People selling unwanted items and buying second-hand goods to get by

Nearly one in three people (31 per cent) in the UK who are connected to the internet are now selling their unwanted items through online auction sites…

Nearly one in three people (31 per cent) in the UK who are connected to the internet are now selling their unwanted items through online auction sites in order to boost their finances, according to research from the savings and investment company Standard Life.

It found eight per cent more people are taking steps to be thrifty with their finances this year than in 2012 and several of them have now started selling off belongings they no longer needed in order to boost their bank balance.

This increase means that almost a third of individuals (31 per cent) now use the internet to recycle goods and make some extra cash.

In addition to this, more than one in four (29 per cent) are purchasing things like second-hand furniture, gadgets, clothing and cars online to save a bit of extra money.

The internet is opening up new avenues for people to increase their funds and shopping around for used items is a good way of reducing expenditure as it is much cheaper than buying something brand new.

Interestingly, the research revealed households with children are much more likely to sell unwanted belongings (41 per cent) than those without (28 per cent). Meanwhile, women are cashing in on their old possessions more than men, with 33 per cent of females doing it, compared to just 28 per cent of males. 

In term of buying, there is an even bigger gender gap – 34 per cent of women are buying second-hand goods online, while just less than a quarter of men (24 per cent) are doing the same.

The research presented some positive findings in terms of money management and more than nine in ten individuals (92 per cent) are actively making plans to be more financially efficient.

Some 31 per cent of people are taking up money saving habits like setting weekly or monthly budgets (31 per cent), reviewing insurance contracts regularly (36 per cent) or going online to find the best deals to save money (48 per cent), as well as buying and selling items online.

Standard Life's Julie Russell commented: "Nowadays we're doing all sorts to be more financially savvy and selling unwanted items or buying second hand is a great way to recycle and make some extra cash. It is generally a win win for buyers and sellers, but only if you use the money you make or save wisely. That often means paying off bills or saving it for the future, rather than spending it right away."

Research emerged last year from online auction website eBay that revealed the average household in the UK had over £1,045 worth of unwanted belongings that could be sold for cash, such as handbags, mobile phones and laptops. It appears many are tapping into this and are raiding their cupboards to boost their bank balance.

However, the study also revealed one in five individuals sold items to fund a holiday rather than to save for the future, while some three million people never threw anything away.

By James Francis

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