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Quick Holiday Cash Online

Feb 21, 2008
Thanksgiving is upon us, which means the holiday season is in full swing. Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanzaa are right around the corner and with them the expense of food, gifts and travel. If you're like me and are faced with spending hundreds of dollars in the next few weeks because you waited until now to start preparing for the holidays, I have some suggestions for fast and easy ways to make extra money during the holiday season without ever leaving home!

Sell Your Stuff

Some people call it clutter. Others call it junk. I call it cash. Everyone has thing lying around that house that can be sold. Books, CD's, DVD's, infomercial products, clothes, nick knacks, and more. These things can bring in good money; especially now as other people are looking for just these types of items during the gift giving season.

There are two fast and easy ways to unload your stuff and make quick cash online; Amazon.com's Market Place and eBay. My first stop is always at Amazon.com because of its ease of use particularly for books, CD's or software in good condition. Opening an account is easy. Simply visit Amazon.com and scroll down the page until you see the "Sell Your Stuff" link on the left. Search for your book, CD or other item, or use the ISBN (for books) or UPC's (Universal Product Code) to find the item. Amazon.com will guide you through the process of giving the condition of the item, adding comments about the item, inputting your price, and submitting it for inclusion in its massive online store. Your product shows up right next to the new, full priced item as a "Buy Used" option. Amazon.com does the rest including adding a picture, processing the payment, and direct depositing the money into your account.

Amazon charges you nothing until/unless your item sells. The fee is .99 cents plus a percentage of the sold price and a variable closing fee. Amazon gives you a shipping credit to cover the cost of mailing your item to the buyer.

eBay is another great way to generate income fairly quickly. I use eBay for items that cannot be sold through Amazon.com because it takes more time to list items at eBay. I especially like eBay for my novelty items such as infomercial products or things that I'm not sure how to price. To open an account, visit eBay and click on "Register". Once you are registered, log into your eBay account and click on "Sell".

Like at Amazon.com, there are some items in which you can input the product ID and get a stock picture and information. But you'll always want to write your own details and if your product is better or in worse condition than the stock photo, you'll want to include your own picture. eBay takes you step by step on getting your item listed including adding descriptions, payment options, and shipping information. A great feature offered is the ability to buy and print your postage through eBay's system and PayPal. You can package and ship your sold item without going to the post office. Plus if you're buyer pays you through PayPal, you can have your money direct deposited into your bank account, thereby saving you a trip to cash a check at the bank.

eBay charges you for listing your products whether they sell or not, but it's very reasonable and only once have I not had an item sell. The insertion fee ranges from .20 cents to $4.80 depending on price of the item. eBay offers optional listing features such as "Buy It Now" or "Gallery Listing" for additional fees. The only other required fee is the final value charge which is a 5.25%+ of the sold cost. Shipping costs can be covered by you or passed on to the buyer.

Here are some tips to quickly and easily earn some fast cash through Amazon.com and eBay:

1) Go through your home and gather all the items that are in decent condition and that you are willing to sell. The best items I have found are non-fiction books, hard back bestsellers, electronics and electronic accessories, software and name brand gizmos for Amazon.com. eBay is great for infomercial products, old eBay items you bought, but don't use, name-brand clothes (especially kids clothing), toys (Lego's are a big hit!), collectables and memorabilia, and novelty items.

2) When listing, be honest about the condition. You don't want to hurt your selling reputation by not mentioning marks or other faults with the item.

3) Price items to sell. Your goal is quick cash so consider pricing items lower than the competition. Of course, at eBay, the market will drive the ultimate sale price, but start low and don't put a reserve price (price that must be met for the item to sell). There is some indication that items with a lower starting bid often get higher sales than similar items with a higher starting bid. At Amazon.com, you will be given information on other current used sale prices. I always choose a price that is lower than others. Think about it, given the choice of buying a used book for $10.00 or $9.50, which would you choose?

4) Finally, once you receive payment for the item, ship it ASAP. Package it so it's safe and secure. Print out the name and address of the buyer and tape it to the package to make sure you don't misspell the address. eBay offers a great feature in which you can print postage right from your computer printer. Stamps.com also offers online postage services to save you a trip to the post office. Make sure you ship to the buyers specifications. If he paid extra for insurance or expedited shipping, make sure you use those services.

Sell Your Skill

It used to be that you had to go out and get seasonal work or pick up a part-time job to make extra cash. You can still do that, but now you can do it from the comfort of your home. Many companies hire home-based contract workers to help with customer service and manage increased workload during the holidays. These jobs range from customer service and support, bookkeeping, transcribing, writing, public relations work, and more.

These jobs can often be performed around a regular job using a phone and an internet connection. While they may not pay the same as a traditional job, when you factor in the saved time and expenses from not having to commute, the difference is negligible.

To find and get home-based work:

1) Inventory your skills. Don't just list those skills you have from your regular job. Include any skills you have developed in the pursuit of a hobby, participating in a club, or through volunteer work.

2) Create a professional resume that you can tailor to specific jobs you find.

3) Search for work on job related websites such as Craigslist.org (any and all cities not just locally), Monster.com and Careerbuilder.com. Use keywords such as "telecommute", "work at home", and "freelance".

4) You can also find work by contacting companies in your local area directly and proposing a contract work option. If you point out how hiring you on a contract freelance basis can save the company money over hiring an on-site salaried person, you can often convince an employer to hire you.

5) One final option is to market your skills to the general public using fliers, drop cards, and classified ads. Can you hang Christmas lights for your neighbors? Can you organize and manage a holiday event such as an office party? Can you help Santa respond to mail? The options are endless. Once you have your idea, simply let everyone in your neighborhood and community know about it.

You do want to be careful about searching for home based jobs online as there are many scams. Some rules to avoiding work-at-home job scams are:

1) You aren't likely to simply sign up and have a job. Work-at-home jobs, like regular jobs require you to go through an application process.

2) Legitimate jobs will never ask for money...ever! Any company asking for money to cover its costs, insure you're serious or whatever dumb excuse it gives is scamming you.

3) Never work with a company that wants you to use your own bank account to help process payments. You could lose thousands of dollars and your bank privileges by falling for this scam.
About the Author
Leslie Truex has been helping others work at home in a job or home business since 1998 through her website Work-At-Home Success. Get free jobs, work-at-home info and more by subscribing to her free newsletter at Work-At-Home Success
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