Finance Blog

Need Extra Cash? Host a Yard Sale

Written by Mechel Glass on September 14, 2011 in Credit  |   8 comments

For families that could use a little extra money to help cover expenses this summer, a yard sale may be the answer. Yard sales can be a great way to get rid of no longer used or needed items and can bring in some quick…

For families that could use a little extra money to help cover expenses this summer, a yard sale may be the answer. Yard sales can be a great way to get rid of no longer used or needed items and can bring in some quick cash. They also can generate money that can help cover extra or unplanned expenses, and they can even be used to fund a family vacation, a down payment on a car, or even an emergency or college fund.

Here’s how to get the most out of hosting a yard sale:

  • Choose a date. Many yard sales are held for just one day, but others may be held over a weekend. Once you have selected a date, be sure to get it approved by your homeowners’ association or local government. Some neighborhoods designate a specific weekend or two each year and do not allow yard sales at any other time.
  • Recruit your neighbors. There are several advantages to a multi-family yard sale, including shared advertising costs and increased traffic.
  • Get the word out. Use signs and local advertising to let shoppers know about your sale. Most local newspapers have inexpensive yard sale rates, and many shoppers use these ads to plan their day. List for free online at Craigslist.org or garagesalesource.com, a site that also provides great free sign templates. Be sure to be descriptive about some of the key items you have—if you have lots of children’s items or furniture, say so in your ad. If there are many families taking part in the sale, use terms like “multi-family” or “neighborhood sale” to help let buyers know.
  • Price accordingly. Most shoppers are looking for deals at yard sales, so don’t expect to get retail prices for your items. A good rule of thumb is to price items in good condition at 25 to 30 percent of their retail value. Pricing every item takes extra time before the sale, but doing so will make things easier during the sale—for you and your shoppers. If you want pre-printed price tags, you can find them at yardsalesupplies.com. Bundling like items for one price may help things move more quickly. Regardless of your pricing strategy, shoppers will want to negotiate with you, so be prepared.
  • To sell or not to sell. Not every item is right for a yard sale. Consider consigning high-end items such as antique furniture or specialty items. They will likely generate more money for you with this strategy than they might at a yard sale.
  • Make plans for leftover items. If you intend to donate items left at the end of the sale, make arrangements for a charity to pick the stuff up the same day so that you don’t have to move it all again.

Good luck with your yard sale, and please leave comments with your yard sale stories and tips for fellow readers.

Come back tomorrow to check out my advice for shoppers on how to make the most of their yard sale purchases.

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Mechel Glass is the Director of Education for CredAbility. In this position, she is responsible for developing the curriculum and educational materials for online classes including webinars, podcasts, videos and listen-on-demand classes. She is responsible for managing the agency’s community outreach programs and staff, including financial education specialists in a 14-county area throughout metro Atlanta and north Georgia. She also manages the development and reporting of education partnerships online for the agency.


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