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Ever since the dawn of the internet and AOL was da bomb (You’ve Got Mail!), I’ve been fascinated with the potential for making lots of money online.  When eBay was just a baby, I joined as a teenager and realized that I could make my wardrobe pay for itself and get a new one each season for FREE if I chose wisely.  I would peruse the local thrift stores, only purchase the name brands, wear the items for several months and then make money with eBay.

Back in the day, eBay was a bit more complicated because you had to use a digital camera (those clunky contraptions with 5 megapixels) and only 10 pictures would fit on your internal memory.  If you were sophisticated, you might splurge on a digital card!  The pictures were always grainy and dark and you had to PAY for each picture listed.

It was still worth it, looking back, as I would usually sell the item for more than I paid, and after I wore it for a season.  Oh yes, I’d buy three tops for $2.99 a pop at Goodwill, spend 20 minutes taking pictures (minimum wage was about $4.75 an hour) and writing a detailed description and then sell the whole lot for $20.00.

That was pretty good money back then and I was getting more money to buy more clothes (and buy books and other, IMPORTANT stuff). My friends laughed at my little scheme, but I was laughing all the way to the bank.  Well, at least all the way to the Paypal (yay for Paypal, finally no more MONEY ORDERS to deal with) TRANSFER YOUR MONEY button.

Fast forward 15 (ok maybe 20+) years later and I’m still at it, putting the banks to shame with their laughable 1% return on your interest rate.

A savings account doesn’t even keep up with the 4+% inflation rate.  You are not saving, you are giving banks an interest-free loan and THEY are beating inflation. Make like a redneck and make money on eBay the American way.

Buy tangibles low, sell high and only buy what you’ll use. If you can’t sell something and get stuck with inventory, you might as well like it and use it.  Anyway, if you’ve got a small amount to spend and want to hack your life and get paid for your expenses, you can do this!

Besides consumables like toilet paper (no I don’t eat it, but you know what I mean) and food, there are SO many things you can buy, use and then resell at a profit.  Actually, you can even buy your food, use it and sell the “results”. I kid you not – read this article.   I just CAN’T GO THERE.  Apparently, it might help tremendously, but the thought of meeting someone in a back alley with a sack of *you know what* is unsettling, to say the least.

Anyway, we have furnished our entire home before for less than $1000 and have changed up the decor quite often when I get the hankering for something different.  We get stuff on craigslist or freecycle or eBay for free or really cheap, make it work with our decor and use it. Then sell it at a profit. It’s furniture flipping, decor flipping, clothes flipping at it’s finest. We even flipped a camper and pocketed a few thousand dollars but that’s for another post.

The key is to know what’s hot, what’s trending and what things are going for.  If you can “time the market” on craigslist (list last year’s patio furniture NOW on a sunny, warm day), you can maximize your ROI (return on investment).

For example, this past week I made a list of things I needed to get a deal on.  Black wedges for me, Hawaiian accessories for my girls and husband for an upcoming luau party, a wax tart melter (for my splurge at Yankee Candle in Williamsburg) and new bakeware because my cheap stuff is now junk.

I ran to Walmart for my typical non-Aldi items and competed an Easyshift for $6.00 while I was there.

*An Easyshift is an assignment that pays you to double check on store displays and take a few pictures to confirm compliance.  Covert investigation – multitasking – getting paid while I’m shopping there anyway – totally up my ally. *

There was a goodwill in the same plaza so I took my list an headed inside.  Wouldn’t you know they had everything I needed?!?!  Thrift stores usually do.  Everything eventually ends up at a thrift store.

I walked out with:

  • NEW WITH TAGS Italian Leather Black Wedges in my size, brand name for $4.99.
  • A Panama Jack Hawaiian looking hat for my husband for $0.99 which I found out goes for $15+ on eBay so guess where that will end up next week?
  • A Scentsy teapot wax warmer night light (which I googled in store and saw it was $50+ NEW) for $4.99.
  • 3 silicone cookware pieces that will replace my more expensive although less effective pieces AND save me space in my cabinets because I can fold them AND save me time because they are non-stick and dishwasher friendly for $1.99 a piece.

To sum up – total spent at Goodwill – $16.94 + tax…so about $18.00.

I listed the Scentsy tart warmer for $25 or best offer and ALREADY accepted an offer for $20 (+ shipping of course).

I made $2.00 on top of getting new shoes, a Panama Jack hat which will probably profit me more, and new cookware.  I can grab a tart warmer (or 2) at the dollar store.

This is just ONE EXAMPLE of how you can LIVE FOR FREE and hack your life!

Take that big banks, I’ll keep my money, use it at thrift stores which support good causes, make a ton more money than you can offer and LIVE LIFE ABUNDANTLY!

What tricks do you have for living abundantly? List them below and share how you are MAKING IT PAY TO STAY!