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Get Cash Now for Unwanted Presents

Dec. 26, 2012
3 mins
A man and a woman walk down the street with shopping bags

So Grandma’s memory isn’t what it used to be and she bought you the same grilled-cheese maker as last year - but doesn’t mean it has to go to waste at the back of the cupboard!

There are plenty of ways to get cash now for those unwanted gifts  – you just need to know where to look.

Waste Not, Want Not

First thing’s first – to re-gift or not to re-gift?

It’s a question of etiquette, says Karen Cleveland, etiquette expert and the voice behind Manners Are Sexy blog.

“While my pragmatic side appreciates the math, no, it is not ok to sell your presents,” says Cleveland. “Pass an unwanted gift to a friend, though be truth-y about its origins, or donate it to charity – there are many morally questionable ways to save a buck or two: doesn't mean it's ok to participate in them.”

Of course the allure of “redirecting” your presents may be too much... so if you're finding yourself cash-strapped, consider yourself warned and continue reading to find out ways to offload those unwanted gifts.

Offload Them Online

The obvious (and most covert way) of reselling your gifts is via the Internet. Websites like eBay, Craigslist and the ever-fun-to-say Kijiji are tried and tested outlets for turning your new and used goods into cash – especially during the holiday season when one can assume the online marketplace is awash with unwanted presents up for grabs.

But before trudging into the online buyer’s market there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Be sure to include a picture of the item – and not a grainy photo on your blackberry. Make it look professional and enticing.
  • Do your research on what other people are selling the same product for when settling on a price.
  • If you’re re-selling beyond your locale, account for shipping and handling.
  • Be smart about your listing and make sure you offer as much information as possible.

Pawn It Off

Before you knock it, keep in mind that the Internet has helped put a new spin on pawn shops. These days, there's no need to visit the dodgy side of town to sell your watches, fine wines and electronics. Take Montreal-based Pawnup for example: “We’re not selling it in a specific part of town, our audience is North American dealers that are constantly looking for (luxury goods) and can be super competitive,” says Jay Martin, spokesman of the online pawn shop.

The website works like a hybrid pawnshop/eBay.

You select the category for your product: jewelry, watches, precious metals, Apple products, collectibles - anything under the sun. You'll then fill out a form with information on the product you want to sell - a process that helps to further determine the item's worth.

“If they don’t give us enough information we have an agent who will call and ask some questions,” says Martin. “Having the box and papers (receipt) can get you more value for it.”

The product is then shipped securely and payment follows.

The moral? Don’t let those presents go to waste. If you have the stomach for reselling a present, you could turn that stack of unwanted presents into a little bit of cash-flow.

Andrew Seale

Andrew Seale is a freelance writer with an absurdly hyperactive mind and predilection towards the obscure and eclectic. He frequently shares his personal finance experiences and mishaps with TheDot readers but has also been known to profile business leaders ranging from financial savants to bootstrapped entrepreneurs. His work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Yahoo Canada Finance and News, Profit Magazine, The Toronto Star, Enroute Magazine, and on the back of napkins sometimes tucked into the pockets of strangers. He can be found at whenwedrift.contently.com.

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