I used to shop online. A lot.
I was a huge fan, especially of second-hand items. Good bargains made my head spin, and I spent a lot of time browsing deals online.
While I blew a fair bit of my hard-earned money shopping online, I did also make a little money.
It All Started with an Expensive Macbook.
Being the broke student that I was, I had to find a way to raise a startling $1,500 to buy that Macbook.
Then, a brilliant idea hit me.
After a quick search on an online marketplace that sells second-hand stuff, I discovered that people sold vouchers online, which could be used at Apple-authorised resellers.
It was a quick way of getting a discount on a brand new, authentic Macbook. A voucher that had a face value of $500 was usually sold for $450. An easy 10% discount!
I was thrilled. But I still had to raise $1,350 (90% of the original $1,500).
I decided to try my luck at getting a bigger discount. I put up a listing, inviting people to sell me vouchers at 15% off the face value.
I didn’t think I was going to have any takers, but I closed my first deal only a few days later.
Within the next few weeks, I had accumulated all the vouchers I needed (on borrowed money). I eventually bought my Macbook for $1,275, instead of the original $1,500. What a deal!
I Started Raking in Profits.
In the midst of my excitement over my new Macbook, I had forgotten to take the listing down. More people texted me, willing to take up my offer.
Then, the gears in my head started ticking.
What if I could consistently buy at a discount, and sell for a small profit?
I took up these people’s offers, buying vouchers for $425 (for a face value of $500).
Meanwhile, I created a separate online account, selling these same vouchers for $450. Each transaction made me a profit of $25.
Because I was broke back then, this money was huge. And I was completely hooked.
I had become too impatient to wait for people to take up my offer, so I scoured the marketplace every half an hour, waiting for new listings to pop up.
A couple of times, I managed to snag vouchers at $400, way below the price I could sell it for. I then flipped the vouchers for a $50 profit.
My Addiction Grew.
I went from selling vouchers to selling all kinds of stuff that I loved. Concert tickets. DVDs. Books. Trading cards.
I bought an entire Game of Thrones box set for $5, and hawked it off at a $40 profit.
I bought Ronaldo and Messi trading cards for $3, and flipped them each for about a $50 profit (with the help of my brother).
Whatever I couldn’t sell, I kept for myself.
It was thrilling, really. Some months, I made way more than just $300 a month. My greatest haul was from flipping soccer trading cards. I made more than $200 in just 2 days.
What other side hustle would allow you to score $0.50 DVDs, enjoy all the movies thoroughly, before flipping them for profit?
What other side hustle would allow you to buy $1 books, read all of them, and then make some money out of it?
Because I was flipping items that I loved, it was insanely fun.
It was only months later, that my excitement started fizzling out. One day, during my usual trawling of the marketplace, I started to wonder what I was really doing.
Up till then, I had spent almost every other minute picking up my phone to look for new listings. Hunting for the best bargains. Trying to strike a deal with the seller.
Sure, I was making some serious cash for someone who was broke. But beyond that, I wasn’t doing anything else with my life. I kept reaching for my phone far too often.
It became an addiction I knew I had to stop.
Enough was enough. I sold off whatever stock I had, and quit flipping items online.
And that’s the story of how I made money, by online shopping.
To This Day, I Still Make a Little Money.
Right now, I still have a few listings selling trading cards. I never took them down. Sometimes, I would still get enquiries from people looking to buy those cards, which I would sell at a profit of $1-$2 for each card.
It’s not much, but I think it’s cool how I still have a little profit trickling in almost every month, from a side hustle that I quit a while ago.
Until my stocks run out, that is.
To making a little bit of profit while having a great time,