If You Don’t Need It, Sell It: Rule 6

Sell ThingsThis is Rule 6 in my 10 Rules to Eliminate Debt and Change Your Life

If one of the reasons you are in debt is a collection of toys like a boat, motorcycle or RV, you should really give a lot of thought to selling them and buying new ones after you are debt free.

The maintenance costs, including fuel and storage, will gnaw away at even the strongest budget plan and hold you back.

This is especially important if you plan to hang on to that new car and car payment.

So why sell the toys?

Why? Because if you are facing tens of thousands in credit card debts and student loans and throw in a few cars and a boat, soon you are pushing six figures, and that’s not including the mortgage.

It’s a maxed out lifestyle within a maxed out system.

If you aren’t concerned about getting out of debt, this isn’t for you. If you think you can slowly chip away at a mountain of debt while still paying for a massive RV and matching ATVs, then that is your choice to make.

But serious problems require serious solutions, and aggressive action. If done right you could be RV shopping again in a year or two.


What Else to Sell?

The purging of debt need not stop with obligations and notes. You can also sell anything in your house on sites like Craigslist or eBay.

This is a great way to bring in extra money to pay towards your debts.

I sold lamps and furniture, even a digital camera.

Remember, if you do sell items on sites like Craigslist, make sure you follow these important steps to protect yourself and your family.

Selling your stuff is not just about getting extra money to put towards your debt. It’s also a way to make a bold move to break the debt payoff plateau and give you momentum towards debt freedom.


Why Is This Hard?

Being able to let go of past costs – known as sunk costs – is one of the fundamental money challenges. Think of a stock trader cutting his losses in anticipation of a big downswing. He’d rather lose a couple thousand dollars than his whole egg.

That’s how you should be. If you can ignore sunk costs and focus your decisions on the future and what is right going forward, then you have conquered the emotional pull of money and moved yourself closer to financial independence. 

Keep in mind that financial freedom not only means having enough money to be independent, it also means building a relationship with money where YOU are always in control.


Debt is Not the End of Fun

Debt is not the end of fun, but it does delay it. The good news though, is that the fun that comes once you are debt free is truly yours. You worked and saved up for it and don’t owe anyone. Free and clear.

You can buy another fishing boat, this time without guilt. Or another motorcycle. Or another expensive vacation.

It will take time to get that point. Selling your expensive items means it won’t take forever.

Getting out of debt is going to take sacrifice. If you can’t sacrifice and put your needs before your wants, you will fail.

Like I said, this is not just an exercise in getting more money – it’s an exercise in making adult choices to take charge of your personal economy.


10 Rules to Eliminate Your Debt and Change Your Life

1. Combine Incomes, Finances and Efforts 

2. Spend Less than You Earn

3. Make a Monthly Debt Budget and Live by It 

4Pay Off Debts Smallest to Largest, Regardless of Interest Rates

5. Make Big Changes for Big Results 

6. If You Don’t Need It, Sell It 

7. Save Monthly for Large, Anticipated Expenses

8. Set Aside Some Money for Fun

9. Pay Off Debts Before Investing 

10. The Goal of Work is Retirement 

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33 thoughts on “If You Don’t Need It, Sell It: Rule 6

    • I’d like to implement something like that in my house. I think it happens to an extent, but new stuff always finds its way in.

      Thanks for commenting!

  1. Good advice John. When trying to pay off a big debt, you have to cut back on your unnecessary lifestyle expenses. Not only does this reduce your monthly spending, but it also gives you goals to work towards. Once you realize you won’t have those toys until you are out of debt, you’ll work that much harder to pay off that debt.
    Modest Money recently posted..Folly Of Paying Someone To Cook For YouMy Profile

  2. I’ve tried to sell some clothes that I’ve accumulated before, but because they are smaller items, I couldn’t sell them for much and I’m leery of letting people come to my house so I’d have to travel to meet up with them. By the time I go there, the $5 I would have gotten for the item was now only $2 and a waste of time (for me). Bigger ticket items are definitely worth it to sell, though.
    Daisy recently posted..I Got The Job!My Profile

    • My brother has had good luck selling clothes on eBay, especially vintage items he finds at thrift stores. Thanks for your comment BEMB!

    • I’ve actually looked into buying and reselling textbooks from Amazon and eBay, but changed my mind when I saw how much work it was for a small margin.

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • Glad to hear you are back, Miss T. I usually commit to donating what doesn’t sell, or end up giving it away at the end of the garage sale.

      Thanks for your comment!

    • I remember selling my guitar to buy a sound system for my car in college. I wish I had it back. Glad to hear you are willing to take a big step like that.

      Thanks for reading!

  3. Hi John

    Actually this my first time here. I stumble upon you while reading problogger.net. Anyway, like yourself I too are in my mid 30’s and debt is always the big issues.
    That is one of the reason I started to pay more attention on making a business on the internet and started my blog:-
    For me selling the liability such as your RV or boat which you seldom use is the way to do it. But my point is why do you want to buy new ones as it is going to pull back into the debt hole again?
    Dzulhelmee recently posted..What is your MESSAGE?My Profile

    • Glad you stopped by and took the time to leave a comment, Dzulhelmee.

      I would only advocate re-buying them when you’ve saved cash for them. That allows you to buy only the things you truly want and have worked hard to attain.

    • I actually sold an old digital camera on Craigslist – was very surprised someone bought it for $50. Especially because there was a brand new, in box camera listed right above it for $75.

      It is usually better to get clutter out of your life rather than waiting for a buyer who may never come.

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • That’s very industrious of you. Next you can make them into a corkboard and sell it for $50! Thanks for reading, Darrell.

  4. I was actually thinking about this today and how ever-changing technology keeps us from being able to do that in some cases. I received an iPod touch for signing up for a new bank account, but I couldn’t sell my husband’s iPod because it was a generation old. I think it’s sad how quickly value goes away in a lot of cases. It makes me nervous to purchase anything.
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    • A tech designer recently told me about the 18 month rule. That is the generally accepted amount of time that a device will last before it becomes half price or substantially obsolete. Those old ipods still play the music, but aren’t cool enough I guess.

  5. This doesn’t have to be limited to material possessions, but can also apply to services that you may pay for but you don’t actually need. Do you really need the super deluxe cable tv package? When was the last time you actually used your gym membership? Is that $5 a day cup of Starbucks coffee really that much better then what you can brew at home? There is a lot of fat in most budgets that can easily be cut without too much pain.

    • Great point – I should have included it. That’s why I love my commenters though – you guys always add value to the discussion. Thanks for your comment!

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