Kijiji.ca(Canada) or eBayClassifieds (USA), GarageSaleHunter, and YardSaleSearch to let people know about your sale.
Listen to the weatherman to try to get a rain-free day. Just in case he's wrong, make sure that you prepare for bad weather—have items in the garage or under a canopy in case of rain. Clean and dust your sale items—if it looks better, it will sell for more. Make sure that you mark all the items so that customers don't have to ask the price.
If you're not the yard sale hosting type, where can you take your stuff? Secondhand retail stores will resell your sports equipment, video games, musical instruments, music, movies and clothing. They will pay you for your items if they think they can sell them. They want to make a profit so they will pay you accordingly.
A consignment store will sell your items for you and pay you a portion of what it sells for or give you credit to use in their store.
Tim Luke, who stars in HGTV's "Cash in the Attic," says, "From my travels around the country, I'm convinced that the average household has $1,000 to $2,000 of potential cash in stuff that they don't use." Time to make some money!!
The phrase, "The world is your marketplace" has never been truer. With the Internet our buying and selling options have exploded. If we are looking for free then you can find just about anything you want online. If you want to sell what you have you have MANY options. Besides yard sales, consignment stores and secondhand retail stores, you can use the Internet to find the buyer who is looking for exactly what you have to sell. It's a great opportunity to clear out your garage, the shed, the storage unit, the basement, the attic, the cottage and anywhere else you might have stuffed your unwanted and unused things.
P.S. The eleventh chapter of our personal finance book: Power Spending: Getting More For Less, is about Getting Free Stuff. There are five sections: Making connections/surfing the net, Reward programs, Freebies, Mystery shoppers and Nothing for something. We want you to take advantage of the many things that are available for free in your community and online. You can also take advantage of reward programs for free travel, merchandise, accommodations, etc. You can even become a mystery shopper and enjoy free things in exchange for providing feedback to companies. And when you're finished with your stuff and you're ready to get rid of it, you can connect to the people who will be willing to buy it from you. Save money and make money—what more can you ask for?