Thursday, March 19, 2009

When Times Are Tough....Sell Some Stuff!

Anyone that knows me knows I love to shop for bargains. When interviewing for a job out of college, I was once asked "what is your dream job?' Well, it sure as heck wasn't the one I was interviewing for, so I honestly answered "Professional Bargain Hunter." Not sure if I was offered that job.......

When I want something new and I am on the hunt for a deal, I often raise funds be selling some old stuff on Ebay or Craigslist. While the husband thinks the amount of time I put in to making $15 on Craigslist is silly, it makes me feel better about purchasing something new that I don't really need and it keeps our house junk free.

While Ebay and other sites might at first seem intimidating, they are really pretty simple if you have some tips. Here are a few pointers to get you started on raising funds for that high end stroller you have been eyeing:
  • Best for selling name brand children's and adult clothing in good condition. Things like Banana Republic, JCrew, Ralph Lauren and BCBG sell really well here. Just be sure to create a title that includes terms people will be searching for. List the brand, color, type of item and size using as many good words as you can fit in. Be sure to list measurements in the item description, as well as your payment expectations and your return policy. I usually expect payment within 48 hours and don't except returns.
  • For pictures, you can lay the item flat on a neutral color surface, or take a picture of yourself wearing it. The DH is usually unwilling to participate in this, so most of my pics are taken with the item laying on the carpet.
  • On Ebay, buyers pay for shipping so be sure you know about what shipping your item will cost or you could get burned. I typically use priority mail (the post office provides free mailing envelopes) which costs about $5 for a shirt and up to $8.50 for a pair of jeans.
  • Accept payment via Paypal, it is the easiest. If you don't have a Paypal account, set one up. You can transfer the money you receive to your checking account or use it for future Ebay purchases!
  • Things that don't sell well are non name brand things people won't be searching for, household items and other things that are a pain to mail. I also don't get much for high end jeans on Ebay, there are just too many being sold
  • Good for selling furniture, household items, decorating items, strollers and car seats, tools and other large things.
  • Free to use, so it doesn't hurt to list something you are not sure if people will be buying!
  • Unless you want to drive around meeting people, be sure to include in your listing that the person must be able to come to you
  • Also a great place to buy furniture, especially gently used baby items. You can find all kinds of Pottery Barn goodies for sale here!
Some of my other favorites are Buffalo Exchange for designer jeans, vintage finds and the occasional Marc Jacobs score, and Plato's Closet for casual clothes. Both of these are resale shops geared towards younger people that accept name brand an cool clothing on the spot for cash or store credit. I've scored several pairs of Seven and Citizens jeans at Buffalo Exchange for under $40 each.

For you mommies looking for a score, don't be afraid to shop Craigslist, Once Upon a Child and other children's consignment sales. While I would be hesitant to purchase a crib this way unless I knew it was safe, they are great places to score dressers, changing tables and other nursery furniture. Everyone wants to give baby the best, but it doesn't all have to be brand new. Plus, when you save in some areas you can afford to splurge in others! Consignment stores and Ebay are also great places to pick up adorable and name brand children's clothing. Love Ralph Lauren but hate to pay $35 for a kid's shirt? Many of these places sell items with the tags on for a fraction of the price.

Just to tempt you, here are some of the deals I found on Pottery Barn Kids stuff on Craigslist today:

  • White Storage Bench - brand new $100
  • Children's table and 4 chair set - $125
  • A set of over 30 Hawaiian theme items for decorating - only $30!

So, enjoy these tips and happy bargain hunting. Let me know if you score anything good!

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