front porch trash

front porch trash

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Are you having a bad day?

Sales on ebay are in the toilet...

I have more to do than a human person should have to do.

I need two three clones, please...
One for housework, one for yard work and one for ebay. The real me needs to take care of my SweetiePie...

SweetiePie wants to go to "that store you really want to go to" every.single.day...

SweetiePie wants to go to Dairy Queen every.single.day...

I just spent 15 minutes trying to convince a 67 year old man that it is a good thing to go poo, that it's something everybody does.

But SweetiePie just thinks I'm mean.

So if you have had or are having a bad day, week, or year I hope you read this and laugh.

I have to laugh because it's the only way to keep my sanity.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Free stuff, again

As I have said before, I go to the post office every day, by choice. We have a very small post office and most days there are only one or two customers and the clerks in the post office are like friends. In fact I worked with the postmaster at a very different job and we lived in the same subdivision many years ago. So a small Southern town. As we say down here "a wide spot in the road".

Not long ago a customer in line asked me if I sold on eBay. She had some things that she was donating and asked if would I like them. As if turned out they weren't very high in value. But they were free and I did pick out a couple of things to sell. They will be very, very long tail. That doesn't bother me. The worst thing is they are dinnerware and breakable and will require careful packing.

Back to the post office. One clerk asked if I wanted some things that she was donating. She had also taken some items a friend that was moving didn't want and wanted to get rid of them. Fast forward...   I picked them up from her house. Thank goodness there wasn't a lot of glass. But there were a lot of cookbooks. The Sunset, BH&G, Southern Living kind. I checked them and the most expensive was hovering at $4...and that was the top of the ladder!! There were some Spanish natural medicine books that look promising. One was listed for $160 and then marked down to $150. That was the only listing so I'm sure that is an unrealistic price. The other books were in the 25-30 neighborhood. Not a bad neighborhood.
 The stack of cookbooks, damaged silver edged glass bowls, a weird wooden shelf, one brown cup, a glass tree candy jar, vacuum bags with one bag and a piggy bank.
  The two paintings,(there was a framed magazine cut out at the bottom of the picture)a very dirty tackle box, 2 full packs of vacuum bags, an electric grill, scuba shoes, a resin wolf lamp, the Spanish books are in the bottom, a very weak milkshake machine, a painted brass leaf, a Mr Coffee, a handful of (yuck I hate "silk" flowers) silk flowers, an old sink faucet in the new box, a metal wall candle sconce and some funnels.

The most interesting things were two paintings, very different styles. One is a very formal watercolor. In a gold leaf, maybe, frame and very well matted.


 
  I can't read the name Coponeey?? from 1993, or is that 19,931 copies?

The other an amateur acrylic on canvas. No frame

Is this trash or treasure?


There were also some other things that I am going to keep for future use. A folding, collapsible walker with a carry case and a stable cane, with four feet at the base. Don't need these yet but good to have on hand.

Well time to box up the stuff for donation and get them out of my house

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Savings for Weeks 3 & 4

Week 3
Welcome to the wonderful world of old age, especially dementia. You never know what the week will be until it comes around. But, we hung in there and made it the entire week.

Having lunch out every day seems like just what the doctor ordered. No choking for a long time but we have to work on speed eating. You would think SweetiePie was in the Army and only had 2 minutes to eat a meal.

That means that most of our savings was from senior citizens discounts for food and beverages. Only one trip to a thrift store for a half price day bargain and I only spent $13.00. Didn't get a bag of clothing because of other things to do. We had a birthday to celebrate. SweetiePie had a birthday on the 20th!!!

Food savings this week were $11.84. We still went to lunch but we didn't get a discount every day. Of course on the big birthday SweetiePie got his choice of eating establishments(same as every day). And we didn't fill up with gas this week. But we did get to spend $400 for a catalytic converter for the truck. Lucky us. Thank goodness for paypal.

Thrift Savings were $13.00 because the entire store was 50% off for one day and that just happened to be SweetiePie's birthday, and President's Day. So we spent most of the time looking for long sleeved t shirts and athletic pants with elastic. Belts, buttons and zippers are too difficult so we are slowly acquiring pants with elastic and since SweetiePie is always cold we have to have long sleeved shirts.

Total savings for the week were $24.84. Since SweetiePie wanted a Dairy Queen ice cream cake for his birthday the total savings for the week were about enough to pay for the cake, complete with a senior discount.

Week 4
This week started out kinda slow but picked up some towards the end of the week. We still had lunch out every day. Got to see the grandson who is back from overseas for the rest of his enlistment. Haven't seen him for a year but the Army has really filled him out. That PT every morning has added the muscle. Of course he will really miss all the "fun" when his enlistment is up. He is headed for the midwest for hopefully the rest of his time. We all met at a Mexican restaurant that we have been going to for years for a couple of hours of eating and talking. Will get to see him later in the week.

And this week food was not the biggest source of savings. Three days we didn't get a discount and 4 days we got a senior discount. Food savings for the final week of  February were $9.46.

We did get to go to the bag sale this week. I only purchased one bag this week and it wasn't even stuffed. We were tired and pickings were slim. Only 27 pieces for a cost of $0.28 each. The tag price of the items was $131. Again, some of the items I would have never picked up if they hadn't been so cheap cute and/or practical.

I picked up five items from the store for half price. A Sandra Boynton mug $.25, a Kate Spade Absolut rain poncho $1, a large white Irish linen tablecloth $1.5, 2 McCoy stoneware mixing bowls, #10, #12 for $2 each. I love it when the staff marks items for sale and hasn't a clue what they have. The mixing bowls should bring $35 each if I am patient. The other items are just bread & butter filling. Also picked up some folding totes for the store. I love those folding totes to stash in the car for sorting yard sale stuff or in the truck to keep things from sliding around. Two for $2 each and two for $1 each.

Savings for this week were:
Food  $9.46
Gas  $0.46
Thrift $6.50

So that winds up the shortest month of the year. Overall not a huge amount of savings but every little bit counts. It was fun keeping track of savings but a huge pain. I have a special place I drop receipts after every shopping trip but I had to keep track of the senior savings also. I have enough to do without keeping track of the senior savings so I won't be doing this again. On an average I save about $12 a week on food and a minuscule amount on gas. The best savings are on thrifting for the store. As it should be.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Week 2 Savings Update

Well, here I am just a bit late as usual. But I can never predict how my week will be so I just have to go with the flow.

I got a big surprise when I went to the store to fill up my bag. Prices have gone up to $7.50 per bag. That's a 50% increase in price. I guess they were getting too many bag stuffers like me who can really fill a bag. I see some shoppers who just toss what they want into the bag. I find if you fold items flat that you can really fill up the bag. I have a scientific approach to filling up the bag. Flat fold most items like blouses, shirts, skirts, pants and roll and squeeze the puffy coats. Make a big stack in the center of the bag and then fill in the sides (squish firmly) all around for maximum fill. I can consistently get 30-40 normal items in a large garbage bag. I think the bags this store uses are the large, clear leaf bags. If I get even 30 items in a $7.50 bag that is 25 cents per item and if you can get 40 items per bag that brings your price down to 19 cents per bag. I can't wait until they put their spring and summer stuff out on the racks because I can get way more items in the bag because of the thinner material. I have stuffed 50 items in a bag before, but that was just a one time thing. That averaged 10 cents per item because bags were cheaper then. But at $7.50 now that would only be 15 cents per item. Not a bad buy.

Ok, now for the savings.

I filled up on gas one time and saved $0.03 per gallon, $0.44.

Food savings were $16.48. Even though one time I forgot to ask for the senior discount. Most of the discount is for beverages and free Wendy's Frosty's. A few places we go give a flat 10% senior discount. Pennies add up.

I purchased two bags at the thrift store for $15.00 total. One bag had long all weather coats and leather coats so I couldn't get quite as many in the bag. The other bag was a mixture of items. So 48 items total for an average of $0.31 per item. A bit higher than usual but the cost of the bag did go up 50% so I think I did fine. I try to average about 25 cents per item. But when you are buying leather coats, sweaters, jackets for 31 cents per item, you can't beat the price. Again I added up the asking price of all of the items before they went to the bag sale and my savings were fantastic. If I had purchased all of my bag items at the stores full price I would have spent $288. A bag price savings of $217. Again, I would probably have never purchased all the items in the bag at full price.

There was also an estate sale within spitting distance of my house so I felt that it was my duty to go and check out what they had. I went on Saturday about 11am after they opened at 8am. Most of the draw items that they had photos of in the listing were gone. I was still able to find a few things at full price. Spent $21 and got 6 vintage feed sacks for $1 each, IBM selectric balls 10 for $3, vtg WW2 spats and some linen dish towels. One feed sack will pay for everything. I was able to go back on Sunday when everything was half price. I don't like to leave SweetiePie at home by himself so I parked close to the house, in the yard, and he stayed in the car while I made a quick dash inside. I picked up some things I passed up on Saturday at full price. A USPS woven pith helmet, 2 merino wool sweaters made in Ireland, some Chilton repair books and a cool Successful Farming magazine from 1923. My total savings at half price Sunday were $21 because all of the items I picked up were $42. One sweater will earn me double my purchase price.

So not a bad week savings wise. I'll try to do better next week. In fact I will have to do better next week because sales have been so slow. I have just hit $1000 in sales for the month with just over a week to go, and my average sale price is down slightly. Not a good February. But considering I haven't been able to list consistently I think I have done pretty good.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Week 1 Savings Update

Well, I'm just a little late with my update. SweetiePie was giving Oscar the Grouch a run for his money this week so things have been a little slooooow in getting done. No schedule is sometimes a good thing, sometimes not.

I only filled up with gas one time so my savings were only $0.47 because I used a customer loyalty card.

Eating out was pretty good since we didn't eat out every day. But when we did we always asked for a senior discount. It may seem like a small amount but by the end of the week we had saved enough to pay for almost 2 meals at Wendy's. And if we were careful we could get 2 full meals for both of us at Wendy's for what we saved. Savings were $12.06 for the week

The biggest savings from the first week of February was in ebay purchases. We picked a bright, sunny and warm day to go to the bag sale. The racks of clothing are on the outside of the store under a wide sheltered area. The store leaves their original sale tag on the items and just marks the tag. So I can look at the tag and see what I would have paid had I shopped inside the store and then figure what I paid per item for it in a bag. The savings were over the top.

When we went inside to check out there was a small line, 2 people ahead of me. The assistant manager came up and started checking out the overflow. When she got to my cart she saw the $5 bag and a few other items I had picked up in the store. Now I knew I had $25 total for the regularly priced items in addition to the $5 bag. She said, "how about $15 for everything in the cart and you take it without a bag?" Duh....let me think...$30 valued items for $15....I think I can live with that. So I got my bag for $2.50 this week.

35 bagged items for $2.50 averages $0.07 per item. Total tagged value was $151 if I had purchased them inside the store. Brands included LL Bean, Banana Republic, Orvis, Flax, Coldwater Creek, Northern Isles, Chicos, Fresh Produce, Nike, Tommy Bahama, London Fog and Red Oxx. Now these brand names may not be the top dog items but they are pretty much the brands I find regularly at this bag sale I mean $0.07 for a London Fog all weather coat is a good price no matter what it sells for.
And the regularly priced items were $12.50. The regularly priced items I picked up were:
Philips hand blender w/chopper $3.50
Corcoran black leather military boots $2.50
Propet diabetic shoes $2.00
Keen Newport H2 boys shoes $2.00
VTG Sunbeam travel iron $1.00
Revere Ware Stainless Copper Clad 8cup percolator $1.50
The percolator alone will probably bring 3 times what I paid for everything on this trip.

So not a bad week for me. Sales have been almost nothing this week. One day my top sale was $8.99(a Boggle game) and yesterday the top sale was $6.99(a cross stitch chart). Both of these were items I shouldn't have purchased. But since I did and they were very cheap, I just listed them instead of donating. Something is better than nothing.

Total savings for the week: $27.06
Gas     $0.47
Food $12.06
Resale Purchases $15.00

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Free Stuff From Strangers?

Did your mother teach you to not accept gifts from strangers?
Yeah, mine too. But I threw caution to the wind and said yes.
Let me back up and give you a few facts.

Most days I make my trek to the post office. Yes, I can schedule a pick up or just leave one or two packages in my new giant mail box. But SweetiePie likes to go to the post office, so off we go. Of course if we get to go to Dairy Queen he is EXTREMELY happy.

Yesterday I was waiting in line and this nice lady asked me if I sell on ebay. Well I had boxes labeled with the ebay logo, ebay tape, so I said yes. When confronted it is best to come clean!! She said she had some kitchen item in her truck that she was going to donate and if I wanted them I was welcome to them. Well....yes of course I'll take take them off your hands. If I can't sell them I will donate them so its a win win for her, me and the GW. So I took them sight unseen and brought them home. Two paper bags with a few things inside wrapped in newspaper.

First thing out...a white pedestal  with gold cherubs. Candle stand? trinket stand? Whatever? Unmarked with no value for resale. Next thing out...a covered vegetable dish, Crown Victoria Lovelace from the 70's. Valued at $5. Wait a minute! I just rechecked the sold listings and one sold in January for $15. Where was that one when I checked my phone yesterday? I run across that sometimes with things I look up on my phone and then go to my laptop and look them up again. Why the difference?

Next thing out...a covered vegetable dish, Impressions by Danielle, Country Day, stoneware with a gold band from the 70's also ( I know because I had a similar set with the blue bands). Valued at $5. Wait a minute! I just rechecked this one also on my laptop. Now I see one sold for $24 in Dec. Same problem with the phone check yesterday and the laptop check today. WTHeck?

Next thing out...a hand made pottery bowl with a leaf bough, frog and bird. Unmarked with a very non-professional look, but cute in its own way. I like the bowl and may list it high as a OOAK with best offer. It is in good shape with no chips. Just that the glaze is very muddy in color

Last thing out...a boxed Liberty Falls Dearly's Grocery complete with the pewter figures. Looks new and unused. Valued, at the most, $5 but more like $2. This one checked the same on phone and laptop. There must be millions of them out there.

So while I appreciated the gesture of something free I was...to say it gently...underwhelmed with what I found. After rechecking the two veggie bowls I may list the the stoneware one and the pottery bowl. But after looking at the stack of jackets I just purchased and the flannel sheets that I just purchased and the two totes of spring stuff, the overflowing tote of purses, the tote of bras, the tote of swimsuits and the two overflowing totes of toys that have been sitting patiently waiting for their turn I may just put them back in their bags and send them to live at the thrift store.

BUT...the next time someone wants to give me something to list I will say yes and skim the cream and donate the rest. I can't see putting a $20 bill in the donation box at GW.

I mean come on I need to make ends meet also.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Not quite scavenging, but close

So do you like discounts?
Do you use coupons?
Do you use store discount cards?

Me too!!!

Since I  reached the "cough, cough" retirement age I have noticed that there are lots of small perks to being an old fuddy-duddy. You can get free drinks, free food, discounts on food, discounted services and lots of other things. Gas stations offer loyalty cards for pennies off a gallon of gas. Grocery stores offer discounts on gas at certain stores if you shop their store. It may seem like small change, but it adds up. I keep telling SweetiePie that I should keep track of the discounts that we get. And since I am writing this on February 1st and this is the shortest month of the year, it seemed like an ideal time to keep track of my discounts for a month.

We have key tags for Wendy's, all the drug stores, Sheetz gas card and some more I can't remember at the moment. I decided to keep track of all of our discounts, freebies and the like, for the month of February. Just to see how much we save every time we say "Senior Discount Please". I hope I'm surprised by the total.

I have been tracking our bag sale items also. The stores that have bag sales leave their original sales tags on and just mark the tags. That is a simple way to see how much we paid for an item versus what the store was asking for it originally. It is a big discount to get a pair of jeans for 15c rather than pay $4.99 for them inside the store. 20c for a vintage wool coat that was marked $24.99. My kind of bargain.

So after one day, here is my savings
Gas        $0.46
Wendy's $3.57

I'll try to post weekly to keep the progress updated.

Let me know if you want to participate and what your savings are. You don't have to be a senior to get discounts. Coupons, buy one get one free, sale items, whatever you get at a discount. Bonus points if you find money in the pockets of things you buy.

Now get out there and save, save, save.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Time to Hunker Down

Just in case you live in a vacuum and haven't heard about the weather lately...let me share with you.

I live in the South..y'all..and we don't do snow and ice very well. In fact, we don't get enough to have any practice to get ready for the  serious slick stuff. When the weather guys start forecasting snow or ice everyone rushes to the grocery store for bread, milk and the necessities. Most of the time if you check the carts of your fellow shoppers you will see bread, milk, beer and chips. Pretty much everything a Southerner needs to get through a few days of forced confinement.

Now all that is left to do is hunker down and wait.

Oh and get the car to the end of the driveway, unless you like to shovel a path after all the ice and snow hits the ground.

Oh and get the sled from the basement. If you don't have a sled just grab the nearest large cardboard box, stomp it flat, or garbage can lid or just use your imagination for what will fly down the hill.

Oh and get a large mixing bowl, a big spoon, sugar and milk ready to make snow cream. Never heard of snow cream? It's the Southern equivalent of ice cream only made with fresh snow. Technically you aren't suppose to use the first snowfall for snow cream but who can resist. The old wives tales is that the first snow is "dirty" and it cleans the air out and the second snow is "safe" to eat. Pooh...I ain't afraid of a little dirt.

Now sit back, put on a pot of soup or chili and put your feet up, have a little snow cream for dessert and relax...until you have to dig the car out to get to work.

WAIT...I don't have to go to work. I am an ebay seller!! It could snow for a week and I would have enough to list for two months  weeks.

Happy Weather!!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Life in Pieces

I keep thinking that time will magically appear for me to have time to blog. I want to blog, heaven knows I have plenty of material to talk about. However, I haven't had time to do any serious thrifting, just a dash here and there to GW, so I really don't have reselling things to discuss.

Like almost everyone whose blog I read, sales were up after Thanksgiving and the first three weeks of December. When the  week of Christmas started it was like a switch flipped and the pipeline backed up. I checked the average sale price for my store Christmas week and it was $14 per item!! That is a new low. Hasn't been that low since 2010 when I started full time.  It seems like every thing that is under $10 has been selling. Sales are nice but come on eBay... I need more cash. Poof... I sold a pair of UGG boots. I think that was the only big sale all week. Come on people...Time to treat yourself to what you didn't get for Christmas.

The week between Christmas and New Year's was much better. Several sales of $50 and a few more at $25 but still had those bread and margarine items at $10-$15. (Not good enough to call them bread and butter.)

Customer issues
Who buys a lot of Christmas ornaments (listed as having some with damage) and then leaves negative feedback because they are damaged?? Also let's throw poor packaging in there without providing any photos to back it up. Peace on Earth, good will to men? Contacted the buyer and she said she expected chipped paint and not damage. Guess she can't read.

Fantastic treasures
Well, I wish I had some fantastic treasures that I have found, but since I haven't had chance to go shopping I have zilch, nada, nothing. Things don't look promising in the near future.

What I have been doing is taking care of my SweetiePie. Two hospital visits in two months. Finally a diagnosis, not a good one, but I believe accurate. Changes in meds. More changes in meds. More cognitive decline, more compulsive behavior. Just more of everything. Now I'm trying to educate myself so I can prepare for what's to come. Nothing can prepare me for what's to come.  I wish more information were available on Lewy Body Dementia, I need more information but I don't want to know what's coming but I need to know what's coming. Can I handle the stress? I must handle the stress! A vicious cycle in which one of us need to stay sane and carry on. All of this would be easier to handle on a good nights sleep once in a while. I don't think I have had more than 2 hours sleep in a row on any given night for months and months. It's like having a fussy baby, only they never get better.

So you see, selling someone else's old stuff just dropped to the bottom of the list. But I need to move it to the top of the list and keep selling because we need the income. It's more difficult than ever to concentrate on selling.

 I don't have time to really dig for high profit items and go to multiple stores in a day. Bread and butter is what it will have to be, for the time being. It's the best I can do. My main source of items is now GW and the ones in our area NEVER have sales. Never, ever in the history of time. They only accept cash or checks, no shopping carts, no cards, no bathrooms. But you can still find gems if you look hard enough. They pick the most ridiculous things to price really high and place them on the shelf next to a regular priced item that I know will sell for $40-50. So this really does prove the theory that you can find enough to sell anywhere you look. You just have to look.

I'm still holding out for the bag sale for clothing. I was able to go to the bag sale on Friday and get a bag full of stuff for $5, average price per item 15 cents. I really can't see paying $5 for jeans when I can get a bag full for 15 cents each. SweetiePie even pushed the cart for a while so I could shop but he gets tired quickly and doesn't last for long.

So, my advice for the new year. Don't waste any time doing something you don't want to do. Life, ebay whatever you enjoy. You may run out of time. Enjoy everything you can, while you can. There were lots of things that we wanted to do but that isn't possible now so we will just enjoy what we can while we can. One day, sometimes one hour at a time. Things change fast.