Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tag Team Auctions

My dh and I have created what we are calling "Tag Team Auctions". We LOVE to sell on ebay - it's just so much fun to see what you can get for things sitting in your house - and we also LOVE to go to auctions to get deals. It's amazing what you can get at an auction.

So last summer, we decided to combine those two. Buy low at local auctions, sell high(er) on ebay. And we've had some great successes, too! ('Course, we also have gotten some real lead balloons, too - but you take your hits) Our best success: a box of old, small paperback recipe booklets (kind of like the type you get at the supermarket checkout - 100 ways to cook hamburger, etc) - but they were vintage, man. The oldest were from the 1920's, and went through the 1970's. Well, I paid $1 at the local auction for them (I'll try a lot of things for only $1), and I divided them into 13 or 14 different lots to sell on ebay. Altogether, those lots sold for over $100. So - spent $1, made $100. Not bad. Not bad at all.

The problem is...we don't always know what will sell on ebay. This can be serious, especially if you bid high at the local auction and then can't at the very least get your money back (I did that this weekend - a Fiesta ware mini-pitcher I thought for sure would sell, I paid $12.50 at the local auction, and they're selling on ebay for...ta da! Between $8-12. Ah, well. That's what I get for not taking advantage of the Tag Team).

Anyway - this is not a tutorial on how to sell on ebay. There are enough of those out there. BUT - it is kind of a look at what you could do. I try to limit myself to (1) things I KNOW will sell, or (2) things I THINK will sell and are going very cheap ($1-3). This is where the Tag Team comes in.

I go to the local auction, because dh can't stand for long periods of time without being in some extreme pain. Once I get there, I scope things out. Then I call him. He, in the meantime, has set up ebay, logged in, and gone to the "advanced search" capability. Once in there, there is an option to search only completed items (it's a little box that you check). This searches items that have ended in the last month or so.

So, I call him up and tell him what I see. For example, at this last auction this weekend, there was a game there called "Fame and Fortune" by Parker Brothers. 1937, decent condition, and it looked like a Monopoly knockoff/expansion, whatever. I thought it had appeal - but when he put it in, there was nothing - no sales, no links, nobody had had it at all. I didn't take the chance on it, because I wasn't sure.

When you search the completed listings, past auctions show up in red or green. If the price is RED, it didn't sell. If it's GREEN, it sold and you can see how much it went for. That can give you a limit on how much to bid at the local auction.

Then, you need to decide what you want your markup to be. That's one of the hardest things at local auctions, because you get caught up in the patter and the excitement of winning. You need to know WHEN TO STOP at local auctions, or you'll end up spending a LOT more than you really can afford, not to mention what you can resell. My "markup" changes depending on the item. If I can get something for $1 and sell it for $5, I'm really happy. If I get something for $15 and can only sell it for $19, it's not really worth my time. So it's a percentage for me, not a dollar amount.

Always remember:
  • You must take ebay and paypal fees into account when doing Tag Team Auctions.
  • You MUST keep track of what you buy and sell for tax purposes - Uncle Sam gets his share, whether you like it or not. Ebay has publically stated in the past that they will not hesitate to turn your connection info over to the IRS if your sales show that you might be reselling items. It's illegal to resell items not your own without paying taxes on them.
  • Realize your "low limit". I won't sell on ebay for a starting price of under $5. It's just not worth it to me, unless I REALLY just want to get crap out of the house.
  • Look for things that interest you! I've had a lot of luck with a real variety of things - old cookbooks, old craft magazines, statues/figurines, collector's plates, dolls...lots of stuff. But don't limit yourself...sometimes, what you could really do well on are things you wouldn't even think about - like a big ole stinky box of old recipes ($50 profit on one of those).
  • Don't let ebay scare you. Just make sure you determine your policies on shipping, accepting payment, etc, and make it very clear. Always write a lot about your item - and ALWAYS always take pics. Writing more WILL sell more things.

It's a fun pasttime, and all of our ebay sales are used to help pay down our BECC's (Big Evil Credit Card). It's kind of like the Dave Ramsey "sell everything - sell so much the kids think they're next!", except you start with a $25-$50-$75-Whatever amount kitty and keep replenishing it.

And as always - enjoy yourself - don't create more stress in your life with this. Have some fun with it!

It's Tuesday already! Man, time flies in the summer.

We've had a few more ebay auctions end since Friday - my first no-sale in a few weeks, but about $15 in sales. We have some more ending tonight, in 2 days, and I need to post a few more. So - sales, $15.

I fitted the wedding dress on my bride yesterday, and she is delighted with it, which is really cool. The dress is fun to make. After we talked for awhile, she asked if she could pay me the balance so she could keep better track of who was paid and who wasn't (for her wedding, that is) - she didn't owe me anything until the next fitting and then the pick up. So, that was an unexpected and very cool $448. Now, we can re-fund the savings/emergency fund to the level I like it, keep $100 in the credit union and $400 in the online savings (that way we don't pick at it for silly reasons (like eating out). All of this, plus we can still send some extra to the smaller of the BECC's (Big Evil Credit Card), since we already have about $150 in savings. Yay!

I did hit another auction this weekend, with the possibility (not certainty, though) of great resale. Dh and I have created what we call "tag team auctioning". Maybe I'll write a post just on that. :) So - I spent $70, but what I bought I should be able to sell on ebay for double that.

I spent last night taking pics to get ready to post more on ebay, so at least one auction should go up tonight. I'm getting better at the whole "you can list just one thing" rather than looking at my whole "ebay station" in my basement and thinking that there is no way I can get through that. It's a good lesson.

I am also hoping to get some more sewn this weekend to list on ebay or etsy. I'm looking into so many different things - typical for me, I get so interested in so many different things, and then get bogged down in all the "stuff." I have some really cute flannel prints, though, for some totes/bags for little girls. And magazine bags fascinate me. I want to try one with some of the old vintage mags I have.

Okay - I'm off. :) I'm pleased with where I'm at - I like it when we can pay extra. I paid ourselves back for shipping costs and paid ebay their share, so now what is in paypal is extra that can go to the BECC. I like that. :) :)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Okay - my last "checkin" was Monday...how are things today?

Well, payday (once a month) was on Wed, so we were able to get some stuff we'd been low on. And we had huge "Walmart" shopping to do (my generic title for things like toothpaste, hairspray, paper towels, etc - things you need around the house but don't necessarily buy every month) - $120 worth! Yesterday was dh's birthday, so we got a bucket of chicken (his fave). I'm going to be very careful this month on the eating out. It's my biggest weakness in regards to money management.

Wed night I went to an auction to look for things for resale, and did pretty good. I got 6 Terry Redlin collector's plates for about $3 or $4 each, and they should sell for $10-$15 each. A few other things, too, but those were the biggies. I may go to one tomorrow - we'll see what happens.

Save/earn money:
-We had a number of ebay auctions end, and most sold. So far, totals for sales are $91. :) We're still waiting for payment on one, and I have two more ending tomorrow night, with a couple more in a few days. We're getting better in paypal - I need to transfer some to cover the shipping costs, and pay our ebay bill for the month, then the rest will be transferred into savings. I have a goal of $500 back in savings, and KEEPING IT THERE. Going out to eat is not an emergency. I may transfer all but $100 into the HSBC savings, since they have a higher interest rate. Who am I kidding? They HAVE an interest rate...our credit union does not. It would also be harder to get to. So anyway - Saved/Earned: $91

-I've done poorly on the eating out front. That's a thing I really need to work on - it just sucks you dry. Between being on the run and dh's birthday dinner, we spent about $32 or so in the last couple days on eating out. No, not terrible...but when you only get paid once a month and your "eating out" budget category is $40 a month and you're $13,000 in cc debt...that's not great.

Some ideas: I bought some more material for product. Also, a craft-y store nearby has vendor openings starting 7/1, so we thought we'd go and take a look. I'm working on the wedding I have contracted for. So, keeping busy, working, and doing great. :)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Check in:

-Posted another 8 things on ebay! There are 2 auctions ending tonight
-Worked in sewing room
-Ate at home all weekend except for one pizza on Sat night (we got a reimbursement check in the mail...I'm so weak...we should have saved it) (Cost = $16) (Saved/Earned: $68)
-Cooked up sausage in the fridge before it went bad, froze 3/4 of it and used the last 1/4 to have with breakfast (Saved: $5)
-Cooked up burger with spaghetti sauce in the fridge and put in freezer so that didn't go bad (Saved: $2)
-Brought lunch to work today instead of eating out (Saved: $4)
-Ate at home for dinner today instead of eating out or getting more food at Walmart after I cashed the check (Saved: $15)
-Worked on getting the grant written for next school year
-Agreed to 10-14 more curriculum hours for this summer
-Posted one thing on etsy ( http://sewenchanting.etsy.com/ )

Yes, I am counting (at least for now) not spending money on eating out as saving. It helps a lot. I think I will post ebay "winnings" after the auctions end. That makes more sense to me.

So even with our pizza, we are ahead. Yes, we would have been $16 more ahead. I'll have to deal with that. :) :)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Alright! Check-in:

-Worked 4 hours curriculum time @$20/hour, plus yesterday was 2-1/2 hours curric time @$20/hour
-Posted 3 things on ebay tonight, plus 2 things last night
-Worked on wedding dress job

Not-so-great thing:
-I was so hungry when I got out of work, I stopped at BK ($4). I wasn't proud of myself, but I sure was hungry.

Great thing:
-Even though we were both craving pizza for dinner and it's too hot to light the oven, we didn't call for take-out, and had leftovers instead. :)

So, all in all, a great day.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The last week has been interesting, and we've been VERY good. :) We are still under budget, and I was able to transfer some money over from paypal to cover shipping for some ebay stuff I needed to send off.

I am going to try to post at least 3x a week, and post some stuff about what I'm doing to save/make more money.

~Worked 2-1/2 hours curric time (@$20/hour) + yesterday 4 hours (@$20/hour) = $130 (but we won't get that until the July paycheck at the earliest)
~Ate ALL meals at home, even though I was so tempted not to - saved $3.90 for breakfast, at least $3 for lunch, and $20 for dinner. :) Yay us!

I also worked on the wedding dress I'm making, and finished the laundry up. I picked up the clutter in the LR and watered my poor plants. Like I mentioned before, I tend to organize/clean more when we have money stuff on the brain.

okay: ebay stuff this week! :)

Thursday, June 07, 2007


We have about $130 to last us until payday - exactly two weeks from yesterday.

Can we do this?

That has to include gas to get to work, all groceries and any personal needs.

Luckily, we have a lot of food in the house. It depends on how well I behave.

I do have ebay stuff that has to be sent off - so we will get reimbursed from paypal for any expenses there.

We do have about $140 in savings to fall back on if we need to. And I do need to try to get enough out of ebay to pay the cell phone bill by the 16th.


I won't go into how much I spent today. :( I will say, however, that I am willing to keep track of my spending to see what's up for the next two weeks.

Here we go!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Okay. I am going to try to update here more often. I need to get in the habit - so we can get some of this debt GONE! Journaling always helps me keep on track. So...it's time!

We need serious work on our car. It is 11 years old and has 184,000 miles on it, so we have to make a decision when we stop piling money into this car and just get a new one. This new problem will be at least $600 to fix - which we don't have.

It did occur to us, though - that if we didn't have the payments for the cc's, we'd be able to afford a car payment - or, even better, a car if we were able to save up for awhile.

Which, of course, led us to the bright idea...that we need to get the cc's gone!

We added up all the "extra" money from this summer - summer school, the sewing jobs I have lined up, curriculum work with the district, working with the state - and it's a hefty chunk that will let us get savings back up to where it should be, plus maybe even pay off the smaller of the BECC's.

We're still looking at other alternative ways to save and make more money. I'm organizing the sewing room to see what all is in there - our Hancock Fabrics is going out of business, and I'm afraid I've bought a little more than I usually have room for. So - organization is the key!

I've found that when I feel stressed about money...I end up organizing or cleaning. Is that weird?