Archive for the 'Comparison Shopping Savings' Category

Powells.com – so good I am tempted to keep it to myself

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have a ton of books around my house.  They are about 10% textbooks, 75% popular fiction, and 10% misc fiction or reference.  As I reviewed this ton of books I wanted to dispose of, my first instinct was to drop it off at the local library, the books would go to a good cause and I would get a tax donation.  However, with a little more effort, I thought I could weed out some of the books for cash.

I’ve had this instinct before, and in the past I have tried to go to my local used book stores, I and it was NOT worth the effort.  Out of the back ache and time I spent, only a few were accepted and they were low-balled.  So … the internet.

In my search of “selling” “Used books”, etc, what I’ve found is that there are an abundance of textbook buyback sites, but very few of these will accept fiction – which was the overwhelming part of my collection…and then I stumped upon Powells– a used book store in Washington.  They allow you to bulk enter your ISBN numbers, they give you and online quote, and a printable media mail packing slip.   Your money is deposited into a paypal account.

There were a few reference books in the mix that boosted up the average, but the fiction probably averaged about 50 cents a title.  That may seem like very little, and I paid cover on almost all of them, but in reality – if i was to estimate the cost of these books for IRS purposes, I would estimate them also at 50 cents each, and that would be a tax deduction – subject to all those limitations, with the only possible benefit being to reduce my taxable income – so the value of donating any individual books is limited.  The other sites i found which accepted fiction were much lower, on the range of 10 cents a book.

I sold 33 books to powells.com, with an estimated payment of $35.50 dollars.  It took a few weeks for them to be received, they “rejected” about 10 of the books, and my estimate of 37 dollars turned into a 25 dollar deposit.  Now, they kept the books that they rejected and I wasn’t really called and asked whether I wanted my books back – I’m sure that was all in the terms of the offer which I clicked through. 

Again, this is a function of selling things online with no inspection.  I had a similar experience with cashforlaptops.com – see prior post.  So am I happy with Powells.com?  I am ecstatic and thoroughly recommend them as long as they can keep up this payment model.  Again, I probably could have gotten more money on ebay – grouping the fiction into lots by authors, but then i would have to pay commissions, make multiple trips to the post office, etc.  And I would be stuck with a lot of leftover books.  This was easy, the books were sorted and I had the ISBN numbers already, so all I had to do was cut & paste the ISBN list into Powell’s search form, print up the estimate & grab the books they accepted and box them up.  One trip to the post office & I didn’t have to wait in line b/c Powells paid for shipping. 

Overall Rating  – 9/10

Coming up a review on textbooks.com….

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New Motivation to Sell – New Sites to Review

Well, the original point of the site was to see how  I could funnel crap in my life into money for investments…now it looks like i will be funneling the money I make into …. diapers.  Yes, another kid on the way is more motivation to declutter my life and shove that excess savings into a  529 or into huggies stock.  As if the economy wasn’t reason enough.

I have a TON of old books around my house, I go through fiction very quickly.  I also have somehow held onto my undergraduate text books for a decade or so, and as a liberal arts major – I have a ton of books that no one wants to read – or so I thought.  I realized there is a whole niche industry devoted to buying textbooks and a much smaller one unfortunately for used fiction.  So in the past week I have tried out several sites and will post the reviews.   I sold 64 books to textbooks.com, 50 books to powells.com,  I instantly sold an item on half.com, and have sold an old digital camera on the old faithful, ebay.com.

Again, I continue to look for the easiest way to make the most amount of money – and i think indivually listing items on ebay is a good way to make yourself crazy.

Possible Penny-Pinching: Coinstar – Thoughts & opinions?

The typical family has about 100 dollars worth of change around the house, I read that in some magazine I read over the past week, which makes the source Kiplingers, Business Week, or Forbes (the best I can do for a reference, sorry).  I am the typical family then, I have a bag of loose change at home, as well as a desk full of pennies at work – the pennies are there because I empty my change into my desk, then in times of stress or hunger I dig through for the silver ones and go to the vending machine – the pennies are are left over.

I have in the past used Coinstar machines to convert my change into cash & into Amazon.comgift certificates.  Conversion into cash costs a relatively steep 8.9% – but then i just take the certificate & pay for my groceries with it – I never get the cash.  Similarly, the amazon conversion costs nothing, but then I am stuck with this gift card code (not even a card, just a code) that i have to use before I lose it (physically, because in my state these codes don’t expire).  I like neither of these solutions, but between the two I prefer the cash (if you can’t tell by the blog so far. )

A third option is out there, prepaid visa cards – normally cost 10 dollars for the card + 5 dollars to refill.  The cards are manufactured by green dot.  However, while perusing my newspaper this week, I saw that green dot mastercards & visa cards are available for free after rebate from walgreens – so the 5 dollar refill charge leads to a 5% or less fee for counting my change.  That is not bad, and I can figure out places to use a visa card.

I’ve seen other places in the blogosphere with strong opinions on not using coinstar due to the 8.9% fee and suggest that I become a member at a bank that will count my change for me (not a big plus for the inconvenience of changing banks); go to a casino & change up (don’t live near a casino – not legal in California; or roll it myself (which I estimate will take 30-45 minutes + 2 trips to the bank, one to get rolls, one to change them in- way inconvenient)

Savings: Maxtor One Touch for $89.99

So with all this recyclind selling of my laptops I needed to store my data, so went out and started looking for an external hard drive.  Not looking for anything fantastic, just a USB 2.0 compliant hard drive with decent ratings.  Came up with two: the Western Digital Mybook and the Mator Onetouch.  Both universally had 4 out of 5 stars, with various levels of fail rate (my experience is that hard drives do this – and I have had equally good experiences with Seagate (who owns maxtor) and Western Digital.  However, the Maxtor has a 5 year warranty and the Western Digital has a 1 year – so for comparable price – had to go with the maxtor on touch 500 gig. 

Headed down to Bestbuy.com & found it for $129.99,  however on the Internet Staples had it for $89.99.  Bestbuy price-matched & I walked out with the drive for $89.99 (and I used a gift card, see previous post).  Gotta love the price match & certainly love not driving around looking for a staples with gas prices what they are now.

Total Penny Pinching Savings: $40 dollars

Savings: Nikon D60 for $529.99

After several years, i went ahead and replaced the two digital cameras that I own and hate.  I wanted to get a digital SLR.  I was between the Nikon D40x and the Canon Digital rebel XS.  I ended up waiting so long that new models came forward – the Nikon d60 and Canon Digital Rebel XSI.  I headed on down to Ritz Camera, and tried them out – like the feel of the Nikon Better.  the MSRP on this camera is 700 dollars.  Ritz wanted 599 + tax for it at Ritz, so headed on home, fired up the old xpbargains & found it for 539 – $10 coupon code LOYALTY10 for a total of 529, no shipping, no tax, free memory card from abes of maine.  Sure they tried to upsell me a warranty + lens over the phone afterward, but a simple no is worth the change to me.

Total Penny Pincher Savings: $170