Monday, December 5, 2016

Mo Money, Mo Money

Hi Friends!

Since I explored how to earn money on the side in my last article I thought I would explore another aspect of making money, that is of course selling articles to make money. My partner in savings N.M. Sotzek is talking about yard sailing so I won’t be discussing this here, but I will be looking how to shift unwanted items and make a little money.

To all our minimalist readers, you may not be able to take away much from this article, but if you are like me you may find you have accumulated a lot of things and need a clear out, or maybe need some extra money for a present or treat. Many people sell things online, its a lot easier to handle than organizing a yard sale, and if you lived in shared accommodation, rural settings or an apartment building yard sales are not an option. Luckily the internet has heard the call and answered in the form of multiple online second hand selling websites. The most common one that comes to mind is Kijiji which sells everything from property to makeup and everything in between. It does however tend to produce pretty non-committal members. Several times I have either inquired about an item or tried to sell something, have received multiple responses and have almost every single one of them fall through. It was this frustration that led me to try physical yard sales, and while I found more success there the amount of work I had to put into prepping and promoting it made it a wash out in the end. Not to mention having to contend with dubious weather, hardliner customers and appropriate pricing the yard sale opened my eyes.

At the recommendation of a friend I downloaded the app Varage Sale (available for cellphones and computers) and put up some old Halloween costumes along with props. What a surprise when the very next day I had distinct interest and sold most of my items. Full disclosure I probably lowballed the price of them but I was more concerned with shifting my items than getting money, I was just happy that I got some money for these things I no longer needed. In fact, I continued to use the app to sell many items I had trouble to sell in other venues to the surprise of my friend who had originally suggested the app to me. I sat down and had a hard think about how I could be so successful with this app where other avenues had let me down, and I came up with a few nuggets of wisdom I hope I can pass on to you fine folks.

Firstly, not all apps are alike. With Kijiji you may get the volume you want, as in your items on sale will reach a wider audience and when you want to shop around you will have plenty of things to browse, however the sites design and volume produce two specific results. One of these is a lack of commitment, since there is such a volume and the prices can be so cheap people can be fickle more often than not. They can change their mind after contacting you, they can be vague about their desired price or pick up specifics and because of the volume it doesn’t matter in the end because there is likely other people selling or buying the same item and they can afford to play you off of others. The second result is that as time goes on and your items are up for sale longer and longer, they will drift further towards the bottom of the list when people search categories. With Kijiji there is no mechanism to keep your items relevant, unless you pay to promote your items, and so you may find yourself seeing your item expire before you can sell it.

With Varage Sale they have refocused the idea of a yard sale and made some improvements on the set up that Kijiji started with. They are a free app but unlike Kijiji you can promote your items free of charge with their ‘Bump’ feature, a button that you can select which will push your item to the top of the search list once every 24 hours. Additionally, they have a feature called ‘Interested.’ People who are seriously interested in an item can indicate this on that item and then you can review it and private message that person to set up the buy. This means that only seriously interested people will make their intentions known, and personally 9 times out of 10 a person who mark an item as ‘interested’ will make contact with you and buy your item. Bonus for me, every person I dealt with automatically came to my home to pick up the item, which as someone who doesn’t drive was so lovely. Of course if strangers coming to your home makes you uncomfortable then of course you are free to make other arrangements, which can work in your favour if you happen to live too far from someone and that deters them from buying your item (which happened to me twice). Be prepared however for people expecting to try on clothing items first before buying, which considering the prices and quality of items on here I think is the least someone could do. A word of warning however, if you put up items for sale that are too cheap that may make the trip out to pick it up not worth it, after all driving for 20 minutes for an item that is $1 would cost more than that in gas and time and therefore make it less attractive.

Varage Sale is of course not the only website that provides a vendor platform, and considering I now have a house full of old junk I don’t need anymore so buckle your seatbelts friends cause I will be exploring as many as I can.

Sell on my people, sell on!


Monday, November 14, 2016

Money, Money, Money

Hello Lovelies

Inspired by an article I recently found {LINK HERE} I decided to try out some ways to make money online and at home. Currently being at my parents’ home and unemployed has driven me to some interesting places, and while I have not found a fountain of youth style level of income I have learned a lot through my odyssey and I thought I would share this experience with you all.

Firstly, the biggest issue I came across when investigating the links in this article and exploring other options was country availability. I live in Canada and many of the applications are for the US only. If you are an American reader congrats, you have a lot less barriers to making extra cash on the side then your neighbours to the North. To my Canadian compadres, sorry, you will have to continue to suffer like the well behaved sibling of a naughty child who gets less attention from their parents. The first site on the list is one of those, in fact it has American in the name. Because its American I wasn’t able to check it out, but from the description by The Crazy Coupon Lady it sounds amazing! The next one on the list, FOAP, is in the same category; exclusive to the US and sounds amazing.

Secondly, The Crazy Coupon Lady really has collected an eclectic mix of different money making endeavours, however it seems like some of these were curated more closely than others. To revert back to my first point some of the apps mentioned are US specific but are not indicated as such, like Mobee and ACX (audiobook platform). Similarly, apps like ezyShot are listed that is not compatible with iOS, which cuts out a significant proportion of potential users.

Looking at the app Rewardable for example I was unable to access the secret shopper tasks as those were exclusive to US users (sensing a pattern?) however there were other features of the app that I was able to use. They consisted primarily of games to download and quizzes to complete for rewards they called acorns. Each acorn amounted to a certain dollar amount which can be cashed out via PayPal once a particular amount has been reached. You can even set this amount yourself and can track which rewards you have earned. Great in theory but so far I have struggled to find a reason to keep this one. The app itself also does a poor job I think of vetting what content they offer to users, like having dodgy looking third party links and tasks that send you to several outside websites and in the end require you to purchase their products to get the reward. I’d say about half the apps and games I downloaded never earned me the acorns it was supposed to. The first time this happened I sent an email to their support and about a week later got a response from a Jen Barber, complete with photos, asking for the specifics of the apps, so I sent them and never heard back. To be honest I half expected to just get a response advising me to turn it off and on again (kudos if you get the reference). The next time I attempted contact I wrote down all the details of the rewards I was missing and emailed again; this time no response at all.

It’s not all doom and gloom with Rewardable though, I am able to answer one quick multiple choice question a day, and earn 1 cent, so there’s that. So for all you math fans out there if I set a $10 limit (the minimum) for payouts and I only earn 1 cent a day, how long will it take me to be able to make any money? I’ll leave you to do the calculations on that but let’s just all agree that’s a long time, which begs the question, is the app worth it? Considering half of it doesn’t work, there is poor support for it, and a tiny payout I would have to say no, but then again if you do it in the States you should be fine, or if you are fine with a long term investment then more power to you, because this is a long, long, long one.

Want to know which one of these was my favourite? It would have to be Opinion Post, the rather unlikely underdog that turns out to be the hero, or in this case, the most lucrative. Normally survey websites are difficult to navigate, have many surveys that you often do not qualify for and have low payouts. With Opinion Post however you may encounter just as many surveys that you do not qualify for but the payouts are larger and the cash out is better. I have only completed 4 surveys so far but I am very close to earning the minimum of $10. It works out to roughly $0.10 per 1 point and you can earn between 10 to 30 points per survey. They, like many other survey websites also have regular cash prize giveaways where each survey gets you one entry into the draw, and Opinion Post also gives you entries for surveys attempts but ones you may not qualify for. I have tried many a survey website and this one is by far the best and I would definitely recommend it.

Stay tuned to find out more about my side money journey because I will certainly be continuing. Save on my friends, save on!


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

5 things you need to know about yard saling: Part 1 - Prep

Yes, yard saling is a verb. Maybe it's not in the dictionary, but that book doesn't always know everything.

Growing up, my summers consisted of running through the sprinkler, riding my bike, playing badminton (poorly) on my front lawn, and yard sales. My mom is the queen of yard sales. When I was in high school, she was able to pay for most of my school trip to Italy. She has people come from out of town for her yard sales. She once had a garage sale in the middle of winter. It was literally in our garage, and we had a few strategically placed heaters. My mom is the queen of yard sales.

And she taught me well.

For the next 5 posts I will be imparting some of the knowledge I've gained from my years of hosting yard sales, but I'm also going to go into a bit of detail about how to be a successful yard sale shopper.

Part 1: Prep work

Hosting a yard sale may not seem too difficult. Get a bunch of items together you don't need anymore, put it on your yard or driveway and let people come. Sure, you can do that. Or, you can make money.

What to sell

The first thing is to figure out what you want to sell. Usually this includes items you don't need anymore, or multiples of an item you do use. This is the time to purge, so don't be afraid to empty out your attic or garage. Or even your tool shed. I know, it can be hard, but think about the items you used the previous years. Didn't use it? Maybe someone else can. Have friends or family who need to get rid of stuff? See if they want you to sell it for them. (If you do this, have an agreement as to what they expect in return. I.e they price their items and get that money back, you take a small commission for doing the selling, or you get all the money and they're thankful to be rid of the stuff.)

Also keep in mind the area in which you live. If you live in a neighbourhood with seniors then CDs, baby clothes, furniture aren't likely to sell. At least not as well. You're going to want to try to attract people from outside your neighbourhood, which will be discussed later. Try to look online to see what collectors are looking for in your city. Have a box of old legos or Transformers? Usually there's someone looking for that.

Whatever you sell, make sure it's clean! If you're selling clothes, wash them. If you're selling dishes, wash them. It makes a HUGE difference to buyers.

This is something most people overlook, and isn't normally an issue, but once you've figured out what you're selling make sure it's legal to sell. Here is a link to the Health Canada website for a list of items illegal or restricted to sell in Canada. If you're American, this is still a good list to use as a guideline.

Getting people to your sale

To do this, obviously you're going to need advertising. This pretty much goes without saying. Every Saturday during the summer, you're more often than not going to see a sign or two at street corners showing the way to a yard sale you're not hosting. Signs at the side of the road need to be eye-catching, and easy to read. Drivers only get a second or two to read your sign before they pass it, so it's a good idea to maybe put a few in a row a short distance apart from each other.

Advertising online is easy, and usually free. Place an ad on Kijiji, or on Facebook groups geared towards buying and selling and yard sales. Give a short summary of the types of items you'll be selling so people - such as collectors - have an idea of what they're in for.

Church bulletin boards are another great way to advertise. Make sure you get permission before you post anything. A good incentive is to offer to give a portion of the funds to their church, or a charity they sponsor. Giving back is always nice.

On that note, if you advertise that part of the proceeds go towards a certain cause, you're going to get a lot more people. For the past two summers my mom has given part of her proceeds to breast cancer research. As she's a survivor, she was able to share her story which helped boost sales, and she had a lot of other survivors come out to take part.


Now that you've figured out what you want to (and can) sell, there are more things you need to think about.

Check your city's by-laws to see if there's an actual season to host sales. There are also usually limits to how many sales you can host per season. If this is the case, you need to plan carefully to make sure the dates you want to have your yard sale are good days. Typically long weekends are a forfeit.

If you live in an apartment building, check your lease to see if it mentions anything about hosting a yard sale on their property. Most of the buildings I've lived in prohibited sales. If this is the case, check again the city by-laws if there's a place on city property where you're able to sell. I've seen sales on long stretches of empty land on the boulevard (the part of grass between the street and sidewalk.) If it's not allowed and you still decide to host one there, be prepared to have a cop kick you off the property. I've seen it happen many times.

Next post...

Part 2: Selling your stuff

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Gamer Life – Board Games

Hello Changers!

Some people may call board games lame, if you grew up in one of those ‘close” families you may have experienced family game nights where you played board games or all got together and watched a movie. Now however you are an adult, and let me tell you these ain’t your Grandma’s board game nights.

Nowadays we are spoiled for choice in our board games and it’s not difficult to find one that suits yours and your families’ tastes. The initial cost of the games may be a little high in some cases, especially if you buy a game that has multiple expansions, but they can provide countless more nights of free fun. Now that we are adults we can even add alcohol to the night if you like to really kick-start the evening.

Settlers of Catan is a good all-around classic, but the golden oldies like Monopoly and The Game of Life should not be discounted because they have undergone make-overs in the last couple of years in order to keep up with the age. Of course Monopoly has so many different versions and themes it’s hard not to find one that has meaning to you.

Trivial Pursuit is another classic that still has a lot of steam, and again there are so many versions based on movies and other pop culture icons that you are sure to find one you jive with.

Of course if you are looking for some fun but don’t want to commit just yet to buying a board game, you can always invite friends over who have different ones you don’t have and experience the games before you buy. Just like potlucks you can host “Bring Your Own Board game” nights and have all the fun of board games without having to buy them! And if you do want to buy them do your research, sites like Amazon are good places to start, but if you look at second hand shops make sure all the pieces and parts of the game are all there before you buy!

Happy Banking


Friday, March 20, 2015

I Like to Party - Fun Parties for Less Part 1

Hello Changers!

There is nothing I like more than throwing off my pants on a nice weekend and lay on the couch chronically watching Netflix, but there are times when that just won't do and you get the urge to get a little fancy (pants are still optional). Problem is you just paid your rent and so now are penniless and last you checked clubs don’t take pocket lint as legal tender.

May I blow your minds for a minute by saying that I can guarantee you will have an amazing time and you won't even have to leave your home?! Do you have friends who also like to have fun but might not have money? Are you okay with pretending to be clich├ęd characters and recite badly written scripts? Then Murder Mystery parties are the answer to your problem.

I usually buy mine from second hand stores ( in Canada there is Goodwill, Salvation Army, Value Village and Talize) but of course they are hit and miss, and if you want to get a little crafty you can do what myself and my co-blogger are doing and make your own

On this blog I will be posting our progress and the incredible journey I know we are embarking on!

Happy Banking


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Manage your Phlegm - Home Remedies

Hello Changers!

This particular article will really hit home for anyone who has grown up with immigrant parents, specifically south Asian parents who grew up in a time and place where stuff was weird and the things they did with that stuff was even weirder. For those who didn't I apologize for the next little bit because you are probably going to think I am crazy for what I am about to suggest but I will remind everyone that this was used on me as a child, and I am still alive and doing pretty well so it couldn't possibly hurt.

It’s called a poultice. Now don't be afraid, if you don't know what this word means or have never heard it before a poultice is basically a heated soft mass of something spread on a cloth and applied to the skin to treat something. It’s what old timey people used before commercially produced medication and it a lot of places on planet earth people STILL don’t and continue to use this method.

The thing with buying over the counter medication (I will state right now I am not advocating to give up prescribed medication, just the life basics) for something like allergy meds that can treat something like congestion can cost you a lot, and then you have to go out and actually buy them...which usually involves wearing pants (lame I know) but I am here to bring you the ancient wisdom of old crazy immigrant people in the hopes it can save you money!

I won’t list all the remedies you can easily create from your pantry (there is a lot of online information for this) but I will briefly list some here that I have tried (or been the unwilling participant of).

Chest congestion/Colds – Mustard powder and hot water to form a paste
Hair/Scalp moisture and shine treatment – Oil or beaten eggs applied to the scalp and then hot towels to wrap the hair with
Sore Feet – Hot water with mint leaves
Sore throat/cold – boil coriander seeds and add honey (Okay yes you may not actually have coriander seeds handy but you can buy them from bulk barns or grocery stores for cheaper than cold meds so there!)

Now I know you have reservations, especially if you have some frat boy roommates around who look at you like you are from another planet (and complain about the smell of boiled coriander seeds, which by the way stink real bad) but when it comes to the weekend you will have the extra cash on hand to buy the nice beer and they will be stuck with lame domestic brews so jokes on them.

Happy Banking


Monday, March 16, 2015

Little Bottles of Lotion

Hello Changers!

If you are anything like me you have encountered times in your life where you had to tighten your proverbial purse strings. Or if you are more like me you have lived most of your life that way, constantly balancing school, work and a social life with the need to eat and survive the harsh cold of the outside world.

I don't want to brag, but I feel that my many years of experience qualifies me now to be able to speak on this topic with some authority and impart my vast experience onto those who need it! If you have ever looked around at the masses of boxes and containers around yourself full of bath and beauty products you might be interested to know you are actually staring at tons of financial savings. How often have you received random gifts, either from distant family members? You smile, say thank you and then promptly put it in a box with all the other shower gels, body lotions and weird perfumes you already have.

Finding yourself a little strapped for cash can be a struggle, but by forgoing your weekly trip to a fancy beauty store or drug mart to by tons of lip gloss and nail polish, just dig that box of presents out of your closet or basement and use them instead. I can't give you exact figures on how much this can save you but in my case I estimate that I have saved an average of $10 per week with this little trick, which let’s face it, isn't even a trick. A lot of us let personal and household products pile up, getting dusty when we should be utilizing them in order to curb our expenses. Do you hoard those little shampoos and conditioners from hotels like your life depends on them? Well you would be surprised at how many showers you can get out of them if you just actually used them! And if you hold them in your hands and stare you might just feel like a giant too!

As a bonus not only do you save money but you clear out the clutter too! It’s a win win situation really. And not to mention it means you don’t have to venture outside more often which is tricky with your new sad hobo wardrobe you have been sporting.

Happy Banking