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What To Sell During A Recession: New Path To Wealth

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Forge Your Wealth is meant for education and entertainment and should not be used for financial advice.

Many people are trying to find a way to make a quick buck. You may try to sell your things. This may make you a quick buck, but you will not make much money doing that. In this post, I will explain what to sell during a recession. This is not going to talk about what to sell to make a quick buck, but what many people are looking to buy so you could try to make an income stream and possibly make a side gig from it.

Computers And Computer Parts

You may not find working with computers very interesting. However, the people who work with computers find computers VERY interesting. You could talk to one of these people about computers and they could recognize the assembly in a computer better than you could recognize your own handwriting. At my old graduate school our computer department was fairly small with only at most 8 people in it at one point. I think there were 26 total with my 4 years there. Among them four people sold computers and computer parts. They talked about how they liked disassembling computers and putting them together. This allowed them to market computers, they could convince you to buy a graphics card just to write on a word processor.

Many of them told me they made a few extra thousand selling computers and computer parts on top of their job. And they did this all from taking apart computers they were fixing. They dumpster dove, and on occasion were given the parts the department did not need.

People will always need computers from looking at memes to running an online business. Considering the extra free time people have during recessions or during an outbreak like with the 2020 economic downturn, people are going to spend more time on their computers. In addition to being a solid hobby with valuable skills, starting to sell computers and computer parts during a recession could lead to an extra few bucks.

Video Game Consoles

When you are determining what to sell during a recession, you may realize nostalgia is a good sell. Nostalgia used to be considered a clinical mental condition. Now it is a mental status where people feel like the present is tough and want to long for the past. People tend to long for the past when the present is not very attractive, for some odd reason that seems to be the case now. Some people want to relive the past, and one of the most common hobbies during my generation and previous generations were video games.

Even older consoles have value to people despite their lack of bits. That is why Nintendo and Sega sold new versions of their retro consoles with pre-loaded video games. You could sell video game consoles for a good dollar during a recession.

Cooking Supplies

It appears that people either have too many cooking supplies or eat microwave pizza off the cardboard box they come in. Sometimes they don’t even have a microwave. When a recession happens people want to save money. One of the simplest ways to save money is to go to restaurants less often and cook more.

The people with fewer cooking supplies will find that pre-made frozen meals are not only unhealthful, but cost more than cooking more from scratch. It is hard to cook from scratch with little equipment. Unlike computers and computer parts, kitchen equipment can be found at practically any flea market and garage sale from San Diego, CA to Madawaska, ME from a few cents to a few bucks. Seriously, once I purchased a full knife set with $2 for my little brother’s new place.

It would also be easy to resell. At most, you may need to fix a part or polish some equipment. For instance, my little brother and I have sharpened the knives and they are still holding up very well and cut as good as mine and my wife’s knife set that we bought for $50 on retail (it was even on sale). Worst case scenario, you may have a few extra items you could use around the house.

Kitchen equipment is not the only thing you could sell. You could sell ready made ingredient mixtures for cooking. With fewer people going to restaurants, people want to have a gourmet feel and taste but more at home. That feel and taste could be captured with a few ingredients and some skills. But it can be more easily captured with a ready made mixtures. These could be simple spice mixtures, dressings, and sauces. These are great products to sell.

Home Improvement Supplies

With fewer people working, more people will be trying home improvement projects. From putting up shelves to building a shed, people are looking for things to do at home. You would be surprised about the statistics of the lack of tool ownership in America. I don’t think the fact that I had to teach many 18 year olds how to use sandpaper is a good sign either. People who want to do some home improvement simply do not own the tools nor have the knowledge to do home improvement.

Home improvement tools are widely available at flea markets or salvage stores for less than their full price. You can then resell the home improvement equipment and supplies.

Questionable Items To Sell

Cars And Car Parts

Normally I would say that car parts may be good things to sell during a recession. It is difficult to predict where the market will go due to the Coronavirus, especially with car prices. But one thing is sure, there is less demand for cars. The demand for new vehicles could not be lower. People are not going to work nor to travel so cars are sitting idle or going a few miles at most. I still have a mostly full gas tank and the last time I filled it up was late March.

Some people may try sell their car for some quick cash, especially if they do not need it for work in the near future. With further impacts on the economy due to the Coronavirus there is no guarantee that the demand for cars will increase significantly. The only thing that may increase demand is the stimulus from the government and the creation of new jobs and businesses (if the latter happen).

Car parts may be a little better, but no one is really fixing their car to take it out, just to prepare to take it out. And nothing gives a car diagnosis like a good drive, which may not be a thing in the next few weeks at the very least.

Video Games

Yes I know, it seems strange that I would think video games are a questionable item to sell while video game consoles are good. Hear me out. I only believe video games can be sold as a package deal for video game consoles. As for individual video games, that may not work.

Individual video games are sold to two types of people: collectors, and people who already have the console. It is safe to assume that even enthusiastic collectors may be hesitant to spend more money on collectibles right now. As for the people who already have consoles, they already have at least one game they play. If any console owner wants a video game, they are more likely to buy it electronically so they can download the game and play instantly. They are less likely to spend money on delivery that is likely to be delayed right now.


One thing people are doing right now is reading more. It would sound obvious that books would be a great sell right now. However, booksellers are forgetting about their main competitor: Netflix. More people watch TV than read. Some people may be reading more, but that is not nearly as comparable to the rate that watching TV has increased.

The only consumer demographic you will really be selling to have been reading well before the crisis. Furthermore, your consumer demographic is probably cleaning and finding extra books they have not read in a while. Finding these books will merit one of three responses: they put the book back in its container, they read the book, or they try to sell it themselves. The readers of this world already have many books which means they either do not want anymore, are entertained with what they have, could be a competitor, or any combination of the three.

Furthermore, most readers have methods to read eBooks (a smart phone can work as an eBook reader). I even recommend apps that would give readers access to free books. The one I use, OverDrive, allows me to borrow books from a local library on my phone. The library I have access to has thousands of titles of various formats. I could spend decades nonstop reading and never go through everything my library has.

You Could Still Make Money

However, I don’t want to go through everything my library has. Many of the books my library has are romance books. I don’t care for that genre. Furthermore, my library’s collection only goes so far. My library does not always have the book I am looking for. What can I do if I really want to read a book I don’t have access to? Simple, suck up the cost. The reader wants what the reader wants and sometimes the reader will pay for it. You can still sell books during a recession, but note that you will not be the only one trying and you have to have the right books to really become a seller.


Have you been to a grocery store recently? It’s very possible you have taken up the idea of grocery delivery and have not seen the inside of a grocery store. But if you have, you may notice that grocery stores do not have their shelves full anymore, even beyond toilet paper (in fact toilet paper is kind of back). It is hard to find the quality inexpensive meats including chicken and beef. It is neigh impossible to find them on sale. This may make it sound like selling meat would be a great idea. Meat would be a good thing to sell during a recession profit-wise, that is unquestionable. What I am questioning is the legal side of selling meat.

A Tyson meat plant in Iowa is facing potential closure due to a sudden increase of worker Covid cases. While the chances of the Coronavirus being passed from food is low some people are still concerned. The words: “all it takes is one” is ringing loud in debates to increase food safety measures. With everything going, on I hardly disagree with these people. I believe this is the tip of the iceberg. Considering the likelihood that the Coronavirus came from a food market in Wuhan, many officials are talking about food safety. They may implement new policies on food producers which will have one of two effects. Food plants will need to put in more effort to implement those policies. Those that can’t will be ordered to shut down. This is likely going to affect the supply side of meat.

It does not matter whether the Coronavirus came from a food market or a lab, what matters is the Coronavirus is here. People are scared and what people know (more accurately think they know) will affect public opinion and some will cry out for better controls.

Selling Meat To People

To be clear, I am not talking to well established commercial meat sellers. If you or are one, you know the legal requirements for selling meat better than I. And I wish you luck throughout this crisis.

Who I am talking to are people who either just started selling meat or are thinking of selling meat. Since you are not fully established, you may not have all the required safeguards. If something happens involving your meat, Coronavirus related or not, it is very likely you will attract the attention of officials. If you do not have all the legal safeguards in place you should expect nothing less than stringent action. You may be asked to just put up all the safeguards, but I would not be surprised if the officials order you to shut down until all the safeguards are in place.

I would worry even more if you are trying to distribute meat from a hunt. I have previously mentioned how legally speaking I cannot sell any of the meat I hunt. There are rumors that officials will not take legal action against hunters who sell meat to family and friends. I would not be the least bit surprised if officials will now put these hunters under scrutiny.

What To Do Instead

If you have an idea to make a business selling meat, go for it. This is not meant to scare off people who want to start selling meat. I want to sell rabbit meat in the future, I would be a hypocrite if I was telling you not to try. My point of this is that meat will likely come under hard scrutiny right now, deserved or not. If you are in the business of selling meat, you may want to lean a bit away from selling meat, and more towards compliance with current GxPs to ensure that you will be selling meat well in the future. I even recommend this to well-established commercial meat sellers. If you have not started, you can start out the foundation making sure you comply with GxPs.

Final Thoughts

There are many ideas of what to sell during a recession. Frankly, the ones that are good ideas will likely always be good ideas. People will always need computers and perform home improvement. However, some ideas of what to sell during a recession change depending on the situation. Many people need cars. While car sales always take a hit during a recession this one hit harder. Many of the others things you could sell may be affected in different ways. If you are looking to make a business selling products to people, this may be one of the best times to at least establish a foundation on your new path towards forging your wealth.

Author: Papa Foxtrot

Most of my life I was careful with money and learned where I should invest it. I was very lucky to have parents who taught me financial literacy when I was young. Unfortunately, I am very lucky because many people lack the financial literacy I know. The purpose of Forge Your Wealth is to teach people who are just starting out in life how to obtain their wealth or anyone who just realized they may need to learn more to handle their finances. I currently have a PhD in biochemistry, just started a job in industry (will not disclose where exactly for personal and professional reasons) and am currently married to the love of my life. I am one of the lucky few people in America who graduated with no student debts, my wife was not. Over the series of a little over 3 years we paid for our wedding with no debt and paid off her federal student loans.

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