While many people look at Facebook as a great way to stay in touch with friends or a time-sucking vortex of funny videos and listicles, savvy Penny Hoarders know it’s also a fantastic platform for earning extra cash.
From helping your friends sell unwanted stuff to earning money by posting updates, you can find a bunch of different ways to make money on Facebook. Add one more to this list: Facebook “garage sale” groups.
While the size and focus of the groups will depend on your area, the big advantage of Facebook groups over a site like Craigslist is the lack of anonymity. Since all members join from their existing Facebook profiles, you can see exactly who’s interested in your items. If you’ve been delaying posting items on Craigslist, selling through one of these groups might be the perfect option for you.
Just two months ago, I began selling miscellaneous items from around my house in local garage sale groups on Facebook. The extra cash — more than $600 so far — has been a budget lifesaver, and I’ve also enjoyed the added bonus of decluttering my home.
Ready to learn how you can do the same?
How to Find Local Facebook Groups
Finding garage sale or buy-and-sell groups near you is quite simple. If you’re on a laptop or desktop, look for “Find New Groups” on the sidebar. If you’re on a mobile device, hit the “More” button and you should see this same option. A new screen will pop up and list four options:
- Suggested Groups
- Friends’ Groups
- Local Groups
- Your Groups
Luckily, Facebook has already done most of the work for you by sorting the groups geographically. Just click on “Local Groups” to see a list of options nearby. Even in my somewhat sparsely populated neck of the woods, Facebook was able to suggest five local groups.
If your pickings are slim, you can usually track down more groups by expanding your search to neighboring cities and counties. Conversely, if the opposite is true — you live in a city or region with tons of options — just pick one or two groups to get started. Some regions offer groups focused only on particular items, such as furniture or baby clothing, so choose your group based on what you have to sell.
And remember that after you join a few groups, Facebook will automatically suggest others for you as well — those that you might have otherwise overlooked. Worst case scenario: if there’s no group near you, don’t be afraid to start your own!
What Should You Sell?
How about anything and everything?!
Baby clothes, electronics, and furniture are the hottest-selling items in my area. But here’s my motto: if I haven’t used it within the past six months, I’m going to try and sell it.
For example, here are some of the items I’ve sold so far:
- Bumper pool table: $250
- Laminate flooring (from a ditched renovation project): $125
- Infant bassinet: $40
- Carpet cleaner (with a broken handle no less!): $35
- Outgrown baby clothes: $30
- Decorative “Bless Our Home” plaque: $5
- Infant headbands: $3
And believe me, that’s just the tip of the oh-so-profitable iceberg. My sales list is as long and varied as my price points. Every time I sell something, my husband is incredulous. “What?” he says. “Someone actually paid money for that?”
Yes! And it all adds up quite nicely, thankyouverymuch.
Buying and Selling on Facebook: A Guide to Etiquette
Whether you’re buying or selling, following basic rules helps make the process positive for everyone. Many of these rules are common on any selling platform, but some are specific to Facebook groups. Make sure you stay on the right side of the groups’ administrators!
Read (and Follow!) Each Group’s Rules
Each garage sale group will have specific rules. Some allow you to post anything and everything, while others limit the types of items that are sold or how often you can post. For example, one local group I follow has a rule against posting any lululemon clothing — due to the many listings with these items, there’s now a separate group.
Following the rules is crucial. In many groups, after a certain number of infractions, rule-breakers can be banned!
Mind Your Manners
Now is the perfect time to showcase those manners and make your parents proud. “Please” and “thank you” can go a long way here, especially when you’re dealing with lots of interest in one of your items.
Remember that tone is nearly impossible for random internet strangers to pick up on, so you might need to sideline the sarcasm.
Price to Sell
Choosing a selling price can be tricky. Are my items priced too high or too low? My personal sweet spot has been to price an item at approximately 40-50% of retail price, but experiment and see what works for your items.
You may also find that interested buyers contact you with offers lower than your asking price, so decide in advance if you’re willing to negotiate, or if you’d prefer to hold out for your stated price.
If you’re lucky, you’ll have several people respond with interest to your posting, often within minutes or seconds of each other. Once you snag a firm offer, make sure you update the posting to mark the item as pending, then delete the post altogether after the sale is finalized. If a sale falls through though, let the next interested party have a go at it.
When you commit to a sale and arrange a meet-up location, please, please, please follow through. If for any reason you can’t move forward with the transaction, contact the other party right away.
There’s nothing more frustrating than being stood up or having someone go MIA. And some groups have a zero tolerance policy for no shows, meaning you’ll be permanently banned. Tread carefully.
Your Turn: Have you used Facebook’s local garage sale groups to earn extra cash?
Steph Weber is a mom and freelance writer hailing from the Midwest. She writes about healthcare, finance, and small business — that is, when she’s not chasing around a sticker-crazed toddler.