The Value Drops When You Drive it Off the Lot

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For the next few weeks on Tuesdays I’m going to bring you some tips for the Christmas season instead of homemaking tips.  My Tips for Tuesday series will return in 2012.  

Consider the true dollar value of the toys you plan to buy your kids this Christmas.  Much like a new car drops it’s value as soon as you drive it off the lot, the value of toys will drop as soon as you open the box of a new toy and remove it from the package. Most parents I know open the larger gifts for their kids and have them all set up for Christmas morning.  The kids never even see the packaging so why pay for it? 

Consider buying gently used toys from a friend, off craigslist, or off eBayMost toys can be bought for less than half the original price and it’s not that difficult to find items that are in very good condition.  Now is the time to clear toys from your house and sell them, and it’s also the time to start looking for toys to buy.  Make sure you check the seller feedback if you’re buying an item off eBay, and also consider the price of shipping into the total price that you’re paying for an item.  When buying off craigslist consider the cost of mileage to get to your meetup destination, and take the time to make sure the item is in good working condition as advertised. Facebook can be a great tool as well.  Post items that you’re looking for and items that you’re wanting to sell.  You never know which of your kids’ castoffs their buddies have been drooling over for the past year!

If you’re selling on craigslist, I do NOT recommend listing your phone number or e-mail address, as there are many spammers out there.  I DO recommend mentioning a reminder in your listing for people to check their spam folders for a reply from you, as well as checking your own spam folder for messages regarding the items you have for sale.  Only accept cash payments when selling on craigslist. Price toys at 25 – 50% of retail, unless they routinely sell for much higher on eBay. The best things about craigslist? It’s free and you can examine the item in person before you commit.

When selling on eBay, be sure to describe any flaws in your item and to specify a shipping time and return policy.  I typically state that I will only accept returns if not as described.  I seem to do better listing items as a Buy It Now with a set price that I base off of recent sales of comparable items.  This assures me that I’m getting a good price and so is the buyer.  It also means they can buy it instantly instead of waiting a week for an auction to close. Also consider shipping time.  It can take up to a week and a half to ship a package around Christmas time, so an item that’s listed Dec. 1 and sells Dec. 8 may not arrive until Dec 18.  That’s cutting it close for a lot of people, especially if they’re travelling for Christmas.  List items in the next couple of weeks for optimal selling price. Roughly 20% of the selling price will be the commission to eBay and Paypal, so keep that in mind.

There is money to be made and money to be saved by selling and buying used toys.  But now is the time to do it.  Don’t wait until mid December when many people have finished their shopping completely or you may just be out of luck. If you try to sell toys after Christmas, you’ll get half as much money for them-if any- because everyone is trying to make room for Christmas toys, not buy more. So what are you waiting for? Dig those abandoned toys from under the depths of the beds, clean them up and get some cash for them so you can turn that cash around and buy other reasonably priced used toys for your kids. You may be surprised at how much money you can make and save.


  1. Good advice. I intend to shop Amazon, but I always keep an eye out at garage sales as well. problem with that is that at least one kid is usually with me.

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