• Flip Weekly
  • Posts
  • Rainy Weekend? Make Money Indoors When Garage Sales Cancel

Rainy Weekend? Make Money Indoors When Garage Sales Cancel

Sydney's garage sales were rained out this week but that didn't stop me from making money.

Issue #9.

This week's issue of Flip Weekly is packed with stories from the trenches, rain or shine. Despite Sydney's soggy garage sales, I'm still here wheelin' and dealin'. We have a sale that almost made me rage quit to a sale that proves I'm definitely a psychic medium. We also have a killer YouTube channel with some… eccentric hosts, a 1978 vintage plush for $1 and a 1999 game restoration project. I also talk a bit about what to do if your garage sales are cancelled because of the rain, there’s still money to be made! But first!

Table of Contents

What I’ve Bought

You’ll remember last week that I bought a really cool Steve Irwin action figure from a thrift store. The cost was a bit steep at $35 and to get a gauge of what it would sell for I monitored an auction of an identical figure that ended just a few days ago.

The auction ended with 11 bids.

Steve ended up selling for $107.50 with free post. The action figure would cost around $15 to ship, so the price is around the $90 mark. I think just due to scarcity within Australia and the popularity of Steve Irwin I’ll list him for $100 plus post. He may sit but I think he’ll sell for the full hundred bucks netting me around $45 in profit. 

Now, I want to take you on a journey in real-time. I picked up a vintage 1999 Whac-a-Mole game for $4. I’ve said before I’ll resist picking up opened items because 90% of the time they’re incomplete or broken… however, sold comps have this game selling for up to $100 which in gambling terms would give me odds of 24:1… so I took ‘em.

I love the graphics on the box!

“As Is“ above $4 inspires confidence…

Let’s open this bad boy up.

This looks promising.

Missing 1 mallet.

Okay so we have the mat and a single mallet. Not the worst as this game can be played with 1 person but not the best because it can’t be sold as complete. Let’s test it out.

Has existing batteries, not a good sign.

A bit dirty.

Alright, not the best. Existing batteries on such an old game is a red flag and we can see in the battery compartment that it’s dirty. Let’s remove those old batteries and replace them with new ones:

Damn.

It doesn’t turn on. Damn. Let this be a lesson to you.. and to me. I’ve said a million times don’t pick up items where they’ve been opened and the contents are hidden. This has probably been picked through by ten different people before today and they’ve all been burnt. They’ve thrown in new batteries and it doesn’t work and so they put it to the front of the store. I should have known better, when have 24:1 shots ever paid off?

Side note: resellers should have a bag of fresh batteries ready to go. Buy batteries like you’re a parent in the 90’s getting ready for Christmas.

But wait, let’s not give up just yet, let’s see if we can get this working. How?

WD-40, can it be a miracle worker?

Much cleaner.

So I gave the old battery compartment a quick clean with some tissues, cotton buds and WD-40. I let it sit for 10 minutes, let’s see what happens.

Here we go…

It works!

It worked! A bit of cleaning and some WD-40 removed the grime from the battery compartment and it turned on! We have a working, vintage 1999 Whac-a-Mole game with 1 mallet. I tested out the settings, it’s a fun game and I think I’ll list it on Marketplace first before going on eBay just as the shipping would be pretty high for a box this size.

I guess the lesson here is don’t give up on your non-working items? Give ‘em a clean, do some Googling and have a can of WD-40 laying around?

Moving on, I’ve never been one to buy a lot of plush as they’re usually over sized, expensive to ship and don’t fetch that much money. This week I found a plush that was only $1 and was dated 1978 - 1981.

Cheeky Garfield plush.

Dated 1978, 1981.

If we take a look at comps on eBay, we can see that Garfield has a very good sell through rate and regularly sells for around the $50 mark.

$53.63 total sale price.

$49.98 total sale price.

I’ll test the waters out on Facebook Marketplace first and then try eBay. I’d love a quick sale as plush does scare me a bit. With that said, if he doesn’t sell I’ll throw him up in my car, I think he’s cute.

Side note: if you look at my Garfield photo you’ll notice a pretty sweet background image. That’s courtesy of an app called PhotoRoom - AI software that can help you remove backgrounds in photos, improve lighting, that type of thing.

What I Sold

In the 2nd issue of Flip Weekly I sold a 2007 Transformers action figure that was still in the box for $280. Here’s what I told you guys about the line:

Keep an eye out for Transformers, I definitely recommend picking them up if they’re priced well. You also don’t have to stress about them being unboxed, I joined a Transformers Buy Sell and Trade Facebook group (I know…) and plenty of collectors pick up loose figures. If you find one that’s rare, brand new and in good condition don’t be afraid to put a premium price on it, you never know it might sell.

Mat, Transformers Expert

It was a month or two ago that I came across a basket of toy cars that looked like they could come apart. I remember as a kid we’d play with crash cars where you pull them back, let them loose and they’d drive into a wall and car parts would go everywhere. I picked a few up and they had the ability to transform, they weren’t crash cars. Looking over them I couldn’t find the distinctive official Transformers logo so I thought they were knockoffs. The only thing that kept me intrigued was that these were extremely well made; they were heavy, a lot of thought had to be put into them and there was a QR code on the side of them.

I bought 2, a red one and a yellow one. Once I got home I gave the QR code a scan. The code led to a Korean toy manufacturers YouTube channel and it was instructions on how to make this toy transform… all in Korean. I did my best to follow along however you should know that I can’t stand puzzles and transforming these toys was not my idea of fun. Here’s what the toy looked like before and after:

Before.

After

You’ll be able to see that the after image isn’t exactly a perfect finish. That’s because between following Korean instructions and my inability to take my time with things, I was seconds away from making this a flying car. The best part was after transforming it into the action figure I had the realization that this thing would cost less to ship if it was smaller and in the shape of a car so I had to do it all over again. Anyway, less of my complaining, here is what it went on to sell for:

$8 into $99.95.

This was an international sale and was heading off to the US with a total order value of $126.00. Not bad for an $8 purchase however I don’t think I’ll pick a Tobot transformer up again just because of the PTSD of putting this thing together.

The next item I sold you’ll also remember from the 2nd issue of Flip Weekly.

Ignore my really crappy product photos.

Here’s what I said about this item:

An entire mini treasure trove of goodies! Somebody has traveled to the States and paid a visit to Rick’s shop and stored their souvenirs in the book. We have multiple stickers, a postcard from the pawn shop, a brochure for Clark Country Museum (not pictured) and a hand signed postcard from Mark Hall Patton who was a regular on the show. See, what did I tell you guys? These goodies immediately turn the $4 book into $50.

Mat, Qualified Psychic

These goodies immediately turn the $4 book into $50. Repeat this sentence 5 times. The book just sold on best offer for $50. I don’t claim to be a medium, but this is surely irrefutable proof, I totally predicted this.

Side note: the collector who purchased this asked me if I’d take an even $50 for this (it was listed at $54.95) and I was like yeah, just make the offer and I’ll accept. He then proceeded to tell me that he’s high on morphine cause he broke his leg and he was out of offers (you only get 3) because he made the same $45 offer 3 times in a row. Oh, and he lovingly included a photo of his broken leg, blood and all. Don’t worry I censored it.

Thanks for the proof mate.

This goes to show 3 things:

  1. Books still sell.

  2. You never know what items people collect.

  3. Even amidst a broken leg and a generous dose of morphine, some people remain steadfast in their resolve to never pay full price.

Some other things that I sold this week include:

Found in a PS2 bundle. Don’t sleep on video game accessories.

Picked this up back when I was looking for DVD’s. I would have only paid $1.

Update: Garfield sold less than 24 hours after posting for $30.

3 days after the red one sold, the yellow one sold for full price.

Resources & Friends

Let’s be real, when most people think of op shops they don’t think fun, uncommon items and personalities. I’d hazard a guess the main words that come to mind are old.. boring.. musky.. however if you’ve ever watched Retro Rescuers you’d be quick to change your mind. Retro Rescuers are a husband and wife team who bring their eccentric personalities into their thrifting careers and put out banger videos like “Thrifting In Our Cities Most Dangerous Suburb”, an obvious play on the trend of YouTube personalities venturing into “dangerous” suburbs for walk through videos.

1 of many Retro Rescuer videos.

The channel is really fun and I’ve watched majority of their videos as their catalog is still growing with only 60 videos. Each video follows Mitchell and Erin as they visit thrift store after thrift store finding some pretty sweet nostalgia items and sharing tips along the way. If you want to catch a quick glimpse of what to expect from Retro Rescuers, take a look at this video when they appeared on national television in Australia and traded vintage clothing with the host.

User Submissions & My Challenge

In the very first issue of Flip Weekly, I talked about finding signed books. It’s incredibly easy, a great product category to start with and the one that I receive the most user submissions. This week I want to give massive props to Joseph who came across a signed copy of former US President Bill Clinton’s biography.

Bill’s biography.

Bill has a bit of a chaotic signature.

Joseph paid $1 for this book from an estate sale and had this to say:

I've spent the last couple weeks checking out hardcover books from my thrift stops, and finally lucked out at an estate sale. I found a copy of My Life by Bill Clinton autographed for $1. Seems like there are a fair few of these floating around and they have about a 80% sell through rate on eBay going as high as 120 USD. I never would have thought to look for these on my own and I'm excited to have finally found one.

Joseph, Flip Weekly reader.

Now for this weeks challenge… I’ve talked about “restoring” an old game that no longer worked. I want to hear about your restoration projects or your near-death experiences when it comes to product that were almost thrown out but resurrected just in time to be sold for a profit. If you have any cool stories be sure to hit me up here. The more photos and content the better!

Rainy Weekend? Make Money Indoors When Garage Sales Cancel

Sydney copped a bit of rain over the weekend.

Rainfall records broken, northern Sydney homes evacuated as floodwaters rise

ABC News Headline

The NSW SES (State Emergency Services) performed over 160 flood rescues, responded to over 1,000 requests for help and even had to deal with an Airbnb cabin floating away. Majority of this weekends garage sales were cancelled with the lone exception being a sale that promised “warm pumpkin soup“ and “local musicians“ which couldn’t coax me out into the wet.

Would you go through this for a garage sale and some pumpkin soup?

Nevertheless, just because it’s raining and you don’t want to go outside doesn’t mean that you can’t make money flipping. In fact, a lot of people make money strictly flipping items from places like Facebook Marketplace onto eBay. In most cases the key rules are simple:

  1. You gotta be quick.

  2. You have to know category values.

In my opinion the most popular category of Marketplace arbitrage is video games. If you list a video game for way under market value you will be flooded with messages from people wanting to buy, offering to come out right then and there and paying cash. It’s hard to compete as that category is saturated with resellers so I tend to avoid it. I think if you’re going to engage in this type of flipping you need to focus on just a few categories and you have to know your numbers. You need to be able to find the items, see that they’re under market value and snatch them up before anyone else.

Here’s what I found on Saturday in a Sydney Buy Sell & Swap Facebook Group:

Listed for $190 total for 19 manga books.

You will remember that in Issue #2 I had some luck with manga books and bought a complete set for $53 and sold them less than 24 hours later for $370. After doing that I started looking more into the category and continue to make money with it. I took a look at the dudes profile just to see if he was a reseller or not, came to the conclusion he wasn’t and initiated a conversation. They were listed for $190 in total ($100 for Goblin Slayer and $90 for Overlord) and I knew that if I resold these, using eBay comps, I could make a profit. The following thoughts occurred to me:

  1. I want to get it a bit cheaper than $190.

  2. The natural haggle would be offering $150 for all, a discount of $40.

  3. If I separated the pricing and asked for a discount on each, I could get more than $40 off.

So what I did was ask if he would take $70 for Goblin Slayer and $60 for Overlord. I didn’t mention the total but it would be $130, $20 less than the natural haggle of $150. He quickly accepted and asked for an additional $15 on top for postage or we can meet in the city. With the goal of not leaving the comfort of my safe and warm home, I opted for postage. The total is now $145.

In terms of listing, here’s what we’re looking at:

Item

Purchase Price

List Price

Profit

Goblin Slayer

$77.50

$219.95

$142.45

Overlord

$67.50

$149.95

$82.45

The profit above totals $224.90 but after all eBay fees I’d be left with approximately $160.00. The listings do have a premium on them as the titles don’t come up for sale within Australia too often as lots. Not too bad for a rainy Saturday evening without leaving the house.

Side note: to anyone wanting to sell manga, the money is in finding the English editions.

Volumes 1-8 selling for around the $160 mark.

Consistent sales at a high price - what we love.

What’s To Come

Last week I mentioned that I was working on a freebie for you guys.

I have been working on creating a Google Sheets Dashboard where you can keep track of your inventory and sales, visualize your profits and keep track of ‘Buy Again’ items all in a user-friendly way. You’ll be able to easily input your 'Buy Again’ criteria whether it’s an item selling with a 40%+ profit margin or a sell through rate of 30 days or less, the system will keep track of everything so you don’t have to memorize it.

Mat, One of the Dude’s Making The Sheet

A lot of progress has been made since last week. Here’s a quick snapshot of the sheet. It will be completely free, exclusive to Flip Weekly subscribers and development will continue for as long as Flip Weekly exists.

Early stages.

The first iteration may be a bit rough but that’s where you guys come in. Shoot me through your feature requests and my team and I will get on it. Just another added benefit of being subscribed to Flip Weekly.

Lastly, I wanted to thank everyone for subscribing and reading the newsletter. We’ve just passed 300 subscribers which is incredible and we haven’t even had 10 issues yet. We’re just getting started so thanks again and I’ll see you next week.

Mat.