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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