03/12/2018 at 6:16 am #34819
Ms. Frugalwoods (extreme frugaler, financial independence blogger mentioned here many a time) was interviewed on NPR’s On Point this week. Jay could
[See the full post at: Scavenger Life Episode 351: Being Frugal Is Not A Secret Club]
03/12/2018 at 7:54 am #34823
03/04/18 – 03/10/18
Items In Store: 2,242
Items Sold: 22
Cost of Items Sold: $75 (around)
Total Sales: $695
HIghest Price Sold: $52 (Johnstone & Murphy shoes)
Average Price Sold: $31.59
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $ 72
Number of Items listed this week: 0
The sales felt slow and low dollar, but at the end of the week it was a good week. Anytime i am close to $700 with my store at this point is a good week. The promoted listings continue to help.
03/12/2018 at 8:40 am #34831
Store Week 3/4/18 – 3/10/18
Total items in store: 1615
Items sold: 21
Cost of items sold: $25.39
Total sales: $731.87
Highest price sold: $140.00 (Sami Laplander Fur Boots)
Average price sold: $34.85
Returns: 1 (size)
Money spent on new inventory this week: $24.40
I went to the only estate sales I could find this weekend. It had lots of beautiful items, but they were definitely priced accordingly, and way too high to resell. But as usual, there were a few good “hidden value” items, that were priced low and I know I can sell high. I love that my experience has taught me to look for these items!
03/12/2018 at 8:49 am #34832
03/04/18 – 03/10/18
Items In Store: 877 + 513 + 193 + 1057 = 2,640 items in store
Items Sold: 24 + 11 + 9 + 8 = 52 items sold
Total Sales: $429 + $184 + $264 + $167 = $1,044
Highest Price Sold: $65 Fendi Shoes, $50 Vtg Italian Flip Drip Coffee Maker, $45 Lilly Pulitzer Dress
Average Price Sold: $20.08
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $ 60
Number of Items listed this week: 70
For the next couple weeks, we are getting our house ready to sell so I’m going to stop buying inventory for a while and list things from my house. I’m going to be busy packing and purging and hopefully getting things listed.
03/12/2018 at 8:54 am #34833
Mrs. Frugalwoods’s book is really good. I haven’t listened to the interview yet, but I preordered the book because I love her blog. Early Retirement/Frugal Living isn’t rocket science, but you’re right that most people don’t want to hear what it would take for them to get there. We’re an open book on numbers and we’re open that we’re frugal, paid off our house asap, at this point work mainly for health insurance and not income, etc. We still get the “oh, I could never do that”. Whatever. We aren’t exceptional people and we did it. It’s pretty basic math really.
This country needs real financial education and it needs to start early. I teach my own kids about finances, early retirement, frugality, debt avoidance, etc. and they learn by listening but also by doing. Jay is correct that a lot of problems in this country could be solved by an open conversation about numbers! I tell my friends that the people who look the richest are often one payment away from bankrupcy, and the person dumpster diving bags of coffee beans on the side of the road (me lol) is often the person who actually has the money 😉 Appearances don’t tell the truth, but numbers do.
03/12/2018 at 9:19 am #34842
You paid off your house! Thats awesome. We have our house paid off, but hope to pay off another the mortgage one of our rentals.
I know its an ongoing debate whether it makes sense to pay ff a mortgage early (that has a low interest rate), or invest in index funds (pulling a higher interest rate), but I like the psychological and emotional feeling of being debt free.
03/12/2018 at 9:45 am #34847
Amen Jay. Do your own process. The feeling from that paid off house for most people (we will be in that category when we get there) far outweighs the money in the investments. Debt on an income producing asset (a rental) is much better than debt on your house.
03/12/2018 at 9:59 am #34850
Go for it and pay off the rental houses! Then the rentals are all revenue and the house is an asset too. Pretty sweet! There is a couple on youtube (Mina and Irfan, not sure what the channel name is) and they have done some great videos on paying off mortgages. I love how Irfan talks about it like it’s a logical no-brainer. He also has a really interesting take on getting an ARM because the rate is so low and you’ll retire the mortgage in the initial period anyways. We totally should have done that in retrospect…I considered it but chickened out which is silly.
For me, it’s more the certainty of paying off debt vs. the uncertainty of the market. Don’t get me wrong, we have index funds. It’s just that I won’t gamble everything on those while I don’t own my house outright if that makes sense. This is the one topic where my view diverges from the view that the Frugalwoods couple takes. They carry mortgage debt on both of their properties. They have their reasons for it and it makes sense to them, but it doesn’t make sense to me. For me if I have debt, I don’t feel secure. If the market has a huge crash, they lose that money, but if they used it to pay off the house it’s immune to every crash. For me, I needed to be mortgage free before I went “all in” with index funds 🙂
Hubby and I paid off our first house at 26 and had a few more paid-for houses after that with the capital from that first house. I was never taking out another mortgage, but this house came up (a foreclosure) and it was just too good of a deal to pass up. One upside is that the kids (well, our oldest anyways) were able to be a part of the payoff process this time around. I printed off a chart and they got to color in lines as we hit each principal line on the chart. It stayed on the fridge throughout the payoff as a visual representation of what we were doing. They started saying “when the house is paid off, maybe we can do X”. Involving them in the process was a positive since they were old enough to get something out of it. I read financial books with my oldest at night (read a chapter and discuss) and while that’s valuable, being a part of a tangible process like paying off a house is better I think.
03/12/2018 at 10:02 am #34853
How many houses do you own? Are they rentals?
03/12/2018 at 10:08 am #34854
Just the one right now. We’ve owned a succession of paid-for houses, all possible because we paid off the first one at age 26. The one we’re in now required a small-ish mortgage on top of the principal we had from the house we owned outright when we bought this one. That’s the mortgage we recently retired 🙂 I swore I’d never take another mortgage, but this house was excellent for the price and we bit the bullet and did it.
My folks had a rental with 3 apartments in it when I was growing up. It was such an awful experience overall that I swore I’d never be a landlord. This was in a VERY sketchy town in MA though, so that had a lot to do with it I’m sure!
03/12/2018 at 11:05 am #34873
Was it Lowell? Dorchester?
03/12/2018 at 11:31 am #34880
No, worse. Lawrence.
03/12/2018 at 9:42 am #34846
Amen to all of that Christine!
03/12/2018 at 9:03 am #34840
Great to hear the podcast again! I too am sometimes flabbergasted by how un-agenty people are willing to be over their own lives sometimes.
I had a fairly lame week. The buyer of my awesomecool MCM coffee table started a return due to its getting gouged in transport… really too bad and I should’ve added more cardboard (especially to the top) in retrospect. So we agreed on a $250 partial refund. That item was still profitable but taking the hit this week makes things look bleak. A lot of lower-dollar sales… can’t complain, glad to clear them away, but all the same it’s not that exciting.
Sales: CAD$901, 11 items, COGS $106 –> item profit $644
Expenditures: $356 (includes partial refund above) –> cashflow after tax $251
Listed: 3 items, $440 book value. This means I have been eating the seed corn last week & I better get to sowing in this one.
Notable sales: best sale was a toner, $20 –> $230.
03/12/2018 at 9:19 am #34843
You shipped a table? How did that work? I assume it was small so you made a box?
03/12/2018 at 9:33 am #34844
Yeah, and the legs could be removed so I shipped them separately. It should’ve worked, it’s my own fault it went wrong as I didn’t have enough thicknesses of cardboard (but lots of bubble wrap).
03/12/2018 at 9:46 am #34848
Week of 3/4-3/10
Total Items in Store: 1,881 (Up 36% YOY)
Number of Items Listed: 121
Number of Items Sold: 84 (Up 9% YOY)
(Includes 5 Etsy, 0 Bonanza, 0 TrueGether)
Weekly STR: 19% (Down 5% YOY)
Total Product Sales: $2,210 (Up 37% YOY)
Cost of Items Sold: $375
Highest Item Sold: $100 – Dolce & Gabbana Italian Butterfly Pocket Denim Jeans
Competition: Highest Priced Sale: Troy wins the week and Troy leads the year at 6-4.
# Listed: 1,133
# Sold: 53
# Listed: 119
# Sold: 5
eBay Hard Goods
# Listed: 629
# Sold: 21
Etsy Hard Goods
# Listed: 149
# Sold: 5
It is nice to see our Hard Goods start moving again now that we took FedEx off of our listings. I need to call eBay (again) to get an update on the issue. Also is nice to see Etsy start to pick up as well. Overall, sales were strong this week (as opposed to soft – loved hearing you use that business term Jay!)
Loved your discussion on the reaction to people that hear about the Frugalwoods. It amazes me that most people have these reactions when they hear of someone doing something out of the “norm”. Rather than just absorb what that new style is, see what may work for them to improve their own life, and to let that person have that life…most people attack it. They see it as a threat to them for some reason.
I have had this with our new career in eCommerce. I’m sure you have had it as well. I get it when I talk about my journey to being a thru hiker, or when I talk about people I have seen that have biked across the country, have hiked over 5,000 miles in one continuous loop, people who make a living on penny stocks, etc. People always seem to say what is WRONG with that life, or why they can’t live it, rather than celebrate that someone has that life. You don’t have to agree with all lifestyles, or adopt everything you see, but if your automatic reaction is to reject new perspectives, then you will cease to adapt…and no longer grow.
“You want things but are not willing to do the things to get there.” – Amen to that. People love to want what they see in their social media feed, but don’t want to do the actions to get there. And it is usually simple. Not always easy…but simple.
“Everyone has to find their number.” – Double amen to that. Set goals, live how you want, but know the number it takes to get there.
03/12/2018 at 10:00 am #34851
Selling clothes is really doing well for you. How much time are you putting in each week to source, photograph and list clothes at your current rate?
03/12/2018 at 10:16 am #34856
Harder to say now on my clothing side of the house as my schedule has been erratic with college visits and the contract accounting gig. I’ll try to break it down:
Sourcing: I only do clothing on 50% off days right now, as I’m wanting to drop the cost and increase the ROI. That means Saturdays, and we are usually out the door at 7 and back at 2. About 1 hour to hang and organize by type (pants, jeans, dress shirts, casual shirts, short sleeve, western, sweaters, suits/sportcoats, outdoor, hiking). So, about 8 hours and I’m usually 100+ items I find.
Listing/Photography: I have broken these into 2 parts now so that it is ready for our employee. These steps I’m probably running about 20 hours a week right now, give or take. We are getting our ad ready this week for our photographer so that we can get that side up ASAP.
03/13/2018 at 8:20 pm #35098
Why was having Fed-Ex on the listings preventing your hard goods from selling? I have SmartPost on a lot of my hard goods listings, although lately I find Priority almost always cheaper so I tend to upgrade to that over SmartPost. If having FedEx on there is keeping stuff from selling I’ll take it off!
03/13/2018 at 8:27 pm #35099
Christine: Because our FedEx Smartpost Rate has been calculating way too high. Rather than the normal $8-$13 for SmartPost Rate, we have being seeing $13-$26. SmartPost has been so high, FedEx Ground is cheaper.
I have a thread under SmartPost Saga that has the current details…
03/12/2018 at 9:52 am #34849
Week of Mar 4 – 10
* Total Items in Store: 1182
* Items Sold: 18
* Cost of Items Sold: $45.61 + $6.15 Commission
* Total Sales: $401.56
* Highest Price Sold: $100 Hand carved wood mirror
* Average Price Sold: $22.30
* Returns: 0 (1 cancelation)
* Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $40.25
* Number of items listed this week: 55
Not a bad week for me, and my listing number was pretty awesome. I did go to an auction this past week, but I’m trying to keep my new inventory low. I’ve been able to make great progress on my death piles this year so far, but now I’m left with the stuff that needs to be repaired, tested, or cleaned, so I have to focus.
Great podcast. As far as financial independence, I never really thought much about our numbers until my job moved away and I started selling on Ebay. I used to make more than my husband, but, with the help of my Ebay sales, we have been able to stay in our current home by cutting back.
Our kids are teenagers and our oldest will be off to college in a year and a half. Perhaps we can think about downsizing our house and lowering our expenses. I know that my husband would love to leave his job and do the Ebay thing with me, but that won’t happen with our current mortgage.
03/12/2018 at 10:02 am #34852
- Location: Metro Detroit
Weekly numbers for March 5th – 11th
Total Items in Store: 195
Items Sold: 13
Cost of Items Sold: $38.56
Total Sales: $391.89
Highest Price Sold: $93.94 (Mr. Coffee Cocomotion)
Average Price Sold: $30.15
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $88
Number of items listed this week: 96
It was a slow sales week for me, until Friday when things picked up a bit.
Got a good amount of listing done last week and have 60 more items to list after a good sourcing weekend. My area Salvation Army locations ran a deal where all winter clothing items plus anything with long sleeves was 5 for $5 so I made the most of them selling all long sleeve shirts for $1 each.
My prep and listing process is definitely improving and becoming more efficient though, which is a huge plus. I think 500 items is achievable by the end of March as long as I don’t have something that comes up and sucks away my time.
As always, onwards and upwards!
03/12/2018 at 10:33 am #34860
Week of March 4-10
Total Items in Store: 210ish
Items Sold: 13
Total Sales: $509.90
Highest Price Sold: $60 (candlesticks)
Average Price Sold: $39.20
1 Global Shipping sale of cooking supplies to England.
$ spent on items this week: More than $60+
I found a stash of ~100 of the same new item for 50 cents each, so I went for it and bought them all. Others have been selling them on eBay for about 10 bucks apiece with cheap and easy but “free” shipping. I am hoping for a (very) slow nickel x 100. If I can just sell a dozen, I’m in the clear.
Items listed: About 15
Pretty grateful for this week for my little store. Two of these items sold after I marked them down, egged on by eBay’s “your items are in buyers’ carts” message.
03/12/2018 at 10:39 am #34862
MrsKensington: Love that approach! If you just profit $4 on each item, you are looking at $400 on that one listing. Your ROI on your time is HUGE!
We did this once with Super Bowl programs. Sold 62 on the same listing, and sold out in 2 months. Great ROI on your time!
03/12/2018 at 12:44 pm #34895
Nice score! Is it something that makes sense to lot together a little so you don’t have to ship so much? Usually if I get quantity but the individual item is less than $30 I just lot 5-10 together to try and make a $100-150 sale.
03/12/2018 at 7:25 pm #34978
@t-satt – Sweet score on the programs.
@bethgreen: “There is literally no long term number crunching going on. No questioning of whether the amount of $ invested in the education actually makes sense for the increased income potential, or even whether there are viable jobs in the places you’d want to live in once the degree is earned. Frustrating.” EXACTLY. Why are you (and your parents) borrowing $120,000 to study X? Is it so you can wear a sweatshirt with pride? (I overheard two college girls talking at the thrift store. They were snickering at the rack of various college sweatshirts, saying they must be from people who bought the sweatshirt on a school tour of their first choice and then didn’t get in. Because why else would you get rid of it?)
@simplicio – I’ll try bundling 5-10 together for a “deal” and see what happens. Good idea! Thanks!
03/12/2018 at 11:02 am #34871
Forgot to add cost of good sold: About $55-$60. I try to aim for 10% COGS, so this is almost there.
Looking forward to hearing the On Point episode.
I don’t know that we’ll retire ‘early’ but we will retire comfortably. I feel like we are among the most frugal non-retirees on the block. Almost everyone in my office and almost everyone in my spouse’s office buys their lunch every day. We almost never do. I don’t think many if any of my neighbors would stop on the side of the road to pick up ‘trash’, but I would. We buy used clothes and shoes for ourselves, not sure many other people would. Things like that. The financial choice I see and am concerned about: People’s college funding plans for their kids. Are they saving? I think college debt will derail a lot of people – students and their parents who signed the loans – in the next few decades. Plenty of people I know have $50,000-$120,000+ in debt. I know that university isn’t necessary, and community college is a great start, but the pressure around here to attend a ‘good’ private or out-of-state college and live at it for 4 years seems to have overridden concerns about consequences and will limit future choices – exactly what Mrs. Frugalista is saying, I think.
I use eBay $ to get to certain specific goals faster – paying off a loan, saving for a car, or a trip. My next goal is to use it to max out our Roth IRAs every year. It’s a challenge I enjoy and it doesn’t really feel like work most of the time.
In fact, I’m starting to get hooked. I spend time listing, and pretty soon – cha-ching! Pretty addicting.
03/12/2018 at 11:41 am #34881
MrsKensington: Amen on two of your points.
1) Being frugal NOW while working. We were the same way. The only time I would go out to lunch was Taco Bell Tuesday (a tradition some in my office would do as a get together), and even then, the ringleader would pay for his lunch with the change in his car.
2) College debt. So much pressure on kids to go there, that now we have a shortage of “blue collar” jobs. And let me tell you, the guys on the floor at our manufacturing facilities made damn good money. Many times with OT they were pulling in more than me, and I was $100k+. We do NOT pressure our boys into college. We saved enough for them to get 50% through school locally, as we want them to have skin in the game if they are going to go to college, and know what they are paying. Our oldest is there, and will have to finance part of his last two years, but should be out with no more than $20k to pay, and with frugal living, paying that off quick. Our other son has started, but he hates it, and is looking at going into sales. He is GREAT at sales, and doesn’t need a college degree to do it.
$1.5T in college debt ain’t a good thing…
03/12/2018 at 11:05 am #34872
I haven’t had a chance to listen to the podcast yet, but I just wanted to chime in on people hating the frugality movement. A lot of people are not just against it, but are outright hostile in their attitudes towards it.
If you do not wish to own a car, go out for expensive meals and drinks, own clothing that is very expensive, you are viewed as having something wrong with you. If you are not constantly aspiring to have a lot of money, live outwardly “well,” you are not living life right. If you are in the extreme in your beliefs that you are fine with the minimal amount you have, whatever that is, you are targeted as being mentally ill and are constantly questioned for your stance on living as if you are not able to parse your own life for yourself. You get talked down to like a child for your beliefs.
I can understand people wanting to get the most out of life as they can, especially when they have normal jobs and all there is to do is to buy stuff with the money earned during the limited amount of vacation times provided and weekends. I get it. Nevertheless, not everyone lives under the pressure of this way of living, and does not have to fit into this one mode of dealing.
03/12/2018 at 11:29 am #34879
The radio interview we linked to is good and talks about your points.
Liz says she is basically secretly frugal because she knows most people dont care or are annoyed to hear about it. When she worked, she wuld look like a normal person…even though she wore thrift clothes, husband cut her hair, and she brought her own lunch.
What bothers me is when you cant even talk about these things with family or friends without them quickly becoming annoyed.
03/12/2018 at 11:47 am #34882
Almasty & Jay: Totally agree. I talk about what we do by saying that I’m not telling them that they HAVE to live the way I do, just that I live this way and it works. They can take it or leave it. When I have people tell me their dreams or goals, but I see that their actions are not aligned (or even preventing those goals), I tiptoe carefully. I don’t tell them to do things like me to get there (as I know that is usually seen as me telling them that they are wrong). I suggest other avenues on how to get them aligned. If I sense resistance, I change the topic.
I don’t need to be right…I need them as family and friends. And if they aren’t acceptable to change, I don’t push. I won’t sell to the unsellable…
And if they tell me I’m wrong…I just say “Well, I’m happy. Are you?”
03/12/2018 at 1:58 pm #34905
I have cut my wife’s hair multiple times. I HATE doing it because I’m afraid I’m gonna butcher it, but she says I do a good job. She prefers me over the salon because they do usually butcher it. Luckily she only gets a haircut once a year or so.
She cuts mine and all of the kids hair. She’s very good.
03/12/2018 at 3:29 pm #34921
Part of our frugality: I went to very short hair when my oldest was born. I haven’t paid for a haircut in almost 20 years…
#2 on top, fades on the sides…once a week.
03/12/2018 at 5:25 pm #34956
I buzz cut my husband’s hair. My daughter doesn’t really get her hair cut. I get mine done every 3 or 4 months at a place that is fairly reasonable. During the summer, my husband will buzz cut my son’s hair, but, during the winter, I take him to a place that will leave the hair a little longer.
I’m at the age where I’m dying my hair, but I signed up at a L’Oreal product testing center. I’m a guinea pig, but they dye and style my hair for free!
03/12/2018 at 5:44 pm #34960
i also just buzzcut most of my head, i have a weird mohawk thing going on, but #2 on the buzzcutters is my number! jay uses #nothing and just shaves to the skin every couple weeks. can’t remember the last time i paid for a hair cut, years and years ago and i recall i feel i way overpaid, though i’m sure it was the normal price for a woman’s cut.
03/12/2018 at 6:13 pm #34965
It was in California. I urged you to treat yourself to a fancy hair cut. You hated it.
Fancy stuff doesnt necessarily make you feel fancy. Just ripped off.
03/12/2018 at 6:18 pm #34967
oh yeah! it was at a hair school in LA, so it was only $30 and it looked cute but took twice as long as it could have. but it was fun.
03/12/2018 at 3:59 pm #34936
Alright, I still haven’t listened to your podcast yet, but I am listening to the Frugalwoods one now. I cannot even believe someone from NPR would ask the following:
“Are we putting some sex appeal on a lifestyle that many people are desperate to escape?”
Ummm…isn’t conscious behavior of your actions, i.e. in terms of your impact on the environment, one of the supposed drives of people listening to NPR? How can frugality be interpreted in those terms above? You are either conscious of what you are doing in the environment, your role in the chain of it, or you are really not and ask completely weird questions like the one above. Ugh.
I am glad that she asserted her privilege repeatedly. Yet still…that question seriously left a bad taste in my mouth. For one, it made it out like she was “playing poor,” as opposed to just changing her lifestyle and diverting her resources to other things. Don’t people remember the 60s and 70s? Maybe the intentional communities and communes were considered safer because everyone collectively became the yuppies of the 80s. Those were “just for play,” not actual attempts to live in a better way.
For people to actually go about and change their lives for the better, or “worse,” as some people will say, is too much to bear. You’re either down in the gutter in a shitty job with the majority of the people, or you are wrong because why aren’t you in the gutter? To live an alternate lifestyle, even one as seemingly innocent as a frugal one, is seriously so alien to people that they are only able to express their views with contempt. Even people that should know better.
Just so much wrong with that question. I could go on a really long rant about it, but I’ll stop here.
03/12/2018 at 11:07 am #34874
Total Items in Store: 423
Items Sold: 18
Cost of Items Sold: $104 + $31 free shipping (including one $12 whammy)
Total Sales: $375
Highest Price Sold: $48 New plate https://www.ebay.com/itm/232386798097
Average Price Sold: $21
Returns: 1 for $85 ouch (Buyer misread listing and mistakenly thought getting quantity)
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $0
Number of items listed this week: 0
Interesting topic. As far as relatives go, it’s good of you to try to help them learn to be more frugal. It’s best and most effective though to offer help when they are ready to hear it. As for us, I would say that we are not quite your version of frugal. We don’t drive new cars or eat out a lot. We are very heavy on retirement savings. But, we do spend a lot of money on the kids’ lessons and activities. As the kids grow during teen years they get more an more expensive. We also pay a sh*tton of taxes and housing related expenses. I’ve suspended buying inventory and all of my Ebay money will go to the quarterlies coming up, as we’ll lose $15k in SALT itemized deductions under the new tax law. We also typically splurge once a year on a vacation somewhere really nice. If we spend $ it’s on the kids enrichment or on experiences. Sometimes when you talk about traveling, I secretly wish you’d spend a little to see or do things while you were there. Memories are priceless.
Interesting week on Ebay. I’ve been sick all week, so just shipped and didn’t list. Watched more TV and movies than I have in a year – recommend 3 Billboards Outside Ebbing, MO. I had very good results with the buyers with items in carts reductions. 5/7 items sold. mostly RA items. I tend to price on the high end, so I could afford to drop. I sold 9/22 of my .99 auctions. Two or three sold for .99, the rest pretty low dollar, but some over $10. Unfortunately, one managed to have free shipping. Friends, I swear to you that did check this before launching those auctions. Could have been my mistake or a sticky box. I think I did just recoop my purchase price on all items. But, it also generated activity. Over the course of the last year, I have gone away from list it and forget it and more toward anticipating holidays and keeping the store as active as possible with the time I have.
Ebay is trying to accomplish quite a bit in a short period of time, and they need to pay for it all. I find that seller profits are being chipped away little by little – the now puny shipping discount with Ebay labels, try free shipping, try free returns, reduced TRS plus fvf discount, higher fees. The onus is on us as sellers to make sure we are sourcing and listing items that still make sense having enough meat on the bone. 2X the money might no longer make sense for me unless very high dollar. $10 items probably don’t make sense. Not a great time to have a big pile backlog, but something to keep in mind going forward. I really appreciate the what solds people produce. Wish there were more good ones on Youtube. ThePaperCastle is active again, one of my favorites. Have a great week!
03/12/2018 at 11:28 am #34877
Spending on your kids seems like money worth spending. Maybe not buying a horse or designer clothes (not judging!), but buying experiences for kids is good.
I agree that we should live a little more when we travel, but neither of us had parents who took us traveling and experiencing. Other than going to museums and staying in fancy hotels (kind of boring), we dont really know how to spend more money traveling other than just living like locals.
03/12/2018 at 12:00 pm #34884
Lol. We definitely don’t own a horse! That and a boat are the worst investments. I’ll admit that we are decked in the local “uniform” Patagonia, all sourced at the thrift store ($20! like new jackets!) or on clearance online. I actually brag about my thrift store finds and my Ebay business. My mom friends are curious and a few of them go to rummage sales but none of them resell. We almost moved to Southern LA (Laguna Beach) before we bought our first house here. The fancy cars and spendy, competitive vibe turned us off. The town we live in is very, very highs and lows, everyone in our minority middle group is house poor. Overall, it’s uber casual and people don’t really buy into the attitude some mentioned above. Either they are too rich to care or they can’t afford to. So, it’s interesting.
I was remembering that you were passing on museums, etc. so maybe I didn’t remember that correctly. I really like to use Tripadvisor or Yelp to find inexpensive and good local food.
03/12/2018 at 11:53 am #34883
Christine: Agree on those experiences with the kids. Our boys don’t get lots of goodies, but we have taken them to Disney World for a week when they were younger, 2-week vacations in Hawaii (twice, and once Veronica and I renewed our vows on a sacred beach), a month in Panama 2 years ago, our oldest is going to Study Abroad for 6 weeks in Europe this summer (and get 6 credits for college), and I’m planning a hike of the Grand Canyon with our youngest in May.
THOSE things you remember.
Now to get on the month in Italy in 2020 for our 25th Anniversary…
03/12/2018 at 12:03 pm #34886
Awesome. I wish my parents would have encouraged me to go to Europe when I was in college. My mother was an international TWA stewardess so I have no idea why they didn’t. I’ve never been and life (and $) really can get in the way after that. Good for you!
03/12/2018 at 12:24 pm #34891
Christine: Yep, he is in a lucky spot. Veronica was an exchange student to Peru for a year, and she did a Semester at Sea while in college, where she went around the world. So she has given him that perspective, and we both think that it is great that he can see how other cultures live to gain perspective in life.
Only thing is…I’m jealous that I haven’t done ANY of that! 🙂
03/12/2018 at 12:05 pm #34888
Brian Treasures from GrandmasParticipant
- Location: Hoboken, NJ
Week March 4-10, 2018
Total Items in Store: 903
Items Sold: 23 (2 Amazon)
Cost of Items Sold: $193 (18.1% of sales)
Total Sales: $1,068.92
Highest Price Sold: $155 (Civil War Photo – https://www.ebay.com/itm/192127654597)
Average Price Sold: $46.47
Returns: 0 (1 NPB though)
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $406
Number of items listed this week: 34
Promoted listings test: 12 sales, $569.97 (53.3% of total sales), $35.14 fees (6.2% of sales)
Very good week for me, driven by 4x $90+ items selling – the Civil War photo (https://www.ebay.com/itm/192127654597), a pen salesman kit (https://www.ebay.com/itm/201651483166), Allman Brothers LP box set (https://www.ebay.com/itm/192439993584), and a box of pre-WWII drafting pencils (https://www.ebay.com/itm/202253433673). The pencils were part of a lot I bought at an estate sale and I had them all grouped together – a buyer asked if I would sell just that one box for $90 (had the lot up for $225); of course I jumped at that and still have the rest to sell that are all profit now.
Second straight weekend of not going out and sourcing… instead kept my head down listing my backlog of items. Got 34 items up this week after 52 last week. Didn’t get everything listed, but made a very significant & noticeable dent in my piles/baskets of items.
03/12/2018 at 12:12 pm #34889
Here are my numbers for this week:
Total Items in Store: 2190
Items Sold: 37
Total Sales: $822
Cost of Items Sold: $76
Average Price Sold: $22.22
Average Cost of Item: $2.07
Highest Price Item Sold: $78.95 Truxton Sega Genesis game (found in a big box of games that I paid $10 for).
Number of items listed this week: 46
Average age of items in store (in days since listing): 310
Average number of days between listing and selling this week: 154
Median age of sales (in days, between listing and selling): 57
Sell-through rate (for the week): 1.69%
# of Hats Sold: 26 (70% of sales)
I haven’t posted for a couple of weeks but things have been surprisingly busy on the eBay front. The prior 2 weeks to this one I had over $1,000 in sales each week which was pretty great. This week I was on a business trip and I had long handling times which probably has a slight impact on sales.
In regard to the lifestyle discussion, I know what it would take for me to quit my full time gig. I’d need to move to a different state to get my cost of living down. It’s not going to happen right now because I have my family to think about. For most people considering the Frugalwoods lifestyle, there are going to be some significant concessions required and the vast majority of people aren’t going to consider those concessions worthwhile. Understandably. I think the most important thing is that people need ton know that there are other lifestyle choices that most of us can make to considerable change our lives (especially our later lives). That way at least people are making a conscious decision about which path they are going to follow rather than just blindly copying what everyone else does.
03/12/2018 at 12:26 pm #34892
“That way at least people are making a conscious decision about which path they are going to follow rather than just blindly copying what everyone else does.”
03/12/2018 at 12:42 pm #34893
Regarding Public Schools teaching skills such as balancing a checkbook, etc…
I teach high school and 2 of the schools that I have taught at (Tennessee) offer Dave Ramsey curriculum as a personal finance credit (required) which I think is awesome. Just thought I’d share that. Great podcast!
03/12/2018 at 12:47 pm #34897
Numbers for the week of 2/4/18:
Total Items in Store: 137
Items Sold: 15
Cost of Items Sold: $55
Total Sales: $562 + shipping
Highest Price Sold: $109 (Fiesta Ware)
Average Price Sold: $37.46
A solid week for me.
I really enjoyed this weeks podcast. I agree that money seems to not be a “polite conversation” topic. But I am one of those people who finds it one of THE most interesting things to talk about. I’m lucky because my Dad is someone who I can talk numbers with…investing, goals, taxes, retirement. He was definitely a hobby investor when we were kids growing up. Back then you couldn’t Google ticker symbols and get nice little graphs. He would track individual stocks and make his own. He’s not a lecturing type, but he taught by simple example (always paid for cars in cash) had a few key bits of financial wisdom he repeated to us as kids. His most famous “There are 2 kinds of people in this world, people who pay interest and people who collect it”.
MrsKensington – The reckless abandon with which people are racking up college debt amazes and worries me. I am trying to teach my kids (oldest a Junior in High School) something different than the going mentality on this…but it is obvious I’m going against the grain. There is literally no long term number crunching going on. No questioning of whether the amount of $ invested in the education actually makes sense for the increased income potential, or even whether there are viable jobs in the places you’d want to live in once the degree is earned. Frustrating.
T-Satt – Regarding the FedEx SmartPost increase, I contacted eBay for Business holding out on the feeble hope that this is a pricing error. Gave them a hypothetical package of 4# 15x15x15 going cross country (a price change from around $13 last year, to currently $38 with the eBay discount). The Rep I spoke to confirmed this pricing IS correct. 🙁 Ryanne – would you be willing to check and see what you come up with in this scenario? You’ve said you haven’t noticed a substantial increase. Is the calculator on your account really not giving you such inflated pricing?
03/12/2018 at 1:08 pm #34898
BethGreen: “There are 2 kinds of people in this world, people who pay interest and people who collect it”. — One of my favorites as well.
“There is literally no long term number crunching going on. No questioning of whether the amount of $ invested in the education actually makes sense for the increased income potential, or even whether there are viable jobs in the places you’d want to live in once the degree is earned.” — Hit the nail right on the head. I have had long talks about this with my boys. College is a financial transaction. You are paying for an education to get you a better income. If you aren’t looking at the return for your money, you aren’t looking at it correctly.
On the FedEx issue, I was told that the issue IS a problem, and they could see the problem. I’ll try to call again today to see where they are. There is NO way that SmartPost should be consistently higher than Home Delivery. That is like USPS Parcel Select being more than Priority. Why pay more to get it later?
03/12/2018 at 2:17 pm #34911
BethGreen: Just spent an hour on the phone with eBay, and she sees the issue. I gave her more documentation (like the fact that FedEx rates for me were CHEAPER ON FEDEX THAN ON EBAY. She saw that too.
I’m going to FedEx today to talk with them and get rates for SmartPost directly from them.
03/12/2018 at 2:31 pm #34913
Thank you T-Satt. Keep us posted. I got nowhere with my inquiries to both eBay and to FedEx.
03/12/2018 at 3:14 pm #34916
i just tried a print Fedex Smartpost test on a package going from here (Virginia) to California. here are the results, which i am assuming is your (alls) issue too.
12x12x5 (standard size) box 1lb VA to CA- $13.48 smartpost
12x12x5 (standard size) box 1lb VA to CA- $13.11 Fedex Home
12x12x5 (standard size) box 4lb VA to CA- $13.48 (hm it’s the same price?)
12x12x5 (standard size) box 4lb VA to CA- $13.11 Fedex Home
15x15x15 (oversized) box 4lb VA to CA- $46.50 smartpost
15x15x15 (oversized) box 4lb VA to CA- $26.67 Fedex Home
03/12/2018 at 3:39 pm #34927
Yeah, that last part makes no sense. Why would SmartPost be so much more than Home Delivery? Almost double the price…and you get it much later? How does that ever make sense?
03/12/2018 at 3:44 pm #34929
yeah, that must be a bug that they need to work out. not sure why that would be happening.
03/12/2018 at 3:48 pm #34930
Yeah, and even in your other two calcs, the SmartPost was slightly (a few cents) higher than the Home Delivery. ??? Same price, but slower???
I’m going direct to a FedEx office now to talk this out…
PS – How do you know a 15 x 15 x 15 box is “oversize”?
03/12/2018 at 4:33 pm #34942
When I called FedEx about this, they could not confirm SmartPost pricing for me. The Rep I spoke with said that Smartpost pricing is variable and is contracted between an individual business and FedEx. Meaning Ebay may have one set of pricing and a company down the street may have another. I have no idea if this is true, but if it is whatever eBay employee negotiated the pricing should be fired.
03/12/2018 at 5:08 pm #34947
Getting that same feeling. I went to 2 FedEx locations, neither could give me a SmartPost rate. Funny thing is…THERE IS A FEDEX SMARTPOST RATE TABLE ON THE FEDEX WEBSITE!
On the phone (hold) with FedEx now…
03/12/2018 at 6:16 pm #34966
BethGreen, Ryanne, and everyone else interested in the latest on the FedEx saga…
I’m going to post a copy of the email I just sent to our WONDERFUL eBay rep that is working with me on this, detailing the status and the information I received from FedEx on this today. I’m going to do this as a separate thread on SL so that it doesn’t clog up this current thread.
03/13/2018 at 10:51 am #35030
T-Satt as I posted in another place, don’t think Ebay or FedEx has too much they can do about it. I think it is the USPS finally charging FedEx more for the last leg delivery. USPS upping the rates my chaning the DIM wieght system and just increasing what they are charging FedEx do do the last 50% of the work for them. Seems like USPS would just as soon for you to use them and forget about FedEx since the USPS is doing a big part of the work anyway. Also since USPS is the last one to handle the delivery, then they seem to not want to be held responsible for any screw ups on the front end by FedEx. Especially with these new Ebay guarateed delivery or you get your purchase for free programs. Who pays for a failed delivery when two carriers are partned together on the delivery.
mike in Atl.
03/12/2018 at 8:02 pm #34985
“College is a financial transaction. You are paying for an education to get you a better income.”
Yes, it’s a financial transaction, but you are paying for more than just a better income. I certainly got a lot more out of it than that. Friendships, broader world view by meeting so many different types of people and being forced to take subjects outside of your major, independence, how to think about and approach many different kinds of problems, the list goes on. That said, I completely agree that it is not for everyone and has been over-pushed on people, and that blue-collar jobs and training have been under-rated.
03/12/2018 at 8:22 pm #34989
Education is important, but the cost of US higher education is out of proportion. Kids graduating from public state colleges are getting out with $100k in debt. I went to college and enjoyed my friends, but that’s not a reasonable cost.
I graduated in 1995 from a state university and only had $20k in debt. I think I was the last generation to get a reasonably priced education.
If we had kids, look at what Virginia in-state education costs:’http://www.schev.edu/index/tuition-aid/in-state-tuition-fees
03/12/2018 at 1:16 pm #34899
Thank God my kids are in a good school district that teaches finance with an actual checkbook that the kids must use throughout the semester to “pay” for things and learn about “late fees” and rent, etc. Their grade is based on keeping a good balance in their account and not going in the negative. All 4 of my kids have taken the class and are really good with spending.
03/12/2018 at 8:28 pm #34992
I’m really glad to hear your public schools teach personal finance. Awesome.
03/12/2018 at 1:22 pm #34901
We homeschool, my wife had our last two children at home with a midwife, and we run an ebay business selling dirty old used shoes. The “Oh I could never do that” attitude comes about with anything out of the social norm. We get that kind of reaction all the time. Most people are lazy, non-committal, and don’t want to take personal responsibility for their lives plain and simple. We’re more than willing to accept the responsibility and potential outcomes for our decisions. As they say, freedom ain’t free.
If we don’t have enough money we find a way to make more. If we can’t afford something we find a way to get it cheaper, find a suitable alternative, or do without. That’s life.
We share our story with anyone who asks with complete honesty. I don’t think most people know how to process pure honesty in this day & age of get rich quick and lose weight fast schemes. If they don’t want to listen that’s fine with me. That just leaves more opportunities for us!
03/12/2018 at 3:25 pm #34919
03/12/2018 at 5:18 pm #34953
A and CParticipant
Retro, you guys sound so much like us. Just add 2 to the number of home births (4 out of 6) and throw in a paid off farm with a few family milk cows! We’ve always been considered a little odd;-), but it works for us. Sounds like it works for you guys, too!
03/12/2018 at 1:28 pm #34903
Items in Store 963
Items Sold 18
Total Sales $729.00
Total Profit $680.98
Average profit $37.83
Average sales price $40.50
Highest sale: Coogi Sweater for $250. Paid $4 at Goodwill for it.
Man it was so fun to find and sell a Coogi sweater. I probably could have held out for more, but I’m happy with that amount.
Saturday the weather was better so I spent some time in my storage shed cleaning, organizing, and condensing listed bins. Does anyone else enjoy condensing bins? I love doing it! There’s just something satisfying about emptying a bin, making a stack of empty bins, and seeing nothing but full bins on the shelf. It is invigorating and makes me want to go list stuff!
Speaking of listing, I haven’t listed for almost 3 weeks. My pipeline keeps chugging out money to my pocket, which is quite nice.
Have a great week everyone.
03/12/2018 at 3:28 pm #34920
Retro: Jealous of the Coogi sweater. I never see them!
I can’t condense bins, as that would mean changing locations in SixBit/Ebay, so I just periodically look for ones that have room. I love our process…but being able to condense is something I miss!
03/12/2018 at 5:23 pm #34955
Bin and Location are two separate things for me. I enter bin in Wonder Lister. The location is a separate spreadsheet.
For example, Sweater A is assigned to Bin #100. Sweater A will always be in Bin #100. However, bin #100 can change locations, be combined with another bin, or down sized from a 30 Gallon bin to a 18 gallon bin or smaller. Yes, a little more work to keep the Location spreadsheet up to date, but space is more important to me.
03/12/2018 at 5:34 pm #34958
Mark: Gotcha. For us, they are the same, primarily since my location is a drawer (I use filing drawers for storing most clothing items, as it is very compact). So we just have the 1 location that we put in the SKU.
The caveat is that when something goes to our outside warehouse, we put WH on the end so we can desinate what is in the basement vs at the outside warehouse.
03/13/2018 at 10:16 am #35024
Mark: In WL why don’t you just create a “custom field” and put the other data you put into the spread sheet into the custom field you created in WL. We have 6 custom fields we created in WL Buy Date, Where bought, scale weight, photo folder location, Etsy field, Shopify field. Those can be sorted and filtered, reports generated and bulk edited just as any standard default field already present in WL.
we also created about half a dozen extra Item Specific fields and by placing an asterisk “*” in each field, it will stick [stay] in our generic listing template and always be available on each listing ready for data entry or we can bulk edit, sort, filter on thos also.
BTW.. this can also be done in SixBit for those users.
Mike at MDC Galleries in Atlanta
03/13/2018 at 8:35 am #35016
I literally change the bin location of items.
It is easy to condense bins in ebay. You just search items by custom label. That will pull up every item in a specific bin. With the edit slider on, you can change the custom label for each item.
I don’t use sixbit, but I assume you should be able to sort on bin # and change individually as well.
Say Bin# A11 is getting low. I’ll pull it, search “custom label” field for A11 to pull up all the items in bin A11. I’ll then pull each item and drop them in another bin that has a bit of room and edit the custom label in ebay as I go. This also allows me to do a periodic inventory check to make sure everything is listed in the bin since I am completely emptying the bin.
This weekend I emptied 6 bins. I bring the empty bins back to my office to be loaded with fresh new listed inventory. The bin # will stay the same.
03/13/2018 at 9:14 am #35018
Retro: It is easy and possible to do that in SixBit…I’m just lazy… 🙂
I just look each day at what drawers have space, and then list back into those drawers.
03/13/2018 at 10:23 am #35025
Yep.. That is what we do in WonderLister. Just sort/filter on the “Bin Number”, up pops a list and if there are only 3 items in that bin, we re-assign into another bin that has a very low content. Move those items into the low level bin and bring the empty one back to our office for refilling with new items.
T-Satt.. “to lazy”. I sit in my chair and let my fingers manager my inventory within WL. How much lazy can this be. Sit in my pajamas, cup of coffee in my hand, listening to soft music and re-arrange 100 items using two fingers. I like my definition of “lazy” better than yours. 🙂 LOL
Oh and BTW sometimes I take the laptop into our storage area and place it on our rolling cart and just walk around and reloacte items right then and there and just edit the location field in WonderLister. That is my “exercise program” version.
mike at mdc galleries in Atl.
- This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by MDC Galleries.
03/13/2018 at 11:11 am #35034
Mike, I hear you, and I have no real good answer. I guess I’m lazy mentally. Rather than consolidate a drawer, I would rather fill that sucker up. Since the majority of my clothing is in drawers, I really don’t get any benefit from consolidating. I still have the same number of drawers in the basement.
I work more to cycle through. Start at drawer 1, fill it. Then drawer 2, fill it. Continue until I am out of drawers for that type. By then, I should have room in 1, fill it. Then room in drawer 2, fill it.
Empty drawers mean I need to do more listing… 🙂
03/13/2018 at 11:16 am #35036
yep, heard you mention before. We even gave some serious thought to using file cabinets, but so much of our inventory is odd shaped, over sized home decor that drawers are mainly just to small for a lot of stuff. Others, they are to large for very small pieces and we would have to use hanging file folder inserts to separate a hundred little items, so we just use small show boxes within our numbered bin system.
we thought the filing cabinets idea was so cool but just could not figure out to use them with any great efficiency with our type of inventory.
Onward and upwards.
03/13/2018 at 1:03 pm #35050
Yeah, Veronica uses shelves for most items, and we just number the shelves. When they are going to the outside warehouse, we package them up and they are ready to ship, then put the SKU on the side and top. Then we put the warehouse location in SixBit, which updates the eBay listing.
But for shirts and pants…nothing better than drawers! 🙂
03/12/2018 at 2:07 pm #34906
- Location: Wheeling, WV
March 4 – 10
Total Items in Store: 1399
Items Sold: 23
Total Sales : $600
below yearly average of $655
below 2017 total sales of $769
Highest Price: $65 (1970s Bulova Accutron N3 Date and Day Watch)
Average Price: $26
Cost of Goods Sold: $115
Costs of Goods Purchased this Week: $0
Number of Items Listed this Week: 42
It hasn’t been a great week of sales. My volume of sales are about average, but my average price stinks. On top of that is a high COGS from a couple bad buys. I’m going to start sharing my 365 day sales average as well as my 2017 weekly total sales to better reflect how well or poor I’m doing.
I had LOTS of best offers this week. I entertained most of them, countered a lot with realistic prices and had to outright decline several. Much like a lot of things on eBay, they come in waves. I try to stick to my guns with reasonable price decreases, but when sales are slow it’s really tempting to take those half price offers.
In thinking about this week’s discussion about frugality, I went and checked out my credit card purchase over the last month. I went out to eat a total of 6 times for a sum of $160. Ewww. It’s weird because I’ve always viewed the act of going out to eat a rare treat to do maybe once every other month. In my mind, when I think of going to a restaurant for dinner, I guess I’m forgetting how often I’ve been going lately. I need to get a handle on those kinds of purchases again I suppose. I understand the frugal lifestyle, though. And it’s something that I strive to adhere to. Though it can be hard when your partner doesn’t completely believe in living frugally. But I think she’s beginning to come around.
03/12/2018 at 3:31 pm #34923
Make sure to go out to eat when shopping. Then it is a business meal and you can deduct 50% on your taxes…
03/13/2018 at 11:22 am #35038
T-Satt you sure about this. Our CPA said that if we go out buying [usually two or three times a week] and take enough time to have to eat lunch or dinner, that yes only 50% of that meal is deductible but only for a “client’s portion, not for us. he said the IRS assumes that you have to eat so your meal whether you bring a sandwich to work, go out or whatever is on us. Only if we take a “client” such as another dealer, a shop owner, etc., etc. would their portion of the meal be deductible, not our half. And on our receipt, we need to list who was at the meeting-meal, nature of the business and then only 50% of the meal could be used as a business deduction.
If what you say is actually correct, then 50% of what we eat each weekend is deductible? We usually eat 4 to 6 meals out per week depending on how many sources we are hitting that week.
mike at MDC in Atl.
03/13/2018 at 1:13 pm #35051
Good point. I am conflating that Veronica and I will routinely go out and have a long meal, discussing business strategies and goals. Those should fall under business meals, but I have not verified that with a CPA.
I should probably check that…
03/12/2018 at 2:12 pm #34908
Our number were similar this week.
Coogi sweaters – one of my favorite items. I don’t know if ypu were here or remember, but about 2 years ago i got a whole tub of vintage Austrailian sweaters and hats at a garage sale for $50. The sales on those were crazy goid. If i could find something like that again!
Condensing listed bins – a favorite of mine too. You reclaim space (which is high in demand and scarse) and save money by not having to buy new containers! I love the outcome, but i dont always like the work involved. But it is always worth it.
03/13/2018 at 9:33 am #35020
I about died when I found the Coogi sweater – I couldn’t imagine finding a whole tub of them! I am soooo looking forward to yardsale season this year. Can’t wait to see what treasures I happen across. Thrift store scavenging is feeling kinda stale right now.
03/12/2018 at 2:16 pm #34910
Listening to the podcast as I post. I have been battling a sinus infection for two weeks, so I haven’t been as active with eBay as I should have been. Two weeks ago sales sucked, but I felt so bad I didn’t really care. Last week was much better. Got my best scavenge of the year so far from an online auction. Three IKEA Henriksdal chairs with covers for $1. Like new-two of the covers are still in the packages. I actually got them to use, but they are just too big for the space (and my husband HATED them). I have them listed on Facebook right now, but I’m probably going to have to do CL or eBay to get them out of my house. Feeling better this week and hoping to get back into the eBay groove and tackle the death piles. I did hit a new milestone last week with 1,000 listings!
eBay week of 4-10
Total sales. $201.64
Items in store. 996
#of items sold. 14
Avg. sale. $14.40
$ spent on new. $36.57
#new listings. 25
Highest sale. $51 vtg Toshikane peacock earrings (auction)
03/12/2018 at 2:20 pm #34912
Yes, I think that is one thing that makes it difficult – your partner is not as frugal as you. My wife is somewhat frugal, but my kids have that consumer mind set. Also their competetive gymnastics is not cheap. I think agreeing to a budget for things and sticking to it is the key. It just gets hard when things change fast.
03/12/2018 at 2:40 pm #34914
Here’s my numbers for the week of March 4 – 10:
total active listings: 893 (I never remember to get them as of Saturday, so they are from this moment)
Total number of items sold: 17
total gross sales (not including shipping): $308.40
Total COG: $15.13 (just the cost of the items, not the ebay & PP fees)
Total Net after COG & Fees: $256.30
Average Sales Price: $18.14
Total number listed this week: 107
Total number listed from death 2017 pile: 29
total dollar amount listed: $3268
total average sale price of items listed: $37.22
I’m pretty stoked about this week. My overall sales dollar volume went up. I believe that is in part, a result of me listing items for a higher value. I still have the pressure to list and need to get my inventory up to 2000 as fast as possible. My immediate goal is to be able to generate $600 net per week. And I need the inventory to be listed to achieve that. right now its off to the post office. I just had a pretty decent Monday morning in combination with a sweet etsy sale over the weekend of $155 (including shipping) for a complete set of World Book Encyclopedias (all 50 pounds of them…UGHHHH). In fact, that sale was the high sale of the week. I picked up the books at the goodwill bins and paid around $4.50 for the set at 15 cents per linear inch by the binding. All the other book buyers out there pass by the things I’m looking for, crafting and hobby books, old cookbooks, bibles, and encyclopedia sets. So, it works out pretty well.
03/12/2018 at 2:57 pm #34915
I have one eBay store where I sell wholesale replenishable home goods and i offer Free Shipping and I can tell you it is by no means FREE for the international buyer to get it shipped from the GSP center in Kentucky to wherever they are at. When I am printing the shipping label to get it to the GSP center in Kentucky I can see how much the buyer paid for shipping…and it’s almost always a crazy amount of money! I’m starting to wonder if offering other international shipping options other than GSP would be cheaper for the international buyer and boost my international sales.
03/12/2018 at 6:07 pm #34962
Another at home hair-cutter here – my daughter has been cutting my hair since SHE was 6! She begged me to let her cut my hair since she was 4 or 5 and by the time she was 6 I finally gave in – and she did a great job. I do go in every couple of years to the regular hair dresser but generally my daughter cuts my hair. I used to cut her hair but now she cuts her own hair too and does a pretty cute job of it.
03/12/2018 at 6:08 pm #34964
Mark – how do you do with Coogi mens jeans and jean shorts – I come across them a lot and most of the time I pass on them. Should I be picking them up?
03/12/2018 at 6:21 pm #34969
KatieScott: Not sure how Mark does on the jeans, be we don’t do that well. We have 3 out three out there, 2 since August/September…no sales. They are priced in the $40s…
03/12/2018 at 6:42 pm #34975
Funny you should ask about Coogi Jeans and shorts. I picked up a pair of Mens Coogi jeans and Womens Coogi shorts while I was down in Florida. I got them both from the same guy at the Wagon Wheel of all places.
I sold the mens jeans for $39.99 and it took 13 months for them to sell. The womens Coogi shorts sold for $31.49 and it took 21 months to sell them.
So, yes, they sell, but are much longer tail. The Coogi sweaters were flying out fast. For the sweaters, it all depended on how much I was willing to hold out for. I was able to get the highest dollar for the Vintage Sweaters made in Austrailla that were 100% Wool. And of course the more colorful and better the pattern, the more they went for.
03/12/2018 at 9:26 pm #34997
And both pair of the Coogi jeans had minor condition issues.
So, maybe if they didn’t have any condition issues they may have sold faster.
03/12/2018 at 6:29 pm #34972
Enjoying the discussion about frugality in the podcast and comments above. As scavengers, we see the end result of our consumerist society. I often go to the Goodwill Outlet, which is likely the last stop before the landfill, and it is quite disheartening to see the sheer quantity of items that go through there on any given day. Despite the crowds of shoppers there, I estimate most bins are still 3/4 full when they are pulled off the floor. I find some satisfaction, at least, in rescuing some treasures from the trash and through ebay finding them a new home.
03/12/2018 at 6:38 pm #34973
- Location: Virginia Beach
I managed to have a strong sales week, despite being on the road – big thanks to my partner for his willingness to do my shipping while I was away!
The strong #s were thanks to a few larger sales, the biggest noted below (purchased for $12 in an online auction):
03/04/18 – 03/10/18
Total Items In Store: 757
Items Sold: 25
Total Sales: $1,458.77 (shipping not incl)
Cost of Items Sold: $52 (a bit low, as I sold some items that came free to me, as well as a few items of old stock from a shop I closed in early 2017)
Highest Price Sold: $660 – Stella McCartney Crocheted Purse – https://www.ebay.com/itm/NWOT-Stella-McCartney-Falabella-Cream-Crochet-Pompom-Chain-Purse-Hand-Bag-Italy/322938092511
Average Price Sold: $63.23
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $85.06
Number of Items listed this week: 0 (traveling)
I enjoyed the podcast, and now forum, conversation on frugal living; it’s a favorite topic, and I like getting into the nitty gritty, numbers, etc, cause that’s how you can see to get it done. I became aware of FI as a thing a few years back, “late” in life compared to many I now read about who are pursuing that path. And I could consider myself doubly behind in a sense, having turned out something of a serial gig employee/entrepreneur, rather than a “good job”/steady paycheck/$100K salary kind of person (I mean, someone who studies Art History and Food System Sustainability can only go up, financially!). I’m easily on the path to making better money than I did working for non-profits and small businesses, all while managing my own time and not having to report to an office in office clothes. I’m happy, and I love my lifestyle.
03/12/2018 at 8:38 pm #34993
- Location: Las Vegas
I’m on board with frugal scavenger life style but I came to it late, my 60’s. Now at 71 I’m happily selling on ebay to supplement my retirement income. Every dollar I don’t spend is one I don’t have to earn, one and a half with taxes. Lots of us can’t pass up instant gratification. A case could be made that if you sacrifice and work hard and then get run over by a bus leaving a million dollars in the bank you would have missed the benefits. I think it doesn’t have to be black or white. People can adopt some of the frugal habits to start and seeing the benefits, grow into the life style. Sorry Geezers ramble but I do enjoy the podcast, look forward to it every week.
03/12/2018 at 8:56 pm #34995
Absolutely. Especially in your 70’s, enjoy!
03/12/2018 at 9:48 pm #34998
I posted my numbers above but now I have a chance to chime in about for gallery and other topics. Two things that we’ve done that are relatively frugal are: build a log cabin by hand with the trees on our land I never took out a mortgage on it and we’re having our daughter who is a junior in high school take college courses for free now, which count towards high school graduation but are also excepted, in state, as college credits. When she goes to college she will have two years of college work done and be able to go right into working on her senior level classes for whatever her degree will be. Also, we did go to California and visit some schools out there, but none of them were interested in excepting The college credits from Minnesota, even though their credits from accredited schools. So, we had her visit the local public colleges and university here in Minnesota and found one, U.M.D., that will pay for half her college tuition is long as she keeps her number one rank in high school and graduated valedictorian. So, we figure she’ll only have to pay for room and board for two years and when your tuition at the very most, and that’s assuming she doesn’t get other scholarships. The same school as graduate programs in her degree field (Chemical engineering). For post graduate Programs in chemical engineering, the school will pay for your tuition room and board and to give you $14,000 your stipend. The goal here is to have little to no college education death upon exiting with a degree.
03/12/2018 at 9:55 pm #34999
03/12/2018 at 9:56 pm #35000
The fact that you guys have had a vision really makes it amazing. Most people are just reacting to their financial situation so are always one step behind.
03/12/2018 at 11:04 pm #35003
If your daughter is high school valedictorian and taking college courses, does that mean her SATs, AP scores, and other application aspects are good enough for her to consider applying to an Ivy League or similar-rank school? Although they likely will not accept her minnesota credits, they will be a big bonus on her application, but more importantly most also provide ALL financial aid in the form of direct grants, and NOT loans, not anymore. So you wouldn’t have any financial reasons to worry about the minn credits being accepted. Princeton was the first to start doing loan-free aid in the 90s, and many (most?) have followed suit. Stanford has a pretty good deal, too. This of course, depends on family resources – they only do this if you qualify. Worth checking out if your kid is such a superstar and has serious academic interests and wants to be with other academic superstars.
“Under the new policy, Stanford will expect no parental contribution toward tuition from parents with annual incomes below $125,000 – previously $100,000 – and typical assets. And there will be zero parental contribution toward tuition, room or board for parents with annual incomes below $65,000 – previously $60,000 – and typical assets.”
Here’s a similar chart for Princeton:
I hope I’m not being too nosy here. I just find that few people know about the fantastic deals available at the top universities.
03/12/2018 at 10:01 pm #35002
03/04/18 – 03/10/18
Total Items In Store: 1,040
Items Sold: 52
Total Sales: $2,008.79
Cost of Items Sold: $359
Highest Price Sold: $105 backpack
Average Price Sold: $38.63
Taking a trip to the Dominican Republic this week with a couple friends. My first vacation (not scavenging trip) in a while – and I actually am putting the store on vacation as well as extending my handling time since we’re without wifi for most of the trip and I usually get a lot of questions/offers. I used credit card points gained by a travel card which I use for all of my thrift buys to purchase my airfare. And since we’re staying at my friend’s parents’ condo, lodging is also free. A frugal-ish trip and much needed. I’m excited.
03/12/2018 at 11:24 pm #35004
Trips that are funded through scavenger methods are the best. Have a great trip!
03/13/2018 at 12:56 am #35005
In response to Sonia….
We checked out Stanford, she may apply. We are aware that there are fantastic offerings from private schools. However, I don’t anticipate her ACT/SAT scores will be high. She has a brain impairment and anxiety disorder, both mean she has trouble testing. Her pre ACT came back at 23 out of 36. She will work to improve it, but we are not expecting great test scores. She also has significant health problems, so being close by for undergrad years felt like a good idea.
We want a school that really wants her and is accommodating. We checked out Harvey Mudd, of the 5 consortium colleges in CA too, thinking they would be a great choice. We were shocked by the admissions agent who literally told me, “Harvey Mudd is not the place for her”, when I explained her medical problems and need for accommodation. I felt like saying, “have you heard of the Americans with Dissabilities Act?” But it would have fallen on deaf ears.
The IVYs are so competitive. Seems like such an added pressure to me. Im looking for a school that wants her and is willing to serve her. Somewhere small and nurturing.
Oh and someone mentioned travel to Europe earlier. We have been sending our daughter abroad to Europe in the summers. We have had a variety of foreign exchange students. The kids become friends and visit each other in the summers! Tickets are subsidized with airline points.
Happy hunting all.
03/13/2018 at 10:55 pm #35109
The treatment you got at Harvey Mudd is surprising and very disappointing. I know someone whose daughter has dyslexia and goes to one of the other Claremont colleges and gets really good accommodation. Anyway, didn’t mean to butt in. Sounds like you’ve got all the bases covered for your daughter’s college selection process. Hope it goes well!
03/13/2018 at 1:59 am #35007
I just wanted to share some information with you that may be of benefit regarding your daughter’s educational pursuits.
First, in regards to her testing, if you have not already, you may want to speak with a counselor at her school to see if she qualifies for test accommodations on the ACT/SAT testing. https://www.collegeboard.org/students-with-disabilities
In regards to her college pursuits, by law a person cannot be denied admission to a college due to their disability. You are right about the American with Disabilities Act. There are also other laws that protect persons with disabilities when it comes to attending college. This is a list of laws put together by Houston Community College – http://www.hccs.edu/support-services/disability-services/disability-laws-in-higher-education/. Just because a person is covered by a law, it does not mean a particular college is right for them. You are right about making sure the college chosen is one that will be a best fit for your daughter.
When choosing a college,
Step 1 -make sure your daughter’s medical condition, brain impairment, and anxiety disorder are fully documented and current. Step 2 – If you have identified a college you think your daughter might be interested in attending, look up the college’s website. Once at the website, look under Services. Go to the their Disabled Student Services link where you can read what their procedure is for applying to become a student in the program and for making an appointment with one of their counselors. When you call to make an appointment, ask to have their eligibility paperwork sent to you so you and your daughter can fill it out and have it ready by the time of the appointment. Bring both sets of paperwork to the appointment. This will help them in determining your daughter’s eligibility for services. If she is determined to be eligible for services, they will speak with you and your daughter as to what her goals are, the most appropriate educational path, and how to apply to the college. They will also be able to speak with you as to whether she qualifies for specific and general accommodations.
- This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by AdventureE.
03/13/2018 at 4:09 am #35011
You have my gratitude here.the list of information you have provided is incredibly extensive and useful to both e, any anyone else I need of this information.
Because she is currently enrolled at a college while in high school, she actually underwent the entire process you described here. In fact, the college she is attending had her work through this process herself. What an invaluable benefit that has been. Additionally, she has to set up a meeting with her Professors at the start of each semester and talk to them about her conditions and needs so they understand. A piece of paper only says so much. And there is no outward appearance of her issues to an observer.
03/13/2018 at 2:20 pm #35057
Thanks for another good one. You two made me smile, thinking of how bad off I was when I got laid off in 2015 from my 26 year computer career, and subsequently found out I had Celiac’s disease, I was too sick to go back to work for awhile as I had gone undiagnosed since I was probably 19 years old. Then somehow I miraculously found your youtube’s. Seriously, you guys saved me, I was walking on the edge. I’m 61 now, paid off an additional $9,000 on my home mortgage last year, and on track to reach the goal that I had before I was laid off of having it completely paid off by the time I’m 65. It is so frickin do-able!!! Thank you thank you thank you!
03/13/2018 at 2:27 pm #35060
Cooking a lot at home is very necessary with Celiac’s, so I do what you guys do a lot already. It isn’t that hard, cook up a big hunk o protein and use it in various dishes the next night, make big batches and freeze up for future dinners, and on and on. I thought you had a little food forum, but I do not see it. I thought of you when I saw this recipe for using some of that InstaPot chicken you make, I’m going to try it tonight:
03/13/2018 at 2:53 pm #35064
Food topics are here: https://www.scavengerlife.com/forums/forum/random-thoughts/food-recipes-tips-eat/
03/13/2018 at 3:02 pm #35066
OH! Under random thoughts. Thanks, Jay.
03/13/2018 at 3:31 pm #35067
- Location: South Dakota
Mar 4-10 2018
• Total Items in Store: 825
• Items Sold: 15
• International 1 GSP
• Total Sales $1004
• Highest Price $330 Pioneer Speakers
• Average Price Sold: $67
• Returns: 0
• Cost of Items Sold: $60
• Cost of items purchased this week $0
03/13/2018 at 4:09 pm #35070
Just listening to the Podcast, and to answer Ryanne’s question about GSP with free shipping, for an international buyer like me, the free shipping only is to Erlanger, KY.
I will still have to pay the Pitney-Bowes GSP shipping fee, as well as Customs/Duty on top of the item price.
For items without free shipping on GSP, I pay for shipping to Erlanger, KY on top of the other fees mentioned above.
03/13/2018 at 5:49 pm #35079
Are you in Canada?
03/14/2018 at 9:18 am #35140
Yes – I’m just barely across the border in Canada (just outside Niagara Falls).
For GSP shipments coming to Canada, I know that they leave Erlanger, KY by truck and head to a customs processing facility at the Pearson Airport just outside of Toronto.
Once they clear customs, the items are re-labeled by a Pitney-Bowes processing center with a Canada Post shipping label and tracking number and handed over to the post office for delivery.
03/14/2018 at 9:21 am #35142
I’ve heard some Canadians say that they hate GSP because they never actually have to pay custom fees on items they buy.
–Is it true that you dont have to pay customs on items under $50?
–Or is the Canadian government just not good at catching most items so it becomes a “no custom fees” situation?
03/15/2018 at 9:26 am #35235
The customs fee situation in Canada is absolutely random. One week I will buy an item for $100, and pay nothing. The next week it will be an item for $50 and I will have to pay. However, I would say that I pay customs on items that are non-GSP about 75% of the time.
In addition to customs, some of the major carriers charge very large fees to collect customs on behalf of the government – for example, UPS charged be $25 yesterday on top of customs for an item I purchased from the U.S. When using GSP, you don’t have that additional carrier fee for collection.
The last pain point is that some sellers overvalue an item (to match the $100 insurance) no matter what the item is worth, and you have to pay taxes based on that value. Also, customs can “revalue” an item – if it says $20 on the label, but they deem it to be a $500 item, they will charge duties/taxes on the $500.
I personally prefer GSP – I know up front what I will be paying in total for the item instead of gambling on a good result. With any gamble, the house (this case the government) always wins in the long run.
03/15/2018 at 9:41 am #35239
Wow. You’re the first buyer I’ve heard admit they like GSP. Makes sense if the import taxes will be charged one way or another. better to do it all at once.
The argument we get from overseas buyers is that they actually dont have to pay the import taxes and want us to mark it as a “gift”. In our early days of selling, we would then have the buyer refuse the package because (I assume) their government slapped them with extra fees they didn’t want to pay.
03/15/2018 at 1:37 pm #35253
I sold two Polo Ralph Lauren duffle bags to a Canadian buyer once. He complained about the GSP costs so I let him kick it out of GSP so I could ship them together. The Combined international shipping from me was MORE than two separate GSP shipping amounts.
03/15/2018 at 3:30 pm #35278
Marking an item a “gift” on the customs form to avoid duty/taxes is an urban legend. It does in some cases mean different customs limits, but they aren’t guaranteed and it is still up to the customs officers discretion.
There is a show on in Canada called “Border Security” where they follow U.S. and Canadian customs agents, and they actually have shown on the show eBay shipments where the customs forms were filled out improperly. Sellers ship the items in eBay boxes, eBay envelopes, or with eBay tape and the customs agent just goes to a computer, and can quickly figure out how much the item was really sold for based on the ship from location and the matching eBay sold listings.
03/13/2018 at 4:46 pm #35073
I continue to be embarrassed by my numbers. I need more time in the day, and more commitment and motivations I guess. Between 3 kids, and their activities and “soft” sales, I’m struggling.
Total Items in Store: 640
• Items Sold: 18
• Total Sales $178
• Highest Price $25 (ugh!!!)baggallini purse
• Average Price Sold: $9.88
• Returns: 0
• Cost of Items Sold: $15ish
Such LOW costs items. It’s like someone went through and only bought the very cheapest items I had listed. I try not to bother with that stuff, but if I hadn’t…I would have had almost no sales.
03/17/2018 at 5:05 pm #35454
You have 3 kids and a store with 640 items. Stop the conversation right there. I can’t even start to imagine what is must be like to have to constantly prioritize time and activities with having to care for your 3 kids, attend their activities, and yet still find items to sell, research and price those items, create listings, keep up with ebay happenings, maintain your store, ship, and even participate in this forum. Try not to compare yourself to anyone else in here or in the larger ecommerce world/ebay world. They are not living your life and you are not living their life.
Selling a bunch of low priced items can be frustrating which is something even J&R have spoken about in their podcasts. That is just part of doing business regardless of where you are selling from – online or brick and mortar. Try to be present in each moment and don’t worry about what anyone else has to say or the should ofs, could ofs and would ofs of life.
03/19/2018 at 10:13 am #35538
The little sales add up over time. Let’s say last year you had total 50 sales between $5-10 profit (approx. 1 a week). That is $250-$500! If you would have just tossed those items instead of taking the time to list them, you wouldn’t have that money.
I also don’t like listing the lower profit items, but I do as long as I’m interested. Feed the machine and it will feed you.
I have a full time job and 4 kids, 3 of which are in baseball or softball this spring. I head coach the youngest one and assistant coach the middle one. To say I have no time is an understatement! You just gotta break it down into small tasks, tackle one tub of items at a time. I typically work for one hour at a time whenever and wherever I can fit it in. You’ll get there, just keep swimming!
Small tips to make time:
– When in the car, have someone else drive while you list. I’ve done this many times. Either list on your phone or create a hotspot so you can use wifi on another device. Just bring a bag of whatever items you can easily handle in the car. I like doing shoes. Take pictures when you are back home. If you list smalls, you could even photo in the car with a small portable light box.
– “garden” your store in down times. Waiting in line? Edit and reprice old listings on your phone while you wait. I do this by sorting my items by end date. I’ll review and edit the items that are ending within 24 hours.
– Reverse list in down times. To do this, take photos on your phone of items. This way you always have a back-log of photographed items you could research and create listings for wherever you are or whatever you are doing. Include photos using a tape measure so you capture your dimensions as well. I have done this before but I don’t really like doing it anymore because I like having the actual item in my hands when I create the listing draft. Maybe I’ll get back into it sometime.
– Have a day job? Use your breaks and lunch to list on ebay! I list and even ship during my breaks and lunch. My boss is cool with it. My coworkers (and boss) like to make fun of me and all the odd women’s shoe/clothing items I bring in. I don’t care – I laugh with them…all the way to the bank!
Using my breaks and lunch can buy me an hour a day to work on ebay.
03/19/2018 at 10:39 am #35543
I agree with your Day Job tips – I do all my shipping on the way to work (drive right past the post office) and on breaks/lunch I start draft listings, do research, or go to local thrift stores by the office (I have a Goodwill right across the street now).
I’ve also sourced from co-workers who are getting rid of items that I typically sell (video games, electronics, sports memorabilia).
I rather spend my lunch and breaks doing work for myself instead of gossiping with other employees.
If they only knew how much money I was pulling in a week, my co-workers would stop laughing at me when I fill my trunk with bubble wrap, boxes, and other packing supplies.
03/13/2018 at 5:43 pm #35076
Week of 3-4 to 3-10
Total items in store start of week: 270
Total items in store end of week: 269
Total sales: $141.94 (does not include shipping or cancelled items)
# items sold: 6
Weekly Sell Through Rate: 2.15%
Average Sales Price: $23.65
Unpaid Items: 0
# items listed: 5
Pretty much an average week for my small store. My highest priced item was a vintage ski jacket for $50. This is the third time I have sold it. I am thankful that the buyer paid and it has been shipped. out. I didn’t quite hold my own with total number of listings this week, but I will keep at it.
This weeks total items listed goal: 280
03/13/2018 at 7:37 pm #35095
Outing myself as being super frugal. Partly it comes naturally to me, and partly I realized early in my working life that I HATED every job I ever had. I was willing to do almost anything to never have to work again.
I never made a lot of money – non-profits in South Carolina do not pay six figures – but I used that money as wisely as I could. I bought a reasonable house with a reasonable mortgage and paid it off as quickly as I could. Every raise at work meant that I increased my retirement account until I was maxing it out so now my retirement is just about covered. Lunches were brought from home, cars were purchased second hand and driven into the ground, vacations meant visiting my family or friends and staying at their house. Books and movies are borrowed from the library and food is cooked at home.
It wasn’t much of a hardship because I knew that each of these decisions brought me closer to quitting my job and never needing another one.
Recently, I reached a crossroads where my Ebay store was almost covering all of my expenses but I could not put any more time into it because of my job (which I hated). Since my expenses were so low and I had savings, I was able to quit my job and am ramping up my store so that it should very quickly be able to pay all of my bills. I have huge motivation to make it work because I never want to have another job ever again.
03/13/2018 at 7:58 pm #35097
Amazingly motivating! Love your story and mindset!
03/13/2018 at 8:36 pm #35100
It really is about changing your lifestyle. Great example.
Some people think being frugal means not enjoying life, but like your story, it’s all about being more efficient. Cooking your own meals will often taste better as well as being cheaper. Driving beat up cars means you don’t worry at all if it gets scratched. Reading books at the library lets you read much more than if you had to buy every book. Traveling to visit friends is more fun than spending thousands at an anonymous resort.
Plus you don’t live with the constant background stress of owing money.
03/13/2018 at 8:56 pm #35102
- Location: Virginia Beach
Exactly, Jay. @antarestar, thanks for sharing your story. Wish I had maxed out my retirement account while working my own non-profit (non)glory days.
03/13/2018 at 9:10 pm #35104
@silverfoxfinds I basically ended up with the same take home pay for the 9 years that I worked there since I kept putting more and more into my retirement each year. Plus, it put me in a lower tax bracket.
I was lucky in that my parents talked money with me growing up, so I had a good base knowledge. Then when all the personal finance blogs came out, I devoured them. Learned everything I could and dutifully put it into practice.
03/13/2018 at 8:58 pm #35103
Thanks T-Satt. I don’t think anyone that I worked with thought I was a spendthrift but I don’t think they fully understood the extent of my frugality. Everyone was so jealous when I told them I was quitting.
Jay – my car is scratched to shit. The last time I had a fender bender in it, not my fault, the other person looked about to cry when I got out to assess the damage. I looked at both our cars, couldn’t actually see where the damage was, shrugged my shoulders and said “I’m ok if you’re ok”. The other driver seemed so relieved that I didn’t make a fuss about things. The whole interaction took about 30 seconds.
As for cooking meals, I have some homemade Naan bread proofing in the kitchen right now. It’s better than any store bought bread I’ve ever had. Add butter and roasted garlic to make a savory bread and nutella for a sweet bread. I’m a total carb addict.
Books from the library means that I don’t feel obligated to finish a book if it’s not holding my interest. Somehow that is so liberating.
03/13/2018 at 10:36 pm #35108
Ughhhh….so did you see today that eBay changed their Returns Process so that ORIGINAL shipping must be reimbursed for returned items…even for buyer’s remorse…as long as you accept returns? I have 30 day returns but have always had the buyer pay original and return shipping for remorse issues.
Here’s the link. Click the + sign next to “You changed your mind about an item”:
03/14/2018 at 8:15 am #35128
03/14/2018 at 1:38 am #35114
Huh. I posted this yesterday, but I guess it didn’t take. Weird.
RR Store Week March 4-10, 2018
Total Items in Store: 1477
Items Sold: 38
Cost of Items Sold: $36.71
Total Sales: $558.90
Highest Price Sold: $45 (vintage Brownie uniform)
Average Price Sold: $14.71
Money Spent on New Inventory This Week: $60
Number of items listed this week: 29
Quite the rollercoaster, this business. Lots of items sold this week, but all small potatoes. But a sale is a sale, and I’m grateful for all of them. Glad I had a great week last time around to pad this so-so one.
Estate sales were few and far between, and the ones that I did find were slim pickings. I left all but one empty handed. That almost never happens. But you don’t really know what’s going to be there until you walk in the door, so I go to all the local ones. Thrifts were pretty bleak too. So, I dove into my death pile of hard to list, low dollar items. Not fun, but at least it’s something.
Being frugal is difficult for me, but I’m getting better at it. Eating out was a huge expense for me, so I cut way back on it. I let my Disneyland annual pass expire a couple of years ago, and even though I miss it like crazy, I can’t justify the expense. One thing I’m super frugal (some might say weird) about is tape. I pull tape off of used packing materials and reuse it. I buy it on the cheap at estate sales whenever I can. I even reuse the round clear sticker used to seal shipping label packages! Also, I only use my weekly DJ money to buy inventory, nothing else. Now if I could only stop buying myself records…
03/14/2018 at 2:02 am #35115
The Thrift RaiderParticipant
Excuse the somewhat long post. I just listened to the Frugalwoods podcast. I hear so many people say they would love to retire to the country or whatever, but that’s just not me. I grew up in an area surrounded by woods in a small Louisiana village where there was just 2 or 3 convenience stores. Later we moved to a somewhat more populated small town, but I still felt far away from everything. I also grew up very, very poor. I remember going with my dad to pay back five Payday places in one day. Living in the city is a dream come true honestly. I literally always dreamed of being able to walk to stores and not having to depend on one car that is on the verge of breaking down. We were never a two car family and sometimes didn’t even have one. I feel like this has made me very dependent on a consistent stream of income.
I learned a lot about money from mostly Suze Orman and frugal blogs, but
I do feel like there is this sense of very frugal people looking down on others that spend a different way, or are seemingly caught up in a “rat race.” I do feel like my fiance and I are a frugal couple (when we aren’t paying out the ass for this wedding, which is a cheap wedding compared to most) but there are luxuries like concerts and blue apron, since we don’t know how to cook (at 35 and 36 we still struggle badly at cooking).
03/14/2018 at 8:09 am #35125
Having grown up in a dense city (Houston), I now really enjoy living in a small, rural town. No traffic. Surrounded by mountains. I know many of the people I see on the streets. Relationships matter.
But I talk to some people who grew up here and they hate it. They think the small town in boring and full of petty neighbors. No opportunities. They dream of going to the city where the action is. It’s always greener on the other side, right?
Being frugal isnt about judging people. Its just a set of strategies to save money. If you save money, you dont have to work as much or as long. Someone wants a new car? Cool. That purchase now locks them into several years of work to pay it off. Choices.
I try not to compare myself to others. Just try to identify with them.
- This reply was modified 3 months ago by Jay.
03/14/2018 at 11:01 am #35154
@The Thrift Raider – I’m with you on loving cities. I have seen similar rural poverty here in SC and none of it appeals to me in any way.
Have you seen the food blog BudgetBytes.com? That’s where I learned to cook. I was only a few years younger than you when I found it. She takes pictures and walks you through each step of the process. Her blog is still my main source of inspiration for meals.
I’ve tried Blue Apron (got a free trial) and I didn’t find it any easier for the actual cooking. The only difference was that I didn’t have to do any grocery shopping.
03/14/2018 at 12:32 pm #35170
@antarestar — I also LOVE budgetbytes.com. The recipes are easy and budget friendly and of the ~25 recipes I’ve tried, all have been excellent. There also are a lot of recipe options that are low carb or can be easily made low carb (i.e. subsitute another sweetener for sugar).
03/14/2018 at 11:22 am #35159
Listening to the podcast now. I try to advise some fellow art-inclined friends on how to go about procuring their dreams in a logical way, and they don’t want to hear it at all.
“I want to go to Europe, or Japan, and do this, and then do this, and then this.” “Okay, how do you propose going about that? How are you going to earn the money to do that?” Silence. It’s a pipe dream for a lot of them, and I really feel like a Debbie Downer in trying to show them how it’s not going to work at all, or if it will work, what steps will have to be taken in order to achieve what it is they want to do. People just don’t want to hear it.
03/14/2018 at 11:36 am #35167
Almasty: Yep. If you want to do it, it is a dream. If you plan out HOW to do it, it is a goal.
I have this now. I have always had a dream to thru hike the Appalachian Trail. About 10 years ago, I found out about the Colorado Trail, which is much shorter, so I can test if I REALLY want to do it. So that is on for this July/August.
I probably won’t be able to get to the AT (or the PCT) until a few years from now. Being without the income for 5-6 months isn’t easy at this age (mortgage, kids, etc.). So, I’m looking at how to have the business run without me for that period of time. With employees, the right product, etc., it can be done.
So, it moves from dream to goal. Most people WANT things, but stop at the early obstacles.
03/14/2018 at 12:34 pm #35171
What’s funny is that I am very much like these people, but I loathe working normal jobs so much that I have instead overthought tremendously on how to get out of working them. Selling things online and not having to go into work? Cool! I want to be at home and work on projects of my choosing when I want to, and not be encumbered by the restrictions of having to go to a place I don’t want to be in just to make money. Getting nice clothes, commuting, head down in figures and thinking up solutions for someone else’s problems? Naw. That is for someone else to do.
So, I get where they are coming from in just wanting to do and be without these additional hassles of living to look after. I just consider the way they act to have a lack of a survival instinct, to an extent, because of how ultimately important all the nitty gritty really is. It also helps that I don’t have all the normal things to worry about that people my age normally do (kids, mortgage, car payments, etc,.). That takes away a huge burden of responsibility that I would rather not have to deal with.
That is a really good idea to do a “test run” of something you have been meaning to do. On paper, it could look like the greatest idea ever. Two days on the trail, you might think “ah, what was I thinking? This pack is too heavy. Why did I bring so many clothes? I’ve run out of water already?!” It’s definitely a good exercise to better plan a longer run from. That is planning, not dreaming. 🙂
03/14/2018 at 11:24 am #35160
Regarding College, I do not plan on blindly sending any of my children to college. Far too many people go to college “just because”. Sending my kids to college “just because”? Nope. Colleges pump out faaarrrr too many “educated idiots” for my liking these days. I’m not contributing to that problem. As a society we’re working on convincing the SECOND generation in a row that they are a failure in life if they don’t go to college straight out of high school. That is insanity!
My parents told me I better go to college. Of course they weren’t willing to spend any money for me to go though. Ironic huh? Luckily for me, I had a sound head on my shoulders and told myself in 8th grade I’d make straight A’s in high school and get a free ride to college. I did exactly as I said I would. I had several scholarships throughout college, worked a job, and later landed a co-op job at the corp of engineers which also paid my tuition. I literally got paid to go to college because I had more scholarships than tuition cost. I worked my way through college and finished my degree in Mechanical Engineering. Most people from my high school that went with me dropped out of college.
Now even though I have that coveted Engineering degree, Everywhere I have worked I have been out-earned by the skilled tradesmen that perform the work I oversee or specify. They also generaly have higher job satisfaction than I do. Granted it is their overtime that allows that, but I have worked plenty of overtime myself over the years without pay as a salary employee.
Back in the early 00’s, in-state college tuition was affordable. My first year in 99/00 it was $2440 per School year (1220 per semester). By the time I graduated in early 2005 it was $3932 a year (1966 per semester). Current in-state tuition at that same college is $8128 per year!
That’s just tuition. No books or room & board. Why would I encourage my kids to burden themselves with that kind of debt for jobs that likely aren’t even available when they get out?? Why would I burden myself with that kind of debt if my kid doesn’t even have the drive to earn scholarships to go for free or greatly reduced rates?
We homeschool and I encourage my kids to explore their interests. I tell them everyday that they don’t have to wait until they are an adult or a have piece of paper to make their mark on the world. I’d rather spend $50k investing in my child’s business than spend $50k on a college degree.
My measurement for success for my children is that they have at least one marketable skill or trade by the time they leave my care as well as knowing how to be self reliant and manage their affairs.
Now if my kids find themselves on a path that leads them to college after they gain some practical skills and knowledge, then I’ll be all for it and will help them if they need it.
03/15/2018 at 4:36 pm #35291
So Cal JoeParticipant
“As a society we’re working on convincing the SECOND generation in a row that they are a failure in life if they don’t go to college straight out of high school. That is insanity!”
I couldn’t agree more. College is not for everyone. It should be available to those that truly desire to go, but it shouldn’t to be pushed on society as a whole.
Back when I was a student, it was actually still possible to work your way through college. State Universities were reasonably priced and graduating college without loans, was very possible.
Nowadays, it is just the opposite. You’d better have a good reason to go and you’d better graduate too. The college loan companies have been given the greatest latitude is collecting the loans from Congress. About the only way to get out from under them, short of repayment, is to die. It wouldn’t be so bad, except the schools have taken advantage of the situation and raised tuition rates astronomically.
We have truly done a disservice to the generations of students who have been burdened by this debt.
I would encourage anyone looking to go to college to research research research. Find whatever grants or scholarships are available. Seriously consider going to a Junior college for the first two years. Many of them have agreements with four years universities to accept transfer credits. Then find a good in state college with reasonable tuition.
Keep the loans to a minimum and pay them off quickly.
03/14/2018 at 12:51 pm #35175
almasty: Amen. Your part about head down in figures thinking up solutions for someone else’s problems hits me dead on. I was brought into a small company as a Controller to get them out of their financial mess and establish an accounting department. Got the department up, started getting people paid, reduced down the loan that they were having to use to pay vendors (!), and on the path to financial strength. Then every time they wanted to make a big move, and I told them that the money and the numbers wasn’t there, they ignored me. After overriding me 3 times, I left to work on eBay full time. They folded less than a year later…
I don’t use my knowledge of numbers and business just for fun. If you aren’t going to use what I bring to the table, I’ll just make my own table…
You are spot on about the tests. I have been doing weekly test hikes with everything I’m taking, shaking down what works and what doesn’t, and dropping weight. Now that the weather is warming up, it is soon time for overnight hikes to test the sleeping gear. I am planning some backyard camping as well to keep testing gear and skills. I’m a pretty good one pot hiking cook now by practicing at the house.
And on the subject of frugality…start planning a thru hike. Amazing what you can do without when you are carrying your house on your back for 500 miles.
Plus, this is my current frugality. When you look at what the cost of gear is, it is through the roof. Got the pack on Craigslist for $35, the tent from a friend for free (though I am trolling CraigsList for a better one to drop 2 lbs), and everything except the sleeping bag and sleeping pad from scavenging (and the bag and pad are in the second to third tier, only $150 for both).
03/14/2018 at 4:18 pm #35191
Talking to people to help them be more frugal is kind of like talking to people about what to eat to lose weight–sensitive subjects, and talking usually doesn’t do much good unless the person is motivated.
However, if the person is never educated about how to save money, or how to eat better, how can they improve?
Also, remember that most people are being bombarded by psychologically manipulative advertising and it is hard to fight against that.
03/14/2018 at 6:43 pm #35201
Better late than never!
Sold: 4/4/18 – 4/10/18
Total Items in Store: 125(ish)
Items Sold: 25
Cost of Items Sold: $57.59
Total Sales: $496.62 (includes shipping paid by buyers)
Highest Price Sold: $60.00 (plus buyer paid $10 for shipping) Women’s Black Smoke Signature C Jacquard Olive Outline Loafers (These were free to me, they were delivered to my sister’s rental long after her renter left the country and they 1/2 size too small for either of us)
Average Price Sold: $19.86
Returns: 0 – but I accidentally switched the mailing labels on 2 items that I sold and the return shipping, refunded shipping and reshipping costs and free “I’m sorry” gifts are going to eat every bit of the profit on those 2 small $ items that I sold 🙁
Money Spent on New Inventory Week of 4/4 – 4/10/18: $5.00
# of items listed this week: 25(ish)
Wishing everyone a great week of sales!
03/14/2018 at 6:43 pm #35202
This is a past topic. I got behind and listened to the podcast backwards but in regards to eBay giving out phone numbers there is an area under manage communications with buyers that gives them permission to do so. You can change it to no.
What your buyers can doEdit
See answers to your FAQs
Send you messages on eBay while they’re shopping
Include a message at checkout when they pay
Have your phone number
03/14/2018 at 6:47 pm #35203
Update: Under the account tab
03/16/2018 at 10:09 am #35354
Marie in FloridaParticipant
I had a wonderful week in Ebay Previous listings started to pay off. I started slashing the price of old but mundane items mainly clothes or shoes. It worked sales started picking up. For me, 10 in a week is Christmas level. Family concerns this week and last meant I backed off listing much, down to 1 sale of $9 for the last 5 days this week.
Most FUN item-the Swiss jacket. I had my son here for a few days and had him model it. Listed it with one of his pics and it sold for $200 in less than 6 hours. I had marked it higher than any comparable jacket so I’m not second guessing.
Total items in store: 247
Items sold: 10
Total sales: $440
Highest price sold: $200 Vintage Army Jacket from Switzerland
Average price sold: $44
03/17/2018 at 3:53 pm #35446
- Location: Albany, NY
I am still here! Just lurking lately. We still have a few people picturing and listing for us. Both of us are also still working full time with a little trash elf due in early June!
We have around 10,600 items listed on our ebay store at this point.
I have been putting time into this site. It’s basically amazon prime for baseball cards. I have around 37K cards listed with close to 29K different cards.
That brings our grand total to around 47K total items listed on the internet with full time jobs and a little one on the way! I don’t want to come across as bragging or anything. The point is to show that even with a full time job you can still have a large store if you leverage your resources and put the time in.
I would like to say all those items translate into huge money but realistically the money we make pays for our mortgage, taxes, insurance, and some other bills so we can bank our paychecks and/or invest elsewhere. The goal is to get everything paid off and then we will consider our next move!
03/17/2018 at 4:25 pm #35448
Glad to see you’re still around and have keep expanding. Our conversation with you about 18 months ago helped us decide to hire a couple people and build a storage building.
Congrats on the coming baby!
03/19/2018 at 9:54 am #35535
Congrats on the new baby Dan!
That is an insane amount of items. I bet what you consider “not huge money” is actually quite a bit for someone in a rural area such as me or J&R.
03/17/2018 at 4:43 pm #35449
Yowza, 47K items, I can’t get my mind wrapped around that!!!! On the opposite end, I see ice_queen’s comments for this week and feel the need to share a little mom wisdom and encouragement. We are all at different points in our journey, and all work loads are relative to our personal burdens and constraints. I know this sounds like I am patronizing, but I am truly not. Ice_queen, I commend you on your courage to even deal with your eBay store while you’ve had such challenges as you have described, just as I commend all of us here, rowing together, and chugging toward the goal. Heads up all! Thank you for being here on this forum and being an inspiration to me in my online selling journey! Marjean
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.