Zero-Budget Christmas Addendum

If you read my book Zero-Budget Christmas, you know that it’s possible to cram $29.95 worth of literary joy into a 99-cent book. You know that one of the key components of our zero-budget strategy was to sell a bunch of stuff that we already had and use the proceeds to finance our Christmas shopping.

Lifehacker has a post on services from Amazon that we didn’t use but that provide yet more ways to easily convert that unopened Ninja Blender from last Christmas into spendable cash for this Christmas:

There are two “seller” programs at Amazon. The first, “Fulfilled by Amazon” (FBA) requires a monthly fee, but it offers some big benefits, both in convenience and in helping you get your stuff sold. The second, simply “Amazon Seller,” lets you list whatever you like, and Amazon charges you a fee for each item sold.

I’ve been using Amazon Seller for a while, and one thing I’ve learned is that neither program is really good for selling low-value items or items where there’s a ton of competition. Whichever program you choose, make sure that you look at the things you want to sell on Amazon first to see how much they’re going for. Look at your competition, and see what they’re charging for the same or better condition as your item. Check their shipping fees, too.

For example, I learned pretty quickly that a lot of the books I wanted to sell were already listed on Amazon, but there were hundreds of used copies for as little as $0.01, with free shipping. I’m not sure how the person selling it makes money that way, but it was a clear signal that I was better off donating the book to a library or a school than trying to list it. Do your homework, and make sure it makes sense to even sell the item first. You may be up against sellers you can’t beat on price, and if you’re just starting out, you probably don’t have the seller rating to convince someone to spend more on your item (unless of course, it’s rare, in perfect condition, or there’s another factor at play.)

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