The $100 Extra Income Challenge

Happy New Year everyone!

I hope you’ve already thought about what you want to accomplish in 2012 with your finances. Are you going to get out of debt in 2012? Regardless of what your financial goals are for this year I want to kick things off with a challenge.

When it comes to managing money successfully people have more excuses than they have solutions. Whether it be saving for a rainy day, paying off debt or building retirement there’s always an excuse as to why we can’t do this or that.

Usually those excuses have to do with income so I thought it would be appropriate to challenge you to take $100 and turn it into a profit. I believe most people can find $100 in their budget but just in case it truly is a problem for some of you I’m going to extend the challenge to include ANY AMOUNT OF MONEY.

Can you take $5, $10, $20, $50, or $100 and turn it into a profit?

I think you can. Actually I know you can! How do I know that?

Because my wife does it monthly. She buys items she finds at Goodwill, yard sales, and auctions and then sells them on eBay, craigslist, and consignment sales. She’s purchased many items for less than $5.00 and has turned them into more than a $50 profit. It takes a little work but it’s not hard to do. She didn’t go to eBay college or get a degree in sales so I’m confident you can do it too!

The point of this challenge isn’t to make you a millionaire. The point is to get you thinking about how YOU can reject the notion that one income is all you have to rely on to reach your financial goals. Creating multiple sources of income is a great way to bring in extra money to help accelerate your financial plan. (How do you think the idea of me starting a printing company came to be?)

Most of you know my wife is the true brains behind making money on eBay so to make things interesting I’m going to do the challenge myself without her help. I’m going to join you to prove anyone can do it. Remember, my wife had to start somewhere too. ๐Ÿ˜€

At the end of the month I will share with you my results. For this challenge I would like to use THIS POST (the comment section) to discuss anything related to this challenge. Ask questions, share your purchases and ideas, or anything else you feel is relevant. There are no winners or losers just a group of people interested in making extra money.

Let’s do this!

$100 Challenge Guidelines

You do not have to buy items to sell on eBay but you MUST have something invested. The idea is turn that investment into a profit. For instance, if you like to make/sew blankets then you could make some to sell and record a profit.

Items that you have at home do not count towards this challenge though I highly recommend that if you have anything at home to sell then sell it! Anything to get that debt paid off! ๐Ÿ˜€

Have fun and be creative with the process. Think outside of the box and teach yourself how to expand your income without relying solely on a raise or a bonus from work.

You may use more than one method to earn your profit.

Please ask any questions you may have in the comments section. My wife and I would be more than happy to assist you.

Tips for Success

  • Research an item before you buy it (eBay is a great place to search for items that have already sold and for how much.)
  • Know the risk factor. (Don’t take huge risks while you’re learning the process. A $5 risk for one item is much better than a $100 risk if you’re unsure you can recoup what you paid. Start with low dollar purchases.)
  • Look for quality well made items
  • Look for “like new” items with little defects unless vintage or antique. (No one wants a pair of shoes with scuffs on them but they might be willing to overlook quality on a vintage G.I. Joe figure collection.)
  • Name brand items have a better resale value
  • Think seasonal. (For example; boots and jackets sell better in winter than in summer.)
  • Avoid large bulky items unless you plan to sell them locally on craigslist
  • Use shipping calculator to estimate shipping costs when listing on eBay
  • Watch Pawn Stars, American Pickers, or Storage Wars to get an idea on how to value items.

Examples of items that sell well are:

  • Name brand purses (be wary of knock-offs)
  • Vintage toys and dolls
  • China
  • Porcelain figurines
  • Lady’s shoes and Cowboy boots
  • Old items that may have sentimental value


Photo Credit

About Brad Chaffee

25 Responses to “The $100 Extra Income Challenge”

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  1. Eduardo says:

    Another interesting challenge, Brad! I think it will serve multiple purposes: show us that the only restriction to the number of income streams we generate is ourselves, challenge us to be creative and look for things beyond what we normally look, even find an unknown passion…
    This kind of challenges (the No restaurants and this one) are a fun way of showing that taking control of our finances is posible.
    Good luck! And let’s see what the $100 can do!

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Yeah I think so too Eduardo! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Everything you said is right on. We are THE biggest obstacle keeping us from doing anything. even when there are outside factors we can’t control we still have the ability to come up with solutions and ways around those obstacles. That’s not to say we’ll always be successful no matter what we try but it definitely teaches us how to solve problems. When something doesn’t work you move on to something else. Thanks for the great comment Eduardo! I can’t wait to get together with you and your wife again man! ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. I’m a HUGE eBay selling/buying fanatic too! I got started about 6 years ago and for awhile I was grossing over $2,000 a month. Lately I don’t spend as much time on searching for deals to resell but it’s still fun and I love the rush of it!

    This is a great challenge. I’ve already got a head-start too, since I cashed in $100 rewards from PerkStreet and I’m going to put that savings towards my car loan. Another $100 of debt down!

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      My wife would say it is addicting as well. I think it’s perfect especially if someone loves to shop. They get to shop without the issue of accumulating stuff because most of it resells. Go shopping and make money too. that;s a win win if you ask me. LOL

  3. CrystalH says:

    I LOVE this idea. I am 100% on board with this challenge. The one thing I miss about living in Chicago is Swap-O-Rama. That’s an outdoor flea market. I was so crushed when “My lady” wasn’t there over Christmas break. The last time I saw her when I was there for FINCON11. I bought some bedding from her for $10 and sold it for $90 on eBay. I need to find similar places here in the DC area. Thanks for the awesome idea! I will also post this in my website too!

    • Phaedra says:

      Hey CrystalH: Do you have any friends still in the Chicago area who frequented the Swap-O-Rama? If so, why not pay them a percentage of your sale when they find items that can be resold for a profit? They find ’em, you sell ’em. You pay them. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Haha! awesome Crystal, I’m glad you’re gonna give it a try. It;’s always fun to find ways to make money. My wife gets so excited when she buys something for $5 and sells it for $60. LOL turning $10 into $90 is awesome as well! Recently my wife went to an auction and spent about $600. She didn’t make as much as we thought because two of the dolls we had sold for $100 less than she expected but she still made a profit. The best time to do this is from spring to summer when there are tons of yard sales going on. I’m going to use my wife’s advice and tips to try and turn something into some cash too. Id rather sell shirts and other items I can print but I like the challenge plus I want to prove anyone can do it if they try. ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. Oh man, Brad, are you really encouraging me to watch more Pawn Stars?! Haha, love it.

    Do you usually sell stuff on eBay? Or do you use Craigslist or other methods, too?

    Do you ever try to buy stuff on sale or with other discounts to resell? I have a friend who’s been really successful doing that, so that seems like an appealing strategy, too.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      LOL Jeffrey! Yessir! I actually enjoy watching those shows and they have taught me a little something about how to value items. I figure if Chumley can do it anyone can. LOL

      My wife is the queen of eBay not me. She sells stuff that makes sense to ship on eBay and stuff that doesn’t locally on Craigslist so it really depends. Last week she sold a $200 juicer she found at an auction for $50 that ended up selling on eBay for $120. It was kind of expensive to ship but the person really wanted it so demand plays a role too.

      We’ve not had much luck with stuff like that. We can never find a deep enough discount to try but honestly haven’t really tried either. We have thought about it but I believe it can be done. That kind of thing would be perfect for the someone who is good at couponing I bet. We suck at couponing. LOL

      I may have to look into trying that route. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Phaedra says:

    This is great challenge for me. My sister owns a restaurant/catering company and has been asking me to make cakes for her to sell — I have not made a bad cake yet. Well, as I am currently seeking work and unemployment barely meets my “ends” I need another avenue for cash flow. She also said, whatever they sell for is all mine. ๐Ÿ˜€ She just wants to offer a dessert variety to her clients. I am going to get my friend in on this too. She is an opera singer. I have been telling her to book some lessons with young people and start charging a fee. I told her to set up a personal website to drive traffic. Anywho, I have lots of ideas to write out. Thanks for the push!

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Oh yeah, bake those cakes! I love decorating cakes but am not good enough at it to sell them but if I was you bet I would! We currently have a tradition where we hand make all of our kids cakes each year and we try new stuff each time. We used fondant one year to make a Lightning McQueen cake for my oldest son. It was hard but it actually looked pretty good!

      Music and singing lessons are a great way to make money. I know a guy who can play almost any instrument he wants to but has yet to take my advice to set up an online tutoring music school where he could create video lessons that people sign up for while he sleeps. It’s perfect but he’s not confident enough to do it! It’s not the music part he’s unsure of it’s his ability to make money teaching people online. He will never know if he doesn’t try right?

      I can’t wait to hear what you have in mind and especially how you do with making those cakes! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Good luck!

      • Phaedra says:

        Thanks! After reading this post and posting comments I just made a golden rum cream cake with a butter rum glaze. While it was baking, I created my debt snowball spreadsheet. ๐Ÿ™‚ 2012 is going to be a PHENOMENAL YEAR [for me]!!

        • Brad Chaffee says:

          Inspiring! That is awesome! I love it!! Golden Rum Cream Cake and a Debt Snowball in one day? It doesn’t get any better than that! Keep up the great work! ๐Ÿ˜€

          Did I mention you made me extremely hungry?! LOL

          • Phaedra says:

            Oh and I doubt that I would evern attempt to work with fondant. You are very brave. Perhaps when I have children as I do love to bake. I wish I could convince more people that there are so many ways to get your “side hustle” on. I also know people who sell on ebay and make a decent amount of extra cash. My friend wears a lot of higher end clothing she buys on discount at the end of a season, she sells them locally — even to friends. Whatever she does not sell goes on ebay.

            Ha! I made myself hungry — well for a slice of this cake. I could buy one and pay myself immediately! LOL!

            Thanks for this challenge. I’m so motivated!


        • CrystalH says:

          That cake sounds awesome!

  6. I’m super bummed because I was all ready to participate in this challenge and I put an ad in the paper for something but they lost my check!! So now my ad will run in the Feb paper. UG!! So it will be Extra Income Feb for me instead.

  7. Serena says:

    Let the challenge begin! Brad, you will never believe this, but several months ago I found the most awesome wood drafting table at one of my favorite thrift stores and knew it would be perfect in my crafting room. Just researched it online and I believe the thing is worth between $325 and $425! I cannot think to part with it, because it is invaluable to me, and wow, what a great story to tell people. But yes, I am convinced it is possible to make money this way!

    On the other hand, I bought a great pair of Italian leather boots from the thrift store (womens) with the intent to be my first sale of the challenge, and it is not doing well. Paid $8 for them, listing for $20 on craigslist and eBay but no one inquiry! Whats the deal? Is name brand. Great condition. Would wear them myself if they were my size. Hmmmmm…….

  8. Serena says:

    Hey, Brad, how’s the challenge going? ๐Ÿ™‚ Just checking in. I’m super excited about it, and hoping that all the work I put in today will yield some success! I have designated Thursdays “Thrift Store Thursdays” because that’s when people like myself, who hold a “Value Card” (ha! Like a grocery bonus card!) can save 25% off of everything. Great, huh?

    So, I snagged up a boat-load of stuff today, and I HAD to come and share with everyone here. Talk about a pair of designer Cole Haan sandals for about $8.00……so and and so forth. I can only hope that my listings through eBay and Craigslist pay off!

    P.S. Last week I made my first $6.00. LOL….Sounds a pair of Italian leather boots via eBay. However, after under-calculating shipping by nearly $2.00….then PayPal taking their cut by $1.00…..I only made a $6 profit. I would love to know how your wife does it so “expertly.” ๐Ÿ™‚

    Oh! Check out my blog link above to see all the cool stuff I found today!!

    How’s everyone else going?

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Hello Serena! So great to hear from you! ๐Ÿ˜€

      I personally have learned a lot about what my wife does and the process itself. For starters we haven’t had much luck at the thrift stores this month and since there is no yard sales (where the majority of my wife’s eBay success comes from) which leaves yard sales which is new to us. We just went to an auction this past week to make our first purchase for January aside from a few items here and there at Goodwill. The absence of yard sales was something I never even considered when running this challenge but we are going to make the best of it and see where we end up. As with any type of business there always seems to be a seasonal slow period but it’s still fun and still possible to turn something into something more. ๐Ÿ˜€

      In my opinion if you go out and spend $5 and turn it into $10, $15, or more you’ve done great and as time moves on so will our ability to make more — as my wife has proven so well as she’s become more experienced. I have to admit the process is a bit overwhelming at first especially if you’re not used to the tricks of the eBay trade or the buying process for that matter.

      So far we’ve collectively spent about $80 of our financial resources for this challenge. We intend to spend about $200 and are waiting for the next auction. Auctions are exciting but also intimidating at first. I’m very intimidated by bidding on something where the prices moves upward so quickly. haha! To me it feels like a form of chaos. LOL

      It looks like you are having a great time and I will definitely check out your blog! ๐Ÿ˜€ Good luck with the rest of the challenge.

      P.S. Remember you can buy stuff all the way to the 31st so the final update will probably be published in the middle of February after the eBay items have ended.

  9. Serena says:

    So, Brad, how’s your challenge going? ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m happy to say I’ve sold a few pairs of shoes through eBay that I found at the thrift store. I’m netting about double what I paid for them! The bad news is that a few of the shoes I bought didn’t sell, nor did they sell on Craigstlist. However, I am going to re-list them and see what happens. I’m also going to contact a consignment shop and see if I can sell them there. I’m a little sad, though, because yesterday I found a cute pair of Batman rain boots (see my blog) and listed them, and wouldn’t you know, they sold in 1 day! Ooohh…..but I think my 2 year old is going to be mad that Mommy isn’t keeping them!!

    Oh, one more thing….a money lesson taught to my 5-year old recently: So we went to Hobby Lobby (have you ever been? It ROCKS!). And my son and I went crazy–throwing THIS and THAT in the cart…..Well, we have $65 in cash (which is all I have been using for the past several months). But wouldn’t you know the total came to $100. Umm….I pulled out my debit card (a big no-no!) and covered the amount we didn’t have.

    This was totally eating at me as I had both my sons strapped in the car, calculating how in the WORLD could that little bit of stuff total $100??? I decided, “Heck no, we’re taking back some of this stuff, and we should NOT have spent more than we had cash in our pocket.”

    We marched back in there and returned about 1/2 of the stuff, and credited the $35 back on my card. LESSON TAUGHT–Only spend as much money as you have in your pocket (or less!). If you don’t have cash for it in hand, you can’t afford it.

    I hope he remembers the lesson ๐Ÿ™‚

    Anyhow, hope your selling is going well! I’m super excited for Yard Sale season to start this year!!

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Things have been going well but January has certainly proven to be a hard month. I didn’t even consider that when planning this challenge mostly because I didn’t know to. It’s been a slow month for us. We’ve spent about $100 and we’ve made about $160 but my wife has even been frustrated with our lack of finding good stuff. After Christmas there were lots of stuff at the goodwills but most of it was junk that got replaced by this years Christmas presents. No yard sales to go to (the best place to find good stuff) and the auctions have been hard to get good stuff at a low enough price.

      It’s frustrating my wife because my wife found out in mid-January that she is now considered a Power-Seller on eBay because she’s maintained a certain level of sales for the last 3 months. This gives her more ways to save on fees etc so we’re hoping that we can make up for it in February. You do have to find deep discounts in order for eBay to work. If my wife can’t make $15-$20 profit on something she usually doesn’t both buying it. That’s not to say that some items haven’t sold for less and we’ve also had stuff that hasn’t sold at all but have always made money each and every time. She might spend $50 on maybe 20 items at a yard sale and at least one of those items makes back what the money was spent so the rest ends up being profit.

      Hang in there Serena! Yard sale season is almost among us and I know my wife is going to be going crazy to make up for the lack of stuff we’ve been able to find this month. LOL

  10. Serena says:

    Oh, decided to look at my eBay account and I just saw that I have $8.03 in FEES sitting there, which if you add things up, totally cuts into whatever little “profit” I had made from listing there. Grrrrrr…….I wasn’t realizing that the fees still applied EVEN IF AN ITEM DOESN’T SELL. That’s really risky, isn’t it?? My advice then might be to use a consignment shop. Their fees are hefty, too, but if it doesn’t sell, then no loss, right?

    I’m still a little perplexed how people make money at eBay…..I’m learning that you probably need to get things sooo cheap for what you could sell it for, and to have MANY things selling, because a few items here and there really aren’t going to net enough of an income to matter.

  11. Jerry says:

    We’ve been selling on eBay for years and it was insurance for our budget. We knew the things that sold well and it made a nice little side income for us.

  12. Serena says:

    Brad, did you ever do the $100 challenge recap? I haven’t even figured up my numbers because the profit was so measly. Buying and selling shoes on eBay proved not to be too profitable, at least not buying them from the thrift store. Perhaps once yard sale season kicks in.

    I have taken, though, to attempting to buy and sell furniture online, via Craigslist. I had bought a buffet server/table for a total of $70, and someone offered me $180 for it!! I ended up keeping it because I love it do much and because we are still in the process of decorating our home ( see my blog, where I track my thrifty decorating) . I couldn’t bear to part with it. Lol

    However, it has shown me that selling used furniture is the best way to go. Big ticket items usually can yield the biggest returns.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Nope. We had a problem with tracking in January. I bought my wife a netbook for Christmas to do her eBay on and even created her a spreadsheet to keep track of all that we bought and sold in January. Problem was we didn’t save it to a thumb-drive before I set the netbook back to factory settings and took it back to the store. It was a piece of junk. So now we’ve been procrastinating on going back through eBay to figure out what we bought and sold in January. I promise to do it soon just been busy. I just wish we would have transferred that spreadsheet. LOL I had all I needed on that spreadsheet.

      As far as your struggle my wife had the same struggle in the beginning. It’s really about learning what sells which takes time but searching eBay for items sold in the past really helps you figure out if something is worth buying or not. I would say without that feature my wife wouldn’t buy most of what she has since there is no other way to know how something has sold on eBay in the past. I have finally talked my wife into co-writing an eBay ebook course so I’m really excited about that!

      For us we found that buying furniture was more of a hassle but I think it’s great that you have made it work for you, even if you have kept some of them. LOL We’ve done that too. ๐Ÿ˜€

      My wife just found a Goodwill auction that auctions off overstock that Goodwill can’t process quick enough to get it on the floor. So they sell it in big boxes and she bought 3 boxes for $80. Each box is taller than her and it does require a little work but Alana went through everything and left what she didn’t want. We have a few items alone that are going to sell for around what she paid for all 3 boxes so we should make a few hundred dollars profit from that trip. (Plus the boxes had stuff we could use so it worked out great.)

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