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Dump your junk and get some cash

Retailers jump on the clunker trade-in bandwagon, but will you get top dollar?

By MSN Money producer Nov 11, 2009 5:11PM
Retailers are making it easier than ever to trade in your outdated electronics for cash, rebates or gift cards. This post at Kiplinger lists several ways you can ditch your clunkers:
  • Got an old appliance your want to replace? Buy an energy-efficient model and receive rebates ranging from $50 to $250. This federally sponsored program, similar to the Cash for Clunkers program, varies by state. More details can be found here.
  • Trade in old video games at Amazon.com and Toys 'R' Us in exchange for gift cards.
  • Old electronic devices can be traded in to Radio Shack, Hewlett-Packard, Amazon and Costco.
These programs are convenient, but it's not likely you'll earn top dollar for your junk. One example: A U2 special edition iPod will fetch $26 through the Costco program. A quick search shows bidding reaching the $55 mark on eBay.

Another point to consider: If you do take the plunge and receive a gift card, you can always sell it for cash or exchange it for a card from a different retailer. Read this article to find out how.

Here are more avenues to explore:
  • While it's not garage-sale season in most parts of the U.S., winter is a good time to start identifying items for a spring sale. And if you want to connect with the most shoppers, be sure to list online.
  • A garage sale is a lot of work -- listing items on Craigslist is a whole lot easier, and you might be able to get more for your goods. Click here for more on how to use Craigslist effectively.
  • Selling on eBay and Amazon will net a much wider audience than Craigslist (and you don't have to meet strangers in-person). Read this post for tips on how to turn your junk into "eBay gold."
  • One-of-kind handmade goods can be sold on Etsy. Kelly at Almost Frugal has great tips in her post "How to market your Etsy shop."
  • A low-hassle option is to simply load up your car and donate belongings to a local charity. Can you say tax deduction? Just be sure to get a receipt.
Have you used any of the trade-in programs Kiplinger identifies? We'd love to hear from you. If you have more ideas on how to sell your unwanted possessions, please share.

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