Get thrifty!

You’ve caught me in spring cleaning mode. When the daffodils start waving their cheerful heads around and the scent of hyacinths wafts through the garden, happiness for me is a warm duster. I feel compelled to run about the house wiping away cobwebs and clearing out any old clutter that’s been getting under my feet all winter. It’s a terrible affliction and needless to say DJ, who is still labouring under the impression that the floor is a wardrobe, thinks I’m insane…and he’s probably right. While other, more sensible people were relaxing, I spent most of Sunday with a black bin bag and recycling bag in each hand, recycling old magazines, throwing out rubbish and collecting together any items that I don’t want or need anymore.

Now, in the old days I would merely stick these in a box or a carrier bag and head down to the nearest charity shop with them. But in the interests of frugality, I now have to consider whether it would be thriftier to claw back some cash by flogging them on Ebay or Amazon. Or – dare I say it – picking out a few of the items to see if they might represent…ahem…re-gifting opportunities for friends’ birthdays or for Christmas. That is – hoping they haven’t already spotted the items collecting dust around the house or – horror of horrors – accidentally giving them back to the same friend who purchased it…Eek! That would be a terrible social faux pas.

I’ve got a few reasonably new DVDs that I don’t think I really want anymore, so might I try to sell them on Amazon/ebay. Anybody want a box set of After Life – the creepy series with Lesley Sharp as a slightly batty medium? I’ve also got a lot of books that I’m unlikely to read again, including some novels and one or two cookbooks I don’t use. But I’m in two minds about selling some of them. I’ve sold books on Amazon before and it’s fairly easy, but the problem is there are often so many copies of certain books for sale that the prices are dirt cheap and the profit so slim it’s hardly worth the bother of going to the post office to send them. Especially now our local one has closed.

I was also a bit shocked by how often things seemed to go missing courtesy of lovely Royal Mail – that’s if my customers were telling the truth! I was tormented by emails from an overly keen customer demanding to know where her copy of You Are What You Eat by Gillian McKeith was, practically from the day she’d ordered it, and sure enough when I did post it, it disappeared. To be honest I think a small hole in a mailroom floor was the best place for it! But I refunded her the full amount of course, to ensure I got good feedback, which was a small pain in the wallet. Has anyone else sold stuff on ebay etc.? What were you experiences?

Meanwhile, with that spring feeling enveloping me, I’m compelled to have a real spring clean in terms of my frugal outlook and get thrifty. And I need your help. What I want to know is: what are your favourite thrifty tips/ideas? For example – one of my favourite ones from the living on a pension experiment, one reader suggested, was shaking the petrol pump hose when you finished filling up to get the eggcup sized amount still left in there! I always do that now when I fill up. All the best tips I’m going to compile in a rundown of the top 20 or 30 – depending on how frugal you are feeling. So get your frugal thinking caps on and get in touch!


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12 Responses to Get thrifty!

  1. rik says:

    I\’ve sold quite a few thing on evilbay, mainly books. If they\’re out of print, you can sometimes make a profit on them as well! They\’ve all got there o.k. but I have in the past had several things "lost" in the post. One was a postal order sent to the BBC who never recieved it, I claimed the money back, excluding the extra you pay on P.O.\’s or the postage. A while later I got a letter from the post office saying it had been cashed in Bradford or there abouts and that I had to pay them back! So, it was left in the P.O\’s hands, never got to the other end, then cashed. The only way I see it, is that it had to be a P.O. employee. Did I pay them back? You must be joking, they steal your stuff, pay you less than it cost, cash it, then want you to pay for the privalege! Pity I couldn\’t get anything but recorded messages on their phones that day!

  2. Christine says:

    Other ways to sell stuff off:1. Car boot sales 2. Garage sale 3. Local paper where you can post free ads for larger stuff like radios, furnitureAt least those ways you get the money and the people take the goods in front of you.If all else fails you could try which will get rid of things that don\’t go any other way and people will collect if they want them. Failing that it\’s the charity shop. Thrifty tip – keep an eye on what is on offer on your local freecycle as you may find just the thing you want and often things are in good nick. For furniture – get to know any local centres or charity shops that sell refurbished items. You can always learn to refurbish things yourself too. It can be hard work sometimes but it\’s amazing what you can do when you try.

  3. Christine says:

    Use cheaper cleaners while you are spring cleaning – have a look at cheap, green cleaners to see what you have around the house that you can use instead of going to buy another plastic container of expensive cleaner

  4. Neil A says:

    I have been a member of E-Bay for a number of years now and have both bought and sold items through this medium. I have had some less than satisfactory experiences but only on the buying side and not of enough gravity to put me of this site.

  5. Unknown says:

    I\’ve found you only make any money on eBay from things which are brand new, and even then common items such as clothes only go for about half the price you paid for it in the shop. My best tip is to make the listing end on a Sunday or Monday night at about 8-11pm as more people are online then. Also post the day after they\’ve paid to ensure good feedback. But for items which aren\’t going to sell on eBay try Freecycle, give them away and also have a browse for free things which you need yourself!

  6. peter says:

    Well, very few items on ebay make good money because there are very few genuine buyers on ebay who use it to buy something specific thats everything is dirt cheap and usually not in great condition….instead there are lots of dossers and lowlifes on ebay who only use it to try to scam or buy-to-resell. But its even more difficult now on ebay as a seller because not only have they increased the commission rates, but they\’ve changed the rules so that sellers can\’t leave negative feedback for buyers, so the buyers can mess the sellers around without recourse. Plus you\’ll get non-paying buyers usually on items that are cheap, they just refuse to pay up sometimes or they try and hold you ransom over the postage rates because theyre not happy even though the item is already dirt cheap (they usually say if you dont drop the postage price I\’ll leave you negative feedback), ebay is very bad for sellers, I would not recommend ebay unless you are selling more expensive items, the items that are  more likely to attract scam buyers are items that either very cheap (for some reason if you list the item at a cheap price to get a quick sale, you tend to attract the attention of scam buyers) or highly desired such items as mobiles/computers stuff.

  7. Sylvia says:

    How about buying soap instead of plastic bottles of shower gel ?  It\’s far cheaper, and if you take the wrapping off and
     leave it to dry before using it, it lasts for ages.  Saves on plastic bottles as well – if it takes 1,000 years for a plastic carrier bag to decompose, I dread to think how long a plastic bottle takes.  Re-cycling isn\’t such a great idea – plastics factories pump out loads of horrible stuff into the atmosphere.  My daughter said o, no, I have to have gel, it\’s got much better moisturisers – I introduced her to Dove soap and now she wont go back to gel.  The men like Imperial Leather, and Lush make loads of great soaps, so stop buying plastic bottles and start saving money.

  8. Tia says:

    Hi there, I have been selling on ebay for over 3 years. I can say that most people are really lovely however 1 in 300 are not!! I always make a point of being really honest which is reflected in feedbacks of which  I have over a 1000 & have made thousands.
    Also saved the planet (Landfill) by selling my stuff, before I would have given it to charity (who on my last trip didn\’t even say thank you just demanded  to know if there is any electrical in the bag?  Like it was going to contaminate the shop.
    Bootfairs, are great but every one wants to pay bottom dollar, ebay you get 5 people bidding And bingo you can make more money than it cost new, what a buzz to buy or sell. On sunday just gone I had 600 hits on my site that day, you are talking people from around the world, you dont get that from a bootfair!
    Royal Mail again really good only had 1 parcel go missing
    Ebay is a great place to recycle and it always a pleasure to make someone else happy!!
    Top tip Use Tumble Dryer sheets (bought in poundland) to give your home a lovely fragrance by placing one on your radiaters in every room. Also Pears Soap (Bar) ages really well & has a lovely scent, inspires others to buy it

  9. kim says:

    I buy and sell on ebay and have no problems either way. It is a way of clearing out good stuff and get something for it. Also i have just joined the local freecycle group and its brill. Gone is stuff i don\’t need anymore that would be too much hassle for ebay or not quite up to scratch but too good to throw (landfill) and i\’ve also got bits from there that help me save money. I also recycle as much as i can to save the planet.
    Only thing i\’m having trouble trying to find a recycling home for is the foil trays you get from the take-away. Any ideas??

  10. piper says:

    Thanks for all the helpful thrifty tips – these are great. Keep them coming!

  11. brenda says:

    hi there
    I buy in bulk as much as i can and spilt the items i.e. a tray of chicken, eat a piece on the day and freeze the rest,i do this with a majority of food items. it also pays to shop around if you got the time. I am a keen gardener and collect seeds of my plants each year ready for the next year and also trading with friends and other gardeners and growing fruit and vegtables. I also recycle as much as possible,but have never been on ebay yet.

  12. Unknown says:

    When doing your spring clean (which I will be doing this weekend!) Just use washing up liquid (enviro friendly) and hot water. It cleans everything just as well as all the spray cleaners on the market. I use it for everything even windows it\’s even better at getting finger marks off than the spray window cleaners!

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