Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Highlights

I have had a great sales month - finally! I had a good mix of high and low dollar sales, quick and slow sales, old and new inventory. December kept me on my toes. And we didn't have to put a single penny of our Christmas on a credit card! Hooray!! Thank you, buyers!!

Here are some of my favorite sales from the past couple weeks...

These were my husband's from his grandfather. He has had a huge bag of them in his closet for as long as I have known them. He finally asked me to sell them. I listed them in 12 lots of 3 and one leftover lot of 2. I am surprised at how quickly they have been selling. I only listed them a little under a month ago and am down to just 5 or 6 lots already.
  • Acquired: Years and years ago (inherited)
  • Price Paid: $0
  • Date Listed: 12/4/12
  • Date Sold: various
  • Sale Price: $12.99 free shipping per lot ($2.48 shipping)\

 This sale makes me laugh. This was an incomplete K'Nex set. Complete, this particular set was only selling for about $5. I split them up by color and called it "Miscellaneous Bulk Lot" and sold it for $17.99. Ha!
  • Acquired: A couple years ago at Goodwill for my son who never played with it
  • Price Paid: 50 cents I think?
  • Date Listed: 10/25/12
  • Date Sold: 12/23/12
  • Sale Price: $17.99 - 4.99 shipping
I've been having pretty good luck with Lia Sophia necklaces. The ones I have listed so far have sold in just a week or so after listing them.
  • Acquired: 12/12/12 (Facebook yard sale site)
  • Price Paid: $5
  • Date Listed: 12/13/12
  • Date Sold: 12/22/12
  • Sale Price: $21.59 - $1.64 shipping

I've sold several of these black and white silent film reels for a friend of mine. This one sold the highest. I couldn't find this title anywhere, so I priced it high and hoped for the best, never dreaming it would actually sell for that much.

  • Acquired: n/a - consignment item
  • Price Paid: n/a - consignment item
  • Date Listed: 12/12/12
  • Date Sold: 12/24/12
  • Sale Price: $35.99 + shipping

I've never had luck selling these stupid things. I finally managed to dump a couple earlier this month for $10 each, but I left the uglier ones priced a little higher. This one finally sold last night, AFTER Christmas!
  • Acquired: 1/12/2012 - Goodwill
  • Price Paid: $3.99
  • Date Listed: ?? January 2012, probably
  • Date Sold: 12/28/12
  • Sale Price: $39.99 - $4.99 shipping
This is another consignment item that I'm pretty sure I underpriced. It sold within 10 hours of listing it. But the seller was pleased with the price, so I won't dwell on it.
  • Acquired: n/a - consignment item
  • Price Paid: n/a - consignment item
  • Date Listed: 12/12/12
  • Date Sold: 12/13/12
  • Sale Price: $39.99 + shipping

This Kirsten doll has become the bane of my existence. Good riddance to her, I say! You might recall that I bought a large AG lot for a song at a yard sale this past spring. I fully expected Kirsten to be among the first couple items to sell, yet here she still is, 8 months later, the LAST AG item I have. Ugh. I've had her priced all over the map - even tried auctioning her in early December. I've had her on my FB yard sale group, best offer, no best offer, on sale, full price, high price, low price. I just could NOT figure out why she wouldn't sell. I retook the pictures and changed the title around and relisted her using "Sell Similar" and immediately started getting inquiries, watchers, and offers. So apparently she just got buried so far down in search results that no one was finding her. Within just a couple days, I had gotten 3 or 4 offers, but not for the price I wanted. Originally I had been hoping for $100 + shipping, but I finally realized the higher-selling ones were made in Germany. Mine was made in China :(  So I finally settled for $65 + shipping. Ugh.
  • Acquired: 4/6/12 (yard sale)
  • Price Paid: $10
  • Date Listed: April 2012
  • Date Sold: 12/26/12
  • Sale Price: $65.00 + shipping
So here is my final American Girl tally:
You can probably click on that to view it bigger.
  • Total Paid: $31.00
  • Total Sales: $718.25!
Apparently Furbies are back. I found this one at an indoor flea market in November. This particular color combination seem to be hard to find, so I priced it high. I listed it quickly, hoping it would sell for a Christmas gift, and it did!
  • Acquired: 11/18/12 (indoor flea market)
  • Price Paid: $8.00
  • Date Listed: 11/21/12
  • Date Sold: 12/17/12
  • Sale Price: $69.99 + shipping

This last one was another consignment item. It was my highest-ever sale and it wasn't even my item :(   This is quite possibly the coolest chess set I've ever seen. The king was 8" tall and weighed 1.5 pounds! Each pawn was 6" tall and weighed 1/2 pound. This set is HUGE! And HEAVY! Most of these sets were only selling for around $40-80, but my friend wasn't in a big hurry, so I priced it high, prepared to wait. I got an offer that wasn't too far below my asking price, so I jumped on it!
  • Acquired: n/a - consignment item
  • Price Paid: n/a - consignment item
  • Date Listed: 12/2/12
  • Date Sold: 12/21/12
  • Sale Price: $225.00 + shipping!
I'm looking forward to getting back into shopping, listing, and blogging. I've gotten a little lazy with all of those things over the last few weeks. It was good to take a break, but now I'm ready!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness - Catch-Up Edition

Phew! Merry Christmas, everyone!  We had a good day of RACK catch-up the other day, but then the busy-ness of Christmas hit and left no time for blogging.  I have an unpleasant call to make to the USPS, so I'll be brief...

My oldest daughter (12) and I went to get our haircuts on Monday. I told the owner that I wanted to add on to my check for the next person who got a regular haircut. She rang me up, I paid, and then she pulled me into the back room. She said, "This could not have come at a more perfect time! The woman who just walked in the door called me this morning to tell me her husband had been laid off for awhile, and she really needed her hair cut, but she just didn't have the money right now. So that will go straight to her. Thank you so much!" She teared up, I teared up and got goosebumps. Often, I can't choose who these RACKs will go to, nor do I really want to choose who, but it's really nice to know that this one went to someone who would really appreciate it!

Then we headed to Walmart, which is right next to the laundromat. I still had a partial roll of quarters in my purse, so I thought I would go into the laundromat and put 50 cents on some dryers. I took $5 in and planned to hit 10 different dryers. Apparently I haven't been in a laundromat in a really long time. The first machine I came to cost $6.50. The next one cost $4.50. Finally, in the back, I found a row of small dryers that was "only" $2.50. I was just going to leave the quarters on top of 2 machines and leave, but there was a man bent over trying to get all his clothes into 2 dryers, so I figured, "What the heck - I'll just hand them directly to him." I walked over to him and held out the quarters just as he stood up and turned toward me. And it was someone I knew! Rats! I like being anonymous about these things, but I could hardly withdraw my offer. He didn't let on that he recognized me, so maybe he didn't, but he is from a pretty wealthy family, so I am pretty sure he didn't need the $5. But! Maybe he needed the kindness. Maybe he had had a bad morning and just needed a little cheer. Acts of kindness don't always have to be financial. Sometimes people just need to experience some niceness.

Lastly, my daughter dumped the last of the quarters into the claw machines in the Walmart lobby. Nothing special there, but maybe someone was able to score a last-minute stocking stuffer :)


So what have I learned? Well, I've learned that even though the desire and the money are there, sometimes the opportunity isn't. Sometimes it is inconvenient to be kind (making extra stops on the way home to do something, for example). But it is ALWAYS important to find a way to be nice to people when we get the chance. Heading into the new year, I won't be continuing this project on a daily basis, but I have picked up the mentality of watching for opportunities to do nice things. That may just mean holding the door for someone, or taking someone's cart back to the store from the parking lot. It doesn't have to be anything monumental. Although something that isn't monumental to me might be HUGE to someone who needed that smile, or who had been having a bad day, or whose husband had been laid off and they were wondering how they were going to be able to afford their bread and milk. Just remember, things that we take for granted may be cherished by other people. We need to try to find ways to share a little cheer with others all year long.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness - Days 19 and 20

I'm in the process of playing catch-up. I actually had several opportunities presented to me today and I was able to easily do two of them.

I stopped in at the eye doctor's office to pick up my husband's glasses. While I was waiting for them, I spotted a box on the counter for donations to help provide eye exams and glasses to people in third-world countries. I dropped in all the cash I had in my wallet (not much, but enough to "provide an eye exam and glasses").

Then I went to the grocery store to pick up some last-minute ingredients for Christmas dinner. While I was there, I grabbed a gift card for that grocery store, put $20 on it, and left it with the cashier to give to the next person in line. I'm under-budget on this project, so I wanted to make that one a little more significant. Hopefully it helped someone buy part of a nice Christmas dinner. :)

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness - ???

Y'all. This is hard! I am a stay-at-home mom. It is getting harder and harder to come up with RACKs to do from home. Any suggestions?? I have some catching up to do. I think I've missed 4 days total, and I'd like to make them up. I won't be in town today.

My husband and I decided to forego getting each other Christmas gifts this year and will be donating the money we'd have spent on each other. We haven't decided on a recipient yet, but we are thinking probably the Hurricane Sandy disaster relief through our church's denomination. That will probably be done through our church, so that will be Sunday. We'll be out tomorrow, so we can probably swing through somewhere and do something. And I'll be out on Monday. I need to brainstorm.....

Will post back later today once I've come up with something :D

Monday, December 17, 2012

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness - Day 17

My 9 year old and I found ourselves in town today with 30 minutes to kill while my 12 year old was at her eye doctor appointment. We ran over to the grocery store to buy some groceries for the local food pantry. We made it a game to find as many good healthy foods that were under $1 each so we could get the most bang for our bucks. Then we ran over to the bank and put it in the food pantry donation box.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness - Day 16

I'm still not entirely convinced that any tots will ever see the toy that we think we maybe-might-have donated to Toys 4 Tots the other day.

I'm also a fan of DrawSomething. One of the ads that came across my screen the other day was how to text a donation to Toys 4 Tots. I went to the website provided and I feel pretty comfortable donating via text. I will be the guinea pig :)  I just sent a few dollars. If there are any problems, I'll post back here right away.

**EDIT 2 minutes later: I just got a text back asking me to confirm my donation by replying "YES". I think that amount will be added to my phone bill ...

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness - Day 15

I confess, I did this one a day late. I was directed to this news story about an 87-year-old woman who has saved every card she's ever received in the mail throughout her lifetime. She has been saving them to read when she is on her deathbed. She had over 1,000 cards saved up, and she lost them all during Hurricane Sandy.

Her son-in-law is on a mission to replace those cards as soon as possible. Of course, they won't be the same as the ones she has treasured all of these years, but I think it's an amazing gesture. We are sending her a Christmas card in tomorrow's mail.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Random Act of Christmas Kindness - Day 14

I had grocery shopping to do today. I thought I saw food pantry donation boxes at the front of the store the last time I was in there, so I was planning on grabbing a few extra groceries for that, but I must have dreamed that. There was no box. I am told there is a box at my bank, though, so next time I get groceries, I'll buy a few extras and take them to the bank.

That means I had to come up with a plan B on the fly. I'm having a hard enough time coming up with plan A's. I ordered 55 $1 off coupons from my coupon clipper service. They are for Hormel microwave meals, which my husband likes to take to work. I have been stocking up over the last few weeks, because even though he is laid off right now, he will use them when he goes back to work in the spring. Our store has those meals regularly $1 and $1.50, depending on the variety. Obviously, with the $1 off coupon, some of them are free. I had 10 of those coupons with me today so I just stuck them on the shelf with the Hormel meals.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness - Day 13

I'm honestly not sure what happened to days 11 and 12. I think they just sort of slipped by unnoticed :(

My sister kept our 4 kids overnight last night and all day today so my husband and I could go Christmas shopping. While we were in Toys 'R Us, I saw a whole row of boxes lined up across the front of the store. They were labelled BABY, TODDLER, BOY, GIRL, etc... Silly me, I assumed they were Toys 4 Tots boxes, even though they weren't marked as such. We decided to buy a small toy for that as our RACK for today. We chose a Rock 'n' Stack.
We added it to our purchases and headed for the check-out. After the cashier scanned it, she put it in our bag. I said, "Oh, that's for those boxes over there."  She looked at the boxes, then at the toy, then back to me and said, "What?" I said, "We bought that to donate to Toys 4 Tots, so it goes in those boxes over there." Again, she looked at me very puzzled. I said, "Aren't those boxes for Toys 4 Tots donations?" She said, "No, those are for customer returns." HA! So she asked the manager if there was a Toys 4 Tots donation box. He said they did have one, but they don't have it anymore, but that "I can take it back to the office for you if you'd like."  Well, we have no use for this particular toy, and we did buy it to donate it, so yes, we would like. We handed it to him, he made a strange face at us, and we said, "um, thanks" and walked away. It was very bizarre.

And I'm not completely convinced that he didn't just go put it back on the shelf to sell again.....

But it's the thought that counts, right?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness - Day 10

Every Christmas, my husband takes each of the kids (one at a time) for a day of Christmas shopping. They get to choose where they eat and shop. They use their own money to buy Christmas gifts for the rest of the family. On Monday, it was our 9-year-old's turn. I sent a roll of quarters with them and he pumped them into a bunch of kids' vending machines. I thought he would be more excited about that than he was. He did it, but didn't really seem to care. That's the spirit! lol

No picture, because I wasn't there....

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness - Day 9

We recently started sponsoring a little boy from Armenia. This is brand new to me. I have never been involved in sponsoring a child. When we got our welcome packet and I saw his picture, my heart absolutely melted. I've seen plenty of pictures of impoverished kids in third world countries, and of course I feel for them, but something about this particular little boy really moves me.

Tonight, the kids and I say down and wrote him a letter introducing ourselves. We are so excited to hear back from him!

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness - Day 8

I went to bed last night feeling bummed that we didn't get a chance to do a RACK yesterday. I thought back through the day, wondering if there had been an opportunity that we missed. And then I remembered that my sister and her family stopped in for a visit and we sent them home with a container of leftover lasagna and a plate of Christmas cookies. She loves sugar cookies soft and fluffy the way I make them. He prefers them thin and crispy. So while they were here visiting, I made sugar cookies and I made a cookie sheet of thin and crispy ones just for him. He was so pleased he ate almost all of them right there. :)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness - Day 7

Every year, we drive 45 minutes to the town we go to church in. There is an amusement park there that goes all out decorating. And I mean ALL out. They have all sorts of fun things, and usually a game for the kids. A few years ago, the game was to look for and count the hidden lot-up Rudolph's. this year, the game was to find and list all the different lot-up Grinches and list what he was stealing and putting in his sack. Then you fill out an entry form with your answer and contact info and drop it in a box for a drawing.

But that's not the point. I got side tracked. They charge by the carload, so when we paid to get in, we also paid for the car behind us.

It didn't occur to us that, because this is a drive-through event, we wouldn't really be able to get away with doing this anonymously. When we got to the end, we went over to the gift shop and ginormous toy train display and the car behind us followed us to thank us. That is not at all why we did it - we weren't looking for thanks, but we just wished them Merry Christmas and went inside.

Always a fun tradition that the kids look forward to each year :)

Bonus for me - look what I found in the clearance bin in the gift shop! How could I NOT buy it??

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness - Day 6

Apparently we aren't allowed to include any inserts in Christmas cards to soldiers, so we are just sending a Christmas card to our soldier.

Our neighbor (my husband's great aunt) is in her 80s and was recently taken to the hospital with bronchitis. She is currently staying with her son until she recovers enough to come back home. We have been gathering her mail each day. Her son just stopped in to pick her mail up, and I sent the kids' colored pictures with him to give to her. She will love them. She is itching to come back home.

This RACK almost feels like we cheated, but coloring pictures for her was on our list anyway, so that still counts, right?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness - Day 5

Today the kids colored Christmas pictures that we will include in a Christmas card addressed to "A Wounded Soldier."

Two days before our first anniversary, my husband was deployed to Kosovo 2 for a year. Fortunately, we didn't miss any Christmases together, but we missed our first anniversary. He missed the birth of our first son. We know all too well the pain of separation caused by a deployment.

Even worse is being back in the States but having to spend the holidays in a hospital recovering from war injuries. Hopefully, these simple colored pages will make a wounded soldier smile.

We will be sending them to:

A Wounded Soldier
Walter Reed Medical Center
Medical Family Assistance Center
6900 Georgia Ave NW
Washington, DC 20307-5001

Holiday Mail for Heroes
PO Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

(Thank you, Anonymous, for pointing out that the Walter Reed address is no longer a good one - current info can be found here)

If you are able, please take a moment and send a card to one of these soldiers.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness - Day 4

Yesterday, my husband suggested that I do a RACK for the kids - something they wouldn't expect but that would be a nice surprise. I actually did that today. Tuesdays are very hectic around here, but I swung through McDonald's after gymnastics and surprised them all with McFlurries. We almost NEVER do that, and they were delighted! Yes, it's fun to surprise strangers with RACK's, but it's also fun to surprise those that are closest to us :)

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness - Day 3

Yesterday, we kept my sister's baby all day so she and her boyfriend could have a day out Christmas shopping together. My first thought was that that could be our RACK for the day, but they will be doing the same for us next week. It doesn't seem like it should count if the favor is going to be returned.

So while the baby was here, we made a footprint Christmas keepsake for his parents. My sister loved it :)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Pez Dispensers!

I collected PEZ dispensers through my early adult years. I had a box of nearly 100 of them sitting in my closet for several years. Finally, I decided to sell them. It made me sad selling so many memories, but they were just sitting in my closet, so I decided I would rather have a collector enjoy them and display them. They sold for somewhere around $80, which is less than I had been hoping for, but good enough.

Fast forward to this past October. A girl on my local Facebook yard sale group had her collection for sale. I paid $50 for almost 200 of them. I separated out the Star Trek set and sold it for $14.99. I also separate out the keychains, which I still have listed.  I have gotten several $50 offers for the larger collection of 173 of them. Those offers were obviously from buyers who intended to break it down into smaller lots (or even individual dispensers) and resell them for more. I had NO interest in selling them to a reseller, so I held out for more. Just a few minutes ago, I got an offer from a buyer in Texas for $145! I didn't even hesitate before clicking the "Accept Offer" button. She paid immediately, upgrading to Priority shipping (another $20). I assume they are for a Christmas gift, which makes me smile.

Today has been a really awesome sales day!

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness - Day 2

Day 2 - Sunday. I asked the kids if there was anything nice they would like to do for their Sunday School teacher or Sunday School class. The two younger kids (4 and 5) have the same teacher, and the two older kids (9 and 12) have the same teacher.

The younger two chose to make Christmas cards for their teachers. I can't believe I didn't get a picture of them making them. They were plastered with stickers and hearts and smiley faces. And I showed them both how to write the letters in the messages they wanted to write. They were both VERY proud.

The older two chose to take a dozen doughnuts to share with their Sunday school. I suspect this might have been at least partially self-serving, but hey - it's a start. This did mean we had to leave the house 10 minutes early to swing through the grocery store for their fresh bakery doughnuts, but I needed to grab a loaf of bread for lunch anyway, so it was no big deal.

All 4 kids were very excited to delivery their goodies today. I'm excited to see them so excited about sharing!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

What Goes Around ....

Well. It's only Day 1 and we're already RECEIVING surprise blessings from this project. After buying our Christmas tree and leaving an envelope of money for another family to use toward their tree, we went out to dinner with my parents, my sister, and her family. Much to our surprise, my sister's boyfriend picked up the tab for all of us!

Looks like we aren't the only ones performing random acts of kindness....

Thank you, Don!

Random Acts of Christmas Kindness - Day 1

Every Christmas, my husband helps a friend at his Christmas tree farm. We are going today to get ours. My 9-year-old suggested that we buy someone else's Christmas tree. We are kind of limited to about $10/day for this project, so I don't want to go way over that on day 1. Instead, we will be putting $10 into an envelope with a note and giving it to the tree farm owner to give to a family that he thinks could use it.

Taking a Break For a Christmas Series

The night before last, I opened this month's bill for my daughter's private school. I have been feeling bummed that all of my income lately has been going straight to the school, and I wasn't sure if we would be able to pull of Christmas this year without using credit cards. Imagine my surprise when, instead of owing nearly $300, we actually had a $20 credit for this month!! I examined the invoice and discovered a $210 grant and a $100 anonymous payment. That random act of kindness brought me to tears. It drives me crazy that I can't thank whoever it was, but I was so touched by it and I felt moved to do the same.

A quick Google search of "Random Acts of Kindness" will bring up roughly a gazillion ideas. There is apparently an actual thing called 25 Random Acts of Christmas Kindness. I have decided to use that $100 anonymous payment and combine it with a check I received in the mail today for some data entry work I did last week. That will be our RACK fund for this project.

I am not blogging about this to toot my own horn or to seek praise. I am blogging about this to spread the excitement of being on the receiving end of such blessings, and to spread the excitement (I hope!) of being on the giving end of such blessings.

I sat the kids down this morning and explained to them what we are doing and why, and I was very surprised by their instant reaction and list of suggestions. We talked about different scenarios and I asked them if they could think of anything kind we could do for people in each of the scenarios. It took the 4 year old a couple minutes to catch on. For example, I told them we would be going out for dinner tonight and asked if they could think of anything kind we could do while we were there, and he said, "We could eat supper!" But he's 4. Once he sees these things starting to happen, he will catch on.

They are very excited to start this, and have been brainstorming ideas. I will post every day with our RACK of the day. Hopefully I'll be able to snap quick photos each day, but I'm sure it won't be possible for some of them.

I found a blank "Random Act of Christmas Kindness" card online that we are going to print a bunch of and write a quick note on to explain to the receiver what we are doing. I don't want anyone throwing away a perfectly good gift card just because they assume it is empty! lol.

So how about you? We are all blessed to have the ability to earn a little extra income on eBay. Can you set aside just a little bit of your sales over the next couple weeks and find a way to bless someone else? Let's see how many RACK's we can perform this month as a group. Please comment here if you perform a RACK, so we have lots of ideas over the next couple weeks.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Royal Sabre Typewriter

A long, LONG time ago, my mom asked me to sell her old manual typewriter from her college days. It sat around for a very, VERY long time. Finally, it got to where that was the ONLY thing I had left to list, and I had no money to buy anymore inventory. I gave it a half-hearted cleaning and listed it. Completed and current prices were all over the place, so I just slapped a stupid-high price on it with best offer, just to see what happened. I priced it at $199.99 or best offer (plus shipping).

There wasn't a whole lot of interest in it, but finally the other day I got a $75 offer on it. I asked my mom if she was happy with that and she said no, not really, so I countered with $150. Last night, the buyer countered with $100, which my mom was happy with - especially once I researched and saw that the highest price that this same typewriter got recently was only $35! I don't know what made this one fetch a higher price, other than the fact that I asked for more.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

2013 Record Keeping

It's getting to be that time of year again. Have you started thinking about how you are going to be keeping records next year? I am a real proponent of the pencil and paper method. I have mentioned quite a few times here that I use the Dome Record Keeping book. Last year, I made the mistake of buying a weekly record keeping book at a thrift store because it was cheap. Well. I won't be doing THAT again. That means that instead of reconciling my books 12 times a year, I had to do it *52* times a year! What on earth was I thinking??  I'll definitely be going with the monthly book this year.

Read this post for my step-by-step tutorial for how to use this great book.

And as we are approaching the end of the year and tax time, you can refresh your memory by reading my tax series here. Please keep in mind, I am NOT an accountant or any other tax professional. These posts detail how *I* do things. If there is anything you are unsure of or uncomfortable with, please be sure to do your own research.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

iPhone Apps for Resellers

Sonya wrote:

"what apps to use when thrifting. I am hoping to get an iphone soon and have no clue what to do with it :)"

I have an iPhone too, and I wouldn't know how to behave without it! I really only use a couple apps when I'm thrifting.

#1. The most obvious one is the eBay app. With this one, you can check current listings, completely listed, and you can filter out just the sold items. That's a very nice feature. You don't have to sift through a bunch of unsold items to see how much your item COULD sell for. I use this one literally every time I go out shopping.

App Cost: FREE

#2. If I strike out researching on eBay, or if I'm trying to research a seasonal item, I turn to the Terapeak app. I can get data back a full year on it. You have to have a paid Terapeak subscription to get a year's worth of data though.

 App Cost: 99c

#3. My all-time favorite "app" to use while I'm out thrifting is the text message. Every online seller needs to get themselves at least one good seller-buddy. I will often send pictures to other seller friends to see if it's something I should pick up. I've made good money this way by buying things my friends have okay'ed. I've also saved good money this way by leaving behind the things my friends have nixed.

That's the only apps I use. There are others out there, but I don't know anything about them.

ScoutPal is good for amazon sellers. I don't use it because I don't sell on Amazon.

Amazon's app is good for toys and other items that are still in their boxes.

There are several different barcode scanner apps out there, but again ... I rarely sell items with barcodes, so I don't bother with that one either.

There are also apps for garage sales, Craigslist, auctions, and other venues like that. A quick Google search showed me Garage Sale Tracker, which looks interesting. It helps find and organize garage sales AND consignment/thrift store events. Might have to look into that one once I charge my phone.

There's also one other thrift store locator app that I have used in the past, but I can't for the life of me remember what it's called. I only used it once or twice because it was stupid and couldn't find the thrift store that I was sitting right outside of, so I deleted it from my phone. Probably no big loss that I can't remember what it's called.

Anyone else use any other apps that I haven't mentioned here?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My Target Profit Margin

Anonymous said: 

"Love hearing about your sales! I'd like to know how you decide on pricing. What profit margin do you try and make off each item?"

Obviously, that's going to depend on the item. I don't have a hard and fast rule. I aim for 10x my investment on most things, but that's hard to do. Here's a sampling of some of my profit margins:

Shoes. I usually get them for $2.99 around here. Converse sell for $25-30, so that's pretty close to 10x. Occasionally I'll find a better brand and get even more than 10x. On the flipside of that, occasionally I'll pay $5 or more for shoes, so that's less than 10x.

Pants. I don't buy pants often, but when I do, they are usually $4.99. I'm lucky to get $20 out of them.

Shirts. They are usually $3.99, and I sell them (depending on brand, of course) for anywhere from $16.99 (basic Gap) to $35 (Ralph Lauren men's XXL)

Mugs. They are 50 cents at my Goodwill. I sell them for $10+. That's a good bit more than 10x.

Books. I try to stick to 25c-50c each for them and sell them in series lots for around $1 per book. Some series I can get more out of, like Babysitters' Club. I can get $1.50 per book out of them in a large lot, so sometimes I'm willing to pay up to $1 for those, if it's one I don't see often (super mystery or a really high book number).

Pans. I don't buy pans too often anymore, but when I do, they are usually Revere Ware or Vision Ware for an average of $5 at Goodwill, $2-3 at yard sales. Depending on the size, I can sell them for $20-$35.

Board Games. Totally depends on the game. My Goodwill sells games for 50 cents. I can make a very nice profit margin on them if it's the right game.

Hot Rollers. I'll pay up to $5 for a complete set. Again, depending on the particular set, I've sold hot rollers for anywhere from $15 (Hot Sticks) to $50 (Clairol Kindness 3-Way Deluxe), and even $75 (Lady Schick).

Plush. 50 cents at my Goodwill. I sell Care Bears for anywhere from $10 to $35, depending on the size and who it is.

I know that was a lot of "depending on..." statements, but that's a really hard question to give a blanket answer to. To summarize, of course I'm going to aim for a higher profit margin. I love 10x, and really, that's probably pretty close to my average profit margin. Just remember ... you determine your profit margin when you BUY an item, not when you SELL it. YOU can control how much you spend on an item. The MARKET controls how much you'll get out of it. Purchase wisely, and you'll do just fine.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

G.I. Joe

Well, I got the elite  "By Invitation Only" listing special email the other day. 3 days only. Up to 5,000 fixed price listings free! Yay! Except that I had literally NO inventory to list. None. I couldn't even fake it and scrounge stuff up from around the house, because I had already done that.

Then a friend called. "Would you be interested in listing my brother's G.I. Joe collection on eBay? I have 3 bins full of them, and they are all new in their original packages."  I told her sure, bring them over. She came over an hour or so later and sure enough - that's a whole lotta G.I. Joes!

The 3 Rubbermaids are G.I. Joes. The rest is odds and ends. I got one whole bin listed yesterday. Fortunately, they aren't requiring any research or identification, because they are in their original packages, which have the names right on them. All I do is a quick check for completed prices and get it listed.

So .... the listing special ends tonight. I have a lot of work to do! Ta-ta!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Still Working On Your Questions

Also, I have not forgotten about the questions you asked in this post. I'm having a hard time using my time wisely, but all those questions are saved in my inbox and swirling through my mind... I WILL get to every one of them :-)


I am having the worst eBay week ever. Rather than coming here to complain about it (something I try really hard to avoid), I am just off pouting in the corner.

I'm out of inventory, so I haven't been listing, which means I haven't been selling, which means I haven't had money to buy new inventory... on and on THAT cycle goes.

Good news! My last negative dropped off this morning! Oh wait. I blinked. Someone left me a negative this evening. Ugh. I had NO negatives for a whopping 8 hours. Sigh. I offered her a refund if she returned the item, but instead she chose to neg me. So I'm waiting to hear back from her to see if she will revise. Doubtful.

Had a Buyer Protection case opened against me this week. Long story short - I sent the shirt out in perfect condition. 16 days later, buyer contacted me complaining of significant holes under the arms. My return policy is 14 days, but I told her she could send it back anyway. Once I looked at it, it was very clear to me that she ripped it trying to put it on, so I only refunded her return shipping and sent her a not that it was ineligible for a full refund. She got mad and started harassing me, sending me message after message after message, demanding dated pictures and shipping timelines and blah blah blah. I didn't get to respond to any of those, when she wrote, "If you aren't going to refund me, then send the shirt back." I don't know about you, but if I truly received a torn shirt in the mail, I would NOT ask for it back. I would insist on a full refund. But she didn't, which was a red flag for me. I sent it back (because remember - she asked me to). Then she opened a case against me. I called eBay and they (clearly) sided with me. The rep escalated the case and put it on hold. He told me that as soon as I saw that it was re-delivered, to call them and they would close the case in my favor and release my funds. It was delivered today, so I called them this evening and they followed through. They closed the case (it won't count against me), they released my funds, AND they didn't refund her! Score 1 for eBay SELLER Protection!

Right smack in the middle of THAT incident, I discovered 2 fraudulent charges on my Paypal card, so I had to call and report those (got them credited back to my account immediately). They cancelled my card and have sent me a new one, but I have to wait 7-10 business days for it to get here. In the meantime, I am left with NO immediate access to my Paypal account, which means I have to plan days in advance to transfer money to my checking account in order to buy groceries or gas. Ugh. But at least the fraudulent charges have stopped, so I'll try not to complain about not being able to shop :)

I've also have 5 returns in the past couple weeks, which does not do good things to my Paypal balance.


Ok, so I came here and complained anyway. Just be glad you got the quick, abbreviated versions of all of those stories.

Let's end on a good note .... hmm ....

Check out these Converse! My favorite sale from the past couple weeks, hands down.

They sold to a buyer in Spain, who paid an additional $22 for shipping!

I priced these way high because I couldn't find this exact pair anywhere on eBay, currently or in completeds. I saw lots of black with black toes and red around the edges, but they all had black eyelets. Mine was the ONLY pair I could find with red eyelets, which apparently made them worth more to this particular buyer. Woot!

Friday, October 26, 2012


Well that didn't take long! Remember my Baja jacket that I was hoping to get $25 for?

And another brag photo:

That, my friends, is my to-be-listed pile!! I just finished editing pictures of the last of it. I do still have a candle holder that I need to buy a new votive cup for, and I have a handheld poker game that I need to buy a new battery for. Other than that, folks, I. AM. DONE.

I am desperate for a road trip, because I apparently have bought out my one little local Goodwill. However, I have a grand total of $77 in my Paypal account with a $100 auto-withdrawal coming out tomorrow :(  So no shopping for me. This is an ugly catch-22. I need to keep listing in order to sell consistently, but I need to sell in order to have money to shop for things to list. Ugh.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Revisiting the 90's

Look what I found in my Goodwill the other day:

When I was in about 6th through 9th grade, these were very popular. When I saw this one on the Goodwill rack, I don't even know what made me stop and look it up on my phone, but I did. Surprisingly, there still seems to be a market for these baja jackets. Check out the completeds. They aren't a hugely high-dollar item, but the sell-through rate is pretty decent, and I can expect to get $25-30 for it, I think. Obviously, it's going to depend on the color, but this one is in excellent condition, so I'm optimistic. I'll be sure to report back when it sells.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Few Good Sales!

I've had a fairly steady stream of sales coming in this week, thank goodness! I haven't had many earth-shattering sales, but I'll take a steady stream too :)

There's absolutely nothing spectacular about this sale, except that it sold for more than the retail price on the tag. Before I shipped it, I did remove the original price, because that's just asking for trouble.
  • Acquired On: --- sold on consignment for a friend
  • Listed On: 10/3/12
  • Sold On: 10/21/12
  • She Paid: $1.50
  • Sold For: $12.99 + shipping (retail price $10.50)

I regretted buying this Wiggles pillow as soon as I got it home. It was pretty pilled, but it didn't have any holes or stains, so I priced it to move fairly quickly. I didn't really expect it to sell as quickly as it did, but I'm okay with that!
  • Acquired On: 7/12/12 (Facebook yard sale group)
  • Listed On: 10/13/12
  • Sold On: 10/17/12
  • Paid: $3.00
  • Sold For: $17.99 + shipping
 For some bizarre reason, I had Priority Flat Mail Envelope as an option for this. The thing is 26", so I'm not sure what I was thinking there. I did end up losing a little over $1 on shipping, but again - no big deal. It was bulky, and now it's gone :)

The only reason I'm mentioning this is because I had JUST decided that if it was still around this winter, I was going to keep it to wear to church Christmas Sunday. It's pretty and sparkly, and the fit is very forgiving :) But I'm pretty okay with it selling too.
  • Acquired On: 2/21/12 (Goodwill)
  • Listed On: 3/6/12
  • Sold On: 10/21/12
  • Paid: $3.99
  • Sold For: $21.24 + shipping

This is a no-name brand that I have never heard of (Weatherproof), but it was new with tags and pretty on-trend, so I gave it a chance. It also sold quickly.
  • Acquired On: 9/23/12 (Goodwill)
  • Listed On: 9/25/12
  • Sold On: 10/18/12
  • Paid: $2.99
  • Sold For: $25.49 with free shipping ($4.93)

This Miche shell came from the huge lot I bought for $97 at a yard sale this summer. I only have 3 shells left from that lot, and I am up to $777.77 in sales. It was worth dragging the kids out of bed early that day! What's odd about this sale, though, is that there has been absolutely ZERO interest in it. Then the other day, I got a message from an eBay member about it. Then a few hours later, it sold, but not to that person. It is amazing to me how often that happens - an item will sit with no interest, then I get multiple questions and/or a sale.
  • Acquired On: 6/28/12 (yard sale)
  • Listed On: 7/2/12
  • Sold On: 10/20/12
  • Paid: $2.00
  • Sold For: $29.99 + shipping

I really hate prepping hot rollers, but once I do and get them listed and the sales start rolling in, I'm always glad for them. I have now sold 6 or 7 sets of these Conair Ion Shine hot rollers. I don't know why. They aren't vintage. They aren't super hot. But who am I to question these things? I just hold out my hand for the money and say "Thank you!"
  • Acquired On: 7/7/12 (road-tripping with Tina)
  • Listed On: 7/31/12
  • Sold On: 10/19/12
  • Paid: $2.14
  • Sold For: $31.99 + shipping

I cannot stress this enough - always pick up SAS shoes that are in good condition!! You just have to make sure of 2 things:  the size isn't rubbed off, and the side of the shoe isn't misshapen from bunions. Seriously. You think I'm joking. I have seen SO many of these shoes with a big ol' deformed bulge sticking out the side of them.
  • Acquired On: 4/20/12 (yard sale)
  • Listed On: 5/23/12, but just relisted on 10/19/12 without the HTML
  • Sold On: 10/20/12 (the day after I removed the HTML!)
  • Paid: 50 cents
  • Sold For: $35.00 + shipping

I bought this probably 2 years ago, figuring on reselling it. But my then-7-year-old son saw it and wanted it. Because I knew nothing about K'Nex at the time, I foolishly let him have it. Let me tell you - I have been picking up K'Nex pieces for 2 years now, and he's not ONCE put the thing together. In his defense, it's an extremely challenging one with 1280 pieces. I had made a deal with him that anything like this that I buy, *IF* he puts it together to make sure it's complete and works, it then becomes his. Then once he decides to sell it, I will split the money with him. He seemed pretty happy with that deal, but he never put this one together, so I reclaimed it. I had to order a couple pieces from K'Nex, and it was still missing one tiny piece that they don't carry anymore, but it was huge and I wanted it gone, so I listed it even with the missing piece. It sold very quickly.
  • Acquired On: ?? 2010? (Goodwill)
  • Listed On: 10/6/12
  • Sold On: 10/18/12
  • Paid: $7.99
  • Sold For: $99.99 + shipping