Posts filed under ‘making money’

Is eBay Worth the Trouble? – Results From My Recent Listings

eBay

I received a couple of emails in response to yesterday’s post. Two readers wanted to know if I would list items on eBay again and whether or not it was really worth the trouble of selling there.

Honestly, I think it depends on what you want to get rid of and how much you think you’ll earn from the items you sell. I listed unwanted gift cards, movies, an old cell phone and a video game controller. (None of these were high ticket items.)

My goal was to earn a minimum of $10 off of each listing. As you can see in the table below I failed to achieve this in five of my thirteen listings; not very good odds.

Here are the results of my listings:

Listing Price + Shipping Fees + Shipping Profit
Disney Blu-Ray & DVD $37.86 $7.44 $30.42
Earbuds $8.50 $3.33 $5.17
Disney Blu-Ray & DVD $10.68 $3.77 $6.91
Earbuds $12.99 $3.91 $9.08
Disney Blu-Ray & DVD $16.50 $4.68 $11.82
Outdated & Cracked Cell Phone $29.50 $6.53 $22.97
$25 Gift Card $24.01 $5.33 $18.68
Disney Blu-Ray & DVD $16.74 $5.19 $11.55
$25 Gift Card $21.53 $5.08 $16.45
Play Yard Sheets $10.25 $5.56 $4.70
3 Children’s DVDs $12.55 $5.24 $7.32
Training Pants $51.00 $10.35 $40.65
Video Game Controller $106.00 $22.22 $83.78

Total Earned: $269.48

All of these items were extremely easy to list. For the most part I searched for the UPC, used the generic details provided by eBay and added a sentence or two about the quality of items for sale. I took two or three pictures on my iPhone and quickly uploaded them to the auction site. The worst part of that process was rotating the images, because everything I uploaded seemed to load into eBay sideways. The total time for listing was just a minute or two.

I split the listings into two separate weeks and set the duration of each sale to seven days. My goal was to end all sales by Saturday evening. I like ending on Saturday because it gives buyers an extra day to pay. (I can’t ship anything out on Sunday anyway.) On Sunday evening, after all the auctions were paid, I packaged everything up and dragged it off to the post office in one big trip.

For the most part this worked. A few buyers were slow to pony up their money, but luckily the items they purchased fit in the blue postal box at the end of our street.

Three of the thirteen items did not sell the first time I listed them. I lowered the price ever so slightly and a week later they all sold at higher prices then I originally expected. For the record eBay suggests starting listings at ninety-nine cents. They say low prices will spark interest from more buyers, which might be true, but I’ve also been burned by setting auctions too low in the past. There is always the possibility that an item will sell for next to nothing. I’d prefer a slightly lower ending price then risking a ninety-nine cent sale. Perhaps there is some happy medium to knowing just how low to start while still ensuring a decent profit.

For each auction eBay charged 10% of the sale price, plus 10% of shipping costs. A few times the cost of shipping, (including packaging supplies), was more than I expected. Oh and when selling on eBay you can’t forget about PayPal fees, which tacked on anywhere from sixty-eight cents to an additional five dollars in the auctions listed above.

If a similar situation presented itself I would certainly use eBay again. I earned $269.48, which isn’t an earth shattering amount of money, but it’s certainly better than $0.

Next time around I probably won’t sell anything that isn’t valued at over $20. I also wouldn’t offer free shipping, because those auctions resulted in the smallest amount of profit.

How about you? Have you ever sold stuff on eBay and what was your experience like?

Photo Credit

February 25, 2015 at 8:20 PM Leave a comment

Round Up: Making Money by Cleaning Out the House

shipping supplies

With all of the nesting and remodeling taking place in my house I began to wonder if I could make any money selling the stuff I so desperately wanted to purge.

I tried a couple of different approaches to offloading my unwanted belongings. Here is where I landed so far:

  • eBay Sales: $86.37 for six items (more sales pending)
  • Book Sales: $86.65
  • DVD Sales: $11.97
  • Returning Unwanted and Unused Items: $54.36
  • Consignment: $18.72

Total earned after shipping and fees: $258.07.

What I learned along the way:

  • I am not a fan of eBay. The fees for selling and shipping seem a whole lot higher than they used to be. After paying the 10% eBay fee, a PayPal fee, paying for shipping supplies and USPS labels my profits quickly dwindled. eBay sales felt like a general pain to me. Listing didn’t take a particularly long amount of time, but it does take a few minutes to take pictures, provide a description and post. A few buyers took forever to pay, which meant following up day after day and packing and driving the boxes to the post office wasn’t particularly fun either.
  • Book buying sites make selling unwanted books so easy. I used bookscouter to price out the highest paying vendors and shipped packages to five different companies. While I might have earned more on eBay or half.com I enjoyed bundling everything up and shipping them off all at once. The downside: a couple of boxes were so big they required hand delivery to the post office and the post offices around my house, well quite frankly, suck. I didn’t want to wait in line for twenty minutes to ship $5 or $10 worth of books.
  • I had no idea anyone would want to purchase a bunch of old children’s DVDs, but to my surprise we had a small stack of old movies that a few companies were willing to buy. I punched in the UPCs and compared bids. I sold a bunch of children’s videos we received as hand-me-downs from friends and family members. A few were worth $3 or $4, but most were worth around 50 cents. This isn’t getting rich money, but since they were headed out the door anyway I figured I might as well make a little money off of them.
  • In digging through our closets I found a number of brand new items we didn’t really need. Included in that list were a few books I never got a chance to read and a couple of children’s toys. (It seems I bought a few too many things over the holidays.) I try to keep the receipts for everything I buy, so I gathered the items together and returned them. I know that buying books can be a huge waste of money for me. It’s a lesson I really need to keep at the forefront of my mind. For some reason the temptation to buy more is always lingering.
  • I wrote about my consignment adventure yesterday. I certainly didn’t earn much from my haul, but a larger volume might bring in more cash next time. I would certainly consider this route after baby number two outgrows the infant toys and baby gear a year or so from now.

Do you have any other ideas for purging stuff? How do you get rid of unwanted possessions?

Photo Credit

February 5, 2015 at 3:14 PM 1 comment

Consignment Shops: My Thoughts on Selling Kid’s Clothing

sales rack

Every season I purchase a few new clothing items for my son. I typically shop the clearance aisles of local stores like Old Navy, Kohl’s and Gymboree and walk away with a few cute shirts and pants. Within a few weeks of shopping I invariably receive an email message from a former coworker that reads, “I have a few bags of hand-me-downs. Would you like to meet up for lunch and pick them up?”

I am ever so thankful for everything we have received over the past three years. Bags and bags of clothing, toys and other baby related items have saved me a big chunk of money.

I’m a stickler for processing these hand-me-downs as soon as they come in the front door. I pour all of the bags and boxes onto the dining room table and sort by type. Books land in one pile, shirts, pants and toys in another.

I generate a pile for anything I don’t plan to keep. This typically includes pants with zippers and anything that looks particularly worn or too small. It might also include puzzles or toys that I don’t think my son will be interested in or duplicates of items he already owns. In the past I gathered everything together and dragged them off to the donation center.

This time around I picked through the piles and selected a few items in particularly good condition that my son probably wouldn’t wear. This included brand new items that were a size too small for my son as well as dress shirts, pants and sweaters that I don’t typically dress him in.

Yesterday I drove to a local consignment shop to see if they might be worth something. I also added a couple of maternity pants that never quite fit right and three toddler toys.

I didn’t have any expectation for how much I might earn. Since I typically donate these items I figured any amount of money offered would be a bonus.

I carried a medium sized bin into the store and shopped for a bit. After fifteen or twenty minutes a kind cashier invited me back to the front of the store.

I was offered $18.72 in cash or $22.02 in store credit. I selected the cash option, which averaged a pitiful $1.70 per item.

The pile included four brand new items, (a toddler sweatshirt, one pair of pajamas and two 2T onesies), two used Melissa and Doug toys, three like-new maternity items and two pairs of pre-owned toddler pants.

It’s not exactly getting rich money, eh? Since many of the items were free to me, I didn’t feel bad about selling them at such low rates, but if I had paid full price I certainly would’ve felt robbed.

While I was shopping I noticed that the store’s prices were nearly as high as purchasing items for new. So I know that the item they paid me $1.70 for will probably be re-tagged around $15.

I also understand that the store wants to earn as much money as possible and that they are paying me upfront for the merchandise. Honestly I like this model better than one where you don’t get paid unless someone purchases the item you consigned.

I wish I tried consigning sooner. I’m just curious if I had anything else in those donation bags that could have netted a profit. It’s not so much about making money it’s more a curiosity about how much someone would be willing to pay me for them.

Have you ever consigned children’s clothes or toys before? What was your experience?

Photo Credit

February 4, 2015 at 3:35 PM 4 comments

Blogging For Money

This post is part of Women’s Money Week 2014.

I started this blog in 2006. In fact, next week marks the anniversary of it’s creation; eight years since I created my very first post! There weren’t a ton of personal finance blogs in existence back then, but I’ve always been interested in the topic and decided to distract myself from physical ailments by blogging about money and my relationship with it.

At some point along the way I began adding advertisements to the sidebar and attempting to gain referral money from a number of different websites. Eventually I permitted sponsored posts, which I was adamantly opposed to back in 2006.

I’m not as dedicated to this site as I should be. I also don’t like to push products or advertising. As a result I have earned a pitiful amount from maintaining this site.  Here is a snapshot of the money I earned in 2013.

Can you make money from blogging? Of course you can. JD Roth is a perfect example. He sold GetRichSlowly for some undisclosed amount of money that was large enough to allow him to move into semi-retirement. Will that be me. Probably not. At least not with this website.

I have found other ways to make small chunks of change here and there on the Internet. I’ve written about many of these before. I complete online surveys, enter giveaways, sell unwanted items on eBay and cash in on used books. I also sign up for programs that offer rewards for frequent purchases like Pampers, Coke and Disney Movie Rewards.

I haven’t earned a ton of money from any of these items individually, but each task takes very little time or effort. Last year I earned nearly $7,000 and my 2014 total recently hit the $1,500 mark.

March 5, 2014 at 7:00 AM 3 comments

Earn Money From Online Surveys: Pinecone Research Now Open

Update: It looks like Pinecone Research has closed it’s doors again and is no longer accepting applications.

Last year I earned roughly $575 from completing online surveys. I documented the details of the survey sites I use and you can check out that information here. At the time Pinecone Research, (one of my favorite sites), was not accepting new members, but it appears registration is now open for them. If you are interested in earning money by completing online surveys I urge you to check them out by clicking this link.

Here are a few other sites with open enrollment. Please note, I have not tried any of these myself.

You may also be interested in the Nielson Home Scan Consumer Panel. I have not joined this program, but I do have a friend who enjoys using it.

20130305102040-240749

*Note: This post contains referral links.

April 20, 2013 at 9:51 AM 1 comment

Any Experience with Consignment Stores?

I have a bunch of baby stuff sitting in closets and plastic tubs in our home that I no longer need. There is that diaper bag I received at my baby shower but never used, a stroller that is much too short for someone my height and a bunch of pajamas that we’ve used only once or twice before getting frustrated by the location of zippers and buttons sewn into them.

I also have a couple of onesies that I bought for just a dollar or two at Gymboree. These are for older children size 18-24 months and I can tell you as a parent of a very active, fifteen month old these are almost impossible to button. There is no way I’m even going to attempt to dress my son in them a few months from now. They are super cute, but certainly not worth the effort.

I’m considering taking all of these items to a consignment store that is very close to my parents house. I visit my folks every week or so, (my dad is currently recovering from surgery), and I figure since I literally pass it on my north I don’t have too much to lose.

I sold sports equipment to a consignment store a few months ago. They provided three options for payment. First, wait until the item sells. Second, take cash immediately. Third, take store credit which is usually a few dollars more than the cash option. I’ve always taken the cash option, because the store is not conveniently located and because the items I’ve sold have not been worth a lot of money.

A few people have told me to try selling items on craigslist, but I really don’t want to deal with the hassle of meeting people at various times of the day and I don’t want people to come to my home. Before my son was born I sold a bunch of stuff on craigslist, but now I have less time and more concerns about doing so.

I’ve already boxed up a number of things for the donation center and provided another couple of bags to friends who recently had children. I am also keeping most of my son’s items, (in case we decide to have another child), but there are definitely a number of new or almost new items I can part with.

I was wondering if anyone has sold clothes and accessories to a children’s store before. Can you provide any advice based on your experience?

February 10, 2013 at 5:24 PM 1 comment

How I Sell Books Online

After writing about my 2012 online income I received a question about selling books and thought I’d write a quick post to answer it. Last year I earned just under $125 selling books to book buying companies. (The numbers in my original post were slightly off.) I also earned an additional $24 selling books on eBay.

I sold a total of 35 books, which resulted in a piddly average of $4.25 earned per book. In actuality I sold some for over $10 and one for as little as $2.16.

I received the majority of books directly from publishers. They send me a book and I write an honest review of it. It’s a win-win situation, publishers receive additional press and I receive free books to read. I also won a couple of books in online blog contests and received some as gifts from friends and family.

Okay, so now you know that I didn’t pay for any of these books. They come free in one form or another and I typically sell them to book buying websites. I prefer these sites to Amazon and half.com for two reasons. First, I can ship the books without waiting for someone to buy them. I know this may sound like a silly reason, but my husband and I travel back and forth to North Carolina quite a bit. I don’t want an item to sell while I’m away and unable to ship it. Second, after I subtract the fees from many of these sites my net result is similar to the amount of money I would have earned through direct sales.

I believe Amazon.com and half.com both charge 15% for online book sales and eBay charges at least 9%. Add to that the fees deducted from PayPal payments and it’s usually only a dollar or two difference between selling directly and shipping all my books off at once to a book-buying service. Amazon discounts books a lot these days so in general I find books selling for less and less in the secondary market.

There are a ton of book-buying sites out there, so I use bookscouter.com to figure out which sites will pay me the most money. Simply enter the ISBN of one of your books and it will scour 44 sites to find the best price. Last year I sold primarily to four sites including BookJingle, SellBackYourBook, Cash4Books and TextBooksRUs. Most sites will match prices, but for the most part I find that during any particular point in time one site will offer higher prices on almost all of the books I’m trying to sell.

I’ve been selling books like this for years and I’ve encountered a problem one time. I once sold a large box of books to Powell’s and did not receive payment for one of the books I shipped. Powell’s doesn’t pay much for books, but it does take a lot of novels that other sites don’t seem particularly interested in.

All in all selling books earned me an easy $150 last year. I may have been able to earn even more by selling directly via half.com or Amazon, but it certainly wouldn’t have been as easy.

What do you think? Do you sell your books online and if so where do you typically list them?

February 5, 2013 at 1:54 PM 7 comments

Earning Money From Online Surveys

Last year I earned nearly $475 for completing online surveys. Since I only earn a few dollars here and there I was rather surprised by the total. I received a few comments asking about legitimate survey sites so without further ado here is a list of the sites I currently use.

  • e-Rewards: Unfortunately you must receive an invitation to join e-rewards and I’m not sure how I received my invitation. It is by far one of my favorite survey sites. The survey pay outs are quite high and I earn a $25 Macy’s gift card from them every quarter along with points to Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards program. You can also earn rewards for magazines, restaurant.com and a whole host of other airline reward programs. Their customer service team is also extremely responsive.
  • Pinecone Research: This is my absolute favorite survey site. Unfortunately they are not currently accepting new applicants. They used to pay $3 for every survey completed, but now they offer points which can either be cashed out or saved to spend on merchandise.
  • MyPoints: This site rewards you for reading emails and taking surveys. If you sign up definitely use a separate account so you aren’t inundated by unwanted emails. It can take a very long time to accumulate points through this site, but if you don’t mind clicking on emails and taking occasional surveys then this might be the site for you. If you’d like a referral just leave a comment below and I’ll email one to you.
  • JD Power Panel: I’m not too fond of this survey site. I often complete more than 50 to 75% of a survey before being told I don’t qualify for it. A few times I’ve completed the entire survey, but have not been properly credited. The customer service team is no help in these situations. They will offer you 10 cents which is the rate they provide if you do not qualify. I have been burned enough times by this site that I only complete surveys with high values. Also, it takes an extremely long time to receive payouts. You have to wait until you earn $25 to receive a payout and sometimes it takes a month from the time it is requested. Having said all that I did earn $125 from them last year.
  • Swagbucks: This is another popular survey site. You can also receive rewards for other tasks like searching the web.

I also earn money from three discussion panels. Unfortunately these are also by invitation only. I believe I was forwarded on to these sites by e-rewards. (Another reason I love that site.) A few times a month they send out a few questions to members. If you reply promptly you will receive payment in the form of Amazon gift cards or cash depending on the panel. I typically earn between $25 and $35 a month from these and fill out less than 4 surveys during that time. (I actually forgot to add the Amazon gift cards into the tally from completing online surveys. Those cards would add another $100 to my yearly total.)

I will mention that survey sites are not for everyone. Some people find them quite tedious and uninteresting. You may want to sign up for one and see if it’s worth your time. If not, you can always remove your email from their mailing list. I do encourage you to set up a separate email for these sites. While I’ve never encountered SPAM from any of these sites it is certainly possible that your information could be shared.

*Note: This post contains referral links.

February 3, 2013 at 12:08 PM 7 comments

Tallies from 2012: How Much Money Did My Blog Earn?

Every year I intend to tally up the amount of money I earn from online endeavors including, but not limited to, blogging. Usually I lose track of just how much I earned and lost and this year is no exception. I’m sure I’m missing a few figures here and there but overall I think it’s within a few hundred dollars of the actual number.

Amazon Sales $28.68
Selling Used Books $101.07
Goods Received $140.00
Giveaways $149.00
Surveys $474.00
eBay Sales $641.73
Writing Contests $750.00
Advertising $1,957.25
TOTAL: $4,241.75

 

As you can see I made the most money through advertising. This included tweets, links on Facebook, sponsored posts and simple sidebar advertisements. Averaged out over a twelve month period I earned roughly $160 each month, though in reality most of my advertising revenue was generated in a three month period. $160 is a pretty pitiful amount of money, (certainly not enough to quit one’s day job), but I should note that I do not write this blog as a means to make money. In fact, I turn down quite a few requests for sponsored posts each month, because I don’t like the advertisement or I’m unwilling to clutter my blog for the small amount of money advertisers are willing to pay me.

In looking over the numbers I was most surprised by the amount of money I earned from completing online surveys. I typically fill these out early in the morning or late at night after my son’s in bed. They only take a few minutes and typically pay just a few dollars each. I’m also a member of a couple of online communities whose pay rates vary based on level of participation.

Amazon sales is also an interesting category. This money was earned in the last two weeks of December off of links included in one particular post. I ended up adding links on a whim. I wrote the post years ago, but decided it wouldn’t hurt to cash in on it’s popularity.

I’m most proud of the $750 worth of cash and prizes I won through two online writing contests. Neither contest included a huge number of entries, but it still feels good to win a prize based on skill and ability. Of course, I don’t mind the $150 worth of prizes I won by entering simple online contests either. There’s certainly nothing wrong with a little easy money.

January 26, 2013 at 5:01 PM 14 comments

So Disappointed

Every once in awhile I clean out the house and find a couple of items that I might just be able to sell. I typically search eBay for similar items and then determine whether or not it’s worth my time to list them.

We have less and less clutter these days but I’ve had good luck selling items like video games and high-end clothing in the past. My rule is that an item has to sell for at least $10 to make it worth my time and energy, otherwise PayPal and eBay fees eat away any decent form of profit.

Two weeks ago I placed watches on items similar to the ones I intended to sell and noticed that the video games were selling for close to $15 each. I also planned to sell a high-end baby gift that was out of season for my little tyke. That one item was selling in new condition for roughly $35.

Well I priced my items low and waited to see what would happen. I kept watch over similar items and watched their prices go higher and higher, but unfortunately this week the cards didn’t play out in my favor.

I’m not sure why. My auctions had good pictures and details. I typically run auctions from Saturday to Saturday, but this time they all ended on a Sunday evening. Perhaps less people bid on eBay auctions on Sunday evenings, since they are going to bed early and preparing for the week of work that lies ahead.

I’m not sure what happened. At the end of the day my baby item sold for $23, which was $12 less than comparable auctions and my video games sold for $7 each, which was less than half of what I expected.

It’s certainly not the end of the world, but it is a bit frustrating. Add to that the fact that one of the items was too big to drop in a postal slot, so I had to wait on line at the post office just to hand over a box with prepaid postage. I would’ve left it outside for the mailman, but I hate giving him extra stuff to carry as he delivers our neighbor’s mail.

If I attempt eBay at any point in the future I’m going to choose a different end date for my auctions and only provide UPS postage options. It might be more expensive but I despise the post office!

March 19, 2012 at 10:40 PM 5 comments

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