If you’ve been following the growth of my eBay business, you know there’s money to be made out there if you put in the work.

Earning extra money is awesome, but there are other benefits that come with it too. There’s really an entire lifestyle around the eBay seller community that few people are aware of.

I’m not talking about the people who sell junk out of their houses to clear clutter. Those people aren’t even part-timers. I’m talking about the few of us out here flipping other people’s junk and turning eBay into an alternate income source or even our main income source.

We are the scavengers. An oddball community of frugal people who make a living (either part time or full time) off of the waste stream in our communities. Waste stream meaning it’s either in the trash or one step away from being in the trash – at yard sales and thrift stores.

What does the scavenger lifestyle look like?

Scavengers don’t throw much of anything away. If your coffee machine breaks, you either take it apart and find the broken piece, then buy a replacement, or sell all the parts individually and buy another used one from somebody for a few bucks.

Buying new items is always the last resort. I had these shoes I bought new a couple of years ago before I knew about this scavenger lifestyle. I wore them for a couple of years, sold them on eBay for half of what I paid for them new and then used that money to buy some used boots I wanted.


Gave $35 for these or ⅓ of the $99 price they would’ve been new.

Being frugal is a byproduct of buying things for super cheap to sell. I shop at yard sales and thrift stores much more often than I do at retail stores now. I’m always amazed at the retail prices when I go into a store. It makes me wonder how I ever thought retail prices were a good deal.

Once you get out there and see how cheaply you can buy things for, it makes you want to only purchase your items used. I’ve gotten nicer jackets than I’ve ever owned in my life since I started selling on eBay and I paid less than $5 for all of them.

To sum it up, scavengers live frugal lives and enjoy doing it.

Our hobby is our business

Since we enjoy selling on eBay so much, it’s what we enjoy doing with our free time. When we aren’t listing things, we’re out somewhere either scavenging for treasures to sell or going by grocery stores to get free shipping boxes. We aren’t afraid to hang out by dumpsters in order to avoid paying for things.

When you enjoy what you’re doing to earn money, it’s okay to do it all the time! I doubt most people enjoy every aspect of selling on eBay. I don’t particularly enjoy having to punch in all the information about the items on every listing. Everything else about selling on eBay is fun to me though. 

One cool thing about being a scavenger is that you get to be a temporary collector. You can buy things you love, throw a high price on them and enjoy them until they sell. I even do this with some of the clothes I buy. I’ll list it for sale and if I like it, I might wear it a couple of times before it sells. It was used anyways so the buyer isn’t going to know any different.

We care about the planet

Living in an abundant country is awesome. There’s never been an easier time to live than right now. With that being said, Americans are throwing away way too much. Scavengers hate seeing things end up in the dump, so we do our best to save things that still have value.

We don’t hoard plastic cat litter buckets, but we do stay conscious of how much waste there is. It would be great if everyone stopped buying new things and we just lived with what we have but I don’t see that ever happening. Since people are always going to want the latest and greatest items, there’s always going to be excess that we can scavenge and sell for profit.

I would gladly stop selling on eBay if there wasn’t anything left to sell. We’d be living in a completely different world though.

Some scavengers have even started their own mini recycling companies. This guy is an eBay scrapper. I’d love to get into this myself. This guy gets everything he sells out of the trash and none of it is junk!

As with any community, there are haters

Many people look down on scavengers like we’re parasites or something. I guess it makes people uncomfortable that we make money on things others don’t find any value in. Unless you’re frugally minded, you won’t see why someone would bother spending their time saving older items that have been forgotten about.

Another popular argument is that it’s wrong to shop at thrift stores when you aren’t broke. People think you’re stealing items from the less fortunate when you buy things at thrift stores just to sell them.

My response to this is that I’ve been in these thrift stores and they need all the customers they can get. Most of the stores I shop at use their profits to help people. One of them is run by a church that has a drug rehab program and all the employees are recovering addicts. Also, the thrift stores get so much stuff in that even they have to resort to throwing things away.

thrift store

I'd say this store could use more customers.

An invitation to join the scavenging club

If you’re a naturally frugal person or someone who doesn’t want to see useful items end up thrown away, become a scavenger! All it takes is looking out for items that are valuable that you can purchase for cheap and make a profit on.

Maybe you don’t want to sell things on eBay but you like the concept of being a scavenger. I think developing a frugal mindset and having the skill to find things you need for cheap is something everyone should practice. There’s plenty of ways to be a scavenger without selling what you find. Just don’t become a hoarder 🙂

I’ve started a Facebook group, so if you’re interested in having conversations about personal finance and selling on eBay, send me a request to join.