Financial year in review: income sources

The second part (part one) of my 2015 financial analysis focuses on income sources, or how I made my money. I again need to thank my friend Sarah for designing the excellent pie chart you see below!

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As you can see eBay is my dominant income source. In the past few years I’ve become much more comfortable selling on the site and its piece of the pie chart has grown a lot as a result. I expect it to grow again in 2016, barring any unexpected surprises from the other categories. Thanks to my improving organizational skills I recently reached a total of 180 eBay listings – an all time high – and there is a definite link between the number of listings and total profits.

Yard sales also provided a consistent source of income. I regularly make around 200$ a sale, and sometimes more. They’re a lot of work though, so I might try a “less is more” approach next year.

I started using Kijiji (basically a Canadian version of Craigslist) more often starting around the middle of summer. It’s an excellent way to get rid of large items that would be expensive to ship. I expect to make more from these local sales again in 2016.

I use Etsy almost exclusively to sell jewelry. Honestly, I don’t put enough effort into my Etsy store for it to be exceptional. The best Etsy stores are like little boutiques – they tend to have more elaborate photography, and provide a bit more of a personal touch. It would take a fair bit of work to set myself up to be a great Etsy seller, and I just don’t have the time to do so. Regardless, I still do well enough on Etsy to make it worthwhile, and I appreciate that their fees are notably lower than eBays.

My gold and silver scrap profits are a bit down of late. I think that’s mostly due to luck – sometimes I won’t find any gold for long stretches of time, and very occasionally (but not recently) I’ll find a whole bunch at once. Also, for gold or silver to enter into this category it has to be mediocre and not worth selling otherwise. For example, while I did find a gold watch earlier this year it made much more sense to sell it on eBay than for scrap. I hope I find a lot of junky gold this year because it’s very easy money!

Otherwise, many thanks to friends and readers who contributed just over 1000$ to my coffers! Rounding out the list is small change, which I trade for something less cumbersome at TD Bank (they have free change machines for customers) and the money I received for the right to use a photo I found in a newspaper article.

Relevant links

1. My eBay listings
2. Etsy store
3. Kijiji listings
4. My donate page

Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com. I often fall behind on emails, so I apologize in advance if it takes me a long time to get back to you.

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12 thoughts on “Financial year in review: income sources

  1. Susanne g says:

    Fabulous pie chart and narrative! Very interesting to me as a future garbologist in upstate New York!

  2. Joane says:

    Congrats to you on your successes and to Sarah for making a great pie chart. Love the garbage-can-cover “pie!”

  3. cathymik says:

    Hi, congrats as always! Sarah is so clever! The garbage can lid was a great background!

    Some questions. Where do you take your silver and gold to sell? I’ve asked around here in London and no one seems to know.
    How do you decide what to sell where? You mentioned above that you sell all jewelry on etsy. What about the rest of your finds?
    You don’t speak a lot about handling and shipping. Do you charge extra or do you take it out of your profit?
    Thanks as always,
    Wanna-be garbologist in London, ON
    Cathy

    • martng says:

      I sell it to a guy who runs a local antiques shop. I negotiated for 85% of the gold scrap value, which I think is fair for both sides. Silver is a bit different, as the processing costs are greater. I got about .45 cents a gram (70%-ish) for sterling last time around. It might take some trial and error and negotiation to find yourself the best deal. It’s best to go in with some idea of what you have, in terms of weight and karats, just so you don’t get screwed. A lot of places will offer you 50% or less, which can make a huge difference in what you end up getting paid.

      Here’s a relevant post I wrote back in 2014: https://garbagefinds.com/2014/07/08/a-lesson-in-selling-gold/

      My eBay items are usually things that I figure I can make 20$ from (after shipping) fairly easily. Sometimes I make exceptions if the item is very cheap / easy to ship. Things that are big or expensive / a hassle to ship I usually list on Kijiji. I use Etsy mostly for jewelry (the nice stuff, but not the fancy designer stuff which goes on eBay), though I have experimented with selling eyeglass frames there recently. The rest goes to the yard sale pile.

      A while ago I did the “free shipping” (shipping added into the price) method. Now I add an estimate of what I think the shipping will be as a fixed shipping price (I’m pretty good at guessing them now). Regardless, I’ve always removed the shipping cost from the profit I mention on my bi-weekly sales summary.

  4. Jane says:

    Looks like you’re on the right track with the variety of ways you can dispose of your finds. I, too, love the garbage can lid for the pie chart!

  5. barb says:

    Kijiji sucks on Vancouver Island.
    We use Used.ca.
    I know it is big in Gatineau, maybe not Montreal.

    • martng says:

      I remember using “Used” when I lived in Gatineau. It’s not big at all here though. Kijiji and Craigslist have some presence, but Kijiji is a bit more popular especially among French people.

  6. Excellent, informative summary. The pie chart is just the right visual. Good work, Sarah!

  7. JULE says:

    Wow, that’s impressive!

  8. Tony Habash says:

    Quebec asking handicapped woman on welfare to repay $25,000 or so they estimate she’s “earned” begging for 10 years.
    I read your blog and support you all the way.The bureaucrats in Quebec are harassing a disabled,elderly woman on welfare who made some extra money begging over the years.Please comment on this and ask your readers to support her.Other welfare recipients might be harassed for trying to help themselves.Why is the government picking on a disabled woman?Let us all protect the rights of the poor.

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