July 2014 Income Report + Student Loan Payoff Progress…

The month of July is in the bag and I must say I am very happy! After shipping two of the largest shipments that I’ve had since I started selling through Amazon’s FBA program, I must say I was pretty much on pins and needles during the latter half of the month due to encountering almost $400 in shipping charges to ship those items to Amazon’s warehouses. My numbers looked so scary that at one point I wasn’t even sure if I was going to meet my goal of paying an extra $700 towards my student loans.

you’ll have to continue reading to see how I fared.

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As I preface in all of my income reports, the figures that I report below are from part-time re-selling (anywhere from 2 to 10 hours per week). My first and full-time job is my family and my home. Re-selling is something that I do on the side to help make accelerated payments towards my student loans. I have no intentions of turning this into a full-time career — I just want to pay off my loans and enjoy a little treasure hunting while I’m at it. With that in mind, if you can dedicate full-time hours to re-selling, your numbers will in all likelihood be higher than those that I report on this blog.

With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s jump into last month’s sales…

eBay Income

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have resumed selling on eBay again. It took me a month to jump back in, but I am thankful that I did because it helped me remember just how much I actually enjoy selling on eBay because no other marketplace allows you to reach a worldwide audience and sell just about anything.

I only listed 20 items during the last week and a half of the month, but I still had some great sales. Let’s take a look at the numbers:

Out of the 20 items that I listed, 15 of them sold within a week. Thirteen of the items that sold were auction style listings and those auctions were for no more than 5 days.

As you can see, there is a difference in the sale price vs. the total price and that is because I no longer offer free shipping so the total price column reflects the money I received for shipping as well.

In short, I sold 15 items and grossed $812.87.

The following were my expenses:

  • Shipping fees: $98.41
  • eBay AND PayPal fees (final value fees, listing fees, subscription fees, etc): $106.41
  • Cost of goods sold: $119.45

Net profit = $488.60

I am very happy with this figure. I pulled out of my eBay funk in July and got busy listing. To put things in perspective: I had over $600 worth of inventory just sitting waiting to be listed and I was able to add almost $500 towards my student loans just by investing the 2 hours it took to list and photograph those 15 items.

Amazon FBA Income

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Amazon had me on pins and needles in July. There were several days where my account balance sat in the negative and I thought I would actually owe Amazon money. Shipping close to 600 lbs of inventory is not fun and neither is seeing a $366 bill. Thankfully, things turned around and my negative balanced turned to positive coincidentally on the same day that my account should have been charged for any outstanding balances. 🙂

Let’s see how I fared:

July’s numbers were similar to those that I reported for June. I managed to sell $2,140.64 worth of merchandise across 89 units.

Now, let’s take a look at my fees:

My fees were higher this month due to my inbound shipping charges. I don’t anticipate this number decreasing any time soon because I have quite a few larger shipments to send out during the month of August and possibly September.

Moving forward, I will no longer be accounting for the cost of Amazon goods sold (e.g. the amount of money I spent on inventory that sold). In addition to it being time consuming to calculate the purchase price for 80+ units, I don’t feel it is necessary because of the margins I make when I sell items. I keep track of this number internally for tax/business purposes, but because I primarily sell thrifted goods, my costs are so low that when I sell an item through FBA it usually covers the cost of everything in that particular shopping trip.

This month I sold a LOT of items that were purchased weeks or months ago. It doesn’t make sense for me to account for the cost of that item and subtract it from this months numbers because I didn’t purchase it this month and I’ve long since paid off that debt from other items that have sold.

For the record, I have a weekly cash allowance of $125 to spend on new inventory. That equals $500 per month on inventory that I will allow myself to spend, HOWEVER, I have never accomplished spending this much on thrifted inventory. The closest I came was almost $300 and I usually average $200-$250 per month for inventory.

What I will report going forward are the total deposits that I’ve received from Amazon for the month. That, in my opinion, is what matters most in terms of reporting for this blog and that is what helps to pay off my student loans!

This month I received $1,151.51 in payments from Amazon. This amount includes any refunds for lost/damaged inventory as well.

Grand Total

For the month of July I grossed $2953.51 in sales and took home a net profit of $1640.11.

Student Loan Payoff Progress

Last month I set a goal to increase my extra student loan payment to $700. Thankfully, I was able to accomplish that goal! 🙂

In my last income report I mentioned that Sallie Mae still hadn’t processed my payments correctly and that my options were to either let it go or contact the Financial Aid Ombudsman about my concerns.

I was leaning towards leaving it alone since I saw my balance going down each month, but inside it was really annoying me that no one was taking my numerous requests to apply my payments correctly seriously. Not only did I write it on the payment itself, but I called ahead of the payment to make a notation on my account AND I called afterwards when I saw that the payment still had not been applied correctly. Despite this, no changes were ever made by Sallie Mae even when numerous customer service reps told me that the change would occur within a few days.

When I told my husband what was going on, he sat down with me and we addressed our concerns to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. If you are not aware, this is an agency that was established to oversee financial service providers and consumer financial laws. There is a section on the website that allows you to submit complaints and student loan providers (and servicers) just so happens to be one of the complaint options.

We submitted our complaint with documentation and left it alone. My plan was to follow up if I did not hear back from them within the time frame specified in the complaint confirmation email.

What happened next was nothing short of amazing!

Within less than a week, not only did I receive a personal phone call from the CFPB, but my last few payments were finally applied correctly when I logged into my Sallie Mae account after that phone call. I did NOT expect the matter to be looked into so quickly and I certainly did not expect Sallie Mae to comply as quickly either.

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at my latest student loan balance:

As you can see, loan 1-06 shows a drastic decrease and this is exactly what I wanted. This particular loan had the largest balance and was accruing the most interest each month. Now it has the lowest balance and I am looking forward to seeing the other loans drop down to the $2k range as well after my next payment.

Extra Income

In my last income report, I revealed that I had accepted a part-time, work from home position working for my father’s company. This new income stream has certainly been a blessing in disguise and I was actually torn about whether or not to include it in my income reports because I originally wanted to allocate that money towards our household needs (i.e. building a larger savings and emergency fund). Additionally, it almost seemed out of place with the current theme of this blog. However, when I started this blog, I wanted its focus to be on *everything* I was doing to pay off my loans. At the time, the most profitable avenue was reselling items on eBay. It has since grown to selling on Amazon and eBay, but I never intended to stop there. I had a few other income streams in mind such as freelancing, affiliate marketing and product creation.

I never imagined that I would actually take on a part-time job as means to bring in additional income, but because this blog is about paying earning “extra student loan money” and because I can’t stand debt, I have decided to use a portion of this new income stream to pay off my student loans. At the moment I am unsure of how much I will contribute, but once we revise our household budget, I will be sure to update future monthly income reports with that figure after a decision has been made. I really want to get rid of my loans ASAP and the more money I can throw at them, the faster they will go away!

What About All That Extra Money You Earned This Month?

This month (and the months prior to it) I earned more money than I actually put towards my student loans. That was intentional. Although I don’t detail every expense in my income reports, I should clarify that any remaining money goes towards reoccurring operating expenses, taxes, giving to my church and purchasing new inventory. Also, for the past few months I have been putting away money in order to prepare myself for my first Q4 as an Amazon seller. I don’t want to use credit, so I am setting aside cash. I hope to increase my sales during Q4 and make much more sizable payments towards my loans.

Additionally, I am gearing up for two major sales this month (August). I don’t exaggerate when I refer to them as being “major” and because I don’t want to speak too soon and also because I realize that tomorrow is not promised, I will hold off on disclosing any specifics.

Moving Forward…

I finally invested in a pocket sized planner to help me organize my days/weeks. When I worked outside of the home, having a planner was a necessity. I was the type of person that color-coded everything and had notes next to my notes. I was literally that busy, but I was organized. Nowadays my free time is limited and I really have to use it wisely. My daughter is growing leaps and bounds and she finally started walking in July, so keeping her active and engaged is certainly a full-time job. It also means that I don’t have much time for reselling, so I have to maximize my profits if I want to continue to reach my monthly student loan payoff goal.

All of these factors combined means I am much more selective about what I purchase. I no longer have the time to just leisurely browse a store. In fact, I have become a bit more methodical in my approach and do my homework about what I’m looking for and the profit potential of a source vs. the time and money that I spend acquiring those goods. I can no longer spend 2.5 hours browsing a thrift store only to walk away with merchandise that will produce about $100 profit.

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I am excited about what is in store for August and certainly thankful for the month of July. I feel blessed to be able to knock out debt with something as simple as reselling.