5 ways to make extra cash before Christmas

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Are you concerned about how you’re going to pay for Christmas this year? Well you’re not alone.

According to research carried out in 2011 most UK families spent between £530 and £682 on gifts, decorations, food and drink celebrating the festive period. It’s a significant sum and more than enough to cause a few sleepless nights.

While managing the expectations of young children is more advisable than racking up debts buying expensive gifts, it’s obvious that monthly outgoings are still likely to be bigger in December than at other times of the year.

If you’re eager to raise a little extra cash to ease the financial strain then selling unwanted items both online and in person remains an attractively stress-free option. We run through a few of the best items to sell and how to find buyers.

Sell your mobile phone

If your mobile phone is due an upgrade or you’ve reached the end of your contract then selling your existing handset to a specialist recycler can prove a very lucrative means of earning cash quickly.

Relatively new smart phones can be worth up to £200 if they’re still in working order, smaller rewards are available for older models while non-functioning units could still get you a few pounds. If you want to find out which recycler is prepared to offer you the best deal check out Money Saving Expert’s www.mobilevaluer.com.

It’s also worth remembering that certain recyclers offer cashback so be sure to check Quidco. The process is relatively simple whichever service you use with sellers using entering the details of their phone online, the buyer sending an envelope for delivery of the phone and payment being made via bank transfer to a designated account.

Sell CDs, DVDs, games

If you’ve no ageing phones lying around there are of course plenty of other things you can sell. CDs aren’t in the same lucrative bracket as mobile phones, but if you’ve a large collection of unwanted music you could earn anything between 25p to £3 per album using musicmagpie.co.uk or webuy.co.uk.

Naturally, if you happen to own valuable vintage records or rare CDs you’re better off trying to flog them on eBay where you’ll be pitching to collectors or taking them to specialist record shops. Many of the same companies, including the likes of zapper.co.uk and buymytronics.com will also buy DVDs, books, old games, consoles and even laptops.

If you think you might have found a Van Gogh in the antic or a Chippendale table in your great-uncle’s study then valuemystuff.com is a new pay-as-you-go valuation service which promises to deliver a detailed report inside 48 hours.

Sell gold

In times of economic hardship gold prices go through the roof so if you’ve any broken jewellery lying around you could be sitting on a veritable treasure trove. Companies interested in buying your ‘scraps’, including Tesco, do so with a view to melting it down and then flogging it on for more.

While there’s cash to be made they thrive on taking advantage of naïve punters and those who’ve not read their terms and conditions. It’s worth having a rough estimate of how much you think your gold is worth before sending it away or taking it to a pawnbroker. In essence this means working out its carat and weight – a task which most jewellers will undertake without a charge.

To avoid heartbreak and disappointment don’t send off coins or medals which are likely to be collectable, jewellery which includes gemstones which won’t be included in the valuation (or returned) or branded jewellery which tends to be more valuable intact than its melted-down price.

Sell your own creations

If you’re of a creative persuasion a site like Etsy.com offers a simple platform for users to sell artwork and prints, craft supplies, clothing and vintage items. Individuals simply register an account, photo the goods they want to sell, upload product details, set a price and then post items once sales have been made. Particularly popular with artists eager to sell their work, the site allows users to create profiles which dovetail nicely with social media and affords buyers the chance to leave feedback for each of their purchases.

It costs 20 cents to list an item for four months and when your item sells, you are charged 3.5pc transaction fee. Fees are paid monthly using either PayPal or the credit card on file. Listings expire after a few months and a fee must be paid to re-list them.

Sell just about anything

You'd be forgiven for thinking online auction sites had sounded the death knell for car boot sales but given the gloomy economic situation they're more popular than ever with bargain hunters.

Tools and toys are particularly popular, so too domestic equipment and the sort of anonymous, average china, glass or costume jewellery that does not sell well online because it can't be precisely described and searched.

Once you’ve decided what it is you’re going to sell, identify your nearest car boot sale locations, check eBay and Amazon for price guidelines, be prepared to offer bulk buy deals and practice your haggling. If nothing else you'll have a fun day out, just beware spending any earnings on more stuff!