Save-it Saturday 

I took Mr S’s coin collection to use the Coinstar machine yesterday afternoon. Despite all the comments about how I could avoid the 10% service charge, it is still the most convenient way for me to cash it up as it’s hard to get to the bank during their opening hours. However, if I had realised that he had put so much silver in there I would have taken that out first! He had £10.40 in 20ps! 

I came away with over £34 to spend on the week’s grocery shop. I actually spent £45 in all in Asda, but the £13 that I cashed in from my own penny collection meant that our pennies paid for the lot 😀. We will keep throwing in our coppers and small value silver coins and use whatever we collect towards Christmas. 

I made a frugal favourite for dinner last night – my version of cottage pie. I like to fry the mince up with lots of veggies (in this case celery, mushrooms and carrots) and cover with a mix of mashed potato and swede, with some grated cheddar to give a yummy topping. Cheap and filling food that doesn’t take long to make.

I had to pop to the post office before it closed to post a couple of things I had sold on eBay so that was another £30 for the pot. My daughter had a mega clear out of her wardrobe as well. She has so many clothes crammed in her bedroom I don’t think she knows what she has. I went through to see what could be listed on eBay and what needed to go to the charity shop. She had one top that still had the label! She is her mother’s daughter when it comes to money much of the time but clothes are a weakness. She does buy a lot secondhand though thankfully 😀. I will try to get some listing done in the week. (Incidentally my post How to Make Money Selling on eBay has proved one of my most popular so I have given it a page to itself 😀).

It was a beautiful day yesterday  and pottering around listening to Joni Mitchell and getting myself organised put a smile on my face. I am hoping today will be equally lovely and warm so I can get outside. I hope you have a lovely Sunday!

How to make money on eBay

I have mentioned before that I make extra money selling on eBay – mainly clothing, but anything that comes my way that might make a few pounds as well. In addition to selling our old unwanted stuff, I actively buy in order to sell on. It is quite a bit of work, but can be a nice little earner. Here is what I have learned.

People will pay a lot for secondhand designer items

Certain brand names sell well and, as long as they are in good condition, they can command a very good price. Brands such as Karen Millen, Phase Eight, MonsoonLipsy and Jane Norman all sell well.

Give a good description

You need to provide a detailed description of the item you are selling, but be honest. If there is a small stain on the hem or a pull to the fabric say so and provide photos. This will avoid battles with disgruntled customers if the item isn’t as they were expecting.

Take some good pics

A decent photo really does speak louder than a thousand words. People cannot try items on or feel the fabric so will be reassured to see several good shots from various angles. If you are going to sell clothes on a regular basis it is worth investing in a hanging dummy. I bought mine from eBay for around £8 (some examples are here. Dress them as they do in the window displays in the shops. Make dresses ‘fit’ with a few pins and add some jewellery.

Grab attention with the heading

Your title is also important. Think about what key words people might use to search for particular items. Make sure they are spelt correctly too! Include the brand, colour, style, size and if it is new, say so. I bought a Karen Millen dress from eBay for £4.50 – it didn’t sell because the photo was dreadful and the heading was ‘Lovely Dress’. Nobody was able to identify it as a gorgeous designer dress so mine was the only bid. I later sold it on for £25.

Research prices

It is worth looking at how much similar items sell for to try to establish a good price for whatever you are selling. If you’re not in a hurry you will get more for an item if you sell it at a fixed price – I tend to do this with higher end designer clothing. If you want to sell it quickly go for an auction,  I tend to choose this option for items that are worth less than a tenner. Sometimes the prices you get still take you by surprise!

Set reasonable postage prices

Don’t be greedy with postage – customers aren’t stupid and will be put off bidding if you are charging £10 P&P for an object that will only cost £3 to send. I usually weigh the item and check the Royal Mail price finder to get guidance on costs, then add a little extra for packaging. For heavier or bulky items it is worth checking out Collect Plus as it is often cheaper. I would recommend sending using recorded delivery if the item is expensive. Even if you send by standard post, always get proof of postage in case the parcel goes missing, as you can refund your customer and get a refund from the Royal Mail to keep everyone happy.

Pack well

Take a bit of time to pack items carefully. Make sure you use lots of bubble wrap and a decent box if you are posting anything breakable. When selling women’s clothing I wrap it in coloured tissue paper and pop it in a matching plastic envelope. Again, I buy these from eBay as I have found this to be the cheapest place for packaging materials.

Include a little message thanking the customer for their purchase. Ask them to leave you positive feedback if they are happy with the item or to contact you before leaving negative feedback if not so that you can try to resolve any issues. If you are selling regularly, it is worth getting business cards printed with this message. I got mine quite cheaply from VistaPrint, but there are lots of companies offering good deals on these.

The power of feedback

If a customer is not happy with the item for any reason, don’t argue. If you want to make money selling you need good feedback and it’s not worth risking that by quibbling over a return. In addition, if you buy on eBay be sure to leave reasonable feedback for the seller. I would never leave bad feedback unless the seller was obnoxious or unreasonable in some way and I hope buyers are the same (they aren’t always, but I have only had one customer leave me bad feedback – completely unfairly!).

Good timing

If you are selling by auction think about your timing and schedule your posts to end at peak periods. For example, it is better to time your auction to end on a Sunday at 8pm when people have time to browse rather than on a Monday at 10 am when they are all at work! eBay has a scheduling feature for this purpose.

Sell overseas

Don’t be afraid to sell abroad. I have seen so many adverts stating that sellers will only post within the UK. Why? If you are going to the Post Office anyway it is no more complicated to post abroad. You can use the Royal Mail Price Finder for this too!

Buying to sell on

I felt a bit like Del Boy from Only Fools and Horses when I first started doing this, but I soon got over my discomfort when I realised that eBay could seriously help my budget. It is only what antique and collectible dealers have been doing for ever – buying and selling and taking a cut where they can!

Whilst you are feeling your way selling on eBay, I recommend you don’t spend too much on buying stock. Boot sales are brilliant places to find bargain items to sell on. You often see brand new items with the tags still on for just a few pounds. I got a gorgeous new Monsoon dress in pristine condition with the tags in place for £1!! I would have happily paid five or even ten pounds for it. I later sold it on for £30.

As mentioned previously, I have purchased items cheaply on eBay itself because I knew I could present them better and sell them on for more. This can be a risk; if you are buying from sellers who aren’t savvy enough to do a good presentation they may also be vague about the condition of the item. I bought a dress for £6, another Karen Millen number, which was absolutely filthy when it arrived. Dry cleaning is expensive so I risked the fabric on a delicate wash and it came up as good as new, but it might just as easily have ended up in the charity bag.

Charity shops often know the value of high end brand names so aren’t always good places to find good stuff to sell on. Occasionally you will find some great stock though. I went into a hospice shop and they were selling all their dresses off for £4 each. I filled up three carrier bags! I know that some people feel uncomfortable making a profit from charity shops, but I don’t. I buy so much from them I think I support their causes, and sometimes they need to move their stock on to make room for the next lot.

It is also possible to get some superb bargains at the end of the sales in regular stores and sell them on at profit. Mr S’s sister does this regularly. She has a great eye for the styles that will still be in demand when they are no longer available in store, and has found that sometimes people are prepared to pay more than the original retail price.

I know others that have found objects on Freecycle and sold them on. This is where I draw the line. It goes against the whole ethos of giving something for free to stop it going to landfill in my view and means the sites can be awash with greedy dealers.

So, that is my experience of selling on eBay in a nutshell, which I hope you will find helpful. I am sure I still have much to learn, so please feel free to add your helpful hints and tips!

 

Disclosure: This site earns revenue using Skimlinks. More information here.

Making extra money

This is the time of year when many people realise how much they spent over Christmas and in the sales and start to rein in their spending. If you have maxed out your credit cards or have an overdraft it can feel even more of an anticlimax than usual. The Christmas spirit has vanished in a puff of receipts!

 If you have strained your bank balace with an excess of festive cheer, how can you fill the black hole in your finances? I have done a lot of the following in the past and still do some to keep the wolf from the door. I saved money for Christmas so I no longer experience that feeling of dread when I check my bank statement, but I like to keep my finances as healthy as possible throughout the year.

 Here are some ideas:

 If you have a spare room, advertise for a lodger either on-line or locally. Request a deposit and a couple of week’s rent in advance.

If you don’t want a lodger full time, see if you have a language school nearby. We have taken in foreign students from all over the world for 2-3 weeks at a time (and even 6 months in one case), earned money and thoroughly enjoyed meeting young people from different countries. Some students wish to stay for up to a year.

www.airbnb.co.uk gives you an opportunity to rent out your spare room on a bed and breakfast basis or even your whole house. You can offer this for any amount of time, from a weekend to a fortnight.
For all of these, the Government’s Rent a Room Scheme lets you earn up to a threshold of £4,250 per year tax-free letting out furnished accommodation in your home. See Direct.Gov.UK/rent-room-in-your-home for full details.

Do you have any skills that could make you extra money? If you are a graduate, perhaps you can tutor children in your chosen subject, or offer a course at an Adult Education Centre. If you are great at hair and beauty, make a portfolio and offer your services for proms, weddings and special occasions. Are you fantastic at DIY, dressmaking or gardening? There will often be people willing to pay for these services, and many appreciative customers for a good reliable cleaner, ironer or dog walker.

Many people make a useful second income direct selling at parties. These have moved on from Tupperware; you can sell makeup, candles, kitchenware, clothes – even sex toys!

How about direct selling? I used to push my toddler round the estate in her pushchair selling Avon cosmetics. there is also a company calle Betterware which sells kitchen and home equipment door to door.

Could you rent out your driveway? If you live near to a city centre, an airport, sports stadium or train station, you might be able to make extra cash in this way. Take a look at www.justpark.com and www.parklet.co.uk to name but two.

Recycle your old mobile phone. There are a multitude of sites on the Internet that claim to pay you cash quickly whether your phone is working or not. However, you may get more for a modern phone in working order if you sell it privately.

If you are a gardener, you could sell your extra plants from your front garden.

Sell your unwanted clothes and other items on eBay, Gumtree or Depop.

If you are crafty, you can sell your creations on Etsy.

 Whatever you decide to do, try to find something that you enjoy. It can feel like a hard slog otherwise, especially if you already work full time. How do you make extra income?

It’s a question of attitude…

I had a conversation via Facebook with an old acquaintance last week. She has six children and has recently split up with her husband. Not surprisingly, money is now quite tight! She is putting on a bit of weight due to a medical condition too, and was worrying about having to find the money to buy new clothes. I told her that I bought a lot of my clothes on eBay secondhand. I could tell she was quietly appalled at the prospect of wearing other people’s cast offs! I wasn’t offended. A lot of people feel the same I’m sure.

Some of my recent finds

 IMG_6446

 Looking in my wardrobe, it’s tricky to find much that was purchased new, apart from shoes (I have wide feet and need comfort!), underwear and a few basic vests and tops from Primark.

I don’t feel hard done by though. I love  a bargain! I have found so many beautiful and excellent quality items in charity shops, at boot sales and online.  I own plenty of xcellent brands like Monsoon, Per Una, Laura Ashley and even Phase Eight. I wouldn’t have been able to afford to  buy these from new. I can’t believe what some folk buy and then discard – more money than sense!

My friend sees buying secondhand as a failure, I see it as  victory. It’s all question of attitude!

Making a bit of extra money

image

image

I have been listing and buying on eBay over the past week. I need to try to earn extra money to make up for losing DD1’s housekeeping ( although it is always possible it actually cost more than she gave me to keep her!! We shall see). I have found some beautiful dresses. I think they will sell but it’s tricky knowing how to price them.

I am looking forward to the boot sale season starting in the Spring. I should find some real bargains there to sell on.

Every little helps!

The sun is shining today and the daffodils are looking promising. I know we have a way to go but I hate winter and can’t wait for the better weather.

Making extra cash selling on-line

depopFrom time to time I sell various items on Ebay. I have found it more successful with items such as curtains and furniture rather than clothing. DD2 has recently found an app called Depop which she says is great for selling clothes, so today I thought I would give this a go. Oddly, I had followers before I had even listed anything! People are keen 🙂

This morning I have listed two pairs of boots, 2 pairs of jeans, my daughter’s unwanted prom dress and a Gap T-shirt that I picked up for 99p in the charity shop that still has its £12.50 label on. I also put a pair of curtains and a couple of books on Ebay. It will be interesting to see how they go (or if they go!!).

Mr Shoestring’s sister specialises in selling posh frocks – evening and occasion dresses – on Ebay and does quite well. She picks them up in charity shops or badly presented on Ebay at bargain prices, then washes, irons and repairs them as necessary and styles them on a mannequin with lots of nice jewellery. Great idea if you have the time! I don’t really, but will try to continue my general decluttering by selling anything in decent condition. The rest can go to the charity shop.

Talking of decluttering, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to clean out one cupboard every week. I am shamed and embarrassed to show you my linen cupboard – how did it get so bad!! This is a job for this weekend! I clearly need to get rid of some of my old towels and bedlinen as I don’t have space for it all.image

So, over to you. Are you selling on-line to make a few pounds? What are your top tips?

Second Hand Rose

I found myself looking at my outfit this morning and humming this to myself….I was wearing a skirt from a boot sale (£1), a top from Ebay (£2.50), a pair of boots, again fittingly from a boot sale (£3), a cardigan from the charity shop (£2) and my daughter’s old black coat (not trendy enough for her!!). My underwear was new to me once. I draw the line at second hand knickers, but would wear a second hand bra if it was in good condition. So, for the princely sum of £8.50 I was ready for the office, and I really don’t think my colleagues would have guessed (in fact I got 4 compliments on the top!).

When you know you can buy decent quality clothes in pretty good condition for a few pounds, it becomes difficult to justify £20 or £30 on a single new item, especially when you are strapped for cash.

Dress 2

The pix don’t really do it justice…it is a fab deep blue long velvet dress with a cowl neck

DressI think it is in my genes, as my mother is Queen of the Boot Sale and, as a pensioner, rarely buys any clothing from new. It becomes an adventure to see what you can find. I regularly come across great quality brands in the styles I like for just a few pounds – Per Una, Laura Ashley and Monsoon, to name a few.

By buying second-hand clothes, not only do you kit yourself and your kids out for next to nothing, you are recycling, supporting charities, or helping other cash strapped people by buying their unwanted stuff. Everyone’s a winner.

I would rather wear rags than rack up more debt, but fortunately I don’t have to. I am committed to being as frugal as possible in order to pay off my credit card and make my mortgage payments every month, so buying lots of new clothes is out of the question.

My most recent bargain was a beautiful blue velvet cowl necked dress, originally from Dorothy Perkins. I got it in the local hospice shop, reduced from £6.75 to £3.50. I am hoping for some invitations to a few Christmas parties to give me the opportunity to wear it now – what do you think? What have been your best clothing bargains?