Monday, April 13, 2009

Money from books

For several years, I've purchased used books from garage, estate, and library sales for a dollar or less. After reading them, rather than allowing them to collect dust or clutter the house, I sell them on Ebay,, or through my own garage sale. For the books that don't sell, I would send them back to the library as a donation and take the tax deduction at the end of the year. This worked well, but I found that my book collection was building up in boxes while the books were waiting for new owners. At Ebay,, and, I would need to wait until someone contacted me to buy the books.

Last week, I found a new site called It is as easy to use as and Ebay. Simply register for free, enter the ISBN (number found on the back of the book), and see if there is a buyer for the book. If there is, you will see how much the company is willing to pay. Just affix the free postage label and pop it in the mail. I made $23 in around 25 minutes by sorting through all of my books. They will not take all of your books. In 7 out of 8 cases, my books were too old to take, but the process was so easy I was able to enter in over 100 ISBNs within 25 minutes to see the ones that they would take.

On all of these sites, your books should be in good condition so while reading them, do not fold over pages or overtax the spine of the books.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Local Property Management companies

This week, I contacted several property management companies about renting out my 2 bedroom 2 1/2 bath townhome. Their listing fees and services fluctuated dramatically.

The least expensive property manager charged 6% per month of the rental charges, but he was a crotchedy old guy who was trying to drive the rental price down dramatically. With his negativity on the phone I could just imagine how he would be with prospective renters, so I declined his services. I'll leave his name off this list to avoid any liabilities.

We also contacted Sierra Property Management. They took a look at the place and said that they would charge 10% and recommended that we reduce the price for a quick rental.

The best deal that we found was with Town 'N Country Property Management. They charge a 7% fee. They are a full service firm that will manage all maintenance, finances, and screen candidates for the monthly fee. The person that I dealt with was amazingly friendly and competent and she spend a full hour with us touring the property. She said that what we were asking for was fair for the property. Since we aren't in a huge rush to rent it out, we are starting at the full price, and if it doesn't rent out by the time the baby comes, (we need more room) we'll drop the price.

This exercise drives home the point that any time you search for a service or a commodity, be sure to get 3 quotes and then follow your gut. The least expensive option is not always the best one, but neither is the most expensive option.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

This weeks Ad Circulars

If you like meat, this is the grocery week for you. The stores realize that you will be having guests over this holiday weekend, and have chosen large cuts of meat so that you can feed your extended family. If you are only feeding your immediate family, buy these meats anyway. You will be able to eat for a week - as Julia Child said, "Feasting on Remains."


American Leg of Lamb, $3.99lb.
Cook this whole covered in rosemary harvested from your yard or 'borrow' some from your walk anywhere. It practically grows wild. Add mustard, salt and pepper and roast. With the leftovers, you can make a delicious curry.

Strawberries - 99 cents per pound. (strawberry shortcake or angel food cake for your guests?)

Split chicken breasts - 99 cents per pound. Stock up.

Nabisco crackers - buy one get one free.

Philadelphia cream cheese, 10 for $10 (how about strawberry cheesecake?)


Beef Rib Roast (prime rib dinner) - $3.47 lb.

Farmer John Full Ham (ham for Easter, ham and eggs for the following breakfasts, and use the bone for split pea soup.) 77 cents per pound

Green Beans - 88 cents per pound

Onions - 2 lbs. for $1

Radio Shack
In Sunday's circular I noticed a small ad about their trade in program for used electronics. I piled old digital cameras and a laptop into my car and drove to the local store. Even though the items worked, 2 out of three of them were too old so they wouldn't take them. On the third item - a 7 megapixel camera, they would be happy to take it for $17. This was a $125 camera last year and it still works well. I decided to pass on the deals. I compared selling these items on Ebay and found that I could get 300% to 400% more for the camera and that I could easily sell the items that Radio Shack turned away. Recommendation? Skip the trip to Radio Shack until you are ready to purchase items. Post your items on Ebay and then upgrade your electronics with your earnings.

Happy Easter everyone!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Grocery circular savings this week

Here are my favorite sales this week. For the most savings on the grocery bill, visit all three stores.


Ralphs Gallon Milk - $1.99
Large Haas Avocados - 68 cents each
Roma tomatoes - 88 cents per pound
Boneless chuck steak or roast - $2.99lb.
Celery - 99 cents each
Ralphs frozen vegetables - 89 cents for 14 to 16 oz packages
Philadelphia brick cream cheese - 10 for $10


Ocean Spray cranberry cocktail drink - $1.99
Lucerne butter - 99 cents for 16oz with coupon
Life or Cap'n Crunch - 99 cents with coupon
Foster Farms whole chicken - 77 cents per pound
80% lean ground beef - $1.67lb.
Boneless pork sirloin chops - $1.77lb.
Cross Rib Roast - $1.97 lb.
Broccoli - 88 cents per pound
3 lb. apple bags - $1.99 each


Pork spareribs 99 cents per pound
Lobster tails - $3.99 each
Large mangos 3 for 99 cents
Mini seedless watermelon - $1.99 each
Kiwi - 3 for 99 cents
Texas grapefruit - 69 cents each