I am convinced that anyone can make a little bit of extra money if they just do a little research and spend some time paying attention to trends. One can use that money to get out of debt or to purchase investments. My belief is that there really is no excuse and that making a little extra cash to better your situation is something everyone can do.
I have been trying to teach my kids this philosophy and to train them to think outside the box. There are ways to make money besides the normal kid ways, and I’ve been showing them how they can augment their babysitting money, allowance, lawn care money, and the money they get from birthdays with arbitrage and selling things on a secondary market.
In order to best illustrate these lessons, I put my money and my efforts where my mouth is and took some action. Over the last couple of months, I have made three different retro Air Jordan purchases and was able to secure two PlayStation 5 pre-orders. Now I want to share with you my wins, losses, and draws. My experience is proof positive that ANYONE can do this. First, let’s start with the sneakers.
Utilizing Nike’s Sneaker app my kids and I have been trying to score purchases on “hot limited releases” of sneakers. We’ve tried dozens of times and have been successful three times.
1. Jordan 4 Off-White Sails (Women’s size 13): This was our first attempt, and perhaps beginner’s luck. We purchased a large women’s size that translates into a popular men’s size, making the shoes available to a broader audience. The shoes cost $212 delivered and after-tax. Off-White is a collaboration with the Jordan Brand and is culturally popular right now. Currently, the shoes are selling on StockX (an application for selling dead stock sneakers) for $1,312.50 after selling fees. Huge win! Over a $1,000 profit. We are waiting for another month or two in hopes of selling them at an even higher price.
2. Jordan 12 University Black/Gold (Men’s size 12): This was our second attempt, and a bit of a swing and a miss. The shoes are retro Jordans in a unique colorway. They cost $201.40 delivered and after-tax. However, the resale market is not that strong for them, and after fees, the net is only $197.75. So that was definitely not a profit-making venture. For now, I’m either going to wear them or sell them for a small loss.
3. Jordan 3 Blue Cement (Men’s size 10.5): This was our third attempt, and again a bit of a mistake. These shoes are also retro Jordans in a unique colorway. They cost $202.35 delivered and after-taxes. Selling them, however, only nets $183.55 after fees. So again, another loss. Further on in this piece, I’ll share what readers can learn from my mistake and how to remain profitable on all your purchases.
Both my wife and I have Target accounts, and on one lucky evening, I scored two pre-orders of Sony’s PlayStation 5 (PS5) console, one on each account. Each PS5 with disk console retailed for $529.99 after delivery and tax. Our secondary market choice for this effort was Facebook Marketplace. We were able to sell one of the units for $1,050 – nearly doubling our money – and did a local drop-off with the buyer in the sheriff’s parking lot. I received cold, hard cash in my hand on video camera, and no one got hurt or swindled.
To my wife’s dismay, I decided to keep the second PS5 as a family gaming console. We’ve never really had one previously besides an old PlayStation 3 that I personally haven’t played in years. I figure by selling one for nearly double, this one was more or less a FREE console anyway. :: smiles :: (See how I justified that one!)
CONCLUSIONS & LESSONS LEARNED
When it comes to sneakers, you should take a more tactical approach and only focus on shoes that appear to have a 30-40% increase in value in the secondary market even before they are released. Additionally, if you are going to take a flyer on something with less profit margin, take advantage of Nike’s return policy and just return the shoes to get the full investment back. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck as I was, having to treat these shoes like a longer-term investment by buying and holding them, hoping the values increase.
When it comes to the PlayStation 5, the only two things I “might” have done differently are to have sold the second one and potentially tried for a third and fourth pre-order. It’s a hot item that is selling like crazy nearly everywhere in America. My thought was, however, that two was enough to risk, to begin with since, after all, this was just an experiment.
My conclusion is this: I think with a little effort, research, and capital ANYONE can double their money and create a little side hustle income for themselves using these techniques. There really is no excuse, as there are hundreds of thousands of arbitrage ideas out there, some of which are even scalable into full-time businesses. (See drop shipping.) There is no doubt that the scale of my efforts is not enough to live off of, but they are enough to make an extra $20-30k each year. That amount of money can make you debt-free, it can allow you to buy an investment property, or it can be invested and turned into millions in the stock market over time.
I am off to the bank to deposit the cash. Then, I’m going to invest it in VSTAX for the long haul. VSTAX is an index fund that allows you to buy a small piece of the entire stock market via one fund. It is a cornerstone in my Financial Independence/Retire Early (FIRE) plan. Need a primer on FIRE? Check out my post from a few years back, A Personal Story.
Lastly, I think my kids were pretty amazed at how much money we were able to make. The one downside is I think they think this is “easier” than doing traditional manual labor kid jobs (washing dogs/cars, raking leaves, mowing, babysitting, etc.). In the short term, they are turning their noses up at those types of opportunities. We’ll see if that is a short term or long term effect.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!! SEE YOU IN TWO WEEKS!!!
- Audit your self-talk. Have you decided that the effort to make extra money in your career or through a side hustle is just too hard? Are you settling?
- What is something you can do to make a little extra cash on the side?
- Have you ever thought about arbitrage or selling things on a secondary market? Share your experiences in the Three Action Thursday Facebook Group.**