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20 Things You Can Sell To Make Money

*Your results may vary and factors such as market, personal effort, and other circumstances may have an affect on your actual results.

Extra money is always welcome and with job losses and cuts in salaries and benefits, many families are struggling to pay for essentials. You can keep your day job and make a little extra if you know what to sell and where to sell it. This can be a long or short term endeavor and can turn from a part-time job into a self-employment opportunity. Watch out for get rich quick systems since the only people making money on these are the scammers who are selling them.

Here is a list of the best things you can sell to make money online and start your home business.

1. Old Books, Magazines and Papers

My cousin has an eBay store where she sells old books, magazines and even Broadway Playbills. Her secret is knowing which items are actually worth money and she does most of her research on the internet. Friends sometimes give her old magazines or books, but she buys most of her inventory at yard sales, thrift stores and flea markets. A good picture and written description of the item helps it sell. Although auctions are iffy, you can set a reserve price and withdraw an item if bids fail to meet your minimum.

2. Old Gold and Silver Jewelry and Coins

Real gold and silver are easy to sell and can bring in extra cash fast. Old chains, single earrings, and jewelry that is broken or out of fashion can be sold to buyers for the weight of the gold or silver. The jewelry must be real since buyers have no interest in base metals, plated or gold filled pieces. Silver dollars, half dollars and quarters minted before 1970 have a 40% to 90% silver content and can be sold for more than their face value.

3. Hand Made Goods

Those who have a hobby and can produce good quality hand-made items can sell the items at craft fairs or online at, eBay or Craigslist. Any handmade items including clothing, jewelry and housewares are sellable. Crafters may also be able to sell instructions for their original creations on Etsy. Woodworkers, potters, jewelry makers, sewers, artists and quilters can make a few extra dollars by selling the items they make.

4. Skills

Are you good at fixing electronics or computers? Do you count gardening, home maintenance or law care among your skills? People who need your skills will pay well for a few hours of your time. A part-time home business idea is easy and inexpensive to set up. Advertise on Craigslist and in local newspapers and post business cards on community bulletin boards. Word of mouth will usually do the rest.

5. Tutoring, Babysitting, Eldercare, Home and Pet Services

Even if you have no special skills, a part time business is still possible. Many people need part time child care or a companion to sit for a few hours a day with an elderly parent. The lucky few who can still afford vacations will pay someone to collect their mail and newspapers, turn lights in their homes on and off and/or feed and exercise family pets. Tutoring students in languages, mathematics or science is another way to add to your income. And these are just a few of the ways you can make money from home.

6. Online Video Game Skills

Gaming companies like Blizzard (WOW) hire gamers to communicate with players and answer questions about the game. Expert gamers can be offered sponsorships that pay them to play and enter tournaments. Tournament prizes for popular games like WOW and Call of Duty can be thousands of dollars. Sponsored players may also be paid for testing new games.

7. Your Opinions

You can take online surveys and read paid emails for a little extra cash. InboxDollars, SendEarnings and CashCrate are websites that specialize in surveys and paid emails and you can search the web for others.

8. Freelance Work

If you are skilled in writing, editing, photography, computer programming, web design, transcription, data entry, or accounting, you can become a freelancer. Outsourcing has made freelancing lucrative and websites like and post jobs for freelancers in many categories. Freelancers bid on jobs and selection is based on both bids and qualifications.

9. Rooms In Your Home

If you have an extra room in your home or apartment, you can earn money or lower monthly expenses by taking in a boarder or roommate. No sense in letting the space go to waste if you need the extra cash.

10. Blood, Plasma and Biological Materials

Blood banks will pay donors for blood and plasma donations. Sperm can be sold to sperm banks and private individuals and fertility clinics pay qualified women for egg donations. Men and women with long hair can also sell their hair for wigs if it has not been color treated.

11. Services

While advertisements for mystery shoppers are usually scams, personal shoppers buy groceries, gifts and other items for people who are too busy to shop. They may be paid by the hour, the job or on a percentage of the amount spent. Party planners act as general contractors for setting up parties and special events and if you have a background in the hospitality industry, this can be a good part time business.

12. Things You Don’t Need

Gather up the kids outgrown clothes, the things you no longer wear, the gifts that were never used, knick knacks, Christmas decorations and anything else you can think of and have a yard sale. You won’t make a fortune, but you can clean out your closets and basement and net a couple of hundred dollars for your trouble.

13. Used Goods

Some enterprising folks turn their shopping addiction into a money making enterprise. You can buy items cheap at yard sales and thrift stores and resell them at flea markets or on eBay for a profit. Overhead is low (between $25 and $60 a table for flea markets) and while you won’t get rich you can have fun and make a few bucks.

14. Musical Skills

I know a young lady who makes between $50 and $100 per week teaching beginners how to play the ukulele. If you are reasonably proficient with a musical instrument you may be able to supplement your income by teaching others to play. Advertise your lessons as you would any small business and check with other local music teachers for lesson prices in your area.

15. Temporary Work

The U.S. Census Bureau hires thousands of temporary workers each year to interview people and gather data. Tax preparers like H&R Block also hire and train temporary part time workers. If a few months of extra income is all that you need to make ends meet, consider easy jobs that pay well.

16. Participation in Focus Group Studies

These studies are most often advertised on college campuses and offer payment for testing products, sleep studies and other activities. Some studies are advertised in newspapers, but you may have to meet eligibility requirements or suffer from a specific medical condition to qualify for certain focus groups.

17. Blogs

Blogs are inexpensive and easy to set up and they can generate income through advertising on the site. The blog usually has to be well established and frequently visited to attract advertisers, but it can be about any topic that interests you from household tips to politics to inside knowledge of the insurance industry. Blogs do not generate immediate income, but once established, they can provide a small, steady source of income.

Although not sexy, I am currently working on building one of the best and comprehensive life insurance resources online at It currently generates no revenue and the niche is extremely competitive, but let’s see if I can build it into something that will educate and help consumers.

18. Cans, Bottles and Newspapers

If you live near a recycling center, you can earn a few extra dollars by picking up newspapers, aluminum cans and glass and plastic bottles from neighbors and along roads. Since urban areas often have recycling systems as part of their waste disposal programs this is a better bet in suburban or rural areas. Recycling centers usually pay less than $1.00 per pound for aluminum and not all centers buy plastic and glass.

19. New Products

Companies like Avon, Mary Kay and Amway are direct marketing companies that sell products to individuals at a reduced price so the individuals can resell the items for a profit. Your customers order the item from the representative who in turn orders the item from the company. There is no need to keep an inventory and start-up costs are low. Depending on the individual and the time invested, earnings can range from less than one hundred dollars to several thousand dollars a month.

20. Photographs

If you love to take photos, you may be able to sell some of them to agencies like Website subscribers can download the images and photographers are paid 25 cents each time their photo is downloaded. Not all photos submitted are accepted and earnings depend on the popularity of your images.

If you are creative, you can find something you have that can be sold or traded to others. Check out One Red Paperclip to find out how Kyle MacDonald went through a series of trades starting with a red paperclip and ending up with a house. If you are willing to invest some time and effort, you can earn the extra money you need for bills, college, retirement or just a little fun.



  1. Great list! We actually just went through a trunk full of DVDs that we have. We haven’t watched them in years, and they were all pretty horrible movies as well. We brought them up to a place near our house and didn’t think we would get anything (maybe like $25 or something). It turns out that we got $68 for some really bad movies.

  2. I love the list. It fuels the creative juices and makes me think of all the other small things I could do to make some extra money. Just have to actually do it.

  3. Looking at this list one can certainly appreciate the immense opportunities the internet has opened up for folks. I know this guy who imports native African art pieces, curios and artefacts and is making a fortune selling them all through the internet :)

  4. Just setting up English tutoring to foreign students and having a go at Ebay. Also, I am one of those ‘direct sellers’ , but the company I distribute for requires no purchase of stock and what I do saves people money so it’s recession proof. Do your homework and you can find a business you want to represent without a pressure to purchase stock x

  5. A great list but it’s somewhat uneven. Yes, you can make money with all these things but sometimes you need special knowledge; not all clothes and old magazines will sell on ebay and some will sell if you know how to take the photos and write up the ads.

    Monetizing a blog requires taking time to learn how the Internet works and identifying ways to earn money. You can include ads for affiliate products and even promote products in posts if you know what your market will buy. Adsense ads make money if you have a ton of traffic.

    Getting exposure for a blog takes effort and doesn’t guarantee you’ll make money. I’ve met people with high-traffic blogs who weren’t making a dime.

    Freelancers have to market themselves; odesk and craigslist will get you some really low-paying gigs, which may or may not help you grow to a business charging market rates.

    Pet sitting and concierge services are great but they’re a business. You’ll need to think about liability, insurance and bonding, especially if you’re going into homes of strangers.

    Taking in a boarder brings up a lot of complications, especially if you have to share a kitchen and/or bathroom.

    That said, I would recommend choosing one or two of these ideas when you’re working and want to get some extra cash. Invest wisely in resources (you don’t need a 4-figure training package) and get started slowly.

  6. I have found the best way to make extra money is by buying used books at thrift stores, garage sales, library used books sales and clearance racks at local books stores. You can pay anywhere from 25 cents to a few bucks and turn around and sell them to a book buyback site for a few bucks up to hundreds of dollars.The site I use to sell used books is because they have great prices and excellent customer service.

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