Many of us these days seem to have a certain amount of debt hanging over us. I cannot remember a time in my adult life when I did not have at least some debt eating away at me. Jack Spirko from The Survival Podcast describes debt as a cancer and I think he is right.
We run a small business in the SW of the UK and most of our debt is linked to that business. Running a small business you never know what you will earn from one week to the next so it is very difficult to set a budget and stick to it.
Another thing we have hanging over us is a massive pile of stuff. Stuff ties you down and costs a lot of money. We have to rent space for all this stuff. We can’t move for all this stuff and a combination of stuff and debt is rooting us to the spot.
We live a potentially nomadic lifestyle. We could in theory just hitch up our home and drive off into the sunset if it wasn’t for our moderate amount of debt and our massive pile of stuff. If we were debt and stuff free we would have options. We could move and breath more easily. We would be Free!
It seems obvious to us now but it only really occurred to us recently that if we sold all of our stuff and used the money to pay off out debts we would be killing two vultures with one stone.
So a couple of weeks ago we started selling some of our stuff on ebay. We were both adept at buying things on ebay -hence all the stuff- but we had never really sold anything before. I did have a go a couple of years ago but it didn’t really work out. I sold a book just to see if I could. It sold for the minimum price and after a miscalculation of the postage the whole experiment ended up costing me money.
Undeterred we thought we would give it another go but this time we would put a little more thought into it. We still decided to start small so we could learn from our mistakes before launching into selling our higher value items. This would also give us a chance to build up a good feedback rating.
So far it is going OK and we have a little money in our emergency fund and as soon as we reach £1000 we will then start using the ebay money to pay down our debts.
As I said we are still new to selling on ebay but my advice to you if you do have debt is to start selling your unused stuff. It is very easy to get started and is very exiting watching people bidding on you items. I will add more advice on selling your stuff as and when we learn but so far I would advise you to:
- Take good pictures
- Write a decent description
- Be honest
- Keep postage reasonable
- Schedule listing to end in the evening
You don’t need to be David Bailey to take decent photos for ebay. Make sure your images are in focus, well lit and on a plain background. Clothing might look better on a hanger or on a person. Books DVDs, and small packaging can be scanned. Sometimes it is possible to find images of your item online but be very careful that you are not misleading the buyer.
Take a few minutes to write an interesting description of your item. See what others have written or have a look at the manufacturers website to find ideas. You don’t need to write a 1000 word essay but the more information the buyer has the more likely they are to buy.
It is very important to be honest in your description. If there are marks on an item or the lining is torn in a jacket you must bring this to the attention of the buyer especially if you want to sell lots of stuff to pay down your debts. You need to keep your good feedback intact and you want buyers to come back time and time again.
I am very unlikely to bid on an item if I consider the postage to be over inflated. Ebay does suggest postage rates based on the title of your listing and what others have sold. You will learn what things cost to send with experience and you will make the odd mistake and lose out because you under calculated the price of postage but it is all part of the learning curve.
There is no point in scheduling your listing to end at 2 in the morning or in the middle of the working day. Ebay will schedule the end time for you but they do charge. What we do is take photos and write the descriptions etc during the day but instead of scheduling the listing to end in the evening, we save the listing and when we get home we sit down after dinner and post the listing. This means your items will end at your desired time and it will cost you nothing.
I hope this has given you some ideas about how you can combine becoming debt free and stuff free.
Let me know how you get on