Showing posts with label craigslist. Show all posts
Showing posts with label craigslist. Show all posts

It's Freezing Outside, but Not in My Freezer

This morning in the car on the way to work, it was 32F. Brr. Now it's in the 60's like it should be. Tonight, we came home from the #Publix with a few boxes of frozen fish fillets that needed to fit in the freezer. Our two full size refrigerator/freezers were full so DH went to see if our little freezer had any room. But it was full. And melty. Apparently, in the recent past the little freezer decided to quit working. The majority of the frozen stuff was soft and had to be tossed - a dozen pints of Hagen Daz ice cream, a dozen bags of Ore-Ida potato Grillers, over a dozen Buitoni pastas, Sea Pak breaded shrimp, Marie Callendars Chicken Alfredo, and Rudi's Gluten Free Bread. But we did manage to save the boneless chicken breasts, frozen veggies and Egg Beaters. We ate the thawed TGIF chicken wings and Sea Pack Shrimp snacks for dinner along with some Grillers.
It's really a drag to throw out two garbage bags of food. Food that I like and wanted to eat some day. Especially the ice cream. Pistachio is really good, so is Strawberry. And Rocky Road. All of it melted.
I think the problem is we didn't defrost when we should have. It's defrosted now, but it doesn't work. The overload protection probably blew a fuse. So now we have to trouble shoot and see if we can repair it, otherwise we're out a little freezer. Which won't be the end of the world, but I do have 40 lbs of boneless chicken breasts coming at the end of March from Zaycon. We'll need to find room, so that means lots of fish fillets and steamfresh veggies in our dinner plans for the next month. And ice cream bars - we managed to save the Magnum bars.
Goodbye diet. For a month anyway.

It is Not a Fish Until it is On the Bank

My favorite holiday is approaching this week, so another Irish proverb for us all. This tidbit of wisdom is especially important for us dreamers, who plan on all sorts of wonderful things and suppositions about how things should happen. Sure it was great that we recently planned on selling our boat, we were fortunate in finding a good buyer, and the check cleared the bank and now the boat is gone. But it could have gone a hundred different ways. Many times when something is for sale on Craigslist, you get some phone calls, emails or texts inquiring whether the item is still available, and you respond quickly - only to get no further response. WTH? What are these people thinking? We'll never know, but we do know you can't count on selling stuff quickly (unless you follow my Craigslist Tips).
You also can't count on that tax return, or that pay raise, or that job you applied for along with a ton of other people. Its important to not count it as a catch until its in the boat, or on the bank. So keep casting your line out there to get a big fish, but also continue your frugal ways to get you through the dry spell.

Another Craigslist Success Story

You never really know how is going to work, whether you'll sell your item fast or slow - but it sure is great when it works. Last week, we listed our fishing boat on Craigslist and it sold this weekend. Now, this was not some cheap floating tin cup, it was a 2005 all fiberglass hull center console Proline with a nice Suzuki motor that was quieter than our Camry. It was expensive, so that limited our buyer field, but there are people out there with disposable income that they want to spend on toys. Lucky for us, we got our asking price.
That was our problem, we bought the boat three years ago planning all sorts of water adventures and travels. But then gas prices started climbing close to the four dollar range (like they are now!), and we started looking at getting a scooter or something for DH to commute. Well, he wasn't going to go for that - he wanted a full fledged motorcycle. So we got our licenses and bought motorcyles that summer. Well, you guessed it, we love it. Any weekend that is nice for motorcycling, is also nice for boating - but we more often than not went motorcycling. So that nice boat sat on the trailer in our yard and hardly got used. We only put 60 hours on it in 3 years, which is pretty pathetic if you ask me.
We decided to see if we could get our money out of it and put it up for sale. We didn't need to sell it, but we'd put it out there. A while ago I posted these Craigslist Tips to sell stuff fast and they really work. One of the unknown factors that probably helped us this time, was that it is boat show season in Tampa. There was a boat show last weekend at the Fairgrounds, and now this coming weekend at the Tropicana Field in St Pete. Seeing the price of new boats and comparing it to ours, was a good deal for the buyers. Plus the warm weather gets everyone wanting to get out and play. Anyway, the boat sold for only $500 less than we paid over three years ago, so it was not a bad deal. One important tip when you are purchasing large items (boats, cars, houses) is to make money buying it, because you can't plan on making money selling it. If you buy it right, you can have it for a while and sell it for the same price, not costing you much. We were able to sell it for over blue book value as determined by
One thing we did though, I would never recommend. We took a check from the buyers. But we're really the ones holding the cards so to speak. We still have the boat and the title in our possession while they ready their property for storing the boat. We're keeping it another week and the check has time to clear. After it has posted to our bank account, we'll let them come get it and complete the paperwork. We really would have preferred they just give us a small deposit of a few hundred dollars to hold it for them, and then get the remainder in cash - but they agreed to pay in advance the whole amount.
So, we're hoping that check doesn't bounce.

Tips for A Successful Garage Sale

This past Saturday we had our first ever garage sale at our home. I was pretty nervous wondering if people would come, and then I was wondering if we had enough stuff to get people to stop. It turned out to be a huge success and we sold out my entire stockpile in a few hours, including all those vitamins we got for overage on all our trips. I had 2 paper boxes full of just vitamins. We made $470 and we could have made more if we would have had more product. I had previously sold my extra product at a friends yard sale in November, so we only had stuff we bought in three months time.
TIPS for Success
  • About two weeks before your sale, take pictures of items you want to list on prior to the sale to try to get the most money for them. I posted ads for golf clubs, an HP scanner, an Ipod Nano, fax machine, chainsaw, and weed whipper.  See my craigslist tips HERE, this way you'll be more comfortable haggling at the sale when something has already been posted with little or no interest, and you really just want to get rid of it.
  • List FREE garage sale ads online with the, and a week before your sale, and again on Craigslist the day of the sale.
  • We put a sign in our yard on Thurs and Fri prior, stating "Yard Sale Here Sat." so people in the area would know to look for a sale. We were actually hoping one of our neighbors would capitalize on the traffic and have a sale too on the same block. We discovered that many people love to get up early and drive around to multiple garage sales. We heard of another sale on the next block and directed people to that one if they were interested.
  • Put a price tag on EVERY single item you display. If you don't have a price people will walk by all day. I had a partial roll of insulation out there with no price and had no idea what it was worth or what someone would pay. I noticed a few people inspect it, but they didn't inquire. So, I just put a $5 sticker on it. A while later a man asked if I would take $2, and then it was sold.
  • If you have brand new items in great condition, if it is priced right everyone will just pay the asking price. We sold the majority of our stockpile items for $1.00 and $0.50, with a couple higher priced things like trash bags, razors and candles for $3. We didn't budge price on any of the stockpile products because they were selling quickly as priced.
  • Provide bags for people to hold all their items. As soon as people picked up a couple things I used the opportunity to offer them a bag and encourage them to get more product. Many people quickly filled their bags and then I moved their items into paper boxes. We had several people who purchased a couple boxes of stuff.
  • Organize your product so that like items are together, it is not damaged, and so all products are visible. This will keep people from rummaging through boxes of stuff and making a mess.
  • It is amazing what product will sell at a yard sale. EVERYTHING! Don't worry that you have too much pasta, or poise or vitamins or phazyme. If it is priced right, it will all go. In the past I have not purchased stuff that is free after coupons because I didn't want it to clutter my shelves, but now my point of view has changed. If its free to me, I'm getting as much as I can. It really doesn't matter what it is. I had a bunch of Finesse hair spray that I didn't think would go because so many people are brand specific, but not at garage sales. They will buy any flavor of any product.
  • We had about 15 boxes of food and products and it mostly was gone between 8am and 10:30 am, We could have sold twice that much stuff. So when you're planning on having a sale, make sure you have enough stuff to sell.
  • If you price everything at 0.25, 0.50 and 1.00 you'll be able to quickly sum up a bag of product in your head without making mistakes. Stay away from weird prices like 0.75 or 0.40 or 0.65 if you can. I tried to price my stuff at about 25% of retail. So if something sold for $1.50 in the store, I charged $0.50. We sold Special K cereal for $1 a box that is normally $3.99.
  • Prepare and clean your tables and surfaces the night before so they are easy and accessible to put up.
  • We loaded all our boxes into the vehicles in the driveway the night before so all I had to do was pull out the box and place it on the table to sell it.
  • Invest in some good signs. I purchased 5 garage sale signs from for about $4 each. We wrote in our address on the sign and my DH went around the neighborhood entrance points. One sign was on a busy main thoroughfare and I think we got most of our visits from that one sign. We had probably over 100 customers stop. I didn't even get 2 boxes out of the truck before people started coming. It was a mad rush for about 2 hours. We asked everyone how they found our sale and 98% said they saw the signs. Only a couple people said they saw it on craigslist or the flyer. One lady said she thought we had such nice signs that we were sure to be organized and have some good stuff.
  • Make sure you carry a marker and price stickers to make any adjustments to prices - increase them if stuff is going too fast, and decrease them to get rid of stuff you really don't want around any more. Also to write prices on full bags or boxes once you've added them up and set aside so the customer can continue shopping.
  • Set up your driveway so there is a circle of items to corral your shoppers. We had some sporting goods, Christmas decorations, tool, yard and garden stuff and household stuff too. Most of this was on the perimeter or near the street so people could see big items. We also had our display of food and personal care items near the street so people could see that too. It was the biggest draw of the sale, so be sure people can see your stockpile table from the road.
  • Make sure you have about $40 in change of $1 and $5 bills. We had several people early on who only had a $20 so we had to run in the house to get some ones to make change. Have a couple dollars in quarters too.
  • As the sale winds down and you've emptied some tables and space, move stuff around so that your main display appears stocked. Remove empty tables and move the other merchandise closer to the road. Start cleaning up while you wait for stragglers to show up.
  • We closed up shortly after noon. DH went around and picked up our signs and that pretty much stopped the traffic by our house. We packed up what little stuff was left for our next sale in a couple months.
One thing we didn't do this time, but I'm going to do next time is get a piece of paper where customers can write down their email address if they want to be notified of upcoming sales. We might also try selling some clothes prior to just donating them.
So that's about it. We had a big day and needed a nice nap afterward. But it was exciting and happened so fast, I can't believe I was even nervous!
Watch for more garage sale stories about some of the interesting folks we met.

Craigslist Tips to Sell Stuff Fast

I just relisted twelve items on Craigslist to try and sell before we have another garage sale at the end of the month. I have previously listed the same items with not much response, but this time its different. I've already sold my 2GB Ipod Nano for $50 and my seven extra bicycle tires for $2 each, and today I'm meeting with someone for the leaf blower and possibly the chainsaw. I also have tentative plans to sell a bike U-lock on Saturday.
I attribute the success of these listings to the fact that I included a picture of the item in all listings. Even if I didn't have a picture of my actual item, I got a picture off Amazon to show the buyer what the item looked like. 
The second important thing to do is provide a phone number. If you don't want to reveal your cell phone or home phone, get a free number from Google Voice that you can have forwarded to your cell.
The third point that seems to have made a difference this time for me, is to encourage buyers to text you. ALL my contacts have been initiated by text this time because I encouraged people to leave a message or text me and I'll get back to them. With my Google voice number, it forwards the text to my cell phone and google voice account, where I can reply either way. Did you know you can be logged into more than one gmail account at one time? This allows you to work on blogging on one account and if your google voice is linked to another account, you can just click over.
The fourth thing that goes without saying, is to price your item appropriately and describe it accurately. If it is scratched or compromised in some manner, just tell people up front rather than wasting everyone's time with a meet that surprises the buyer when they see the condition of the item.
If you have some higher priced garage sale stuff, I highly recommend listing on Craigslist and attempting to sell before the sale. Plus you'll get a list of contact numbers or emails to let people know of an upcoming garage sale.
Good Luck 

Frugal Sports Attire

As I was gathering my clothes this morning to go for my bike ride to work, I was thinking how great it was to have exactly the right thing - like padded lycra shorts, polypropylene tights, keen commuting sandals, padded fingerless gloves, etc. None of these items are cheap to buy, but once you get them they last forever. And I really mean forever. My bicycle shorts are over 20 years old, so are my tights - I wore them when I was in my twenties. They are top quality and will probably last the rest of my biking days. The Keen commuter sandals were expensive too - $115, but they too will last forever and in my opinion worth the cost avoidance in preventing numbness and pain from absorbing too much road shock while riding.
My point is that just because something costs a lot, doesn't mean its not a frugal purchase. To have proper athletic gear is critical to enjoying the activity, and therefore doing it as much as you can. It also will help prevent injuries and irritants that you may get from wearing inappropriate clothing or cheap clothing that doesn't offer the protection you need.
However, there are areas where its not critical to have all the fancy apparel. I always wear plain $5 hi vis tshirt when I'm riding, I skip the colorful biking jerseys. I also just wear regular socks, or when it gets warmer I won't wear any.
But you may ask, what if I want to get active and wear the proper apparel but I can't afford $40 shorts, and $100 shoes. Well, here are some tips.
1. Search Craigslist for used running shorts, bicycle attire or other sport gear you need.
2. Go to garage sales that list clothing, although sporting attire may be rare to find.
3. Go to 2nd hand consignment stores and ask where the sporting attire is, they'll have good quality gently used stuff.
4. Google "used sports clothing and your city name" to come up with retailers that sell used sport equipment, like Play It Again Sports.
5. Ask your buddies if they have any old clothing that doesn't fit but is in good shape. I use lots of my husbands old biking stuff, like gloves, shorts and panniers.
6. Use inexpensive garden gloves over your fingerless gloves during cold weather.
7. Cut the arms off old long underwear or turtle necks and use them for arm warmers when its cold.
There are lots of ways to be creative with your clothing, but you might look like a nerd. But who cares. Not me.

More Curb Alerts

Well since today is a holiday for government employees we have another day for demolition before the new American Woodmark Cabinets arrive tomorrow. Did I ever mention how impressed I am with Lowe's and American Woodmark? No? Well I am.

So we're planning on removing everything except the sink. Earlier this week we put out the washer and dryer for curb alert and it was gone within minutes on craigslist. Then on Saturday, we put out the dishwasher and it was gone within a day. And then today we got rid of the stovetop and oven to one of the guys from earlier who emailed. All our appliances are gone now and it was so easy.

Now we have to continue to burn the old cabinets in fires, and chop them up for the trash man. Here's what's left of the old kitchen, just the sink. We cut the wall out between the dining room and the kitchen and it opens up the area and makes it seem really big.

Craigslist works wonders

We're on our way to a new bathroom with the room gutted down to the studs and the fixtures removed. We now decided we might as well replace the old bath tub with a new one since it would be the only old thing in the room. Plus this is the only opportunity EVER to do it. More shopping tonight to get a new tub and then tomorrow replace it in the bathroom.

One of the unpleasant tasks of remodeling is getting rid of the old construction debris from the teardown. First we thought about the FREE way to deal with it was to bring it to the dump, but that involves more handling and time and getting a friend who lives in unincorporated county to come along for the proof of the tax payment. Even though it would be cheap, it would be a hassle. We told our neighbor about all our junk and he offered his truck to have us load the truck and dump it at his works dumpster, but that too would be a hassle. We already have a lot of errands, clean out tasks, tear down and other jobs associated with the project. So, we took a picture of the junk and put it out there on Craigslist for our town and placed a WANTED ad to haul away our construction debris for fifty bucks. Man o man, I feel like I was too generous. I had 7 calls within an hour, and finally pulled the ad. I also put an ad out there for a FREE Bathtub, and got 3 calls within a couple minutes. I pulled that ad too shortly thereafter.
So after work today, a guy is coming to pick up the trash for fifty bucks and another guy is coming in the morning to get the tub. Problem solved.