Photo Credit: Ryan Fanshaw

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I’ve been on my computer quite a bit more than usual lately.

No, I haven’t just been surfing the internet. No, I haven’t been playing a lot of video games. No, I haven’t been spending time at morally questionable sites either… I’ve been making money. At least $200 a month guaranteed, with what I consider to be fairly minimal effort.

How, you ask? By using a little technique I like to call…

The CraigBay Technique. 

The CraigBay Technique (my own term…patent pending,) isn’t really anything revolutionary (at least I don’t think so anyway, seems kinda common-sense to me), but it’s not something I’ve seen described on any other blogs, except in a general, abstract way. 

That general, abstract way can be described in four words; buy low, sell high (or by using the actual word- arbitrage. Google it).

More specifically, I buy things off of Craigslist, and I turn around and sell them on Ebay. I estimate that I make about $200 dollars a month putting in about 6 hours of work per month tops, which comes out to $33.30 an hour, and only 1.5 hours of work per week. If this were put in terms of a regular 40-hour work week, a person using the CraigBay Technique could theoretically make $5,328 a month.

Ah, but what about that pesky tax stuff, you ask? Even after taking out about 25% for taxes, the grand total at the end of a year would still be about $47,952.

First Step:

Here's how I do it. The first step is to pick something you know a lot about. For example, I know a lot about videogames, specifically, which ones are good, which ones suck, and which ones, when paired with others, the right accessories, or the right consoles, will go for a higher price than what I bought them for. So the first step, pick something you know a lot about.

Second Step:

Find that thing you know a lot about for sale on Craigslist, and then see what it's selling for on Ebay. Find the exact thing, or as absolutely as close to the exact thing as you can, and "watch" it (an option on Ebay that allows you to keep track of particular items). The benefit of watching the item is that it allows you to see exactly what the item sold for… you're not really concerned with what the price of the item is at any time until it's been sold. Now watch as many items as possible that are identical to the item for sale on Craigslist to get an idea of what the average sale price is. This will reduce your risk.

Third Step:

The benefit of Craigslist is that you can haggle with the seller. First make sure that the asking price on Craigslist is at or slightly below the average sale price of the item on Ebay. Then shoot the seller an E-mail asking if they would let the item go for a lower price. How low you want to go is up to you. You have to consider things such as the length of time the item has been on Craigslist, the cost of shipping the item once it sells on Ebay (hint: pick items that can fit in the one-low-flat-fee-to-anywhere-post-office boxes), the seller's willingness to drop the price (you can usually tell from how the add is worded), and how far away the seller lives from you. Oh, I should probably mention that you need to search your own, local Craigslist. Don't worry, this is the part where you start to learn and get a feel for how low a person will or won't go, and if you have a good prospect on your hands. Always ask for current pictures of the item and make sure the seller seems on the up-and-up. Usually good grammar and a friendly, helpful tone in their E-mails are good signs.

Fourth Step:

If the person agrees to sell for the price you need to make it worth your while, then set up a time to meet and complete the transaction. I always pick well-lit and very busy public places to meet, such as the nicest gas station around or a local shopping mall parking lot, right up front by the entrances. I've yet to have any kind of negative experience when meeting people, they usually end up simply being someone like yourself just trying to make a few extra bucks by getting rid of things they don't need anymore.

Fifth Step:

Throw the item on Ebay, and ship it when it sells, asap. Now, there have been many, many books written on how to effectively sell items on Ebay, so I won't get in-depth here, but I will advise you to start your item out at the low, low price of $1, and do not set a reserve or a "buy it now" price. If you've done your homework and you have a good idea of what the average selling price is of the item your selling, then setting your item for sale at $1 with none of the other options will only encourage the bidding process and will help to drive the price up.

That's it!

That's really about it. I know five steps sounds like a bit more work than I made it out to be, but when you consider that most of these steps require you to simply sit in front of a computer shooting off a few e-mails, it's really not that bad.

You'll find ways to save time and become more effective at this process pretty quickly, as well as being able to pick out the adds that are probably willing to drop the price on their item. If nothing else it's a fairly simple way to make a little extra spending money every month.