Blog readers will know that we ran up against a wall recently when failing parts on the car necessitated a paycheck’s worth of repairs. My paychecks are always already committed to the last dime and previous medical bills have already erased my savings. In fact we still owe quite a bit to dentists. We needed some quick cash to keep utilities from being turned off so I turned to my old frenemy eBay.
We went through the closets and perused our bookshelves, dug into the shed and through our rooms and came up with a handful of things that we thought might make a little dough. Some Christmas ornaments, a doll, some picture frames. But most of it was books (as books are the things we have most of) so it turned out we were wrong. No one wants books – not even signed, first edition books (The Mammoth Hunters by Jean Auel) or esoteric professional books, not homesteading, gardening or craft books, not even textbooks (darn professors have moved on to a newer edition). The big seller (about 80% of sales) was my daughter’s American Girl doll. Her phone was broken and she’s a teenager so the choice was clear to her but I felt a pang when I carefully boxed the doll up for shipment.
All in all we made about $80. But once postage, packaging materials and eBay fees were deducted it was more like $60. eBay is not an easy way to make money. Long time blog readers might remember that I did eBay selling as an employee for someone who went to storage auctions. That’s the way to make money on eBay – tons of volume and some stuff that people really want. I remember our best unit – it was full of model plane parts from 20 or 30 years ago -things that you can’t get now. Those little engines were gold – one sold for $1500! Then the TV series Storage Wars came out and everyone got into the auction business and you couldn’t get storage compartments for a decent price so my employer went out of business. Unless you have a way of getting things people want in bulk or sought after collectibles at a bargain price eBay is not worth the time it takes to photograph, list, and ship things. About half of the things (ok, books) I listed didn’t sell.
But it’s summer so I have time to take on a 2nd job, right? Well, yes and no. People are hiring but our local economy is tourist based and we enjoy the company of out of town guests through the fall as they come to appreciate the fall foliage. Employers want you to commit to working through October and our school starts August 3rd so that’s not feasible. However I just heard of a ‘third shift’ job at the State Park as gate attendant- working 9:30 PM to 4:30 AM Thursday – Sunday. It pays $8 an hour and would last through November. I daresay it would make Fridays and Mondays a bit difficult in the classroom as I would have to go straight to school from the park but it would only be for four months.
Or I could try crafting – making a bunch of felted wool hats, and cat beds, to sell for Christmas (I do have yarn so the expense wouldn’t be much). It’s awfully hot to knit wool though. It’s a more flexible schedule though so I can fit it around my professional development workshops (required for license renewal and part of my plan to stay ahead of the curve and prepare for further employment).
Honestly I think they need to pay teachers more. As a still “new” teacher I make $35,000 a year and taxes and benefits removes a third of that before it reaches my bank account. It’s just too difficult to live on the remainder as a family of 5 (yes, one is in college so I can’t count her as a dependent but I’m still paying for car insurance, phone, etc.). Meanwhile I’ll keep looking for that 2nd job!