August 2014 Income Report + Student Loan Payoff Progress…

This year seems to have flown by until I hit the month of August. This month actually felt like it was moving at a snail’s pace and I attribute much of that feeling to the fact that I was on pins and needles throughout this month for one reason or another related to re-selling. Nonetheless, I got through this month and walked away feeling quite accomplished (despite having a ton of unprocessed inventory staring back at me as I type this post). I met a few milestones this month and I’m proud to report that I’m on an accelerated path to paying off my student loans much faster (more on that below).

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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 my sales and how I fared in meeting my student loan payoff goal.…

 eBay

I didn’t focus much on eBay this month and my sales show it. I only created one (1) new listing this month and it was for an item that sold, but I can’t even include in this month’s totals.

Before I clarify that last sentence, here is screenshot of this month’s numbers:

The total shown above is actually incorrect. I actually sold a total of 7 items for $234.37. I had to remove one item from those numbers because it was a personal sale, unrelated to re-selling items for profit.

The personal item that I sold was my Scanfob bluetooth barcode scanner. I FINALLY got rid of my Scanfob 2005 after holding on to it for a few months even though I stopped using it about 2 months after buying it. I originally purchased it at full retail price ($279) and sold it 4 months later only to take a $100 loss. To be honest, such a huge loss is mainly my fault. The item was still in great condition, but I listed it as an auction that ended at time when buyers are not actively bidding on eBay. Nevertheless, I was just happy to get rid of it. I thought that having a bluetooth scanner would make scouting easier, but I would never recommend a Scanfob again after owning one.

but that’s another story for another post.

Here were my eBay expenses for August:

  • Shipping fees: $67.91
  • eBay AND PayPal fees (final value fees, listing fees, subscription fees, etc): $36.71
  • Cost of goods sold: $75.99

Net profit = $66.75

Ouch! I think this was my lowest performing month ever, but when you don’t put much into it, these are the results that you get.

My top performing item this month was something I thrifted in “bulk” a few months ago. I had every intention of sending those items to Amazon — and I did — but I was hit with a policy violation from the manufacturer stating that I was guilty of copyright infringement for selling their product as “new” without being an authorized seller. I didn’t feel like fighting it and I took the issue to Amazon who quickly removed the violation/closed the complaint and simply blocked the listing for any future resellers who tried selling the product as “new” via FBA. In the end, I just decided to have all of those units shipped back to me. I was told that I could relist them by downgrading the condition, but I didn’t feel it was worth it. Once I got the units back, it took me another month before I decided to list them all on eBay so that I wouldn’t lose money. This item sells for 50% less on eBay AND I’m offering free shipping (which I hate doing), so I’m not making much profit, but I am getting my initial investment back. My COGS for eBay this month are definitely higher and that is attributed to the price I paid per unit with the expectation that I would sell these items on a different platform for 5x my cost.

Amazon

So much of this month was spent focusing on Amazon (FBA). I attended several noteworthy sales to acquire new inventory and I shipped quite a few items to Amazon as well. I only managed to get one large shipment into Amazon this month, but it was a decent sized shipment that consisted of 497 books.

Here are the numbers for Amazon:

I feel I did pretty well this month and I actually surpassed selling over 100 units in a month *without* selling any retail arbitrage inventory. I sold 61 units over last month’s numbers. I expect this number to increase as my inventory increases.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have resumed selling as a merchant-fulfilled seller too. I have included a screenshot detailing how much of my earnings were directly related to shipping orders myself:

I didn’t start listing items through this channel until the 3rd week of the month but I feel I did pretty well in making this decision and I plan to continue fulfilling orders myself in addition to sending in merchandise to Amazon.

It should come as no surprise (judging from my last few posts) that a great deal of my sales this month were attributed to a surge in book sales. I’ve never experienced “textbook season” as an FBA seller, so I was actually quite surprised at how well my small inventory of textbooks did. I definitely plan to ramp things up for January’s buying season since inventory can be acquired so cheaply. This is definitely an instance where I don’t have a problem sitting on inventory (or money) until then.

I sold a total of 88 books this month with an average sales price of $23.26. I had quite a few smaller sales averaging $9.95 per book, but there were also a few larger sales to help balance things out. By far, paperback books were my bestsellers.

As you can see, I am not a high volume book seller. Despite attending an awesome estate sale where I walked away with a few hundred books, more than half of my book sales this month were actually from books that I purchased from thrift stores. The jury is still out on whether or not I will continue to pursue books to re-sell. I have mentioned in a previous post that the other side of selling books that no one talks about is that it takes a LOT of work to process books. In the time that I spend sorting, cleaning, grading, listing, and packing books, I could process other types of inventory in half the time! Going forward, I either need to refine the way I process books to get them out the door faster or I need to become much more selective about the types of books I send into Amazon.

Moving along, the following were my expenses/fees for the month:

I believe this number is only going to increase in the upcoming months as I send in more inventory and prepare for fourth quarter.

This month I received $1,550.20 in payments from Amazon. For accounting purposes, that number only reflects deposits into my account up to the last day of the month. Any deposits that were pending or en route to my bank account (approximately $720) on the last day of the month are not included. Instead, they will be reflected in next month’s income report.

Total Earnings

For the month of August I grossed $3536.02 in sales and took home a net profit of $1616.95.

Student Loan Payoff Progress

I am proud to report another successful month of meeting my student loan contribution goal!

Let’s take a look at my current student loan balance:

I originally set out to re-sell enough items to contribute an extra $500 in monthly payments towards my loans. Doing so meant that I could pay my loans off in under 3 years as opposed to 10 years. Each and every month I see the potential to do better and that is why I plan to increase my monthly payoff goal again.

Beginning in September, I will begin dedicating $900 from my re-selling income towards my student loans. Additionally, I mentioned in my previous income report that I intended to use a portion of my part-time income working for my father’s company to help make accelerated payments and I have settled on contributing $600 from my paycheck going forward.

In total, I will begin increasing my extra student loan payment to $1500 per month. That’s an increase of $800 over what I am paying at the moment. I believe this is a feasible goal without overextending myself. I would like to do more, but my income fluctuates based on the amount of time I can put into re-selling, listing, shipping, and also based on my fixed monthly re-selling expenses.

If my calculations are correct, I may be able to knock out my loans by April 2015 instead of my original goal of December 2016. 🙂

Moving Forward

I’m taking the first week of September off from any re-selling activity, but my main goal for September is get the remaining inventory I have designated for Amazon out of my house and into Amazon’s warehouses by the 17th. Afterwards, I plan to devote a lot more energy into reselling on eBay. I need to get my numbers up over there and to be honest, I am actually looking forward to the change. There are only so many books I can grade and process before I’m ready to move on to something else.

I also plan to decrease my spending this month. I don’t have any large sales lined up and have actually put a stop to my spending until I get all of this inventory out of my house. Thankfully, my husband has been helping me when he has free time. The only way I was able to process my last shipment of 497 books in less than 3 days was because he pulled up a chair, grabbed my scanner and asked me how he could help me. With his help, we knocked out over 100 books in under 30 minutes.

…if only he didn’t love his job so much and his benefits weren’t so great…I’d certainly hire him to help out more! 🙂

Since I don’t see that ever happening, I’m going to keep on chugging along this month. I want to meet or exceed last month’s numbers and the only way to do that is to get to work.

Until next time,

Yolanda