Many of our regular podcast listeners remember the first ‘incarnation’ of the DIS Unplugged Podcast. We were going for a ‘news magazine’ type show that focused on helping people plan their Disney related trips. In addition to news and highlights about the various Disney theme parks and Disney Cruise Line, some of us recorded segments that were later edited into the show. These segments ranged from trip planning advise to early versions of Kevin’s restaurant reviews.
In thinking about how so many people are struggling economically right now, with so many wondering how they can afford a Disney vacation, I remembered a story I did for the podcast back then. It focused on using eBay to try to earn money for a Disney vacation. In restrospect I think that piece is better suited for print and, given the uncertain economic times we now face, has even more significance today as a blog entry.
Below is that story on eBaying your way to Disney. Some minor changes were made to make it as current as possible. I hope some of you find the information useful and practical. I would love to hear your eBay success stories as they relate to your Disney vacation.
Did you know the average cost of a Walt Disney World Vacation for a family of four is around $2500? That’s before meals and souvenirs and snacks…and doesn’t include airfare or transportation.
Even if you can travel in value season when the resort prices are the lowest, or you’ve found a great discount code for your travel date, or you buy your park tickets at the maximum number of days to save money …..even if you were lucky enough to be able to take advantage of the Free Dining Package……a Walt Disney World vacation is still a very expensive proposition.
No wonder so many of us need to find creative ways to pay for our trips.
I’m sure we all have our little secrets and tips for saving money for our vacations. Some of us empty all of the change from our pockets at the end the day into a big jar – hoping by the time we leave we have enough for a few souvenirs. Some might brown bag their lunch every day – or skip one cup of coffee….after all, those pennies do add up.
I have another option for you – instead of trying to save some extra money why not make some extra money? No, you don’t need to take on a second (or maybe third) job – I’m talking about eBaying your way to Disney!!!
For those of you who don’t know, eBay (www.Ebay.com) is the largest auction site on the internet where individuals, and companies, sell anything you might imagine. Everything from books, CD’s and movies to clothes, jewelry and even larger ticket items like boats, cars and homes can be found on eBay. One of the largest areas is collectibles – and Disney collectibles rank right up there as some of the most popular items bought and sold on eBay.
So many people have had a lot of success on eBay, and you can too. It’s just a matter of taking the time to learn what to do and then dedicate a few hours a week to making it happen.
I have no intention of offering an eBay tutorial here but I would like to share some of the basics and offer some helpful hints to get you started.
In a nutshell, you can list your item on eBay and people from all around the world can bid on it or buy it outright. There are very few restrictions on what you can sell – as long as it is legal and meets eBay’s terms and conditions.
You are responsible for all aspects of the transaction from accurately listing and describing your item to accepting payment and shipping. EBay will provide you with tools and information to make all of these processes easy – but with some common sense and a little determination I think you will find it both fun and rewarding.
To get started you will need to decide how you want to receive payments on the items you sell. You can accept checks and/or money orders but the easiest way is to accept electronic payments via PayPal (www.PayPal.com). PayPal is basically like having a bank account that allows you to accept credit cards for payments – but in addition to credit and debit cards people can also send you money directly through the PayPal system.
I have had a PayPal account for almost 9 years now and find it to be a safe and reliable way to accept and transmit money.
Now here’s a great tip – you can easily convert you PayPal account into a Money Market account. The steps for doing this are right on PayPal’s site. The return on the PayPal money market has been consistently higher than anywhere else I have found (including those high yield internet savings accounts). So from the moment someone pays you, you will earn interest. What a great way to watch your money grow!!
Another great PayPal tip is to sign-up for their debit card. The PayPal debit card carries a Visa logo and allows you to make purchases anywhere Visa is accepted right from funds in your PayPal account. In addition, you can withdraw money from your PayPal account at any ATM location. Without this card the only way to withdraw money from PayPal is to electronically transfer it to your checking account – this is a timely and often times inconvenient process. Not only will you have instant access to your money with the debit card but they pay a cash back reward for each transaction – in my opinion this is the best way to go with PayPal.
Be forewarned that PayPal does charge a fee for their service. This fee is taken as a percentage of the amount paid to you. It is a small amount and well worth the convenience of this service. This fee is only charged to the recipient of the money – not the sender.
Next you need to set-up an eBay account. Again, very easy and straightforward.
EBay also charges a fee for using their service and the way they collect this is by charging the seller a small percentage of the listing price as well as the final sale price.
This is important to know since you will pay the listing price whether or not your item sells.
Here is another great tip – try to start you items with as low a price as possible. The lower the selling price the less you will pay to list your items. This can be risky as you may sell something for less than what you wanted to get for it – but for most of your items, start low and the bidders drive up your price.
Next you need to find stuff to sell. If you’re anything like me this part is easy – just look in your closets, draws, basements and attics. I bet you can find tons of items to sell. Stuff you probably forgot you even had.
Used children’s clothes will sell well as long as they are clean and in good shape – but my suggestion for all you Disney fans is sell your old Disney stuff. Things like snow globes and collectibles do very well. If you don’t want it or need it any more sell it on eBay. I guarantee that as soon as you sell your first item you will be hooked. You will be looking for more stuff to sell – and you will be happy to start cleaning out your house of unwanted items.
Next is listing your item. Again, eBay offers great step-by-step directions and with a little investigation you will find this a very easy process. Here are my tips for a successful listing:
- First, try to include as much relevant information in your title as possible. When selling a Disney related item include the word ‘Disney’ in the title – if it came from a park mention the park – if it has or is related to a certain Disney Character make sure that is in the title as well. The title is one way people will search on your item – so try to think about how you might search for that item and include all that in your title.
- Second – price it as low as possible. As I mentioned before your cost will depend in part on your listing price so keep it low as possible. In addition many people are bargain hunting – so a low initial price will entice them to bid it up.
- Include a picture. This is very important. A picture not only shows the condition of the item it also gives people a sense of trust that you actually have the item and they won’t get ‘scammed’. Try not to use a picture from a website or brochure – take it yourself. EBay has tools for uploading pictures and attaching them to your listing that are very easy to use.
- Describe it well. Try to describe your item in as much detail as possible without boring people.
- Finally – be reasonable on your shipping costs. Charging too much for shipping will turn off a potential buyer.
After you do all of this hopefully your item has sold. Your buyer will send payment and your next step is to ship the item. An important tip is to send the item in a timely fashion, using appropriate packaging to protect it during shipping. The last thing you want is for the buyer to get angry because your item arrived late or damaged.
The last step in the process is to leave feedback for your buyer. EBay has set up a system that allows buyers and sellers to leave each other feedback on the way the transaction occurred. Your feedback score will be vital in whether or not other buyers can trust you as a seller. Protect your feedback by being a good seller and by leaving feedback for your buyers.
I know that with a little time and effort you will find selling on EBay to be fun and profitable – enough so that you can fill your house back up with all the souvenirs you buy on your next Walt Disney World Vacation.