Many of us, including myself, are in the middle of a PCS or will be PCSing soon. With the unexpected expenses that arise from PCSing and renting a new house, we are trying to save as much cash as we can and we’re trying to lighten our load. The military will reimburse us for most of our moving expenses, but after a few military money related hassles that occurred right after our wedding, we learned our lesson that it is better to be safe than sorry! Lately I’ve been selling a few items that we no longer need or want and want to share a few tips with you that I’ve learned along the way.
- If you sell on Craigslist, you’d better be ready to do battle with Craigslist vultures who take out their aggression on everyday people who are just trying to sell some stuff. Last week I posted a luggage bag, carrier, and ties for $80 on Craigslist. I’ve had no less than 12 emails and still haven’t sold the darn thing. Some people email and express their interest but don’t commit. Some people email inquiries as to whether or not I still have the item, I write back, and they don’t answer. One man accused me of trying to rip him off because he saw a similar bag somewhere for $50. I pointed out that we are selling the attachable luggage rack, the carrier plus all of the cords and ties that make them work. That email in particular made me furious – if you think someone’s amount is too high, then ignore the post! Remember that you do not have to negotiate with people if you don’t want to negotiate with them and you don’t have to justify your price to others if you feel it is fair. This guy was in it for a fight. I wrote the following back, “Dear John, the set includes the bag, the luggage rack that sells separately and all of the cords needed to tie it onto your car. The price is firm and not negotiable.” I never heard back from him. I’ve received several emails from people telling me to call them to “negotiate.” Are you serious people? I don’t get my kicks from negotiating with people over stuff that I’m trying to sell on a free website. I negotiate with my husband, I negotiated with advertisers, brands, and sponsors for Our Military Home. I negotiate with our phone company. I don’t negotiate with an anonymous person on Craigslist. That said, one nice man emailed and asked very politely if I would consider taking $50 if he picks up the stuff tonight and, guess what? He will be picking it up for $50 because he was not a total jerk and because I’m tired of getting emails and want to delete the posting. The take away? Know your limit – do you really want to your full listing price or is it more important to you to get rid of it? Know your lowest price point ahead of time so you can handle the vultures appropriately.
- Sell your books on Amazon. It’s super simple (and free) to sell books on Amazon as an individual seller. Sign up, enter the name or ISBN number of the book you want to sell, select the price and condition of the book and post it. I’ve been doing this for years. Always ship the book within two days of the buyer’s purchase or you will get dinged from Amazon and the seller might leave a bad review. Be sure to print the label Amazon provides and attach it to your package. I’ve written the address and messed it up several times with bad results- your rating goes down and you have to refund them without getting the book back. Always ship your books media mail at the U.S. post office. The rates are astoundingly cheaper via the post office. One key exception: if you do check the box to offer expedited or international shipping, then you must ship that way. If the book is valuable get insurance and delivery confirmation. That way if something happens, Amazon is more likely to not charge you. On all other books, I just risk it. If the lowest book price is less than $5 on Amazon, I would just donate it.
- Sell on Ebay. Ebay is kind of a pain because they have lots of fees and it’s confusing to learn how to use it. However, I did just use it to make $70 profit on some Scentsy stuff I no longer use and $49 profit on a handbag I no longer use. The annoying thing about Ebay is that if you are a new seller, they lock up the funds in Paypal for a while after you ship the item. It seems like handbags, nicer clothing and electronics sell best on Ebay. Be sure to take good pictures (I believe the first 10 pictures are free).
- Donate things that are not sellable. Keep a list of them, and ask the cashier at Goodwill or Salvation Army for a tax deduction sheet/receipt. You can deduct the donate on your federal income taxes. We did this last year and it really helped out.
Those are just a few of the tips I’ve learned along the way. I’ve probably made about $300 in the past 4 months by selling books, handbags, and stuff on Craigslist. I’m happy because I have less stuff and more cash in our pockets.
What are your tips for getting rid of stuff before a PCS?