I'm going to share with you one of my favorite pasttimes that happens to be a money maker too. In fact, I have very few hobbies that don't entail making money. Why? Because my time is money. If you're not thinking like that......you need to change your thinking. Time is your biggest asset. Don't waste it.
There is a thrift store just probably a mile from my house. I absolutely love just going in and browsing the "finds". The secret to getting good finds is visiting frequently. Visit so much that you start to notice some patterns. When do they put out most of their stuff? What time of year do stores donate brand new items? Are there more finds in the summer when people are doing yard sales? These are the types of things that you need to find out and the only way to find out is to do some research of your own or even ask someone who works there. I noticed after visiting the thrift shop that there were a lot of clothes with tags still on them and the tags were from Target and Kohl's so I asked one of the employees when they got items from those stores in. She was happy to tell me that they received donations from Target on tuesdays. Good info!
Clothes are a good find, but that's not where the REAL money is. I could go on and on about good "clothes finds" that I've found and it was great to save the money because saving money is just about the same as earning money! Just the other day I found a practically brand new pair of Bill's Khaki's for my husband for $3. They normally retail for around $130! Good find!
I recommend that you pick an area of "expertise", a type of item that you would like to become knowledgeable in and focus on finding those items. Now you can choose two or three types of items at first, just to get your feet wet. The idea is to gain knowledge about the value of items that you find and want to resale on ebay or craigslist. Some items will sell better than others and you'll just have to do a little experimentation to find that out for yourself. Different regions of the country and different areas will have different results. Time of the year might also be a factor for your sales as well. Take all of that into consideration.
Thrift stores are a great place to find items like fine china pieces. People donate the leftovers of their china sets. If you know your china, you can pick these items up for .50 or 1.00 and resell them on ebay for lots more. People are always looking for a replacement for a piece that was broken in their own prized china set.
Children's books, cookbooks, and fiction books are also good items to buy to resell because you can pick these up for .50 or 1.00 too. At the very least, if you buy desirable items, you should be able to sell them for what they cost you, worst-case-scenario. Just yesterday I found a complete set of hardback children's books, Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events. The entire 13 book set cost me all of $6.50. I can resell them right now for probably $40.00 if I wanted to. Now you tell me who is getting that kind of return on their investment? You might say, yeah well that was probably a one time deal, right? Heck no! I find stuff like that all the time and so can you. I found a vintage set of Disney's Wonderful World of Knowledge books (20 books in all) for $10.00. Look them up on ebay right now if you don't believe me. They're selling for around $200.00. Books are a great way to start if you are short on cash.
The secret to any of this is to get a feel for the value of items. If you aren't sure about something, you probably shouldn't buy it. Go home and look the item up on ebay to see how much it's selling for. If the mark-up is good, go back and buy it. Over time you'll get a good feel for values of items. If you do find that you made a mistake in buying an item, save your receipt and take it back!
I love this money making scenario because you can do it right now. You can do it with friends. You can do it with kids, with babies, with husbands, in a wheelchair...whatever. If you can buy things... (and I KNOW you can!) you can make money. You don't even need to be computer savvy. Running an ad on craigslist costs nothing and is relatively simple. Set up an account on craigslist and run your ads. Renew them every few days to keep the ads fresh.
I hope this has inspired you to think out of the box and start small but think big. Good luck!