Monday, March 18, 2013

Saving the Moola: amazon.com's trade-in program is the answer for your unwanted books, DVDs and more!

Our latest shipment to amazon.com with 3 books to trade in
Here's the thing: I hate clutter. Clutter is something Jason and I fight every day. We each declutter for ten minutes a day, and just by doing this, our house stays incredibly decluttered.

But sometimes, clutter creeps up in small, yet annoying ways. Or, one just decides that clutter that was accepted a long time ago because "that item serves a purpose" no longer serves a purpose. This happens in our house a lot!

While donating items to Salvation Army, Goodwill or your local church are all great ideas, it's always nice to bring in a buck or two to either help put food on the table for your family, pay down debt or put it in your saving envelope for a special item or experience. Over the last 12 months, it seems our house has been re-organized many times. First, we re-organized back in March 2012 just to get our house in order. Then, in the summer of 2012, we discovered we were expecting our first bundle of human joy, so in September 2012, the craft room slowly died and in its place, Monster's room was born. During this time, our money needs varied but were all important: paying down debt, then saving for Monster's birth.

Between all of the re-organizing and living, we had a lot of items that we could no longer store in our house and no longer had the desire to store in our house, and we had a need to bring in extra money beyond our paychecks. In March 2012, we were mostly getting rid of really strange odds and ends that I didn't feel would sell well on craigslist.com {I'm not a fan of eBay, personally}. We also just really wanted the stuff gone. We donated everything to our church for their semi-annual garage sale and never looked back.

In September, we were looking at a whole heap of stuff that was mostly books, nice home decor items and DVDs. We listed all of it on craigslist.com and brought in some extra money. We still had items left at the end of the day, though, so those went to Salvation Army and our local library.

I really felt it was a waste to donate so many good items, but consoled myself with the thought that the library would sell the books to fund programs. I didn't have to wait long for a better way. In October, I learned of amazon.com's trade-in program. Just the name implies a lot of work on my end, I thought. Not so! I'm a simple woman and I detest complicated things. This program is so, so easy.

Here's how it works: 
  • Sign in to your amazon.com account. 
  • Search for an item you want to trade in. For example, let's say you want to trade in "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn. You have the book in hardcover. 
  • Click on the book to see the various ways one could purchase it. Look to the right where it says, "Sell Us Your Item." Under that is listed an amount. For this particular book, one could get $2.25. 
  • Click "Trade in." 
  • Confirm the ISBN and that the book is in good condition. 
  • Click "Continue." 
  • From there, you will confirm your ship-from address and how you want to ship the item: either by UPS, USPS or another carrier. 
  • Print out the free shipping label, box up your book and ship it out! 
  • Within two weeks, the $2.25 will be credited to your amazon.com account. 
Okay, sure, you say. But I don't have any boxes laying around and I most certainly do not have any unwanted items.

Here's where I'm really going to challenge you. First, boxes are easy to come by. Do you ever order anything from amazon.com? We order a lot of household products: batteries, soap, dishwasher detergent, etc. {FYI, we order these things for free by using amazon.com gift cards we redeem through Swagbucks and of course with credits to our account from trading in items}. Break those boxes down as you get them and put them in a closet, under a bed, etc.

You can also always visit a fast food restaurant, a grocery store or a retail store and ask them to reserve a few boxes for you from their next shipment. Ask when their next truck is coming in and when would be a good time to come by to get the boxes.

Now you have a great supply of boxes. You just need some items to trade in! Jason and I rarely buy books and when we do, we're buying books we'd never sell. Mainly, the books we've traded in are books from long ago that we bought that we no longer want/need or the books are ones that have been sent to me for review. I enjoy reading the books and some of them are personal favorites, but we rarely keep books. In fact, the rule is that unless we're going to read/use the book again and again, it's got to go. Due to this, most of the books we have are craft books, marriage books, parenting books, and cookbooks.

We also regularly examine the items we have in our home such as DVDs and other electronics to be sure we still desire to house them. It doesn't matter that we actually have a spot in our home for these items: do we really want this item on the shelf? Does it serve a purpose? Are we going to watch this item again? Are we going to read this book again? Would we miss this item if it was gone?

You can trade in a lot of various items on amazon.com and earn some needed or wanted extra cash while you're at it. We first learned of this program and started using it in October. From October to February, we earned $36.76 in credit to our amazon.com gift card by trading in books and DVDs we didn't want. That's impressive!

Look around your home. Look on your bookshelves and your movie storage. Do you really use those items? Do you really desire to have those items?

Set a goal of how many items you want to trade in and get to work!

One extra tip!
If you're unsure what to actually use the amazon.com credits for, I highly encourage you to read this post about using amazon.com's Subscribe and Save program on household products and groceries. Jason and I always compare prices before purchasing something on amazon.com to ensure we're getting the best deal. By purchasing household products and groceries on amazon.com with your credits so the cost is zero to you, you can help your budget reach its full potential and put a little extra money back in your pocket.

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