Saturday, December 19, 2015

Christmas sales, Laser Lights and other tales

With Christmas sales wrapping up for the season, it's time to take stock of some holiday sales here at MoneyintheGarage. I built up a nice inventory of Christmas items to sell this year. This inventory consisted of a year long effort at area garage sales, thrift stores and Facebook finds. To keep it all organized, I stored my Christmas finds on one large shelving unit in the Moneyinthegarage warehouse. By the time November rolled around, the shelf was crammed with inventory. Now that the Christmas selling season has concluded, these shelves are now empty. I gotta admit, it's a pretty good feeling seeing bare shelves where all that stuff was once stacked. Overall, it turned into a very good season. Check out a few of my holiday hits and one near-miss...

Gemmy Airblown Santa Igloo
I continue to love wheeling and dealing in holiday inflatables. As mentioned in past blogs, while it can be risky business, the rewards can overcome the risks. This Gemmy Santa igloo inflatable is an example. I bought it on Facebook waaaay back in the summer for twelve dollars. It was brand new in the box. You just can't lose when buying a new inflatable-no worries about leaks or the material being stained or dirty. My Ebay research determined that "Santa stuck in the igloo" inflatables are a big deal with many a Clark Griswold out there. Knowing I had a winner on my hands, I posted the igloo on eBay at a "Buy It Now" price of $100 dollars. (Buyer paid shipping.) It was snapped up within days! At an eighty dollar profit, I was off to a pretty good start for the season!

Christmas season is also the time to sell holiday blow molds! I scored a major find back in the summer when I rolled up to a garage sale and found this huge Nativity scene. This set was hard to miss. The wise men alone stood over four feet tall! With the seller asking just twenty dollars for the entire set, it was a no-brainer. After peeling off a twenty for the seller, I carefully piled the individual figures in the back of my truck. (Baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph, of course, rode up front with me.) Once I got the set home, I stacked the figures in my garage attic. With only about five feet of clearance in the  garage attic, the collection easily reached the rafters. But at least they were out of the way until the holiday selling season. A few days after Thanksgiving, I posted the Nativity scene on Craigslist. The weekend right after Thanksgiving is always the ideal time to post blowmolds or inflatables. That's when folks like to get their decorations up on the house before cold weather sets in. That's what happened with my Nativity scene. After posting it, a buyer looking to decorate the outside of his house showed up to buy the set. After some give and take, we agreed on $175 dollars for the Nativity scene. He also bought two blowmold toy soldiers and two Noel candles from me for an additional $30. (I paid a dollar a piece at a summer garage sale.) To say the buyer was happy with his huge blowmold purchase would be an  understatement. He couldn't wait to get everything home and plugged in. He even gave me his address, inviting me to drive by his house to check out the display. I told him I would, and as he pulled away, I counted out out a total of $205 cash from the sales. After backing out my $24 dollar investment, I turned a profit of $181 big ones on the entire collection.  

Oh well, can't win em all!
But not all my sales went as well as my blowmold flips. Case in point-this Mr. Christmas, "Santa's Tree Trimmers" mechanical piece. I bought this at Saint Vincent DePaul Thrift Store hoping to re-sell it for $50 to $75 dollars. Before buying it, I did my due diligence and plugged it in at the store to make sure it worked. It did, so I handed over $25 dollars for what I hoped was going to be another awesome Mr. Christmas flip. Based on my past experience, Mr. Christmas pieces can be a big moneymaker...that is, if they work. Hoping to impress Mrs. Dude with my latest find, I got home and plugged Santa's Helpers into an electrical outlet to demonstrate how it worked. When I did, Santa and his elves began moving back and forth. That was, until they didn't. After just a few minutes of running, the figures froze up! Apparently, Santa and his elves decided to go on strike! An hour of tinkering later, I finally gave up on  trying to fix the thing and moved to a backup plan. I cannibalized the piece, stripping off the tiny light bulbs and plastic colored candle bulbs for resale on eBay. While I didn't make the big money I was hoping to, I did sell the salvaged parts for $40 dollars, thereby recouping my original investment and then some. Not huge money, but better then taking a loss.

If you've been following the news, you may have seen the stories about the shortage of Star Shower Laser Lights. The Laser Light projects thousands of festive green and red laser dots on your house. Mrs. Dude bought two at Walmart for forty dollars a piece for use on our home. I think they're great. A lot easier then risking life and limb hanging icicle lights up on the house. However, after setting one of the Laser Lights up, I decided there was no reason to use the second light. One Laser Light lit up the house just fine. But did we return the second light to Walmart for a forty dollar refund? Heck no! By the beginning of December, there was a shortage of Laser lights. In fact, they were in such high demand and short supply, that Grinchs' were swiping them from people's front yards! Recognizing a great eBay selling opportunity, we posted our second Laser light on eBay for a BIN price of $95. It sold within a day! (Buyer even paid shipping) If only we had a crystal ball back when we originally purchased the two at Walmart. There were at least a hundred Laser Lights stacked on the end cap aisle. Oh well, who knew, right? Guess we'll be happy with our $45 profit.

Those are just a few examples of my holiday sales. How's your sales going this Christmas season? I hope you're doing gangbusters and making nice money for you and your family. Share some of your Christmas flips with everyone in the comment section.

I'll have more stories and tips on what to buy and what to flip in the coming New Year. Until then, I want to wish all of the friends and followers of MoneyintheGarage, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year...... Dude!

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