Retail Value vs. EBay Value

This post may contain affiliate links.

This post was originally published on January 25th, 2011

Today’s money making tip is to consider how much someone else is willing to pay tomorrow for the great deal you bought today.  I always try to check EBay before I return something that I bought at a great price. 

Around Thanksgiving a dear friend asked me to check for the Little People Nativity sets at Target, as they were half off at $13.99.  I picked her up one, but she found them the next morning and picked up 5! I ended up with one to return, but found that they were selling at the time for between $24 and $30 plus shipping on EBay.  Obviously I sold it on EBay.  Too bad she didn’t tell me she wanted 5!  :-)

My sister overbought for her daughters’ Christmas a few years back and decided to return some penguins (I think) to Build a Bear.  She heard a rumor though and checked EBay first.  Sure enough- they were selling like hotcakes for well over retail!  She made a tidy little profit to help cover the rest of Christmas.

My husband, who is a Lego connoisseur, has been practicing this for several years.  My mother bought him a large Star Wars ship that he sold 3 years later for almost 3 times her purchase price- and it was used!  Thus began a new tradition. He watches for 50% off or better clearances on specialty lego sets.  He will sell some at retail prices between Thanksgiving and Christmas to recoup his investment for the year and hangs on to the rest until after they’ve retired and sells them at a much higher price – and full profit! 

As frugal folks we sometimes don’t realize how much people are willing to pay for “stuff”.  We might not pay even half price for an item, while others will pay retail or more.  This often happens with regional overstocks.  A store in Texas may have an overstock on barbies and no hot wheels, while a store in New Jersey may have an overstock on hot wheels and no barbies.

It can be fun to buy something at half off and sell it for 75% of retail on craigslist.  I make money, but save someone else money- a true win win situation.  I recommend that you don’t spend lots of money hoping to resell something.  The best thing about buying at Walmart or Target is being able to return something within 90 days with a receipt if you need to.  I personally like the safe scenario of selling some now at small profits to cover the initial investment, leaving some to sell later at high profits.

Caution # 1 – Keep in mind when selling on Ebay that your total listing/selling/paypal fees will run between 10 and 20 % of sale price.  Craigslist is always free of course.  :-)
Caution # 2 – when you check the completed listings for current selling prices be sure that you look at the green prices.

Speak Your Mind