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Feb 272013
 February 27, 2013  Posted by  Hot Deals, Money
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The adage, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” may be old, but it still holds true – especially in a world connected online. Below are some ways to turn your trash (or recycling) into real money.

Free gifts

Did you get a free gift you don’t want? Someone on eBay might be interested. Clinique gift sets go for between $5-$20 depending on the content and quality. Remember, it was free, so even if it doesn’t make $20, you’re still making more than you paid, and more than you’ll make with it sitting in the back of your closet. Free perfume samples even can fetch a price online, and cost next to nothing to ship. I’ve bought and sold small perfume samples on eBay. It’s a great way to try a scent before buying the whole bottle. A high-end brand like Chanel can go for more than $5 a sample, and combo packs of multiple fragrances from various brands can sell very well.

Diabetic test strips

Are you diabetic? Does your insurance send you free test strips? If you have more than you need, you could sell them back online. A box of 50 strips can go for about $30. Depending on the brand, you can adjust the price. Count out the amount you need and sell the rest. One family on Long Island has been saving and selling strips for the past few months and has already made a couple hundred dollars. They plan to buy a generator with the profits.

Printer ink

Did you get a new printer, but still have some unopened ink cartridges from your old machine? A number of websites will buy ink from you. It won’t be as much as you paid originally, but still more than you’d make simply throwing the cartridges away. Check out We Buy Supplies, OEM Connect and Toner Buyer. I made an easy $15 last year by selling a Brother cartridge after my company replaced our printer at work. My boss was going to throw it away, but let me take it home to sell it. Warning: The printer ink buy-back market can be a little fickle – sometimes companies are not in need of the brand you are selling. But the market does change, so it’s worth checking back in a few months.

Empty cartridges

Big office stores advertise that they let you recycle your ink cartridges for free (I still don’t understand how they’re doing me a favor), but Empties4Cash will actually buy your empty cartridges and give you cash back. Here is a list of what they accept and pay. You will have to sign up for an account.

Wine corks

Do you drink a lot of wine? Someone might want your corks. Crafty teetotalers like to use corks for various art projects, from coasters to bulletin boards. Real wine corks usually sell better than synthetic. An average price on eBay is 50 corks for $5. On Etsy, 100 corks go for $10-13. Another place to look to sell is on your local Craigslist site. A crafter just might be in your neighborhood, and then you can save on shipping. Synthetic corks can still can get you cash, but buyers usually want them separated from the real corks. (Hint: While I’m collecting corks to sell, I keep them in a pretty vase to decorate my kitchen or dining room.)

Baby food jars

Are you feeding a baby? If you have a lot of baby food jars, someone wants them. Current listings on eBay show that you can earn $5 for 20. Etsy has 31 for $12.95. It’s not a ton, but it makes you more than you’d make tossing them in the recycling bin. You will need to clean out the jars and some buyers want them label-free. Check out eBay for ideas on pricing and packaging.

Trash to cash advice: If you have a bulk supply of items, it’s wise to check out eBay, Etsy or Craigslist to see if there is a market before you put it in the trash or recycling bin.

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Rose Overbey

Rose Overbey worked her way up at a boutique public relations firm in Washington, D.C., from junior writer to director of business development. She's worked with national brands and on executive-level ghostwriting projects. In mid-2012, she acted on an urge to pursue a career in teaching and now teaches kindergarten at a Title 1 school in the District of Columbia. Despite the career switch, Rose still freelances regularly. Rose has also been published in The Washington Post. She loves to take advantage of all the good deals the D.C. area has to offer — and refuses to pay full price for anything.

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