5 Tips for Facebook Marketplace Success

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FOLLOW.jpgI made $70 without leaving my house this weekend!

I want to share my lessons learned so others can make some cash off of items sitting in their homes that are no longer useful to them.

Facebook’s rollout of their Marketplace feature snuck up on me. One day I was posting to individual neighborhood sites and the next day I had the option to post to a broader audience. As an experienced and avid eBay seller, this piqued my interest. The interface is easier than eBay and I am able to eliminate handling and shipping! But, is it too good to be true? For now, I’m striking while the iron is hot.

Of my $70 in sales, one item was $40, a headboard and footboard set that had been taking up valuable space in the laundry room. The other items I sold were a dented wine fridge, a carry-on suitcase that hasn’t been used in four years, a Thundershirt that my anxious dog used years ago, an IKEA play tunnel my child has outgrown, and a fake tree that the cat tried to eat.

The turnaround time for Facebook Marketplace is lightning fast compared to eBay, which is gratifying. Nearly instantly in the case of the dented wine fridge. Incidentally, I received two offers of double my asking price on that item. See rule #3 about that…

#1 Post a quality photo.

For some items, you may want to post multiple photos. For the wine fridge, I posted 5 photos, including a close-up of the dented area and the brand logo. For the suitcase and play tunnel, 1 photo was sufficient.

The more potential questions you can answer with a photo, the more streamlined your buyer/seller communication will be!

#2 Be honest in your product description and communication.

Most Facebook buyers are familiar with eBay-style shorthand like GUC, EUC, POMS, and PPU. Use the lingo to keep your posts short and to the point.

If an item has flaws, describe them! It is a lot easier to be up front than it is to have an unhappy customer.

#3 Obey the site rules.

Facebook will not allow multi-level marketing posts or sales of firearms and drugs. The Marketplace manager area of your Facebook app will immediately tell you if there are “problems with your item.”

I posted a backpack that I no longer use because I work from home – Facebook flagged this post because of the “work from home” phrase, so I altered the language.

Most neighborhood sites have rules in which an interested party should indicate “interested” or “dibs” on the sale post. Messaging a seller directly without commenting first is considered jumping in line. As the seller, it’s important to obey the rules so that you maintain integrity, especially if you plan to sell frequently on the Marketplace.

#4 Do your research.

I’ve seen fellow Facebook sellers post items for nearly the same price the item would be at a retail store! Most used items should be resold at 1/2 or lower their original retail price. Very few items retain their retail price value, and you generally will not find these types of items on the Facebook Marketplace. A Chanel handbag for example.

The IKEA play tunnel I sold this weekend was in VGUC (Very Good Used Condition). I looked for the item on IKEA’s website and found they are currently selling them for $14.99. I posted it for $5 and received a message from a buyer within 15mins. They picked up the item within hours. I used some humor in my post (see bonus tip), something about saving you time at IKEA on a weekend…

#5 Be safe! 

The best part about Facebook Marketplace, that puts it to the #1 spot of my buy/sell rotation (ahead of eBay, Amazon, and Craigslist) is that I can see my buyers. More than half the people I sold to this weekend had 1 or 2 mutual friends with me!

Each of the items I sold this weekend were placed on my front porch and the buyer placed cash in my mailbox. The one exception is the headboard and footboard set – I placed that in the driveway for easier pickup.

I do not provide my address until the buyer provides a time they will be picking up the item.

In the past, I have arranged to meet buyers in an offsite location, like a grocery store parking lot, to exchange items for money. That became a hassle and more trouble than it was worth. I would use this method for higher dollar items, like a nice handbag or clothing item, however.

Bonus tip: Use humor, if you have such skills. 

A lady in my neighborhood buy/sell group writes epic posts for her sale and free items. When I get a notification that she has posted something, I always check it out. I think others do too, and her items sell quickly!

Bottom line: I think there is still a place in my buying and selling life for eBay and Craigslist, even though Facebook’s Marketplace is proving to be pretty amazing.

The main reason I may use Facebook’s Marketplace more than traditional online selling is due to environmental impact. Compared to eBay where I need to use shipping materials like boxes, bags, and packaging tape, the Marketplace allows me to eliminate nearly all of that – unless it’s raining, and in that case I place items in a plastic shopping bag. Further overhead is eliminated because I do not have to print a shipping label or buy postage.

What do you think? Are you using Facebook’s Marketplace? Any tips you’d like to share?

 

My Hamilton Experience

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It’s been nearly a week since I saw Hamilton at the Richard Rodgers Theater in New York. I’m still a huge fan, a HamilFan if you will, and I thought I’d revive my blog to post about it.

I’ve unscientifically identified some stages of the Hamilton experience.

Obsessive listening to the original cast recording (“soundtrack”).

This listening could be prompted by a few things : Buzz before the Tony Awards. Buzz after the Tony Awards. Or excited listening in preparation for or longing to seeing the show LIVE (OMG). I’ve also heard of teachers using the cast recording in their classroom – don’t worry, there’s an edited version for this purpose. I listen to the explicit version.

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Plotting to see the show.

I researched seat views to pick the best seats from the very short supply of seats on the one day we decided we could go to the show. I had a perma-smile as I entered my credit card information for my Ticketmaster resale seats.

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Actual view from my seat, taken before the show – Row B of Front Mezzanine, seat 7.

Seeing the show.

Or a continuous cycle of aspirational enthusiastic listening while envisioning the show in your head, pieced together by photos you find online.

If you’re a huge fan with hours of listening to the cast recording under your belt, beware! It is difficult to not sing and dance while watching the show live!! When the King does his first song, and says “everybody!” – there were some of us singing along with the “da da da dat da” part, so it’s not a totally stiff experience. I may or may not have said “Southern Motherf*n Democratic Republicans” aloud, what can I say, some things are involuntary.

The seats at the theater have very little leg room between you and the row in front of you. I spent the show either leaned intently forward while bobbing my head or leaned back in amazement. I actually entered the statement “do people dance at Hamilton” into Google a few weeks before the show, and found this great article.

Full disclosure, I may have gestured with hands a bit like you would at a hip hop show during some of the more intense and quick lines – you know, Hercules Mulligan stuff, Thomas Jefferson stuff, and of course Washington and Hamilton stuff. The Cabinet Battles live are amazing. And let’s not forget when Alexander Hamilton first appears, “My name is Alexander Hamilton.” AMAZING moment seeing Javier Munoz for the first time and how he paused and took in the screaming from the theater!

This is a fun Reddit to read about other people’s experiences with Hamilton.

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OMG JAVILTON!

Plotting when you’ll see the show again.

Yeah, Hamilton is my Titanic. I will see it multiple times. I will collect memorobilia. I will have cried during the show and during obsessive listening of the original cast recording.

If you haven’t seen the show yet, this third stage of the Hamilton experience is realizing that seeing the show live (OMG!) is getting closer to your reach with the announcement of the touring production and shows in major cities like Chicago.

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“Can I be real a second, for just one millisecond?” George Washington/Chris Jackson

Let’s get real, how has life changed since seeing Hamilton? If you ask my husband, he’d say not much. I still listen to the soundtrack frequently, except now he can sing with me! He even finds great Hamilton memes to answer my text messages… imgres.jpg

You better believe I listened to the Hamilton soundtrack in the plane on the way back home.

And you BETTER believe that I’m still listening to the soundtrack at least once each day as I work. I can’t help it. It’s motivating, entertaining, and puts me in a creatively productive head space. Thanks Lin-Manuel!

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“WORK” The Schuyler Sisters

Footnotes:

Christopher Jackson, the original George Washington, favorited my tweet as my husband and I sat at the bar waiting to line up outside the theater.

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The bathroom line was crazy, but we all got through during the 15 minute intermission.

We bought merch: the A.Ham hat. I wish we bought the poster, but that’s available online anyway.

Tony Parker and his wife sat one row behind us – pretty cool!

If I had to choose favorites performers, I can’t! The entire cast was amazing. Highlights were Javier Munoz eliciting unexpected emotions, Seth Stewart as Jefferson/Lafayette was ridiculously cool, and we got to see Renee Elise Goldsberry in her last weekend as Angelica Schuyler.

If you’ve made it this far, share your Hamilton experience in the comments!

 

A Brief Relapse

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I have a confession (cue the Usher song), I shopped at Target last weekend. I even downloaded the Cartwheel app and used it.

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I just re-read my post from four months ago about quitting Target and I think everything is going to be OK.

I went to Target due to convenience of some food and household items I could swoop in one trip. A half-hour later and I was down $100 in a typical, basic Target run. I know I’m not alone, it happens to everyone.

I am regrouping and recommitting to my Target-free 2015:

1. Continue to buy toiletries at CVS and Amazon. This past week was the exciting QUARTERLY EXTRABUCKS EXTRAVAGANZA at CVS (that’s my term), and I was bestowed a $7 coupon and a $6 coupon back to back. The coupons are good for purchases of $30 and more, so I use them when I need vitamins (but only when vitamins are BOGO or 50% off) or diapers and wipes.

Amazon has Prime Day coming up next week, so I may have to write an Amazon exclusive blog about how I use Prime, Pantry, and Subscribe n Save.

I recently experienced an Amazon moment of zen when the Subscribe n Save shipment arrived just as our two months supply of toilet paper ran out. Ohmmmmm.

Quick note on CVS buying drugstores in Target, I will continue to use my neighborhood CVS because they have a drive-thru pharmacy and it is awesome. I think the business move only shows how well CVS is doing and I like that it kinda sticks it to Target. Boom!

2. Continue to use apps like Ibotta, Receipt Pal, Shopkick, and others to save money in an easy and almost fun way. Yes, it’s a little silly to scan your items after they’re in the fridge and pantry then take pictures of your receipts, but some of those Ibotta deals are good lately!! I’m hopeful they will add more stores.

3. Add more local shopping to the mix. This is something I need to improve upon. I have ZERO excuses for not shopping farmers markets. There’s at least twenty within a 10 mile radius of me, year-round, and I live in what some would call the frozen tundra!

Our neighborhood co-op is expanding and I recently checked it out when I needed some stir fry sauces (just add rice and veggies). The co-op was adorable and already has everything you need. I’m really excited for their expansion because the store will be epic and I think it will mean a lot for our neighborhood.

We’ve taken advantage of the amazing butcher shop a few blocks away for summer BBQs and the quality of food is wonderful! However, $3 each for ketchup, mustard, and relish was not a good buy and had we planned our shopping trips better, this could’ve been avoided.

4. Clip the damn coupons. This is something I’ve let fall by the wayside. Now that my daughter is in daycare, I have a lot more time for household management activities – unpacking boxes (yeah, we moved almost a year ago, what?), keeping up with laundry, and deeper house cleaning. I need to add couponing back into the mix. Heck, the local co-op has a coupon flyer and carries many national organic brands that Coupons.com and other sources regularly have coupons for. Again, no excuses!

That’s it for now until I rustle up some thoughts on Amazon for next week. Did you quit Target too? Do you have a favorite money-saving app that I didn’t mention? Share the wealth please!

Abby’s Approachable Coffee

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I know Bulletproof Coffee is popular right now, but it seems like a lot of work. Just over a month ago, I reached a maximum skeeve point with our traditional (plastic) coffee maker. My husband and I were frequenting the coffee shop more than I would like, increasing our “latte factor.”

A friend of mine had raved about her Chemex over a year ago, so I looked it up on Amazon. It was a little too pricey, so I passed. The gunk and plastic of our coffee maker led us to switch to green tea, and that led me to the store for an electrical hot kettle so we could stop using the stovetop and tea pot. Plus, the whistle of the kettle scared the pets.

While wandering the aisles of Target for a hot kettle, I found what looked like a Chemex, except at a much lower price point. It came with a reusable filter and was a brand I’m familiar with, Bodum. I’m not being compensated for this post, although, if anyone from Bodum reads this, I would not turn away any gifts!

I quickly purchased the kettle and Bodum pour-over thingy and returned home to make coffee like a hipster.

Here’s my approachable coffee recipe that is even better than the coffee shop!

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1. Choose your coffee. I’ve had great results with $5.99/bag grounds like the Hawaiian blend I’ve got right now or whole bean, grind yourself bags that cost double or more. See, its the process, not the coffee. Trust me, you’ll be happy.

2. Boil water on stovetop or in hot kettle.

3. Pour hot water over the grounds. You’ll learn the optimal pouring speed. I found that it’s slower when you grind whole beans yourself, but maybe that is due to my grinder.

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That’s what my Bodum looks like after I’ve poured one out for myself. I like to put a little bit of rice milk in a mug and microwave it before adding coffee. It’s my lazy latte.

Rinse or wash the filter and carafe when you’re done. Or let it go a couple days, because when did you ever clean your old coffee maker?!

You’ll find your style. The point is, you can ditch your gross plastic coffee maker and start enjoying coffee how it’s meant to be!

Pouring doesn’t take that long, so don’t worry about missing the convenience of your timer on your coffee maker.

I have been doing this for a few months now. In a fit of spring cleaning yesterday, I nearly threw away our old coffee maker. Instead, I cut the cord off and now its a play kitchen piece for our toddler.

Good luck in your coffee adventures! Share your tips in the comments.

Life After Target

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Some family and friends of mine are experiencing the title of this post literally as they face their second week of life away from Target corporate here in Minneapolis. I stocked up on Target goods late last week, but something just didn’t feel right. I met with my cousin who was laid off, and her dad, my uncle, expressed the same thought – we are no longer Target shoppers.

Target has lost its luster due to the recent layoffs, but they were on the decline to me because of product. I would often settle for certain food items because I was already at the store and didn’t want to make a trip to the grocery store too. This led to some poor nutritional decisions, which is not good, no matter how much money you save.

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My impressive Cartwheel savings app stats are due to me putting all of my eggs (diapers, soap, and coffee) in one basket. I chose to shop at Target nearly exclusively for my family’s food, toiletries, and more. I even signed up for the Red Card to get 5% off each purchase. In one year, I “saved” over $500 with that 5%! Already this year, I’ve “saved” over $300.

I further increased my Target savings by learning the art of stacking by clipping Target.com coupons and manufacturer coupons in addition to the Red Card and Cartwheel savings. I even wrote a dang blog about it for someone else! http://lisamariepierre.com/guest-post-food-on-a-budget-tip-6-saving-extremely-at-target/

That is all over now. 

Maybe I just need a project, a goal, or something to gamify my shopping experience. Sometimes, food and toiletry shopping is the only time I get out of the house truly alone without a toddler in tow, so it’s important to keep it fun.

Here’s my savings plan for 2015:

1. No more Target. I erased all Target-related apps from my Red Card will be canceled and shredded. I think this will result in some savings due to eliminating those infamous Target impulse buys of clothes, shoes, and home accessories.

2. Buy groceries at “real” food stores. There is an amazing food co-op, bakery, and butcher within less than a mile from my house. There’s a beautiful grocery store nearby where I can order online and drive-through to pickup my groceries! Even though it’s snowing outside, farmer’s market season is here!

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3. Buy toiletries at CVS. You guys, if you didn’t know already I am a huge lung cancer awareness advocate. Did you know that CVS stopped selling tobacco and cigarettes?? Well, if you think that is cool, please support them. They also recently revamped their app to link their coupon e-mails with your ExtraCare card. This means you just click a button on your email and coupons are added to your card. There is also no need to scan your ExtraCare card at the kiosk in the store to get paper coupons – just present your card to the cashier when you check out, all of your coupons are there!

4. Buy (some) toiletries through Amazon Subscribe and Save. This is a great program for things you buy in bulk like toilet paper, paper towels, diapers and wipes. I also have found that the dog food I prefer for my pup is WAY cheaper through Amazon, plus I don’t have to lug all 25-pounds of it to and from my car. SCORE.

5. Continue to clip coupons. Heck, maybe even buy a Sunday paper once in awhile for the excitement of the P&G Brandsaver or extra RedPlum inserts! I also like using coupons.com.

6. Perhaps, just perhaps, further gamify my shopping and venture into the world of coupon apps like Shopkick, Ibotta, Receipt Pal, and others. Last year, it seemed like too much for me, but maybe without Cartwheel in my life, there’s room for these apps. I have friends that have really saved money this way.

Is anyone else quitting Target? Do you have money-saving tips that I did not mention? I’d love to hear from you!

Challenging the #icebucketchallenge – Donate or Participate!

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As everyone was pouring buckets of ice over their heads the past two weeks for #icebucketchallenge for ALS, I started to get anxious. No one “nominated” me to do it. I just checked all of my social media, still, no nomination. I decided to post a blog about my anxiety when a friend reached out to me today with anxiety because she was finally nominated! We had been writing back and forth this week about how the challenge is a waste of water, is narcissistic, and other wet blanket gripes. I’ll preface this stream-of-consciousness list with the fact that I love anything that calls attention to a cause and drives people to really participate, donate, and learn. 

1. It was nice to see so many of my friends moving and talking! I’m so used to scrolling through still images of their smiling faces on Facebook and Instagram. Maybe this means we should all do more selfie-Vines?

2. I thought it was a wimpy version of the Polar Bear Plunge. I have many friends and family members who are crazy people and jump into cold bodies of water in the winter, like Lake Superior, in the name of fundraising for organizations like the American Cancer Society and Special Olympics

3. The lax enforcement of the challenge rules made me worry that people were just posting videos of dumping cold water over their (often) white-t-shirt-clad selves for Likes, RTs, doubletaps, and Faves.

4. THERE’S A DROUGHT IN CALIFORNIA! May I suggest a dirt bath like these guys? Or a (cold) 5-gallon bucket sponge bath like my friend who volunteered in Haiti after the earthquake and realized “real” showers were a luxury? Or, capture the dumped water and use it to water your (duh) native plants?

5. I developed two game plans in the case of nomination: completely ignore it or do it in the name of lung cancer research.

So, I’m nominating myself because I want to challenge all of you.

I will make a donation to the American Lung Association.

I will register for a lung cancer awareness event in my area within the next year.

I’ll take a quick cold shower since I currently live in Southern California where it’s hot and drought-y. 

Let’s keep the good vibes going – figure out your cause(s), donate, and/or participate. And repeat. 

Some more ideas:

– Donate blood. I’m Type O- which is in demand because it’s the universal donor. Most areas of the United States are low on blood. It’s fun, the nurses are usually pretty cool, and you can eat all the Oreos, Nutter Butters, and other fun treats that you want! 

– Act local. Volunteer with a group in your community that’s doing good things: cleaning up public spaces, helping homebound people with meals and cleaning, tutoring children, etc. There’s so many good organizations looking for volunteers.

– Think of charities, no matter the season. Volunteering at a soup kitchen is super popular around the holidays, offer your help in the summer instead!

– Train your cute puppy to be a therapy dog. You’ll get a well-behaved dog out of the process at the very least!

– Donate to the local food shelf. Clean your closet regularly and donate clothing that you no longer want. 

– Practice RAKE: Random Acts of Kindness Everywhere. Check the hashtag on Instagram for inspiration. 

My Cheapskate Week

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There will no longer be safety posts on this blog. My husband Andrew and I started The Ferri Group LLC for our consulting business, so now all safety, health, environment, sales, and marketing posts will be at our business site http://www.theferrigroup.co

This week, I was in dire need of a haircut. It’s been about ten months since my last salon visit and my hair was just starting to hang out on top of my head…messy, no style, or in a messy non stylish bun. My usual gal was booked solid this week, so I turned to Craigslist. If you’ve perused the Free section on CL, you’ve probably seen the posts looking for hair models or advertising free haircuts at top Newport Beach salons (usually). Well, that last part is only if you’re lucky to live in Orange County as I currently do.

I found a five day old post looking for someone to do a bob haircut on, a la Diana Aragon or Nicole Richie’s current cut – minus the purple dye, bummer. I texted with the stylist a few times and we ended up in contact the next day and she had time in 45 minutes which was just enough time for me to drive to the salon. Damn OC you’re beautiful, but your traffic sucks! So I took the 5 to the 405 to the 55 and took a right.

I was greeted by Taylor, the stylist, and her manager. They looked at me like a lightbulb just turned on. They later told me they could tell my hair was pretty “virgin” and the cut would look great on me.

Three hours later I was caffeinated on multiple rounds of salon coffee and watching Taylor’s manager coach her through the final evening out of the length on the cowlicky side of my head.

My hair was perfectly flat-ironed, even, and I almost looked like Diana Aragon! I got Taylor’s card and there were thank you’s all around as I walked out. After driving two hours round trip and three hours in the salon chair (Taylor still had to do her regular assistant jobs of answering the phone, door, and shampooing), I definitely earned the haircut and Taylor was able to check the bob off of her learning list as she continues on her way to a full-fledged stylist.

Bottom line: I’d do it again! As long as I have the time for a long day at the salon, a book, or fully charged cell phone, I can handle the time spent for the free cut. The bonus is the manager who watches the cut and makes suggestions, and if needed, physically makes corrections.

The second cheapskate experience of this week was updating my makeup bag. I usually wear a hard hat and safety glasses for work, and zero makeup. But, with a shorter haircut, my face is a bit more exposed and I felt it was time to have some makeup options. As part of a regularly scheduled Target run with toddler in tow, I threw a handful of their house brand “e.l.f.” makeup into my cart. I picked some skin evening and high def options since I’ve been watching a lot of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. My verdict is that I’ll probably look better in cell phone pics and harshly lit offices.

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My e.l.f. haul!

Since I’m very familiar with makeup shade names like buff, sand, and ivory, I luckily picked compatible colors in short time and each item is a keeper! Each e.l.f. item is under $5, most are $1! My Target Red Card saved 5% on all of it too, of course. 

Bottom line: With how infrequently I wear makeup, the cheapo e.l.f. is perfect for me! I’ll be back, especially if there is a Cartwheel deal or coupon!!

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A bathroom selfie with my new cut and some e.l.f. makeup.