“Dancing” To a Successful eBay Business

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Guest post by Kimberly of Garage Sale Heaven

My online selling success story began with a “dance”. Prior to selling online, I was working as a part-time writer and full-time homeschool teacher to my three children. My husband’s job as a public employee paid the bills, and the little bits of cash I made here and there for writing gigs paid for our little extras.

My oldest daughter, Madison, has danced since the age of three and in February 2013, she was accepted into Nashville Ballet’s Summer Intensive Program. Dance is her passion. She eats, sleeps, and breathes dance.

Needless to say, she was beyond excited to get this opportunity. The only problem was that it was going to cost over $3,000 to attend the 3-week program.

My husband and I knew what an incredible opportunity this would be for her, and we wanted her to have it, but we didn’t have an extra $3,000 sitting in the bank to pay for it.

While brainstorming different ideas, my husband remembered that he had several boxes of toys in the basement from his childhood. Since they were just collecting dust, we decided to try and sell them on eBay.

To our surprise, the toys sold quickly, and for great money! And to top it off, I really enjoyed selling and interacting with customers. After our success with the toys, we wondered what else might sell.

In June of 2013, I opened my online store, This and That Shack. In July 2013, Madison attended the Nashville Ballet Intensive, where she had the opportunity to follow her passion thanks to my eBay sales! And by a happy dance accident, I also found my passion. I haven’t looked back.

Since that time, I’ve expanded my sourcing to garage sales, auctions, antique malls, and the clearance racks of brick and mortar stores. I work, on average, about 25 hours per week. My sales have continued to grow, and I’m earning about $2,500 profit each month after expenses!

While dance is my daughter’s passion, eBay has become mine. I love sourcing and listing cool stuff, and I love hearing from happy customers that I helped them find exactly what they were looking for. This is definitely the most enjoyable and lucrative part-time job I’ve ever had, and I’m grateful for the opportunity.

My family is grateful, too. They are enjoying many more little extras since I started my new endeavor. We’ve enjoyed a few small vacations, and Madison has since attended another Ballet Intensive in Michigan.

For those of you who might be interested in selling on eBay too, here are a few tips:

1. You will need to set up a PayPal account. All payments on eBay are done via PayPal.

2. You’ll need to register as a new user on eBay. Just click the Sell your item button on the eBay home page, and you will be walked through this relatively quick process.

3. As far as tools/supplies, you’ll need a computer, tablet, or smartphone with internet access, a digital camera or phone that takes good pictures, a shipping scale, shipping tape, bubble wrap and boxes. You can order free Priority boxes from USPS.com.

4. You will need a space to keep your inventory neat and organized. Once you sell something, you don’t want to have to dig to find it.

5. If you’re wondering what sells on eBay, the answer is practically anything. The trick is always to buy low and sell high.

6. It’s a good idea to get the eBay app on your phone. When you are at garage sales, thrift stores, or auctions, you can easily look up items you’re interested in to see what they are selling for. Keep in mind that eBay and PayPal fees will take about 10-13% of each sale.

Any other tips from experienced eBay sellers?

Kimberly is a wife, mom, teacher, and eBay Top Rated Seller. She created her blog, Garage Sale Heaven, in order to share her frugal finds and reselling adventures. She loves a good garage sale! If you feel the same way, she hopes you’ll stop by.

photo source

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We Paid Cash: A Homeschooling Room

We paid cash!

A testimony from Mandy from MissMaesDays.com

The day had come when I had had it with storing all of our school supplies, projects, lesson plans, and books in our kitchen drawers and cupboards. For years, I was using the kitchen island and drawers for homeschooling our kiddos and it just was not working.

I had an “a-ha moment” when I looked at our hardly-used formal living room…it was the perfect space for a classroom!  When I saw it in my mind I knew it could be done.

But we didn’t have the extra cash to transform an entire room in our house into a school room. How in the world could I afford the furniture and supplies to make the conversion?!

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks! Sell the formal living room furniture — the couches, tables, lamps, and decor. Then, USE that money to purchase the items I need for our school room!

Voilà! A school room paid in full, without using credit cards.

Here’s how I did it:

  1. I listed my formal, living room furniture on Craigslist.
  2. I sold smaller items on eBay.
  3. I purged my entire home of unused, unwanted items, readying them for a garage sale. (Any items that didn’t sell on Craigslist and eBay were sold in the garage sale.)
  4. I planned and orchestrated a successful garage sale.

After my efforts to create some extra cash, I found that I had over $1,000 cash IN HAND. So, I set out to get some deals!

How did I do it?

  1. I shopped garage sales for furniture pieces.
  2. I shopped discount stores for decor, teaching supplies, classroom supplies, manipulatives, and games.
  3. I researched curriculum to invest in. I found coupons and deals to purchase curriculum.
  4. I scoured the internet for deals on things that you simply can’t find locally.
  5. I sought the internet for my “dream, can’t live without” pieces. (Mine was a double-sided whiteboard easel on wheels!)
  6. I shopped for discounted paints/supplies at my local hardware store for decorating my school room space.

Once all of my hard work had paid off, I sat back and prepared to design our homeschool room knowing that we paid CASH for it!  It was the greatest feeling in the world. (Here’s a look at our finished room).

Full Shot of Kidspace #2

MissMaesDays.com is the creation of Mandy Mae; wife, mother, teacher, and frugal-DIY-enthusiast. Hoping to inspire mothers to take action in making a positive influence in the lives of their children with simple, DIY, crafting, thrifting, and teaching projects, Mandy Mae enjoys sharing both her successes and hiccups with easy-to-follow tips & tutorials.

Have you saved up and paid cash for something — large or small? Submit your story for possible publication here.

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Can you go for 30 days without buying anything new?

How long could you go without buying anything new?

How long could you go without buying anything new?

Yerdle is challenging people to make a commitment to stop buying new things for 30 days (or however long you decide works for you!) by taking their Unshopping Challenge.

They want to encourage people to unclutter their lives, save money, and create less waste.

If you decide to take the Unshopping Challenge, you can make your own rules. Yerdle encourages you to still buy food (of course!) and consumable items, but what they really hope to do is to challenge people who have a shopping “addiction” or who just shop as a recreational activity, to break free from excessive shopping and spending in order to save money and simplify your lives.

Here’s how they encourage you to consider setting up your Unshopping Challenge:

  • For 30 days, buy nothing new (except things you can’t re-use like food and gas).

  • Sign up for a Yerdle account (it’s free!), go through your stuff, and post pictures of items you no longer need, love, or use.

  • If someone is interested in your item, they can purchase it with Yerdle credit and you’ll earn Yerdle credit when you ship it out.

  • You can use your Yerdle credit to “buy” items from other sellers on Yerdle. You pay shipping on the items you “purchase”.

This is a great way to not only clear your home of clutter and save some money, but by taking the Unshopping Challenge, it will likely help you evaluate your spending habits in a new light. And maybe you’ll end up forever changed as a result.

Sign up for the Unshopping Challenge here.

Tip: When you sign up for Yerdle, you can grab your referral link and share it with others. If others sign up through your link, you’ll earn 10 free Yerdle points and they’ll get 10 free Yerdle credits, too!

{This post was underwritten by Yerdle. See my disclosure policy here.}

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No, I Don’t Think Credit Cards Are Evil

No, I Don't Think Credit Cards Are Evil

My interview with John Stossel aired on Fox Business and in that interview, I shared how I have lived for 33 years without a credit card.

Most people don’t believe that this is possible. But it’s true.

I’ve never had a credit card and I’ve never had debt. Yes, for real.

My grandpa raised my dad to never go into debt for anything but a mortgage. My dad not only embraced this belief, but then he took it further. When I was a young girl, my parents paid off their mortgage and began saving everything they possibly could in order to buy land and build a house in the country.

After a few years of scrimping and saving, they sold our house, we moved to an old trailer out on land they had bought, and my dad was the General Contractor for our debt-free house-building project.

Seeing the sacrifices that my parents made and seeing the freedom that being debt-free gave them and the stress it relieved from their lives inspired me to commit to never go into debt.

My husband and I went into marriage with an audacious goal for him to go through law school debt-free. This was a much harder to actually follow through with than we could have imagined, but our firm commitment to a debt-free lifestyle inspired us to make many short-term sacrifices in order to achieve long-term benefits.

After law school, we decided to continue our commitment to living debt-free and we set another big goal: to pay cash for our first house. We knew that if we continued to live very simply and save as much as we possibly could, this goal could be a reality in the next 5 years (it helped that we lived in Kansas at the time, where housing prices are very reasonable).

Hitting that goal in less than three years was almost 100% thanks to the huge increase in income we saw from this blog. However, we both feel like had we not set the goal in the first place and had we not been so committed to a debt-free lifestyle, we would never have been so inspired to work very hard at growing this online business nor as motivated to think outside the box and look for passive income streams.

No, I Don't Think Credit Cards Are Evil

We look back at the last 12 years of our married life and have zero regrets that we’ve chosen to live debt-free. It’s allowed us much more flexibility to make business changes and life changes — like our big move to Nashville last year. It’s also allowed us to be able to continue to live simply so that we can invest our money in priorities that matter to us as well as be in a position to give generously.

I prefer to use cash and rarely swipe a debit card for anything — except for online business purchases, gas purchases, and travel expenses.

Some people think that I’m dumb for choosing this lifestyle. I’ve been called names. I’ve been told I was crazy. I’ve been reprimanded over and over again for missing out on so many credit card rewards.

And here’s the thing: I own that I’m weird. I own that the choices I’ve made personally and the choices our family has made are not for everyone.

But I hope that our story challenges you to think outside the box. I want to inspire people to not just fall in line with whatever everyone else does or feel like debt has to be a normal part of everyone’s everyday existence. Because it doesn’t have to be.

No, I Don't Think Credit Cards Are Evil

You don’t need to do what we’ve done. You may choose to use a credit card or get a mortgage. You might have found a way to meticulously track your credit card expenditures so that you are actually spending less and earn big rewards that you use to further lower your costs.

You might find that you have more self-discipline when you swipe a card than when you carry around cash. Instead of using cash, you might choose to track your spending through an app like Mint.com, EveryDollar.com, or YouNeedaBudget.com.

I’m a big advocate of doing what works for you. And if you’re responsible with your spending and you have found a system that works for your family and keeps you organized and (mostly!) stress-free, than I say to stick with it.

But if you are struggling financially and you are feeling discouraged and disorganized when it comes to finances, I encourage you to not just keep doing whatever it is that you’re currently doing. If you want to see change in your life and finances, you have to do something different than what you’re currently doing.

If you’re new here, I’d love to for you to sign up for our daily email newsletter here where I share money-saving advice, tips, tricks, and great deals. In addition, if you’re looking for practical ways to save more money, check out my series on 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year.

My passion is to challenge people to live with intention in all areas of your life and finances. You aren’t stuck, unless you choose to be. So begin today to make wise financial choices. Be willing to make those short-term sacrifices. Be okay with going against the grain — even if others think you’re weird.

Your hard work and effort and sacrifices will pay off. And I’ll be here cheering you all the way!

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