Cashing Out When You Leave College

by Camille Cabrera

For most college graduates, leaving college means a move to a new place. Take these steps to cash out whatever you can to help cover your new costs.

Graduation is certainly a time for celebration, but that doesn’t mean that you have to lose money as you walk across the stage. Here are a few tips that I wish I would have known prior to graduating in order to make the transition from college to adulthood a simpler and financially easier time.

Create a list of all dorm items that cost more than $100.

Take time to look around your dorm room about two months before graduation. Make a list of everything you purchased that is worth over $100, including textbooks. Put items on the list that you want to keep, like that microwave, as well as those you’ll likely part with, such as the mini refrigerator.

Consider shipping/moving costs if you live out of state.

If you live out of state or go to school internationally, it is important to be mindful of  the costs to ship large items or excessive luggage back home. In some circumstances it may be easier to sell an item and then purchase it again at home in order to avoid the hassle and extraordinary shipping charges, depending on the size and weight of the item.

Determine the resale value of your items.

Once you know what items you want to sell, go online and research prices. Look up what each item is selling for new as well as used. eBay can be a great resource for researching used item prices. It’s important to be price competitive with used items, but time is a factor. If you have time to wait for a good offer, price the item on the higher end. You can always accept a lower offer. Keep in mind that the more time you have to sell, the more likely you are to find a buyer willing to pay your asking price. It’s also important to let potential buyers know when they can expect to get the item from you if you need it for a few more days before meeting them or shipping to them.

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Determine the resale value of your items.

Once you know what items you want to sell, go online and research prices. Look up what each item is selling for new as well as used. eBay can be a great resource for researching used item prices. It’s important to be price competitive with used items, but time is a factor. If you have time to wait for a good offer, price the item on the higher end. You can always accept a lower offer. Keep in mind that the more time you have to sell, the more likely you are to find a buyer willing to pay your asking price. It’s also important to let potential buyers know when they can expect to get the item from you if you need it for a few more days before meeting them or shipping to them.

Join your school’s resale page (usually a student initiative).

Most schools have free and for sale pages,  many of them created by students. Search for social media pages and ask around at school to see if you need to be added to any private groups that are specifically for students to buy and sell their items.

Know where you’ll be living after graduation.

It’s important to know your housing situation in the coming months after graduation because that helps to determine if you need to keep any items. If your future kitchen has a fridge, then maybe it’s time to sell your mini fridge. What if there is no air conditioning? Then you might need to weigh the financial benefits of keeping your current fan or buying a new one.

Make note of any items you will need to buy after moving.

If you find that you want a television or a need a bed for your new place, then it’s probably best to put the money from the sold items into buying new items. Although moving is expensive, anticipating future costs helps to put reselling items into perspective.

Resell those old text books!

Although it can feel like an afterthought, I promise selling text books pays off. Since they are expensive, they are highly sought after by many students. The only catch is that since books are very specific, you might have better luck reselling books by placing them on multiple sites at one time to see if a larger market makes the difference.

Reviewed April 2019

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