Progress to Date

  • Original Loan Amount: $204,000.00
  • Balance at Beginning of 5-year Goal (1/1/08): $188,983.82 @ 6.00%
  • Balance at Refinance in February 2009: $148,000.00 @ 4.625%
  • Outstanding Balance: $0.00 (PAID IN FULL!!!)
  • Latest Payment Date: April 2011
  • Latest Additional Principal Amount: $17,623.22
  • Amount Ahead of Schedule (since refinance): $121,462
  • Time Ahead of Schedule (since refinance): 7 years 10 months
  • Interest Saved Last Month: $23,972.48
  • Total Interest Saved: $28,435.55 ($1,037.74 on original mortgage; $27,397.81 on current mortgage)
  • Months Remaining in 5-year Goal: 20
  • Average Monthly Principal Needed to Meet Goal: N/A (Goal achieved)
  • Progress List Explained

Monday, February 18, 2008

For Sale

At the beginning of this experiment, my wife and I brainstormed a list of ways we could cut our spending and free up additional money to put toward the mortgage payments. We decided to try selling our unused and unwanted possessions to raise modest amounts of cash. I know this is not a novel idea, but we've never been in habit of selling in any format (including eBay, consignment stores, or the traditional garage/yard sale). Instead, we've usually donated our extra items to charity, or stored them throughout our house. We knew that we had accumulated a lot of stuff that, while still useful and in good condition, was stuff we could do without. Instead, we hoped to reduce the clutter and reduce our debt in one fell swoop.

Some stores will attempt to sell your goods on eBay for a small fee. This fee is usually a percentage of the sale proceeds (if the item sells). Since we were not eBay experts, I decided to try this method of selling first. It seemed like a good idea: the store had an excellent reputation on eBay (which is key to selling successfully), the equipment and expertise to pack and ship the items, and the know-how to photograph and describe them in a way which would attract buyer interest. At the same time, I wouldn't be bothered with these tasks myself. So about a month ago, I took a box of assorted items down to the store and let them try to sell our stuff for us.

The outcome was slightly positive. The store listed six items for me (after rejecting at least six other items that they decided weren't worth their trouble), and three of those six items ended up selling. One was an item I was definitely not interested in packing and shipping myself, but the other two were items that I feel would have sold equally as well had I listed them on my own. So I started doing some research online about ways to successfully sell on eBay. Since then, I've started listing my own items, without the help of the middleman. However, since I am a novice seller, I need to earn the trust of the buyer community. This means selling items of low value first, getting positive feedback (hopefully), and working my way up to larger and more expensive items as time goes by. Much like the process of paying down the mortgage, this is going to be a process that requires some patience. However, I'm willing to put in the time and effort if it gets us closer to our goal of being debt-free.

Some things that don't sell well on eBay may still have potential for a garage/yard sale. My wife and I started a collection of things to sell this way once the weather gets nicer. Our neighborhood has a community yard sale once or twice a year, so we'll try to coordinate with that so that we can take advantage of the free advertising and get the most visitors possible.

Although I don't expect to earn large sums from selling items secondhand, even $50 a month would help the bottom line in the long run. And ultimately, we do hope to sell some higher-priced goods which will make a more significant dent in our outstanding principal balance. I'll update this periodically as I get more adept at selling.


Shanti said...

Thank you for you long and fantastically detailed comment on my blog. I, too, am selling a lot of things on eBay and have had a lot of success. I do worry about preaching about getting rid of stuff when I'm effectively selling clutter to other people. On the other hand, perhaps that person needs the thing more than I do. If the things gets USE with them, than it's better off with them than it is with me, sitting in my closet or on my shelf.

I wrote the second part of the clutter series - it's up now if you'd like to read:


Anonymous said...

Have you tried selling on craigslist? You don't have to bother with buyer feedback or shipping when you sell on craiglist. I've had great luck there.

The Executioner said...

We have not yet sold anything on Craigslist, but plan to use that site when we are ready to list our car. So far I have been selling only smaller items like books and CDs to reduce the clutter. Once we decide to sell more bulky items, we'll want to try to sell locally, and Craigslist will be a good option for that.

Thanks for the tip!