Selling Things

Gift Cards

Got a gift card you don’t want? Wish you had one, at a discount? There are sites that buy and sell gift cards.

A while back I received a gift card for a store where I don’t normally shop. The buying something to use the unwanted card cost me twice as much as the value of the card. I should have sold it at a discount to a site like They pay you less than the face value of the card, but at least you’re getting cash instead of buying something you didn’t need.

They resell it to someone else at less than face value, but more than they paid you, so everybody wins.



Pawnshops have gone upscale since I was a kid. The ones near me are clean, well-lit, and well-run. When I needed cash a few years ago, that’s where I sold my rings. The price of gold was very high then. They trade in jewelry, musical instruments, electronics, and bicycles.

They are a good place to buy jewelry, costing far less than the jewelry store. Likewise computers, game systems, and lawn tools. Caution is required–these are used items that the store doesn’t know the history of. Test it out, research it beforehand, and compare prices to place like Walmart and eBay.


Staging A Home To Sell

I’ve just been reading an article on staging a home to get the best price when selling. In addition to the usual advice to remove clutter and personal items like photos and all that stuff on the fridge, they mentioned having a friend or relative look at the place with a fresh eye. We see our own homes all day every day, it’s easy to see only what we want to.

Something similar that helped me when I last staged a house was to take pictures, just for myself, to see what they showed. Oh my! I didn’t notice that stack of papers until I saw it in the picture. Too many decorative items – it looked fine to my eye, but the camera is merciless. It doesn’t just add ten pounds to a person, it adds ten pounds of clutter to a room!

My home wasn’t ready to show until my pictures looked like magazine pictures.

Earning Online: Selling Hair

Warning, there’s a certain amount of creepiness in this post.

From my book: “I’d seen articles on the Internet that made it sound as if there is a big demand for human hair. At first, I was excited at the prospect of getting lots of money for my very long hair. I searched for wig companies that might buy my hair, and none of them would. So I wondered: if the wig makers don’t want to buy my hair, where do they get the human hair they use?

I found out they get it from religious ceremonies in which Hindus have all their hair cut off, leaving it in the temple. As many as 25,000 people a day sacrifice their hair at temples in India. The temples collect it, sell it to a wholesaler, and use the money to help the poor.

If wig companies aren’t buying, where could I sell it? I looked for auction sites and found some. There were several sites showing hair for sale with final bids over a thousand dollars.


hair long June 2012 is an auction-style online site for selling hair. The ad cost me $14.95 for ninety days. To sell your hair on this site you have to be able to cut off at least ten inches. You need up to four good pictures to upload to your ad posting. Include ponytail shots to show the thickness. If you have used no chemicals or dyes, you can advertise your hair as “virgin” hair.

I listed my twenty-five inches of virgin wavy auburn hair at $500 or best offer. As described in the “Scams” section on the site, several responders were clearly all set to cheat me. Thanks to the warnings on the site, I knew to accept only payments and to ship by my choice of shipper, not theirs.

I began to get emails. They said things like, “Would you be willing to go to a buzz cut?” (Why do they care? I’m offering X inches of hair.) One said, “You’ll get more for your hair if you let the buyer cut it.” (Why? Any pro can cut off long hair for sale.) I asked, “What if they aren’t local?” He replied, “The buyer will travel to you or pay travel expenses.” (That could be a significant expense–it makes no sense.)

Further research revealed that there is a paraphilia in which fetishists get off on watching a woman’s hair cut off very short, sometimes with her pretending to resist the cut. Buyers who want to watch or video the cut, or meet you somewhere and cut it themselves, are probably fetishists. That’s what the larger payments are for.

In the end, I did sell my hair on for $125. The buyer wanted hair, not a hair cutting experience. I know of one person who sold her hair on eBay, to a doll maker. Another sold to an artist who was making his own brushes from human hair.

My experience with trying to sell my hair shows why I’ve done my best to try out anything I could that I put in this book. Sometimes things sound great in an article on the Internet or in a magazine. Then when you go to do it, it turns out to be more complicated.

The folks who write articles don’t always have the time to fully check out everything they’re saying. Take it with a grain of salt and compare it to common sense and your own experience. Use search engines to find out more about the things you read.”




Marie Brack is the author of Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely. It’s available on in both Kindle and paperback versions.

Earning Online: Selling Things

From my book: “I made a very modest living for several years selling wigs on eBay. My late husband Cliff had a barbershop for years. He also sold women’s wigs he bought at a steep discount. Local demand for wigs wasn’t very high. His stock had built up to about five hundred by the time he decided to close the shop.

He suggested I sell them on eBay. They sold like hotcakes. I bought more wigs from a wholesaler and kept on selling. However, eBay flows in waves. More wig sellers came on board. More buyers began to expect super-low prices. By the fifth year, there was no longer any profit in it. With eBay sales, you make the profit when you buy the item, more than when you sell it. Before buying anything to resell, check the completed auctions for similar items. This is important because knowing what other sellers are asking for their items isn’t useful information.

What matters is what buyers are actually paying. Is the item selling, or are the auctions ending without a bid? What do the final bids tend to be? Can you buy the item you are considering for much less than those final bids? Or would you be working for little or no profit once all costs are considered?

The important thing on eBay is to always tell the truth, and fully disclose the condition of what you’re selling. One of the wigs in Cliff’s shop started out as a long Rapunzel-type costume wig. He had it in stock a long time. People had bought, worn, and returned it, and he didn’t always store it carefully. By the time the shop closed, that wig was tangled, raggedy, and half bald. I listed it as a living dead zombie wig and it sold immediately.

One way to find things to sell is to watch and see what products are being actively promoted on TV. Then see if you can buy it wholesale. Most wholesalers will require a business license. You can get a license from your county or city for a fee. One example is an exercise video series that sold well for me on eBay while the infomercials aired. Once they stopped, sales dropped off. Watch for fads, catch them at the peak, and get out before the slump. is a part of eBay. It’s a good place to sell books, movies, and music. People buy and sell textbooks there, too. Many people I know of have used to downsize their collections of books, music, movies, and magazines. is another online selling site that is worth checking out. You can sell just about anything on Amazon.”





Marie Brack is the author of Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely. It’s available on in both Kindle and paperback versions.



A New Financial Start

Maybe you spent a bit too much over the holidays. January sometimes brings on a sort of financial repentance, and a desire to use money more effectively in the new year. My book can help with that. Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely deals with the need for financial change from both directions – spending less and earning more. Maybe you have friends or relatives who spend too much, or want to get out of debt. The book would make a nice gift for them, or just tell them about it. Want to retire early? Take a fantastic trip? The strategies in the book can help you move toward any financial goal.

It’s available on in both paperback and Kindle versions.

Wonderful review

I am so moved by this review. “Tightwad Gazette of the 21st Century” is exactly what I wanted people to think about it:

“Great book!, February 18, 2014

By Lita McRiley “Sorlina”See all my reviews

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This review is from: Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely (Kindle Edition)

This book is jam-packed with tips, ideas, and strategies for saving money. It’s the Tightwad Gazette of the 21st century… internet addresses for DIY help, encouragement for readers, personal anecdotes, this book has it all. To top it off, it’s delivered in a light, easy to read style that isn’t preachy or judgmental. A very helpful, and enjoyable, read!”

The Tightwad Gazette has been the “bible” of thrifty living. My hope was to make it the ‘old testament’ and mine the ‘new testament’, and it seems I have succeeded.