Yard sale
A yard sale can be one of the easiest ways for cash-strapped international students to make a quick buck. Source: Remy Gabalda/AFP

It’s not easy budgeting as an international student, and it’s all too easy to be stretched thin financially. When you’re strapped for cash and need to make a quick buck, setting up a yard sale could be a good idea. After all, as a university student abroad, you’re bound to accumulate plenty of items over time that likely go unused.

With proper planning and execution, a successful yard sale isn’t impossible – you’ll come away with more money and declutter your space at the same time. If you’ve never done a yard sale before and aren’t sure how to go about it, here’s a handy guide:

How do I set up a yard sale?

First, decide how you want to do it. An in-person sale is usually the way to go as it’s convenient and gives interested buyers a chance to peruse your items more closely.

Alternatively, if you lack physical space, holding a digital garage sale is your best alternative — and you don’t even have to leave your room. Look for listings in your university and neighbourhood, as well as Facebook groups where you can advertise your items for sale. Unlike a physical sale, you get the benefit of putting it up for a longer period until you find a buyer.

Your yard sale won’t attract buyers if they don’t know about it, so getting the word out is key, whether via flyers, word of mouth, or social media posts. Do provide your buyers with details such as shipping costs or how they can collect items in person if they wish to do so.

When is the best time to do a yard sale?  

If you need money quickly, pick a time when foot traffic is high. Lunchtime or evening when students are walking home from class could be an opportune time for your items to get noticed. Weekends can be a good idea too, as it’s more convenient to go bargain hunting during one’s free time.

If you’re doing a virtual yard sale, have a think about the best time to post about your goods on social media. This could be around lunchtime when students have some free time to scroll on their phones.

Make sure to keep promoting and sharing your items — you’ll never know who might come across your posts.

Yard sale: A close-up of a person holding an iPhone 6

Electronic items that are still functioning well without defects can fetch a higher price. Source: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

Which items should I sell?  

While the KonMari method of downsizing to items that only spark joy could help you declutter your space, you’ll also need to think about other factors such as costs and utility. As a university student abroad, selling off higher-priced items such as furniture and electrical appliances to make a quick buck might not be worth it if it’ll cost you more to repurchase in the future. Some questions you can ask in the sorting process include:

  • How often have I used this item?
  • How often will I need to use it in future?
  • How much money can I get with this item?
  • If I sell it now, can I get something similar at a cheaper price?

Sounds good, but how can I make $200?  

So you’ve decided what to sell. Now comes the hard part: naming your price. Be it clothing, accessories, appliances, utensils, or furniture, you need to set a price that matches the quality of what you’re offering. Electronic items that function well and furniture pieces without defects fetch a higher price, so that’s where you can make more cash.

It’s also essential to think about the kind of budget that your buyers might have. The last thing you want is to have people show up to your doorsteps or browsing through your items without making a purchase.