If you were not already aware, fourth quarter (Q4) is here! It actually started on October 1st. In preparation for my first Q4 selling on Amazon, I took a lot of steps in September to prepare for this buying season which included stocking up on shipping supplies, making sure I was approved to merchant fulfill toys, and even applying for at least one gated category on Amazon (a process that is still a work in progress).
What exactly does all of this have to do with my income report and student loan update?
In short, I’m praying that all of the steps I took last month in preparation for Q4 will help me make a huge dent in my student loans. I would love to pay those pesky loans off by my birthday (January 2015), but even if I don’t, I want to at least cut my balance in half with the help of holiday sales.
Now is the time to really kick things into high gear and for that reason, I’m going to keep this post relatively short so I can get back to scouting, listing and shipping.
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.…
There isn’t much to report on the eBay front. With everything that has been going on (both personally and professionally), I just haven’t had any motivation to break out my camera to snap photos and create listings.
With that said, here were my numbers for the month of September:
I sold two items from my only live listing which is a “Good ‘Til Cancelled” listing. For the sake of keeping this post short, I won’t even do a breakdown of my costs, fees, profit, etc. It simply isn’t worth it. I hope to sell more items in October, but I won’t beat myself up if I don’t.
A lot has been happening on the Amazon home front. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I am approved to merchant fulfill items in the Toys & Games category for the holiday season. I actually fulfilled this requirement in September by merchant fulfilling a hot item that sold out in a matter of hours. Shortly after shipping all 20 of those items, Amazon sent me a notice letting me know that my stats fulfill their requirements and I just need to maintain them until the cutoff date to make things official.
I also spent the last half of September applying for a restricted/gated category. As I began to brainstorm ways to separate myself from the majority of sellers during the holiday season (and even now), I applied for a category that generally takes a lot of time and patience to be approved in. Until I receive a “approval” or “denial,” that is the extent of what I will say on that subject.
With that small update out of the way, let’s look at my numbers for the month:
To really put things in perspective, I’ve also included the monthly statement/summary that Amazon provides sellers:
This statement shows the product sales and shipping credits I received for my merchant fulfilled inventory as well as any reimbursements I received for the month. This also helps to put my fees into perspective now that merchant fulfilling items makes my fees seem higher.
I am super excited about those stats because I feel I am inching closer and closer to my goal of selling at least 200 units per month. 🙂 Furthermore, I am excited because that figure is after I pull out all of my earnings each month. I am not an FBA seller that has the luxury of re-investing my earnings. Each and every month I have to start from zero and work with a small budget. Last month I put myself on a spending freeze for the first 3 weeks of September. It wasn’t until the 25th that I actually got to spend any money on large purchases and I haven’t shipped those items yet. Approximately 89% of the items I sold in September are second-hand or thrifted goods (e.g. books, electronics, household items, VHS tapes, etc).
Here is a look at my fees (Amazon’s cut) for the month:
This month I received $1,965.38 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 at the end of the month are not included. Instead, they will be reflected in next month’s income report.
Student Loan Update
Last month I set a new goal to apply $1,500.00 per month towards my loans. This was an $800 increase over what I was previously paying and I am proud to report that I met — well actually exceeded — that amount.
Here is a current screenshot of my student loan balance:
Would you believe that I managed to pay off one entire loan last month (loan #: 1-06)?!? …actually, I overpaid (hence the negative balance). 🙂 I paid a total of $2,463.42 towards my loans in September. In fact, I overpaid in an effort to overcompensate for interest that accrues while my payments are “pending.” I plan to call Sallie Mae tomorrow to have them redirect that overpayment to loan 1-03, because that is the next one that I plan to tackle.
One more student loan bit the dust! Hooray! 🙂
To be fair, I did have a little help…to the tune of $893.42. In an effort to keep this post short and to the point, I will follow up in another post about where the additional money came from. (…and yes, it is related to the theme of this blog.)
In Other News…
Last month I got the itch to go thrifting again after discovering Stacy McCafferty’s blog. If you haven’t already done so, please go check out her blog. It is filled with tons of great BOLOs and weekly thrifting updates of items that she sells through Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA). And for the record, I never gave up on thrifting, but between shipping thousands of books to Amazon and attending multiple estate sales and library sales, I went a few weeks without stepping into a thrift store to source for merchandise other than books.
Would you also believe that I spent the latter half of September engaged in retail arbitrage? At one point I even considered starting up another challenge like the one I did here, but I decided against it for now.
I have a lot of pots boiling in October, but I am really looking forward to knocking things out of the park this month in terms of sales. I have been knee deep in sourcing items and it has been fun — even retail arbitrage and online sourcing — two things that I thought I would never find as thrilling as thrifting. I suppose the thrill of the hunt and finding an awesome score like this (:) ) helped me realize once again that good deals with an awesome ROI can be found outside of thrift stores too!
…that’s all for now. This post turned out to be much longer than I intended and I have a ton of unprocessed and ready to be shipped inventory waiting for me to dig into. I do hope that the month of September treated you well. Now that we’re officially in Q4, there is absolutely no reason for you not to crush it!
Until next time,