Saturday, November 30, 2013

LL Bean Coupons for the LL Bean Outlet Store

Why can't every day be like Christmas? Especially when it comes to eBay at the MoneyintheGarage factory outlet stores, stuff has been flying out the door! Green "bid" prices are lighting up many of my auction items. Sales are going so well in fact, that I intended to take a photo showing a particular lucky streak of listed items. Nearly everything was in the green with nice, high bids. But before I had the chance to snap a screen shot, all the stuff sold! As fellow eBayers know, before you can count your money there's still some work to do. Like one of Santa's elves, I've been wrapping packages and making multiple trips to the post office!

Like having an LL Bean coupon
As mentioned in previous blogs, inventory that sat around with no bids have suddenly found buyers. Case in point-I just sold this beautiful LL Bean sweater with tags attached. Believe it or not, even though the sweater was new, I couldn't get it sold during several auctions last winter. Considering it was brand new, it was baffling to me. Maybe I should have offered an LL Bean coupon? After giving up on the sweater and placing it in storage, I finally re-listed it last week. The result? It finally sold for $16 bucks. The buyer could not have scored a better deal if he went to the outlet store and used an LL Bean coupon! Although it wasn't much of a profit for me, at least it was out of my inventory. Normally, I wouldn't even have bought the sweater, but with the tags still attached, I figured I couldn't go wrong. So much for that theory! In the future, I'll stick to the tried and true, LL Bean hurricane shirts. Those things sell like hotcakes in the winter!

Sweaters notwithstanding, most of of my other items are doing excellent. So well in fact, that I've nearly burned through all my Christmas stockpile already! One item that just sold this morning was the vintage Santa blow mold seen below. This guy cost me one dollar at a yard sale last Summer. He stood 34 inches high. This made Santa just
Santa gave me $19 dollars!
tall enough to cause me some concern over shipping costs. His size could have easily pushed him into what I call the postal service, "large package/gotcha!" rates. Invariably, when I sell a larger, heavier package, it's always to some buyer waaaay out on the West coast. This almost always guarantees a high shipping rate that can wipe out any decent profits. In the case of my Santa, I didn't want my profits to be eaten by the good old post office, so I decided to list him for a twenty dollar bill on Craigslist instead. The buyer picked him up this morning. I guess I made the guy's day. He told me already had one identical Santa at home, but needed a matching Santa to pair up at the entrance to his driveway. He was so excited over finding an identical Santa that he let out an, "All right!" walking back to his car. What can I say? I am here to spread the holiday joy!

So I made a few buyers happy this season. I also made a nice little profit by using Craigslist over eBay. Identical Santa blow molds have recently sold on Ebay for a only ten to twenty bucks. Factor in the high cost of shipping plus the fees and commissions both Ebay and Pay Pal steal, whoops...I mean charge, it's usually wiser to sell larger items on Craigslist. The $19 dollars I made on jolly old Santa all went straight to me...eBay and Pay Pal didn't get a dime! Score one for the Dude!

How's your Christmas sales going? Have you made any nice flips so far? Share the story with your fellow elves!

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Turkey, cranberry sauce and another Imaginarium train table !

Alas, it looks like closing time for this year's garage sale season! With Thanksgiving just days away, the number of yard sales has really dropped off. I was reduced to about five decent houses this past Saturday. Sadly, this upcoming weekend looks even worse. As of tonight, not a single garage sale has been posted on Craigslist for this Saturday. It also happens to be the weekend before Thanksgiving, so I am certain many folks have their attention focused on turkey, football and parades! Can't really blame them, but I am still a little conflicted. While it's a bummer to see the garage sale season come to an end, I am also not against sleeping in on Saturday mornings!

It rained-but I still scored!
But if last Saturday was my last hurrah for the season, it wasn't a bad way to go out. Although a bit rainy, I still found a handful of sales to attend. At one sale I scored something that will probably make me sound like a broken record... another Imaginarium train table set! Unbelievable, right? I discovered the table at a sale held inside a jam packed garage. It was easy to spot. To save space, the sellers had it standing upright. Surrounding the table were lots of cardboard boxes waiting to be moved out to the driveway if the sun peeked out. Most yard sale pickers have been in this challenging situation. Too much stuff shoved in too small a space. Not only was it impossible to look at everything, I nearly broke my neck trying to walk around the garage! But despite all the boxes, I was really only interested in one thing...that Imaginarium train table. The lady was asking a $50 dollar bill for the table and track pieces. That was a number way more then I wanted to pay. I immediately negotiated her down to forty big ones, pointing out the fact that selling the table would free up much needed space in her garage. Although she agreed to take my offer, I think the rain and low buyer turnout had a more to do with changing her mind then my negotiating skills.

Arriving home, Sonny Boy help me carry the Imaginarium table into the garage. Ironically, we plopped it in the same spot where the previous table had sat just weeks before. Once again, it took up residence on Mrs. Dude's side of the garage. Logistically, it just works better for my garage sale acquisitions to be stored on Mrs Dude's side. Although Mrs. Dude hates losing her prime spot to a train table, I did my best song and dance to convince her the table would be sold quickly. It's a no-brainer! In fact, I am so confident that it will sell, I listed it on Craigslist for a very bold price of one hundred dollars!

The hundred dollar mark hasn't seemed to scare anyone away. The table attracted a huge amount of interest. However, it seemed like all my potential buyers were super busy moms who couldn't find the time to drive to my house! Most told me they really, really wanted the table, they couldn't pick it up right away due to a kid's doctor appointment...a work conflict...a school schedule...or hubby had the car. The reasons were endless! The e-mail activity got so crazy I started losing track of all the moms and what they told me! In the future, I am considering sending a form e-mail to all future inquiries with the simple instructions, "Please just call me when you're actually in your car and prepared to pick it up!"

But despite all this frustrating e-mail dancing, I did get the table sold. A nice lady stopped by and paid me a cool $100 dollars for the table. She told me she bought the table for her young daughter. I helped mom carry the big Imaginarium table to her car. After figuring out how to drop the rear seats on the borrowed SUV, we pushed the big table into the rear cargo area. This time, no toes were hurt in the process! (See previous blog.) After making an easy sixty dollar profit, I wouldn't mind scoring one last train table for the season. That's a bit of wishful thinking on my part, considering the garage sales have all but ended for the year!

Speaking of the holiday season, if you haven't already done so, any Christmas themed and gift items should be posted on eBay immediately. One look at all the Christmas commercials on television proves the holiday buying season has already begun! I started posting my holiday stuff over a week ago. In addition to it being the "most wonderful time of the year," I love the fact that almost everything I post on eBay ends up sold. Junk that sat dormant in previous auctions will get plenty of looks and attention during
Thomas Train piece finally sold!
this time of year. Even things you wouldn't expect like pre-owned clothing will often see holiday bidding. It's a great opportunity for you to clear out "stinker" inventory. For example, here's one that might surprise you; I bought this Thomas the Tank Engine piece for two dollars at a garage sale last year. It was brand new in the original box. While you might think a new Thomas piece would sell quickly, this piece went unloved for many auctions. Weird, right? After several auction strikeouts, I finally reposted it last Christmas and sold it for $15 dollars! So even if you are absolutely convinced you have a stinker that won't sell, try one more time during the holiday season.  

But let's not completely rush past Thanksgiving just yet. It's one of my favorite holidays and this Dude has a lot to be thankful for. Down a few lines on my list is my incredible garage sale hobby wherein  I regularly turn dollar bills into twenties, fifties and even hundreds! I am also thankful for the many readers who visit MoneyintheGarage and share your great comments and tips. With that in mind, be sure to have a great Thanksgiving celebration with your friends and family. Enjoy some turkey, take in a parade and rest up while you can. The busy Christmas season is about to begin!


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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Imaginarium & Thomas train table outlet store

I love buying train tables. Whether it's a Brio, Imaginarium or others types...I always make money flipping a good table. But for some strange reason, this year was nearly devoid of train tables. It was looking bleak. But just when I thought my luck had run out....boom! In a single day at the yard sales, I found not just one...but two tables! As the saying goes, when it rains-it pours. On that particular day, it poured train tables!

If you're caught up on my previous posts, I bought the tables on that busy Saturday in September. Yard sales were everywhere! So many in fact, that I nearly got lost in my own town! But I can't complain. In addition to the train tables, I scored plenty of stuff that will keep me busy selling for months. But nothing that day beat the two train tables I scored. I found the first table at a community yard sale held in a townhouse complex. Slowing driving through the neighborhood, I spotted the always popular, Imaginarium train table. It was complete with track and houses. The mom selling the table didn't live in the community. She told me she brought all her stuff to her parent's home to sell. Given this, I knew I already had an advantage. The mom would be super motivated to sell the big table, rather then face the prospect of hauling it back home. Taking advantage of her predicament, I bargained her down to a twenty dollar bill for the table. Even though it was a steal for me, the mom was pleased as punch just to get rid of it. (A common trait with most sellers. Train tables are too big to store, so folks are usually desperate to unload them.) The seller's elderly father even helped me load the table in the back of my truck. I pulled out of the neighborhood pretty pleased with the deal. Imaginarium train tables are always an easy, big bucks flip!

With one in the bag, I figured I already hit my limit on finding train tables for the day. But I should have more confidence in myself! Rolling up to the final garage sale of the day, I eyed another winner. This time it was the much loved, "Thomas the Tank Engine" table! The table was sitting under a shade tree in the children's toy section of the garage sale. It looked awesome, but with an Imaginarium table already filling up the back of my truck, I wasn't sure I had room for one more. But then I reminded myself that after going the entire season without finding a train table, I shouldn't ignore this gift from the yard sale gods. I decided that if the price was right, I'd make room for one more!

Walking up to the table, I found the Mom and asked her how much she wanted? She came back at me
Double decker train tables!
with an outrageous price of forty dollars! I shook my head no, adding that forty dollars was way too rich for my blood. She then dropped her price down to thirty. Still playing hardball, I told her she was still asking too much. Mom then asked me how much I'd offer for the table? At that point I pulled out my trump card. Pointing to my truck, I told her I already bought a train table today. Mom glanced over to the truck and looked defeated. Moving in for the kill, I told her that even though I already had one, I'd take the table off her hands for twenty bucks. She glanced nervously at my truck parked at the curb, completely stymied over what to do. Being an old pro, I decided to give her a gentle, psychological nudge. Smiling at her as if I could see into the future, I gave her this advise, "Look, I give you twenty bucks...and you don't have to carry the table back into the house later." That was all the push she needed. Agreeing that she didn't want the bulky table back inside, she accepted my low ball offer. After handing over an Andrew Jackson to her, I happily carried the Thomas the Tank Engine table down to my truck. I strapped the second table to the first and headed home. It was a momentous "two-train table" day for me. A personal garage sale best that I won't soon break!

Train Table Outlet Store
With two train tables now taking up massive space in my garage, it was time to get to work. I decided to post only one table at a time on Craigslist. To do otherwise would just be competing against myself. The Thomas Table went up on CL first. Since the table had no accessories when I bought it, I added some Brio track and buildings I had in reserve. (Parents want tables that come with train, track and buildings...a total package.)  Within days, I got a bite from some young parents. Prior to their arrival, I moved the Thomas table into my driveway, closing my garage door so they couldn't spot my Imaginarium table. I didn't want the young couple to get distracted, or think I was running a train table outlet store! After checking out the Thomas table, the young parents gladly paid me my asking price of $150 dollars. Cha-Ching! With one down, it was time to move on to the second table.

The young couple had barely left my street, when I posted the Imaginarium train table. This sale turned out to be a little more amusing. After a few weeks on Craigslist in which I dropped the price several times, an interesting couple finally showed up to look at the table. The couple's son was barely a year old and clearly not ready to play with toy trains, but young mom wanted the table anyway. The enthusiastic mom checked out the train table while her husband, who was much older then his wife, stayed in the car with his sleeping son. Mom liked the table and immediately paid me my asking price of $100 big ones-not bad for a twenty dollar investment!

After paying me, mom told me the table was for her first born and only child. I also learned that dad had much older kid's from a previous marriage. This explained the age difference between the two. She then yelled to her husband, coaxing him out of the car to help carry the table. I smirked as older dad reluctantly shuffled up the driveway. He looked like he'd rather be any place but my driveway!  With thinning, disheveled hair and a few wrinkles, he had at least fifteen years on his young wife. He also happen to be wearing
C'mon...wear some shoes!
white socks with open toe sandals! This struck me as a bit unusual, but maybe I just need to get out more? Either way, I felt a little sorry for the guy as he grudgingly carried the table down to the car. We then attempted to fit the big table into the back of his small SUV. Struggling to make the table fit, we began tilting the monstrosity. This little maneuver did not work out well for old of the table's large board panels fell out, landing squarely on dad's stocking toe! Closing his eyes tightly for a moment, he silently grimaced in pain while his young wife attempted to console him. It was quite a scene and I won't took every fiber of my being to keep from laughing! (That's what he gets for wearing sandals!) Not wanting to look wimpy in front of his young wife, older dad rallied. He shook off the pain and we finished jamming the table into his SUV. Dad limped back into his car and they pulled away. The coast was finally clear for me to laugh out loud over the whole misadventure!

As I said in the beginning-it's fun flipping the train tables. In fact, maybe I should consider opening up that train table outlet store. Where else can you make a quick $250 in cash and have a good laugh at the same time?

Have you sold any train tables this year? Did any of your buyer's almost break their toe in the process? Share your story below.....


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