Reason #1: It is always nice to have some extra spending money.
When my wife and I started to go to yard sales together, we would withdraw $20 and once it ran out from purchasing items at yard sales we would stop for the day. After a few successful finds with our $20, we then increased the amount we started with to $40. In some ways, this is like setting an amount you want to gamble with so you don’t go bankrupt. I would tell her, I’m going to buy products that I think I can AT LEAST make my money back on, but I might even make more money. I figured that if I at least made my money back that the only thing I was out was my time for buying the item, listing the item, and shipping the item. However, on many of the items, I made much more than just my money back.
Over the last four years, our yard sale starting money has gone from $20… to $40… to $100… and now… to $200. The reason for this is that we have had times where we wished we brought enough cash on hand so I could pick up certain expensive items I knew would sell online for double the money or more. Also, with enough cash in hand, you don’t have to walk away from a sale where other people might purchase the items you wanted to buy.
Reason #2: My wife and I really like to find a bargain.
I really love going with my wife, Stephanie, to thrift stores and yard sales. We also use Craigslist for big purchases instead of going into a store. We would try to find bargains for furniture and decor because we just purchased an empty house. We found a nice sectional couch on Craigslist for $400. We found quite a few different sized picture frames for family pictures we wanted to put up on a Picture Wall. However, we got to the point in our home that we didn’t really need any more furnishings or decorations. The items we would look for in thrift stores or yard sales would only be items that we felt we could use. Now I am on the lookout for items, not to use ourselves, but to resell to other people who could use it.
Reason #3: Something my wife and I can enjoy together.
Doing something both my wife and I enjoy, brings us together. I also think that we have found a groove when at yard sales or thrift stores where we know exactly which sections to go to and what we look for. Of course, we still take time to look for things for ourselves or the home. And it is great fun to find random items that are interesting or even funny. Steph and I are very different people when it comes to our main hobbies, except for yard sales and thrift stores. She likes reading books, knitting, and cooking. I like board games, watching shows or movies, and basketball. Although both of us do have similar tastes in music. Finding a bargain at yard sales or thrift stores is something we share and are very passionate about.
Reason #4: Telling people about the items I am able to turn into cash.
I talk to people about our hobby of going to yard sales for the purpose of reselling the items online and they are quite interested. There is certainly bragging mixed into the conversations about what price I purchased items for and how much I actually sold them for online. It’s fun to see people’s astonished faces after they realize how much money I was able to make on certain items.
In a few conversations, I have been able to lend some insight into what I do because the people were interested in doing some selling of their own. I like to visit with people about it and encourage others to do it. A friend of mine goes out to yard sales looking for only video game and board game items. So I have told him that he should start checking out other items in the yard sale because he might start finding things he can sell to make some money on the side. He could even use that money on buying video game and board game stuff online which would help increase his collection greatly. He has yet to take me up on it.
Reason #5: It beats gambling.
With gambling, you don’t know if you will win. You HOPE you will win. When I started doing this, I also HOPED I would win. However, the more time I have spent learning from my successes and some failures, I hope less and less. This has become more of a game of skill than just luck. My wife has never liked the idea of gambling – i.e. trying to gain money by process of luck. She would rather invest and save our money. She has no issues with things we buy at yard sales that I try to sell later because she has seen over and over what kind of profit I have made.
When we go to yard sales and thrift stores, I look up items instantly to see how expensive they are online. This lets me know how much the item is worth to me so I can still make a decent profit. On less expensive items, doubling my money is not usually enough because of the percentages of fees that Ebay and Amazon take off and depending on the shipping costs of the item. So I have to look at tripling my money. However, on more expensive items from about $30 and up, doubling my money is okay. This makes me think of Blackjack (or 21). When you win, you get double the money. It is never worth it if I don’t at least double my money on a product. My time is not worth only gaining an extra $10 from an item that might take up to a couple months to sell. I have to list the item, add pictures, add an item description, and price. Then when it sells I have to box up the item securly, print a shipping label, tape up the box and label, and drop off at the Post Office.