Tuesday, March 28, 2017

How to make big bucks on Facebook.

As we enter spring, my downsizing efforts around the house continue. So much so, that I’d be justified in changing the title of my blog to "Money in the Attic.” It’s been fun getting rid of stuff that I’ve held onto for way too long and get paid for it!  But for now, I’ll resist elaborating on some pretty good household flips for a later blog. Instead, I’d like to share a few more recent Facebook yard sale group flips. As mentioned in a blog post last year, joining a FaceBook yard sale group is an excellent way to acquire things to sell on eBay. One of the best things about using FaceBook is you never have to leave the comfort of home to accumulate inventory! Just sit back and and wait for sellers to post their stuff on Facebook. Since joining a couple of these groups, I've been able to lay claim to some truly awesome finds. If you haven’t joined a Facebook yard sale group, you should. Here’s a few examples to get you motivated to sign up...

Lego: Buy on FaceBook... sell on eBay.
Followers of my blog know I am a big fan of Lego sets. Whether it's Harry Potter, Star Wars or other themed-based sets, it's rare that I don’t make pretty good money flipping Legos. A few months ago, I came across an unassembled "Mars Explorer” set on Facebook. Being ever vigilant on FB, I was the first to click “interested” and paid $25 dollars for the set. Obviously, it’s always best to try to be the first person to claim an item on FB. However, even if you’re not first, type “interested"and wait in line. Whether you're second, third or even dead last, occasionally people in front of you will pass, giving you a chance to claim the item. In the meantime, once you’ve claimed your spot in line, you can research the item on eBay to check it’s value. If you learn it’s not a big money maker, you can always tell the seller you’re passing on it. In the case of my Lego Mars Explorer, there was no need to pass. Although the seller was asking a hefty sum of $25 bucks, my eBay research told me I could easily double or triple my investment. After picking up the set from the Facebook seller, I posted it on eBay. It sold in a seven day auction for $95 dollars. That earned me a profit of $70! Not bad...not bad at all.

Bose “Wave" Stereo
Here’s another nice solid Facebook flip I made back in the fall. I found this Bose “Wave” radio on my local
FB yard sale group for $100 bucks.  If you think that's a little pricey, normally I would agree with you, but not when it comes to a Bose radio. Pound for pound, Bose Wave radios are recognized by audio fans as a quality piece of equipment that blasts out incredible sound for it’s small size. New, these bad boys sell for around $400 or more! Because of this, I knew I'd have no problem re-selling this Bose on eBay. Once I acquired the radio, I found it was a little older then I originally thought. It also needed some cleaning up. But not to worry, a few squirts of Windex and I had the Bose Wave ready for resale on eBay. I started the auction for exactly what I paid - one Benjamin. The auction proved Bose radios attract plenty of interest. Over the seven days, bidders pushed my radio up to a final selling price of a $160 big ones! An easy FB flip if ever there was one.      

Canon Rebel camera
But hold on, I can do one better then that! What would you pay for a nice Canon “Rebel" 35 mm digital camera set, complete with four extra lens and a carrying bag? How’s about fifty bucks? That’s what I shelled out on this very nice Facebook yard sale group score. This particular deal required a little more effort on my part. The seller was located the next town over from me and required a night time porch pick up. With Mrs. Dude driving and me riding shotgun, we headed to the house on one of those cold, nasty, December nights. It was the kind of miserable weather that makes me understand why people flee to Florida in the winter. Once we arrived at the house, I leaped out of the car and made a mad dash for the front porch while the cold wind pummeled my face! After leaving fifty dollars under the seller's doormat, I bolted back to the car, took a quick peak inside the camera bag to make sure it was all there, then tossed it into the backseat of the car. I didn’t sell the camera right away. At the time, the holidays were right around the corner and I already had plenty of things to sell. In fact, I nearly forgot about the camera and lenses until about a month ago when I finally decided it was time to flip it on eBay. In all honesty, something about selling big, multiple-piece lots can bring out the lazy in me. I tend to procrastinate on selling big lots on eBay due to the extra work involved. But knowing that there could be a serious pot of gold at the end of the sale, I got down to business. Extracting the Canon Rebel camera and all the lenses from the bag, I carefully laid everything out for some eBay photos. This included multiple views of all the lenses to show none were scratched or dinged. After this painstaking photo shoot, I posted the entire lot to a ten day auction on Ebay. The results should teach me to be a little more motivated next time. The Canon Rebel camera lot sold for $207 dollars on eBay! The buyer was located on the West Coast, and after receiving the camera, he couldn’t post positive feedback fast enough. I love it when I make big time money and the buyer thanks me for it on eBay! With that kind of money at stake, next time I get a camera lot I’ll be sure post the stuff on eBay lickety-split!

Not your average Uggs!
As good as all these FB scores were, I have one last deal that tops them all. In this case, the credit has to actually go to Mrs. Dude, who scooped up this incredible deal on Facebook. Back in the Fall, she was the first to claim a pair of embroidered Uggs boots on our local FB yard sale group. If you ask me, with colors of brown, black or white suede, most Uggs are pretty much all the same. Not this pair though. The Uggs Mrs. Dude found were decorated with a fancy embroidered floral pattern running up and down the suede boot. Apparently, these were not your run-of-the-mill Uggs. They can also be expensive. Recognizing this, Mrs. Dude snapped the boots up for an insanely low price of $25 dollars! Initially, I was completely oblivious as to how great a score these Uggs actually were. That was until Mrs. Dude educated me, pointing out embroidered Ugg boots sell for around $300 dollars in the stores! Hearing this, I couldn’t wait to see what Mrs. Dude’s boots would bring on eBay. I eagerly posted them to an eBay auction and a week later, they sold for a sweet $175 dollars. Thanks to Mrs. Dude's fashion sense and a quick click of the mouse, we made an impressive profit of $150 big dollars on the boots!

That’s a few great examples of what can be done using Facebook yard sale groups. Everyone loves to read about a good eBay flip story, right? If you use Facebook to score eBay inventory, share a few of your flips in the comment section below!

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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Downsize and make money !

January could be one of the slowest times of year to sell on eBay. People are tapped out from their holiday buying binge and aren’t in the mood to spend. But sales eventually pick up as the weeks go by. In the meantime, there's plenty of things I could be doing here at Money in the Garage. For one thing, my work area is still a mess from preparing holiday packages to ship out. There’s also a ton of empty boxes that need to be stacked away, along with other general housekeeping. On the other hand, I can get to cleaning up later. It’s a lot more fun to head out to the thrift shops to find fresh inventory!

There’s also another long-term project I am trying to focus on. In the next few years Mrs. Dude and I are looking to downsize to a smaller house. To reach that goal, we have to seriously begin shedding unneeded stuff accumulated over the years. I am already hard at work trying to achieve this goal. As mentioned in my previous blog, I sold a box of vintage Christmas lights that had been sitting in my attic for years. Wow...talk about progress. With that sale, it’s one attic box down and dozens more to go! At this rate, we may have the house cleaned out around the time Haley’s comet comes back in 2062! But at least I am trying. Check out a few of the long-stored things I’ve recently parted with...

Vintage Casio Pathfinder
Starting off with the small stuff, here’s a 15 year old Casio watch that sat in my dresser drawer for many years. This watch tells the temperature, altitude, barometric pressure and oh yeah, it tells time too! Being an excellent packrat, I still had the original box and manual. I stopped wearing the watch about ten years ago for the same reason many other folks abandoned their wrist watch....cell phones. To me, wearing a watch is now something out of Fred Flintstone! Think about it; who really needs to strap a miniature clock on their wrist when their cell phone performs the same function? But even though it’s an antiquated concept, I found that some people still want to wear a timepiece. I sold my little Casio on eBay for $22 bucks. Not great money, but it’s all about trying to clean house. I’d point out this meager sale doesn’t mean all Casios sell for only a few bucks. Vintage Casio watches that feature multiple techy-type functions can sell for huge money on eBay. So even though I didn’t make a whole lot on my own Casio, I'll still keep an eye out for them at thrift stores and garage sales.

But Mom...it’s shabby chic!
Another dust collector I had sitting around the house was this old, primitive stool. I bought this little guy many years ago at a yard sale. For a few years, it sat next to the fireplace looking very shabby chic. The stool was so beat up and worn, that I remember my Mom asking me why I even bought the thing? Like most people who grew up during the Great Depression, my Mom couldn’t understand why a person would purposely buy something so ratty looking and put it in their house? (She’d had that same opinion upon seeing her granddaughter wearing “distressed" jeans with holes in them!) But despite Mom's disapproval, I thought the the beat-up, old stool looked pretty cool by the fireplace. After a few years, however, we decided to clear some space around the fireplace, so the stool was relegated to a basement shelf.  But recently, I eyeballed the stool as a potential sale on eBay. There remains a healthy market for "shabby chic” stuff, plus the stool was small enough that I could easily mail it. I posted the stool on eBay and it sold for $25 dollars. More space had been cleared off my shelf and I made a few bucks too!

Lift using your legs!
Speaking of my Mom, a few years ago, I inherited an old stone crock from her. She bought it at flea market many years ago. If you’ve never picked one up, be forewarned: stone crocks are really
heavy. This one was no exception. I could visualize my poor Father complaining under his breath as he lugged it through the flea market and back to his Chevy Impala. In all honesty. I am not sure why my Mom really needed a crock? Once it was home, it seemed like it's sole purpose in life was storing a couple of Bell Telephone phonebooks! I guess it was the best use for it at the time, but when I took possession of it, phonebooks were a thing of the past. Instead, it sat empty and unused in my basement for several years. Realizing the old crock was just an albatross that I had no use for, I decided to sell it. Because it was so heavy, I used Craigslist instead of eBay, listing it for $40 dollars. A few days later, an older gentleman took an interest in the crock and drove to my house to check it out. After looking it over, he hemmed and hawed on the price. I didn’t want to get stuck carrying the albatross back inside the house, so I quickly dropped the price down to $30 dollars. At that, he agreed and the crock went to a new home!

The Classic Time-Life collection
Remember music CDs? I sure do and over time, accumulated a ton of them. The problem is, like many people, I no longer play them. Nowadays, if you want to hear your favorite music you have easier options like iTunes, Pandora and Spotify. I am not sure if CDs are even sold in stores any more? Likewise, trying to sell them on eBay is becoming harder and harder. Frankly, unless you have something really good like the Beatles or similar, you may be stuck with your CDs. But all is not totally lost on unloading these dust collectors. I found there can be a brief selling opportunity for holiday CDs during the Christmas season. For example, I lumped together about a dozen holiday discs and sold them on eBay for $15 bucks. That was just over a dollar a disc. Not a windfall, but once again, gone from my house which was my real objective anyway. While that sale was nothing special, I did hit a home run with another collection.  I discovered that buyers are still interested in the Time-Life "Treasury of Christmas” collection. This popular holiday set was originally sold in vinyl, then transitioned into a CD collection. Back in the day, you could not avoid seeing the Time-Life Treasury of Christmas commercial on television. It was on constantly! The collection was very popular and is now considered a classic. I sold my set on eBay for $26 dollars! (Along with two other CDs I threw in just to get rid of them.) Considering they’re old CDs, I was pretty impressed with that sale. Enough so that I won’t hesitate to buy the Time-Life collection if I ever spot it a future garage sale!

That's just a few examples of my downsizing attempts so far. Have you sold any good stuff you had laying around the house? How’d you do? Share your story in the moment section below!

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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Vintage Christmas is the best Christmas !

The holiday selling season is coming to an end. As it does, it’s time to take a look at this Dude's holiday sales. For me, it’s always fun to look back and see what sold, and for how much? It helps me decide what to buy at future yard sales and stockpile for the next holiday season. Overall, I had a some pretty good sales. Check out a few examples of the holiday stuff I flipped this year.

Vintage “rope” candle set
Although I’ve never bothered with them in the past, I am starting to realize you can make some decent money flipping vintage Christmas decorations. Lighted candles, tree toppers and alike from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, seem to get plenty of buying interest. I guess for many people, vintage decorations bring back childhood memories of Christmas. For example, check out this vintage set of plastic ”rope” candles. I bought this set at a yard sale for a dollar, then stored them away until the holidays. They came in their original boxes which always increases buyer interest. Although a neat little set, I decided that once you factor in shipping and fees, they were not worth the trouble to post as an eBay auction. Instead, I listed them on a local Facebook yard sale group for ten dollars. But minutes after posting them, I began to realize I may have under priced the candles. Almost immediately, potential buyers began stacking up in the posting’s comment section. The candles had attracted way more interest then I’d expected! The following day, a Facebook buyer picked up the candles up, slipping a ten dollar bill under my welcome mat. While I’ll take ten bucks any day, after seeing a dozen people line up for the candles, you can be sure I’ll double my asking price next time! Live and learn, right?

Last minute Goodwill find!
Blow molds continue to be one of my favorite holiday items to sell. Over the yard sale season, I accumulated various blow molds and piled them up like cordwood in my garage attic. When it comes to yard sales, it seems like sellers price them very low. Maybe it’s because in spring and summer, holiday decorations are the last thing people want around their house, or they just need to get the big, bulky figures out of the garage? Whatever the reason, if the price is right on a holiday blow mold, I'll buy them. On occassion, I even luck into a blow mold at the Goodwill store. Just a few weeks ago, I bought this small, nine piece Nativity set for twenty dollars. Since it was December, the timing could not have been better. I immediately posted the set for sixty dollars on Craigslist. A day later, a buyer drove to MoneyintheGarage headquarters and handed me three crisp twenty dollars bills for the set. You have to love a quick flip like that!!

Staring me in the face!
I also need to brag a little bit about what most yard sale flippers would consider to be the Holy Grail of any holiday selling season...a vintage aluminum Christmas tree! I was lucky enough to stumble across this tree at Goodwill back in November. Believe it or not, I didn’t spot it right away. For reasons unknown, I actually was distracted by a toy robot sitting a few shelves below it. After looking up the toy on eBay and deciding not to buy it, I lifted my head, and lo and behold, realized there was a vintage aluminum Christmas tree right in front of my face. I couldn’t believe my luck! It had been a few years since my last aluminum tree find, and as far as I was concerned, it was long overdue! I quickly grabbed the old box and tucked it under my arm like a big football. Unlike other stuff I find in Goodwill, there’s never a need to to look up a vintage tree on eBay before buying it. I knew it was the score of  the day, if not the year! Adding to my holiday joy, the store had priced the tree at just eight dollars! After paying, I took the tree home and set it up for photo taking. If you’ve never set one of these trees up, let me warn you...it’s a lot of work! Most trees have 75 to 100 separate
Big, shiny tree!
branches that need to be removed from their paper sleeves and carefully inserted into tiny holes on the main trunk. Being a little lazy, I filled in as much as I needed for the photo, then began snapping away with my digital camera. After the photo session, the tree went up on eBay. I made it a ten day auction so that as many people as possible would have time to find the listing. I also timed the listing so it ended on Sunday evening, when most people are home and ready to bid! My combination of luck and prep work paid off. After ten days, the vintage tree sold for $285 dollars! The buyer, who lived on the West Coast, paid all shipping costs as well. At nearly $300 bucks, it's easy to see why I consider vintage aluminum Christmas trees to be the Holy Grail of holiday finds!

Hopefully to shine again!
Lastly, I’ll mention the sale of another vintage Christmas decoration
that didn’t make me rich, but hopefully might be
making some little kid happy somewhere. The vintage Christmas lights seen here date back to the 1960’s. I know because these were the lights my Dad put up on our house back when I was a kid. Back then, I couldn’t wait until the lights went up. I would bug and bug my Dad until he finally found the time to get outside and hang them on the house. As he did, I would generally make a nuisance of myself under the mistaken belief I was actually helping him. Once they were up, the bright, colorful lights looked awesome! For me, it was one of the most exciting days of the holiday season and meant Christmas was right around the corner. But even though they looked great on the house, once the energy crisis of the Seventies hit, those big, electricity gobbling lights went by the wayside. Like many other people in the neighborhood, the big bulb lights were tossed aside in favor of smaller, more energy efficient lights. My father boxed up the old lights up and slid them into the attic. Years later, I pulled the old Christmas lights out of my parent’s attic with the well-meaning intention of hanging them on my own house. That never happened, so this year I decided it was time to finally part with the old lights. After posting them on Facebook and receiving no interest, I turned to eBay, listing them for $25 dollars. That’s exactly what they sold for! Fortunately, the buyer was located only one state away, keeping postage costs down. After fees, I made about twenty bucks. Not a huge sale, but since I am trying to downsize, there’s now one less box in the attic. Hopefully, those lights will get hung up again just like the old days. Who knows, maybe there’s a little kid trying to help his father hang them on their house right now? I hope so anyway.    

That aluminum tree and my Dad’s vintage lights were a pretty nice way to end the holiday selling season. I hope you had some great sales this season too. More importantly, as we come to the end of another year, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year! Thanks also for following my antics on MoneyintheGarage. Keep on flipping and let’s all hope for a safe and prosperous 2017! 


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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Holiday season steals and deals !

Disney Castle Playset
Happy Mid-November! Time to rake the leaves, watch football and oh yeah, start selling Christmas stuff on eBay and Craigslist! I’ve been delaying posting holiday items for weeks now, but it looks like I can’t put it off any longer. This past weekend, I noticed some early signs of holiday shopping after re-posting a Disney Castle on Craigslist. The castle is part of Disney’s Monorail “Park Exclusive” playset. I scored a great deal on it, scooping up the Castle, plus two additional playset pieces on a Facebook yard sale group for only twenty dollars. I quickly sold the other pieces on eBay, but surprisingly, the castle received zero interest. I then switched tactics, auctioning off only the castle figures. They sold for $24 dollars, leaving me with just the lonely castle and it’s box. I then assumed I’d make a quick and easy sale using Craigslist. Boy, was I wrong. Despite multiple postings on Craigslist, the Castle was ignored by buyers. That was until this past weekend, when I re-posted the castle again on CL and received multiple inquiries on it. A few days later, a buyer finally e-mailed me saying he wanted the castle for his Christmas train platform. I met him in the parking lot of a nearby golf range and he paid me ten dollars for the empty castle. Not a ton of money, but I was happy with the ten since I'd already made plenty of cash from the castle figures and the other park pieces. After the seller paid me, I couldn’t resist turning his ten dollar bill into a basket of golf balls and hitting some sweet drives!

This story is a long-winded way of saying that if you haven't started yet, it’s as good a time as any to begin selling Christmas stuff! Buyers are gearing up for the holidays, so it’s time to post Christmas themed inventory from now until the season’s end. My holiday stuff includes the usual suspects; blow molds, ceramic trees, holiday inflatables and more. Here's hoping it will be a lucrative selling season! But before we completely dive into the holidays, let me take a quick look back at a few of my fall season flips. Check them out...

Department 56
If you’ve hit enough garage sales and thrift shops, you’ve probably seen plenty of Department 56 Christmas village pieces. But
how often do you come across a Halloween themed piece? For me, I‘d say almost never. That was until I found this Department 56 "Mickey's Haunted Mansion" at Goodwill. I paid just $6 bucks for it and felt pretty lucky. Not only did I conveniently find it just weeks before Halloween, but it also came in it's original packaging. Truth be told, I am not a big fan of Department 56 pieces anymore. Most of them seem to bring ho-hum prices. I really hesitate to buy them, unless I am sure it will sell for big bucks. But that’s not the case with a Halloween/Disney themed piece. I posted my Mickey’s Haunted Mansion on an eBay auction and it sold for a sweet $86 dollars! I need to find a few more of these type of Department 56 pieces, and less of the Heritage, New England and other too many to list Village pieces!

I vant to be on eBay!
In addition to Mickey’s Haunted Mansion, I recently flipped this rare Telco “Motion-ettes” Dracula for very good money. Let me share a little  advise on these animated rarities: if you come across a Telco Halloween animated figure you should leap at the chance to buy it! With the exception of the very common wicked witch figure, pretty much all other spooky Telco Motion-ettes characters sell for crazy money on eBay. Most stand two foot high and move back and forth when you plug them in. Back in early fall, I spotted this Dracula in his tell-tale orange box hiding in pile of yard sale junk. I made a beeline right to him and asked the seller how much? When she told me five dollars, I couldn’t get the money out of my pocket fast enough! ! Once I got Drac home, I dusted him off and made sure he worked correctly. I then posted him on Ebay where he sold for $90 dollars! At that price, even Buffy the Vampire Slayer would love this little guy.

Gobble, Gobble, Hey!
Let’s also not forget about the holiday that falls after Halloween and before Christmas...Thanksgiving! I will admit that when it comes to finding Thanksgiving themed items to sell on eBay, I haven’t had much luck. For me, I just don’t see much Turkey Day stuff at yard sales or thrift stores. However, last winter I did find a Thanksgiving Turkey blow mold at the Goodwill Store. It set me back $8 dollars. At the time, Thanksgiving was nowhere in site on the calendar, so I held off selling my turkey until we got closer to the holiday. It was worth the wait. It turns out that these big plastic birds can go for a lot of money on eBay. Recently, one sold for over a hundred dollars. I was hoping to do as well, but my turkey had some paint loss on the plastic, making it a little less desirable. Not that I am complaining. My gobbler sold for $75 dollars. After shipping costs, I made a profit of about $50 dollars. Not bad for a piece of plastic!

All great fall season flips, but now it’s time to move on to the holiday selling season. How’s it going with you? Sell any awesome Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas themed items? Share your story in our comment section below...

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Harley-Davidson Motorcycle ...Buy it low and sell it high!

The leaves are starting to turn and Saturday morning garage sales now require a jacket. As I've powered through the fall yard sale season, I’ve been finding some pretty sweet scores. But just as in past years, I still need to keep my nose to the grindstone and build up the eBay inventory so I have plenty to sell through the winter months. It doesn't help however, that there just doesn’t seem to be as many “Mega” yard sale Saturdays like in past years. I’ve complained about this phenomena in past posts, blaming it on the the advent of Facebook yard sale groups. Who needs the hassle of hosting a yard sale, when you can post your stuff on-line? But either way, here’s hoping a few more folks decide to clean house and have a yard sale before the season winds down in November. I’ll keep you posted, but in the mean time, check out my latest ruminations on buying and selling Harley-Davidson.    

There’s a saying stockbrokers use when advising people how to make big money in the stock market. Half jokingly, they like to say, "Buy low and sell high!” The saying is meant to be both funny and serious at the same time. Obviously, anyone knows when is comes to making money in the stock market, you want to buy low and sell it high. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. But I have a better, less risky way to make some money. Instead of stock, buy Harley-Davidson motorcycle gear low... and sell it high on eBay! It’s really not that difficult to find Harley-Davidson gear at garage sales, thrift shops or Facebook. I always keep an eye out for anything with the famous orange Harley logo on it. Here’s a few examples of my buy low/ sell high Harley flips...

When acquiring Harley-Davidson stuff, or anything else in this business, you just can’t beat it when you get the stuff for free! This Harley Davidson catalogue featuring special edition police motorcycles was handed out as a freebie at a local car/motorcycle show I attended. These specialty catalogues are generally distributed to police departments only and feature law enforcement equipped Harley Davidson bikes. Not wanting to look too greedy, I grabbed two from the dealership display, but in retrospect, I really wish I snagged a few more. I sold the catalogues on eBay for $15 each, earning me a total of $30. If I get to that car show next year, you can be sure I’ll stuff my bag with more of these freebie catalogues!

Men’s Harley Davidson shirt
Here’s a sharp looking men’s Harley shirt I found at the Goodwill store. Harley clothing is usually nice and heavy, the better for protecting and insulating the rider while on the bike. This shirt was no exception and had the feel of one of those heavy-duty LL Bean canvas shirts. The only difference was the Harley Davidson logo embroidered above the shirt pocket. I paid five dollars for the shirt and posted it on eBay. After a seven day auction, the shirt sold for a solid $41 bucks. While we’re on the subject of Harley shirts, let me point out that Harley-Davidson dealership T-shirts DO NOT typically sell for a big money. On any given trip to the thrift shop, it’s more likely you’ll find these ever present dealership T-shirts before you find a button down Harley shirt or jacket. Keep your money in your pocket when you come across these shirts and stay focused on button-down style shirts.

Harley Cafe Racer Jacket 
Moving up the "sell high” scale, I recently flipped a women’s Harley biker jacket. The black leather jacket had all kinds of things going on, including; belt buckles, zippers and fringe. I found it on a Facebook yard sale group, paying forty dollars for it. That was a big investment for this thrifty dude, but one that I knew would pay off. It went right on eBay and after a seven day auction, sold for $85 dollars. Not bad, but the real "piece de resistance" in my buy low/sell high Harley flips had to be this awesome looking Harley Cafe Racer leather jacket. I scored this bad boy last year for $45 dollars at yard sale. Originally, the seller wanted $60 bucks, but after some wheeling and dealing, he agreed to knock $15 dollars off the price. I really liked the cool look of this racing jacket and apparently so did many Harley riders. The bids for the jacket went over two bills and topped out at $220 dollars, proving once again that when it comes to Harley-Davidson gear, you really can buy low and sell high!

How about you? What kind yard sale stuff have you found that guarantees a buy low /sell high price? Share your story in the comment section below.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Two hot summer flips and one suspicious story.

Disc Golf Target
Even though we're still in the slow dog days of summer, I've been on a bit of a sales hot streak lately. You may have noticed my Twitter feed from last week when I posted a superb trash-to-cash find. Traveling down a quiet country road on the way to Goodwill, I spotted a disc golf target sitting out at the curb. If you're not familiar with them, disc golf is just like golf, only you use a Frisbee or "disc" instead of a golf ball. The metal stand is the "hole" you're aiming for with your disc. The game has become very popular with the Millennial and Gen X kids, with disc targets selling for as much as $200 dollars. Seeing some free dollars coming my way on this trashed disc target, I immediately turned the truck around and doubled back to investigate. A quick up and down confirmed it was in perfectly good shape, so I lugged it into the truck bed, strapped it down, then continued to Goodwill. As it turned out, the disc target was my only "find" that day. (Unless you count fresh flowers and veggies bought at a local farm stand.) For purposes of this blog, and also cause I like money, I wasted no time posting the disc target for sale on Craigslist. It was up for sale just hours after pulling it off the curb. Exactly one week later, a young Millennial backed his SUV into my driveway, handed me $80 bucks and pulled away with the disc golf target. That's what I call a "trash to cash" success story!

Big ole fishing cooler
Another "dog days of summer" flip was this huge ice cooler I bought last month at a yard sale. Not that I am complaining, but I was more or less forced to pay the guy his asking price of twenty bucks for this thing. It's a rare occasion when your Dude hands over money without some attempt at negotiating. In the case of ice coolers, I am accustomed to paying five or ten dollars at the most. However, I noticed some troubling interaction between the husband and wife after hubby quoted me a price of twenty bucks on the cooler. At hearing the price, the wife gave hubby an angry stare and mumbled under her breath, "Only twenty dollars?" Having been on the receiving end of a few angry spousal stares myself, I decided to pass on any negotiations so as not to annoy the seller's wife further. I handed over twenty and lugged the bulky cooler back to my truck. Even at twenty, I knew I could easily make money on it. Big ice coolers are a must-have for any fisherman worth his salt. Fishermen pack them with bait, beer, food provisions and the day's catch. The local geography was in my favor too. With the Atlantic Ocean and tributaries close by, many locals own their own fishing boat and could use a good cooler. I put the big box on Craigslist anticipating a quick sale. A few days later, I sold it for seventy dollars! At that price, it was no wonder that women stared at her poor husband!

Hobbico Radio Controlled Plane
Lastly, here's an "interesting" Craigslist transaction I recently made. Check out this Hobbico radio controlled airplane I bought for a $20 dollar bill at a yard sale. This cool looking plane came in the original box with the radio controller, manual and some peripheral gear. The plane looked like it was barely used and was in near-perfect condition. After doing some research on the plane, I learned it was a basic Hobbico beginner's model that often retails for about $130 dollars. Since it was too big to ship, I skipped eBay and went with Craigslist, listing it for one hundred dollars. After seeing no interest whatsoever, I dropped the price each week, finally getting a bite at sixty dollars. The buyer agreed to meet me at Dunkin Donuts to purchase the plane. He brought along his wife and ten year old son. I was a little caught off guard by both sonny boy and his father. The kid was so excited to see the plane, he started grabbing at it before Dad even paid me! Having raised my own little Rugrats, I know how kids can easily break something in their excitement, so I moved the plane out of his reach before any damage was done. After saving the plane from the kid's attack, the drama wasn't quite over yet. Dad threw me one more curve ball. He claimed to have brought sixty dollars with him to buy the plane, but was forced to use ten of it to put gas in his car. He now had only fifty dollars to spend on the plane! This seemed a little suspicious, because as he was explaining this, his wife announced she was going into Dunkin Donuts to buy something to eat. (I could be wrong here, but Dunkin Donuts usually expects payment for food.) Adding to my suspicions was the fact that dad bragged about several radio controlled airplanes he already owned. This was obviously not his first rodeo when it came to buying expensive model planes. Either way, I was pretty sure he was scamming me, but it was getting late and I wasn't about to haul the plane back home. I told the cash-challenged Dad not to worry about it, I'd take fifty. With that, he handed over what apparently was all the money he had left in the world. But no biggie, even with the dad's bait and switch, I still made thirty dollars on the deal.  

How's the dog days of summer treating you? Flip any good deals lately? Ever been given the old bait and switch like I experienced? Share your story below....

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Make money selling free stuff

As we make our way through the dogs day of summer, I have to say business is pretty slow. It's understandable this time of year. For one thing, garage sales have tapered off. Many folks find it just too hot this time of year to hold a yard sale. When that happens, I lose a nice source of inventory. On the selling side, my eBay and Craigslist sales have also seen a definite drop off. I chalk this up to folks being on vacation and other summertime distractions keeping them away from their computers. But things will pick up soon enough. Heck, QVC is already hosting a few "Christmas in July" promotions. Before you know it, it'll be back to school time and people will be home concentrating on what's really important, namely, buying my stuff! So while I am waiting for sales to pick up, let's take a look at an ongoing theme of mine: finding something for nothing! Over the last few months, I've been blogging about stuff I bought for next to nothing, then turning it into big money. Whether it's stuff I bought for a dollar, fifty cents or a quarter, I've come across some great deals. But now let's really get down to the nitty gritty....stuff I got for free!

Boring, but good money!
To begin with, here's an item that while not very exciting, still made me some very good money. A buddy of mine was getting ready to throw away a bunch of air mask filters he'd accumulated from his job. The filters attach to an air mask worn for industrial work, such as spray painting or building demolition. The company my buddy works for had just switched to a new style of air mask, making his old air mask and the attached filters obsolete. Instead of throwing them away however, I asked if I could have them? He obliged, handing over five sets of the outdated filters. I immediately looked them up on eBay to determine if they had any value. Finding that they did, I posted all five packs on eBay and sold them for twenty five dollars. He later gave me a few more sets, which I also turned over for the same twenty five dollar sale. Not bad for stuff that almost wound up in the trash! (I later paid him back in the form of some tall, foamy mugs of our favorite beverage.) These filters are a good example of keeping an open mind when looking for inventory to sell. Like my buddy, most people would never think an obsolete filter could make you any dough on eBay.

Target bookshelf
Any follower of my blog knows that I am not above trashing picking. I love the prospect of "trash" being turned into into cash. Blogs like "Things I Find in The Garbage" show how you can find some amazing treasures on the curb. Although not as dedicated as my fellow blogger, I am no slacker when it comes to picking trash. If I see an opportunity for a good trash pick, I dive right in! Take this shelf for example. Out on a drive recently, I spotted this laying by the curb on trash day. Conducting a brilliantly maneuvered U-turn, I pulled up curbside, jumped out and tossed it in the back of the truckster. After arriving home, I looked closely at the shelf, and with the exception of a small chip on one shelf, it was in very good shape. Mrs. Dude, who is an expert on all things Target, took one look at it and proclaimed it was a  popular style sold at her favorite store called a "ladder shelf." Although I am very confident with her vast knowledge on this subject, I decided to go on Target's website and check for myself. A quick lookie-loo on the website confirmed it was Target's bookshelf ladder. Better yet, I also learned the shelf sells for nearly seventy dollars! With that, I took a few pictures of my trash find and listed it on Craigslist for forty bills. A few days later, a buyer stopped by my house and handed over two twenty dollar bills for the shelf! You got to love turning trash into cash !

Garbage Pail Kids
Lastly, there was this doozy. Back in the spring, I showed up at a rainy day yard sale. Due to rain, the seller had all her items piled under her covered front porch. With a lot of stuff jammed in a small area, I made sure to take my time looking around. After several walks back and forth across the porch, I was able to come up with a two things, a Coleman camping lantern and an Igloo water cooler. Just before paying up however, I decided to take one more look around. Poking around a bit more, I came across a small plastic lunchbox hidden in between other assorted items. Shaking it, I could tell something was inside. Before I could even open the lunchbox, the seller blurted out to me, "Oh, you can have that for free." Upon opening the lunch box, I discovered a huge lot of vintage Garbage Pail Kids cards! These cards, with their twisted, grotesque little cartoon characters, are highly collectible on eBay. I thanked the nice lady and headed home with the cards, along with my other treasures. My total expenditure for the camping lantern, cooler and the free Garbage Pail Kids was all of ten bucks. A few weeks later, I had sold everything I bought on that front porch. The lantern and cooler netted me $35 dollars, But not surprisingly, the Garbage Pail Kids cards made me the most money, selling on eBay for in incredible fifty six dollars!  Kinda makes you wonder; who needs to buy things when people just give you stuff for free? It's pretty great!

How's your sales going this summer? Flip any freebies and make a nice buck out of it? Share your story in the comment section below...

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