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The Craigslist Trifecta…

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There are three statements your like to hear buying Craigslist goods…

‘I’m remodeling’
‘I’m cleaning out my garage and don’t have room’
And…
‘My wife isn’t home and I can’t remember how much she said to sell it for but I’m sure we’ll figure something out.’

I had been watching for deals on Craigslist for much needed baby supplies for a couple months but hadn’t found anything. I’m not picky… but I’m not particularly interested in your great aunt Myrtle’s crib that is ‘in great shape – but missing a few semi-important parts.’

Then, one lucky Thursday morning, I found ‘the one’. It was a crib in the perfect color, great condition, and offered at a reasonable price.

My husband and I went to take a look on Friday and the seller said, ‘I’m remodeling our home and I want to get rid of everything. I’m storing the remodeling supplies in my garage and don’t have room for all this baby stuff. My wife is not here, but I kinda remember how much she said she wanted.’

Cha-Ching! I hit the Craigslist trifecta.

He opened his sparkling clean garage and in a carefully covered corner was a stack of baby items.

The heavens opened and I heard the Hallelujah chorus.

The seller kept piling items into my husband’s truck until we had no more room. What did we escape with?

A travel system stroller, car seat, and base, nearly brand new with all the manuals and a note that read, ‘This car seat has never been in an accident, has not been recalled, and has never been placed in a shopping cart’ (Hmm. Someone is a little OCD like me!).
A heavy duty crib and a new mattress with the manuals and the orthopedic information on the mattress.
Adorable spotless bedding for a baby boy.
A medium duty stroller for when the travel system stroller gets too heavy.
A toddler car seat that read ‘This car seat has never been in an accident and has not been recalled’.
A Red Flyer wagon with off-road tires and wood siding straight from the box.

All for $170.

The wife called just before we left. From our end, we heard…

‘Yes. They decided to buy the crib and stroller.’
‘How much?’
‘ Oops. They already paid.’
‘I gave them the other stroller and toddler seat too.’
‘Free.’
‘Oh. Well, it’s already in their car.’
‘No. That’s rude.’
‘Sorry. It’s gone honey.’
‘They are driving off right this second.’

He hung up. ‘Whelp. I’m in trouble. But it’s worth it. I’ve got space! Have a great day guys.’

And off we went.

Score!!


Finding Odd Jobs…

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A reader asked how my husband and I find odd jobs.

First, and most important, we rarely do work for people we, or someone close to us, doesn’t know. I do not trust Craigslist for anything other than used doggie kennels and throw rugs. My husband mainly does work for friends and family – someone always needs a sink fixed or a toilet repaired. Let people around you know you’re willing to help.

I do accounting work for the company I worked for a few years ago. They are often short staffed and need an extra hand. I let them know I’m always available. It makes it easy when they already have my tax reporting information and I don’t have to keep records.

Second, if we do work for someone we don’t know, we keep it under $100. My husband is sometimes approached by fellow customers in home repair stores. There’s something about him that radiates honesty and good heartedness – maybe it’s because he is. If the job is too large, he refers them to a reputable company. It’s not worth the risk of not getting paid.

Third, be good at what you do, stay on top of trends in your industry, and be honest. My husband is extremely talented and is always reading construction magazines. He is never dishonest and will likely throw in work for free. Ninety percent of his work is from referrals. Happy people will tell their friends about you.

Fourth, pay close attention to the laws about certain types of work. California is stringent on almost everything. Working here without some sort of licensing is illegal for many trades. For example, construction work is limited to $500 (including material) if you do not have a contractor’s license. It’s also important to report all income when tax time rolls around. Nothing is worth the risk or penalties of an IRS audit. Also, if you are on unemployment, money from side work MUST be reported and will likely result in a reduction of benefits.

Fifth, don’t expect to make a ton of money. Usually, we make just enough for groceries or to cover what we’re short on an electric bill. It takes a lot of time and the money is little.

Again, I’m no expert. Before doing any type of side work, check with your local government authority and your tax advisor.


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