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In 2011, we bought a run down house across town from us. Our home was paid off, so we borrowed against it because we were “making a big bet”. We were going to use our eBay profits, renovate the hell out of this old brick farmhouse, and turn it into a money making machine (aka vacation rental). If you listen to us regularly, you know much of this story by now.
But during those three years of renovation, we didn’t talk much about what was going on. Hell, we didn’t even tell our family right away that we even bought this house. How crazy were we? Did we just buy a money pit? What did we know about rentals?
All of our eBay profits went into this place. Month after month. We’d make money and reinvest it back into this house. New wiring. New lights. New plumbing. New floors. It felt endless. We had a lot of sleepless nights and a good number of arguments caused by regular tension and worry. Some months we had to take a break because it felt we were too close to the edge. But we had a vision.
When we started our eBay business, we just bought what we loved (old leather boots and wool coats). Then we learned and expanded what we loved to sell. Our business grew naturally. With this vacation rental, we created a house that we would want to stay in (lots of wood and clean lines). When we ever get stressed in either business, we just ask ourselves, “Does this make sense and excite us?” This simple question gets us through every time.
Fast forward to 2015. We’re booked 22 nights this month in just our second month of business. It’s beyond our wildest dreams (though we need a longer rent history before I really feel good). Now, instead of spending money on this house, we’re actually making money. Not as much money as our eBay business, but it’s a solid second income stream.
So what do we do with this “extra” money that feels so unnatural? PAY DOWN DEBT. I refer to a great post over at Frugalwoods. This young couple are part of the extreme/early retirement culture (aka thrifty as hell) that aim to save every penny as quick as possible so they can do the work/fun/travel/live/family on their own terms.
We have modest? debt (about $180k) from buying the rental house and another three acres of land near us (we like land). Debt always has us worried because it means we always have to pay someone each month for years (we also hate paying interest). Instead of always letting this debt hover over me like a cloud, I finally took my own advice and DID THE NUMBERS. I used this great “pay down loan” calculator. If we make an extra $1500 payment each month, we’ll pay off our debt in five years. What?! Because we’re thrifty as hell, this is doable. We’re going to treat that extra mortgage payment like it’s a MUST PAY bill. So there you go, that’s our new vision. Sell old shoes on eBay, rent to vacationers, and pay down our debt like our hair is on fire.
Okay, let’s talk about this week:
We had an incredible good week in our eBay store. Like we always say, list it and forget it. Some weeks will be slow. Some weeks will be good. All you can do is fill the pipeline with cool stuff.
I have to mention that our phone bill still amazes me after a year of using Ting. We spend about $50 total for two phones vs the $200 we used to spend on AT&T. No change in usage. And I love that if we don’t use our phones much, we pay even less. I have no idea how the big phone companies stay in business. There are lost of these smaller cell providers (Tracphone, Republic Wireless, etc) This is the one monthly bill that seems easiest to reduce.
Comments were good again last week:
—I continue to scare off new commenters because I’m a blowhard, but this person did a good job summing up what we’re trying to accomplish
—Someone suggested trying setting up Business Policies on your store to help streamline listing. We tried this once but seems to work better if you sell a small set of the same items. What do you think?
—Deal Diva pointed us to another great series of videos showing how to safely scrap the gold in certain computer parts.
This week’s throw back episode looks back at how we do our taxes since it’s tax season. We essentially do our taxes the same way year in and year out. It’s all about keeping up with our accounting each month.
And if you want to come spend your vacation with us, rent our Farmhouse in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. And of course we give discounts to fellow Scavengers.
The Weekly Scavenger Numbers
Our Store Week April 5-11, 2015
- Total Items in Store: 3881
- Items Sold: 39
- Cost of Items Sold: $240
- Total Sales: $$2,749.25 (+ Amazon $400) = 3,149.25
- Highest Price Sold: $800 (Vintage Watch )
- Average Price Sold: $80.74
- International Sales: 2 (1 GSP)
- Returns: 1
- Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $190
- Number of items listed this week: 110