Raising money to travel – Selling on eBay
Our first challenge when we decided to quit our jobs and travel long term was how to raise the money for such a long vacation! After doing some research online I worked out we’d need about £9,000 each and that would need to be supplemented by work in Australia. Needless to say I didn’t have £9,000 lying around.
While I do have savings this money is earmarked for the future. I can get anxious about money so going anywhere near the red while on the road wasn’t an option if I was going to really enjoy travelling. This meant I had to find most of the £9,000 before I could quit my job and hit the road.
I saved the £9,000 using two strategies; raising money and saving money. One way I raised money was by selling on eBay. I’d sold on eBay before so the idea quickly came to mind when I considered my £9,000 target.
At first I found it difficult to decide what to sell so I started with things I’d rarely used or unwanted gifts. Once I watched a few of my items on auction I was hooked and nothing was safe! Jake also caught the eBay bug and started to sell his things too. He had a lot of gadgets and even sold two of his seven guitars.
I sold on eBay for about three months and made £350 for my efforts while Jake raised over £700. Altogether that’s 77 nights at our favourite accommodation in Thailand! Here are my top 5 tips for selling on eBay, hopefully they will help you raise money towards your travel budget.
My top 5 tips for selling on eBay
1. Don’t under sell your items. I sold a Coast dress I’d only worn three times for £2.50. The RRP for the dress was over £75. With hindsight I should have set my starting price higher. If you put your starting price too high and it doesn’t sell you can always relist the item with a lower starting price but there’s no going back if you pitch it too low.
2. Think carefully about postage costs. When selling an item on eBay it’s best to include postage costs otherwise you will end up footing the bill from your profit. My method for getting the cost accurate is to weigh the item on kitchen scales and check the dimensions on the royal mail website. If in doubt I over charge slightly without ripping off the customer. I always use second class postage options and never recorded delivery. Despite what you might think recorded delivery doesn’t protect sellers from sending the item and the buyer claiming they never received it.
3. Don’t forget to charge for packaging. As a first time seller it’s easy to get excited and forget to charge for packaging the item you’re selling. I kept this cost low by using brown paper and bubble wrap or reusing old packaging from items I’d bought online. As long as buyers items are well protected they don’t seem fazed by second hand envelopes. I never received bad feedback for packaging.
4. Consider everything as sellable. When I started selling on eBay I sold things that were of value to me but that isn’t always what sells. Towards the end of my selling I started putting up products I’d been given for free in goodie bags. Jake worked with some big online retailers before we left the UK and he often brought me home goodie bags. While nice for me, I didn’t think these items had much value. I was wrong. A used make up brush fetched £12.50, a travel size cleansing balm sold for £7.00 and Jake got £41.00 for a minidisc player that wouldn’t turn on and didn’t have a charger! I couldn’t believe how much some of the stuff sold for so it’s worth posting an item and seeing what happens. You might be pleasantly surprised!
5. Start auctions on a Thursday evening and run them for 10 days. There is a lot of debate over how long to post items for and when is the best time for an auction to finish. I found that starting auctions on a Thursday evening for 10 days was the best. This gives your item two weekends and means it ends on a Sunday evening which is thought to be the best time for an auction to end. In my mind it’s best to avoid early morning finishes as people will be sleeping or just starting work so not sitting by their mobile. Leaving your item up for 10 days means it will be seen by more people which will hopefully lead to it fetching more at auction.
I hope this post will help you sell your things on eBay and raise as much money as possible. Follow up posts on how we saved the rest of the £9,000 to follow!
Have you sold on eBay? What are your tips for successful selling?