Friday, January 30, 2015

done, done and DONE!

All the accounting bookkeeping has been transferred to paper. (Remember how I said that the software I use jumped me from $1,500 in the negative to $3,900 in the negative when I spent little to nothing? Well I logged in this morning and I am now $8,900 in the negative. I did check my credit cards and bank accounts to make sure there was no fraudulent activity. There wasn't.) It's going to be much easier than I thought. Thank goodness since little in life is easy :D

But more importantly I got my federal and state income taxes done. I dread it every year but get it done early for the refund we get. Gonna pay off some debt....*happy dances*. I do still have to do the local taxes (I think its a PA thing). Since we usually owe around $50 I wait till the last minute :D

How about all of you? Do you get your taxes done first thing or wait till the last minute?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Getting to my Goal with the Help of a Phone Call

Definately opening myself up to criticism again....but thats ok in the name of being honest :D

The business credit card we have been fighting to pay down has a 17.99% APR....I know it's cringeworthy. To put it in perspective, our personal credit cards that don't have much of a balance have 11.99%.

What my credit card company WON'T tell you is that you can call and ask for a lower interest rate. Sometimes a promotion will be available othertimes not.

A 5 minute phone call yesterday (about something else) got my interest rate for the next 6 months from 17.99% to 10.99%. Now granted it still isn't the 0% I'd like it to be (because it has no balance and I don't have the card LOL) but it certainly helps put extra fire under me to get it paid off while saving almost 50% in interest (or *cringe* almost $100 in savings a month).

So if you have dug yourself in a hole like me call your credit card company. I read that most companies offer promotions like this :D

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Have Fun in the 1980s!

Or so my neighbor told me at the bus stop today :D

So here it is: 

Even though my age says I should be technologically savvy I am far from it. I can't use a spreadsheet and I feel like I scream at my computer every other day. Last month I blogged about being frustrated with my current bookkeeping software (Go Daddy bookkeeping).

I have everything automated. Everything is deducted. Life is good (or so I thought). In the beginning of this month I realized it was deducting fees 2x. I began checking a minimum of weekly. This week I had an issue with the Amazon payment records (it only updates every 2 weeks when payment is disbursed). There are SO MANY records that I can't find the mistake (and the mistake is that over the course of a week when I spent less than $100 it told me I spent over $1500 or to put it in perspective I am $3800 in the red for this year.

So I am fed up. I am paying every month for the honor of being frustrated. I am saving previous years to my computer and now doing everything by hand.

With the new job I am not doing so much so each morning I come in (3-5x a week still) I will update the books by hand. I am also going to start an inventory list (also by hand).

I do know how to do the very basic bookkeeping (thanks largely to my mother) and maybe a computer will once again in my future but for now I think the extra time is worth the lack of then I am forced to be organized.

This looked like the most simple bookkeeping record I could find ($22.99 at Staples but an FYI it is $13.95 Prime Shipping on Amazon). It looks to last 2+ years. That is my afternoon plan.

Anyone who accounts manually have any advice?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tuesday's Totals

Well another week is in the books. Minimal listing got done between school (for me), 2 days of no school (for the kids) and other obligations. All this hype about the snowstorm (they said 14-18" for us....we got 3") caused 2 (IMO unnecessary days off of school). On the bittersweet side my youngest will be gone 2 more weeks allowing me to get more listing done hopefully.

No Etsy or Bonanza sales.
1 FB Yard Sale page sale. American Girl dress $12 F/S. Paid $3. (but no ebay fees)

Amazon had 20 sales. Mostly the small items. Remember the tubs of Dum Dums from Halloween? 2 more sold this week for $60.00 each (I paid $17). Also I paid about $50 to have either customer damaged returns or too much unselling inventory and don't want to be charged long term storage fees items removed.

1 customer damaged item is a $70 Lego set. If it is missing pieces I will call customer support quite upset. :D

eBay reselling account I had 11 sales. Mostly "old stock" with little profit.

 This is American Girl Felicity's "stay" (part of the undergarments set. It is REALLY rare if you find the whole thing its worth $75-125). This is the least expensive piece that FINALLY sold after almost 2 years for $19.95+ shipping. Originally it was listed at $40. I paid $3.

Super Game Boy adapter for the Super Nintendo. Sold for $9.95+shipping. Paid $ lost a little bit. I didn't research before I bought about 6 months ago. Lesson learned. Going to a zero feedback buyer. I hope there is no trouble.

And finally on our personal items to sell eBay account sold 2 of hubbys video games.

This (Mega Man Soccer) sold for $44.95+ shipping. I put it in a small flat rate Priority box in case the buyer claimed something happened I had insurance. Fit really well with some padding.

Thats it for my week. Hopefully filing income taxes this week :D How's your week going? (and to all my fellow bloggers that I regularly read and used to comment I'm still faithfully reading but have a hard time commenting from my phone)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Great Pictures is Key

I know this has been talked about often so I will just give a friendly reminder that pictures SELL! on eBay and I have heard this is more true of Etsy.

I will be the first to admit I am not a photographer. I HATE taking pictures (and as some of my readers have pointed out some of mine really stink too). Thankfully my skills have improved when it comes to photographing inventory.

January 2014 I stopped using my iPad to list item and switched to a camera (since we sold the iPad to fund the camera I wanted the best "easy" camera the iPad $ would afford).....well I ended up returning the camera the next week and going with a simple point and shoot. The Best Buy employee really nicely told me that I had overbought my skill level....ok point taken.

I was researching an American Girl dress to sell (these pictures are of Kit's Birthday Dress). Also sorry if this picture is one of yours....I certainly hope not :D

Granted I (and most of you probably too) have seen worse pictures I was taken off guard after seeing listing after listing of dresses nicely displayed on doll mannequins :D Off center (which who cares but the right edge is cut off where on the left there is something else in the picture). A simple buttoning of the dress would make it look so much better. Now there was a really good description to go with the listing so I will give the seller props on that. As a buyer I would still buy it but I would expect to pay 3/4 of the "going" price (IDK I guess because I just feel like I don't actually completely see what I am getting).

Now I am opening myself up to criticism (and PLEASE if you see anyway to make my listing pictures better let me know!! as I said I'm not a great photographer).

This is my dress. Now at first glance my picture is off center too!!!! I used to display the clothes on a doll but then I got "item not as described" cases stating "where's the doll" and with the defects I'm not playing that game. I would love to get a dress form but at this point in time I'm not interested in spending extra $.

Both of these dresses have sold. The wrinkled item sold for $12.00 and mine sold for $12.95 (and it was actually a TLC dress that had a sewing issue). I would have asked for more in good condition. Whether pictures played a part in pricing or length of time to sell I don't really know (mine sold in 4 days).

And just for point of reference here is a currently active dress listing:

I think this seller did an AMAZING spot on job with pictures :D

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Quarterly Sales Tax....DONE!

I have begun to hate filing sales tax returns each quarter especially when each one seems to be getting bigger (I know its a good thing because it means more sales).

It was due today and my computer was deciding not to work but it pulled through for me!

One thing that kinda is irritating is I collect 6% sales tax from PA on taxable items. If I file on time, I get a 1% discount as an incentive....or basically taking 1% extra in profit. Now this quarter equals a whopping 48 cents but I can't begin to fathom how much that 1% equals for places like Walmart or other big box stores.

For the record I'm not legally able to refund the 1% sales tax. I'm more of the tax everyone 5% and charge late fees and penalties for businesses who don't get it in on time.

OK end of rant.

I did get a job at Friendly's yesterday (for those of you who aren't familiar with a chain its a family restaurant centered largely on ice cream). I worked there in years past and (mostly) enjoyed it.  I took an evening waitressing job  and was supposed to start Monday but was called in both tomorrow and Friday. I will still be reselling and blogging and honestly crazy me still wants to hit my 2015 goals posted 2 weeks ago. Reselling is still my priority as I want to make this work and support us full time.

In the meantime (probably till April at least) I will not be buying anything again as I do now have other commitments and will focus on selling selling selling. January's numbers are stronger than last years and I do hope to pay off the initial 2015 goal of $5,000 toward the credit card by June. I am shooting for $10k+ for the year (thanks to the encourangement of my wonderful readers).

The Friendly's job will help us make ends meet and climb out of personal debt (25k). I look forward to being debt free really soon.

Also my school accounting class starts bright and early tomorrow morning!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tuesday's Totals

So this week has been stressful. In the non-reselling world within 3 days of putting in 6 job applications I received 2 call backs. 1 interview was this morning (if I take the job I start Thursday morning). I have another interview at 2pm (my job preference). I have worked for this company in the past so I do honestly think hope that I will be offered a job this afternoon. The job offer from this morning requires me to miss church with my kids....which I don't want to do if I don't have to.

In the reselling world I got 4 negative feedbacks this morning.....thankfully all from the same buyer. I wish there was a option to block those who sell/list more than x a month. OK maybe that isn't fair but 99% of my problems come from resellers.

And to not end my random babbling on a negative note my neighbor brought me over some gluten free Girl Scout cookies today....they are AMAZING! :D

and on to the real numbers :D

Etsy 1 sale.

This went to an area where Amazon sellers have been having issues with being freight forwarders so when this butter dish sold for $42.42 my paranoid side came out. Has anyone else Google Mapped addressed before? I did one other time for a guy with a gift card and no feedback....his address led me to the middle of a park. Needless to say I got an email a few hours later from eBay saying not to ship the item out and the username was suspended. After Google mapping the buyer of the butter dish and finding that if they can afford that house I have no right to be worried about a butter dish off it went with no problems. I bought a set of Amish Butterprint dishes (a set of 12 items but 8 pieces are a refrigerator set) for $20. I have sold 4 items for a total of $90.

No Bonanza sales.
No Facebook sales.

eBay had 13 sales. Honestly I am happy with this number as the kids had a 4 day weekend and our other days were filled with appointments or ice storms :D I put in less than 10 hours this week.

This little beauty cost me $40. She was in mostly OK condition and her hair was great! (when reselling a TLC American Girl doll most people will pay more for good condition hair because it is the most expensive and time consuming fix). I put her up at $94.99+ shipping or best offer. I was going to take a $70 offer (she is a Just Like You doll which aren't worth as much as "named" dolls). Took a best offer of $80. She is off to her new home!

Amazon also had 13 sales. With new fees to take place February 18th I am reducing the price on about 300 or so items. I don't want to pay $150 to get it all back plus where would I put everything so taking no profit or a small loss is preferrable to  getting items back.

How is your reselling week treating you?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Reselling World Strikes Back

It almost seems that the reselling powers that be know that I am intending to be unfaithful as it being my only job so to speak :D As a result the angry powers have caused pretty much  everything that could go wrong to be wrong.

Ok maybe not. My sales this month have been significantly more than the same time last year. I expect  returns on Amazon. Lots of them. I haven't gotten as many as expected but I still have gotten over a dozen in the last month....and Amazon doesn't credit their fees for returns as "they have done their part". So think about getting hit with a nonrefundable $3-4 fee each time something is returned (and having to pay it again when it sells again). Kind of gets old after a while.

But eBay has been playing more a "kick them when they're down" card.

1. In November I sold a Nintendo DS. It sold in 15 minutes. A week and a half later "it doesn't function properly". Got it back close to a month later (I would have denied the return but I opted in to holiday returns....I won't voluntarily do that again). Get it in significantly different condition (think someone spilled syrup on it). I inform them I won't refund in that condition. Call eBay....who "agree" with me. Buyer opens a case and eBay takes the $ from me and refunds the buyer. The DS was $15 to begin with....I don't care about the $ it's the principle.

2. Leapster game "doesn't work". Files a return and I get it back without original packaging (its new). My son has a Leappad so I tested it. Works file. Sick of paying return shipping for buyers remorse :D

3. Buyer assumes compatibility between figures on a Skylanders game. My listing clearly says "series 2 Giants" and never says or implied it will work (its supposed to and the new game has compatibility issues but thats not my fault). Refund the buyer but because they didn't file a return through eBay I don't refund return shipping (again buyers remorse deal....don't read between the lines). When asked I inform that they assumed compatibility and I don't refund buyers remorse plus they sent back the most expensive way possible. Got a long written lecture how eBay refunded the return shipping and how I should "learn the rules if I want to sell on eBay". Because I already refunded they couldn't open a case. I am waiting on the inevitable negative feedback.

4. Buyer opens a case last night as "item doesn't match description on website" with no other information. I ask what was different.....with no response yet 18 hours later. I have a feeling this is also buyers remorse trying to dodge the return shipping. UPDATE: when I used eBay's catalogue it filled in "wii" when it was for the Playstation 3. Well that is irritating /

5. Buyer (0 feedback pain in the rear even before buying should have known to block) says the item has "lots of stains on the towel and crap and gunk crusted in the toy" and "how should we remedy this?" I don't know about the rest of you but I read that as "how much of a partial refund will you give me". I responded to mail it back and I would refund upon return. Buyer then asks how much of a refund they would get.....ugh what you paid clearly. (I am 99% positive they are either lying to get a partial refund or are going to do a switch-a-roo but then maybe its my state of mind now too). 

To be fair most Amazon return reasons are fraudulent like "doesn't work" when it is returned new to avoid shipping costs. (My favorite was a new package of disposable diapers was returned as "item is defective"....REALLY?) but I don't have to deal with return shipping costs. Amazon eats those.

I'm sorry to write such a bummer post but I haven't gotten this many return/defective statements in an entire year I don't think. I know Kristen at Babe with a Budget Blog has been having similar issues (read about it HERE) Is anybody else having a high rate or returns or otherwise problem buyers?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Supplemental eBay Income

So unfortunately reselling income has been terrible (as I have already disclosed) and our business and personal debt has racked up too high for our income (we are in the "happy" place where we don't make enough to live but make too much for government help) off for a "real" job I go to look. It's been almost 6 years since I had a real job out in the public. I am hoping this is very temporary and I can get the reselling thing to work as a regular income but until then wish me luck! :D

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tuesday's Totals

So this week has been fun. Daughter was sick... then I got oldest son is sick. Oh well such is life :D

No Etsy sales.
No Bonanza sales.

12 Facebook sales on various American Girl boards....mostly stuff I have been unable to sell on eBay I marked down and they were snatched up quickly. 1 thing I have learned is it *can't* be similar in price to ebay for the most part. Also I have stopped posting on there as some have figured out I am a reseller I think....these women (men are kicked off the boards LOL) are wicked hostile when it comes to reselling. Apparently we are straight from the pit of hell. Oh well moving on.

23 eBay sales.

 This 3 piece American Girl heart outfit was absolutely adorable. It is one of the brightest pinks I have ever seen (the picture doesn't do justice). Paid around $7 (it was in a huge lot). Sold for $34.95+ shipping to Canada.
 1.5 lbs of Lego bricks and pieces. Paid $2 sold for $24.95. I paid part of the shipping; the buyer also bought 3 American Girl pieces so I gave her free shipping on this (but charged her for the AG shipping so it mostly was a wash).

Winchester hunting bib. Bought for 50 cents at a yard sale. Then we realized it was torn but my mother in law was really awesome in mending it for us. Sold for a $20+shipping best offer.

Amazon had 17 sales.

 I know I talked about Honest Co last week but I sold my 5 remaining packages this week at $31.44 each pack ($22 after fees) I paid $10.49 per pack.

Diddy Kong Racing I paid about $5 for (again in a big lot). Sold for $15....I fulfilled the item myself.

Thankful that my eBay sales have started to pick up....or so it feels. Heres to hoping it stays that way!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

So How Much Profit Did I ACTUALLY Make?!?!?

My bookkeeping software is fully automated to add any eBay, Amazon, Paypal, Etsy, fees and sales. It also keeps track of all my credit card charges and fees. (it isn't compatible with my small local bank debit card and accounts). This was one HUGE reason I went with this bookkeeping software.

However, looking over the books today from January 1 on, the numbers didn't seem quite right. I bought some American Girl lots  on eBay but between them and after holiday seasonal merchandise it didn't seem that I spent quite as much as my software was telling me.

I am not going to go back and look at 2014 since the setup is rediculously inconvenient and I have plans to learn Quickbooks or something with better reviews....but for now I paid for the year.

Everything I purchased on eBay it deducted money once when I purchased it.....and again when I paid. In these first 9 days of 2015 it said I spent just  under $700 more than I did....NOT a great way to start the year.

And the moral of the story NEVER trust a bookkeeping software completely. I will be checking the software at least 1x a week now for mistakes :D

Anyone have problems with your bookkeeping software? Or do you love what you have?

Friday, January 9, 2015

Flexibility....Because Life Never Goes as Planned

I think I have said that while little boy is gone visiting family, it was (is) my goal to work as much as possible during school hours over at the office. It's been 5 full days today. Monday was taken fully with doctors appointments. Tuesday and Wednesday were fabulously productive. Thursday morning found me with a phone call from the school nurse that my daughter had a fever and needed to come home.

That is one fabulous thing about this line of work....the flexibility. I was able to grab my laptop and camera and head on home to work. I spent the remainder of the day yesterday deep cleaning my kitchen. Today I am listing on eBay backlogs of pictures saved and ready to be listed. In the off chance I run out, my camera is here with lots of as-of-now unlisted inventory.

My plans for the weekends included just relaxing with the family....and that will have to be modified slightly. I will have to go in Saturday morning and ship 15 packages (so far....hopefully more). I had 8 American Girl outfits that have sat for over a year on eBay. Lowered the price $2 and stuck on the American Girl Facebook boards....all 8 sold in 2 hours :D Love the lack of eBay fee.

Part of my personal resolutions was to become more flexible....I guess this is a step in the right direction :D

Hope all of you and your families avoid any kind of sickness! Everyone around here is sick.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2015 Goals...Finally

Maybe the fact that it took me a week to finally getting around to my goals is a bad sign. However, this morning I feel like I have run a marathon....American Girl is selling on Facebook faster than I can keep up :D Always a good problem to have I guess.

Anyways here is some 2014 numbers along with 2015 goals.

* Starting small on Etsy. For 2015, 10 items new each month would make me happy....or an overall total of 120. Etsy is not my biggest platform by any means but I think 10 each month would keep my storefront from being stale.

* 50-100 items each month to go to FBA. Fees are going up plus the initial cost of merchandise is expensive so we will be ramping it down a bit unless there is an unbeatable sale or something. I will be looking at yard sales and thrifts more for inventory rather than relying solely on retail arbitrage.

* Bonanza is free so I will keep it open but will not be adding any "Bonanza only" items to the list. It will continue to feed solely off eBay inventory reports.

* My business credit card is currently at $10,500. I would like it down to $5,000 or less by the end of the year.

*I currently have 547 unique listings in my store (and with multiple quantities about 1,200). I would like the store to be at 1,100 listings by the end of the year. That equals only 47 listings per month provided nothings sells (which would be counterproductive). I am shooting to have 150-200 listings per month during the school year and 50-100 during the out of school months. I give myself a bit of wiggle room so I don't beat myself up extensively.

*My overall sales through all venues in 2014 was $46,892.26....that's a huge number for me and about double was 2013 was. I am shooting high with a goal of 75k in sales this year. Each year I am refining how things are done and inventory picking is getting better.

*That being said only $1,800 was profit after goods costs, rent, insurance, van payments, and credit card interest. Thankfully the van is paid off and we had lots of 1x purchases (like a printer). My laptop is starting to go but I'm praying it hangs on at least another year.

*January 21st school starts again for me. I am actually going into a classroom (a dear friend is watching my kids so I can learn the most. I have never done well with online classes). A few of you who commented suggested I learn more about spreadsheets/accounting/bookkeeping/etc to keep my frustration at bay and keep things productive. Thank you. I am really excited.

* Keep things productive enough to afford an office that is at least double in size by the time our lease is up in November.

**I am really excited for 2015. My life is significantly more organized and happy. I posted before about having Celiac's (or at least a blood test intolerance to gluten). I had a endoscopic biopsy done right before Christmas and it came back as positive for Celiac's (aka there is damage to the small intestine). So I am totally gluten free now which is a pain and also expensive but I had about 5+ health problems (at 27 years old I honestly stopped telling people because I felt like a hypocondriac lol) and since going with no gluten they are all gone!! I feel human with at least double the energy so I expect this year to be great!

Hoping your year is off to a great start!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Tuesday's Totals

Hope everyone had happy holidays! Now back to the general swing of things. Today is my first childless full day in the office (yesterday was full of appointments) and it started with snow/slippery roads/forgetting necessary items at home. I should be in the swing of things by the time I get little boy back :D

On a side note, there are absolute steals on eBay right now for American Girl items. If you have a few hundred dollars extra for inventory I suggest you check it out if you like selling dolls. (and BTW 50% profit after fees is really pretty good).

On to Tuesday's totals.

eBay had 18 sales. 10 Skylanders sold (several in 1 lot and only accounting for 4 sales).

At $26.95 Ghost Roaster was the best (from the Spyro's Adventure set). Paid $3.

This View Master is cute. I paid 5 cents for him and sold for $4.95....good profit % although I am working on getting the overall profit $ up. Gotta get rid of the little stuff too for now.

Amazon had a whopping 10 sales

Honest Company products sell REALLY well. This was my sweet item for quite a while but too many others had caught on. The wipes I was buying at Target for $4.95 a piece and they sold quite quickly for $16.95 each. I won't buy more as the price has dropped significantly. However the diapers still sell well. I received a 50% off coupon this Black Friday so I ordered a few packs. Most sizes and designs seem to sell well. But again I am jumping off this bandwagon unless the price is really fantastic. I did email them about becoming an authorized retailer but no one answered my email.

No sales on Etsy or Bonanza....again.

I did list a few things on a couple Facebook American Girl yard sale pages before I put on eBay. I sold a redhead Just Like You doll for $80 free shipping (honestly more than I probably would have gotten on eBay. Buyer lives in next state over. AG isn't currently making any redhead dolls and they fetch more $ than most other dolls.

This is the redhead...I think she is adorable. I picked her up from Craigslist last night and she sold within 2 hours of being in my house.

These 2 pictures are replacement parts from Girl of the Year Lanie "meet" outfit. I sold these to the buyer (also within 2 hours of being at my house) for $37 free shipping. I could have sold for $45 on eBay but after the fees it works out to the same (plus $45+ shipping for shoes and a headband really? its good to know I am not completely heartless :D ) The rest of her outfit should get me around $40-50. The doll nude sells for around $100-125.

I love the AG boards but on the other hand it is often harder to get eBay prices since it seems like most people are resellers. But I will take what sales I can with only Paypal fees :D I have also bought a couple really good resell deals :D

How's your week looking?

Monday, January 5, 2015

A Finished Look at my Office

This is my finished mother is an organizational wizard and helped me come up with a decent layout. I still have more things in my house; since the majority is in my attic (aka out of sight out of mind) I am not worried about it. I can't fit much more without it being too cluttered too work. The office is much too small and we can't get out of our lease.....not that we can afford a bigger place anyway :D. We are still working toward increasing cash flow and paying off debt to get a slightly bigger place in October. Now that we aren't rushing to get a place there are tons of bigger offices for about what we are paying.

 From the doorway. Still working on sorting condensing boxes.
 Right of the door. I know it looks terrible but overall it is pretty organized. Tubs of both listed and unlisted inventory. (The brown box in the way of the door is going on a shelf. It's bubble envelopes :D )
 Those 2 blue round containers are all unlisted inventory. I need to find a nook or cranny to store the mannequin. The laundry basket are all my kids stuff that made it into the office :/

Another set of shelves my parents had extra in their basement that they gave us. Honestly I didn't think it would work but it does nicely and I am very thankful for it.

Well that is it for now. I have 8 items to pack and an appointment in an hour. My parents left this morning with the littlest (only not in school child) so I am free to work normally....for the month at least. So excited but I already miss my baby terribly.

I will have my goals set up and posted by the end of the week....I just need time to adjust them talk over with hubby and not setting the bar either too low or too high :D

Happy selling everyone!