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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Giving eBay a Try and a Goodwill Gift Card Give-Away


I recently received this email from a reader of My Dear Trash.


Hi Laura,


I am a frequent visitor to your site.  My friend linked it on facebook a few weeks back and since then I've been checking it pretty much daily.  I am a student, wife and mother and money around here is super tight.  So, I decided to take your advice and try selling on eBay.  The first thing I listed, from my own closet, sold for almost triple what I listed it for.  I was stoked.  I visited my local thrift shop and picked up about 15 items.  I listed them all for five days and not one item sold.  I relisted, dropping the price on a few, and still none have sold.  I added in more items after I read that you have 200+ rotating through, but still nothing.  So, do you have any advice for starting out?  How long did it take you to get going and make some profit?  



Thanks so much!



Sarah


Sarah, thanks for writing.  I’m so glad you had success selling the clothes from your closet.  Digging through your own trash and looking for clothes you no longer want, and then selling them on eBay is a great way to make some revenue.  Then, you can start looking for bulk purchases at thrift stores and garage sales, but now it seems you are in a rut.  I’m sure there are many others feeling the same frustration as you; wanting to run an eBay store, but not sure what will sell and how quickly you can start making serious money.  Starting out can be a challenge and like everything else in life that's worth working for, 
there’s a learning curve.   
I’ve been re-selling for over five years, but my first attempts are still fresh in my mind.  
It was brutal; almost laughable.
When I started selling on eBay, I had visions of making money off everything I posted.  
I purchased brands I’d never heard of, really nice clothing that I was certain would sell, but later didn’t.  I made a little here and there, but not as much as I hoped.  
Many times, I wanted to quit and at times, it seemed like a waste of time.  To my advantage (this depends on whom you ask), I love to shop.  I love fashion.  I love clothes, so for me, I kept trying for the thrill of the hunt. 
I remember one of my first big sales when I first started in 2005 was a Men’s Nordstrom NWT (new with tags) black wool trench coat.  I paid $1.00 for it at a thrift store and it sold for $90.00.  This one sell kept me going when everything else was selling for $4.99 or not selling at all. 
My philosophy is this:
If I can buy 100 items for $100.00, I can usually make my money off re-selling the best 10 items for $10.00 each.  That leaves 90 items with earnings that are free and clear of my initial investment.
Take a look at this pile of men’s jeans I found this weekend at a garage sale.  
Men’s jeans are so hard to find.  
Men are not like women, changing their jeans with each trend and season.  Men typically hold onto their jeans until they wear them out or get too fat to fit into them, so finding really good quality and stylish men’s jeans is exciting.  As you can imagine, Kirkland, New Sierra or Wrangles do not sell well (if at all) on eBay, but Tommy Hilfiger, DKNY and Guess jeans sure do.  I paid $17.00 for 17 pairs of jeans.  I listed each pair for $9.99.  So far, I have 6 bids.  I hope to sell each pair for $9.99, leaving me a profit of $153.00 (minus eBay and PayPal fees). 
I wouldn’t be selling so many things if I wasn’t out there looking as often as I am.  As I said, that’s the part I love.  I love the thrift store culture, the garage sale crowd, the negotiating and the “what will I find today” environment.  I don’t mind digging because looking through smelly clothes is just part of the job.  Usually, somewhere in the middle of the rack, squashed between burnt orange polyester elastic high-waisted pants are the Eileen Fisher Small Navy Velvet Silk NWT $170 Pants (these sold this week for $41.00).
Do I get burned out?  Kelly and I were just having this conversation.  The number one thing that keeps us motivated to sell on eBay is the shopping.  Every week something exciting jumps into my cart and I know I’ll have a successful week.
Another thing I've learned is eBay cannot be taught, it cannot be duplicated.  It is about how hard you are willing to work and timing, timing, timing.  
I still have the same struggles as you.  I try to list around 100 items a week.  Last week I made close to $500.00.  Weeks previous, I’ve made only $150.00.  Kelly reminded me her first weeks she made around $50.00.  She saw the potential and kept going and now outsells anyone I know.  I'm running to keep up with her vision of this whole thing.
My advice to you is keep going.  You’ve already won half the battle by understanding how to download photos and post on eBay.  
Keep shopping.  
Be picky. 
There’s so much out there.  Between dollar days and garage sales, I can’t list my trash fast enough. 
Another thing it that profits don’t always come in the form of money earned.  I purchase so much trash for my own home, for my kids to wear, appliances, furniture, décor.  Several weeks ago, I found misc. stuff out at garage sales:
 this  frame, 
the little frames on the shelf, 
plus the Pottery Barn tins 
this Nightmare Before Christmas Decor (Payson loves this stuff)
and a few articles of clothing.  
I paid around $10.00 for everything.  Included in the purchases were these
They sold this week on eBay for $8.99.  
Also in the pile was this Lot of 4 J.Jill Medium Tunic Short/Long Sleeve Shirts.  I sold them  for $14.99.
That means all my other purchases were free and I still hope to sell the Pottery Barn tins.
You know the old saying:
A penny saved is a penny earned.  

The money I save my family is a great motivating factor to keep shopping.

Sarah, please keep me posted on your success.  I pray it happens soon.  I feel it will.  This can be a great revenue source for your family and I’m so proud of you for trying.
With that said, Goodwill has agreed to sponsor our first 
Goodwill gift card give-away with a $20.00 gift card. 
This is a great time to buy your first twenty items and start listing or find something fancy for your home and family.  Enter to win by leaving a comment below, becoming a follower of My Dear Trash the blog and a follower of My Dear Trash on facebook (click here).  
Kelly and I will announce the winner on Friday. 
Remember, the Fraser Field Swap is coming up this Friday too.  Kelly and I already have our tweed picked out and are bringing some great trash to swap.  Hope to see you there.

82 comments:

  1. I follow your blog! I plan on trying to sell on ebay when I become a stay at home mom next year. I'm reading and storing away all your tips and tricks so i know what i'll be doing. Thanks! :)

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  2. I just started following your blog and Ive just linked to it on FB. I too have dabbled on and off on Ebay and am seriously considering doing it as a job. We have the most awesome Goodwill here right down the street too and I find so many pretty things.

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  3. I follow your blog and the facebook page. (I liked it... is that the same?)

    I sold a few things last week on ebay. It had been a year at least since i had done any. My five year old got so excited we have a few of her things listed this week. She plans to keep all the money!

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  4. Last year I had surgery on my foot and was not able to wear shoes for 6 months. So I decided to put all my pretty high heels up on ebay for .99 cents and was amazed at the multiple bids they were receiving some even selling in the $60 range. I came across your blog in the process and have been following in your footsteps ever since. My Goodwill doesn't have dollar day or even half off day, but have managed to find a couple of thrift stores that do. My best sale so far was a plus size LEI denim skirt I paid $4 for and it sold for $50. Gotta love it when people get into bidding wars. Anyway I look forward to reading your posts everyday. Thank you I have actually managed to not go back to work full time because of ebay.

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  5. I just started back on eBay, and love your blog! Unfortunately, the Goodwill's here in Central TX don't do sales, but I could use the $20 anyway! :)

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  6. I follow your blog and I just added you guys on facebook too. I'm a stay at home mom to 4 little guys and I keep thinking this would be a good way for me to earn a little extra money (or, if I could be as sucessful as you, quite a bit of money!). My goal for this was was to start my own blog. Check. My goal for 2011? To start selling on ebay. Keep those tips coming!

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  7. I just started trying my hand at Ebay a week ago. I sold a few things from our closet.
    I really appreciate this blog. Everytime I read it I get inspired. Now it's time for me to pull the trigger and get out there to find some bargins. The Goodwill's in Indy don't offer $1 days but they do have 50% off a different color each week so that's something. Thanks for all you do. :)

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  8. I have sold out on eBay and need to rebuild my sell it stash! I love your blog, follow it and follow on facebook too! I'd love this gift card!

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  9. I follow your blog, and am now following you on facebook. I at one time dabbled on ebay, and am starting back with a one income family.

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  10. I haven't tried our local goodwill and this card is what I need to go out and find it! I try other stores but Goodwill is just on the other side of town and I'm not sure where it is quite yet.
    This would be great and would get me off my feet selling!
    Love your blog!

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  11. I just became an official follower of your blog (and on facebook), but I have been following and reading your blog for a few months now. My husband and I started selling on Ebay a few months ago (after running across your blog) and we think it is a lot of fun. We have had some success (not as much as you... but some nonetheless) and we think it is a really fun hobby. My husband is in graduate school and we have a baby so it is nice to have some sort of extra income coming in a little at a time. Thanks for all of the great tips! You guys are inspiring.

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  12. I am a follower of your blog, and "liked" your facebook page :)

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  13. This is fantastic! Hope I get lucky and win this gift card. I could sure use it for the business! Cheers xxoo

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  14. I'm a blog follower! And a Goodwill lover. :) You can get a lot for $20 there!

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  15. Woo hoo! Love your blog!! Hope I win!

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  16. I love your blog! I hope to be a sponge so that when the timing is right, I can make some moolah on EBay, too.

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  17. I'm a follower and also a ebay seller. :)

    Thanks for all the great tips!

    Off to find you on Facebook...

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  18. Sign me up to win please!:)
    esgutierrez4{at}msn{dot}com

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  19. I follow you here and am a FB fan.

    @ Sarah...hang in there. I have been selling on ebay for a while. You learn as you go. You cannot expect to hit the jackpot at first. You learn more and more each time you sell. You will make mistakes along the way, but don't get discouraged. Use the completed auction searches to learn more about items and how much they sell for and how many people are bidding on them. It'll help in your ebay education. Good luck.

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  20. Hello there, so happy you posted Sarah's question!
    I've been an avid follower of your blog for some time and on FB too!
    Thanks for the chance at a great give away.
    Misty

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  21. Thanks for all your tips! I sell on Ebay, and it's easy to fall in a rut. Sometimes you just have to keep chugging away :)

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  22. Thanks so much for all your posts. Whenever I wanna give up on EBAY I read your posts and I am inspired all over again. I have made around $1000.00 since Sept. I have looked at the way you post your items taken advise from your blog and applied to my own listings. So far my big sell was a pair of PEA IN A POD 7's paid $2.00 sold for $50.00 buy it now. I just inspired myself right now with that last sentence. Keep up the great work thanks for all your great ideas/advise. Ebay blessing to you

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  23. A year ago if you had asked me if I would get excited about a Goodwill gift card I would have laughed. Now I am totally excited at the thought! I too love the thrill of the hunt. Thanks so much for all your great advise.

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  24. I love eBay! And I also love Goodwill! Here in Montana we don't have a dollar day (too bad for me!), but we do have a color tag that's half off every week, so that works, too. Just recently started selling on eBay again. Some of my most exciting sales happened a few years back with old reel-to-reel tapes; paid $1.99 for them and some sold for over $80! During that particular auction period, we turned $43 into over $800 - how fun is that! Love your blog and check it almost daily for new posts!

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  25. This post resonated with me as I am going through a similar thing in reverse. I started selling a few months ago and was very happy with how I was doing. The last few weeks, I'm lucky if I'm getting a few views on an item. I have to admit that I am also putting in less effort as I have a lot of other things going on right now...It's hard when you hit a slump though.

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  26. Hi girls, I read your blog all the time...love all your adventures and wonderful trash treasures! I sell on ebay as well. My favorite shopping destination is Goodwill, Salvation Army or Last Chance Thrift Store! Keep up the good work and enter me in your fab drawing!

    Monica

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  27. can't get enough of this blog. i'm only months into selling on ebay - but i have learned SOOOO much!! thank you thank you!! hope i'm the lucky winner - there really is nothing better than that thrill of the hunt! bring it on dollar days!

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  28. I read your blog each day and love it!! I just "liked"
    you on Facebook. Have a great week!

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  29. Thanks so much for answering my question (and for the encouragement, in the comments too!) I did sell 2 whole items this week...little by little a bird builds a nest right?

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  30. i'm already a happy follower! I just put some stuff on ebay this past Friday!!! It was 16 items and I have 4 bids and lots of watchers! Who hoo!
    Wish me luck!
    jennifer

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  31. I'm a follower who's learned a lot from your blog. I've been staying away from jeans until I feel like I've learned a bit more. Maybe I'll take a chance with some men's the next time I see some.

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  32. love, love, love your blog.I started selling on e-bay a few months ago because of you and my best friend. I don't know how I did it before e-bay :-)

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  33. I follow your blog, and used to sell on ebay, this might get me back in the groove after about 4 years...I'd love to win!!! And I love your blog!!!

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  34. I love love love "my dear trash" I have been selling on ebay for about 5 months and think I am getting the hang of it. I don't make too much yet but I am able to get alot for me and my family which saves me ALOT! I am a stay at home mom and this is the first year I was able to buy my husband a birthday present with out feeling like I was spending the money he earns at work to buy it for him:) It felt good! Before I found your blog through a friend, I had been thinking about selling on ebay but needed some guidance and now it is starting to pay off. The hardest part is being able to post what I buy with 2 little boys. I think if I had more time I could do alot better. I am learning to be picky at goodwill, starting to know what name brands sell better than others, and that what time you post on ebay matters for some items that don't get bids on them right away. Thank you for all the time you put into a blog to help me support my family, Betsy

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  35. i love you guys! i have been doing ebay full time for about 6 months. half of the time i want to give up and get a "real" job. whenever i read your blog i get a burst of energy to continue ebay! you guys are such an inspiration to me! thanks so much!

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  36. I stumbled across your blog a month ago and envy your $1.00 days at Goodwill - ours do not have them here. BUT, while I was there today looking for jeans for my 6 year old, I found that they do have other specials which would work for reselling on ebay. Would love $20 in seed money to turn into gold too!

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  37. I follow your blog and on facebook. I've started selling on Ebay due to your motivation and also to encourage my daughter. She is expecting her first child and they have very little money. Since she is having a high risk pregnancy, I've been looking for something she can do from home. Thank you so much for your generosity in sharing your success and selling tips. G-d bless you.

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  38. I love this blog! I am in my first week of real selling, with about 15 items from Savers dollar day. Fingers crossed!

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  39. I love your blog too and got the ebay idea from you. I cannot keep up with it as well as you, with three small children constantly demanding my attention, but the extra 300-500 dollars I can make a month really helps. Thank you so much for being willing to teach others how to do what you do!

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  40. I AM A FOLLOWER OF YOUR BLOG AND FOLLOW YOU ON FACEBOOK. I AM AT OUR LOCAL GOODWILL EVERY WEEK ON DOLLAR DAY AND WOULD LOVE TO USE THAT GIFT CARD!! I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW ABOUT THE DOLLAR DAYS AT GOODWILL UNTIL I READ IT ON YOUR BLOG. I HAVE LOTS TO THANK YOU FOR!! APPRECIATE ALL THE TIPS! I AM DOING WELL ON EBAY. THANK YOU THANK YOU

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  41. I love your blog, I am a SAHM and want to try selling on ebay. I follow your blog and fb.

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  42. I read your blog daily and have you "liked" on FB too. I've always loved the thrill of the hunt and have been selling on eBay for almost 10 years. I try to learn and improve on what I already do while discovering new treasures to hunt for. My niche is anything vintage, unique or retro...holiday, toys, games, collectibles, jewelry, craft kits, etc. I wasn't interested in clothing until a year or so ago and now sell name brands, new with tag items or harder to find sizes...shoes and purses are great resellers too.

    I'd love to win the $20 GW gift card...we don't have $1 days here either :(. Also our GWs have really raised prices and most sell the really collectible/high ticket items on GWs auction site so the bargains and treasures can be harder to come by. That's why rummage, yard and garage sales, craigs and other thrift stores are great resources too. Thanks for the great giveaway!

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  43. I love this blog too. I haven't sold anything on EBAY yet, but I plan to one day. It may just be a summer job for me, but I am taking notes.

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  44. I love your blog! I am a follower.

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  45. Love your blog. Such an inspiration. Thanks

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  46. Thank you so much for this blog. I have felt like Sarah and have quit selling on ebay several times b/c I don't sell anything. But I have started again with things from my closet, b/c my husband has been unemployed most of the year and I want to make some Christmas money to buy our 3 kids some gifts. So far, I have 3 bids and am excited and have been putting several items on today as well. Please enter me in the drawing! Thanks for your blog!

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  47. I am a follower now, absolutely love your blog! Thanks for all of the great tips!

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  48. I agree, its all about timing. Some things I will relist 5 times before they get 5 watchers and then sell like no problem. This week has been a good one for me, but two weeks ago I was upset cause nothing was selling. My numbers arent anywhere near you guys but I'm working my way up. I made the mistake awhile back when I first found your blog of going hog wild at Goodwill on several occasions. I think I'm probably still paying for that mistake! I wasn't careful about my spending, I was just looking for brand names (I have a lot of Jones New York which I thought would sell...sadly, not so much for me). I have a lot of inventory, but I like you love to do the shopping and I've been trying to be more disciplined and take Kellys advice about not shopping till everything I already have is listed.
    I've also gotten more picky about what I will buy. Since my Goodwill's here in Las Vegas (we have 8 superstores I think) don't have dollar days, I have to keep an eye out for mnager specials and go on the days when there is a good one.
    My fav brand so far is Banana Republic! Everything I buy of that brand I know will sell. Also Old Navy does well.

    I do have a question Laura about the giveaway. Is the giftcard good nationwide or only in AZ?
    You know I would love to in it!!

    Thanks girls! You rock!!
    Em @
    athriftyfind.blogspot.com

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  49. I'm so glad I found your blog to keep me motivated at times. I go in procrastination ruts with Ebay. Always have things to list, but need to get motivated to put them on there. I love doing it close to Christmas because I can usually get most of Christmas paid for.

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  50. I LOVE this site, I read it everyday! I'm back to selling on ebay - thanks for the motivation ladies! I bought a few items but mostly sold items from my closet - I made $200 my first month... not bad. :) For the most part I stick to Kelly's advice of not buying more until I list what I have. It's a good motivator. I live in Tucson and sadly our GW does not have $1 days but I would love to have a $20 gift card to spend there anyway. Thanks!

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  51. Hi, Love your site!! I do the exact same thing that you do except I buy and sell collectible/antiques and household items. You are a girl after my own heart!!!

    It's great to find a blog like yours that I can totally relate to!

    I'd love to win the GW gift card as I'm there every week!!!

    Thanks,
    Sharon
    slw_kerr@yahoo.com

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  52. I didn't know you had a facebook page. I am now following.

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  53. I follow your blog and have gotten so many great tips. Thank you!

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  54. I have the same frustrations as the author. I get what I think are pretty great brands and then NOTHING sells. I mean nothing. Now there's nothing in my store. I just can't get myself motivated. Well, it doesn't hurt to give it another go. One thing I'm noticing, ebay is trying to charge (25 cents) to relist items even though I'm under than 100 items in a month and they are less than $10. I'm not sure why the insertion fees. I'm getting deterred from listing because I don't want to lose money if items don't sale...again.

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  55. I follow My Dear Trash on facebook.

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  56. I, like many other people, have been inspired by you to list items on Ebay. So far, so good, and thank you! However, I live in Denver Colorado and we do not have a dollar day at Goodwill or anywhere else. In fact most thrifted items tend to be higher here than other places I've been. Any suggestions?

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  57. I was just at Goodwill yesterday and purchased some things (for me) but I thought of you when I was searching through the racks. I love following your blog and am amazed by what you do. I hope some day to get up the nerve to do it myself.

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  58. I follow and like on facebook as rachel carter crisman
    I am such a GoodWill Monster!
    I got a pair of Chanel sunglasses from GoodWill and only paid 5 bucks!!I sold them for 80 and bought myself a camera because mine was broken for months.My husband says I make money appear from nothing.HA! I am always looking for a deal or some way to pay for things since we are pretty darn broke!
    jacksoncrisman@yahoo.com

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  59. I love your blog!! Have recently taken your advice and started selling on e-bay. Not making much YET, but having fun trying. Absolutely love all the help and encouragement you guys give. THANK YOU!! Barb

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  60. I LOVE THIS BLOG! It is the only one I consistently check because I don't have time for anything else! My husband just lost his job this week, and until he finds a new one, we are praying that selling on ebay will keep our family afloat! Thank you for the inspiration!

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  61. I love reading your blog and would love to sell on Ebay but we don't have $1.00 days so clothes at Goodwill to re-sell are overpriced but great for personal purchases! I'm now following you on Facebook as well :)

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  62. I just became a follower of your blog and facebook page. I love Goodwill and I've learned so much from you! Thanks. My daughter told me about your blog and I have started selling things on Ebay. I am starting to have a little bit of success. I would love to win the gift card.

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  63. My wife and I love your blog. We go to Goodwill every week. Just started following you on facebook.

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  64. I have been visiting your blog for a while but have just started following. I love all your tips and really need to get back into selling on Ebay and I'm hoping you be just the kick in the but that I will need.

    :) Michelle

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  65. I found your blog a few months ago when Laura made me feel like a CELEBRITY when she mentioned me in the goodwill grand opening post. I come back because I love to see what fabulous deals you girls find every week and I seriously COVET the finds.
    I'm officially a fan now on FB.

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  66. Thanks for this wonderful giveaway!! I, too, have started selling on EBAY from "treasures" I find at goodwill!!

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  67. Love, love, love your blog! Thanks for all that you do! Yours is one of my top 2 favorite blogs ever!

    Danette

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  68. I am a follower and would love love love love this gift card!!

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  69. I L.O.V.E. you blog. I am following your advice. THANK YOU LADIES!! Barb Wimer

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  70. Okay, so I'm not on facebook so I'm not a follower on FB but am a follower of your blog.

    In any event, you know how much I enjoy this blog and how much fun it is to find treasures at Goodwill. If I won the $20 gift card, I would use it to buy my little boy winter gear and toys!
    Edie

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  71. The Thriving ThrifterNovember 12, 2010 at 12:30 PM

    I LOVE your blog and have learned so much from it. I am a follower. I'm not on Facebook so I can't follow there.

    Thanks for all the info you share and also for the chance to win the gift card!

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  72. love your blog! and all the advice!

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  73. awesome! i love to win! huge thanks for hostessing such a delightful giveaway and taking the time to post such great tips and fabulous finds!

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