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cI like to constantly challenge myself to make money with little work. I also like to think I have an amazing ability to know what things are worth and I have the ability to find channels to sell my products for top-dollar.

I am issuing a challenge to myself this afternoon. Make $30 in 30 minutes. How?

Buying and selling. Sadly I am not going to give you my account names as proof, but you can confirm that you can really buy and re-sell these items by going on eBay and finding completed auctions of similar item(s) at these prices.

Challenge Rules/Assumptions:

  • 15 minutes of bidding on eBay (This was timed)
  • 5 minutes to test and format the received item
  • 2 minutes to list on Amazon
  • 5 minutes to ship
  • 3 minutes to account for tax purposes (Be sure to keep records)

Total: 30 minutes. Goal: $30 profit.

Note: Above times are based on averages except I’m allotting myself only 15 minutes of bidding.


When you are taking my method, a few things are key. Knowing what to bid on, knowing how much to bid on (to retain a profit margin), and knowing how to get the best cash back. You might say, “I just don’t have *that* good of a grasp of what things are actually worth” – you can learn and prices are changing daily so there is never a bad time to get involved.

First a disclaimer: Follow ALL FEDERAL, STATE, AND LOCAL laws and requires for taxes, shipment, packaging, distributing, and any other applicable law. Keep good records for state and federal taxes.

Result:
28 Bids on various Ipod Nanos, Ipod Touches, and Ipod Classics.
Lost: 27 bids
Won: 1 bid (3.8%)

Won Item:

1. Ipod Touch 3rd Generation 32gb – $112 – 11% cashback = $99.68 as cost.

Wait for Part Two to See how it pans out.

Internet Mining: Buying Under Priced Items on Amazon

miningEver thought about buying items on amazon to resell for profit? You can make spare cash or get great deals online with patience.

As I have said in the past, I believe I have a strength in knowing what things are worth. Having this strength allows me to search Amazon for underpriced items that I can buy and resell for profit (Usually selling on eBay).

Let me give you an example. A while back on amazon, Super Nintendo Final Fantasy 3 cartridges (I realize I am an epic nerd) were down to about $8 dollars shipped from individual sellers (They were approximately $40 a few months prior).  I purchased 2 of about the 10 available between $8 and $10 (taking lowest price and best quality ones.) I later resold on each eBay for $19.99 + $4 shipping , which after fees and shipping netted me about $18. That’s a net of $10 or +125% Return on investment. In hindsight I should have bought all 10, but it took me about 2.5 months to sell those 2 cartridges, so I don’t regret it too much. I really was just doing it to prove that I could. I know what you are thinking right now, That’s a lot of work for $20. I agree, but there are times where this method can result in a higher profit margin. Sidenote: Final fantasy cartridges as a long-term investment?

Back in March of 2011 the iPads 2 came out and within the first couple days of the release, the iPads 1’s prices went to unreasonable lows. Within the first 7 days at any given time, there was probably about 100 –  1st generation 16gb Wi-Fi only iPads going for under $280 dollars shipped. Some as low as $250.  On top of that, these were mostly people who included original packaging, apple cases (which cost more), and other goodies. They were the first to sell because they were earliest adopters of the iPads 2. It’s also good to know there is a strong correlation of how well people take care of their iPads 1 to the the date they adopt the iPads 2.

iPads with higher storage and 3g were just as discounted – and this setup a major opportunity to score a deal. As of right now (7 months later) those exact iPads are going for about $325 – $340 (+$75 – $90). Let’s be conservative and say it was $50 a unit. What is to stop you from buying 10-20 of these and selling on craigslist or eBay to turn a quick $1,000 profit? (Note: Amazon has an anti-resell policy)  If you get an iPad that is broken or not to your liking, no worries, you are covered by buyer’s protection.

This can be a tricky art, so maybe another method might be better – Spotting clearly mispriced high priced items. This can be time consuming, but there are many times I come across a seller that simply doesn’t understand how amazon works. I think common reason this happens is people think “The lowest seller on the product I have is asking $150.. I want to sell mine fast so I will do it for $100.”

I personally have bought iPods worth $120 for as low as $60. I’ve even seen t1i’s and t2i’s $150+ underpriced. Effectively this is arbitrage, but I can tell you personally it has resulted in in a lot of spare cash for me. Maybe it isn’t about making money to you either, maybe you really want an iPad 1 or iPad 2. Simply make a bookmark to link below of the iPad you want and check the used price everyday – It fluctuates a lot (and will fluctuate even more when the iPad 3 is released). Patience pays.

Just to illustrate how much prices change – here are some links and prices as of 10/23/11 of the lowest used item. If you do buy on amazon, don’t forget to go to the grocery store and buy amazon gift cards for extra savings through gas perks if available.

Apple iPad (first generation) MB292LL/A Tablet (16GB, Wifi)  – $337.99 Shipped
Apple iPad (First Generation) MB294LL/A Tablet (64GB, Wifi) – $395.00 Shipped
Apple iPad (First Generation) MC497LL/A Tablet (64GB, Wifi + 3G) – $399.99 Shipped

Apple iPad 2 MC769LL/A Tablet (16GB, WiFi, Black) – $454.99 Shipped
Apple iPad 2 MC770LL/A Tablet (32GB, Wifi, Black) NEWEST MODEL – $515 Shipped
Apple iPad 2 MC916LL/A Tablet (64GB, Wifi, Black) NEWEST MODEL – $636.99 Shipped
Apple iPad 2 MC775LL/A Tablet (64GB, Wifi + AT&T 3G, Black) NEWEST MODEL – $666.66 Shipped

Disclaimer:  Keep good records, pay all require taxes, follow all federal, state, and local laws.

Learn How to Play Guitar, Cheaply With Rocksmith.

rock_thumb2Have a young student that wants to learn how to play the guitar? Maybe you want to learn it yourself. Lessons can be expensive. I would like to offer a fun new alternative, Rocksmith. I remember ready about 1.5 years ago I heard about a new Rockband game that was being developed with actual guitars. I thought that would be cool if that studio got the game to market, and they did!

Rocksmith is a software package that helps you learn the guitar through a Rockband style game. You can read all of the details by clicking on one of the links, but the basic things you should know:

You need an actual guitar with a 3mm plug-in.
There are mini-games that teach you some of the basics (some are similar to space invaders)
The game will tune your guitar! Which is amazingly helpful for newbies.
It comes for Xbox 360, PS3, and Computer – But the computer release has been delayed until December.

There are plenty of videos talking about the game (even though I would go to youtube.com to see actual gameplay, link is to gameplay)

Why is this cheap? It’s cheap by comparison to lessons which can run $25 – $50 an hour. It’s worth checking out if you are planning on learning anyways and especially if you just happen to have a 55’’ Vizio HDTV. Might be a good gift as well.

If $79.99 is too high for you, just give it time – it will be $50 – $55 within 2-3 months on Amazon used.

Online Buyer Protection is Too Strong.

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Let me give you a little background to this article. I am an Amazon and eBay seller, but I mainly sell on Amazon.

Buyer Protection is so strong for online sales it actually can make many businesses (especially small ones) suffer.


Amazon.com

When buying on Amazon.com you are protected by three layers of protection.

1) The fear of a seller receiving negative feedback
2) Amazon’s in-house protection called “A-to-Z claims”
3) Your credit card company issuing a chargeback

With these three layers, it is virtually impossible to have a bad transaction on Amazon. For those who do not already know Amazon has three types ways to Buy items.
1) From Amazon.com themselves
2) From Amazon.com Retailers (Small to Large Businesses that use Amazon as a platform to sell)
3) Individuals that sell

amazon

Lets say you buy an iPad on Amazon.com for $350 used from John Doe. John doe has 100 feedback and only 1 neutral and 1 negative feedback (98% positive). You receive the iPad and something is wrong with it. You have 14 days to automatically get your money back (you will be required to return the item) through Amazon.com’s  “A-to-Z Guarantee”. You contact the seller and tell them you want a refund – they tell you that they will not refund your $350. Too bad for John Doe the seller. You as the buyer win any and all claims against the seller. You have 14 days (or longer) of receipt of the item to get back your money in virtually any situation. This situation is very unlikely though because negative feedback is a mark of death at Amazon.

If you as a seller receive negative feedback your funds can become locked (normally for long periods of time) and your account goes on probation or is completely banned for life. It doesn’t take much to get in trouble either, many sellers on forums claim they have 99+% feedback on 1000’s of sales but one string of a couple negative feedback resulted in a lifetime ban. Amazon is heavily criticized by sellers for always taking the buyers position on a sales, but for amazon there is no incentive for them not to side with the buyer.

If Amazon sides with the buyer and take the money back from the seller, they make the customer happy and the seller angry. The seller being angry has no effect on Amazon. There is always another person ready to sell, so banning a few people and possibly allowing fraud or theft of the seller’s items does not phase Amazon. You as a seller might have a legitimate case against the buyer, but Amazon would have to hear your case and see your evidence to make a logical ruling, which costs man hours that they do not want to spend. It’s cheaper and better for Amazon to side with the buyer, so they are going to in virtually all situations.

The unlikely event happens, Amazon sides with the seller. You as the buyer are out of luck, aren’t you? Nope. Call your credit card company and make a chargeback. If you are with a major credit card company (Especially AMEX) you have a very good chance (I would guess about 98% chance) of getting your money back. Some credit card companies don’t even ask many questions.

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