Monday, August 23, 2010

More eBay Adventures

First day of school!!

Sorry, I've been remiss in my blogging. I was off flirting with a boy.

But I'm back now.

Fortunately, I have not been as remiss in my money collecting!

The eBay promotion allowing free listings continues, and I have been attempting to take full advantage of it. I've even gotten smarter about it; I try to have all of my listings close on the weekend, so I can send Dan my Ex and Errand Boy to the post office on Monday or Tuesday. Of course, that only works if people are prompt in paying!

Last week, I listed 8 items. Sold one.

So this week, I relisted the 7 unsold items plus one more. Sold 5. Go figure. And I'd be happy to pack them all up... if the two holdouts would pay me! I also had the fortune of finding a second Calvert Grammar Disk after I'd sold the first one for more than I thought I'd get (around $17), so I was able to make a “second chance” offer to the second highest bidder, who promptly snapped up my second grammar disk.

It's all good.

This weekend, I was trying to list like a demon, but some listings are more time-consuming than others. I'm selling everything from spelling disks the kids are done with to my commemorative silver Star Trek coin.

And selling a bunch of items at once brings up a whole new problem. Not packing material. Oh, no. I have a garage full of empty Amazon boxes. But keeping all the packages straight, making sure I'm sending the right item to the right person, is a bit more stress-inducing than I had anticipated!

Another problem I encountered is that on two items I forgot to charge shipping!! Fortunately, they were light cheap items. But, hey, two bucks is two bucks, especially when the item only sold for around $9. That cuts into the profit margin big time. I now watch that step very carefully.

Maryanne is back from her month-long European vacation. She got back on Friday and promptly headed to school on Monday. She licked jetlag in one day! Ah, to be young again.

On Saturday, Maryanne will be taking our dog to the vet for her annual physical, shots, and all that. And the following week, our ferret is due. I'm trying not to think about that. Between the two of them, we're talking easily $300. And here I am selling spelling disks on eBay for $9 or $10 a pop! I'd have to sell far more of those than I have to pay for the vet...

But that's why I arranged the system this way. No co-mingling of funds. The vet visits would have happened either way. The eBay sales go straight to the credit card debt. Of course, the vet visits will probably also end up on the credit card... Sigh...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

When all is said and done...

The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America' s WealthyWhere does the time go?

I had such high hopes for this year. Goals, really. Expectations. I started writing a young adult novel shortly before summer started and was convinced I would write it this summer, especially after my agent said he liked what he'd read so far. But time got away from me. It is mid-August, and I never even opened my laptop again. (I do all my “real” writing on a dedicated laptop. It sits in the corner of my room, blinking at me, mocking me.)

I still haven't read the complete works of Jane Austen. I still haven't written my novel. And, for you ladies out there, I still haven't hit my goal weight. Or gotten my house clean. Or my exercise program more in line with where I want it to be. In fact, the only thing I have marginally managed to do is pay down some of my credit card debt!

The comic books sold for $30 with $10 shipping. So that's $40. Except that it isn't. Paypal took $1.46. Ebay took 75 cents. And then my errand boy and ex Dan mentioned to the post office clerk that the box contained COMIC books, at which point he was no longer allowed to ship the box media mail because comic books don't count because they allegedly contain ads. So that was another $15.90. My only hope was that my errand boy would forget to turn over the post office receipt to me, in which case he would never get credited the money. (he he he) But, alas, he turned over the receipt in a timely manner, thereby bringing my take on the comic books to $19.19. Based on my predictions, they should have sold for around $60. But didn't.

The silver didn't fare much better. According to my calculations, if I had sold the silver to the coin shop, my best-case scenario was $420. But I sold it on eBay. After nearly 100 people looked and a number declared themselves “watchers”, in the end I only received four bids. I guess some people think that $5,000 worth of silverware is only a bargain at $480 and not at, oh, $510.

The winning bid was $511. Paypal took $15.12. Ebay took $45.99, which was actually less than I'd anticipated, thank God, or I really would have ended up screwed. Shipping with insurance cost another $26.85. In the end, my take was a disappointing $417.54, roughly what I would have gotten if I had just driven to the coin shop and sold it there in the first place. Oh, well. I had to try!

Letting go of that silver was harder than I'd anticipated. I mean, my grandmother bought me this silver one piece at a time, thinking that someday I would have a complete set and keep and use it for the rest of my life. But I never used it. I never turned into the kind of person who uses silver for formal or really any occasions. Letting go of the silver was almost like letting go of a dream.

My family immigrated to this country when I was six years old. I read once that there is a pattern: the first generation comes here, the second learns the language, and the third makes the fortune. Well, three generations of us immigrated here simultaneously, so I was immediately that third generation.

As is the case with so many folks, my family has a history of fortunes lost. Before World War II, the family was apparently loaded and living in Bohemia. We're talking many millions. But a year and a half after World War II drew to a close, the Russians threw the “Sudetendeutsche” out of Bohemia. My family became refugees. Well, not exactly refugees. In German, the word is Vertriebene, those who were pushed out. All of the money stayed behind. But the memories of the money lingered on.

My grandmother had grown up with that way of life. Her two children (my mother included) remember being driven out of the country, a memory that permanently molded them. And growing up I felt this expectation that not only would the family reachieve its former glory, but that it was up to me to get it there. I was the first person born in my generation (18 years ahead of the next), so I felt a good deal of pressure growing up.

But, alas, I grew up and turned out to be perfectly ordinary. I mean, I've achieved things with my life, to be sure. But my credit card debt alone will tell you just how average I am, just how much like the neighbors that live on either side of you, and hardly some grand lady who's made a family's worth of fortune.

But I've never moped about the lack of funds. In The Millionaire Next Door, the authors discuss that there are two basic ways to be or create a loser. One is to spend your life moaning about that family fortune that no longer exists. (And, honestly, how many people have my kind of story up one branch of their family tree? Very very many, I suspect!) The second is to spend your life waiting for that inheritance, instead of actually getting off your duff and making your own way, accomplishing. One of the interesting things about the millionaires next door was that their kids tended not to know how well off their parents were! As a result, they went out and achieved in their own right.

So if I'm ever wealthy, I just won't tell my children. But I do not believe that any breath-holding is in order here! Especially since my clearest path to wealth would have been writing that novel!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Even Further Adventures on eBay!

With 11 minutes left in the auction, no one had bid on my comic books! With 9 minutes left, I had one bid, and there it stayed. So I only got $30. I was hoping for $50 or $60, but I now always price my auctions (with no hidden “reserve”) at the minimum that won't piss me off if I sell it at that, so I guess I'm good.

Once I sold two Spanish Barney videotapes for $1.99. I learned my lesson! Never doing that again. At that price, it's not worth my time to box them up. I would rather have kept them or donated them!

I now have TWO BIDS on my silver! The bidding stands at $485. There have been 60 views and there are 9 watchers... but there were 5 watchers on the comic books, and we learned how that ended up! It needs to go higher. At this price, it would have been easier just to sell it at the coin shop.

25 more hours!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Further Adventures on eBay

I have eleven items listed on eBay.

The first, a tall stack of many comic books, is due to close in 15 hours. It's had 16 views and has 3 “watchers”, so I have high hopes.

But I have REALLY high hopes for my silver, which is due to close in 1 day and 22 hours. 51 people have looked at it (!) and I have 8 watchers.

Oddly, no one has bid on anything. Maybe everyone out there is using my strategy of not bidding until the closing moments of the auction to avoid running the price up. Or maybe no one will buy what I'm selling!!

Only time will tell...

The fact that I can list on eBay for free for the rest of the month, coupled with my new-found ability to actually USE my digital camera, is highly motivating.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Adventures on eBay

My silver is posted on eBay! My starting price is $480, which is the amount I would have gotten selling it for scrap plus eBay commission plus shipping.

A whopping 34 people have looked at it, and I have 4 “watchers”. I suspect it will be bought by a dealer who will then sell off the individual pieces. Don't care! Just want cash!

I also have 5 other far-less-interesting items I'm selling. Mostly old math text books and other textbooks, plus a pile of comic books.

'Tis the season when all good little homeschooling moms prepare for the upcoming school year, so 'tis the time to sell school supplies we're done with... I miss this window every year. But not this time!!

AND I FINALLY FIGURED OUT HOW TO GET PHOTOS FROM MY DIGITAL CAMERA INTO THE COMPUTER!! That oughta make the whole darn eBaying process work a whole lot better.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

AUGUST TALLY $19,520.37

I did my bills last night. Where to start, where to start...


I paid off my primary-use card IN FULL. A month or two ahead of my previous projections.

After I had paid all of my regular (non-credit-card) bills, I realized that it looked like I had just enough to pay off the outstanding balance on the card I use most often, the Disney Visa card. So I took a deep breath, and I did it!!

Of course, this is going to make the rest of the month a little dicey. We're going to have to eat more judiciously. And I don't know how I'm going to pay Larry the Pressure Washing Guy who agreed to fix the hole in the side of my house next week while he was cleaning out my dryer vent last week (jack of many trades!). Or allowance. And Cathy and I both need new glasses, which is going to really set me back. But that expense would have been incurred anyway.

The glasses will probably have to go right back on the credit card. Regardless, my goal now is to pay off my balance in full on my Amazon Visa and my Disney Visa each month. And starting next month, I shall start chipping away at the balance I'm carrying at 1.99%--but only until early 2011.


My new total credit card debt as of this very moment is $19,520.37, the first time it's been below $20something in, like, forever... On May 1, my total was $24,283.60. That means I've shaved off almost $5,000 in only three months!!! I'd have to say IT'S WORKING!!!

The first thing I do when I sit down monthly to pay my bills is to write down all of my deposits. Well, I had $1,088.71 of extra deposits. There were so many that they took up almost an entire double-page of my checkbook register.

This thing is having a snowball effect. The better it's going, the more I want it to keep going. I have become insanely tightfisted. It really hurt to write that semi-annual check for car insurance!

Today, I shall post a pile of comic books on eBay.

And that's it now. I'm going to post the silver and see how I do.

I'm increasingly inclined to sell everything in my house that isn't nailed down... I wonder how much I could get for my kids??