Mickey Mouse Garage Sale Yard Sale Purchase Book

Purchase Money Limit

Dollar Flipper eBay Tips, Process 17 Comments

Setting a purchase money limit is a great way to control your spending and inventory size. If you’re not careful, reselling online can make you look like a hoarder or even put you in debt. By setting my spending limit, I know that I won’t go into the hole, and I know that I won’t be buried in new items to list!

I’m not sure why I’m on such an inventory kick recently, but I think getting through my older items is wearing me down a bit.

On top of that, the weather’s getting warmer, and Spring fever is kicking in.

Don’t tell any0ne, but I may have spent a bit of money on new inventory this week. SHH!!!

Warm weather makes me want to be outside more – whether it’s working out or going to a garage sale. I’m sure this is how addicts feel, and I’m not trying to make light of a serious issue. I think we all have different levels of addictions, and luckily I’ve focused mine on a hobby/business that helps bring in some extra cash instead of one of the more nefarious recreational activities.

If I don’t watch it, I can get overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I bring into the house. Maybe I’ll end up having my own reject yard sale again!

Mickey Mouse Garage Sale Yard Sale Purchase Book

Even Mickey and his friends are taking advantage of the weather and having a garage sale!

This is a book at my in-laws house. My daughter loves looking at the shapes, and I couldn’t help but see if Mickey has anything valuable. All depends on what kind of magazines those are…

Purchase Money Limit

I keep $200 ‘on hand’ when I go out shopping.

EDIT for clarification: This is a $200 target that I do not budget forย on a monthly/weekly basis. Once it’s filled, it stays at $200 until I start spending the money.ย I replenish this spent money when I have new sales.

We use YNAB, which is basically an electronic envelope system where all of your cash accounts gets budgeted down to the dollar.

I have some categories that are eBay related, and one of these is Purchase Money. I can spend money from either my wife or my cash reserves, any checking account, or a credit card (at a thrift store). The budget doesn’t care where the money comes from, just that you know how much you have in total and how you allocated it.

When I go out shopping, I may only bring $100 in cash on me, and I don’t think I’ve ever spent more than $150 at one single sale. Generally, $75 is the most I’ve spent, so this limit works very well for me. The goal is not to force yourself spending $200.

If you think that $200 isn’t a lot, you’re either buying very different things than me or you’re overpaying. $200 can buy a huge amount of inventory that will end up selling in the $30-$50 range.

The biggest downside of having a lower limit is the possibility of missing out on a huge score. I don’t really worry about this because we have so many different types of savings goals (like those damn heating/cooling appliances). If something were to come up that was too good to miss, I’d take a shot at it. I would only do this for a sure thing, though, and I’d have to be VERY sure.

The final question I have is when should I replenish this $200.

Say I spend $50 at a garage sale and then sell something for $75 the next day. Do I put the profits right back to the purchase money, or do I wait until the end of the month? This would further limit the buying I could do during an individual month.

That really still seems to be the problem. I can out-buy my capacity to list and/or store my items. It’s a constant struggle. It’s just that the shopping/buying is so much more fun than the listing.

I may try one of the listing prep-services geared towards eBay. Could be a neat experiment.

As for now, I’m going to continue on the normal path of 15 items per month and $200 spending limit, but if March’s sales end up anywhere near February’s, I may have to take a hard look at myself and have a focused listing month in April.

Do you have a purchase limit? How do you control your spending?

Comments 17

  1. So your budget is not like $200 a week or $200 a month?
    I’m a little confused on that. I don’t have a budget but I definitely need one!
    My “inventory” is getting out of co control!

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      I budget $200 as a target. If I don’t spend any money for a few months, I don’t put any more money into that and any extra profits goes towards my savings goals. Once I do spend money from the $200, I’ll replenish it with any new sales. Hope that clears it up!

  2. I was confused on that $200 being weekly or monthly as well. My goal is to sell $12,000 gross this year,and I have budgeted $40 per week in order to do that. I have an envelope system so if I don’t spend $40 one week, I will have more in my envelope for the following weeks. I sell mostly men’s and women’s clothing and can often get items for $2.00 and under. I have only just started doing this budgeting system and wish I didn’t have to do this at all, BUT I don’t have a lot of storage space so I can’t just go out and purchase tons of inventory since there’s not a lot of storage, and I don’t want my husband to divorce me! :0)

    1. I like the envelope system Karen, I’m going to try that. Right now I have a bank account dedicated to Ebay for buying and selling. I have an idea of what the balance is and I just spend arbitrarily at estate sales, thrift stores, etc. I use my card and a lot of times I don’t realize how much I’m spending. Recently my husband and I decided to transfer a certain amount to another account so it’s kind of a forced budget but not strict enough for me I’m afraid!

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        That’s a great point. If you don’t pay attention, you’ll forget about the little things like the eBay bill at the end of the month, supplies, etc.

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      That’s a great method. We’re pretty strict about tracking all of our spending so it’s just second nature to us. Hopefully my edit above has made it a little more clear.

  3. This post hits home! I have really lost control of my “inventory” and spending. I have a TON of GREAT stuff after a garage/estate sale frenzy last summer…And um the summer before that as well ๐Ÿ˜‰ The finding part is my therapy/anxiety cure/addiction. The listing…not so much although I am way better in that area now. I tend to do a weird thing where I become somewhat attached to these awesome things. So much so that things that I bought to sell (even things that would sell for big bucks) have now turned into “collections”. Does anyone else do this? Or am I just a weirdo? ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I am going to have to figure something out…Soon. Seriously. Garage sale season is already here again and it puts the fear of God into me!
    Love your blog! Always follow but first time to comment.

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      Thanks for commenting! I feel the same way. Even when I know that I can’t go out a certain weekend, I still look at my apps to see what’s out there.
      I don’t collect anything, but I do get too involved with an item and then think it’s worth more than it should be. I’ll get offended by some sort of lower offer even though it’s ridiculous that I should feel that way.

  4. Fellow weirdo here, I too buy something really cool to sell, then get it home and somehow fall in love with it and decide I need to keep it. Unlike Dollar Flipper, I have many, many collections. I have in the last year or so gotten better. I buy way less than I used to and make myself get rid of things I would like to keep. We would like to sell our house sometime in the next 5 years and I am an anxiety ridden wreck when I think about having to pack, move, store all that crap! Great motivator to get rid of stuff.

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      Selling your house definitely makes you realize how much stuff you have. All of the things you don’t notice start to jump out at you!

  5. I should probably set myself a budget but I don’t. We are cash only except for my paypal account though. ..like this past weekend I spent over 500$ on inventory but the deals were too good to pass up (bose surround sound headphones for 5$!) though I’m sure my other half would be thrilled if I limited it more. lol

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      Yeah, we started the budget prior to reselling, so it was just a next step to apply it to my hobby. When I started out, I had something like $100 to fool around with. It’s grown a bunch since then!

  6. Love your blog!!! Thanks for sharing all the helpful info… I just started a youtube channel myself about what I have recently sold on ebay for $20 or more. I hope you’ll check it out!

    Thanks again!
    ~Becky (Dorky Thrifters)

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      That’s awesome! These sold videos are the best. Really give you a good idea of what you should be looking for, even if it’s just style.

  7. Pingback: Interview with Chris @ Flipping a Dollar

  8. I don’t really have a spending limit. I’ve never gotten carried away. Sometimes I use my ebay paypal account, sometimes cash. Once in a while if I don’t have cash on me and am uncertain about my paypal balance, I will use our regular debit card..but rarely. In years pasts, most I’ve spent was about $500 for the month. But I’m usually around $100-$200. It really depends. I try and use the envelope system for our groceries though…that gets out of hand if I don’t keep an eye on it. ๐Ÿ™‚

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