Monday, November 21, 2011

Yard Saling is like Trick or Treating

According to my three year old, yard saling is just like trick or treating. I hadn't thought about it before, but I can see the similarities. You go up to people's houses and you never know what you're going to get; even the best CL ads promising oodles of toys can turn out to be a trick instead of a treat.

On Saturday, my daughter had a makeup gymnastics class (to make up for the one she missed on Halloween, how fitting) at 9 AM so I knew I wouldn't make it to the sales before her class. Her gymnastics class is up north near the area where I usually yard sale anyways, so when class ended at 10AM I checked my yard sale app on my phone and mapped out a couple of close sales advertising kids' clothes, toys, and maternity clothes.

Despite it being so late in the morning, the first sale we hit up still had a good selection. The first thing I spotted was a Fisher Price Incrediblock with some Peek a Blocks (still haven't counted how many but at least 15 I think). It also came with the boat pictured in this auction, so it might fetch a few more bucks at auction. These sell well on eBay and hopefully shipping won't be too terribly painful. This is where calculated shipping is important! I managed to snag this and a cute maternity top for $5. Even better was the fact that the family was all outside including their young almost three year old daughter so my daughter had an instant playmate while I got to browse the sale. That's always been my fear with taking my daughter to the sales with me - that she would require my attention the whole time and I would miss the good deals. It was a win win for both of us.

At the next sale, I wasn't so lucky. Not sure if they had better stuff earlier in the morning and it was all gone by 10AM but when we got there it was slim pickings. My daughter found some transformer looking things to play with while I browsed (for all of 5 minutes), then we left empty handed.

The third and final sale we hit was a fluke because I was trying to find another sale from CL but they must have packed it in early, because there was no sign of it at 10:30. I saw a sign for a sale as we were leaving that neighborhood and although I don't usually follow signs for sales, I figured why not since we were so close. It was an older couple, but the lady used to be a Kindergarten teacher so she had a bunch of books and some dress up clothes. I looked through the books, but nothing struck me as an incredible deal. There were some leveled readers, but I already had some to sell so I didn't want more. The lady tried to get me to take the whole dress up set for $3, but a lot of it was too big for my daughter and more boyish. There was a cute bumblebee outfit and a construction hat that my daughter latched onto so I gave her a dollar for those and then we headed for home.

Overall, it was a fun morning and I got to spend time with my daughter doing something that benefitted both of us. My husband got to sleep in and rest at home (he's recovering from pneumonia, poor guy!). I don' t think I'll take her out on the 6:30AM wake up calls, but if I ever have another late start, I'll bring her along for sure.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

There aren't usually garage sales in close proximity to my house, so I either have to drive north or south about 20-30 minutes to get to any good sales. I've been going north a lot lately, so this past Saturday I thought I'd try going south. Although I got some good deals, I think I prefer the north better. I use Yard Sale Treasure Map to map out the sales from Craig's List on Friday night. I like it because it optimizes my route, although not necessarily with regard to the time it starts. I managed to get out pretty early and make it to a 7 AM sale and a 7:30 AM sale. I think I went to 4 or 5 sales total - although, I don't know if I'd count the last one as it looked like this lady's house had just thrown up all the junk inside of it. I felt bad for her and tried my best to find something to buy, but alas left empty handed from that junk sale.

Here's what I came away with (I can't break down the prices too well for all of the items, so let's just say I spent $14 for all of it):

Pictured above are a Dora talking backpack (50 cents, but it only came with 2 accessories), Dora schoolhouse ($2), and Dora castle with figurines ($2). I had remembered reading that Dora does well, so we'll see if that's true. I've got these for sale in a lot to see how they do and may break them apart if they don't sell as a lot.

Also pictured are a pink Gymboree dress (50 cents, for my daughter next year), 8 sets of hair clippies (also for my daughter), a Janie and Jack 18-24mo denim dress that I've got listed with a bid already ($2), and a Faded Glory denim romper for future baby (50 cents).
I got a lot of books this time around. Books have been good to me recently, especially after I bought a complete set of American Girl books for $2 and sold them in lots by character for about $60 total. Apparently Felicity, Addy, and Josefina do well. Molly, Samantha, and Kirsten are ok too but don't bring in as many bids as the other girls.

I found a bunch of Magic Tree House books to add to my collection so now I can list a couple lots of those (I even found one hardback one). I also got a bunch of Clifford and Little Critters books that I might try to sell as a lot or just keep for my daughter. Finally, I got a few Thomas the Train books. They're in good condition and I think I could sell these as a lot pretty well. Thomas the Train anything is always good this time of year. My daughter has a Dennis train that doesn't work with her generic wood train track, so I'm going to sell that too - not sure whether to include it with the book lot or not.

So there you have it, no spectacular finds but enough to keep me going and I'm still a bit backlogged in the listing department so I'm trying to get caught up since now is the time to sell, sell, sell.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Bing Rewards

Ok, so this post isn't about yard sales or thrift stores, but I've been using Bing for a while as my search engine (even though I love Google) because Bing rewards me with $5 Amazon gift cards about once a month. It's kind of like Swagbucks, but not as annoying (I find that you have to jump through a lot of hoops to earn points through SB, so Bing has become my primary source for $5 Amazon gift cards for now). You only need 540 points to get a $5 Amazon gift card and you get some for signing up, plus you can earn about 15-20 per day so you can get a gift card each month without much effort other than a couple of clicks here and there and some regular searches (you get 1 point for every 2 serarches up to 10 per day unlike SB which is totally random and I've never gotten more than 10 without some serious effort). Sign up here to start saving those Amazon giftcards for the holiday shopping season!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Back in the Game

Hooray! I feel like I'm out of my eBay slump. A couple of weeks ago, I only had about 3 listings which were items that I'd relisted for probably the second or third time. Doesn't someone want to buy my LG washer/dryer stacking kit that I no longer need because we've unstacked ours? Oh well, I'll keep listing it until the right buyer comes along.

I didn't do any yard saling this past Saturday because when my alarm went off at 6AM, my husband convinced me to stay in our nice warm bed instead of brave the almost freezing temps with the tail end of a chest cold. So no new yard sale finds for me, but I did have some good finds from the previous week so I used this weekend to do some listing and have about 20 auctions going, which is just the right amount for me considering this is a part time gig.

I spent more than I've ever spent at yard sales, a whopping $35 but that's because I got a lot of NWT kids clothes. I'm most excited about the complete set of American Girl books (many first editions) that I got for $2. When I got home and separated them out by the characters, I realized that I was missing one Josefina book, but it was pretty much complete and a great buy at $2 for the lot. I've already got them up for auction in lots by character. Addy must be in high demand because I have the most watchers on that lot.

I love the surprise Buy It Now sales when my auction gets bought right away, like this Laura Ashley Girls holiday outfit that I got at a church yard sale for $2 (sold for $25 within a day of listing it).

It seems like even if it's not NWT, as long as it's the right brand and looks nice, it will sell well especially holiday outfits. Hoping to make it out to some yard sales this weekend!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Making a profit before even making a sale

So, a few weeks ago I bought these Vera Bradley purses and wallet for $5. I listed them a couple of days ago and already the purse with the matching wallet has sold for $30 and one of the other purses has a bid on it of $10, so I've already made at least $35 from this purchase. Tonight, I was checking the pockets of the wallet and purse and I found some loose change and a Target gift card. Out of curiosity, I checked the balance on the Target gift card and sure enough it has $8.97 on it. So even if I hadn't sold these purses, I'd already made a $3.97 profit. Just goes to show that you should check old purses and wallets before getting rid of them and if you're in the yard saling business, you can't go wrong by checking the purses and wallets that are for sale for some extra hidden treasure. Happy yard saling!

Budget Halloween Costumes

Is it really Thursday already? Hooray! That means it's Friday tomorrow and then I have another glorious weekend ahead of me. This weekend is completely open unlike last weekend when I tried to cram a month's worth of Halloween festivities into a 48-hour period.

I must say I am particularly proud of our family Halloween costume ensemble this year. It's the first year that we've all dressed up as a family and I think we just may stick with it.

Oz Family: Tinman, Scarecrow, and Dorothy

I got my daughter's Dorothy costume on Halloween clearance at Target last year for $5. I also managed to find a Toto-looking plush dog at Goodwill about a month or so ago for 99 cents. I reused her Easter basket as her Trick or Treat pail. I had bought this from a daily deal site that I had referral credit on, so it essentially didn't cost me anything. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to score a great deal on some ruby red slippers, so I had to cough up the $12.99 for them at Target the week before Halloween. I'm going to make sure she gets good use out of them though! So her costume cost about $20.

For my costume, I found some NWT Gap maternity overalls on CL for $5. I can't imagine anyone paying $60 for these originally and I'm not sure if I'll ever wear them again, but maybe I can resell them to another pregnant lady and recoup the cost. The shirt is a plaid maternity shirt from Goodwill for $4.99 and the hat is also a GW find for $1.99. I grabbed some hay while we were at the pumpkin patch so that I didn't have to pay for straw at the craft store. So my costume cost around $12.

My husband's tinman costume is the most budget-friendly costume of us all. I made his tin hat out of a paper plate and tin foil that we already had in the pantry. I also had some red felt on hand, so I cut out a heart and used a safety pin to attach it to his shirt. Since it was a warm Halloween, he ended up just wearing dark grey shorts and a grey t-shirt. Total cost for his tinman costume: $0!

Not sure what we'll do for Halloween next year as I decided that I wouldn't get a costume on clearance this time. I might go the handmade route next year - we'll see. I've got a year to figure it out and 4 people to outfit for next year. I would love to hear any other budget Halloween costume ideas! There's so many great ones out there!