This is the second in a four-part series running each Thursday in June.
Last Thursday, we looked at using our time wisely to conserve and generate income, as well as selling items on-line. Today, we are exploring the pros and cons of rummage sales and on-line survey sites.
3. Holding a rummage sale. Ahhh, rummage sales. I love going to them, and I love the idea of having them. But, in reality, neither ultimately does me much good. Oh sure, I have found great deals on household items, toys, and clothes for myself and the kids. For the most part, though, the things I buy eventually end up broken, unused, or ill-fitting. Then, I have to make the extra trip to drop them off at Goodwill. A few I end up selling on ebay for a greater return. One thing that never fails is I always spend more over the summer months than I anticipate by rummaging.
With regard to holding a rummage sale, I have only a little experience. We have had two rummage sales in our marriage. At the first, we made $2, which is about how much effort we put into it (and we held it during a Packer game- duh!) At the second, we spent more time gathering, pricing and thoughtfully displaying items. We made about $100, which was okay, but not great.
Last week’s first point, “time is money,” comes to mind again. Unless you have some big ticket items, the time it takes to price all those little trinkets and pieces of clothing, clean out the garage, set up tables, put out signs, and sit out all day waiting for customers rarely makes an equal monetary return on your time investment. Just saying. But, if you love the process and the comraderie of hanging out with your kids/husband and maybe other neighbors that join in, then have at it. It can be a relaxing way to spend a summer day (depending on the customers). If you are planning to hold a rummage sale this summer, be sure to check out this post for some great pointers.
One thing I do like is the idea of getting your kids involved, not just with the giving up of their toys, but also with the business end of holding a rummage sale. Let them help price their toys, using it as a teaching moment. (“What is one-third of the original value of this item?”) Encourage their entrepreneurial spirit, like the article above says, by allowing them to build a refreshment stand and keep the profits. For older kids with decent math skills, give them a turn manning the cash box; they can collect money and give change for items purchased. Again, pay them a percentage of the profits for their work.
You can even develop their charitable spirit by predetermining an organization to donate a portion of the profits to. Research some acceptable options, and let them pick the charity.
When all is said and done, be sure to get rid of whatever doesn’t sell. Don’t bring it back in the house for next year or say, “Maybe, I’ll use it someday.” Put it right in the car, van, or truck, and end your day with a drop-off at St. Vinny’s or Goodwill, or schedule a pick-up with Purple Heart. You already decided you didn’t want it; don’t invite it back in just because someone else didn’t want it either.
4. Filling out surveys online. A couple of years ago, I tried my hand at on-line surveys. It seemed that every make money at home article I read recommended them. The primary company I worked with was Inbox Dollars. I managed to make the required $30 payout amount after approximately ten hours of “work”. Do you see the problem here? It’s that “time is money” idea again. Is my time worth more than $3/hour? I certainly hope so! I found that I was either stealing time from my children or my sleep doing these surveys. I literally spent over an hour completing a survey that nearly drove me crazy and yielded the equivalent of $2 in bonus points towards a gift certificate for a selection of stores. if you have the time and patience for such mindless work with a very minimal payout, be my guest. In my opinion, it is not nearly worth the time and effort for the payback.
I have also signed up with companies like Swagbucks, but I don’t have the interest to put unnecessary time into internet searches, surveys, etc. to make it worth my while. I know it works for others, but it’s just not for me. I have better, more enjoyable things to do with my spare time, like writing here:)
Next Thursday, we will look at two more creative ways to add money to the budget: providing a service and kid-friendly job options. What are some ways you have earned extra money for your family by working at home?