I'm a diehard thrifter and garage sale addict! I love the thrill of the hunt! And I love making CASH from trash so I also resell on eBay and Etsy. I share my successes to inspire you ... and my failures so you learn from my mistakes. Please join me on this wild and crazy ride of making cash from trash!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thrifty Treasures Thursday … And Stuart the Salsa Dancing Dog


A couple weeks ago, I drove DS#2 to his job, and I took advantage of the long drive to check out the GW store in that area.

I found a couple tops and a jacket, plus this lot of 9 ornaments.  There are seven Hallmark, one Christopher Radko, and one Lenox.  Woohoo!  Score!  

I paid $24.91 for the lot – about $2.75 each.  The little Crayola Crayon tepee is going to DD for her collection, and I’m keeping the Olympic Santa.  The remaining 7 are listed in my eBay store. Actually, 6 are listed as one already sold.  If all sell at my fixed price, total sales for the lot would be $168.00!  Now that’s cash for trash! 

stuart the salsa dancing dog

Okay, so this video has nothing to do with thrifty treasures.  I thought I’d just share it and bring a smile to your face.

Stuart is just way too cute! When I first saw this, I thought it had to be fake.  I couldn’t believe a dog could dance this long – a whole 1.42 minutes – but I saw it all the way through, and it’s definitely for real!  Stuart just loves to dance, and he’s got all the right moves! 

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a peaceful, healthy and prosperous NEW YEAR!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Goodwill AS-IS Outlet Store Discovery


In my last post, I mentioned that we just got back from a trip to San Francisco/Berkeley.  I decided that on this final trip of the year I would go to a GW store.  I go on these trips with DH, and a trip to the thrift store is never in the schedule.  This time I threatened to have a major tantrum and throw myself on the ground if I couldn’t go to the TS. 

Me, whining to DH: We ALWAYS do what you wanna do!  Why can’t we do something I want to do this time?  DH:  Okay, I don’t want to hear you!  Find out where it is and we’ll go Saturday morning.  Me:  Yippee!!  Ya’ll know this is not too far from the truth! 

I quickly searched on my Smart and guess what?  I discovered there is a store that is called the AS-IS store and you can buy clothes there for $2!!  It’s not a regular retail store and it’s rather junky, but I certainly don’t care, not at $2 per piece. 


This is a picture of the real thrift store on Mission Street.  The as-is “store” is located behind on a side street and it is a hole-in-the-wall.


All clothing is $2, except children’s clothes and stuffed toys are $1.  I arrived just before 10 a.m. and there wasn’t too much left so I didn’t spend too much time looking.  Still, I managed to find a few things and came home with a bagful of clothes.


Just to mention a few: A Queen of Hearts costume, a couple of down-filled jackets by London Fog, a couple of Chico’s items, a Ralph Lauren Black Label polo shirt, and a Starbucks shirt, all in great condition.


We then drove around the block to the real GW store.  Boy, talk about sticker shock!!  It’s a very nice store that is well-stocked and organized.  But it also has the prices to go with it.  After just spending $2 on a brand new Chico’s Travelers pants, I could not see myself spending $7.50 for a shirt; some items were priced higher.  Needless to say, I bought nothing …

I was lamenting that I live too far way to make a weekly trip to SF (over 300 miles one way).  So I had to find out if there were any as-is  (or outlet) GW stores in So. California.  Guess what?!  There are 3 … woohoo!  They’ve been around a few years and I know they exist throughout the country.  I just don’t why they haven’t been on my radar screen.  I always seem to be a dollar short and a day late.  Hopefully, not this time …

I am definitely going to check these out and will let you know how this works out for me. 

Update 2018:  The flagship store on Mission Street pictured above along with the As-Is Store closed in 2017. The building will be torn down, replaced with a residential/commercial mix building.  A new replacedment store and headquarters opened on Bay Street in January 2018.  The As-Is Store, however, was relocated to the City of Burlingame in August 2017.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cash for Trash: Christmas Sales


2 Tier German Woodland Christmas Pyramid & Candles NEW – sold $149.95 – paid $3

My sales were not too bad last week.  I sold a few Christmas-related items, like this brand-new German pyramid that sold for almost $150.  I paid only $3 for it at a huge yard sale this summer.  The homeowner told me she had sold her house and was moving to another city so I think she just wanted to get rid of stuff.  She had really great prices!


Sakura China Debbie Mumm CHRISTMAS TOPIARY Salad PlateS (4) – sold $12.95 each – paid $0.25 each

I sold all 4 of these salad plates; each had a different Santa design.  I wrote about this dinnerware set in a previous post and mentioned that I paid $5 for it.  Except for 2 bowls, I have sold all the pieces for a total of $135.00!! 


Set (4) DEBBIE MUMM Folk Art PENGUINS Christmas Holiday MUGS by Sakura NIB – sold $26.99 – paid $2.99

I may have been able to get more for this set by selling each mug individually.  But there were quite a few listings for individual mugs; and I didn’t really want to hang on to this set for any length of time so I listed the set with Free Shipping.  It sold right away and flat-rate shipping was $7. 


Black & Yellow Roman Stripe Throw Quilt 60" Square NEW – sold $49.95

I made this small quilt last year and decided to list it on Etsy last month.  I was pleasantly surprised to see it sold. I’m thinking that in the new year I am going to list my vintage and handmade items – even my sewing patterns – on Etsy rather than eBay. 


2011 San Diego COMIC CON WB THUNDERCATS BIG BANG THEORY SWAG BAG PACK 23 X 27 – sold $19.99 – paid $3.99

I was at GW, already in line to pay, when I spotted these bags hanging on a wall way in back of the store.  I wasn’t sure what they were, but the print caught my eye.  Turns out they were new bags from the Comic.con convention in San Diego. They were a little pricey at $3.99 but this was the last bag that was “backpack” style so I bought it.  I found a similar one on eBay that sold for $19.99 with free shipping so that’s what I did.  However, this went to a buyer in Australia so he also paid for shipping!

Here are my top clothing sales:


LILIA SMITH Women's Black Western Fringe Evening Cocktail Dress Sz 3/4 – sold $24.95 – paid $2


Tommy Bahama USC Trojans Men's 100% Silk Hawaiian Shirt Size XL – sold $21.52 – paid $2

No! Not more ugly Christmas sweaters!

3740 3745
3738 4003
3741B 3257
3586 3757

Ugly Christmas Sweaters – sold $24.99-$16.95 – paid $2.00-$3.98

I have only SIX sweaters left in my store; and I’ll be marking them down 20% this weekend.  Don’t really want to keep them in stock beyond December.

So I was watching a morning talk show today and they did a feature on Ugly Christmas Sweaters!  This phenomena has been around for a few years; but instead of fading out, it seems to be gaining in popularity.  Sales of these tacky sweaters have doubled since last year and are now 5 times what they were a few years back. “Ugly” “tacky” “reindeers” seem to be the buzz words for searches. 

Here’s a great article with more info:

Searches for "ugly Christmas sweaters" are up 30% in December compared with December last year, according to Google's research tool Insights for Search. It's "one of the most-searched-for terms among people looking for information about sweaters," a Google spokeswoman says. On eBay this year, someone paid $282.59 for a sweater with three reindeer across the front, an increase from the website's most expensive holiday sweater last year, which sold for $200. EBay's sales of holiday sweaters are 24% ahead of last year.

Thrift stores are all out of Christmas sweaters for this season, but start looking for them come January.  All those ugly, tacky sweaters will be sure to end up at the thrift stores!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Best Things I’ve Sold on eBay #22: DREAMSICLES Cherubs – And How Their Creator Ended Up In Prison!



Starting Bid: N/A Winning Bid: $11.50
Paid: $0.99 From: Goodwill
Ended: 9/21/08 Winner: Avon, OH

The Dreamsicles collection of adorable cherubs was created by Kristin Hayes and was produced by Cast Art Industries.  In 2001, the collection celebrated its 10th anniversary, but it is no longer in production. 


Dreamsicles Nativity Assortment Ret Figurines DX489 MIB

Starting Bid: N/A Winning Bid: $52.00
Paid: $9.99 From: Goodwill
Ended: 1/21/09 Winner: Independence, MO

This exact same Nativity set sold last week for $174.95!  Wow!  It’s all about supply-and-demand.



Starting Bid: N/A Winning Bid: $8.99
Paid: $1.78 From: Sal Army
Ended: 7/23/09 Winner: Eau Claire, WI



Starting Bid: N/A Winning Bid: $9.99
Paid: $1.99 From: Goodwill
Ended: 7/23/09 Winner: Eau Claire, WI

Artist Kristin Hayes was raised in Utah; and, after graduating from the University of Utah with a degree in art, she turned her talents to sculpture.  About 1991, she began creating a group of cherubs, bunnies, and other characters now known as Dreamsicles. They were an instant hit, and demand became so great that Kristin could no longer make the reproductions on her own. So, she turned to Cast Art Industries for assistance, and that's how the Dreamsicles collection was born.



Starting Bid: N/A Winning Bid: $6.99
Paid: $1.77 From: Sal Army
Ended: 7/30/09 Winner: Tiffin, OH



Starting Bid: N/A Winning Bid: $69.99
Paid: $5.99 From: Goodwill
Ended: 10/5/09 Winner: Holstein, IA

After 10 years of producing Dreamsicles, Cast Art Industries merged with Papel Giftware in 2003 and ceased producing the Dreamsicles collection. The merged company eventually failed due to financial fraud by Papel Giftware prior to the merge.  So, Cast Art filed a lawsuit against the auditing company for negligence; and last year, won a verdict of $31.8 million.

As for Kristin Hayes, the artist and creator, she is now in Federal Prison for tax evasion.  In November of last year, a federal judge sentenced her (and her husband) to 2 years, plus ordered her to pay more than $800,000 in penalties, fines, and interest.  You can read the story here.

Every once in a while, I will run across a Dreamsicles figurine, but I stopped buying them because they aren’t good sellers.  However, keep an eye out for certain larger or limited-edition pieces that can sell for $100 and some sets can even go for $900.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cash for Trash: Ugly Christmas Sweaters


Sales have picked up a little as buyers scramble for last-minute holiday gifts and items.  Ugly or not, sweaters continue to fly off the shelves.

I first read about the “Ugly Christmas Sweater” phenomena in January, so I bought holiday sweaters all year long.  I then realized that any “ugly” sweater would also qualify as well as holiday sweatshirts and turtlenecks.

I think I’d collected about 20+/- when I started listing them in September.  I was thrilled – and a little surprised – when they started selling.  To date, I have sold about 40 sweaters.  Not all are ugly, but I will usually list them as “ugly Christmas sweaters”.

Here are my top selling “uglies”:

3737 3742
3736 3733
3591 3719
3614 3615

These may or may not be the ugliest, but they were the highest sellers, selling between $25 to $40 each.  I paid about $30 for the lot, and they sold for a total of $291.27.  Sweaters are not usually part of the $2 Rag Day sales, so I have to wait for the 50%-off sale and pay little more than $2. Still, 10 times my investment is not bad.

When I started buying these sweaters, I wasn’t sure how well they would sell – after all, some were ugly!  But I am definitely SOLD!  Total amount of sales for all sweaters is almost $800!!  Now that’s cash for trash!

Janessa @ Savvy Saver Secrets has a couple of great posts on her “uglies”.  Read them here and here.  She’s got a great blog about her bargain shopping adventures and her great sales.

Believe in yourself and prosper!
Happy thrifting and selling!

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Few Words About Taxes … What you Need to Know

In my previous post “eBay Blocks Users for Not Providing Tax IDs to PayPal”, Tina posed this question:

Does this mean you have to start collecting sales tax on the items you sell as well?

The short answer to Tina’s question is that sales tax and income tax are two different things.  Whether you need to collect sales tax depends on the state where your business is located.  The Tax ID required by PayPal is for the purpose of reporting income, and not related to sales taxes.

Her question made me realize there may be some sellers who are still confused about the PayPal Tax ID issue; and “operating a business” is a new concept to them.  So I thought I’d do a post about what you need to know.

First off, I am not a tax attorney and everything I’ll tell you is from my own perspective and does not necessarily reflect the actual law.  Having said that, DH and I have owned our own home business for over 20 years.  I also worked over 20 years for local government in code enforcement and worked closely with the business license divisions.  So I hope I’ve learned a few things along the way …

Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as “hobby selling”.  Even if  you sell one thing, by law you are required to report the income of that sale on your state and federal tax returns. 

The IRS finally figured out they can require payment processors (like PayPal and Amazon) to report payments received (income), which is why PayPal is “requesting” your Tax ID (usually your SSN).  So what does this mean to you and me?

It means payment processors will be reporting "gross" payments to the IRS next year on Form 1099K for 2011 transactions.  You will be getting a copy of this form (probably in January 2012), which will tell you what has been reported to the IRS.

This means, that by law, you will be required to report the income of your eBay et al sales on your state and federal tax returns. And unless you relish the idea of a tax audit and the ensuing wrath of the IRS, it’s best to make sure this income is reported on your tax forms to Uncle Sam.

Now, wipe the sweat off your brow!  This doesn’t mean you will necessarily owe taxes on your total online sales.  If you are a “sole proprietor” (single business owner), you will be able to list your deductions (business expenses) by filling out a Profit and Loss (Schedule C) form along with your regular Form 1040.

Schedule C is used to figure out the net income or loss for your business by calculating your business income and subtracting your business expenses.  This may include the costs associated with maintaining a home office as well as many other deductible business expenses. The total profit (or loss) is then entered on your 1040 as income.

Typical deductions include, but may not be limited to, the following (for more info, click on each link):

If you use a portion of your home for business, you may be able to take a home office deduction.  HOWEVER, the IRS is very specific as to what constitutes a “home office” and what qualifies for this deduction.  For more info, click here and here and here.  If your home business does qualify for this deduction, the good news is you may also include mortgage interest, insurance, utilities, repairs, and depreciation as expenses.

Note that most business expenses have restrictions on their deductibility or conditions that must be met before they can be deducted.

Calculating Net Profit/Loss

To calculate your Net Profit/Loss, subtract your Total Expenses/Deductions from your Gross Income. The resulting number is what you must report on your income tax return. This profit or loss is added in with other income by you and your spouse to determine the amount of tax payable.

This means your tax liability will be calculated on your net profit  - not your gross sales.  You may even discover you have a Net Loss and may not need to pay taxes on your sales income.   The more expenses/deductions, the lower your profit and the smaller your tax liability. 

Self-employment Taxes

In addition to income taxes, you will also need to pay Self-employment Taxes. A sole proprietor is a self-employed individual and must pay self-employment taxes based on the income (profit) of the business. These are taxes paid by self-employed business owners for Social Security and Medicare. If you have a net loss, then you do not need to pay Self-employment Taxes.

A Word About City Business Licenses …

If you are operating a business – and yes, you are if you sell 1 item or hundreds of items – then you are required to get a city business license.  Even if you don’t have a brick-and-mortar retail location, you are still required to get a city license.  I know cities just don’t have the resources to catch every unlicensed business.  Even so, they do what they can to proactively find unlicensed businesses (after all, that is lost revenue).  I am not saying that PayPal will send your info to your local county or city, but I am aware cities use various sources to solicit information on unlicensed business.  With the bad economy, cities are desperately looking for revenue.  Just a word of caution if you don’t already have a city business license …

Important Disclaimer: This information is provided for general information purposes and is not intended to be used for the purpose of completing a tax return without the assistance of a tax professional.  Always be sure to consult with your CPA or Tax Advisor.  We’ve had our Tax Advisor for over 15 years.

For more information:

Tax Deductions: Home Business Tax Deductions

Deducting Business Expenses

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cash for Trash: November Sales

SOREL Youth Snow Ranger TP Boots Little Boys Sz 11 NEW – sold $29.99 – paid $5

November sales have been a little lackluster.  After the summer slump, sales really picked up in August, and I really looked forward to the “great” November sales.  But November turned out to be one of my slower months … bah hum bug! 

I’m thinking that it’s just the busy-ness of November.  I know I’ve been busier than usual with family and such, and haven’t done much listing or thrift-shopping.  I also think people were holding off shopping, just waiting for the Black Friday sales – which means they were not shopping online.   I know Cyber Monday was great, but I think – with few exceptions – folks were mostly buying new items.  Whatever the reason, my sales did slow down in November.

Not to say I didn’t have a few good sales.  My “ugly sweaters” continue to sell and I did sell a few NIB toys.  Here are my top sellers for November:

SOREL Youth Snow Ranger TP Boots Little Boys Sz 11 NEW – sold $29.99 – paid $5

SOREL Youth Snow Ranger TP Boots Little Boys Sz 9 – sold $21.79 – paid $2.70

These little boots are always good sellers.  I have sold 3 pairs and none for less than $20.


BURBERRY Black Label Boy's Orange Nylon Windbreaker Jacket Size XL – sold $28 – paid $2


JACQUELINE FERRAR Women's Classic Black Leather Straight Skirt Sz 24W NEW – sold $27.52 – paid $2


SUNDANCE Catalog Cotton White Denim Jacket Women's Size Medium – sold $24.99 – paid $2


LAUNDRY by Shelli Segal Women's Black Velour Long Sleeve Sheath Evening Dress 4 – sold $24.95 – paid $2


NEWPORT NEWS Easy Style Women's Black Lined Leather Pants Plus Sz 22W – sold $22.50 – paid $1


UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATER Robinsons Red Sweater with Cute Dalmatians Sz M – sold $22 – paid $1.68


TIARA INT'L CHRISTMAS COLLECTION Fun Snowman Bright Green Hot Pink Sweater M – sold $20.99 – paid $2


NORTH FACE EXTREME GEAR Boys' Red & Black Nylon Winter Jacket Size M – sold $20.50 – paid $3

Boy, did I mess up on this jacket!  I thought I had scored when I bought this “North Face” jacket.  I quickly listed it, thinking it would sell for some good $$, so I was a little disappointed it sold for only $20.50.  But surely the buyer would be thrilled with their purchase, right?  Wrong!  I soon received one of those dreaded “Item Not As Described” messages.  Turns out the jacket is not a “North Face”.  I confirmed this by enlarging my picture … and sure nuff!  In clear black letters, it says “North Sport”.  After handling this jacket through the whole process, I cannot believe I missed this!  Of course, I told the buyer I would give him a 100% refund including shipping, once I receive the item … am stilling waiting for it.


Harry Potter Professor Snape Potions Class Edible Activity Set 2001 DISCONTINUED – sold $24.95 – paid $4

I found this Harry Potter set at the SAVERS discount store.  Since it’s sealed, I didn’t open it to test it.  I suspect the buyer bought it as a Christmas gift so I hope it works!  And doesn’t come back to bite my in the behind …


Star Wars Characters Creepy Crawlers Mold Maker Oven NEW NIB – sold $22.95 – paid $3

I found the Star Wars oven in the clearance shelves at Big Lots.  Actually, I found 5 and they were priced at $7, discounted from $20.  When the cashier rang it up, the price was $3 so I bought all they had.  So far, I’ve only sold the one …Sad smile

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends … and I also hope you’ve had some great sales!

Believe in yourself and prosper!
Happy saling and selling!