Category Archives: Thrift Stores

Why I Bought a Toy Ranked 1.2 Million for Resale

When it comes to sales rank, every Amazon seller has their own idea of what a “good” sales rank is. For me, I’ll almost always buy a toy that is consistently ranked under 150,000. I’ll even buy a toy that is ranked much higher, as long as the number of competing sellers is low and the ROI of the toy is high. But a toy ranked over 1 million? What reseller in their right mind would buy a toy ranked over 1 million? Well… me.

Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at 4.38.21 PMDo I buy up all toys ranked over 1 million? No, I don’t. Sales rank is just one part of the decision process I go through to when I’m making my buying decisions. I’ll blog soon about my own personal checklist when it comes to buying decisions. As you spend more time selling on Amazon, you begin to realize that sales rank is just a number that signifies how recently a particular item has sold. A toy with a really low sales rank (1-1000) sells possibly many times per day, whereas a toy with a higher sales rank could possibly only sell once a week, once a month, or even once a year. A low sales rank does not ever guarantee that a particular item will sell. It only states how recently and often an item has sold.

About a month ago, I was walking through a local Goodwill store when I came across an electronic “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” handheld game. It was still brand new in its original packaging. Goodwill was asking $2.00, so I picked it up and scanned it. The information that was returned to me told me that this toy was ranked over 1.2 million, and had no current sellers. I checked and it did not have any pricing or sales rank history. Many times, I would have put this toy back on the shelves and kept on sourcing, but I just couldn’t let it go.

Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at 4.35.01 PMI knew that “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” was a popular game. I had sold a few of the board game versions in the past with great success. I didn’t know that they made an electronic handheld version. I had also had some success with selling electronic handheld games, but that didn’t mean that this game would be guaranteed to sell fast.

I started to think… Since this game had no current sellers, it’s possible that the rank was so high because it had been so long since it was even available to be sold on Amazon. The longer an item has no sellers, the faster its sales rank will rise, until, at one point, the sales rank might disappear all together.

AppIcon_eBay_Dec_2013I decided to investigate how well this toy was doing on other selling platforms. I opened up the eBay app on my phone and decided to check out the most recent completed auctions. There is a search feature on the eBay app that lets you look at the most recent completed auctions. I was happy to see that the “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” handheld electronic game was selling a few times a month on eBay.

When I saw the success that some eBay sellers were having selling this game, I decided it was worth buying. The completed eBay sales also told me that buyers were spending around $10.00 to $15.00 (shipping included) for this toy. I decided to buy the toy and list it on Amazon for $19.99. This was more than eBay sellers were selling it for, but I had a plan. If it didn’t sell within a few months, I’d start to lower the price a little.

I bought this item from Goodwill for $2.00 on May 25th. Two days later, it was on it’s way to an Amazon FBA warehouse. I’m happy to inform you that yesterday, this toy sold at my $19.99 sales price. Now, I’m wondering if I should have priced it even higher. In any case, I turned a $2.00 investment into a $20 sale. I’ll take that any day, and all it took was one minute researching the eBay app to see how it was selling on that platform.

Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at 4.34.18 PMUpdate: As of yesterday, the sales rank for the “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader” electronic handheld game jumped from 1,267,961 all the way to 96,151.

Note: If you want a FREE PDF download of the latest Amazon Category Sales Rank, all you gotta do is click here.

So what about you? What other things do you think about when you making your buying decisions? Have you ever taken a gamble with an item ranked super high? How did it turn out for you?


Sales rank is easily the most misunderstood aspect of selling on Amazon. What is a good sales rank? What does a sales rank of zero mean? What do I do with sales rank for sub-categories?

Why does sales rank have to be so confusing so much of the time?

I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way! You can finally get the clarity you need on the issue of understanding Amazon sales rank numbers. We at Full-Time FBA have launched a mini-course called The Reseller’s Guide to Sales Rank: Understanding Amazon Best Sellers Rank for Maximum Profits. The mini-course is a combination ebook (30+ pages) and video course (almost 2 hours). 

Check out The Reseller’s Guide to Sales Rank mini-course to see how you can master the concept of best sellers rank and be on your way toward smarter sourcing decisions for your Amazon FBA business!



Now Available: The Reseller’s Guide to Board Games – How to Turn Play Money Into Real Money

BoardGameBook MiniA few years ago I was looking for a new niche to add to my online selling business. I needed something that was both profitable and abundant. The niche I discovered ended up being even better than I expected. What niche had I discovered? Board games.

For the past 2 years I have found hundreds and hundreds of board games, both new and used, to sell online. I’ll run out of money before I run out of board games to flip. It is the abundance of such a profitable niche that has lead me to share my secrets.

Today, I’m excited to tell you that my first eBook, The Reseller’s Guide to Board Games: How to Turn Play Money into Real Money, is now available for purchase. The book contains 12 chapters, is over 60 pages, and includes 3 bonuses. It’s packed with all the information you need to find, buy, prepare, and sell board games for maximum profits.

IMG_8909bTo learn more or purchase this eBook, click here. This book comes with a 60-day, no questions asked, money back guarantee, so you have nothing to lose.

Garage Sale Tip #3

Today’s tip is the third in an ongoing series called Garage Sale Tips.

Almost every time I go out to source at garage sales, I see a certain item that I can buy for next to nothing and easily use to turn a few quarters into $20.00. What am I talking about? Expired printer ink cartridges.

17802_gr960If you have a Staples office store nearby, then you can take advantage of an easy program that lets you trade in ink cartridges for store credit. Currently, Staples will give you $2.00 per ink cartridge (up to 10 cartridges per month). To see the details of this program, just click here.

When I see ink cartridges at garage sales, I always look at the expiration date, and almost 100% of the time, the ink cartridges are expired. What makes me laugh is that the ink cartridges usually expired around 2005. Why people keep them that long is anyone’s guess. The good news is that you can use the fact that these are expired ink cartridges as a way to get them for next to nothing. Here is the usual conversation I have at a garage sale when I see expired ink cartridges:

Stephen – “I see you have a few ink cartridges that expired back in 2007. Would you take a quarter for them?”
Seller – “Oh, I didn’t realize they were expired. Sure, you can take ‘em for a quarter.”  

Sometimes the conversations even go like this:

Stephen – “I see you have 5 ink cartridges that expired back in 2007. Would you take a dollar for them all?”
Seller – “Oh, I didn’t realize they were expired. You can just have ‘em.”  

See, sometimes I even get these money makers for free. As a rule, I never pay over a quarter for the expired ink cartridges. Even if they expired in 2012, I’ll still just offer a quarter. 95% of the time, the seller will accept the quarter for the expired ink.

IMG_8639The next step is to take the ink cartridges to a local Staples store. Be sure you are a Staples Rewards member (it’s fast and free to sign up). Tell the cashier that you want to recycle the ink and drop off the cartridges. If you drop off 10 cartridges (the maximum you can per month) then you’ll get a Staples store credit certificate for $20.00. You just turned $2.50 into $20.00! If you do this every month, you’ll turn a $30 investment into $240 in a year. Thats a profit of $210!

The only catch is that you have to spend $30 on ink at Staples every 180 days to keep yourself eligible for this reward. With all your FBA-related printing, this is easy to do, and you still come out making a great profit for all the quarters you spend on each ink cartridge.

If you don’t have a Staples store near you, you can still profit off of ink cartridges. The site offers up cash for your ink. They want you to ship the cartridges to them (shipping is free), and then they’ll pay you depending on what cartridge you send them.

Anybody else tried the Staples ink recycling program? Do you know other ways to make money off of expired ink cartridges from garage sales?

Finding Joy in FBA

This post is from Rebecca, Stephen’s wife and business partner.

Everybody is born with gifts, talents, preferences, and passions. Sometimes these talents and passions are obvious from childhood. Other talents become clear later in life. Stephen and I truly believe that utilizing those gifts and passions on a regular basis is key to a successful business, including a successful FBA business. If you’re working every day at something you love, you are more motivated to work hard and you’re in a better position to excel at that work.

I’m saying all this about “do what you love and love what you do” as an English major and professional writer. I have ZERO business background or experience prior to working with Stephen on FBA. And yet, I can truly say that I love my part of doing FBA as a couple. If I only thought of it as a way to pay our bills, not as an enjoyable and meaningful job as well, I wouldn’t be doing it. But we’ve found a way to use my unique non-business-background gifts to help our business grow — and we think you can do the same thing.

Here are a few ways to make your talents, your strengths, and your passions prosper your business:

1. Shop where it most suits you.

I love thrift stores. Always have. I’m drawn to the quirkiness of so many thrift store owners, and I love that each thrift store encounter feels like a treasure hunt. I don’t always enjoy garage sales. I give up too easily when there’s a list of 20 sales to cover, and the first 7 or 8 are duds — or closed. So, I have a regular thrift store route that I cover each week, and Stephen (who loves driving around town and talking to all the strangers he meets along the way) does the bulk of our garage saling. This system works for us, so we stick with it for the most part.

DSC039962. Shop for what most suits you.

If Stephen and I go to a thrift store together, we can walk in the door and without a word know what the other one wants to do first: I make a beeline for the books, and he heads to the toys and games. It truly is a delight to me to stand for an hour or more scanning books — seriously, it’s a dream come true that I get to buy and sell books for a living! In the same way that I sometimes give up on a long list of garage sales, Stephen becomes weary of shelf after shelf of books needing to be scanned. He, on the other hand, never complains about digging through bins of toys or shelves of video games. It makes sense that we each focus on the area we’re drawn to — we each do a better job that way.

3. Be willing to try new things and new places.

Sometimes we don’t know what we enjoy until we try it. In the past, I thought the idea of scanning shelves of clearance items at a retail store sounded like an awful way to spend an afternoon — tedious and dusty. But after a couple of times of going out to stores with Stephen and seeing what it’s like (and learning that there’s more thought process involved than just blindly picking up each and every item to scan it), I started to get into it. Again, it’s like a treasure hunt. Now I have a couple of stores where I regularly scan clearance items — and I enjoy it! This willingness is especially important if you’re doing FBA on your own. You can’t always rely on someone else to do the jobs you don’t like.

4. Don’t compare yourself to others — even your partner. 

183983_488455967854185_352660876_nIt’s easy to get caught up in reading forums, blogs, and e-books and start to think, “I’m just not good at [fill in the blank] like other people are. I can’t seem to find [insert product name here] or have any luck at [name of store here].” One thought can lead to another, and soon you’re in a downward spiral of negativity. But you have to remember, the great thing about FBA is there’s room for all kinds of products, all kinds of categories, and all levels of sellers. If someone else’s niche doesn’t work for you, keep looking — your own niche is out there. I have to tell myself this every time Stephen finds a great video game deal — I’m not a loser because I never seem to find video games that are worth anything. Video games are an area of expertise for him, not me, and I can celebrate his victories without feeling defeated myself.

5. Don’t give up working on your weaknesses or the areas you don’t enjoy.

Now, while it’s true that you should try to focus overall on doing work that you enjoy, it’s also true that there are always aspects to any job that are genuinely work (who really enjoys and is “gifted” at sticker removal?). These mundane tasks must be done, and we can’t just slough them off for the sake of only doing tasks we find pleasant. If you need to, hire an assistant (or your teenage kid) to help you with these areas that are less enjoyable to you — or find ways to make them more appealing. For example, sticker removal days are also movie days at our house. And there are days when it works better for me to do the garage saling and Stephen to be busy at something else (see #1 above) — garage sales aren’t my favorite, but if needed, I get out there and do it.

If you want to read more about how Stephen and I make our Amazon FBA business work as a married couple, check out our book, Married to Reselling: Balancing Family Life with Your Online Business. 

Please let us hear from you now. Have you found what makes you joyful in FBA? How did you find it? If not, what are you doing to actively seek the areas of FBA that you enjoy and excel at?

How to Fit FBA Sourcing into Your Busy Schedule

Today’s post comes from my wife, Rebecca, who will write on this blog from time to time. Her post is full of great tips for all of us busy entrepreneurs.

Photo by user CELALTEBER from

Sourcing while busy? It’s possible! Photo by CELALTEBER from

Part of the way we’re able to make full-time FBA a possibility for our family is by strategically planning our time each week. One way I contribute to our FBA business is by sourcing once every few days. With four boys in our family, I have to a lot to keep up with around the house — and as a freelance writer, I have writing projects that require my attention also. But Stephen and I have figured out some ways to get me out of the house and sourcing on a regular basis by combining my business shopping with other errands or social activities.

I’ll share with you a few ways I work sourcing into my schedule, and then I’d like to challenge you to come up with one new way you can source this week. Try the new addition to your schedule for a month or two and see if it adds new products to your inventory on a regular basis.

1. I combine sourcing with my regular household shopping.

Across the street from the grocery store where I shop for our family is a Target. When I do my weekly grocery shopping, I try to give myself an extra half hour or so in my schedule to run into Target and scan their clearance shelves. Sometimes I find stuff to buy for FBA, sometimes I don’t — but the Target is right on my regular route anyway, so it doesn’t hurt to stop and look. A couple of weeks ago, I took about 30 minutes to scan clearance items, filled half a cart, and spent $50 on items that will sell for $150 on FBA, for a profit of $100. Not bad for a half hour of work on my way to buy our groceries!

2. I combine sourcing with my regular social outings.

Every Thursday I meet a friend to discuss books over a cup of coffee. Her house is in a different part of town from where I live, so it gives me the opportunity to visit thrift stores I don’t always pass on a daily basis. Depending on how much time I have, I plan to visit 1 – 3 thrift shops in that part of town after our coffee date. Again, I just make it a point to work that extra sourcing time into my schedule that day.

3. I combine sourcing with fun activities with my husband.

Stephen and I like to go out for different types of international cuisine, but there aren’t a lot of options close to where we live. Every 4 – 6 weeks, we schedule a day to drive to a nearby town, eat a new type of cuisine for lunch, and visit thrift shops near the restaurant. We plan our route ahead of time so that we can make the most of the day — usually we’re able to source at 5 – 8 thrift shops before or after our lunch date.

At other times we’ve sourced on the way to visit out-of-town relatives or while driving an hour away to pick up someone at the airport. Take a look at your regular activities and do a search for thrift shops or retail stores with clearance sections in the nearby area. Then take a look at the irregular activities that pop up on your calendar but take you to a different part of town or even the state — do searches for thrift shops in those areas to maximize the benefit of the time you’re spending on the road. If you’re already having to make a two hour round trip, why not leave a couple of hours early to get some sourcing done in a fresh area while you’re at it? You’re likely to find items that will at least pay for the gas for your trip, or even a great deal higher profit.

Today's blog is written by my wife, Rebecca.

Today’s blog was written by my wife, Rebecca.

We’d love for you to leave us a comment. Are there ways you work sourcing into your non-business-related activities each week or month? What new ways are you planning to add sourcing to your schedule in the coming weeks?