front porch trash

front porch trash

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Painfully Slow Around Here

I keep trying to be positive about ebay but it keeps getting harder for me to get back into the swing of things. I have very limited time and there are other things that keep getting all of my attention.

Sales have picked up just a tad. Not huge but better sales and more consistent. But listing time is non-existent most days. After taking care of SweetiePie for most of the day I just can't force myself to sit down at the computer and deal with listing. My service provider is a PITA and I keep having issues with SellerSourceBook and I just dread trying to list. Every time I  contact SSB with a problem it seems that it is my fault, my computer's fault or my service provider's fault. Granted they may all be contributing to the problem but SSB needs to accept some responsibility. But most days I don't want to deal with things after taking care of everything all day.

The most exciting thing today was 3 great sales and a very persistent bird. Two pair of shoes and a chamois shirt. The persistent bird was a male cardinal that was very determined to get in one of the windows on our front porch. He kept flying into the window and hopping on the window sill and chirping. Our "guard cat" was scared and wouldn't get near the window. So much for the guard cat.

This little fellow really wanted to get in.  I was able to get really close and he didn't fly away. Kept us amused for 30-45 minutes before he flew off.

I really need to get pumped up and get on the listing track. Maybe today's sales will get me going after SweetiePie goes to bed.

That and a couple of glasses of wine!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Learning New Skills

I'm so proud of myself. I changed out the battery in my car and didn't have to reset all of the codes. In my current situation I'm having to learn all sorts of new things.

Last week it was how to replace a drive belt on a riding lawn mower. This week it is how to change out a dead battery without getting a hernia, those babies are heavy.

Who knows what will be on the agenda next week. Right now, I'm hoping for nothing.

I knew there was a reason I liked to go out to the wash house with my dad when I was little. For you non-Southerners a wash house is a small building where the old well was and two black iron kettles for washing were. Of course we never used the building for that. That's where my dad's workshop was. A fun place to hang out. All those interesting tools and he let me use the hammers and stuff.

As for ebay I haven't had to go shopping for quite a while. I have enough to list for at least a year. Also I haven't listed since the end of August. I took a real break the first of September and didn't try to get any listings done while I was on vacation. When I was ready to list SweetiePie needed special attention and I haven't been able to get listing worked into the schedule.

So, I am 70% down in sales from the same period last year. It is what it is, but it sure does suck. At this rate I will not even make 20K this year. I hope I can get back in the groove before the 4th quarter is over with.

But, there are more important things than money.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Busy Busy Busy

Where does the time escape to? It seems just like yesterday that it was New Year's Eve and January was off and running. I know I have been running non-stop since then. Ebay was good in January and and after that things kinda hit the old fan.

Ebay sales have been very, very, very, very s...l...o...o...o...o...w. I was on vacation Labor Day week and I put my store on vacation with date heading so everyone would know. I had 5 sales for the week and had 5 days with no sales. That is the most dry days I have ever had, ever. Since I have been back I have had 7 sales. Now, I have not had time to get anything listed yet but I have photos of 7 totes full of stuff ready to list.  While I was in Atlanta I did my shopping thing while the daughter and granddaughter did their dragon con thing. I only filled 4 Ikea blue bags with stuff on the whole vacation. That includes two trips to GW outlets on the way home. I have so much stuff that I really don't need to shop. SweetiePie was being well taken care of by his sister and daughter and it was more of a vacation for me. I slept for 8 hours in a row and didn't have to listen to Roy Boy even once!! Now that was a vacation!!

 When I got home I had to deal with this, and a car with a dead battery. Dead battery, piece of cake. Lawn mower, something else.

I was mowing grass at our other house, the one I'm trying to restore, and ran over a piece of wire that got wrapped around the blade spindle and I just couldn't get to it to get it off. So I loaded it up on the trailer and took it to our local lawn & garden repair shop. The nice service manager removed the wire while I was waiting and didn't charge me. I was flabbergasted when he didn't charge me anything. We have had other equipment serviced there and we need to get our chipper/shredder up and running so I will take it in and get them to fix it. I can guarantee that will not be free.

After the mower was up and running I was able to get part of the front yard mowed before another problem popped up. The drive belt broke. I don't think that the wire caused the belt to break but it could have. In any case the drive belt is just a bit more complicated to replace. After I purchased a new belt and followed the directions to remove the mowing deck I had to go back for another belt. I had the wrong one. With the right one on and everything back together, no leftover screws or parts, the mower works fine and I finished the front yard. Now the sides and back and load up the mower and take it to the other house and mow there. It never ends.

Ebay has taken a back burner but somehow they force me to work on ebay. I am still working on removing active content. I had trouble with finding where to get it done. After several calls to ebay and lots of explanation I finally got started on the active content only to be hit with non compliant listings that need to be fixed. I have 2000 listings and I have over 1800 non compliant listings. And there is no bulk fix for them. I would scream and pull my hair out if I thought it would do any good. But  I just need to bite the bullet and get it done.

SweetiePie requires more time and attention. He doesn't want me out of his sight. I always tell him where I'm going, i.e. upstairs, to the laundry room, to the garage or where ever. About 2 seconds after I start whatever I need to do, where I need to do it, he "needs" me to do something for him. Most of the time he just wants my attention and I understand. But sometimes I would really, really like to go to the bathroom without him standing outside the door saying "leave the light on" his cue for he needs to go next. We have 2 bathrooms downstairs, no waiting, but he wants to be in the  one that I'm in. After 45 years, that's not a problem. But every time? Come on, give me a break.

So, life goes on but busy, busy, busy. I'm being forced to learn new things that I depended on SweetiePie to do. I never dreamed I could replace the drive belt on a riding tractor mower. But I did.
Now every muscle in my body is screaming.

All those times I tagged along with my dad to the hardware store are paying off. (I still love the hardware store!!)

Thanks Dad!!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Creative Marketing

 I can't believe that I went to a GW yesterday and did not buy a single item. Shoes were all stinky. The bins where they have t shirts, linens, lingerie and small stuff was down to just the really, really used items. Broken, stained, ripped or stuff I wasn't interested in. It doesn't happen very often that I buy absolutely nothing. Sometimes I find stuff for myself, SweetiePie or other family members.

Today it was so hot, hot, hot but SweetiePie needed to get out into the world. His gait is changing and he is dragging his feet so I feel like I need to get him out when we can. So we treated ourselves to lunch and about 30 minutes shopping. We were going to a large thrift store but decided to go to a smaller one that has high prices but good markdowns. Today was 50% off of one item. No coupon needed. We browsed all over the store and found only a couple of things for resale and nothing for anyone else. I purchased a set of copper ladles that I think may be liquor measuring ladles. More research needed. An a set of hot roller clips. Very exciting purchases.

But the most interesting thing in the store was the knick knack area. You never know what you will find on these shelves. Like for instance this:

Well I call that creative marketing

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

New Laptop

I found this laptop at my favorite thrift store but I can't seem to find where the battery is.

I even checked the back

It looks like it's been around a while so I'm guessing that it needs a new battery.
Well, if I can't find a battery I guess I could sell it on ebay...just a thought.

I wonder if kids today would know how to use this chalkboard or would it be too boring? No qwerty keyboard!!

Monday, July 3, 2017

A True Scavenger Adventure

I'm always on the lookout for free or next to free stuff to complete the remodel that I am reluctantly doing on a second abode that we own. I troll  carefully search craigslist for a good refrigerator, a stove and washer dryer for the kitchen every day. I refuse to wait until the last minute because I know it takes time to find the right appliances at the right price.

I also try to find anything I can at Restore that I can reuse in the house. I recently found a small bathroom window and I have already purchased some kitchen lights. But I haven't found any insulation and I need some more for the bathroom.

The insulation in the bathroom is R-11. Not enough for two outside corner walls. I was reading up on insulation and 1" of styrofoam equals R-5. So if I could find 1" styrofoam sheets I could just add them between the studs on top of the current fiberglass and upgrade to about R-16. Good idea !!??

I found some on craigslist for $4 a sheet, 1" thick,about 30"x80".But another listing was for $1 for an entire pallet of styrofoam sheets. Yes, $1 for the whole pallet. There were about 60 sheets on the pallet and they were smaller than the $4 sheets but still very usable. But...they were 60 miles away. Pffft, we travel 52 miles, one way, 3 times a week to work on the house. Piece of cake, or piece of styrofoam cake.

After deciding to purchase a pallet to test and see if it was a solution I called and scheduled a pick up for Thursday. No rain, bearable humidity and an easy interstate drive. One pallet would fit in the back of the truck and I had tiedowns. The person I talked to said the pallets were wrapped. I assumed that meant wrapped in plastic and didn't take a tarp. Bad idea!!

So Sweetiepie and I took off for the pick up. I don't know if you know anyone who has dementia but routine and repetition are what keeps them happy. Lately Sweetiepie wants to listen to his music in the truck when we are traveling back and forth to the other house, aka "the country estate". His current favorite is Roy Orbison. Now, I do like Roy Boy, as he calls him, but 2.5 times the tape each way is an overload of Roy for me. He has a cassette player in the truck (1995 Toyota) and a single tape that I taped for him from a cd.But if it keeps him happy, then it is worth it.

The styrofoam was on a wooden pallet and it had ONE black strip of strapping around the entire lot. Of course for use in a warehouse you only needed to keep it all on the pallet. Not enough tie down for I-85. So the two guys that got the pallet from the warehouse tied the pallet down with my straps for me and I tipped them $5 and told them to have a cold one on me, they deserved one for being out in the heat to tie down my styrofoam. And off we went. Me, SweetiePie and Roy.

I only got about 2 blocks away before the top two pieces broke at the strap and flew away. I immediately pulled over, assessed the situation and decided that rope would be the answer. Luckily, :), I was at a Restore store and went in to purchase rope. Wouldn't you know it, no rope in the entire place. I purchased a sheet for $1.50 and thought I would rip it up and use it for tie downs. After about 30 minutes of tieing and pulling and getting everything just so, we took off.

Again we went about 2 blocks and more styrofoam broke and the sheet started coming off. Grrrrrr what to do? So I pulled into a parking lot of a laundromat and pondered what to do. The base of the pallet was on the truck bed. If I could get the pallet on its side and have the pallet break the force of the wind I could keep it from breaking and flying free. Easier said than done. A single person with a pallet of styrofoam and trying to turn it on its side. And of course I had on white pants. It was a site to behold. A very kind gentleman that was hanging out at the laundromat helped me get down from the truck and helped me with the tie downs. Bless his heart!

I got the pallet on its side but the styrofoam looked like a row of dominoes with a black strap around it. But...I knew the wind would not catch the styrofoam so I proceeded to tie down the heck out of that pallet.  I'm sure cars behind me were expecting it to tumble down any minute. So of course they wanted to be really close to the tailgate so they could SEE the styrofoam really close up.

In the end I opted not to take the interstate and took the back roads home. It was a nice drive since most of the way the speed limit was 45 and traffic wasn't too bad. I did pull over twice to let traffic pass when there were over a dozen cars behind me. I took my camera to take pics of everything but didn't take any. I was busy.

We left home at 11am and we got home at 7pm. I was about to scream, pull my hair out and I'm pretty sure my blood pressure was off the charts. We had to listen to Roy both ways and since it took so long to get home it was about 10 repeats of Roy. "Only the Lonely, Working for the Man, Pretty Woman".

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Bonus Surprise

I am always waiting until the last minute to do things that have to be done. I put off using my ebay coupon until last week. I had lots of excuses. I was busy. I had enough boxes and tape. I needed to clean up my box storage area before ordering supplies. Yada...yada...yada

So last week I finally sat down long enough to decide what I needed to order. I did a brief inventory and ordered my ebay supplies and USPS boxes.

Fast forward to Thursday and ebay boxes arrived.

I am so glad that I am not a UPS delivery man. The boxes arrived in two HUGE boxes and a small box of tape. The boxes were about 3' x 4' and weighed too much for me to lift safely. (Sure, I'll lift a sheet of drywall but not a box of cardboard?) I opened them on the porch and pulled out the various sized boxes and put them in the grand girls bedroom until I could put them up in their correct spaces.

I finally opened the tape box today.

I ordered 24 rolls of tape, but what is that mystery box in the middle?

Why it's a new tape gun!!!

I ordered 7 sizes of boxes/envelopes for a grand total of $3.56 out of pocket. Plus I get a free tape gun? Well it's about time for a nice surprise.

Did I miss a special announcement about free supplies or is this just an error? Did anyone else receive a tape gun with their tape order?

Sunday, June 11, 2017

S l o w Progress

Ain't life grand?

Just when you need time to do other things ebay just about stops. I know, I know, I haven't been listing new items lately. But I have been super busy trying to demo the house I'm trying to fix and get on the market. So as the saying goes, "you reap what you sow". I haven't done any new listings so I don't get to reap the benefits. Just look at it this way. No sales mean no complaints! ?? Well not really.

I recently sold a book titled "Complete Natural Medicine" in Spanish. It was one of those books that you sign up for and you get laminated, glossy pages every month for a small fee. This book was about 1/3 finished and I stated that in my listing. I get a message after he had received the book saying, "not what I expected, pages missing". Now the smart ass in me wants to point out that if you had read the listing you would know that it wasn't complete, but the business part of me politely pointed out that the title was "Complete Natural Medicine" and that didn't mean the book was complete. Holy smoke if you had a book of complete natural medicine who knows how big it would be. My first thing to do was to call ebay. They agreed with me that I wasn't at fault. Now I'm waiting the five days before I can close the case. Hopefully I will win, fingers crossed.

Progress on the house is slow. Getting a new roof in 3-4 weeks. Bye bye skylight. The roofer is busy but worth waiting for.

I have ripped out drywall, a soaker tub, a shower stall, bathroom double sinks, and cabinets. You can now sit on the sofa in the living and see all the way to the end of the house and the master toilet.

That very far wall, at the back, on the right is now gone and you can see the toilet. Even from this far away you can tell the tub was a lovely peach color. The wall of studs in the foreground will be removed also. I just have to move the wall sockets wiring. The space from the stud wall to about where the bookcase is, on the left, will be added to the living room. The rest of the space will be a walk in closet in the master bedroom with the arch becoming the location of the closet door.

There was a bar type thing in the kitchen that I always thought was, well, stupid looking. The bar was too tall and thick to sit at unless you were on a ladder. Kids couldn't sit there comfortably. And it had blue laminate on the top. Ugly blue laminate. All it did was collect stuff.

But boy was that sucker screwed down tight. I had planned to take the cabinets and countertop and put them in the garage to make a work area. I couldn't get the screws out without breaking the frame. So I used my new favorite toy, a sawsall, and cut that bad boy to bits and hauled it off to the compactor. Bye bye ugly blue laminate.

The white section of drywall behind the cabinets will be going bye bye also. The new cabinets will be installed along the center line of the house. That will make a nice wide kitchen with  new L shaped base cabinets where the old bar was. There is a small pantry on the other side of the fridge. Only 18" wide and very deep. No roll out drawers, just four shelves. Very inconvenient. Like sticking your hand into a black hole.

I am planning a new pantry down at the end of the kitchen. Where the oval coffee table is turned on its end. Much better lighting down there and easier to see what is stored. The old pantry will become regular base and wall cabinets. The spot where the new pantry will be was a "breakfast nook". It was about 4'x4' with a shiny gold chandelier. Bye bye chandelier.

There is a window at the end of the kitchen cabinets on the right. I wish I could take it out and close up the space. It looks out to the covered deck on the back of the house. Very dark space. (The tiny shiny chandelier was useless for lighting up the space. (I have old/new Restore lights for the kitchen that are shaped like a aluminum mixing bowl.) If I closed up the window I don't have enough vinyl siding to match to fill in the hole. Of course I could add painting the vinyl siding to my budget. We will see if my back holds out long enough to get to that point.

SweetiePie goes with me three days a week to watch the demolition. He has a tv, comfy chair and a maid to wait on him (me) so he has been doing fine. He doesn't like the sawsall, too much noise. But I try to keep it to a minimum so he doesn't get upset. So far so good.

I wish I could just gut the thing and work from one end to the other but I have to think about having a bathroom and somewhere to cook for SweetiePie. So I'll work on the master bath and bedroom and then move to the kitchen and save the living and dining room for last. The other end of the house doesn't have as much to do. I started on the tough end.

I hope I don't bore everyone with the renovation but I'm excited to get the work done.  I helps me keep my mind occupied on something other than SweetiePie's problems.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Am I crazy?

The road lately has been filled with super duper potholes. Some of them have no visible bottom. What am I talking about?

I've been away from blogville for over 2 months. Yes, life does get busy with someone sick at home but things have been happening fast and furious over the last few weeks.

We have an additional property that we own other than our house. Our mortgage is paid off--a good feeling--and we purchased this additional property to help out our daughter and her family. They both have had lots of hardships and about 10 years ago they lost their new house. For a couple of years they lived in several places that were somewhat unsafe. (bad neighborhood, bad landlord) Fast forward to now and they are finally back on their feet and hopefully things will be smooth at least for a while. About 8 years ago my SweetiePie (and me too) offered to help their housing situation by purchasing a house with the understanding that after two years they would take over payments and finish paying for the house and it would be theirs. Sounds good doesn't it?

Fast forward to two more kids, still some medical problems and finally things have evened out. They didn't want to live in the home any more and moved into a rental on their own. Now I was proud that they could make that big step. Renting from a stranger is much scarier than renting from Mom.

Now we need to fix the house and get it on the market. We are both on fixed income and ebay sales have not been too good. Some weeks I do good to make $200, other weeks I make $600. But it isn't as good as it was a couple of years ago.(But when sales were good I saved.) Is ebay oversaturated with small sellers? (yes IMHO) Does ebay promote "brick&mortar" stores over their small store sellers? (yes IMHO) I'm trying to make up for my lost salary and not having much success. I need to sell and I have SweetiePie to take care of and now another "thing" to do.

So now the reason I am crazy.

I am doing a total remodel on the "other" house fondly called the "country estate". It does have 2 acres, a pond, a 2 car garage and a 1766 sq ft house. It was a nice place until two large dogs were allowed to play fetch inside on the carpet and scratch all the doors and moldings. I have never seen so much dog hair in my life left behind. Oh and we need a new roof. So that is where I have been. Ripping out bathroom cabinets, cheap fiberglass showers, and carpets. This is all stuff that my daughter and son in law were going to do but never did. Now for the fun stuff. Getting the roof done and learning how to do...everything. I'm trying to do as much of the work as possible to make my funds stretch as far as possible. I do have a budget.

I have followed Shampoo & Booze since the folks over at Scavenger Life started that blog. Not because I wanted to restore a house for a rental. No, it was just interesting. Never did I think that I would use the information on my own house. We have been getting estimates for the roof to be replaced and they have been very broad. From $8K to $4K.

The first roofer also offered to take the house off our hands so "we didn't have to worry with it". His generous offer was $40K. To put it nicely, jerk, the land is appraised at way more than that. His estimate to upgrade was $45K. We had a whole upstairs of our 1.5 story house finished and ready to move in for less than that.

Has this man never heard of Habitat for Humanity Restore or Craigslist for supplies? Get real. I get totally thrilled when I find a undermount bathroom sink at Restore for $8 and a white enamel kitchen sink for$15.

So if I am a little slow on blogging and ebay selling that is why. I am kicking back in the recliner and taking a nap. I deserve it.

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"

SweetiePie wants to go to Dairy Queen

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 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.