Saturday, January 17, 2015

Make even more money with Facebook!

A few months ago, I marveled over the phenomena that is Facebook Yard Sale Groups. These local groups have spread like wildfire as members go crazy buying and selling their stuff. For us yard sale pickers, it's a great source for new inventory, particularly during the winter months when actual yard sales are practically non-existent. Although these groups have probably been around since Mark Zuckerberg went live with Facebook, I came late to the party. However, over the last few months I've been trying to make up for lost time. Using Mrs. Dude's Facebook account, I've snagged some sweet deals that I later flipped on eBay. Here's a sample...

Mega Block..Mega Bucks!
Exhibit one is this awesome Mega Block ProBuilder model plane I bought for ten dollars. This is one of my first scores using Facebook. Since buying it, I often follow the same pattern. When I spot something that looks good, I quickly look it up on eBay. For me, it's like a race against time as I feverishly research the item. There's no dilly-dallying during these crucial moments! Time is of the essence since any FB member can beat me to the punch and lay claim to it. When that happens, it can be a devastating moment! Not unlike when someone walks away from a garage sale with a deal under their arm, just as you're walking up the driveway...oh the horror! You may be wondering why I bothered researching the plane, instead of claiming it right away? While this model may seem like an easy decision, you can't be too certain. There are a gazillion model airplanes listed on eBay and not all of them sell. This is largely because the market is saturated with models of all shapes and sizes. But despite the overabundance, a good model airplane can earn you some serious cash. In the case of this Megablock model, I was able to confirm these planes sell for big bucks! Once confirmed, I jumped right back over to the FB comment section and typed "Interested," thereby claiming first dibs on the model. I picked the model up the next day and immediately posted it on eBay. The auction ran in early December, adding even more potential buyers to the mix due to the holidays. The result was a closing price of $75 dollars! It pays to be fast on that keyboard!

Wonder Pets..Wonderful!
Here's another Facebook home run-a Wonder Pets Musical Fly Boat. The Fly Boat and little characters were listed on Facebook for only five dollars. What the heck is a Fly Boat you say? Beats me, but I can tell you one thing...they sell! I've flipped a few of these toys on eBay
in the past and always see a lot of bidding action. Knowing this, there was no need to do a "discount double check" on eBay. Upon spotting the toy, it took me a split second to type "Interested" in the comment section. Boom! Just like that the toy boat was mine! After successfully laying claim to the little boat, I was overwhelmed with that yard sale adrenaline rush you feel after scoring a great find! You probably know what I mean...that awesome feeling when you absolutely, positively know you're gonna make some dough from your find. I guess it's how the California gold prospectors felt when they found a tiny piece of  gold in their pan, or when my Aunt yells "BINGO!" in the church hall! It's a natural high! Anyway, after coming down off my high, I picked up the toy, leaving a five dollar bill under the seller's welcome mat. Like the model plane, I immediately listed it on eBay. It was worth the drive to the lady's front porch. My five dollar "porch pickup" sold for $33 dollars!

Sorry big guy, I had to do it. 
Last, but not least, was this Fisher Price Imaginext "Big Foot" Monster. I captured this Big Foot for just ten bucks. Fisher Price has made various versions of these robotic toys, including a big dinosaur. All of them retail for huge money in the stores. This Facebook score required me to do a little acting when I picked him up however. The seller, thinking I bought the toy for my kids, gave me a painfully long demonstration on how to operate Big Foot. I patiently pretended to be interested during the demo, not having the heart to tell the lady I had a completely different plan for the big guy. He was about to be pieced out and sold for parts! My eBay research has taught me that in many cases buyers don't need the entire toy-they already have one. Instead, they need parts like the battery, remote control and charger for their own Big Foot. That's okay by me. It's a lot easier and cheaper to ship components then ship a big, bulky toy. So working like Dr. Frankenstein, I removed Big Foot's battery from deep inside his plastic body. I then posted the battery, charger and remote control on eBay. The three piece lot sold for $36 dollars! I still have Bigfoot, but he's just a lifeless, empty shell of his former self. In fact, I am pretty sure he glares at me from a shelf here in the MoneyintheGarage laboratories. I guess he's mad at me for what I did? But he'll get over it once I sell him at my next yard sale. I'll make a buck or two and he'll go to a new home. At that point, my total profit on the big guy will be $38 dollars. Not bad for a bear...or ape...or whatever the heck he is!

Those are just a few of my initial Facebook yard sale scores. With winter now settling in, I'll have even more time to scour the FB feed and hopefully snag more great finds. It's become a bit addictive and I am not gonna lie. While typing this blog piece, I took periodic breaks to check the Facebook feed. It's getting real bad and I may seek out some form of counseling...right after I check that feed again!

How's your Facebook finds going? Share some of your scores in the comment section below.    

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Holiday deals at thrift store prices!

Happy 2015! With the holiday craziness now behind us, there's nothing really left to do but count the profits and clean up the mess left behind from countless parcels wrapped and shipped. The season was a good one for me. I cleared the shelves of nearly every item I designated as Christmas inventory. I even sold some stuff that withered on eBay auctions earlier in the year! I've said it before and I'll say it again-almost anything will sell during the holidays. So now that the holidays are in the rear view mirror, let's take a look at a few of my favorite sales. Ironically, all the items cited below were sourced from my local Goodwill store. I guess that makes today's blog piece my special "Thrift Store" edition!

Fender Guitar thrift store find
The gift of music is always a good idea during the holidays, so what's better then a beautiful Fender guitar? I found this gem at the Goodwill Store a week before Christmas. Like most great thrift store finds, it was a matter of my being in the right place at the right time. In this case, the cashier told me the guitar had arrived in the store just hours before. Given it's brand new condition, I am certain it wouldn't have stayed on the shelf for very long. The guitar was priced at sixty dollars-fairly expensive for a cheapie like me! Fortunately, I had a 20% off discount card that I'd been saving for several weeks. The cards are handed out by Goodwill and are a pretty good deal. After ten purchases are marked off on the card, the customer can cash it in for a 20% discount on any purchase. Given the amount of stuff I buy at Goodwill, the cards can pile up quick for me. At any given time, I usually have one or two stashed away in my wallet. However, these precious discount cards are not to be squandered! My philosophy is to only use them for high price items. The $60 price tag on the guitar met this criteria, so I boldly tossed it down as if it were a "Get-out-of-jail-for-free" card. After applying the 20% discount, the Fender guitar cost me $48 dollars-a steal for an instrument that retails for around $180 on Amazon!

Once the hatch is closed...then what?
With Christmas only a week away, I immediately posted the Fender guitar on Craigslist for $125 dollars, a fair price for a very nice guitar. Days later, I was negotiating with a buyer and settled on a price of $100 bucks, agreeing to meet at a local 7-11 convenience store. It was a rainy night just two days before Christmas. Call me crazy, but it was an odd transaction for me. Normally, when I conduct a Craigslist "Meet & Sell" transaction, I have the buyer look at the item at my car, specifically, the rear hatch door of my Toyota. This keeps me in control of the situation and if the buyer balks, I can just toss the item in the back and leave. But with the Fender guitar, the buyer asked me to walk the guitar over to the rear of his car's hatchback so he could take a look at it. Since it was raining, I obliged him and he checked out the Fender in the rear of his Suburu's cargo area. Agreeing it was a fine looking guitar for the price, he told me would run inside the 7-11 to pull $100 cash from the ATM machine. But as he did, he began to close the rear hatch...with my guitar inside...and me with no cash in hand! Worried that a possible scam was about to unfold, I told him I'd stand under his open hatch out of the rain while he went inside the store to get his money. In fact, what I was really doing was guarding my guitar until he paid me! After all, once he closes that hatch, who's to say whether that guitar now belongs to me or to him? Heck, all you have to do is watch Judge Judy to know "rightful owner" disputes like that happen all the time. Yeah, I know, you're probably thinking, "Dude, you're paranoid. Where's your Christmas spirit?" But even during the Christmas season, Mom didn't raise no fool! The story ended happily for me, however. The buyer came out of the 7-11 and handed over five, crisp twenty dollar bills. At that point, I stepped out from under the hatch so he could close it. Although I was wet and cold, the sweet profit of $52 dollars warmed me up quickly!

Christmas blowmolds are an easy sell!
As anyone who follows my blog knows, I also love flipping blow molds. This year was no exception. Early in December I found these three vintage blow molds at Goodwill. Each were marked at ten dollars a piece for a total of $30. A little steep by Goodwill standards, but I knew I could at least double my money. Once again, I shrewdly applied another 20% discount card, bringing  the price down to $24 dollars. Several weeks later I sold them to a  Craigslist buyer for $65. Amazingly, the guy travelled over an hour to pick them up. He told me his whole front yard was decorated with blow molds. That's why I love flipping blow molds. As long as they're in decent condition, the buyers will always be there!

Mr.  Christmas Mickey's Clock Shop
Lastly, I flipped this fabulous Mr. Christmas Mickey's Clock Shop set. This was another Goodwill find, setting me back a whopping six
dollars. You read right...only six bucks! These sets are made by a company called, Mr. Christmas. The company produces many popular Christmas themed mechanical toys and decorations, many which sell for big bucks on eBay! The Mickey Clock Shop set is highly sought after by Disney collectors and always brings in top dollar. The set consists of a string of four individual cottages, each with a singing Disney character inside. Lucky for me, the clock was working properly. After passing my thorough inspection, I posted the set on eBay. It sold for an impressive $87 dollars! But it didn't stop there! As I prepped the set for photographs, I made an additional discovery. Inside the box were manuals and extra parts for two other Mr. Christmas toys. I flipped these on eBay too, earning an additional $34 dollars. All together, my original six dollar investment made me a total of $121 dollars. Sure glad I walked into Goodwill on that particular day!

There were a bunch more holiday sales which I'll try to share at a later time. Overall, it was a very good season. I hope you did just as well during the holidays and throughout 2014. Maybe you even picked up a few pointers from my site along the way. If you did, let me know. I'd love to share your flips with all our readers. Lastly, as we enter 2015, thanks for visiting MoneyintheGarage and for all your support and nice comments. This Dude wishes you and your family a happy, healthy New Year!


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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Christmas sales are complete and the inventory shelves are empty. Overall, it was a pretty good season with some awesome flips. Hopefully, you did well too. I'll save the stories for later, because it's time to enjoy Christmas. Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 

The garage is closed for now....Merry Christmas!

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Don't tell North Korea, but The Interview movie poster will make you rich!

MoneyintheGarage News Flash:

For immediate release: The Interview movie poster will make you rich! (If you can find one.)

As has been reported all over the news media, Sony Pictures completely surrendered and yanked the movie, "The Interview" for release on Christmas day. In addition, all movie lobby posters and advertising have been taken down. Naturally, some shrewd eBay sellers have taken full advantage of this media event. They've recognized a huge buying frenzy has been created for anything associated with this controversial movie. Click on The Interview movie poster to see how much money one eBay seller recently made.

The movie poster now brings big bucks!

Wow! Just a few weeks ago, this was your average, run-of-the-mill movie it's gold! This trend is no fluke. Checking other recently closed auctions, many Interview movie posters are now selling for $300 dollars a piece!

If you know anyone who works in a local movie theatre, you'd be wise to ask them for a few of these. It might also be smart to take a peek in the trash dumpsters located behind your local movie theatre! As demonstrated in some of my recent blog pieces, it wouldn't be the first time money was thrown in the trash! If you happen to score a Interview movie poster, let us know how you do. Oh and one more thing...change your computer passwords...often!

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas sales are good!

So here we are in the middle of the Christmas selling season. With the holiday just weeks away, the inventory is flying out of MoneyintheGarage corporate headquarters! Just like last year, I've pretty much sold all the Christmas inventory I stockpiled for the season. It's amazing how you can save your Christmas themed stuff all year and it's cleared out in just a matter of weeks. That's what's awesome about listing this time of year...everything sells! Here's a few Christmas themed items I've flipped so far this holiday season...

Last of the inflatables
The last of my holiday inflatables went out the door last Saturday. It was a cool looking Santa I purchased back in the fall for five bucks. Although it didn't come in the original box, it still had a lot going for it. The thing was huge, standing 8 feet high with the big guy sitting on top of a lighted Christmas train. This big, jolly Santa seemed like a winner to me, but surprisingly, it took a long time to sell. I ended up getting $35 dollars for him on Craigslist Not bad, but much less when compared to my other holiday inflatables sales which averaged fifty bucks a piece. While I could have held firm to my original price of fifty, I didn't want to take the chance of getting stuck with Santa. Finally, a buyer came along and offered me $35 dollars. With the holiday season over in just a few weeks and the potential of having to store Santa for an entire year, I decided to take the guy's offer. This particular customer may get my "clueless buyer " award for the year. As I handed him the rolled up Santa, the buyer looked at me and said, "Okay, how's it work?" This seemed like a dumb question to me, but since I am always customer friendly to anyone willing to pay me $35 for nylon fabric, I patiently explained the following complicated procedure...plug him in! The buyer seemed to be satisfied with this extremely technical advise and went on his way. (I sure hope he didn't forget my instructions once he got home!)

Elf from where?
In another memorable Christmas sale made last week, I sold this two foot high elf dutifully holding up a serving tray. Guess where I acquired him? A trash can! I was driving through a neighborhood last week, when I spotted this guy with the base sticking out of a curbside trash can. Naturally, I circled back and grabbed him. Since he was in perfect condition, I didn't even bother to clean him up. Once home, I immediately snapped a photo and posted him on our local Facebook Yard Sale group. (I added the candle for ambiance.) My trash-picked elf sold in just ten minutes for a twenty dollar bill! Unbelievable, right? I have no idea what possesses people to throw away perfectly good stuff? But as long as they do, I'll be watching their trash cans!

Don't forget to remove the price tags!
About two weeks ago, I made a major flip with this train set. I found this big Bachmann set at my local Goodwill store, paying $35 for it. Over the years, I've had some good luck with train sets at Goodwill. This year alone, I've score three very cool sets. But this set was a real doozie! When I got it home, I was stoked to find the set had never been opened! Everything was sealed, right down to the conductor figure who was still in a plastic baggie! I made sure I bragged about this "pristine" unopened set in my Craigslist ad. Since there's no better time of year to sell a train set, this big Bachmann set got snapped up in just a few days. A dad bought the trains for his young son, paying me $125 big ones! I met the guy at my local Dunkin Donuts. I had a brief awkward moment when I realized there were still a couple of Goodwill price tag stickers on the back of the box. As I pulled the box from my car, I stalled by making small talk while feverishly scraping the stickers off with my fingernail. Dad didn't seem to notice, but after counting my $95 profit, I reminded myself it's always a wise move to remove Goodwill stickers prior to selling. After all, it's never good for your buyer to discover you just charged him four times the price on the box! Like I said...awkward!

That's a few highlight so far. I'll share more once the Christmas selling season calms down. For now, it's time to get back to posting and selling. How's your holiday selling season going so far? Share some of your personal bests in the comment  section below.

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

How to buy Lego sets for less money

With the leaves off the trees and the thermometer dropping to sub-freezing temperatures, I can now make this official "Dude" Pronouncement. (Clears  throat) The garage sale season is now over! Yep, put a fork in it. Folks are now planning for the holidays, not hosting a garage sale. You won't see me shedding a tear though. For the next five months when the clock strikes O-seven-hundred, I won't be springing out of bed like a maniac. Nope, I'll be rolling over for a few more Zzzzzzs. That's one of the few things I enjoy about the weather turning colder! For me, the end of yard sale season is much like baseball or football season ending. It gives the player some much needed time off for the three R', relaxation and recovery. Otherwise, just like a highly trained athlete, a yard sale picker will burn out. If that happens, yard sale picking stops being fun and turns into drudgery. Who wants that? Not me! So for now, I am going to enjoy my time off on Saturday mornings.

Keep it? Sorry kiddo, ain't gonna happen. 
The season effectively wrapped up last week with just three sales. Two were listed on Craigslist, while the third sale seemed to be a last minute, "let's throw one together" type
deal hosted by two families. This last minute sale was a doozie and ended my season with a big bang! When I rolled up on the house, the sale didn't look like much. But as I started looking around, I came across some pretty great bargains. Things started off well right off the bat when I eyeballed a vintage NES Nintendo set in it's original box. The guy only charged me five bucks for it. I've scored a few of these Nintendo NES sets in the past and can usaully count on making some nice cash. Check out this set I flipped a few years ago for $50 bucks. Since then, prices have gone even higher. A recent Nintendo NES set sold for over hundred bills on eBay. I am guessing I'll sell my set for about the same. Not too shabby for a five dollar investment on a crisp Saturday morning in November.

After I took it home, I stashed the Nintendo set in my garage. Not surprisingly, my Sonny Boy happened to be walking through the garage when his eyes locked in on the set. I knew this was trouble! Like most 18 year old "Pepsi Generation" kids, he then suggested I keep the set so he could have some fun with it. It's a good thing I wasn't sipping coffee at the moment he made this crazy remark, because I am pretty sure some would have come out my nose! I mean, Seriously? After all these years, he should know his old man a little better then that! As I once taught him many years ago, these "things" are just visiting our house. They stay a short time...then I find them a good home. (While getting paid for it.) But even though he should know my selling philosophy by now, I wasn't taking any chances. Just to be on the safe side, I hid the Nintendo set down in the basement...out of site...out of mind!

The right sets will make you big cash money!
In addition to the awesome Nintendo NES system, I snagged a few other items that will make me a some decent bucks. But the "piece de resistance" was a large Lego set I found. I laid eyes on it as the mom was walking it out of the garage. She set it down on a blanket in the yard, and following Lady Ga-Ga's advise about keeping a poker face, I casually walked over to it. The set was untouched and complete in the box. I was really hoping it was a Star Wars or Harry Potter set. Alas, it wasn't. Instead, it was a Lego commemorative anniversary set from about ten years ago. Not to brag, but when it comes to Harry Potter Lego sets, I've knocked it out of the ballpark several times! In fact, I've gone upper deck on some, selling a few for over $200 hundred bucks! While I had no idea what a commemorative set would be worth, I did know it's pretty hard to lose when flipping any Lego set in the original box.

I asked the mom how much she wanted for the set? She hemmed and hawwed as she thought about the price. For a yard sale picker, this is the most sensitive, high drama moment in a transaction. Those tense, awkward seconds waiting for that very important make-or-break number. If you've been in this situation, you know these can be agonizing moments. Sort of like time standing still. With the Lego set, the mom struggled for what seemed like an eternity as she pondered a price. Since it seemed like she was experiencing a brain freeze, I decided to help her along by throwing out a number...five bucks. You might think that's low, but at least it broke Mom's brain freeze-she accepted my offer! I peeled off a fiver and walked the
Boom....pop...kaboom...last score of the season!
huge set back to the truckster. But the real fun began when I got home. I looked up my newly acquired Lego set on eBay and was met with a huge surprise. The special edition Lego set I scored for five, sells in the range of $350 to $500 dollars! How's that for ending the yard sale season? Sticking with my baseball analogies, it's sort of like a big, fantastic fireworks display after a long ballgame! Boom, Pop, kaboom! You gotta luv it! Even though it should turn into huge money, I haven't listed it on eBay yet. But I plan on doing so very soon, taking full advantage of the Christmas buying season. For now, it sits near my computer where I look over and admire it. Kind of like owning a winning lottery ticket that hasn't been cashed yet. When I do sell it, I'll be sure to feature it here on the blog.

How's the yard sale season going for you? Is the season over, or are you still going strong? Give us your story in the comment section below....

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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Who needs Walmart when you have a sure thing?

It's time once again to discuss another example of finding the illusive "sure thing" at the garage sales. Ahhhh yes, the sure thing! You know what I mean. In fact, you're probably smiling now just thinking about it. Nothing beats it, right? If you're like me, you get a garage sale "high" you when you find the sure thing. It's that special item you confidently know will earn you big bucks on Craigslist or eBay! In past blogs, I've gushed over various sure things including; jogging strollers, Legos, Coleman camping gear, baby gates and American Girl dolls. All stuff that's a stone-cold lock to make you big money! Well, I am happy to report this Dude's "sure thing" list has now grown with a new addition.

NOT this type of bike rack.
Are you ready? (Now would be a good time for a drum roll.) It's two rack! No, not those big metal monsters you use to chain your old Schwinn to at school. No, I am actually referring to the type that attaches to the back of a car so you can take your bike on trips. Not very exciting, right? Maybe not, but I can tell you those contraptions have earned me some serious dough over the last few years! Let me explain how the lowly bike rack made it on my sure thing list.

A few years back, my brother asked me to look for a bike rack for him. After many vacation trips hauling his bikes down the Jersey shore, his old bike rack had fallen apart. I told him I'd keep an eye out and shortly thereafter found a used "Thule" bike rack for only $40 bucks. Although it may sound like a lot of money, this was actually a pretty good deal. Thule bike racks are the most popular on the market and don't come cheap! Even at Walmart, where prices are suppose to be discounted, Thule bike racks sell in the range of two to four hundred dollars. That's a lot of dough for some metal tubes!

Thule Bike rack-buy low, sell high!
The Thule bike rack I found was a "hitch" style, meaning it plugged into a trailer hitch below the bumper. Feeling all proud that I'd scored my brother a highly desired Thule bike rack, I called to tell him the good news. But it turned out that my yard sale find was a big swing and a miss! Unfortunately, my brother didn't have a trailer hitch on his car, so my rack was of no use to him. He needed the "trunk" version which rests on the car's trunk and bumper to support the bike rack. I was bummed that I bought the wrong type, but got over it pretty fast when I realized I could flip the bike rack on Craigslist. A few days later, I posted my Thule bike rack on Craigslist for an impressive $100 bucks. It quickly sold at my full asking price! That's when it dawned on me....there was money to be made flipping bike racks!

Saris bike racks sell too!
Since then, I've always had bike racks on my BOLO list. While you won't find a bike rack every Saturday, you will come across them occasionally. Make sure you stick with the name brand racks, not some cheap, no-name brand. As my little story demonstrates, you'll never lose buying a Thule bike rack. On average, I snag them for five to ten dollars and sell them for $50 to $100. There's a few other brands that will make you money too. Recently I came across this space age looking bike rack by Saris. I paid ten dollars for it and flipped it on Craigslist for $50. Had I listed it on eBay, I could have potentially made $75 or more on it. But with it's big, bulky shape, I didn't want the hassle of finding a large box and dealing with all the related shipping costs and fees. It was much easier to go with Craigslist. I made a quick forty dollar profit and moved on to the next deal. You gotta love it!

From jogging strollers to Thule and Saris bike racks, the yard sale "sure thing" list gets longer and longer! What's your list of "sure thing" yard sale finds? Share them in the comment section below....

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