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!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

PayPal Working Capital and a Major Hack

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Back in September, I noticed a blurb on my PayPal home page inviting me to apply for their Working Capital loan.  I’d seen it before but ignored it.  This time, however, I decided to look into it.

I did some research and found other sellers who have used the PayPal Working Capital loan to buy inventory – some more than once.  Once I felt comfortable that it was on the up and up, I decided to apply.  Within minutes, I had $2,000 in my PayPal account! 

It was a great opportunity because I’d just started selling on Amazon and thought it would allow me to buy merchandise in bulk for the upcoming holidays. 

Some benefits of the Working Capital loan:

  • No interest rates, but you do pay a single fixed fee.
  • The fee is based upon the loan amount and the length of the loan.
  • You get to choose the loan plan that works best for you.
  • Merchants can repay the loan via a share of the sales they process through PayPal (you can also make additional payments).
  • No credit check - merchants are selected based upon their PayPal sales history.

Click for more information: working capital

I did use some of the funds to buy merchandise for Amazon and eBay, but not in the amount I thought I would.  By the end of 2014, I had not used all the money, so I “paid back” the leftover balance.  This worked out really well for me, with no problems.


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About a couple weeks after I received the loan funds, my PayPal account was hacked – and almost ALL my funds were wiped out!  This included the $2,000 loan I had just gotten from PayPal.  I really freaked out when I saw my balance was a little more than $100.  I quickly reviewed my transactions and discovered several major withdrawals that were clearly fraudulent – all in October within days of one another.  I was sick to my stomach!

I immediately called PayPal; and with the help of their rep, we identified 7 fraudulent transactions, totaling over $4,500!  One withdrawal was well over $3,000.  They even wrote little notes to themselves, pretending to be me.  Here are a couple, exactly as written:

Hi bro . Im sorry of i cant go to ur party okay ? im too busy for that . But here is my gift . Love you

Here's your allowance . Take good care there in Philippines okay . I love you .

The PayPal rep was very helpful and quickly reversed all the withdrawals.  By the end of my phone call, all the money was back in my account.  Once I got over the initial shock and anxiety, I got angry and just wanted to lash out at whomever was behind this.  But there was no point to that so I quickly put that behind me.

I believe this happened to me because I was using the same password as the one I had been using for eBay.  When eBay was compromised, I changed my eBay password but never changed my PayPal password.  Now, I use different passwords for my eBay and PayPal accounts.  I also try to check my account every day and have an email alert when payments are made.

I have to give kudos to PayPal for being part of the solution and really assisting me with this difficult situation – very quickly and without hassle.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

2014 Year-End Review

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Now that we’re well into January 2015, I have been busy de-cluttering – not just my personal stuff but also my eBay inventory.  I’ve also been working on my eBay “numbers”, getting them ready for the tax-lady.  So, I thought this would be a good time to reflect on my 2014 business and how well it did – or did not do – compared with the previous year.


I started selling jeans in 2013 and they became my main product.  The SA was a great source to get inventory because, twice a week, they sold their jeans for $2.  A couple times a month, I would load up, usually buying between 40-80 pairs per trip.

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It was a lot of work; but with the help of DH and DS#1, we sold over 700 pairs of jeans.  All this time and effort definitely paid off because my revenue for 2013 was 30% above that of 2012.  But we were burned out; and we had to take a break from selling jeans.

When 2014 rolled around, I knew I had to look for new ways and other sources of product to increase my profits.  That’s when I discovered the GW outlet stores.  I found some great stuff at the outlet, but it didn’t sell as quickly as the jeans, which would “fly out the door”.

When I decided to get back into selling jeans, I discovered that the SA thrift had a new regional manager and they no longer sold their jeans for $2.  That was a real bummer since I really needed to increase my profits. 

And then, there was that whole Cassini thing on eBay and sales were taking a major dive.  Not good!  That’s about the time I started looking at selling on Amazon.

Of course, by the end of 2014, our financial situation had improved and I no longer needed to depend on my online sales.  By December, my online business came to a screeching halt as I took a break from all this nonsense.

So, what was the bottom line?  My 2014 revenue was about $6,000 less than 2013 – or about 22% less and over 500 fewer items.  This would have been unfortunate had our financial situation not changed.  In the end, everything worked out just fine.

Here is a breakdown of my 2014 sales:

Number of sales:  1,025

  • eBay – 976
  • Amazon – 30
  • Bonanza – 12
  • Craigslist – 7

By category (top 4):

  • Jeans – 246
  • Toys_Games – 194
  • Miscellaneous – 173
  • Sewing Patterns – 109

By revenue (top 12 highest to lowest):

  • Toys_Games
  • Miscellaneous
  • Jeans
  • Shirts
  • Craigslist
  • Sewing Patterns
  • Pants
  • Sewing Machines
  • Housewares
  • Shoes_Accessories
  • Sportswear
  • Linens_Quilting

I was surprised to see that jeans continued to be my top selling item; but it was no surprise that jeans were not the big revenue-producers.  Their average price was just over $18 with a net profit margin of just 44%.

Another surprise was that toys and games were my highest revenue producers, with an average sales price of $25.88 and an average net profit margin of 50%.

The sewing patterns were part of my personal collection that I have been selling off.  With some exceptions, they’re not big sellers, with an average price of $10 FS.  Just glad to see them all gone.


2015 is definitely going to be a different ball game when it comes to my online business. 

I mentioned earlier that I was clearing out my old 2014 inventory so I’ve been listing many items at auction for 99-cents.  At this point, I’m more interested in seeing items go out the door; and what doesn’t sell will be donated to the thrift store. 

I’m taking another break from online selling, so I’ve put my store on vacation, again, through the end of the month.  I’d like to convert my “eBay room” back into my sewing/crafting room so I – we – have been busy reorganizing and painting instead of listing!  I’ve also been spending a lot of time on Pinterest looking at ideas.  I think I’m obsessed LOL!

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Wishing everyone a great 2015!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Cash for Trash: December Sales

Well, it’s a new year!  I hope that 2014 was good to you and my best wishes that 2015 will be even better.  As much as I love the holidays, I also dread them and am always glad when the new year rolls around. I don’t think I’m alone in this, right?

As I mentioned in my previous post, I put my store on vacation for most of December so I had very few sales – only 21 – 14 sales from eBay and 7 from Amazon & Bonanza.  Total revenue from these sales was $449.48 with a net margin of 52%.

Here are a few sales worth mentioning:


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Pek Preservo Wine Steward Preserver Silver NEW – Paid $2.75 @ GWO – Sold for $32.82 – Net Margin 62%

This is one of those items that I thought would sell for more.  Because it was in new condition in original packing, I considered listing it on Amazon; but I ended up listing it on eBay (my comfort zone) in October.  It finally sold to a buyer in Nevada.


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Genuine Army Woodland BDU Camo Trousers Men's M65 Field Pants Small-Regular NEW – Paid $4.75 @ Savers – Sold for $39.95 – Net Margin 62%

I don’t like to pay more than $2 for pants, but these were really nice in brand-new condition.  I really hoped they would sell for more; but after almost 3 months, they finally sold to a buyer in Florida.


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RARE Vintage 1944-47 Monopoly Game with Board Wood Buildings and Metal Tokens – Paid $1.24 @ GWO – Sold for $70 – Net Margin 73%

In a previous post I wrote about a vintage Ouija game that I sold for $50 on eBay.  Here is another vintage board game that I bought from the outlet and sold for $70!  The good thing for me is that the other folks don’t bother with this type of game because it is old, and they look for newer games they can sell at the swap meet or flea market.  I’m just glad most of the pieces were still there.  This sat in my store about 9 months waiting for the right buyer.  It finally sold to someone in Texas.


neat-oh lego

Neat-Oh! LEGO Friends ZipBin Heartlake Place Transforming Toy Box NEW – Paid $20.94 for 3 @ TRU – Sold for $68.85 on Amazon – Net Margin 43%

Since I started selling on Amazon, I’ve been researching and reading blogs on the topic of arbitrage.  I know there are many folks who are having great success with this, but I am not finding this very easy.  For one thing, you really do have to drive around to many places to find merchandise.  I prefer one-stop shopping, like the GW outlet, where I can find many different things to sell at one time.  But, like anything, I’m sure once you get the hang of it, it becomes easier.  

So, back in September, I made a stop at my local Toys R Us and found these LEGO ZipBins on clearance for $5+.  There were only 3 left so that’s what I got.  I quickly shipped them out to Amazon, where they sat until December.  Then bam!  All 3 quickly sold – 1,2,3 – one right after the other.  The best part – I didn’t have to do the packing and shipping!!  I love that!  My net margin was only 43%, but my net profit was almost $30.

Now that’s cash for trash!


On a personal note:

In my previous post, I mentioned that we were refinancing our mortgage to get a lower interest rate.  After 60 days, the loan was finally funded just before Christmas and the funds were disbursed on Christmas Eve.  So, yes, we had a wonderful Christmas!  We were able pull out some extra funds to replace our old and failing kitchen appliances and do a few minor repairs around the house.

With this new situation, I have been thinking about what I want to do with eBay and Amazon.  I know I want to spend less time with online selling and more time with my quilting and reading hobbies, which I have sorely missed these past few years. 

My original thought was to just totally get out of online selling, but I do enjoy the thrill of the sale.  So I will continue with eBay but on a MUCH smaller scale – maybe no more than 100 items.  I’ve already started marking down many of my items to move them out.  And when my year comes due, I am going to downsize my store.

As for Amazon, when I started selling there in September, our financial status was much bleaker.  But with our new situation, I’m not sure I will continue.  I’m still on the fence with Amazon.

It’s a new year and a new adventure begins ….