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Published December 06, 2012, 11:35 PM

Make quick cash for the holidays

FARGO - With gifts, stocking stuffers, decorations and traveling costs, Christmas expenses add up fast. But with a little time and a bit of effort you can make some extra cash instead of draining your savings account.

By: Jasmine Maki, SheSays contributor , INFORUM

FARGO - With gifts, stocking stuffers, decorations and traveling costs, Christmas expenses add up fast. But with a little time and a bit of effort you can make some extra cash instead of draining your savings account.

Several resale stores in the Fargo-Moorhead area will buy your gently used clothes and give you cash on the spot.

Clean out your closet

If you typically shop at stores such as Express, Buckle, Victoria’s Secret, Hollister or other boutique stores, you will most likely have good luck selling your gently used items to Plato’s Closet, 2551 45th St. S. in Fargo.

Lori Eddy, manager at Plato’s Closet, said they pay 30 to 40 percent of the price at which they intend to resale the clothing, accessories, bags and shoes.

The average buy takes about 20 minutes and results in $30 to $40. But Eddy said each buy varies widely depending on the brands, styles and conditions of the items, as well as quantity.

“I’ve given someone $400 before, but that’s not typical,” she said. “We can’t buy everything that comes in, but we will buy anything we feel we can sell.”

Plato’s Closet buys all seasons year-round and accepts men’s and women’s clothes, shoes, accessories and even some best-selling books.

Instead of taking the cash, you can also trade for other items in the store and get them tax free.

If you mostly shop at Gap, Chicos, the Loft or White House Black Market, you’ll probably have better luck selling your gently used items to Clothes Mentor just a few doors down from Plato’s Closet.

Clothes Mentor accepts women’s clothing sizes 0 to 26, maternity wear, shoes, accessories and designer perfumes. They look for current styles that are in great condition with no stains, rips, tears or missing buttons.

Sell your services

If you have a little extra time and patience, you might want to consider taking on an extra child or pet for day or two.

Take a look at a classified ads or visit websites like Care.com and Sittercity.com, which allow people in need of babysitters or petsitters to post listings and quickly get in contact with people willing to do the job.

Job listings vary from one-night to full weekends, to full-time nannies. Pay can range from $5 to $25 per hour, but typically falls in the $7 to $12 per hour range.

Clear off a bookshelf

Sarah Roozen, a graduate student at Minnesota State University Moorhead, said she’s been selling books on Amazon for three years.

It’s as easy as a few clicks of the mouse, she said.

“Once you log in to your Amazon account, you search for the book you want to sell, and click the ‘sell yours here’ button.”

Making anywhere from $5 to $250, Roozen said she averages about $80 per book.

“I always seem to have more luck selling books during July, August and September and December and January because those are the times that people are looking for good deals on textbooks,” she said.

Roozen said the only drawback about selling books online versus the campus bookstore is that you don’t get your money instantly.

For first time sellers, it takes about two weeks for the money to transfer to your account. For regular sellers, it takes about seven to 10 business days.

Sell your time, health

If you need a bigger chunk of change, you might want to consider participating in a medical study at PRACS in Fargo.

PRACS conducts research for all aspects of the drug, dermatology and cosmetics industries through both inpatient and outpatient studies. The studies are conducted to look at a drug’s reaction and effectiveness in healthy individuals, and each requires different types of tests to be done including blood tests, urine tests and electrocardiograms.

The length of the studies can range from a few days to a few weeks or months, but many participants say the time spent is well worth it.

Robert Nyhlen of Moorhead has been participating in studies for three years, starting with studies that paid about $500 and working up to longer studies that paid up to $4,600.

“The studies have been a lifesaver for our family,” he said. “We’ve been able to replace our car with cash, and it’s allowed my wife to stay home with the new baby and not worry about bills.”

Neo Nape of Fargo is a little newer to the “system.” He’s participated in one PRACS study that lasted two weekends.

Nape said the study was not that difficult but very structured and organized.

“If you want to make quick cash and are healthy, I would say it is worth it,” Nape said.

For those who don’t want to commit to the longer hours of a PRACS study, donating plasma may be the answer. A few hours’ time can earn donors from $20 to $55 per visit.

Those interested in donating plasma can contact Talecris Plasma Resources in Moorhead, or BioLife Plasma Services in Fargo and Moorhead.

Sell your creativity

Those who love making hand-made gifts, clothes, accessories and home décor can start selling their creativity.

Websites like Etsy, Folksy and iCraft make it easy to sell hand-made items online.

Etsy, one of the more popular sites, includes almost everything – accessories, glass work, greeting cards, pillows, photography and much more.

The site also includes collected vintage items that were made at least 20 years ago.

Ashley Morken, owner of Unglued at 408 Broadway in Fargo (pictured in 2011 at right), said if you’re interested in selling on Etsy, go to the site and get a feel for what it looks like.

“There’s a ‘sell’ button, and it kind of takes you through how to start,” she said. “We usually recommend that you have five to 10 items when you open your Etsy shop.”

Sellers can either sell pre-made items or made-to-order, but Morken recommends having your items pre-made.

“One of the biggest things is having really good photography of your work,” said Morken, who this fall opened Unglued, a shop that sells hand-made items and offers crafting workshops. “The work is the focus, not the model or the book.”

She recommends using or at least considering the pricing formulas on Etsy.

“One of the trickiest things is pricing,” she said. “Consider time, supplies and profit. You should be paying yourself to make the items or you’re going to start hating it.”

After photographing and pricing your items, promote them by sending emails to family and friends and sharing the links on Facebook.