Category: Making Money

Should you hold a garage sale or not?

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I will never hold another garage sale!

How can a self-proclaimed cheapskate who hates to throw any money away so definitively state that?

Because I have looked at the return on investment (ROI) very carefully and come to the conclusion that garage sales are not a good ROI for us.

The three factors that you need to in determining ROI are time, money and mental health.

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Earn Extra Income When Shopping Online

There are so many ways to earn extra money, but they are not all created equal.

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It is important to consider the return on your investment and in this case the investment is time.

If you are reading this, you are probably not a person with a lot of extra time on your hands. I bet you are a person with a little extra debt or a desire for a little extra income to make your budget a little less tight.

Given my limited free time and my desire to focus more on my family I carefully consider how I spend my time and the return on investment. While I have spent hours clipping coupons in years past, right now it’s not something where I spend much time. Be sure to check out Coupon Clipping for the Ordinary Mom.

One area I do earn extra money and without much investment of time is with Ebates.com. If you shop online – EVER – and you have not yet signed up with Ebates then you have lost out on a lot of money.

It is not worth dwelling over how much money you could have made – trust me. I went down that rabbit hole and it’s depressing. You need to look to the future and how much money you will make now.

So here’s the deal. You sign up for your account by doing the following:

  1. Click on this Ebates link
  2. Select your $10 gift card bonus (yes, that’s right you will get a $10 bonus for signing up)
  3. Enter your preferred email address and create a password
  4. On the Ebates homepage click on the drop down arrow in the top right corner next to your name. On this home screen in the middle of the page it states what date (it’s usually a few months) you must make a qualifying purchase of $25 or more to earn your $10 gift card bonus.
  5. From this home screen you will need to click on account settings to set up your mailing address, otherwise they won’t have a way to pay you!
  6. Every time you shop online you need to go to Ebates first and from there click the store where you are shopping.

You will not pay any extra when you purchase this way, but you will earn a percentage back. The percentages are different at all retailers and sometimes there are specials.  You better believe there are some good deals around the holidays. I was able to save considerably on my holiday cards because of deals Snapfish was running along with their very high percentage back through Ebates.

Another way to make money on Ebates is to refer your friends and family.

You earn extra money by encouraging others to join you in this money making venture. They have referral bonuses so the more people you refer in a certain time frame the more money you can make for yourself. Again, the people you get to sign up don’t pay anything, they are just going to earn money and the $10 gift card just like you.

I am not encouraging you to spend more money online, but if you are already shopping online you might as well get a percentage back on those purchases.

One note: At non-holiday times of the year Amazon doesn’t generally generate very much cash back, unless it is on certain items they designate.

Quarterly, Ebates will send you a check for what you have earned that month. (Don’t forget to  add your mailing address!) With all of the shopping I did online this past holiday season my check was very large.

I have yet to find a downfall to Ebates (well except that sometimes I forget to go to that website first before I purchase – but that’s a user error) and I’m not sure why everyone who shops online doesn’t have an account already set up.

To start earning money on purchases you are already making register for your account.

Do you have any other easy ways to make money online? Comment below and join the conversation.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you choose to make a purchase. Thank you for your support in this way!

 

10 Tips for a Money Making Garage Sale

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You can easily throw together a garage sale, but if you want to make it worth your time and increase your profits check out these 10 tips.

  1. Declutter your home early and often

    Create a spot in your house (garages or basements work well for this) where you can put your unwanted things. This way you can slowly declutter over time and you don’t have to think about the garage sale until later. Start in one room and work your way through the house getting rid of things you no longer want or need. If you are debating getting rid of something put it with the unwanted pile and if you find yourself searching for it then you know you still need it.  Remember the more you have to sell the more enticing your garage sale will be.

  1. Price everything and price things well

    Keep prices easy to read (legible) and prominent on the item being sold.

DO NOT put “make an offer” on anything. People are less likely to buy something if they have to ask how much it is. If you see someone picking something up and putting it down multiple times you can tell them that prices are negotiable.

If all clothes are a certain price you can make signs that indicate this. Be sure there are many large signs so people aren’t left wondering on prices.

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It’s a garage sale – be prepared for people to barter on prices. Remember you want to get rid of this stuff, not keep them. However, it does not mean you have to accept super low offers, especially the first morning of the sale. Sometimes when an offer is too low I have told the buyer that if it is still here tomorrow I will take that price. I’ve had people come back the next day. If it’s a high ticket item—meaning it’s worth your time to do this—you can take the persons contact information and call them if it’s still there at the end of the sale.

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14 Steps to Organize a Neighborhood Garage Sale

  1. 14 steps garage sale imageStart small. The first time you have a neighborhood garage sale it doesn’t have to be big. Bonus-it’s more manageable to be small the first year while you figure out how to make it work. If you do it right the first time other neighbors will notice and want to get on board the next year.
  2. Recognize the time commitment and follow through it will take to do well. Be honest with yourself. Do you have the time to be the one in charge? Are you an organized person? If not, it’s okay to team up with a neighbor who has that skill set or has more time. Together you could make a great team.
  3. Connect with neighbors to gauge interest
    • Do you have a neighborhood watch group, email listserv, or Facebook group? If so, put the idea out there and invite people to email you if they are interested
    • Create half-sheets introducing the idea and contact information.
    • Encourage neighbors to spread the word
  4. Whenever someone contacts you with interest be sure to inform them you’ll be sending out an email with a link to vote on the date. You don’t want people to contact you and then wait weeks to hear back. (Every time I received an email I responded right away letting them know they’d receive another email from me in a week with the com survey to vote for a weekend to have the garage sale)
  5. Send the follow-up email encouraging those who have expressed interest to vote on which weekends to have the sale.
  6. Give people about a week to respond (remember not everyone checks their email every day or is as excited about this new venture as you are)
  7. Once you feel like you have the majority of votes in, majority rules and pick the garage sale weekend.
  8. Notify everyone who has expressed interest the date of the sale. In this email solicit ideas for marketing, ask participants for their address, what days/times of the weekend they will have their sale open and a quick blurb about what types of items they are selling that they would like to include. You should ask participants if they would be willing to submit money for marketing, maps, etc.
  9. Decide on the marketing plan. Identify all of the free places to advertise: craigslist, Varagesale, Facebook garage sale groups, etc.  Will you buy signs? How many? Will you put an ad in the paper? Which papers? How much do they cost? Will you make maps of the sales?  (This should be a definite if all the garage sales are not on the same street) How many copies?  How you decide to market will determine how much you may need from each participant in order to advertise. The first year I think asking for $3-$5 is not a big deal.  If people were doing the garage sale on their own they would spend more than that on one sign.
  10. Set a deadline for getting this information back to you.
  11. Make signs and enlist the help of neighbors in strategically placing the signs to draw traffic to the sales
  12. Make maps of the sales. On the front side create a map of your neighborhood and number the sales. On the back side next to the coordinating number list what times each sale is open and what types of things they have for sale.
  13. Have at least 2 houses with maps available and advertise those houses as such in the online marketing plan (as the organizer be sure one of those houses is your own—it will also help you draw more traffic to your sale)
  14. After the sale solicit feedback from participants and gauge interest in doing a garage sale the following year. Be sure to thank the participants for taking part in the garage sale. Remember They helped you to have a successful garage sale too.

If you would like more tips on how to make your garage sale successful and appealing to garage sale goers, be sure to read the following:

10 Tips for a money-making garage sale.

Should you hold a garage sale or not?

Organize a Neighborhood Garage Sale Part I

Organized a Neighborhood Garage Sale Part II

 

FINAL NOTE:

You need at least 1 month to plan the initial neighborhood garage sale. It took us 7 weeks from the time we talked to the neighbors about initial interest until the actual sale weekend.  It could have been done quicker, but remember everyone is going to want to have time to declutter their houses in time for the sale. Plus you don’t want to be stressed out as the one organizing it.

Earn Extra Money from Home with a Virtual Garage Sale

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You can sell your stuff and search for deals without ever leaving your house.

No price stickers, tables or yard sale signs and the money is left right at your door while you slowly declutter your house.

In 10 months we have made $288 on Varage Sale for our family and $475 on sales from baby/maternity gear.

Varage Sale is simply a virtual garage sale app.

It makes it easier to search for specific items at garage sale prices and to sell your gently, or not so gently used items without the hassle that comes with having a garage sale.

Often times you can get higher prices on Varage Sale because people are usually searching for a specific item and are more willing to pay a higher price when they find it.

It cuts down on the amount of work on their part to find a good deal. Also, at garage sales unless you have the exact right person come to your garage sale that is seeking out your items it is more impulse buying.

I love deal shopping and buying things gently used. It saves me money and cuts down on waste in the world. However, I actually hate garage sales.

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Why I hate going to garage sales

  • I struggle with feeling guilty for walking through a garage sale and not making a purchase. I don’t want to offend the person because I didn’t like their stuff. Yes, I know ridiculous I’m just being honest. Luckily, I overcome this guilt and don’t usually make a guilt purchase
  • I often times find myself buying things I don’t need—yes I’m a victim of impulse shopping because of the great prices
  • It is rare that I am able to visit a garage sale without my two helpers. This means unloading kids from the car and putting one in a stroller. Sometimes it takes longer to do that than it does to walk through the garage sale.
  • When you have kids with you they inevitably will find treasures they must have, and of course they are only $1 or worse yet FREE.

Why I hate having a garage sale

  • It requires so much work to price and set up a garage sale
  • You rely on the weather to be nice or all your work is for nothing
  • Your house and garage become messier as you prepare for a garage sale
  • Clean-up post garage sale seems to last for weeks
  • You have to shield your children from what you may be selling. They always fall back in love with those toys that they haven’t even touched in years. (Quick trick we’ve used when this happens. Cassidy is allowed to save something from the garage sale, but she must part with at least one other item to do so)
  • You have to spend at least two days of your life just sitting at a garage sale waiting for people to come and shop
Now with Varage Sale I can get all the benefits of deal shopping at garage sales without having to deal with all the reasons I hate garage sales.

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