This is yet another featured article on Over 100 Ways to Earn Extra Income from Home. Don’t forget that we shared how we paid off $100K of consumer debt in seven years using our 2 By 2 Plan – our plan that takes small, incremental and doable changes each month by cutting your budget by 2% and increasing your income by 2% each month to help you meet your financial goals, whatever they may be. This is just another article to help jumpstart your process to meeting your every financial goal!
As we continue our series on making some extra money this summer, we’re going to help you think outside of the box. We all know that two things happen in the summer time. First, you have items you need to get rid of and the first thought you have is to place them in a garage sale and make pennies on the dollar. We have seen some people talk about garage sales making them thousands of dollars, but unfortunately where we live that just doesn’t happen. And second, when you go out garage-saling (is that a word?) you’ll notice items that just seem expensive that people are trying to get rid of (for those pennies on the dollar). What if you could find a way to almost guarantee getting rid of those items for FREE (no paying ebay fees, etc) and get paid to do so?
Introducing Amazon Trade-In Program
Amazon offers a Trade-In Program where you can trade in select items and get paid for doing so. Obviously each item must meet a specific quality level, but they really make it easy on you to submit the items you want to ship, give you free shipping and full ability to track your shipments. Amazon will let you trade in items from the following categories:
- Books (including textbooks and many other kinds)
- Video games
- Movies & TV
This could be a great way to get rid of some of your items you have just lying around the house or even better, a great way to maximize those deals you find in a garage sale and sell them back for a profit!
Considerations on using the Trade-In program
Before we help walk you through the process, let me list a few notes to consider when using this program. It really is easy to do and might be a fun way to get the kids involved with preparing, packaging and sending these items to Amazon. Make sure to check out the Amazon Trade-In program to get more details straight from them.
- Amazon will take the item no matter where its purchased from – The first question I had was whether Amazon would only take back items I purchased from them. They state clearly that it doesn’t matter where the item was purchased.
- Amazon will return the item to you for FREE if it doesn’t meet their eligibility requirements – This is so nice and it makes it essentially risk-free. You are out of your time and the packaging materials, but you get your item back if its not acceptable.
- There are no hidden fees – As Amazon will pay for your shipping the item and even ship it back to you for free, the only cost becomes those shipping items. We love to shop online and save a lot of money doing so, so we actually have boxes saved (for this exact reason). Check with your friends as they just might want to get rid of some of their boxes and you might be the perfect way for them to do so. 🙂
- You can only trade in 2 identical items in a 3-month period – This is an important limit to notice so you don’t go get a case of some great item heavily discounted with the intent of returning all of them.
- It doesn’t appear you need to be an Amazon Prime member to do this – The only requirements we see for participating in the Trade-In program is to be 18 and essentially ship to/from the US.
Tips on using the Amazon Trade-In program
- Use your smartphone at a garage sale to check the item – When you go out garage-saling, take your phone and check those items. That way you can confirm before buying a really cheap item whether you can actually return it for a profit.
- Be selective in what you try to return – Some items will be eligible for return but be valued at less than a dollar. If you can maximize your Return-on-Investment (essentially get paid what your time is worth) then it just makes sense
- Check items you wouldn’t even consider as being eligible – I just checked a graphing calculator that I purchased back in 1992 (yep, 20 years ago – wow, how time flies!) and found I can get $35 for it. My jaw almost hit the floor as I almost threw it out just a few weeks ago.
- Get boxes from your friends and neighbors – As we mentioned above, you might not have enough boxes for shipping, but your friends, family and neighbors might. And you just might be doing them a favor by taking them off their hands.
- Package multiple items together – It appears you can package multiple items together in the same box. Although we haven’t tried that, that could save a ton of time and even cost of materials.
How are you actually making money? Amazon Gift cards!
You might ask however how this is making money when all your are getting is gift cards. We love Amazon for purchasing many of our grocery items, diaper and wipes, and many other items as well! Although you might not make cash specifically from this program, whatever money you save in your budget from using these trade-in gift cards essentially means you’ve freed your budget up from needing to purchase those same items in the store. And as you note in our Best Deals from Amazon, when you buy through Amazon you can get the same items online, shipped FREE, and often for less than prices in the store or even at Costco or Sam’s Club.
Here’s just how simple it is – a walk-through from my experience last week:
We were getting some items ready for a garage sale and I noticed a book I was getting ready to discard just knowing that I would probably get about a quarter from the garage sale when I knew it was worth more. It made me a little sick to my stomach actually. So I wondered just what this book (purchased a few years ago) would be worth on Amazon. And what I saw was amazing – on the right hand side I saw the following image:
That’s when it clicked. Instead of placing this item in my garage sale pile, I decided to give this a shot. And if it worked, to consider passing this on to you as a possible way to earn extra income!
I clicked through the process and within 2-3 minutes had made my request. My first thought was that I was going to need to pay postage. Not so. As you can see above, Amazon actually provides you the shipping via UPS or USPS (giving you the option to pay for shipping as well – no idea why you would do that), you only are required to drop it off at the local UPS Store or give it to your letter carrier.
Its truly simple as after you select your shipping option, you merely print off the document with your shipping label!
Obviously your items need to meet a certain quality. Each category of item (whether electronics, books, etc) will have its own criteria the item is required to meet. But Amazon makes even removes the risk from this as they give you the option on what you want them to do with the item if its not eligible. Yes, they will actually ship it back to you for no cost!
After printing off your label, simply package the item using a box you have around your house and drop off your package.
Amazon gives you the ability to track your package and then, after a few days, you’ll receive an email with text similar to your image above that lets you know whether your item’s quality has been accepted and that you have received the value promised when you submitted the trade in.
We did this with a few different books (not just text books) and made a total of $37.84 just for taking less than an hour to get rid of some items in our house. Hopefully you’ll just how easy it could be to make this into a small business, especially when you factor in how quick you will become at the whole process.
To get started, check out the Amazon Trade-In Program here!
Do you see just how easy it is to use Amazon’s Trade-In program to make some extra cash? Let us know in the comments below if you have tried this and have any other recommendations!
Very interesting! I had seen that option on a few items when I was buying them, but the buy back amount was ridiculously low. I, too, assumed it must be something I had purchased on Amazon, and never thought to check other items I have lying around and want to get rid of. What a timely article! We are having a garage sale next week.:-) Thanks!
Thanks for sharing this. I did know about this program and will start using it immediately. Great information
I’ve read alot of negative reviews about people not receiving the full value of the trade in. Just wondering what your experience has been? I would really love to give it a try but am now hesitant with all the bad reviews I have read….
Hi Jill, I would imagine a lot of it would have to do with the quality of the items returned. Amazon does specify the items must meet a certain requirement to meet the eligibility of the return. The items we have returned and received Amazon gift cards for have always received the full promised value. We had a couple of items that were questionable and didn’t send in because we didn’t think they would qualify.
Thanks so much and we would love to hear your experience if you decide to try it! Especially if you mark the box that you would like the items return if they don’t quality if might be worth giving it a shot. ~Alex
The gift cards that you will be getting back from amazon for the trade in, is it a visa that you can use to pay for things that you buy at other establishments? Or you can just use it at amazon?