WITH the cost-of-living crisis showing little sign of letting up, many of us are trying to find ways to bring extra cash in time for Christmas.

One entrepreneurial woman who has managed to do just that is Nicola Frapwell.

She has already amassed a whopping £1,000 this year by selling items on eBay.

The 32-year-old told The Sun: “I’m conscious that December 25 is fast approaching, so I’ve been busy selling all sorts of stuff on eBay to help boost my bank balance ahead of the expensive festive season.”

At the same time, Nicola moved into a new home – a four-bed semi-detached house and "doer-upper" in mid-Sussex – in October.

“This is my dream home,” said Nicola who works full-time as a data manager.

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“But it’s in need of some drastic DIY work. So, as well as making some extra money to help pay for Christmas, I’m also trying to boost my savings to help fund a renovation project, too.

"I have grand plans for the property’s interior, including completely redecorating the front room and bedrooms.”

As Nicola is hoping to host family and friends in her new home over the festive season, she has her work cut out.

But by being a savvy seller on eBay, she has been able to help ease the financial strain of these big events.

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“I’ve put in a lot of hard graft and made some big sums from selling items I no longer use,” she said.

“While packing up my old home, I found lots of great bits and pieces that had just been lying around gathering dust.

"Instead of putting them in boxes to go to my new home, I realised I could sell them on eBay to help bump up my ‘renovation fund.’”

Nicola has been selling everything from clothing and shoes to jewellery and bags.

“I look at my belongings, and anything I haven’t used or worn in a year goes on eBay,” she said.

“Most of my clothing and accessories are in pristine condition. Recently, one of my old handbags sold for £60.”

When it comes to knowing what items might be in demand, Nicola gives lots of consideration to the time of year.

“For example, with Christmas coming up, this is the perfect time to list sparkly dresses for festive parties,” she said.

“It’s also the time to list items you know will make for great presents.”

With her finances being pulled in so many different directions, Nicola has had to really tap into her entrepreneurial spirit.

To boost her takings even further, she has come up with a clever hack when selling on eBay.

This involves her re-selling in-demand items from the US, like clothes.

Some of these are items she originally bought for herself, but no longer wears.

In addition, she now also buys certain items more strategically with the specific intention of selling them on.

“I’ve found a great market for items from US clothing brands that aren’t immediately available in the UK,” said the second-hand supremo.

“I’ve found that buyers want to purchase unique items that most people on eBay aren’t selling – without having to fork out on large shipping costs and import taxes.”

When sourcing items from the US, Nicola tries to take advantage of sale periods.

“I try to buy stuff when it’s discounted on days such as on Labour Day and Black Friday,” she said.

“That way, I can make the biggest profit. I recently sold a leopard-print dress from US brand, Vixen for £100.

"I sourced this from the Vixen website. I find that vintage and retro dresses from the US sell particularly well.

"These are unlike anything on offer in the UK.”

Another unexpected "win" for Nicola has been certain books fetching more than she’d imagined.

“I got £50 for a signed Nigel Owen biography,” she said.

“I really wasn’t expecting this, as I had been given the book at a work conference.”

Nicola describes herself as an "eBay super-fan".

“I’ve used the platform for years,” she said.

“But in the last few months, I’ve made some big money – all of which can go towards making my new house a home this winter.

"For me, eBay is the first place I turn when I need to sell something quickly.

"It’s easy to list items, and with the app I can do this even when I’m on-the-go.”

Another big upside of all this for Nicola is the fact she’s doing her bit for the planet.

“I love the sustainable aspect of selling stuff on,” she said.

“I hate waste, so knowing that someone else can give my pre-loved items another lease of life makes me feel great.”

If Nicola is struggling to sell an item, her tactic is to adjust the shipping cost.

“I try to make things as fair as possible, as high shipping costs can put buyers off,” she said.

“Often, I will start out by charging more for ‘tracked shipping,’ so the buyer has peace of mind.

"If, however, the item is not selling, I reduce the shipping costs, and this tends to boost the chance of it being sold.”

Selling on eBay – how does it work?

With eBay, you can list up to 1,000 items a month, free of charge.

If you want to list more items, you’ll need to pay 35p for each extra one.

Once an item sells, you pay a commission fee of 12.8%, including postage, plus a 30p fixed fee per order.

Fees are deducted automatically from your sale.

“I don’t see these fees as a problem as the platform enables me to reach so many potential buyers,” said Nicola.

“Equally, eBay also offers ‘discounted seller fee days,’ and on those days, I will often try and list as many items as possible.”

Take care on tax

Under current rules, you can make up to £1,000 a year from selling items online without having to inform HM Revenue & Customs – or pay tax on your earnings.

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But if you earn more than that in 12 months, you’ll have to fill out a self-assessment tax return to declare that income – and pay income tax on it.

This is the case irrespective of whether you’re self-employed, or earn a salary or wages from a company.  

Nicola’s top tips

NICOLA has shared her top tips for making extra money on eBay.

  • Take advantage of sale periods to buy items so you can maximise profit when you come to sell
  • Try and buy things that few other eBay sellers are selling. Buyers love unique items
  • Think about the time of year, and tailor the items you are selling to this
  • Always provide high-quality images and give lots of detail on your listing. Keep in mind the importance of optimising listings for mobile
  • Think carefully about pricing so you list items at the right level
  • Be flexible with your shipping costs to avoid putting off buyers with high costs. Ensure items reach buyers on time to maintain a positive selling history

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