Monday, September 28, 2009

No More Time to Earn More

This week, I really just don't have any time.  I have a calf with an infection, 15 new baby goats, planting to do, and my mom has to deal with her sick sister, so she can't take up any slack for me.

It looks like I am probably going to fall short of my earn more goals.
I have six items left on ebay, and theoretically, if they all sold, I'd make it.  Since my sell-through rate has averaged a little less than 30%, and none of them have bids so far, I'm not holding my breath.  And, of course, I still have books up on half; it is possible that a bunch of them could sell in the next few days.  But, barring divine intervention, I'm not quite going to hit my goal. 

I'm aiming to get my final tally and thoughts up first thing on Thursday morning and I'll let you know then how I came out.  Good luck to everyone else working on the challenge!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Baby Shower

One of my really good friends from college had a baby shower today. She lives about three hours away, so I pretty much spent the whole day driving and partying.

I made her a baby afgan ... which took all of yesterday to make.
Here it is:

And here is a close-up.

I think it came out really nice, but I haven't had any time to focus on earning more this weekend.  I'm still down about $100, so it looks like I won't quite make my goal.  More about that tomorrow.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Why I haven't been posting much this week

I'm a member of a ladies literary club. Every two weeks we meet for a presentation on a topic (20-30 minutes), coffee, and deserts. This year our topic is "Presidential First Ladies" and it was my turn to give the presentation on Eleanor Roosevelt. So I did a lot of writing this week, just not blog-like writing. Hopefully I'll do a bit better next week, after I have recovered.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Earn More Challenge Update, Day 22

I have earned $355.46 so far.

The breakdown, for those who are interested:

$90 - plasma donation
$50 - credit card cash reward redemption
$321.65 - ebay and half

$45.68 - shipping
$44.86 - ebay fees
$15.65 - packing supplies
This does not include half or paypal's take, as they are much harder to break out. So, really my ebay and half gross is slightly larger, and my fees and expenses are also slightly higher.

I calculated that I needed to make $18.55/daily to meet my goal of $555.56. To be up-to-date, I would need to have made $408.10 by today, so I am down $52.64.

I have another $74.98 in bids on ebay. After fees, that will be about $67.50. So I really only have $132.60 left to go.

I am going to do one more round of ebay, ending all my auctions on Sunday, so I will have plenty of time to collect money and get items shipped out. If I don't have enough by then, it'll be back to the plasma center for me, which would make me a sad panda (I don't mind the actual donation, it's the hours of waiting that I despise). Crossing my fingers that I can find enough stuff around my house that will sell.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The axe has fallen ... and it missed us (this time)

Mr. Goat's company laid off 15% of its employees today. He wasn't laid off, but he's looking at taking over half the workload of someone who was. Since he already works an 80 hour week, things could get ... interesting around here. I can relax a little on my decision not to spend any extraneous money, but I am still not joining the local golf course.

I am waiting for my latest round of ebay to finish tonight before updating my earn more challenge. I am still behind, but it looks like I'm only about $250 down, with a week and a couple of days left to go.

I am debating trying to donate plasma for one more week. On one hand, it would probably push me over goal. On the other, two hours of driving and eight to ten hours of waiting for $60 is really hard to get motivated to do. That's pretty much all my free time for this week. I am crossing my fingers that a couple of big items sell well on ebay later this week, and I'll be able to forgo any more plasma donations and still meet my goal.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Getting the Flu Shot message out

Since adults only need 2 flu shots this year, it's not quite accurate. But you have to give them props for the effort ...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Lost Steam, but Getting Back on Track - Day 14

The plasma donation last Wednesday did not go well. I waited four hours and finally left in frustration, as I had a doctor's appointment that I needed to make. Since I was a no-show (signed in but did not donate), I am ineligible to donate for a certain period of time. I need to call the center and find out how long that period is, but I may have blown all my plasma money for September. At any rate, I didn't get any plasma donation money for this week.

That evening, I slipped on a wet porch and fell down four stairs, giving myself a nasty bruise and difficulty moving all weekend. It also knocked a lot of my challenge energy out of me; I didn't do anything for the rest of the week but ship items that had already sold on ebay and half. Mostly I zoned out on the Aion open beta.

However, last evening and today I have started to get back on track. Half and ebay have been slow but consistent earners for me, so I have listed 17 items on ebay and now have more than 50 items on half. This evening, I added my total sales from ebay and half for the month, and subtracted shipping and supplies, for a net of $95.25.

So my total money earned for the challenge so far is $185.25.

I am way behind.

If I can make as much from ebay in the second half of the month as I did in the first half, I am looking at ~ $280 for the month, way short of my goal. Four more plasma donations (assuming I can do them at all) puts me up to only ~ $410.

I do have some clothing that I decided would not move well on ebay, and I am going to try to consign it. But the reason it won't move well is that it is mostly stuff from Macy's, which has such a low resale value that I can't expect much from it, even if it sells.

Time to shift the prayer wagon into gear, and ask for some energy and inspiration.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Days Off

I fell down some stairs yesterday, so I am giving myself a few days off. Expect an update after this weekend, once the Aion beta goes offline;)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Spend Less or Earn More? - Day 9

Musings of a Midlife Mom asked: is it easier to earn less or spend more? So far this month, earning more has felt like pulling teeth, so I have to go with spending less. As I said in a previous post, I am doing both this month, due to job insecurity. And it has been much easier to stretch the grocery budget a bit than to figure out how to make extra cash.

That's why I'm glad that I signed up for the challenge. It has forced me to move beyond my comfort zone and really think about the ways I could add more income, and whether those ways are worth it to me in the long term. Without the challenge, I don't think I'd have ever tried plasma donation, for instance. I certainly wouldn't have discovered how much fun it is to check my ebay auctions and discover that an item was bid on, or bid up, since the last time I looked.

Speaking of which, I have sold two items, and have two items with bids (once of which ends this evening). I have achieved a sales rate of 4 of 13. Therefore, I have decided that I will continue to put items up on ebay for the remainder of the month, rather than taking them to the consignment store. Unfortunately, no one has paid me yet, and I can't count it as income until I have it in my hot little hands (or paypal account, as the case may be). So I have zero income for today. Look for a big jump in my balance tomorrow, though, as it is a plasma donation day and hopefully I will have some money coming in from ebay as well.

Challenge Totals:
Today: $0/18.55 = (18.55)
Total: $99.27 /166.95 = (67.68)

P.S. I have found 14 more books to list on half, so did accomplish the goal I set for myself yesterday. My goal for tomorrow is to list or re-list 5 items on ebay.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Half sales from the weekend - Day 8

I got the three books ordered off half over the last weekend off today, for a gain of $8.37 after commission and postage. I've been working really hard on the farm for the last couple of days, and extra money has sort of fallen by the wayside. That, and I am waiting for my ebay auctions to close to see how I come out re:ebay or consignment.

My goal for tomorrow is to find 10 more books that I can live without and list them on half. I also have one ebay auction ending in a sale tonight, so hopefully they will pay me and I can get it shipped off tomorrow.

Challenge Totals:
Today: $8.37/18.55 = (10.18)
Total: $99.27 /148.40 = (49.13)

Yale Fail

Yale University has removed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad from an upcoming book about how they caused outrage across the Muslim world, citing "a substantial likelihood of violence that might take the lives of innocent victims."

This is wrong on so many levels, I can't even start.

Monday, September 7, 2009

No Ebay Sales, but a couple of bids - Day 7

So far, I haven't sold anything on ebay. However, in addition to the shirt that was bid on yesterday, someone has put a bid on my mom's old purse. So 2 of the 13 items I put up will sell. I've still got 6 of the 13 up after tonight; if 1 or 2 more sell (besides the ones that already have bids) I'll call it worth my time. Otherwise, off to the consignment store I go!

Challenge Totals:
Today: $0/18.55 = (18.55)
Total: $90.90 /129.85 = (38.95)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Nuthin' but Ebay - Day 6

Finished putting the last of my test items up on ebay - ended up with 13 items total. If they sell well enough, I'll try to put more up. If they don't, I'll take everything into the consignment store on Thursday when I go to town to donate plasma. I'm encouraged because one item already has enough bid on it to cover my ebay fees so far, and it is a sleeveless shirt, so the consignment stores wouldn't have taken it anyway. Crossing my fingers for some sales tomorrow.

High Class, Low Income made $125 babysitting; I am trying to think of anyone who might like my babysitting services, but am so far coming up blank. But I appreciate the idea for a different income source.

Challenge Totals:
Today: $0/18.55 = (18.55)
Total: $90.90 /111.30 = (20.40)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Plasma Donation 2- Day 5

Donated plasma for the second time today and got my big new donor bonus - $60. And it only took three hours today. I was not able to make it in at opening; next time I am going to try to make it there at 7 am and see what the shortest possible wait is.

After this, I am an old donor, and can earn only $65/week for 2 donations. I realized that I was overly optimistic re: plasma earnings. I thought that the ability to donate re-set at the beginning of every week, but in fact you can donate only twice in any seven day period. So the next day that I can donate is Thursday, and I only have 6 more possible donations for September, meaning that the largest possible amount that I can make by donating plasma this month is $285.

That means I have to earn $270.56 besides plasma donation to meet my goal, and that is assuming that I make every possible plasma session this month. So far my non-plasma earning are pretty anemic, but I will wait until Monday night when my auctions on ebay end before I get too concerned.

I did sell a couple of books on half today, but it was too late to ship them when they sold, so I won't count them in until after Tuesday, when I ship 'em. Even with them I would still be a bit behind, but I'm almost caught up today. I'm going to enjoy it while I can, because I don't think I'll make any more money before Tuesday, when I can start shipping again.

Challenge Totals:
Today: $60/18.55 = 41.45
Total: $90.90 /92.75 = (1.85)

Friday, September 4, 2009

A Little More Ebay - Day 4

I put up some more items on ebay today. 3 of my items have at least one "watcher" and I am hoping that means that a few of them will sell. Since I don't have a "buy it now" option, I figure I won't have any idea what will and will not sell until after the auctions end.

I didn't make any money today, but I've put some effort into it, so it's still a good day.

Challenge Totals:
Today: $0/18.55 = (18.55)
Total: $30.90 /74.20 = (43.30)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Plasma Donation Success - Day 3

Made my first-ever plasma donation today. + $30 to the earn more challenge!

Some of the questions I had before I donated (which the helpful videos did not address):

(1) Does it really take two hours for your first donation?
A: No. In my case, it took 6.5 hours from the time I walked in the door to the time I walked out. I guess, if you could find a time that was not busy, it would be faster. Or a center not as slammed as this one. (My guess is that, as long as the economy remains in the toilet, this is not likely).

(2) Does it hurt?
A. Yes, about as much as a regular blood donation. Like a blood donation, they do a finger prick, which can be more painful than the big needle stick. I suspect that, like a blood donation, it depends on the skill of your phlebotomist. Mine was about 8 of 10 today.

(3) Is it really sterile?
A. Yes. The pictures of the machines make it look like your blood is passing through the machine. In actuality, the machine houses disposable tubing, which all comes out of a nice package right before your eyes.

(4) Who is going to be donating blood at the bed next to me?
A. Students and working-class people. Drunk vagrant-types don't pass the screening process, so they don't hang out in the waiting area. In this center, no one but donors was allowed in the waiting area, which meant that there were no children, either. The people around me generally had thicker regional accents than I do, but were uniformly pleasant and friendly to me (some got irate at the staff members for the long wait).

(5) Am I going to feel like a total noob, since I don't know the system?
A. Yes, but it doesn't matter. Both staff and other donors were willing to point me in the right direction when I did something noob-ish, and everyone was very nice about it.

(6) Am I going to look like a needle-crazed junkie after donating?
A. No, with the caveat that you have to get a decent phlebotomist. The picture is of my arm ~3.5 hours afterward. There's a big red mark and a bit of bruising, but I expect it will be pretty much unnoticeable tomorrow. (I'll post a picture if it actually erupts into anything spectacular-looking)

(7)Is this a viable long-term income source for me?
A. Probably not. It's about a 40 minute drive from my house, so with the long wait time, I just don't see myself giving up half a day for their regular donor fee (currently $25/40) after this month. If I lived closer, or had work or studying that I could do while waiting to be called, I'd be more tempted.

The thing that most surprised me was how interested people were in my Kindle. I had no less than ten people (staff and donors) ask me what it was, how it got books, how much it cost, etc. I didn't think that very many people would be interested in an ebook reader; when they finally get one down to a reasonable price point, they are going to sell like hotcakes, it appears.

Besides plasma donation, I have managed to list a few pieces of clothing on ebay yesterday. I'll try to get a few more on tonight. Basically, the idea is to run a few items a day for a week or so and see if I am selling enough to offset the expense of doing business on ebay. One real benefit to a consignment store is that they don't charge you an upfront fee. I am pricing by (1)making an educated guess as to what they would sell on consignment (2) calculating 40% of that and (3) adding enough to the starting bid that my take will equal that number. I figure the upfront fees of three items into each one, as I feel that I will be lucky to sell 1/3 of what I am listing. I am not using a buy it now feature because I believe the added costs raise my asking price too much. If you use ebay and have critiques as to my underlying assumptions or methodology, I would much appreciate them.

I have also divided my goal by the number of days to get a per day amount of $18.55. So I am going to start tracking that, as well, to see if I am ahead or behind. So far I am down a little less than $25, but the month is young!

Challenge Totals:
Today: $30/18.55 = 11.45
Total: $30.90 /55.65 = (24.75)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

First Money! - Day 2

I got my first money for the earn more challenge. I sold A Game of Thrones on half for a whopping 75 cents. So $.75 (price) + $2.64 (shipping reimbursement) - $.11 (commission) - $2.38 (actual shipping) = $.90.

It's better than a kick in the pants;)

Hopefully I will make more tomorrow at the plasma center.

Challenge Totals:
Today: $.90
Total: $.90

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Plasma Donation Fail and Consignment Research - Day 1

According to the Talecris website, "you should allow 2 hours for your first donation." But apparently, the first of the month is a VERY popular day to donate plasma. By the time I arrived at 10am, the waiting list was ~60 people deep. Since I didn't have the entire day (I had budgeted 3 hours), I decided to postpone day 1 of plasma donation to Thursday, when I really can take the entire day, if necessary.

Since I was already in town, I looked at the local consignment stores to see if ebay was a better option. Apparently, since the last time I was there, the best store in town has dropped its payment percentage from 50 to 40. So now I am leaning back toward ebay. I have some nice, designer clothes, which I will probably have to underprice significantly, as I have low feedback and poor pictures, but I think that 90% (after ebay's fees and paypal's fees) will probably compensate for that. Also, I plan to borrow my mom's camera, since it is much nicer than the one on my phone.

Challenge Totals