Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Saving In Unexpected Places

My parents and I bought my sister a Kindle Fire for her birthday/Christmas gift last year. She was so excited to get it and loved it from day one. I got to play with it several times and have been thinking of getting one ever since. But unfortunately real life intrudes into my day dreams and I couldn't convince myself to run out and get one.

Back in December I decided to start a savings fund to get one. I put away extra money (yes that actually exists) that I have left over or money that unexpectedly made. For example I added the check I got from taking online surveys to this fund. I also was a secret shopper three times recently and put this money in the fund. So far I have saved $100. That's half way there! Or so I thought.

I was working this Saturday and one of the guys came in. He was telling me he was going to go shopping for a new tablet computer. I got excited when I heard this. I asked him what he was going to do with his Kindle Fire. His response "I want to sell it for $100. It includes the case and several other accessories." I practically jump out of my seat and said "I will take it!!!"

So I am officially a proud owner of an almost new Kindle Fire for half the price. Sometimes you are able to save money from the most unexpected places. Like a from a coworker. Don't you just love when something like that happens?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

eBay Fees

Any one who sells on eBay knows that eBay, and PayPal, fees add up quickly. When I first started selling I was starting my auctions out at 99 cents. Unfortunately there were things that actually sold for that price and I found myself making about a quarter on the item. I have since learned my lesson and always start my auctions at the least amount I’m will to let an item go. But of course that means that the higher price you sell an item the higher the fees are. And what is eBay and PayPal doing with all our fees? Well I found out recently.

As some of you know Northern California is home to a lot of big companies. We all know that Apple is located in Cupertino. And eBay/PayPal has a campus in San Jose. I happen to have a friend that works for PayPal. Unfortunately that doesn’t mean I get any special treatment. That does mean that anytime I have a problem I text him to complain about it (the cost of being my friend). Several months ago he invited my Princess and I to have breakfast with him before work. On our way to meet him he called to tell me he had been called in to work early and asked if we could meet at work so we could get a coffee and bite to eat there. I don’t know what I was expecting but it wasn’t what I found.

He was waiting for me in front of the main entrance which was a huge beautiful glass building. I had to sign in at the front desk, hand over my ID, give a sample of my blood and promise to name my first born after them before they handed over a badge for me to get in. OK the last two didn’t actually happen but I did feel like I was being allowed entrance into the National Treasury or to see Mr. Obama himself security was that tight. To the right of the entrance there is a Starbucks and this is where we went to get some coffee. The windows at the Starbucks look out into a gorgeous courtyard. After our coffee (juice for my Princess), we went out and he showed me around. The courtyard had a couple large fish ponds which my Princess loved. We were surrounding by different buildings that house who knows what department. He said PayPal (and his desk) were to the right. There is a gym, a court of some kind (tennis maybe?), and there are different cafes throughout the buildings. You never have to leave. And I can say I really didn’t want to. Everything was so green and bright and beautiful. But real life intruded and he had to get to work. Plus I think he might have been a little worried I might pull an egg or rotten tomato out of my purse and throw it at one of the buildings.

As I sit every day in my tiny run down building housing our office with a tiny kitchen that we finally got a refrigerator put in, the freeway noise booming through the windows, and the man at the corner asking for money (and no he’s not homeless because I saw him get into a car the other day and drive to his house), I remember my eBay campus experience and sigh for what I can never have. And then I curse them because my eBay and PayPal fees are paying for everything I saw.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

You sell on eBay?

Has this ever happened to you? Someone finds out you are selling on eBay and they make a comment like "Oh you sell on eBay? I've been wanting to sell a few things on eBay. Maybe you can help me do it". This has happened to me several times since I started selling again. I enjoy helping people, I really do. And I was always taught that your are suppose to help others. But one thing I've learned about helping people sell on eBay is that once you start helping them it never ends.

When I started selling on eBay my niece and sister saw how great I was doing selling ordinary stuff like clothing and toys and decided they wanted to do it too. Being family I of course helped them set up eBay and Paypal accounts, walked them through listing and shipping and all the basics. But it didn't stop there. I get at least two calls, texts or emails daily from them asking how to do something or fix something or answer a question or a million other things. Every time they come across something new they come to me. I've had to ship things for them, go to the post office, answer emails, even call eBay.

I love my family and I know my niece can use the money to help with school and my sister can help supplement her income so most days I just grin and bare it. But when someone like my coworkers sisters wants help I just can't offer my services. I can't take on any more "clients". I barely have enough time in one day to work full time, be a single mom to a very energetic two year old, and sell on eBay. Most days my house is a mess and I pray no one comes knocking on my door. So I find myself avoiding the question or flat out saying no when someone asks for help. And I don't feel an ounce of guilt. Just tell my mother.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cha-ching and Quick Nickels

Is there anything in the world that sounds better then your phone making the cha-ching sound when you get a sale on eBay? OK I know there is. Like the sound of my Princess laughing. Or her calling me mommy. And many more things. But the cha-ching sound rates pretty high.

Lately all my sales have been on the weekend and on Mondays. Tuesday through Thursday are a black hole for me. No sound comes out of my phone. I often look at it to make sure I didn't accidentally turn the sound off but I find the sound is still on. I just had no sales. But then Friday rolls around and CHA-CHING, CHA-CHING, CHA-CHING.

Lately I've been reading a lot of about slow dimes and quick nickels on different blogs. I'm afraid I have been going for the quick nickels a lot lately. This is when you list an item for less then it's sold before or you could actually get for it because you want to sell it QUICKLY instead of pricing it higher and letting it sit for the right buyer to come along. When I opened up a store this wasn't my plan. But then real life intruded. They cut our hours at work for a few months through the slow season and I'm having to make up the lost income through my eBay sales. Being a single mom I want to make sure that money is coming in so I'm pricing things lower then I should.

Here is an example of a quick nickel. I purchased this Reyn Spooner Hawaiian shirt for $1.00. It had so many things going for it. It was a Reyn Spooner. It was a 2XL (big sizes sell well). It was a Thunderbird 50th anniversary shirt. And there were no others listed. I priced it at $20.00 and it sold in one hour. I know I could have gotten more for this but I was happy with my quick $19.00 profit. Until work gets back to normal I am very happy with hearing my phone cha-ching with my quick nickels.

So are you a slow dime or quick nickel seller?