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Money Makers: Making extra cash often ends up costing you more

The idea of saving money is pretty much spelled out in the name alone and actually is quite simple when you do the math.

Income minus expenses equals profit. Often where the masses struggle is the expenses aspect of their budget, specifically exceeding them either by a few hundred dollars or by gross amounts of money.

Reactions to losing money can vary incredibly based on your financial aptitude. The more savvy consumers tend to start cutting expenses, even where it hurts.

Yes, that means your shopping spree set for “Black Friday” is off the books for now until you get situated financially. And, with the holidays coming, you don't have to necessarily be the Scrooge of the family, but they'll need to know that you won't be spending, or overspending, your usual amount.

Those who aren't ready to throw in the white towel as it relates to admitting that they're overspending tend to think outside the box, which isn't always a good thing.

You see auction sites and garage sales tend to be so remarkably appealing to the masses who might be deep into credit card debt or struggle financially on a month to month basis but believe wholeheartedly that these quick fixes can alleviate all their money woes and worries.

The problem with the garage sale for example is the bad tends to outweigh the good. Think about the average newspaper ad for a garage sale, still the typical means of promotion, costs around $100. Let's say you take the time to dust off all your old “vintage” items and believe you have enough worthwhile items to make this endeavor a profitable one.

The issue might be how others view what you have. Garage sales are tailor made for bargain shoppers, so if you believe that hardly used sofa is worth $200, you'll be lucky if you get an offer of $50. And that still is a big maybe.

In the end, your garage sale might only net you a profit of a few bucks and when you subtract your time, you really don't have much to show for it other than a being minus a few shirts, a lamp here or there and perhaps a bed set you could have done without, but hardly the haul you expected.

Furthermore, eBay and auction sites take a portion of not only what your final sell price is but also charge an upfront listing fee. The tendency of those in desperate need of cash is to sell low and keep the shipping number reasonable, if not under what the actual cost will be. Let's say you sell a DVD box set of a television series for $20, but only price it at $4 to ship. For example, eBay takes a few dollars to list, plus another percentage when you sell it. And let's not forget about PayPal, another entity that takes a dollar or two. So that's $6 off the $20 total, plus your $4 shipping amount you thought ends up being closer to $8. That leaves you with a paltry $10 profit on a box set you probably paid five times as much for initially.

Hardly the windfall you were expecting. And that's why the safer bet is to budget accordingly and leave the sales and subsequent money making tricks to the experts.

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