How to Get Cash for Your Castoffshttp://www.fool.com/how-to-invest/personal-finance/savings/2010/01/20/how-to-get-cash-for-your-castoffs.aspx Dayana Yochim
January 20, 2010
The Motley Fool's Fiscal Fitness Boot Camp is in session! Every weekday this month, we’ll walk you through a fresh money-saving/money-making tip as we work toward finding $2,000 in savings you didn’t know you had.
Stop picking the spinach from your teeth with that unredeemed gift card, and stop using that old MP3 player as a paperweight. There's cash to be had for your castoffs -- even if it's just $40 for an early-generation iPhone or 70% of the value for the remaining balance on a gift card.
There is a market for everything and a place to hawk it to the highest bidder. So in our mission to dig up $2,000 in savings opportunities this month, let’s clean out our closets, wallets, and anywhere else we’re stashing stuff.
Here's a brief rundown of some services that can help turn your trash into cash. Start your sales research here (this is by no means an all-inclusive list). Even better, if you have successfully used another service, share it with the entire class in the comments area below this article.
Old electronics and other gadgets: Most of us have a veritable gadget graveyard somewhere in our home. (Attention Smithsonian curators: I recently unearthed a stack of five-inch floppy discs at the bottom of a closet.) Here are a few places that’ll help you clear out some drawer space and get some cash.
Gift cards: You might think they're duds, but gift cards can be worth, well, almost their face value to other folks. With billions of dollars of gift card balances going unredeemed every year, it's no wonder there's a crop of services to help consumers off-load them.
You can auction it off, sell it outright (Giftcardbuyback.com), or swap it (Swapagift.com) for something better. You'll typically find a full menu online of cards from stores like Lowe's (NYSE: LOW ) , Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT ) , and Cheesecake Factory (Nasdaq: CAKE ) , among dozens of others. (Other sites to check out: plasticjungle.com, giftcardrescue.com, and monstergiftcard.com.)
Don't expect to get full face value: Most pay out anywhere from 60% to 90% of face value. (You'll get top dollar by selling cards from hot retailers, in round dollar amounts, and with distant -- or nonexistent -- expiration d