Why eBay won’t be my 2nd job


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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!

This entry was posted in 2nd Career, expense, money, teaching and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Why eBay won’t be my 2nd job

  1. bogart says:

    I totally agree with your thought that teachers should be paid more — in our state they make about what you make and it is crazy, IMHO.

    It has, with your recent posts, crossed my mind to wonder whether you qualify for and are signed up for those public benefits that are available (if any)? SNAP was one that sprang to mind. I know income levels can be stringent, so perhaps not, but I certainly hope you and your kids are benefiting from the programs I (and all of us, you included of course) support.

  2. Janie says:

    Have you tried selling your textbooks through bookscouter.com?

    If the textbooks are fairly recent, you might be able to get a decent amount of money for them!

    I’ve also discovered that other sorts of books–such as, cookbooks, poetry books, literature classics, etc. sell, too.

    Shipping is free in most cases.

    Good luck!

  3. katharine says:

    A friend of mine occasionally does jobs through taskrabbit. It’s a virtual chore thing and she does jobs like putting together powerpoint presentations, etc. She says it can be tricky because for some people this is their full time job so getting a job is a matter of persistence but when she does get a job it’s quick payment. Just a thought for some other source of income you can do without having to work all hours of the night! Good luck!

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