College Connect: Saving money on things of short-term value

By Abby Ivory-Ganja

College students buy a lot of stuff – and often they don’t use it very long. You might need something for the dorm, but different for an apartment. Tastes (and fads) change.

We’ve all bought something and then kind of regretted it. Whether it’s a book or piece of clothing, you aren’t getting full value from the item anymore. There are a few ways I’ve found to recover some of your money when that happens.

So, how to make some money back on some items you aren’t getting full value from anymore? I’ve sold stuff to secondhand clothing stores and book stores.  When stuff is a little nicer, I do eBay or Craigslist.

For a piece of clothing that’s still in good shape, but you know you won’t wear again, I recommend a secondhand store like Plato’s Closet. They love to take still on-trend jeans, shoes and accessories. It’s a quick and easy way to get a little pocket change. And yes, you’ll get a fraction back.

For nicer items or a good brand, check out eBay or the Facebook Marketplace. It can be worth putting in the extra effort in order to see a bigger profit. It’s fairly easy to list an item on those sites, and you’ll get more money than you would at a secondhand store.

Several apps allow you to sell you stuff, such as Decluttr, LetGo and OfferUp. They take a portion of the sale, but it’s easy. Just remember to be safe about where you meet to exchange your goods.

Other ways to save? Instead of buying a hardcover book, head to the used book store or library. If it’s a new release you’re dying to get your hands on, splurge on buying a copy yourself. But if you’re not sure, play it safe and head to your local public library. Many libraries also have ebooks and audiobooks available for check out. But when some of your books accumulate, take them to your used bookstore. You’ll likely get store credit to use later.

When it comes to costly textbooks, rent instead of buying. You probably won’t need that history book again, so save some money by renting when you can. There are several options like Amazon or Chegg. Shop around for the best price because they can fluctuate widely.

If you’re living in an apartment, assess if you need cable or if you can cut the cord. For me, I’m not a big sports fan, so I can make it by without cable. Netflix works for me. That’s a big chunk of money to save over the course of a year if you go without it. And look for student discounts – sometimes Netflix, as well as Hulu gives special trial offers for students.

Ivory-Ganja is a master’s student in journalism at the University of Missouri

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