This post was sponsored by Gumtree Australia.    

In recent years, the concept of a circular economy has increased in popularity, particularly among us ethically conscious millennials and Gen Zs. While more broadly a circular economy is an alternative to the take-make-waste model of traditional manufacturing, whereby products are made with reusability in mind, the term ‘circular economy’ has taken on an identity that feels like much more of a lifestyle choice. Now representing lifestyle and purchase decisions that revolve around buying and selling preloved items in our homes and wardrobes, the circular economy can mean anything from shopping at thrift stores, to selling clothes online instead of throwing them away.

Gumtree Australia has commissioned new research into Australian’s participation in the circular economy, and found a ton of buying and selling opportunities that we often forget about in our everyday lives. In fact, 87% of us have preloved items that could fetch a bit of cash online, and on average there are 21 sellable items in every Aussie home! With that in mind, here are 4 ways participating in the circular economy can help you achieve your financial goals. 

1. Turn your old wardrobe into a holiday, new laptop, or a big goal

Trying to hit a big savings goal, save up for a holiday or upgrade your tech? Start with a wardrobe sort out. Not only does it feel great to cull your old stuff and organise your space, you might find pieces you’ve hardly worn, or in-demand items that could fetch a few bucks online. 

To keep yourself motivated and moving towards your goal, challenge yourself to get there by selling your old garms online and tracking your progress.

I know, I know, listing online can be laborious. Here are some hot tips to keep you accountable and maximise your online earning potential:

  • Set yourself a challenge to list a certain number of items online for a set number of weeks and add up your total at the end
  • Set aside 30 minutes after dinner each evening to snap your photos and get listing. Setting a timer keeps you motivated to power through as much as you can in the allotted time, and gets that pile of clothes you’ve been ignoring in the corner of your room shifted faster!
  • Sell in bundles. If you’ve got lots of smaller or lower value items to sell, bundle them together by size or style to shift more stuff and entice more buyers.
  • Use keywords in your listings. Getting your items found online is key to making sales on your preloved items. Be clear with sizing and include style or product names if you can find them, to help more eyeballs find your unwanted items.

2. Ramp up your savings potential by slashing your spending and shopping preloved

Looking to buy a coffee machine? Perhaps a blender? Start your search by checking out preloved items in your area. For example, if a vintage leather coat is on your wishlist, you could grab this one for a negotiable $100! 

You’ll often find people’s unwanted goodies are barely used, in great condition and at a fraction of the price of buying new. If you snag what you’re looking for at less than the RRP, transfer the difference into savings and watch that balance grow faster than ever before.

3. Turn broken/faulty products into cash

Got a coffee machine that carked it months ago? Skip landfill and list it for parts or repair! Often imperfect homewares can become someone else’s treasure, if your broken machine has a working part that they’re looking for. For example, this Nespresso pod machine is listed for $150 despite being broken! 

4. Spend less on gifts by normalising preloved 

One Christmas, my mum and I set a £20 (approx $38AUD) limit for gifts to one another. She got me a preloved Tassimo coffee maker and it was honestly the one of the best gifts I’d ever received, made even sweeter by the fact she saved cash, put £20 back in someone else’s pocket, no packaging went to landfill, and we didn’t place any additional demand on the production of brand new appliances! 

Setting spending limits sounds restrictive, but it actually encourages and normalises the act of looking for preloved alternatives to new items, and it can mean you still get exactly what you want, but at a fraction of the cost!

Read the full Gumtree Trading in the Circular Economy Report here.