5 Tips for Getting a Great Deal in a Facebook Yard Sale Group

Guys, I’m floored. I just saw 2 really common items in Facebook yard sale groups being sold after days of inactivity for the full retail price.

I don’t know about you, but when I think of the Facebook yard sale pages, I think of good deals. I don’t think of used items at or above retail. If I’m going to go through the trouble of scheduling a time to meet, getting cash and driving to your house, I kind of want to at least feel like I’m getting a little bit of a bargain.

So, here’s 5 tips for how you can get a great deal in a Facebook Yard Sale group.

1.) Join a lot of groups. Yes, you’ll probably spend significantly more time surfing said groups than you would have otherwise, but if you’re looking for something specific, join all the groups in your area for the best odds of finding it and maybe finding multiples of it so you can choose the best deal.

2.) If it’s not a hot item, go ahead and wait a couple hours after you say interested to message the seller. This will probably make the seller a little crazy, but if nobody else has been interested in that time, the window is wide open for negotiations.

3.) Assuming you’re the first and only interested party, private message the seller and ask if they’ll take less for their item. Don’t cut their asking price by 50%! Be reasonable with your request and you’ll be more likely to get a positive response. For example, if an item is $10, offer $7 or $8 instead of $5. If the item is $12, offer the seller $10 so you “don’t have to get change”. If you don’t care whether or not you get the item or if it’s common and there are plenty of people selling it, go ahead and try to haggle even if there are other interested parties.

4.) Check the price on Amazon. You don’t want to pay retail, or even close to retail for a lot of items, so it’s helpful to know exactly what retail is. Do your research quickly after commenting and pass if the seller is asking at or above retail.

5.) Put out an ISO post. If your group allows, put out an ISO post, but leave out the price you are willing to pay. For example, say something like, “ISO: City Mini Stroller. Not picky on color. Will travel for a great deal”. You may get people posting their outrageously expensive, near-retail strollers that are “like new”, but you’ll also find people that are having a yard sale and have that item or who are thinking about selling an item, but haven’t made the commitment yet. By putting that you’re looking for a reasonable price, you’ll get lower-priced items.

Haggling isn’t the only way to get a great deal on a Facebook Yard Sale Group. Try these tips today and see if any of them work for you.

Product Review: Bon Appetit Frozen Pizza

I was recently given the opportunity to try Bon Appetit Frozen Pizza from BzzAgent for free. I was super excited because 1.) I love pizza and 2.) I hate having to place an order, wait and then drive to the pizza shop that’s 20 minutes away, because they don’t deliver to my town.

Bon Appetit pizza comes in a variety of flavors and is available with the other frozen pizzas at your grocery store. I chose the pepperoni and pesto variety, because pepperoni. And pesto. Just shut the front door already!

If you’re reading this review, it’s because you want to know how it tasted, right? A-Fricken-Mazing, that’s how! The pesto just added this burst of freshness and flavor that I can’t even describe in any way besides calling it a food-gasm. Seriously! It was sooo good. Like 5-star good!

I served the pizza to my kids as part of our picnic in the living room afternoon. Don’t judge me, it was raining out!

lunch

As you can see, the pizzas aren’t huge, but neither are my kids, so it all worked out. My kids are 5, 3 and 1. I added some carrots and dip to the mix, a cold Pepsi for myself and we were good to go!

It was really easy to make the pizza. Normally, I doctor the heck out of frozen pizza by adding cheese, pepperoni, etc., but what you see is how that bad boy came out of the box. I followed the directions on the box and cooked it right on the oven rack. Tricky once the pizza was done, but I think it helped make the crust just perfect.

Speaking of crust, hands down, this is the BEST frozen pizza crust I have ever tasted. Perfectly crisp, yet chewy and packed full of flavor. I hate every flipping bite of the crust that came near my face and so did my kids! Now THAT is saying something!

We had such a great time enjoying our pizza picnic in the living room that every time it rains, the kids ask if I can make our special lunch again. I have already grabbed another pizza at the grocery store to keep in the freezer for the next storm and can’t wait to have another picnic lunch.

Homesteading 101: Canning Green Beans

One thing I hear a lot from friends is that they wish they knew how to can. Guess what? It’s easy! Today, I’m going to share with you how I can fresh green beans for use during the winter. It takes a little work, but the flavor is so much better than commercial canned beans.

Step 1: Harvest those beans. Pick them when they’re about 4 inches long. We grow pole beans on a chicken wire fence around the outside of our garden, so they’re easy to harvest (no bending down). I’d add a picture, but my garden is a hot mess right now. Very overgrown!

Step 2: Sanitize your jars and boil your lids. I cheat and sanitize the jars in the dishwasher. I have a special sanitization setting, so it works for me. You can also boil your jars.

Step 3: Snap your beans. Snap them into bite-size pieces!

Step 4: Fill the jars with beans. Add 1 tsp of salt to each quart-size jar, or 1/2 tsp to each pint-size jar.

Step 5: Add boiling water to the next of the jar.

beans

Step 6: Top with a hot lid and ring. Finger tighten.

Step 7: Prepare your canner by adding 3 quarts of boiling water.

Step 8: Add the jars. Lock the canner lid and put the 10-pound weight on top.

canner

Step 9: Heat the canner on high. When the weight starts rocking audibly, set a timer for 25 minutes. At the end of that time, the beans are done. Let them cool in the canner before opening the lid and removing them to minimize the risk of burns. When the canner has cooled slightly, carefully open the lid and remove the jars to a towel on the counter to cool. You’ll hear them pop to seal. You’ll also notice the beans are slightly less vibrant because they are now cooked.

beansdone

Homesteading 101: Post-Chick-Hatching Hens

My buff orpington, Penelope, recently hatched a chick. Yes, just 1. We gave her a clutch of 3 eggs to add to the 2 of her own that she was trying to hatch and out of the 5 she started out with, she broke all of them except for 1.

Anyway, her little chick (not even hers, really), was born June 23rd. Yesterday, Penelope laid her first post-chick egg. She also moved her and her chick from the “nursery coop” as we call it, to the main coop with the other chickens. They took over a nesting box for the night and she has switched from eating chick grower with the baby to eating layer pellet with the other hens. The baby is fully integrated into the flock and the rooster frequently moves to protect the chick when a hawk flies overhead or when I go into their area. It’s pretty cute.

So how long has it been? It has been 2 days shy of 4 weeks since the chick was born. In the last week, I noticed Penelope’s comb has gotten much redder, almost the normal color, and she has been shedding broken feathers and growing new ones on her breast, where she plucked herself bare during her time of hatching her egg. Subtle changes. And she is in no way “back to normal”, but she’s close.

I’d also like to note that the egg she laid was smaller than usual. Roughly 2/3 the size of a “normal” egg. Still bigger than the pullet eggs my Wellsummer is laying, but smaller than what she was laying before going broody.

With her coming back to the rotation, that brings our total number of laying hens up to 5. I can’t wait for some of the other pullets to start!

Is the MLM Market Over Saturated?

Hop onto Facebook for a minute and you’ll likely be overrun with posts, messages and event invites for various MLM products like Jamberry, Younique, Thirty-One Gifts and more. It’s to the point where if you’re like me, you probably don’t even pay attention to 99 percent of the posts. If you do accidentally click “like” on something or ask a question, your inbox immediately blows up with 5 people offering to sign you on to their team for whatever product you mistakenly showed interest in.

After being invited to join 2 Younique teams, a Jamberry team, an Herbalife team, a Beachbody team and a Thirty-One Gifts team in less than 7 days, I found myself wondering: Does everyone I know sell something? In short, yes. It seems like nearly everyone I know has jumped on the MLM bandwagon. Why buy a tube of mascara for $30 when you can pay $99 and get a bunch of other products with it, plus a free website so that people can buy mascara from you and you can make 20% of the sales? It seems like whenever someone buys something, they start selling it too.

And that’s the trap I almost fell in. A friend posted about mascara and mentioned that something new was coming out from the company. The vague post got me to click and comment, which resulted in a discussion about joining the Younique team. I thought about it, since I do think their mascara is pretty awesome and I’ve been wanting to try their products. An introductory kit for $99 seemed pretty good, especially since in theory, I could earn that back in sales. Perhaps I thought about all of this for a bit too long, because before I knew it, one friend that had attempted to sell the mascara last year, but didn’t have the time, had jumped back on the bandwagon. So did a lady in my local MOMS Club chapter. The odds of me being successful at this just went way down.

So I saved my $99. Success is hard, even if you’re the only mascara lady on the block. Being the last woman in the downline in an over-saturated MLM market is not where you want to be, so I chose to NOT join in and NOT be the last woman holding the rope.

Maybe it’s just fear that’s holding me back. I don’t know. All I know is that I feel like the MLM market is over saturated and with so many people pushing so many products, success for any one individual is even harder to come by. Maybe in the future I’ll feel differently, but for right now, I just don’t see being able to get ahead in an MLM business.

Product Review: Evernote

Guys, I know I’m behind the times with this one, but I’m a new Evernote user and I had to write about how much I love this app. LOVE IT.

I never used it before. I don’t know why… I figured it was just another one of those failed productivity apps that were super hard to use and left you with an endless to-do list and no sense of accomplishment. However, I was wrong. I found Evernote when searching for a quick way to make a note on my computer and have it appear on my phone. I wanted to have multiple pages and I wanted to easily see all of those pages (or at least their titles) at once. That way, I could make to-do lists until my heart was content and always have access to them.

I know Evernote does more than just allow you to quickly jot down notes or lists. There’s some button on there for clipping articles or something like that. No thanks – I have Pinterest for that. I just wanted the note part. I Just use the note part… and like I said before, it’s fantastic. You can make multiple lists and even insert checkable boxes to keep track of progress and see how much you’ve gotten done.

If you’re a list-maker like me, you have to download this app. You’ll never forget your shopping list again or have the excuse of not knowing what you need to work on because your computer is in the other room. It’s a great productivity piece sine it helps keep you on track, regardless of what gadget you’re using. Download it today – the basic version is free!

Mom Rant: YMCA Swimming Lessons

In case anyone doesn’t know, I have 3 young kids. Two of my kids are old enough to want to play in the water and swim and be goofy in the summer. In an effort to keep them safe, I enrolled them in swim lessons at the lake through our local YMCA.

What a joke.

If you are thinking of signing up for YMCA swim lessons, I URGE you think again. I know that each branch runs things differently, but the organization as a whole here seems completely flawed. I mean, do you think of “high-end” fitness club when you think of the Y? Probably not. I didn’t. I always thought the YMCA was supposed to be a family-focused fitness and entertainment center with affordable prices, a variety of classes and a strong community-focused atmosphere. In reality, it’s more of a daytime country club for rich women that can leave their kids with the nanny while they go “work out”. The yearly membership cost for a family is over $1,000 in my area. Classes or activities for the kids cost extra on top of that. There’s really not a lot that’s covered 100% in the membership price aside from the gym. They have a pool, but there’s only a few hours of open swim each week. Not exactly a bargain and not exactly affordable for families. They have financial assistance, but like most programs in my area, you have to be basically living in poverty to qualify. Middle-class families can’t get assistance and most likely can’t afford a membership either.

Anyway, enough about their outrageous pricing. My bone to pick with them is about their swim lessons. I signed my 2 oldest kids up for swim lessons at the local lake. The lessons are taught by the YMCA.

We’ve had 5 lessons so far, though to be fair, there was a severe thunderstorm warning during 1 of those lessons, so nobody went. There are no makeup classes.

For the 4 classes that we went to, there has been more kids than floaties. There has always been at least 1 child left on the beach either gleeful that they didn’t have to go in the water or crushed because they were excluded from the group. This past time, that child was my daughter.

The instructor strapped floaties on the kids, but didn’t have one for my oldest daughter. So they left her. Standing. On the beach. Alone. They took the other kids into the water and never even looked back. She ran back and forth between the beach and the water, up to about her ankles a few times before stopping, hanging her head down and crying. I immediately went up to her (which we aren’t supposed to do) and asked what was wrong. She told me her teacher doesn’t like her and doesn’t want her to go with the other kids. And then she broke down. Apparently when she was running back and forth from the beach to the water she was trying to get her teacher’s attention to find out what to do. The teacher never even looked back.

I was pissed. I tried to get the teacher’s attention and she ignored me too.

My other daughter, who was with the other teacher, came out of the water wearing half a floatie. She was crying. The half-floatie wasn’t enough to keep her head above the water. I had 2 crying kids, 2 oblivious teachers and half a floatie between the two of them.

I stayed on the beach with the kids during the lesson, waiting for one of the teachers to ask why the girls weren’t participating. Neither did. At the end of the lesson, I took the half-floatie off, tossed it in the bucket and left.

I tried calling the YMCA’s program administrator to remove them from the class and get a refund. I’m not paying for someone to exclude my child. I couldn’t reach her by phone and her voicemail said email was better. So, I sent an email to her asking to remove my kids and get a refund. Not enough equipment. Too many kids. Exclusion and hurt feelings. I listed everything that had happened that day and made sure she knew it wasn’t just my child, that it happened EVERY SINGLE CLASS because the classes were too full.

A full day went by with no response. I emailed again. She returned my message with a snotty reply about not being in the office much in the summer because she “has kids too”. It must be nice to have a job that you don’t actually have to report to or do, but still get paid for, simply because you have kids. I have kids and I work from home. I respond to emails right away and I have an email alert set up on my phone so I know when I get a new message, regardless of what I’m doing. That way, I can care for my kids and be a reliable employee. How novel!

Anyway, her response said that she was unaware that there wasn’t enough equipment for the class. What? The teachers couldn’t say anything? It took a parent complaining to bring it to the attention of someone that there wasn’t enough equipment to go around? How does that even make sense?

She went on to explain that each teacher can handle up to 6 kids, so they don’t need to add another instructor. Clearly, the teachers can’t handle 6 kids each, since they couldn’t even figure out that there weren’t enough floaties for all of the kids in the class. that’s telling me that they definitely have TOO MANY KIDS.

She then said she could do the paperwork for me to remove my kids and bring it to the Y this weekend (4 days from now) if I wanted to remove them. No mention of a refund. I asked about whether or not I could get a refund, and fortunately, she said I could.

So at least 1 good thing came of the situation. I’ll be ordering some floaties online and we are going to be making a point of taking the kids to the lake more this summer to get them used to the water on our own. Maybe when they’re older and can function more independently, we’ll try swim lessons somewhere else.