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Three easy ways to raise extra cash in retirement

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With the average retirement income now standing at just under £12,000 per year according to HMRC, more and more pensioners are looking for simple ways to raise extra cash.
 
Things to consider:
 
  • The average pension income is now less than £12,000 per year
  • More and more retirees are selling items online to raise extra cash
  • Online auction sites, classified advertising sites and Facebook for sale and swap groups may be good options
  • Start by selling your unwanted items
  • Consider moving on to trade with an online shop
  • Some lucky retirees now turn over £150,000 a year by doing a selection of the above.

Sell your pre-loved possessions

With the average retirement income now standing at just under £12,000 per year (based on an analysis of figures from HM Revenue & Customs 2010/11), more and more retirees are looking for simple ways to raise extra money.
 
But where to start? One of the easiest ways to bring in a bit of extra cash is to sell your unwanted, no longer needed and pre-loved possessions.
 
Retirement is the perfect time to have a good sort out of all your belongings.  It’s amazing just how much we accumulate over our working lives. As you de-clutter, there’s a good chance that you will find a large number of unused and unwanted items scattered throughout your home.
 
If you’ve decided to downsize to a smaller property for your retirement, reducing the number of your possessions will be essential. Instead of giving them away or taking them to the tip, why not try to make some extra money by selling them?
 
Things have moved on from the days of placing an advert in your local paper, putting a card in the newsagent’s window or filling your car with unwanted items and heading to the nearest car boot sale (although all these methods are still available).
 
These days you don’t even have to set foot outside your front door to sell your unwanted possessions. You can do it all online from the comfort of your own home.
 

Here are three easy ways to sell your unwanted items online

 

1. Online auction sites

With an auction site, you list your item together with a photo and description and wait for people to bid. There’s no guaranteed selling price; it all depends on how much people are willing to pay for your item, but you can specify a starting price if you want.
 
The largest and best known auction site in the UK is eBay, but thanks to the company’s success, there are now several competitors such as eBid and 121Bid. If you have collectables like coins, stamps or medals to sell, then a more specialist auction site such as delcampe might be a better choice.
 
You’ll find lots of selling tips online and advice on how to get started.  Most auction sites charge for each listing, so it’s worth comparing auction sites before you begin.
 
Look for auction sites with a large numbers of members, low seller fees and good customer service including a resolution centre in case things go wrong.
 

2. Online classified advertising sites

If you want to sell your items for a fixed price, then online classified advertising sites such as Gumtree and Preloved could be the answer. Essentially, these are the online version of advertising in your local paper.
 
Unlike auction sites, there are no listing fees or selling fees and items are listed by location, so it’s easy for buyers to find items in their area.  All transactions are carried out directly between the seller and buyer.
 
Usually the buyer will want to see the item in person before handing over their money, so you will need to arrange somewhere safe to meet and if possible take someone with you.
 

3. Facebook for sale/swap groups

Facebook is a great way of connecting with friends, and with more than a third of the UK population visiting the site every day,  it’s also a great place to sell your unwanted items.  Many towns now have a Facebook For Sale/Swap Page, where you can post a photo and description of your item for sale.
 
And if there isn’t one for your local area, it’s easy to set one up yourself.
 
The beauty of selling items this way is that not only is it free, but you can actually see the person who wants to buy your item before you meet – you may even already know them. If you don’t, one of your Facebook friends might.
 
The downside is that, because there is a smaller pool of people, your item may not sell quickly or for as much money. If you don’t know the buyer, you will need to arrange to meet in a safe place.
 

The next step

Although it is easy to sell items online, many people can’t be bothered to do it, or feel that they are not computer-savvy enough. Either way, you can make extra money by offering to sell unwanted items online on their behalf and taking a percentage of any profit they make.
 
You could start by offering to sell items for friends and later advertise your online selling services in your Parish magazine, local paper or on notice boards.

There are some simple things you can try to boost your retirement income

Once you’ve got the hang of selling items online you can move to the next level.  You will now have a good idea of what sells well online, so why not buy more of those items at a good price and sell them too?
 
You could visit jumble sales, car boot sales or charity shops to pick up saleable items, or buy in bulk at a knock-down price and then sell items one-by-one.
 
As your experience grows, you may feel that you have identified a number of items, which you can easily source and which always sell well.
 
Now may be the time to think about opening an online shop. Success stories abound on the internet of people who have taken this route and made a fortune.
 
Take mature citizens George Crudgington and his partner, Joyce Bailey, from Derbyshire. They have built up a business on eBay with an annual turnover of over £150,000 by selling stamps, toy soldiers, ceramic figurines and now Royal Doulton and Wedgwood.
 
As with any enterprise, you should fully consider the potential risks and your ability to absorb them before taking part in the kind of buying and selling described in this article, seeking proper advice where appropriate.
 
So what are you waiting for? Open your cupboards, look through your wardrobe, search the garage, find your unwanted items and get selling!
 
If you’re already an experienced online seller, what items have you found sell best and make the most profit? Have you any tips for anyone starting out? Share your thoughts with us below.
 
This article has been commissioned by retiresavvy and any opinions voiced are the author's own.

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