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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Capitalizing on New Years Resolutions

Weight loss is one of the most popular New Year's resolutions. Everyone's just come through a wicked food-centered holiday season, from Halloween candy to turkey to ham dinners to Christmas cookies to New Year's Eve parties. We've probably all put on at least a couple pounds and are looking to the New Year to bring about changes. Many, many, MANY people are resolving to lose weight in the New Year. Now is the time for YOU to help them accomplish their goals!

If you haven't already done so, get your weight loss items listed as quickly as possible! Exercise videos, exercise equipment, workout clothes, scales, diet cookbooks ... people are looking for these things right now.

I just sold this a few minutes ago. This is the fourth Deal-a-Meal that I've sold. The very first one I bought, I actually bought for myself. I paid $1.50 for it and was so excited to start using it! But then I looked it up on eBay and saw how much they were selling for and figured I could do any old diet. I didn't NEED a Deal-a-Meal. So I put that first one up for auction and was lucky enough to get two international buyers fighting over it. It went for over $100. It was a fluke, because I don't recall seeing one go that high since. I'm pretty sure it was because I was willing to ship internationally, and there just happened to be two international buyers looking for one at the same time.

The second one I sold only went for $20. The third went for $40. This one went for $60. I think it just depends on the time of year and who is looking at it. The $20 and $40 were both mid-year, buy it now or best offer. Diet aids just doing go quite as high mid-year as they do the end of December into early January. So now is the time to get those things listed. Good luck!

**that's totally me in that top picture, by the way ... snort ...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Top eBay Moments This Week

I almost forgot to do my top moments post this week! Ack!

With all the horror stories of psycho Christmas buyers, I was really expecting to get at least ONE complaint last week, but I had none! No non-paying buyers, no returns. Oh - I did have a complaint that a pair of Clarks broke the first time the buyer wore them. Clarks are kind of notorious for that. I've gotten probably 5 or 6 complaints of the same thing during my time selling on eBay. Because I know Clarks have a tendency to do that when they get old, I don't even ask for pictures anymore. I just apologize profusely. I let the customer know that I inspect all of my shoes before I list them, and that I can't possibly predict what will happen to them later, but of course I will refund your entire purchase price and shipping. They have all been understanding so far.

I sold 48 items last week, 11 of which were shoes. My favorites:

I bought these back in March. When the time came to list them, I couldn't decide whether they were brown or black, so I decided to keep them. I wore the heck out of them this summer, but quickly got tired of them. They were in pretty worn condition, so I dumped them cheap. But they sold very quickly.
  • Acquired: 3/12/11 (my sister-in-law picked them up for me)
  • Listed On: 12/12/11
  • Sold On: 12/23/11
  • Paid: $6.90 (got that much back out of them just by wearing them all summer)
  • Sold For: $15 (-$4.90 shipping)

I was SO GLAD to see these go! I have had them since LAST October. Yes, LAST October. I kept meaning to take better pictures, but I just never got around to it.
  • Acquired: 10/9/10 (sister-in-law)
  • Listed: ?/2010
  • Sold: 12/27/2011
  • Paid: $3.90
  • Sold For: $17 + shipping

This was a super-fast flip! I probably could have gotten more for it, because it's a pretty cool mug, but I'm really enjoying all my fast flips lately. Always pick up 3D animal mugs.
  • Acquired: 12/23/11 (local Goodwill)
  • Listed On: 12/27/11 (how do you like that? 4 days after I bought it!)
  • Sold On: 12/28/11
  • Paid: $2.11
  • Sold For: $20 + shipping

I "knew" this was a mistake as soon as I got it home. It's a V-Tech BigTop laptop. I tossed it on the pile and moved on to better things. Then during my crazed list-everything-in-sight mode last week, I decided to clean this up and get rid of it. I listed it with free shipping, thinking it would fit into a side-loading Regional A box (and ship as a 2 lb. package), but it didn't fit, so I had to ship it as a regular 3 1/2 lb package. That wouldn't have been a problem, except naturally, someone in California bought it. But I'm still happy with how it ended up, considering I probably shouldn't have bought it to begin with.
  • Acquired: 11/15/11 (local Goodwill)
  • Listed On: 12/19/11
  • Sold On: 12/24/11
  • Paid: $2.17
  • Sold for: $24.99 (-$9.37 shipping)

The woman who bought this drove a hard bargain. We went back and forth in an offer/counter-offer several times. I decided to check the feedback she left for others and saw my eBay username on there! She was a previous customer and I didn't even know it! Because of that, I sold this for a little less than I would have liked, but I'm ok with that since she was a repeat buyer. She had previously bought a large Cheer Bear Care Bear for $25 and free shipping, so that's what I sold this one for. I am down to just one huge Care Bear. They all sold during November and December. Note to self (and to you!): pick these up and be sure they are all listed for next Christmas selling season.
  • Acquired: 9/3/11 (yard sale)
  • Listed On: 9/18/11
  • Sold On: 12/29/11
  • Paid: $1.00
  • Sold For: $25.00 (-$6.57 shipping)

Always, always, ALWAYS buy these. I cannot keep these in stock. This is the Clairol Style Setter. Sometimes they say that on the cover, sometimes they don't. There is more than one Clairol Style Setter out there, but the red base always sells quickly for me. I have gotten anywhere from $24.99 - $39.99 for these. I had 2 sets to list the other day, so I put them both in the same listing for $39.99 or best offer, plus shipping, and I put that I had 2 available. I had a woman make me an offer for BOTH sets. I quickly jumped on it, not only because it was a good offer, but because she was buying both. I'm always willing to sell things a little lower if they buy more than one.
  • Acquired: 9/23/11 (local Goodwill) and 10/21 (getaway weekend in West Virginia)
  • Listed On: 12/20/11
  • Sold On: 12/26/11
  • Paid: $3.17 and $3.98
  • Sold For: $30 each + shipping

Another very fast flip this week! I'm not sure what made these Clarks sell so quickly, but I don't ask questions :)
  • Acquired: 12/23/11
  • Listed On: 12/27/11
  • Sold On: 12/28/11
  • Paid: $2.99
  • Sold For: $30.00 + shipping

I bought this at an auction over the summer that was to benefit a good family friend of ours with cancer. It was in the original box, but the box was in BAD shape. When I saw it, I just knew it was going to go higher than I wanted to pay for it. But I gave it some thought and decided I'd be willing to go as high as $10 for it (big spender, I know...). The evening went on and on and on and ON, and this gem didn't even make it out from under the table. I finally asked a friend of mine who was a runner that evening to please drag it out so I could bid on it. He gave me a funny look but pulled it right out. The auctioneer made fun of it, but started the bidding at $5. No bids, so he dropped to $2. Still no bids, so he dropped to $1. I bid and won it! What fun to get something for a tenth of what you had planned on paying! Took me awhile to get it listed, because I needed to test and clean it, but I finally got around to it the other week and I'm glad I did. It sold pretty quickly. I have another one (blue) that I'm hoping sells quickly too.
  • Acquired: 8/12/11 (local auction)
  • Listed On: 12/18/11
  • Sold On: 12/29/11
  • Paid: $1.00
  • Sold for: $35.00 + shipping

We met some family for dinner last evening. I managed to keep from checking my email for most of dinner, but during dessert, I just couldn't help myself. Imagine my delight when I saw that this sold for my full asking price, which was a mere 7 cents less than our dinner bill! Another VERY quick flip!
  • Acquired: 12/23/11
  • Listed On: 12/27/11
  • Sold On: 12/28/11
  • Paid: $4.23
  • Sold For: $59.99 + shipping

This was another item I regretted buying as soon as I got it home. They are Etienne Aigner, but they aren't even leather. I've never bought that brand, because I see it all the time. Brands that I see everywhere, I usually figure aren't worth the effort. But because these were tall boots with tall heels, I figured it was worth a shot. I was surprised at how high and how quickly they sold. This just goes to show that even those of us who have been doing this for awhile can't know everything about everything, and sometimes you just have to take a chance. Sometimes it's worth it, other times you'll get a dud. I listed them with free shipping, and naturally, they went to California again. Why do my free shipping listings attract the California buyers??
  • Acquired: 11/1/11
  • Listed On: 12/13/11
  • Sold On: 12/24/11
  • Paid: $4.99
  • Sold For: $69.99 (-$11.43 shipping)
What were your favorite sales this week?

I've Got a Secret!

Remember when you were little and you kept a diary and you wrote every detail of your day in it? I have one of my old diaries from when I was 8 or 9. It is full of every detail ... who I played with at recess, what I wore to my violin lesson, what I got for my birthday. There was a fun combination of big events and everyday events too.

Well my secret is ... I know a blog that is just like that. Tina is a very dear friend of mine. She's recently started a blog that she writes just like a diary. She writes about her every day occurances (sales, returns, etc). She writes about big exciting things (awesome sales or finds). She writes tutorials, eBay policy updates... I'm pretty sure she writes about everything that happened that day that was eBay-related, whether it was big and exciting, or just a normal everyday event.

I really like the tone of her writing. I haven't come across an eBay blog with a similar style, so it's fun and refreshing. She'll draw you right in and make you feel like you're in on the secrets too! Go check her out - she'll be glad you came :)

Thrifting Fast Update

So how's it going? Have you all been shopping?

I haev a very exciting announcement about my shopping fast! I got ALL my old unlisted inventory listed last week! So I got to go shopping!  I found a lot of fun new goodies, which I got listed within 4 days. And you know what? 3 of them sold overnight!

Let me tell you - it is an AMAZING feeling to bring a bag of goodies into the house and list them and send them right back out again. It also feels pretty great to be out shopping guilt-free. I didn't have any thoughts in the back of my mind about the mountains and mountains of stuff I already have at home that I should list, so why am I buying more. It was just fun!

So I'd like to challenge you (and myself!) for 2012 ... get all your new purchases listed within one week of bringing them into the house. I am going to aim for 48 hours, but life does happen around here, so I'll officially give myself a full week. It's great not having bins of stuff all over the living room. I'm excited to see if I can keep that up. We can do this!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I am officially distracted by this little thing called Christmas. When given the choice between depreciation and Christmas celebration, I'm afraid Christmas will win out every time. :)

I make no promises about posting between Christmas and New Year's, but I will try. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas! See you soon!

My Top eBay Moments This Week

I had a pretty decent week. Sales just weren't as high as I was hoping for the week before Christmas, but I mostly sell used shoes, which just isn't very high up many people's wish lists, I guess. Sales were steady, so I shan't complain.

I sold 57 items, 10 of which were shoes. I did sell a lot of interesting items, rather than just the boring old shoes, clothes, and books. So it was fun packaging up a wider variety of stuff this week. It is amazing to me how many of my sales this week were of items that I had either JUST listed or that I had recently ended and listed as a "Sell Similar" item.

I don't recall that I had any problem buyers this week. I lucked out and haven't had any irate "Where Is My Item" customers (I got to be one of those myself this morning! And believe me - I was irate! But that's a whole different story ...). Anyway, I did get myself another Neutral feedback this week. Someone was disappointed in the condition of their game box. I might have had that one coming. I was pretty vague in my description about the condition of the box....

So here are my favorites - I had a lot of fun sales this week, so it's a long list!

I got this for Christmas when I was a little girl. Nearly a year ago, I decided to purge our massive stuffed animal collection. I thought this one would go fairly quickly, but apparently not. I sold it this week. Four days after I shipped it, I got a message from the buyer that she wanted to cancel this order, because she didn't realize she had actually gone all the way through the purchasing process. Really? The 2 times that you had to confirm your purchase, and logging in to Paypal, and logging in to eBay to confirm your payment, and the 2 emails you got from eBay and the email you got from Paypal, and then the shipping confirmation email you got from me weren't enough of a clue?? So I wrote her and said, "This shipped several days ago and tracking shows that it was delivered yesterday. Did you receive it?" She wrote back, very apologetic. She ordered mine first, then accidentally ordered a second one and intended to cancel the second one. She was very happy with mine and was excited to give it to her granddaughter for Christmas. That made me smile, to know that it was going to another little girl for Christmas 25 years after *I* had gotten it for Christmas. Happy ending!
  • Acquired: 1987?
  • Listed: 2010
  • Sold on: 12/15
  • Paid: $0
  • Sold for: $16.99 + shipping

Remember this story? Those shoes FINALLY sold. No, I didn't get $35.99 for them, but I knew I wouldn't right from the start. That's what the Best Offer button is all about. I did ultimately end up clearancing them and offering free shipping, but the woman who bought these also bought them with another pair of shoes, and both pairs fit in a Regional Box A, so I was able to ship both pairs for around $8. This was a mistake purchase for more than one reason. First of all, I would never buy such dirty shoes now, and I am finding that canvas Clarks just don't sell well. I think I was lucky to break even on them.
  • Acquired: 12/4/2010
  • Listed: 12/?/2010
  • Sold on: 12/18/2011
  • Paid: $3.00
  • Sold for: $20.00 - shipping

This was in a bin of Care Bears my sister-in-law bought for me in November. She only paid a dime for it, and I was glad, because she's in pretty worn condition. But I optimistically listed her for $21.99 with free shipping and to my surprise, she sold quite quickly! Paula - I owe you an apology! lol
  • Acquired: 11/26/2011
  • Listed: 11/27/2011
  • Sold on: 12/17
  • Paid: 10 cents
  • Sold for: $21.99 - $2.09 shipping

I feel like I have had this stinkin' thing forEVER, but I see I just listed it in July. On December 15, I ended the listing and clicked on "Sell Similar."  Sell Similar is better than Relisting, because that tells eBay's search engines that it's a new item, so it gets moved up in search results. I saw the proof of this time and time again this week. I relisted on 12/15, sold on 12/21. Paid 14 cents, Sold for $24.00 (-$5.45 shipping).
  • Acquired: 7/16/2011
  • Listed: 7/??/2011
  • Sold on: 12/21/2011
  • Paid: 14 cents
  • Sold for: $24.00 - $5.45 shipping

I bought this intending to set it aside until I had collected several Blues' Clues toys to list as a lot. I'm in desperate listing mode right now though, and I didn't want to wait, so I decided to list it and see what happened. This was another very quick seller!
  • Acquired: 11/26/2011
  • Listed on: 12/20/2011
  • Sold on: 12/22/2011
  • Paid: $2.11
  • Sold for: $24.99 - $5.00 shipping

I've had this one for awhile too. It's a vintage Hoover hair dryer and nail dryer. I know production companies often buy this soft of thing for in movies, so I was optimistic. I priced it high ($49.99 or best offer), but I never got any offers, no watchers, and not very many hits. In October, I ended the listing and did a Sell Similar listing, dropping the price and removing the best offer option. Finally sold it this week! I have a few other similar ones that I just listed this week, so I'm hoping they move a lot more quickly than this first one did.
  • Acquired: 5/31/2011
  • Listed (Sell Similar) on: 10/18/2011
  • Sold on: 12/18/2011
  • Paid: $6.35
  • Sold for: $25.00 + shipping

I bought this during an evening of very distracted shopping. My brother's girlfriend was with me, and she and I chattered the whole way through the store. Honestly, I got home and started pulling stuff out of my bag that I didn't even remember picking up! I looked at this and thought, "Why on earth did I buy this?? And why did I pay $3 for it?!"  And then I tossed it into my to-be-listed bin and forgot about it. Again, desperate listing mode led me to drag it out and clean it up and get it listed. Imagine my surprise when it sold for my full asking price overnight!! And mine was the most expensive one of this particular model that was listed. I don't understand that, but who am I to question??
  • Acquired: 11/8/2011
  • Listed: 12/19/2011
  • Sold: 12/20/2011
  • Paid: $3.17
  • Sold: $27.99 - $4.90 shipping

My sister-in-law recently gave us a whole bunch of bags of clothes. She specifically said to keep what we wanted and to sell the rest. Knowing that we have a whole closet stuffed full of winter coats for our kids to grow into, I decided to sell this. It's a 2-part convertible Reebok coat. It has a lighter fleece jacket that you can zip into it for a heavier coat, or you can wear either part separately. It's a really really nice coat. I listed it for $39.99 or best offer and got a good offer not too long after I listed it. I shipped it out, and then a couple days ago, I realized my 8 year old's winter coat is too small for him now, so I headed into the closet, and to my horror, I discovered that we actually do NOT have a coat for him! So I guess I'll take the money from this sale and buy him a new one. Oops!
  • Acquired: 11/26/2011
  • Listed: 12/3/2011
  • Sold: 12/18/2011
  • Paid: $0
  • Sold for: $29.99 - $7.83 shipping

I read long ago that Polaroid cameras sell really well, so I bought up several of them the next time I was out. And there they sat, NOT selling. I had just given up on them when they all sold within a few weeks of each other, all for my full asking price of $39.99 + shipping. Needless to say, I continue to buy Polaroids. I was lucky enough to buy one once with a used-up film cartridge in it that I've been able to use to test the cameras, so I think being able to say that they were tested and they work has really helped to sell them.
  • Acquired: 11/23/2011
  • Listed: 12/18/2011
  • Sold: 12/19/2011
  • Paid: $2.11
  • Sold for: $30.00 + shipping

This one was crazy! I listed it the other night, and literally 3 minutes later, I got an offer on it! Because it took me so long to sell my Hoover one, I decided to go ahead and accept the offer on this one.
  • Acquired: 10/1/2011
  • Listed: 12/20/2011
  • Sold: 12/20/2011
  • Paid: $2.11
  • Sold for: $30.00 + shipping (although they haven't paid yet)

Another crazy quick sale. I'm telling you, this week was amazing for quick flips! This was ours. Yes, we have an antenna. And an old, old tv. But we recently got basic cable, so we don't need our digital converter box anymore. We originally bought it with a voucher and got it for free, but I thought I'd list it and see if we could get a few bucks out of it. Again ... imagine my surprise when it sold 2 hours after listing it!
  • Acquired: 2008?
  • Listed: 12/20/2011
  • Sold: 12/20/2011
  • Paid: $0
  • Sold: $32.99 - $4.70 shipping (it fit perfectly into a small box in a flat rate envelope!)

I am STILL laughing at this sale! My daughter bought this for my son several years ago for his birthday. I think she paid about $12 for it at Walmart. It's not like it's a vintage item. When his Hot Wheels collection outgrew this holder, I put it in our yard sale with a $3 price tag on it. No one showed any interest in it at all. I recently went through our unsold yard sale items and pulled out a few things that I thought I'd give one last chance to on eBay. This was one of them. I figured I'd list it for $9.99 and hope for the best. As I started researching it, the first listing that came up was for $35+. I laughed at that seller for thinking they'd get that much. But the more I researched, the more I was amazed at what these things are actually selling for!! Most are going for $35-40 at auction, so I decided to price mine just under the highest auction listing and hoped to catch someone who missed winning the auction. It sold 2 days after I listed it, so my plan worked!
  • Acquired: 2007?
  • Listed: 12/18/2011
  • Sold: 12/20/2011
  • Paid: $12?
  • Sold for: $39.99 (-$4.90 shipping)

I haven't sold much lately from the big yard sale I went to in September, so I was pleased with this sale. I bought this coat the first day of the sale, so it was NOT half off. I did pay too much for it, but that's ok. I had a buyer make me a too-low offer, so we counter-offered back and forth several times. I could have held out for $10 more in the spring, but I decided it wasn't worth it to hold it for 4 months for just $10 more, so I finally took her offer.
  • Acquired: 9/2/2011
  • Listed: 9/9/2011
  • Sold: 12/16/2011
  • Paid: $16.00
  • Sold for: $50.00 + shipping
And to add to my son's delight about the money he'll get for his Hot Wheels car, he also had a box set of Magic School Bus books that he asked me to sell for him. I checked eBay, and that particular set wasn't even selling for $8.99, so I opted to list that on Amazon. I like to list on Amazon, because you can list it and forget about it. And forget about it I did. Until I woke up to an email this morning that his set had sold ... for $39.99!! So my son has had a remarkable sales week this week too!

Thanks for sticking with me through that epic post... How was your week?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Almost Done! - Home Office Expense

I needed the weekend off :)

Part One
Part Two
Schedule C Tax Form
Schedule C Instructions

And remember: I'm not a tax accountant. Always double-check my comments by reading the instructions for yourself or by consulting your tax accountant.

Today we'll go over the Form 8829 for your home office expenses. Here are the instructions for that. I will be honest. This is the first year I have used this, so I will be learning right along with you. We will just read one line at a time and research it. It looks pretty self-explanatory.

Line 1 - Area used regularly and exclusively for business. They are looking for square footage here. You will measure your eBay room and put the square footage on Line 1. The instructions say this:
Your home office will qualify as your principal place of business if you meet the following requirements.
  • You use it exclusively and regularly for administrative or management activities of your trade or business.
  • You have no other fixed location where you conduct substantial administrative or management activities of your trade or business.
You can also deduct expenses that apply to space within your home used on a regular basis to store inventory or product samples from your trade or business of selling products at retail or wholesale. Your home must be the only fixed location of your trade or business.
Line 2 - Total Area of Your Home. Again, enter the square footage of your entire home on this line. We will use this to figure what percentage of your home is made up by your eBay space.

Line 3 - Divide Line 1 by Line 2. Enter the result as a percentage. My home is 2200 square feet. My eBay room is 146 square feet. 146 divided by 2200 = .067, or 6.7%. That number will go on Line 3.

Line 4 - Multiply Days Used for Daycare During Year by Hours Used Per Day. We are eBay sellers, not babysitters. This will be 0.

Line 5 - Total hours available for use during the year. We're ignoring this as well.

Line 6 - Divide Line 4 by Line 5. Since Line 4 was 0, Line 6 will be 0. Lines 4-6 are for people who run a daycare in their home.

Line 7 - Business Percentage. Daycare providers do something different. All others enter the number from Line 3. Enter the number from Line 3 :)  This number is the percentage of your home that is used for business.

Line 8 - Enter the amount from Schedule C, line 29 .... Basically, we need to do just that. If you made money outside of your home office, then you'll need to read the instructions to see how to determine the number that goes here. Also, it looks like any profit or loss from selling your home would need special consideration too. If that applies to you, read the instructions, but I think most of us can just enter the amount from Line 29 of our Schedule C.

Line 9 - Casualty Losses. Looks like this is another special situation - theft or fire damage to your inventory or office space, I think?

Line 10 - Deductible mortgage interest. Deduct the portion of your mortgage interest that is deductible on a Schedule A. You will definitely want to read the instructions for this. This number may be limited, depending on your Adjusted Gross Income. Something very important that I'd like to point out here ... if we end up itemizing this year (filling out a Schedule A instead of taking the standard deduction), I'll need to remember to only deduct 93.3% of our mortgage interest on my Schedule A, since I'll have already deducted 6.7% of it on the Business Use of Your Home form.

Line 11 - Real estate taxes. This is the same process as mortgage interest. You'll find your real estate taxes paid on the same form as your mortgage interest paid (1098). Remember to split the percentage correctly.

Line 12-15 are basic arithmetic problems.

This looks like a big chunk, but a lot of it is simple arithmetic. For lines 16 through 20, column A is for direct expenses, column B is for indirect. Column A is for things like painting or repairs in your eBay room - expenses that were directly used for your eBay space. Column B is for things that benefit your whole home, but a portion of it benefits your eBay space. There are exceptions to this. The example in the instructions is a good one:

Line 16 - Excess mortgage interest. If your mortgage interest deduction was limited because of your adjusted gross income, then you can enter the rest of it here.

Line 17, 19, and 20 - Insurance, Repairs and Maintenance, and Utilities. Enter the full amount of the insurance, repairs, maintenance, and utilities that you paid for your home through the year.

Line 18 - Rent. If you rent your home, then you'll put your full rent paid on this line. If your housing is provided free of charge and is tax exempt, you may not deduct any rent.

Line 21 - Other expenses. If you have any other home office expenses that aren't included in lines 9 through 20, then put them here. I can't think of anything that might go in here, and the instructions don't give any examples.

Line 22 - Add lines 16 through 21. This is the total expenses paid on your whole home.

Line 23 - Multiply line 22 (column B) by the amount on line 7. This is the percentage of your whole home expenses that just your eBay space used.

Line 24 - Carryover of operating expenses from 2010 Form 8829. If you filled this form out last year, then find it and copy line 42 from last year's Form 8829 onto this year's Form 8829 Line 24.

Line 25 - Add line 22 (column A), line 23 and line 24. Simple arithmetic.

Line 26 - Allowable operating expenses. Enter the smaller of line 15 or line 25.

Line 27 - Limit on excess casualty losses. Subtract line 26 from line 15.

Line 28 - Excess casualty losses. If you had casualty losses (from theft or fire, for example), you would have figured that number on line 9. If they were limited, then you can take the amount that was over what you wrote on line 9 and multiply it by the percentage on line 7. That number goes here on line 28.

(Who was it that said this all looked easy and self-explanatory??)

Line 29 - Depreciation of your home from line 41 below. We'll be doing that section in my next blog post.

Line 30 - Carryover of excess casualty losses from 2010. If you had home business expenses last year and had casualty losses last year that you weren't able to deduct, you can enter that carryover amount here. Check your 2010 Form 8829. Copy the number from line 43 onto this year's Form 8829 Line 30.

Line 31-35 are all arithmetic. Yay! I love it when we get to that part, because it's easy and I don't have to think. :)

Ok. That is a LOT for today. I'll have to study the depreciation section before blogging about it. That may be a day or two, but that's ok. I don't want to get burned out, and I don't want you to give up on me. I may do a light post or two between now and then. This is supposed to be a fun place, not a heavy one full of hard work. :)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Movin' Right Along on the Schedule C ...

Part One
Schedule C Tax Form
Schedule C Instructions

Quick disclaimer: Remember, I'm not a tax accountant. I worked in a tax office for a couple years, but that's been awhile. A lot has changed. Always double-check my comments by reading the instructions for yourself or by consulting your tax accountant.

Now, on to the expense section of your Schedule C:

This is just the left column of the Expenses section. You can pull these numbers straight from your Dome book.
  • Line 8 - Advertising. This is for your business cards, pens with contact information, and other advertising. This was Category 3 in your Dome book.
  • Line 9 - Car and Truck Expenses. The easiest way to figure this is to use the standard mileage deduction. It's a LOT easier than keeping track of tires, oil changes, and other maintenance. And it's usually a better deduction anyway. The standard mileage amount went up in the middle of the year, so you'll need to split your mileage into January through June, and July through December. For the first half of the year, the mileage rate was 51 cents per mile, so take the miles you drove during those months and multiply them by .51. Jot that number down somewhere. The second half of the year, that rate increased to 55.5 cents per mile. So take the miles you drove the second half of the year and multiply them by .555. Add that number to the other number and jot your new total down. If you had any tolls, go ahead and add them in here. Write the grand total on Line 9.
  • Line 10 - Commissions and Fees. If you sold items for anyone else and paid them commissions that you didn't treat as inventory purchases, that will go here. This was Dome Category 31. eBay and Paypal fees also go here.
  • Line 11 - Contract Labor. If you paid someone to help you with your business, that goes here. If you paid someone more than $600 over the year, you'll need to fill out a form 1099-MISC for them. (Be sure to see the instrutions if this applies to you)
  • Line 12 - Depletion. I don't think this applies to any of us, but double check the instructions just in case.
  • Line 13 - Depreciation and Section 179 expense deduction. This line is for printers, cameras, and other large purchases that have a useful life of more than one year. You have the option of either spreading the deduction out over several years or just deducting it all at once. I bought a thermal label printer this year (best investment EVER, by the way!), so I will put that on this line. I will just deduct it all at once as a Section 179 expense. If you do that, you'll need to fill out a Form 4562. I'll cover that form in detail next week. Line 13 doesn't have its own Dome category, but I made Dome category 35 my own custom Section 179 category. If you've made large purchases over the year, you should have a category in your Dome book for it somewhere.
  • Line 14 - Employee benefit programs. I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that no one here has employees that they pay wages and benefits. If you do, read the instructions for this line.
  • Line 15 - Insurance (other than health). If you have insurance on your business, then your premiums go here. This is NOT for shipping insurance.
  • Line 16 - Interest (Mortgage and Other): From what I can tell in the instructions, this is not for interest paid on your home mortgage.  This would be if you pay interest on property OTHER than your main home, and you use that property for your business.
  • Line 17 - Legal and professional services. Tax prep and legal consulting fees would go here.
Still with me? I love doing taxes, but there's just no good way to explain them without it being dryyyyyyy.....

Let's look at the right side of the Expenses section now.

  • Line 18 - Office Expense. This will be a combined total of any office supplies (pens, papers, ink, labels), shipping supplies (boxes, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, tape), and postage (shipping you paid, as well as shipping insurance and delivery confirmation). Those all come from Dome categories 5, 18, and 19.
  • Line 19 - Pension and profit-sharing plans. This doesn't apply unless you contributed to pensions for employees. If you contributed to a pension on your own behalf as a self-employed person, that will go on your 1040, NOT on your Schedule C.
  • Line 20 - Rent or lease. This is not for your property or home rent. This is for if you rented equipment for your business. A steam-cleaner for furniture, or something like that... Read the instructions to see what all qualifies.
  • Line 21 - Repairs and maintenance. If you needed to have work done on your computer or printer, or on anything that you sold, that will go here. This is Dome category 21.
  • Line 22 - Supplies. I'm having a hard time determining what goes in this category. I think most of our supplies went under Office Expense (like paper and tape). This category seems to be for more major supplies, but I can't think of anything offhand. Maybe a shelving system?
  • Line 23 - Taxes and licenses. This will be any fees that you paid to acquire your sales tax license or any other licenses required by your location. Also include any sales tax that you paid to your state on behalf of your buyers. Dome categories 22 and 16.
  • Line 24 - Travel, meals, and entertainment. You'll need to split this up. The first line will be for lodging. If it was an overnight business trip (a weekend thrifting road trip, for example), you may deduct lodging for yourself. Not for your spouse or your children, but you may deduct your own lodging. Be sure to read the instructions to make sure your lodging expense IS a qualified deduction. The second line is for meals and entertainment expenses occurred while away from home on business. If you're on a thrifting road trip and you grab a burger out, you can deduct that here. BUT ... and this is news to me ... you can only deduct 50% of the total. So if you ate a $4 burger, you can deduct $2 on this line.
  • Line 25 - Utilities. Read the instructions on this one too. If you have a second line on your home phone that is specifically for your business (or a distinct ring tone), then you can deduct the business portion. If you just use your regular home phone line for a couple business calls, you can't deduct your phone service. If you have an itemized phone bill, I think you can probably deduct the cost of individual long-distance charges for those specific calls.
  • Line 26 - Wages. If you have paid employees, be sure to read the instructions for this line. I'm skipping it because it doesn't apply to most of us.
  • Line 27 - Other expenses. You will pull this number from another section that is further down on the schedule C. Don't worry about it just yet.
That's enough for today. We'll discuss the expenses for business use of your home, as well as Other Expenses, in a future post. But for now, you need to get these expenses all totalled up and entered on the right line.

This really isn't as scary as people make it out to be. If you get overwhelmed, just take it one line at a time. Read all about that line in the instructions. And if you're still overwhelmed or confused, you need to call a tax accountant. But 90% of this is just common sense, easy enough if you stop to think about it and read.

We'll finish up in a day or so - if you've made it this far, I'm pretty sure you can handle the wrap up!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My Top eBay Moments This Week

I almost forgot this post! I had a good week, up until yesterday. All the whackos came out yesterday. "Where's my package?? I live far away, but it should have been here as soon as I confirmed payment!" "This is broken, you misrepresenting liar! I hope all of your shoes aren't falling apart like these are!"

Ok, maybe not those exact words, but those words were implied by the tone.... Oh, and I got myself another neutral today. Someone bought a $1 set of replacement pieces to a board game and apparently wasn't ecstatic about it, so they gave me a neutral. "Arrived on time."  Huh?  Seems that particular buyer has a real habit of doing that, according to

I also sold a board game that the buyer immediately asked to cancel. She didn't mean to buy it. /eyeroll/

Anyway ... I sold 94 items this week. That sounds like a crazy-high number, but most of them were very low dollar shoe care products. I only sold 8 pairs of shoes, but I sold 64 jars of shoe cream. Geez. So much for working smarter, not harder.

My favorites:

I thought for sure this would sell faster than it did. It's new in the package. I paid 84 cents for it in June. It finally sold this week for $17.99 (-$5.45 shipping).

This was another super-slow sale. They're Privos (by Clarks), in fantastic condition. BUT ... they're a size 6. Size 6 is a tough sell. It's my slowest selling category, and most of my oldest shoe inventory is size 6. I've got to learn to quit picking them up. They just don't sell. I paid $9.90 for these LAST October (2010). They finally sold this week for $20 + shipping. Totally not worth it.

I used to sell on Addoway. Correction. I used to LIST on Addoway. I only ever sold 2 or 3 things there, so I finally closed down my booth. I had someone send me a message this week about an old Pac-Man game I had listed there months ago, wondering if I still had it. I didn't have that exact one, but I had this one. (Same game - third one I've found). I listed it on Addoway and sent her a message with a link to the listing. An hour later, it sold on eBay! So I had to message the Addoway buyer and let her know that it had just sold and was no longer available. You snooze, you lose.

Always buy this game when you see it. Like I said, this is the third one I've bought and sold. I've sold them all in the $25-$30 range. I paid $3 for this one at a yard sale in September and sold it for $29.99 (-$5.09 shipping).

I used to sell a lot of Vision Ware. It's not the easiest thing in the world to store and ship though, so I've gotten pretty picky about the VW that I buy. It needs to be either a 2.5 L saucepan or a casserole/dutch oven, or I don't bother. No teflon on the bottom, and NO skillets. If I find a 1.5 L, I'll buy it though, because "someone" broke mine. Apparently that's the size I use most often, because I'm going crazy without it.  Anyway ... rabbit trail ... this was a 2.5. I paid $4.21 for it in October and sold it this week for $29.99 plus shipping.

This was a quick flip! Normal-sized Funshine Bears don't sell well, but I always buy the huge ones when I see them. This one was 20" and super-soft. I paid $1.48 for it on November 28. It already sold for $29.99 + shipping.

The next day, I sold the goofy version. I have had this guy since January, so I may not bother buying this one again (except the one my sister-in-law just brought me a couple weeks ago). I paid $3.17 for it and sold it for $29.99 plus shipping.

This sale makes me laugh. I paid $4.20 for these in Virginia during an impromptu road trip this past August. I decided to keep them. I wore them often, but then recently decided I was bored with them, so I listed them. They sold 2 days later for my full asking price of $30 (-$4.90 shipping). How can I not love a job that allows me to get full use out of my merchandise, and STILL sell it for my full asking price??

I've had these awhile, and I really thought they would sell quickly. They're suede Converse. I paid $7.90 for them in May and just sold them for $30 + shipping. For 5 cents a month in listing fees, it was worth the wait, and I will continue to buy good condition Converse when I see them.

I so desperately wanted to keep these for myself. They were even my size. But I have absolutely zero use for red pumps, so I sadly listed them. I paid $6.97 for them in October and just listed them last week. I even tried to sabotage the sale by listing them higher than I normally list my Clarks. But that was no deterrent to someone who actually DOES have a use for red pumps. They sold the next day for my full asking price of $35 ($5.45 shipping). I didn't even get a chance to borrow them :(

I just cannot keep Merrells stocked for the life of me. I paid $2.99 for these at the end of November. I listed them 3 days ago and sold them yesterday for $40 (-$6.65 shipping).

And last but not least, I've said it before and I'll say it again. Buy SAS shoes. Only in good condition of course, but they are an excellent brand! I paid $2.99 for these on November 19. I listed them December 11th and sold them 3 days later for $40 + shipping.

This week was an interesting mix of quick flips and old inventory....

What did you sell?

Tax Series Finale - Putting It All Together On Your Schedule C

Before we even get started, print this. And bookmark this. The first link is this year's Schedule C. This post will be a lot easier to follow if you have that in front of you. The second link is the instructions for filling out the Schedule C. It's 11 pages, so you can print it if you'd like, but I personally wouldn't bother wasting the paper. But then again, I've done this lots of times before... Up to you ...

Also - I am NOT a tax accountant. Don't take my word for it. That's why I linked you to the instructions, so you can see for yourself where I'm getting my information. Be sure to read the instructions and interpret them for yourself.

Now, we're just going to start at the top and work our way down. Grab a pencil and let's get to it!

This is the top of your Schedule C. I'd like to think that the majority of this is self-explanatory.
  • Line A (Principal business or profession, including product or service (see instructions)):  Give the general field or activity and the type of product or service. I will put "Online Retail Sales" or something like that.
  • Line B (Enter code from instructions): You'll find these codes on pages 9-11 of the instructions. On page 11, find the section called "Retail Trade." In the second column from the left, toward the bottom, you'll see "Nonstore retailers."  We are code number 454112 (Electronic Auctions - if you do auctions) or 454111 (Electronic Shopping - if you do fixed price store listings).
  • Line C (Business Name): I think you can handle this one. This will be your store name. If you don't have an actual store name, then just leave this line blank.
  • Line D (Employer ID number): Because we don't have employees, we shouldn't need this. If you put anything in your Commissions or Wages Paid section, it will probably require you to have an EIN in order to file electronically. You'll have to Google how to do that. I did it last year, and it wasn't complicated, but I don't remember now how I found that.
  • Line E (Business Address): ummm.....
  • Line F (Accounting Method): 99.9% of the time, this will be cash. That just means that you count your income and expenses when they happen.
  • Line G (Did you materially participate in the operation of this business during 2011?): I suspect that's a yes for all of us. That just means that we did the work.
  • Line H (If you started or acquired this business during 2011, check here): Again, self-explanatory. See? You don't need me! :) 
  • Line I (Did you make any payments during 2011 that would require you to file a form 1099?): Form 1099 is the form you would fill out if you paid someone else. You may want to double check this with your tax accountant, but I don't think you have to fill one of these out unless you paid any one person more than $600 during the year. But don't quote me on that, because I can't actually find that written down anywhere.
  • Line J (If "Yes," did you or will you file all required Form 1099s?): This is an amusing question. Like you're going to say no to that. If you find that you have to file a Form 1099 for someone, then you'll check Yes here. If you don't have to file a Form 1099, then leave this line blank.
So far, so good, right?  Let's move on to the next section:

The next section is all income-related. Expenses come later.

  • Line 1a: This is for Visa, MasterCard, etc payments (merchant cards), as well as Paypal and Google checkout (third party payments). As you can see, this doesn't come into effect this year. It says "For 2011, enter 0".  So enter 0. That was easy.
  • Line 1b: This will be all the rest of your income. If you get a 1099 from Paypal, enter the income from that form on this line. If you don't get one, then you can go by your Dome book. This line will include purchase price PLUS shipping - all business-related payments you received throughout 2011.
  • Line 1c: Online sellers won't be receiving W-2s, so this line will be a 0.
  • Line 1d: Add up lines 1 through 3. (should be pretty easy, since lines 1 and 3 are 0's)
  • Line 2: Enter any refunds that you issued.
  • Line 3: Subtract line 2 from line 1d.
  • Line 4: Cost of goods sold. There are 2 different ways of doing this. Officially, we should only be deducting the inventory costs of the items that we actually sold throughout the year. This requires carryover of all of our unsold items into the new year. I prefer to "zero out" my inventory on paper, so I just put all of my merchandise costs on this line. So it's the cost of ALL my goods, not just the ones that sold. You should talk to your tax accountant to see how he/she thinks you should handle this.
  • Line 5: Gross profit. Subtract line 4 from line 3.
  • Line 6: Other income, including federal and state gasoline or fuel tax credit or refund. This line is unfamiliar to me, so it must be relatively new. Reading the instructions for this line, it looks like most of us won't be using this line. Read the instructions just in case you have anything that qualifies for this category. I think if you received any insurance reimbursements, those payments should probably go on this line.
  • Line 7: Add lines 5 and 6.
That section was easy. It was just simple arithmetic. Let's take a breather before moving on to our expenses...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The last tax post is in progress...

This Schedule C post is taking a lot longer than I expected. It involves a lot of research and screen caps. I want to make sure it's done right - don't want to mis-guide anyone.

Besides, you have lots and lots of report-printing and reconciling to do, right? So you don't need the tax post right away anyway....

Tomorrow is Thursday. You know what that means? My Top eBay Moments post! Yay! That post is the highlight of my week! Well, maybe not of my whole week, but it's definitely my bloggy highlight of the week.

Be watching for that tomorrow, and the finished Schedule C post by the weekend.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Thrifting Fast Update

So how's it going? We started out at 32 days. We're all the way down to only 19 days. And these 19 day will fly by, with family gatherings, parties, and year-end distractions. At least that's what I'm telling myself. I think I'm almost through my worst withdrawal symptoms (the shaking, the drooling, the eye twitching). I only had one close call, but I stayed strong.

It's amazing to me how much I can get accomplished when I'm spending my time listing instead of shopping. I have gotten nearly 40 pairs of shoes listed during this fast! Also 10 or 15 Care Bears, a stack of turntables, and a few odds and ends. I have 3 bins of stuff left to list. One bin is all soccer shoes. I really need to get those listed before the end of the year, because I think January is a big time for indoor soccer leagues?

So I'm still going strong ... how about you? Are you adding to your to-be-listed pile? Or are you shrinking it by actually ... you know ... listing it?

Reconciling Our Monthly Paperwork

Warning: Long, Dry Post Ahead!

Now it's time to make sure our paperwork matches the reports we've printed. Some people skip this step, and I suppose that's not a big deal since ultimately we're going to make our paperwork match the reports. But I like to have the double check step, just to make sure I haven't missed anything. This step is just like balancing your checkbook. You're just going to go through each of the reports that you printed yesterday and double check them to your Dome book. I like to check them off as I've matched them up.

Then at the top of each report, I put the total for that particular report. Be careful on these. For your Fees and Payments Received reports, if you deleted any transactions that were personal or duplicate, then the total that is printed at the bottom of the report is going to be WRONG. You'll need to manually add the numbers in those reports numbers if you deleted anything.

As you finish double-checking and adding up a report, you can go ahead and write that in the correct space on your Dome monthly page.

On the right side of this page is where you'll write all of today's numbers.

Category 1 is Merchandise purchases. You'll find this total by adding up all of your receipts (and double checking it to the left page in your Dome book). Go ahead and write that total under "Total This Month".

Category 2 is Accounting. I don't use this, because I do all my own paperwork and taxes, but if you pay someone to do that, then write that here.

Category 3 is Advertising. This would be where you write any business cards, pens, or other promotional materials. If you include a free pen (with your website on it, for example) in your packages, then you can put that here.

Category 4 is Auto Expense. I believe this is for leased vehicles. This is not for gas and mileage when out shopping.

Category 5 is Cartons, Etc. This is for any shipping materials, tissue paper, packing peanuts, .... you get the idea.

Category 6 is Contributions. If you make any donations in the name of your business, they go here. I just lump my tithing in on our joint Schedule A, but you could put that here if you'd like.

Category 7 is Delivery Expenses. I don't even know what that is, but I know this is not where we put our shipping costs. (real helpful, huh?)

Category 8 is Electricity. If you have a space in your home that is 100% dedicated to your business, then you can deduct a portion of your home expenses. You'd need to figure up the total square footage of your home, then figure up the square footage of your dedicated eBay space. Then divide the eBay square footage by the total square footage to find the percentage. Then you can deduct that percentage of all your home expenses (heat, electricity, mortgage, etc). I'm going to just figure that up at the end of the year, but next year I will probably figure it each time we pay a home bill.

Category 9 is Entertainment. I believe this is for if you take a client out for a business dinner, and other things like that. I don't use it.

Category 10 is Freight & Express. This is for inventory that you purchase. I don't separate it out. I just include it in the cost of my inventory purchased.

Category 11 is Heat. See Category 8 above.

Category 12 is Insurance. I'm not sure what this is for, but it's not for shipping insurance.

Category 13 is for Interest. If you buy inventory with a credit card or Kabbage, then you can deduct the interest for those purchases here.

Category 14 is Laundry. I've never thought of this, but I suppose we could deduct the laundry soap for any clothing we purchase for resale that needs washed. You would have to keep a bottle of laundry soap separate for JUST resale clothing, and you would have to do the entire load of JUST resale clothing. That seems complicated to me. I'd rather just toss my 2 or 3 pieces into the washer with the rest of my family's laundry, but if you sell mostly clothing, this is definitely a category to keep in mind.

Category 15 is Legal Expense. Hopefully none of us gets sued...

Category 16 is Licenses. If you had to pay for a State Sales Tax number, or for a Tax Exempt number, those expenses could go here.

Category 17 is Miscellaneous Expenses. I've only used that once this year. I bought an eBay book for $5.95 that I put here. Most of our expenses will have a specific category, so the miscellaneous one will be used rarely.

Category 18 is Office Expenses. This is for office supplies like pens, envelopes, your Dome book, notepads, calendars (for logging mileage), etc...

Category 19 is Postage. This is for all of your shipping paid, as well as your shipping insurance. This is a big one! This will do some serious damage to your taxable income, so you'll want to make sure you've got all of these numbers.

Category 20 is Rent. If you rent your home or apartment and you have a dedicated eBay space, then put the correct percentage of your rent here.

Category 21 is Repairs. I guess this would be for repairs to a dedicated eBay computer, or if you had to pay to have inventory repaired before you listed it. I've never used this category.

Category 22 is Tax - Sales. Pretty self-explanatory. You don't want to have to pay income tax on someone else's sales tax. When someone pays you sales tax, and then you pay that to the state, write that here.

Category 23 is Tax - Soc. Sec/Med. This is for if you have employees and deduct these taxes from their pay.

Category 24 is Tax - State U.I. Same as above.

Category 25 is Tax - Other. Same as above.

Category 26 is Selling Expenses. This is for gifts that you've given to customers in order to keep their business. This category has always seemed strange to me. It's basically the bribe category, don't you think? I never use it.

Category 27 is Supplies. This is cleaning supplies. If you buy Magic Erasers or Lysol or paper towels for cleaning dirty toys, or shoe polish for shoes or whatever, that goes here.

Category 28 is Telephone. This is a touchy subject for tax preparers. You really shouldn't deduct your entire cell phone bill, unless you use it exclusively for eBay. When I upgraded from regular service to a data plan, I was planning on deducting the difference, because I was upgrading primarily so I could look things up when I'm out shopping. But I find that I use it an awful lot for Facebook and other non-business things, so I won't be deducting any of my phone costs. Use very careful judgment in this category. Cell phone deductions often trigger red flags to the IRS.

Category 29 is Trade Dues, Etc. Dues to organized groups, and magazine subscriptions go here. I never use this category.

Category 30 is Traveling Expenses. Here is where you'll put your food and toll expenses from road trips.

Category 31 is Wages & Commissions. If you sell for other people, you would put the amount that you paid them in this category. Alternatively, when you sell something for someone else, you could write their receipt up as if you were buying the item from them for that price. If you go that route, you would put that number in Category 1 instead of this one.

Category 32 is Water. I don't think we really need this one, since our businesses don't generally use water.

Categories 33, 34 and 35 are for whatever we want them to be.

I have made Category 33 my eBay/Paypal fees category. I lump them together.

My Category 34 is Subscriptions. That's where I put my Seller Sourcebook charges, as well as my charges (for domain names that redirect to my store).

My Category 35 is for Section 179 expenses. When we buy large items like printers or computers, we're supposed to depreciate them over several years. That means were aren't really supposed to deduct the full amount in one year. We're supposed to spread it out. However, we can call them Section 179 expenses and just deduct it all at once if we want. I have my Thermal Label Printer in this category.

If you had to issue any refunds during the month, be sure to note those somewhere. I put them in line 57, even though that's totally 100% the wrong spot. I just write it there as a reminder.

I know that was a lot of information, but it's important. Thanks for sticking with me. One more quick paragraph before I'll let you go for today. Once you've got all these numbers written in, it's a matter of just quickly adding everything up to get your bottom line for the month. Add up all of the left side of this page (Total Receipts From Business or Profession). Add up all of the right side of this page (Expenditures - the categories we just talked about). Subtract your Total Expenditures from your Total Sales Receipts (Total Amount column). That number gives you your net profit for the month.

Other posts in this series:

Monday, December 12, 2011

Printing Reports From Paypal

So far, we've discussed what you should be writing down every day. Now, I'm going to show you what to do with all that information at the end of the month.  This is where the right side of page 2 in our Dome book comes in.

We're going to total up everything from the Expenditures page and write it in the write spot on this page. But first, let's print some reports from Paypal to make it easier.

Here is what you'll need to print, and where to find them (bookmark Paypal's Transaction Finder - it's about to become your best friend):

Payments Received. In the Transaction Finder, leave the Search Keyword(s) field blank. Choose your date range (the first of the month through the last of the month). Choose "Payments Received" from the drop-down menu. Click on Search. This will take a few minutes to generate.
Once the report has been generated, you'll want to download it to your computer. On the right, next to the Printer icon, chose Excel from the dropdown menu, and then choose Download. (Obviously if you don't have Excel, you'll have to do a PDF. I prefer Excel, because I often have to modify these reports. More on that in a bit...) It will ask you if you want to Open or Save the document. I don't bother saving, because I usually make my modifications and print immediately. If you don't have time to do that, then go ahead and save.

Once you've got your Excel document open, you'll want to delete the blank columns and shrink the other columns so that it's only one page wide. Now, there's two more very important things to double check before you print. You'll want to go through this document and delete any personal transactions (Aunt Jane sent you $50 for your birthday - you don't have to pay taxes on that). You'll also want to double check for duplicate transactions. See this example?

Leonardo bought 5 items from me on November 1. The total of ALL 5 transactions was $20.81. But because it was 5 separate items paid in one transaction, for some ridiculous reason Paypal shows that as 5 transactions of $20.81. I need to delete 4 of those, because they are DUPLICATES. This is very important. Unless you want to pay 5 times the income tax that you need to. So go through your Payments Received document and delete personal transactions and duplicate transactions. Once you've done that, go ahead and print that spreadsheet. 

eBay Fees. This one's an easy one. I pay my eBay fees weekly, and every week, I save my Paypal receipt that comes to my email. I just print out those emails. But if you only pay once a month, you should be able to find this number in your eBay account (probably by printing the month's invoice?)

Paypal Fees. You can get this from the Transaction Finder. Leave the search field blank, choose the date range, and choose "Fees" from the drop-down menu. Go ahead and Search, then download as an Excel document just like you did for Payments Received. At first glance, this report is going to look exactly the same, but this report shows any fee reversals (from refunds). You'll need to double check this report for duplicates and personal transactions. Also make sure you delete any empty columns and shrink the other columns down to fit on one page across, then go ahead and print.

Shipping Paid. In your Transaction Finder, there are 2 different reports you'll need, depending on how you print your shipping labels. If you ONLY print through eBay, then enter "eBay" in the search field, choose your date range, and choose "All" in the drop down menu. If you ONLY print through Paypal, then leave the search field blank, choose your date range, and choose "Shipping" from the dropdown menu. If you do a mixture of both, as I do for various reasons, you'll need to do both of those reports. Once these reports have been generated, download the Excel version, just like you've done for the other reports so far. These shouldn't need double checked for duplicates, but they may need double checked for personal transactions - if you shipped something to a friend, or if you shipped books for Paperback Swap, for example.

Insurance Paid. This one will depend on who you insure your packages through. I use the Shipsaver application through eBay, so all of my insurance payments go to InkFrog. To find that report, I type "inkfrog" into the search bar, choose my date range, and choose "All" in the drop down menu. Same as above - download as Excel, make sure it fits on one page across, and print.

Refunds Given. Another easy one. In the Transaction Finder, leave the search field blank, choose your date range, and choose "Refunds Sent" from the dropdown menu. You know the drill. Create the report, download as an Excel, print.

Inventory Purchases. You won't find this in Paypal. This is just on the list to remind you to gather up all of your receipts from the month, which you SHOULD have already entered into your Dome book. You just want to have them so you can double check your entries and then add them to your monthly bundle of papers.

Supplies. When you order supplies (boxes or bubble wrap on eBay for example), save the order confirmation email that you get. I have a "Print for December" folder in my email (which I obviously change with each new month). All my eBay related expense emails go in that folder until the end of the month. If I print them as I go through the month, I'll lose them. So as you're printing your other reports, you'll want to go into that folder and print any of those emails. If you don't have them, hopefully you've written them in your Expenditures section in Dome, so you'll be able to easily find them in your Paypal history. Just print that page instead.

Road Trips. Gather up your food/toll receipts. I have an EZ-Pass, so I go into my EZ-Pass account and print a statement from the month, highlighting the relevant toll charges.

Commissions. If you sell for anyone else, you'll need a record of how you've paid them. I send my sister-in-law her payments through Paypal, so I just print the Paypal receipts from each time I pay her. Other people that I just sell for here and there, I have a receipt book. I save the carbon copy for myself and give them the original. Gather all of these receipts now.

Miscellaneous. If you had any expenses that I didn't already mention, print those receipts. This might be a 3rd party listing service subscription, or a book you bought about selling on eBay, or a book about a specific topic (glasswares, Pez dispensers, whatever other research topics...).

Ok, I have given you a TON of homework in this post. I know I promised that my way of doing paperwork will be quick and painless. Honestly, this step is the hard part. It takes me about an hour to get all my reports printed for the month. But it's better to spend an hour a month printing reports than to be scrambling around in March trying to find a YEAR's worth of reports. So now you've done the hard part. You've gathered all your reports and receipts. Staple each type of report together (all your Payments Received pages, all your Shipping Paid pages) into its own package and tuck them in the back of your Dome book. Tomorrow I'll teach you how to use these reports to reconcile your books for the month.

Other posts in this series: