Thursday, November 18, 2010

"New Found Money" FINAL UPDATE

Tah-Dah! End of the challenge!

The challenge was to see how much money I could bring in with consistent weekly action and without crazed effort.

The rules were:

  • For 10 weeks, from September 13th until November 20th
  • List something for sale or offer a service every week
  • Minimum of two items or services per week
  • Once a week, update results
Technically, the experiment was set to end this Saturday, but mid-challenge, I decided to post updates on Thursdays.

I thought I would run out of things to sell, so I did offer housekeeping services in the last two weeks, though no takers on that.

I also confirmed that when selling things, one needs to predetermine whether they are selling them to bring in as much money as possible or selling them to get clutter out of the house. This will help prevent confusion when entertaining offers from potential buyers. During this challenge, I found myself just wanting to get rid of things I no longer wanted even though I thought I would have wanted to get as much money as possible to end with a big grand total at the end of the challenge. Holding out for larger dollars means being patient, holding on to items longer, and waiting for the right buyer. Putting items on eBay helped me get rid of things within 3-5 days but the fees shrunk profits big time! I go through phases when it comes to how long I am willing to have an item listed, and it is OK if you do, too. The purpose of this experiment was to highlight the results of consistent action.

Guess what? I did not run out of things to sell. As I cleaned different parts of my house or went through different drawers, I randomly found one or two things at a time that I no longer wanted or needed. To me, they had no value, but apparently to someone else, they were worth something, like the broken cell phones listed below. Who knew? Never ever discount your ability to exchange things for money.

Week November 11th - November 18th
  • cheek cell samples for birth defects study $20
  • broken cell phone $8.35
  • another broken cell phone $2.39
  • potty-training pants $5.50

Sub-total this week: $36.24
Grand total: $361.61

That's an extra $36 per week by casually selling things from my house! An extra $144 a month would help a lot of families cover unforeseen events.

Here is a complete list of items sold in the last 10 weeks. Notice that most of the money came from little things. Except for seven line items averaging at $30.65, everything else was sold at an average of $5.88.

cheek cell samples for birth defects study $20
broken cell phone $8.35
another broken cell phone $2.39
potty-training pants $5.50
coupons $26.55
coupon $7.87
baby sling $9.94
coupons $1.87
Christmas ornaments $6
kid's boombox- $25
cloth napkins $1.25
two bowls $1.25
dress $3
two Christmas outdoor lights timers $8
can of oven cleaner $0
baby formula $5
marble cutting board $13.09
baby supplies coupons 1.34
collective figurines $7.79
candle lanterns $10.28
formula coupons $7.03
publications rolling case $10
diaper coupons $1.11
baby bottles $20
picnic basket $5
set of goblets $8
Christmas tree $35
received coupons for free diapers which saved me $48
watch $10
file cabinet $8
quote tile $5
postpartum interview for study about birth defects $40

Something else I noticed during the challenge was that because my mindset was in selling things I already had, I recognized coupons in the mail as a source of money. How many times have you thrown away coupons delivered in your mailbox because they were not for items or services you were interested in?

After tithes, all of this new money goes to my retirement account. Remember when I first mentioned compound interest? If I put my after-tithe "challenge" money into a retirement account and added NOTHING ELSE, compound interest (calculated at 10% interest) would in 30 years make that lump of money into $5,678.91! Let's bypass the wait and go ahead and say that's my total now from the 10-week challenge. (Kidding!) (Sort of.)

What could you do with money you "found" each week? What can you sell now to contribute to your goals?

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