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, February 10, 2015

Returns and Loss of TRS

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NERF N-Strike Magstrike Dart Gun Blaster with Clip 2007 – Sold $85.49 – November 2014

In my previous post, I shared with you my January sales.  Well, along with those sales, I also had quite a few sales that I had to refund.  Six may not sound like a lot, but, when you average 0-1 per month, 6 in January was quite a bit.  Even though I opted in to the 90-Day Holiday Return option, none of these refunds were due to buyer’s remorse and not one left me negative FB.

It’s depressing that all these refunds were due to my own negligence.  Three items had flaws I overlooked; 1 item was damaged in shipping; and 1 item had an error in the description.  Another item was lost somewhere in my inventory so I had to refund the money and cancel the transaction.

The one that hurt the most was the refund for the NERF Magstrike (pictured above) that went to a buyer in the United Kingdom.  The mom purchased this as a Christmas gift for her son.  She contacted me right after Christmas and said the gun did not work very well.  Ugh!  I always test the guns before listing them, but I certainly am not an expert.  We exchanged a few messages and in the end I agreed to refund her money.  I imagined her son opening his gift on Christmas day only to discover it does not work right.  I’ve been in her shoes and felt bad for the boy.  Anyway, I did not ask her to return the gun as I certainly did not want to pay $50 for the shipping, especially if it didn’t work.  I just won’t be doing international shipping on NERF guns.

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And then I lost my Top-Rated Status with it’s 20% discount.  Not because of any defects, but because I failed to meet the 90% TRS qualification for 1-day shipping.  Bah humbug!

Truth is, I just wasn’t focused on my eBay business and knew it was suffering so I put my store on vacation for the last 2 weeks in January.  I needed to take a step back to get myself together and refocus on where I’m going with eBay.

After getting rid of some old inventory and re-pricing my active listings, I am down to about 100 items.  I plan to do more 99-cent auctions soon to purge more old inventory. I have my store active again, but I haven’t been getting many sales. As soon as I can, I’m downgrading from Premium to the Basic Store; but not sure if I’ll go with the annual subscription or the monthly one. 

In the meantime, I’m still working on that extra bedroom and will post an update soon.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Cash for Trash: January Sales

January was a busy month for me.  Every January I get the itch to do some “spring cleaning”.  And, I have been busy cleaning, organizing and painting. 

That also includes getting rid of old inventory that’s been hanging around too long.  I donated a bunch of stuff to the thrift store; and I also listed/relisted many more items at auction with a starting bid of 99 cents.

I had 89 sales last month, and 21 of those were 99-cent auctions.  It wasn’t a huge revenue-producing month, but I’m glad to get rid of that old stuff. 

Here are my best January sales:

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Cuisinart DLC-8S Pro Custom Food Processor Work Bowl with Handle Only – Paid $0.97 @ GWO – Sold for $28.81 – Net Margin 78%

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Cuisinart DLC-8S Pro Custom Food Processor Stainless Steel Chopping Blade – Paid $0.97 @GWO – Sold for $16.15 – Net Margin 66%

When the bin with a Cuisinart food processor rolled out, I was standing next to a young woman; and I knew she was itching to grab it as much as I was.  At the word “Go”, we both reached for it but I was just a little quicker.  I could hardly believe it when she tried to grab it from me! There ensued a small tug-of-war, but it was over as quickly as it started.  I realize how silly this was since we didn’t even know if it worked.  I really wanted it for my personal use; but I knew if it didn’t work that I could sell the parts.  Sure enough, it didn’t work so the parts were listed on eBay.  These two parts went to buyers in Nevada and Texas.


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MASTER MIND Vintage 1972 Original Mastermind Game by Invicta #3016 – Paid $0.59 @GWO – Sold for $29.95 – Net Margin 76%

Another vintage game found at the outlet!  These are really great sellers, especially if they have all the game pieces.  This one went to a buyer here in California.


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Butterick 3648 Dickens Era Scrooge Christmas Costumes Vintage Sewing Pattern – Paid $0.60 @GWO – Sold for $29.99 – Net Margin 78%

Most patterns are not big sellers, even when they are new; but there are exceptions.  I will usually pick up costume patterns, which tend to sell for a bit more – again, with some exceptions.  And I never buy patterns that are used and cut.  This pattern went to a buyer in California.


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Schoeller Skifans Stretch Black Ski Pants Women's Size 10 Long NEW – Paid $0.75 @GWO – Sold for $44.95 – Net Margin 74%

Ski pants are another item I will usually pick up.  They’re not particularly fast sellers, but they can sell for some good money.  This pair was really nice, in excellent like-new condition.  This was my very first sale of 2015 and went to a buyer in Oklahoma.


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Thomas the Train Wooden Sodor Deluxe Fire Station – Paid $1.00 @GWO – Sold for $47.80 – Net Margin 74%

Thomas and Friends train items are another of my favorites to sell.  They can be great sellers.  This fire station was in good condition, except for the water tower.  Not only did it have this flaw but there was also a recall on some of these stations.  Fortunately, this one did not fall within the recall; and both issues were noted.  It took over 9 months to sell so I was glad when it finally sold to a buyer in California.


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Wells Fargo Rose Parade Legendary Horse Black AL Stuffed Plush 2009 – Paid $0.62 each @GWO – Sold for $60.98 each – Total $121.96 – Net Margin 77%

These were two crazy sales!  I listed these Wells Fargo Rose Parade horses in 2 separate auctions with a starting bid of $0.99 and was thrilled – rather shocked – when they sold for over $50 each.  The crazy part is these had been in my store for 9 months at $24.99.  The right buyer from Louisiana finally came along and won both horses.

Wells Fargo offers these plush horses every year in commemoration of the Pasadena Rose Parade.  I found these at the outlet but I have picked up others at garage sales.  I usually sell them for $19.99-$24.99, so I’m not sure why these sold for so much.  I have 2 different ones listed that I just can’t seem to give away.  Go figure!


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TDK D90 New Blank Sealed Cassette Tapes High Output Type I Lot of 16 – Paid $3.59 @GW – Sold for $24.99 – Net Margin 63%

Does anyone really still have cassette players?  Even CDs are becoming a thing of the past.  While cassette players still exist (I still have mine from high school), the cassettes in brand new condition are not always easy to find; I found these at a regular GW store.  This was an Amazon sale and went to a buyer in Illinois.


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Disney Cars Luigi's Flying Tires Souvenir Tire Hat Plush Tire – Paid $1.79 @GW – Sold for $19.44 – Net Margin 46%

I was looking for Amazon inventory when I ran across a carton of 8 of these silly hats – brand new with tags – at a GW store.  This was one of those purchases that, after awhile, makes you wonder “What was I thinking?”  There was only one other seller on Amazon, and I couldn’t decide if this was good or not. 

By the end of December – 3 months after my purchase – the box was still in my garage.  I didn’t want to ship them to Amazon because I thought they would sit in their warehouse with no buyers.  I came very close to just chucking them to the thrift store, but decided to first list them on Amazon as merchant-fulfilled. 

They sat for awhile, then suddenly, bam!  They started flying out the door.  These were the first 2 to sell and went to buyers here in California.  I guess someone was planning a trip to Disneyland!


Here is a breakdown of my January Sales:

# of Sales: 89

Cost of Goods Sold (COGS): $94.76

Percent of Revenue: 7.52%

Average Price of COGS: $1.06

Total Revenue: $1,260.95 (includes shipping revenue)

Avg. Sales Price: $14.17

Net Margin: 47%

Highest Sold Item: $60.98

Lowest Sold Item: $2.74

Number and Percent of Items Sold:

  • Plush and Toys: 20 – 22%
  • Jeans: 8 – 9%
  • Sewing Pattern: 13 - 15%
  • Everything Else: 48 – 54%

Now that’s cash for trash!