8 totally free things you can sell on eBay

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Do you have a house full of kids who are just itching for something to do this summer? Why not inspire them to start their very own mini-business? With just a bit of research and patience, your kids can sell products online, make extra cash, and learn a few important money lessons along the way — all without spending a dime on inventory. Here are eight totally free items they can sell eBay.

1. Empty Toilet Paper Rolls

Wipe away that look of disbelief. Empty toilet paper rolls can be turned into cold hard cash. Used for all sorts of school and craft projects, 200 of these cardboard cylinders will fetch about $35.00 on eBay.

2. Four-Leaf Clovers

Searching for four leaf clovers is a great way to help kids unplug and enjoy the great outdoors. Each one of these dry pressed lucky charms sells for about $6.00 on eBay. Not bad for an afternoon spent lounging in the warm summer breeze.

3. Paper Currency

Sure, cash isn't technically free, but certain bills can be worth far more than their face value. Check your wallet and piggy bank; modern bills that feature distinctive (collectors call them "fancy") serial number combinations can bring big bucks.

Look for large groups of the same digit, repeating sets of digits, sequential digits, and very low or very high numbers. Last week, a 2009 one dollar bill sold for $11.00 on eBay. Its eight-digit serial number was 18611111. In April, a 2013 one dollar bill with the low serial number of 00001004 brought $30.00.

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1. Vinyl records

Depending on the record or collection, you can make some serious money. According to eBay's sold listings, A Beatles "Please Please Me" U.K. import first pressing sold on eBay in January for $6,500. A Rolling Stone: Special Collection Issue "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" went for $4,500 and a Beethoven Choral Symphony first pressing went for $4,017.95.

Photo courtesy: Getty

2. iPods

It's easy to think that any high-priced items on eBay are going to be "old" vintage, but when it comes to technology, even a few years ago is considered "old." That's why if you have an earlier iPod, you might be able to unload it for an unbelievable amount.

Photo courtesy: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

3. VHS tapes

It's always surprising to remember that the last VHS tape was manufactured in 2005 and the last standalone VHS player as late as 2008. By that time, DVDs had completely taken over, and nearly 10 years later we've moved on to Blu-ray, and digital downloads and streaming.

Photo courtesy: Anya Semenoff/The Denver Post via Getty Images

4. Comic books

While there are plenty of people who buy comic books just to have them, you'll run into a number of fans that see their collection as an investment. Depending on the comics books they have, that might not be too far off.

Photo courtesy: Getty

5. Toys

You might remember the Beanie Babies craze of the '90s. If you have one of the rare ones, they can command prices up to $3,000. However, those aren't the only toys you might have in the house that can make you big bucks.

Photo courtesy: AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

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4. Sea Glass

Crafters and jewelers are drawn to the subtle beauty of surf-tumbled sea glass. While all colors sell, deep purple, orange, and red glass are the rarest and most highly prized. Recently, a single piece of ruby red sea glass (part of an old soda bottle bottom worn smooth from years in the ocean) sold for $99.00 on eBay.

5. Driftwood

Large sculptural pieces of driftwood are used in landscaping, terrarium design, professional taxidermy projects, and as decorative elements in aquariums. Simple forms can fetch $10.00, while more interesting shapes can bring as much as $85.00. But don't ignore the tiny bits of driftwood. Smaller 2"–10" twigs can be sold in bulk to crafters for all sorts of projects. A 14-piece lot recently sold on eBay for $15.00.

Remember, before gathering driftwood on public land, check with local park officials. Many areas have restrictions that forbid the removal of any natural materials.

6. Large Pine Cones

Believe it or not, pine cones can be a modest cash crop. Particularly hot around the holiday season, they're a staple in home décor, flower-arranging, wreath-making, and other craft projects. A lot of 40 longleaf pine cones recently sold on eBay for $18.99. Hmm... maybe money does grow on trees.

7. Empty Perfume Bottles

Perfume bottles are charming vessels for floral centerpieces at weddings and bridal showers. Don't worry about the rarity, size, shape, or color. In March, a collection of 15 miniature perfume bottles sold for $39.99 on eBay.

8. Perfume, Makeup, and Skin-Care Product Samples

Samples appeal to customers who want a low-cost way to try something new or who are simply looking for more travel-friendly sizes of their favorite products. If you have samples to sell, be thorough in your listing. Specify the product amount in ounces or grams, its age, and the expiration date. Sixteen free samples of Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant recently sold on eBay for $10.00.

Remember, the key to successful online selling is research. Take a look at what's selling and what's not, explore niche markets, try to anticipate what people will be clamoring for during the next big holiday season, and — before you toss it out — check to see what it might be worth!

What freebies have you sold online? Which items surprised you with the highest sales price?

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Flowers

Although it may be more convenient to purchase flowers online, if you have time, it's best to locate a local florist near the person you want to send flowers to. According to a study by Cheapism.com, you're more likely to pay less and receive a better bouquet for your money when you use a local florist. 

Photo credit: Getty

Furniture 

You may not realize it, but when you purchase furniture online, you also have to pay for delivery and surcharge fees. In order to avoid paying these unwanted costs, it's easier to get it in person. For example, when buying furniture in-store, you're able to negotiate a better price and maybe even convince the salesperson to throw in free delivery. 

Photo credit: Getty

Groceries 

Much like shopping for flowers, it is best to purchase your groceries at an actual grocery store. When you purchase them in person, you have the opportunity ensure you are choosing the best meats, produce, etc. -- something you can't do when ordering online.

 Photo credit: Getty

Swimwear 

As beach season rapidly approaches, you probably want to invest in a few new swimsuits. However, before you make that online purchase you'll want to heed this warning. Trae Bodge, senior editor at RetailMeNot, says, " Fit can fluctuate even among suits from the same brand...  and many online retailers don’t allow swimsuit returns if the packaging has been opened or there’s evidence the suit has been worn." 

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Social Media Followers 
We get it, social media is addicting.  While it may be cool to have over 10,000 followers, buying them can be risky. Depending on the social media site you are using, the followers you purchase can be deleted if they are considered spam accounts. 

Photo credit: Getty

Prescriptions 
Unless advised by your doctor, you should avoid buying medicine online at all costs. It can be tempting to get off-brand products, but you may be unknowingly purchasing illegal or counterfeit drugs. 

Photo credit: Getty

Cars
The internet has made it possible to cut out the middleman when dealing with major purchases, but sometimes, that salesperson is needed. If you're buying a car for the first time, it may be best to get it at a dealership. When you get a car online, you're taking away the opportunity to test it out first and negotiate a better deal. 

Photo credit: Getty

Knockoff Accessories 
While getting counterfeit bags and jewelry is cheaper than buying the real thing, you should do so with much caution. Oftentimes, these items are sold on unsecured sites which can lead to either your computer getting a virus or your identity being stolen. 

Photo credit: Getty

Pets
While you can find an array of pets being sold online, it is always safest to purchase one in person. Much like furniture, you may have to deal with excessive delivery fees, and what's more, your pet can get sick or even worse. 

Photo credit: Getty

Fragile Items
If you're truly invested in a fragile or irreplaceable item, it's highly recommended to buy and pick it up in the store. This cuts out any chances of a delivery person dropping and breaking your prized possession. 

Photo credit: Getty

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