Monday, June 13, 2011

Moneywise Monday: Found Money

What a good week, moneywise!  I stayed on track with my frugal challenge of no non-essential spending, and I managed to find some extra money.

I've mentioned before that I'm a librarian.  The library that I work at gets frequent book donations, and we have a big book sale twice a year.  Sometimes these books are in good condition and are something someone would actually want to buy; far too frequently, people give us ancient encyclopedias that have been collecting dust in a damp basement for years and should really just be thrown out.  So when people donate books, we go through them and determine what people might actually want, and get rid of the other stuff. 

The other day a guy came in and dropped off a bunch of old textbooks and asked for a receipt for tax write off.  After he left, I started looking through the box, which also included old notebooks with math homework and other odds and ends--in short, it was a collection of crap his wife had told him to get out of the garage. 

I was a bit annoyed because at the library, we don't have a lot of use for old textbooks, and also because the guy who dropped them off asked if the tax write-off was higher because they were more expensive books (answer: no).  We can try to sell them, if they're English lit anthologies, but lay people just don't often want old calculus books (can't imagine why).  As I was looking through this box, I got a bit curious.  I entered one of the ISBNs from one of the textbooks into Barnes & Noble's textbook buy-back website, and found out that they would buy it for $20.  They were willing to buy another one for about $30.

I paid the library the $2 that they would have sold these books for, and then re-sold them to BN for about $50!  Free money for me just because someone was too lazy to appraise their stuff before they dumped it at the library!  Before you worry that this was unethical, let me assure you that the library would not have sold these books to anyone for more than $1 apiece.  While it would be awesome if we could go through all our donations and re-sell them online if they're worth something (and many libraries do), we just don't have the staff or the volunteers to undertake a project like that. 

I have a friend who actually made quite a tidy profit re-selling things from library booksales, so it's certainly a good idea to check them out when you can.  You never know what you might find!

Any other Moneywise success stories this week?

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