Tag Archives: eBay

American Girl Outlet, Oshkosh

American Girl Outlet Oshkohs My fellow budgeting, decluttering, and meal-planning friends, cast your eyes away while I take a moment to talk to American Girl doll bloggers about the American Girl Outlet Store, located in Oshkosh, WI near the Experimental Aircraft Museum.  When you consider the Wilmot Warehouse Sale, the Madison Children’s Museum doll sale, and the Oshkosh outlet store, Wisconsin is quite the location for AG deal-seekers to make a pilgrimmage. There are some deals to be had for sure, and other items at the Outlet are not priced far off the catalog.

These prices are nothing to get excited about

Some prices are nothing to get excited about

There were many huge boxes with Julie’s VW car, at the still-astonishing price of $ 350.  At the Wilmot Warehouse sale this same item was $ 175.00. American Girl Julie VW In fact, there were many Julie items, but none priced to move quickly.  noexif_IMG_5258_private


The best deal is the American Girl books, all generally 50% off sticker price.  This includes the illustrated historical fiction before they switched to the BeForever books, and activity and quiz books.

Two things got our attention recently. Saige’s welcome t-shirt, $ 2.50.  A nice price!  I also saw Saige’s wrap bracelet for girls which I believe was around $6.00. American Girl SaigeAnother find was Addy’s birthday dress, retired in 2013.  The boxes contained all items originally sold with the outfit, including the pointelle stockings and a brown and cream snood.  Price was $ 14.00.  The sewing detail on this blouse and dress blows me away.  This item came home with us, paid for out of my personal fun money of course!Addy Birthday

The sleeves are to die for!

The sleeves are to die for!

There were definitely a few Ebay folks there–some items at the Outlet do have limits on how many can be purchased.  I can see how this can be an income stream, but that is too much risk for my  taste.

Other items include Bitty Baby clothing, AG clothing for girls, (including Saige’s sweater and a number of BeForever clothing for girls’ items), and clothing for retired Cecile and Marie-Grace.

There are no dolls, of course.  The only place to buy those on discount is the Madison Children’s Museum sale.

If you are in the area, it is worth a stop to be sure.  Personally, I think only the Wilmot Warehouse sale has prices to warrant a road trip.

Stop over at our AG Doll blog “The Dolls Between Us”!

American Girl Outlet Sale, 2014


Josefina, wearing a dress for babies 0-3 mo from Carters.  Rummage sale purchase for 1.00.

Josefina, wearing a dress for babies 0-3 mo from Carters. Rummage sale purchase for 1.00.

I knew something was up with the American Girl Warehouse Sale because suddenly my blog was getting heaps of searches about the Wilmot Warehouse Sale.  I was shocked to find that the sale is running right now – about 2 months earlier than last year.

You can read about our odyssey to the Wilmot Warehouse sale last year here.  To tell you the truth I had to go back and re-read my blog post to give myself a reality check about what the sale is really like!   My first instinct was to skip it this year.  We just got out of school today!  The other half of me said, “You won’t be going to this sale forever.  Carpe Diem!”

So, we are gearing up to go tomorrow morning, which will be day 2 of the sale.  I called the Mattel outlet store which is on the grounds of the American Girl sale and the clerk confirmed that people have been camping out in tents for two days prior to the sale starting today!  These are the Ebay-ers who make a living reselling the items.  People arrive with uHaul trucks from all over the midwest.  No kidding!

Here’s how to prepare for the sale:

  1. Leave husbands and small children at home.  The warehouse can be crowded, hot, and the wait to check out can literally be an hour or more.
  2. Pack a lunch with plenty of cold drinks and candy to pass the time.  There is one gas station in town, and one cafe, which is small and is cash only.
  3. Bathroom… you can use the bathroom in the Mattel outlet (a separate building from the warehouse sale).
  4. Bring a blanket to sit on.
  5. When you arrive you get a number and you can do whatever you like in the meanwhile.  No need to stand in line.
  6. Definitely bring a doll… they may want to get acquainted with other dolls!
  7. How about a book to read?  My daughter is reading Kaya’s books and I am starting Julie’s because, “Mom, it’s from your time in history!”  #feelingancient
  8. There is ample room to play catch or throw a football while you wait.

So tomorrow morning we will pack lunch, stop at Dunkin Donuts, and hit the road.  I have no idea what mayhem to expect on Day 2 of the sale.  Hopefully a tad more sane than day 1 last year.  I really hope to find Addy’s nightgown.  My daughter will be looking for items for Saige and Julie. I will give you the full report!


What I Did This Week to Save Money – Sept 1

Beautiful Butterfly Nets

Beautiful Butterfly Nets

Happy September!  We’ve been busy this week saying a last good-bye to summer and also celebrating my birthday.  It hasn’t been the most frugal week ever, but we did have some money-saving highlights.

  • Our front light post stopped working, which is a problem when your block has no streetlights.  Mr. Saver, aka The Reluctant Do-It-Yourselfer, tackled the problem with tenacity, battling mosquitoes and a stripped screw that did not want to budge!  He replaced the entire light that sits atop the pole.  Bravo!
  • Speaking of Mr. Saver, he has been on a LED lightbulb conversion kick lately.  I hope he will pen a post for you in the coming weeks on this wise long-term investment.
  • Came in under budget on our electricity bill, and pushed the surplus money into our long-term savings.
  • Made an extra $ 65.00 selling items on eBay and Craigslist.
  • Started back to work for fall.  Starting next week I will be working about 20 hours a week.  When working on family finances, you can’t forget to examine the income side of things.  Watch for an upcoming post on transitioning from SAHM to part-time employment.
  • Sorry, you knew I was going to say it… eating from the garden!  The 3rd crop of arugula is just at the right size.  I’ve almost thrown in the towel on the zucchini… I can’t keep up with it and I am afraid to look and see what kind of baseball-bats are growing under all those leaves.
  • Ran a report to look at our grocery spending this month, which was low for us.  Spent a total of $ 338.00, or about 85.00 a week.  We were home all month, and ate at home most days.  My guess is that we spent less by eating meals based on what we had at home, and using a lot of garden produce.  We had a lot of vegetarian or almost-veg meals.

We ended the week depositing a bit of unspent money into our long-term savings and also Christmas gift budget accounts.  We are so close to meeting our goal to increase cash savings!

How was your week?

Cleaning the Closet and Learning to eBay

I’ve had a burst of energy lately to sell some items on Craigslist and eBay.  This month I sold 5 clothing items on eBay that were ready to go to Goodwill.  Not to worry, the Goodwill bags are still full of treasures to donate, but I cherry-picked a few items to see what kind of money I could net.

I started a spreadsheet to gauge my net profit, and the spreadsheet has pointed out some of my shortcomings.

I sold 5 items for a gross of $ 60.00 excluding the shipping fees I collected.  However, when I look at the shipping costs I collected compared to my actual mailing costs, including materials, that is an additional $ 8.00 I have to deduct from my gross.   So my net was about $ 10.00 per item.   Definitely worth doing, but I do think I need to rethink my shipping pricing.

Issue 1: If you have a clothing item under 13 ounces, you can ship first-class, but you also have to pay for your shipping envelope and possibly .90 extra for tracking.  Total cost to ship is around $ 5.50.

Issue 2:  If you are over 13 ounces, you are looking at Priority Mail, which gives you a free envelope or box to ship in, and free tracking, but Priority Mail is running $ 6.85 for many of the heavier kids’ clothing items, like jeans.

Any experienced sellers out there with an opinion on whether it is difficult to sell a kids’ clothing item with a $ 6.85 shipping charge?  I think my own frugal nature ($7.00 shipping?!?) prevents me from seeing the shipping charge in the way others might.

Some items, such as a pair of women’s Chicos pants, have sold at high enough prices that the shipping shortfall isn’t so troubling.  When you are selling a pair of GAP kid’s jeans for $ 4.50, having to chip in for shipping eats into the profit pretty quickly.

Selling on eBay is one area where having a hard-core frugal mindset is working against me.  I can’t imagine paying $26.00 for a pair of used pants and paying $ 6.00 shipping on top of that.  Clearly, I am in the minority, because I had a number of bidders on the Chicos pants.  I am having a hard time imagining what buyers might be willing to pay, and may be undervaluing my offerings.  I do want to sell the items though, and not have them hanging around so that I can earn an extra dollar or two.

I welcome any input or advice you might have!

What I Did This Week to Save Money 8/17


Chalk Art

Our weekly budget felt like it was under a little more pressure than usual this week.  I forgot to budget for elementary school fees ($75.00) that are due next week.  I recently heard Dave Ramsey say that budgeting isn’t so much of a ‘microwave’ thing… more like a ‘Crock-pot’ in that it takes a good bit of time to reach perfection.  Even after so many years of budgeting we still have mix-ups.  We also have a medical bill due in a few weeks so surplus cash will be diverted in that direction temporarily.

Summer Minestrone in the Crock Pot

Summer Minestrone in the Crock Pot

To prevent us from tapping into savings for these expenses we:

  • Got busy and listed a large carpet remnant on Craigslist.  I am glad someone can take advantage of it while it is still clean and new.  + $15.00
  • Listed several clothing items on eBay.  I have to say I am surprised at the demand, especially for kids’ clothing, on eBay.  The last kids item I sold went for $16.00, plus $4.00 shipping – which is kind of a head-scratcher considering it was not new.
  • Planted more arugula – this is our third crop this summer.  Also planted some broccolini which is a fall crop for us.
  • Ate at home using ingredients we had on hand, including…. Summer Minestrone Soup!  I am coming up with new places to put zucchini and kale in next week’s meal plan 🙂
  • IMG_3956-privateMade chocolate zucchini cake for a treat.  Could not find a good price on chocolate chips so I made frosting instead – a trick a good friend taught me.  This recipe is a keeper!
  • Were vigilant about waiting for time-of-use-rate to kick in to charge devices and run dishwasher, washing machine, etc.  Time of use rate saves us $200.00 a year.
  • For some Saturday fun we went to a chalk art festival – free, and no temptation to bring the art home with you.

We were grateful to have some money left at the end of the week to put towards upcoming expenses.  We had a Saturday night budget recap and determined we will go back to focusing on our emergency savings as well as holiday gifts in the coming weeks.

An Unfrugal Day – American Girl Warehouse Sale!

Josefina Doll

Josefina in her new pajamas

It was a summer, girls-only, road trip kind of day today.  Destination:  the American Girl Warehouse Sale in Wilmot, Wisconsin.   We had never attended this sale, and it was an adventure!  We arrived around 11 am and got our ticket to go in.  Our number was 536 and so far only numbers through 125 had been admitted in.  At least you can leave and come back after you have a ticket.

We passed time at a small-town cafe and mingled with other doll lovers.  We marveled at the number of eBay buyers at the sale, some of whom arrived at 3 am and brought uHauls (moving trucks).  No kidding!  One person was funding her kid’s medical school tuition by selling items on eBay.

American Girl Sale

All of these people are ahead of us in the check out line. Do not bring your toddler or your husband!

Our number was called and we entered the sale around 2:30.  No shortage of merchandise and the prices were very good.  American Girl mini-dolls, $ 6.00; AG clothing $10-14.00; books, $2.00.  We were glad Mr. Saver wasn’t along because he would have had some sort of calculation adding in the value of our time + gas.   We had fun, though, and we will always remember our crazy long day in Wilmot!

Stay tuned for a future post on how we budget for these adventures.  If you have questions about this annual sale, please leave a comment.