Turning gifts into cash

January 12, 2009 8:34:00 AM PST
The holiday season is over and you probably received some gifts you didn't really want or need. You don't have to go back to the store to return them. We have some alternatives could turn those gifts into cash.

"I feel a little bad about selling it because it was a gift," said Kitty Liang.

Liang is attempting to turn a $200 Macys gift card into cash and posted it for sale online on Craigslist.

The 23-year-old Fremont resident is a recent university graduate, she's unemployed, living with her parents and has a higher purpose for that Christmas gift.

"I would like to get prepared for graduate school and read more books, or as much as I can, and books are really expensive, so that's where I would spend my money right now," said Liang.

Kitty is part of the growing rank of unemployed Californians - a rate that has recently soared above eight percent. She's just trying to find a retail job until heading back to school, but is finding it to be a discouraging search.

"It's really hard - I went out on a job hunt like several days ago and people were really mean. They act like I was, you know, begging for money or something," said Liang.

So she decided to get resourceful with one of her holiday presents and is trying to sell her $200 gift card for $180.

Re-gifting or re-selling gifts online is not a new phenomenon. In fact, a survey conducted online for eBay revealed that just over half of U.S. adults who have resold gifts online plan to do so again -- and that is a 10 percent increase from last year.

"So this is something that has now become part of the culture, and eBay plays a role in this because it's an easy place to reach the biggest number of buyers," said Jim "Griff" Griffith, Dean of eBay Education.

Griffith says re-selling gifts happens year round -- and he's not surprised that now with the sour state of the economy, more people may start eyeing their recent holiday gifts. Some of the more popular items crossing onto the commerce website include gift cards, electronics, even clothes.

"All you have to do is just take photographs of it and describe it, and it also helps to do a little research, so look for if someone gave you a scarf and it's not something that you want - see what other scarves are selling for on the site," said Griffith.