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Monday, March 7, 2011

Recessionista Smarts - consignment and other ways of selling old stuff

Yes, we've all looked in our closets and our bookselves and wondered how all of that stuff got there.  I looked at the prospect of giving these things away and felt the shock of how much money I had paid out--even for the things I bought on sale.  So I did what any reasonable person would do.  Nothing.  I let the stuff take up space in my closet and on my bookselves until...Something really amazing happened.  Amazon opened up their website to allow others to sell as a marketplace.  And a clothing consignment shop opened near me.

Rather than a bidding system and a set time of days, you post your stuff and can just let it sit in your store.  You can buy postage through it, just like with Ebay, and you pay nothing until it sells.  They even give you a set amount to cover postage.  I posted out of date editions of textbooks and sold those.  I was surprised at what people would buy from me, as well as what they haven't yet.  I sold an old digital camera that was still good but just didn't have a burst mode when I updated to the Panasonic Lumix I now use.

Consignement store
I've tried Buffalo Exchange and another shop called Crossroads Trading.  However, they often sell the items for a low amount and give you an even lower amount.  They pay 35% cash, and give yo 50% if you buy in the store.  Their items tend to be on the trendy side.  If you are past your late 20s/early 30s, you might have a hard time finding anything you like there.

Buffalo Exchange and Crossroads Trading pay upfront if you want cash.  It often doesn't feel that great to walk of with $3.50 for a shirt they will sell for $12.  At the consignment store, the same shirt will run $20 and if it sells on the first run, I will get $10.  If it goes on sale, I will still get more.  When it hits 50% off for that same item, I still walk with $5.00.

The good thing about consignment is that it's a win for the owner of the store as much as it is for you.  The item no longer takes up space in your closet, and you get a 50/50 split.  The only bad thing is that they deal in the higher end goods, the ones that cost you an arm or a leg to purchase in the first place.  OK not really that much.  But you can't resell stuff that you bought at Walmart or that's been used too much.  And it's a win for the ladies who buy the stuff, like it, and in turn save money over buying at the full retail price?  I'm betting that the ladies who live in this area would rather die than drive out that way and end up visiting one of those shops. 

The owner of the consignment store took loads of my stuff that I'm not wearing and in the past two days, I just sold two books from my Amazon store.  I feel smart.  I'd feel smarter if I had been able to say no to all the shopping I did last year.  I'm better about it.  At least everything was on sale.

I've already told you about Big Crumbs a million and a half times, what more can I do to help you make it through the lean years?

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