Money

How to Turn Your Unwanted Gifts Into Cash

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Receive a gift (or two or three!) that you can’t use and yet can’t return? No need for it to collect dust in the closet! Here’s how to easily swap it for money.

Gift Cards

A new survey reveals that most of us have about $167 in unused gift cards for stores and restaurants we don’t plan to visit. If this is the case for you, skip gift card reselling websites, since many sellers and buyers become victims of crooks who’ve figured out how to send phony payments and drain money from gift cards, leaving you with nothing. Instead, sell them at a check-cashing store or supermarket customer service desk. Many will offer you cash for about 75 percent to 85 percent of your card’s value on the spot. For card-selling locations near you, visit GiftCardBin.com/store_location.php.

Electronics

Given a tech gadget you don’t plan to use or that’s a duplicate of something you already own, like a smartwatch or voice-controlled speaker? Take it to Target for a free assessment of its value, or get an online appraisal by logging on to TargetTrade-in.com, then mail it to the retailer for free with a prepaid shipping label. You’ll be offered a cash payment via PayPal or Target gift card in return for your item. Other great options: Trade your tech for a store gift card at Amazon (Amazon.com/trade-in), Apple Store (Apple.com/shop/trade-in), and Best Buy (BestBuy.com/trade-in).

Apparel

When gifts of sweaters, yoga pants or other clothing don’t fit right or don’t quite match your style, keep their tags on (this helps prove they’re brandnew and authentic) and make an appointment to bring them to a Buffalo Exchange clothing resell store near you or learn how to mail them to the retailer at SellByMail.BuffaloExchange.com. You’ll be paid 25 percent of the resale value of the items they accept in cash via PayPal or 50 percent if you choose store credit.

Books

If you’ve received paperback or hardcover books you’ve already read or don’t need, resell them (and set your price) by registering as an “Individual Seller” on Amazon. Just scroll down to the “Sign up to become an individual seller” link at Sell.Amazon.com. You can list up to 40 books per month for a 99-cent fee per post. Once purchased, the customer’s payment is deposited into your bank account. Don’t want to wait for a buyer? For a cash payment right away, make an appointment to bring your books to a local used bookseller, who will typically pay about $1 to $5 per book. Or sell them to online booksellers by typing in the titles at BookScouter.com. You’ll receive quotes from resellers instantly. Simply pick the best offer, then print a free shipping label and mail them in. You’ll get paid via check or PayPal once they’re received.

This story originally appeared in our print magazine.

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