How to Save Money Buying Shit Online: Part 2 — Save money, by making Money

Purchasing Hard to Get Items & Taking Advantage of Demand

There is no shame in making money off of hard to find tech gadgets. If people will buy it for more than it costs, what the fuck do you care? It’s their money, not yours. If you tend to be an early adopter, like myself. There will be many times when you find yourself purchasing an item that may be in extremely high demand. There is often a great money making opportunity here. An opportunity to take a huge chunk out of the price of the item you just purchased. I’ve done this with several Apple products, the OnePlus One, the PS4, and a few others.  is a terrific resource for acquiring hard to get items.

Even if you don’t want the device, if there is high demand, there is money to be made. If you also want the device, purchase two if possible. Sell one, keep the other. Or if the potential profit is big enough, sell the item you bought for yourself, and wait for another “in stock” notification. It all depends on how much you are willing to sacrifice.

If you could sell your brand new $600 smartphone for $800-900. You would probably make anywhere between $200-300, depending how you sell it. Is that worth waiting a little longer to have a device of your own? That’s up to you. If it were me, I couldn’t walk away from easy money, so its a no brainier. Sell it, make money, buy it again in a few weeks, save $200-300. With any luck, you can to snag two devices. One for you, one to sell. There is risk involved of coarse, but it is up to you to gauge that risk/demand vs potential profit. Be sure you can at least re-sell it for full retail to cover your ass.

High demand, and poor availability was the case when I purchased my OnePlus One. Through some kind of system glitch I was able to successfully order two OPO’s. I put the $700 on my credit card (for points) because I knew I would be able to pay off the balance. I sold extra the phone and made a $150 profit. Bring down the total cost of the phone $200. But wait, it gets even better. Members of the OP community may disagree with the following, but I did it anyway. When you purchase the OnePlus One, you are given three invites for others to purchase the phone. You can do anything you want with these. You can choose to give them away, not use them, raffle them, sell them, what ever you choose. Can you guess what I did?

I didn’t make the invites a commodity, high demand for the phone did. Invites are essentially digital codes, with zero monetary value. But the demand for the device gave the invites a monetary value. As it turns out, they were actually quite valuable. I was able to sell all three of my invites for a little over $90, not top of the mark, but i’ll take it. If anyone from the OP forum community is reading this, look at it this way. Selling someone an invite actually gave them a cheaper means of purchasing the phone. Buying a phone outright from anyone other than OnePlus usually cost a shit load more than $30 over retail value. If someone gave you $90 to pick up a $100 bill off the street, would you take it? That is how easy it was. Just like that, after all was said and done, my OnePlus One cost me $110, $100 if you include credit card rewards. I took full advantage of the system & demand, and I won. I don’t feel bad, I never will. If it benefits my family, I will do just about anything within the confines of the law. I did the same thing with the PS4, and various other high demand gizmos and I’ll do it again.

Where to Sell Your Devices

Where you sell your electronics has a big impact on your potential profit. The easiest things to sell are small electronics, such as phones and tablets. They are expensive and easy/cheap to sell and ship. The (physically) larger the item, the more it will eat into your shipping costs, thus making it less profitable.


Ebay is the most obvious choice for selling your devices. It’s easy, user friendly, has the largest pool of potential buyers, and the highest probability your item will sell. Not to mention all of the protection features Ebay and PayPal offer. But unfortunately Ebay can also destroy a large percentage of your profit margin. Selling on Ebay can get quite expensive. Ebay, PayPal fees, and shipping costs can make selling your item, even if you sell it for more than the purchase price, unprofitable. If you sold your $600 new smartphone for $650 on Ebay, there is a high probability that you will make little to no profit. There is no point in putting in all that effort if you are not going to make any profit. It becomes a fucking hobby. My advice. Research what your device is selling for, list for a fixed price, at or just below the average, this makes it much easier to guess your profit margin. If you feel like rolling the dice, auction formats for high demand devices rarely loose you money, but their is always the potential that it sells for a lot less than you had hoped it would.


If you are selling a mobile device, your best bet is a site called Swappa. I have no affiliation with Swappa, I just love their site. You can save a shit load of money by using Swappa. The higher your items price, the more money you will save. They do not charge listing or final value fees (percentage of sale price) like Ebay. Swappa uses a sale fee ($10 US), paid for by the buyer, the sale fee is added to the price of the item. So if you selling your old phone for $190 the total price for your phone would be $200. If you are selling your new phone for $600, the sale price would be $610. Get it? A comparable $600 sale on Ebay would cost you $60 in Ebay fees alone, then would you have PayPal and shipping fees on top of that. Swappa only works for mobile electronics.


The best thing about Craigslist is that it is 100% free to use. The worst thing about Craigslist is protection, protecting your money and yourself. There are no return policies, no money back policies, you get what you pay for, hopefully. Be sure to always inspect the item before you buy it. Make sure you are getting what you are paying for. Don’t be a fucking moron and get suckered into a craigslist scam, if it doesn’t feel right, or it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

Getting your original asking price can also be quite difficult. Your customer reach is much more limited than online, since you are dealing with a small, specific region of the country. Not to mention the fact that Craigslist can be dangerous, literally. If at all possible, meet in a public place. If you must meet at a private location, such as your house, or their house, be extra cautious. Tell someone where you are going, and bring along some kind of protection. Craigslist is chock-full of crazy assholes.

The only time I sell on Craigslist is when I am selling something that is too large or too expensive to ship. Washing machines, dryers, large TV’s, etc. Shipping these large items would eat a large percentage of your profits. I would not recommend buying or selling new or used portable electronic devices on Craigslist. It is safer and more profitable to do it online.

Where not to sell

There are plenty of places where it may be easy to sell your device, but you will end up getting dog shit in return for the convenience. If you are a lazy fuck, these places may be for you, for everyone else looking to maximize their profit, do not use the following places.

Mobile device purchasing sites, such as Gazelle, USell, Verizon, AT&T, etc. Are all fucking ripoffs. They are for the uneducated and lazy. Let’s just say you want want to sell your brand new iPhone 6 Plus (16GB) to Gazelle. Assuming it is in perfect condition, Gazelle will offer you, $450. $300 fucking dollars off of the full retail price, even if it is only a day old. You could easily sell that same device on Swappa for $700-725. That is an extra $250 in your pocket, for not being a lazy ass.

EcoATM’s. For the love of fuck, not this place. If you want the least amount of money for your device, take it here. Unless you need money to feed your drug addiction, why would you ever sell your device to this fucking thing. Be fucking patient, instant gratification is not worth it. Don’t do it.

  • Dwija Kotagi

    I agree, but the profit margins are reduced by the 10% commission (on ebay) + 8% paypal + shipping/insurance costs. May work if you buy and sell in bulk but I did not find it that attractive as a side business :).

    On the other hand if you can move a product across country lines…it may be a different story.