Thursday, May 7, 2009

Frugal Friday - Sell Baby Food Jars!

Before I even had a blog, I thought this would make a good Frugal Fridays post.

Although I made a lot of baby food for the Goose - will have to post on that sometime - I also bought a lot for her, especially early on in her "solids" career when I was so terribly sleep deprived from insomnia. (Who thinks that glop is solid, anyway?) And I dutifully removed labels and tossed the jars and lids into the dishwasher, thinking there must be *something* I could do with them later. (Make sure you anchor the lids, offsetting them under the edge of something else, or you'll be picking them up off the floor of your dishwasher.)

As they stacked up, I somehow figured out that people actually sell baby food jars on eBay! Here are some things that I learned in this little venture.

* Shipping is a killer - glass is heavy. I set it up so that it would calculate the exact amount of postage, no extra handling fees. You'll price yourself right out if you're not careful! I bought baby food for around 45 cents a jar (4 oz size) and you don't want it to cost more shipped than someone could buy!

* 4 oz jars seem to be the ones that sell. I think I only tried once, but I didn't have luck selling 2.5 oz (stage 1) jars. I managed to sell every lot of the 4 oz (stage 2) jars that I listed. Because my little one was 13 months by the time she started to get teeth, I never bothered with stage 3, so no idea if those sell or not.

* Try to keep your lot size reasonable. Even if you're selling a hundred jars, a $25 shipping fee will give a buyer great pause.

* I noted in the description that the jars were clean, with no labels/glue. To remove the glue, I soaked the jars in a sinkful of hot soapy water for a bit and the glue scraped off. I gave them another quick wash to remove the last traces of residue and set them out to dry. Out of all the jars, I think I had a handful that didn't want to scrape clean. I used Goo Gone on those and then washed them well to remove any traces of that.

* Don't bother taking a picture of your box of jars - just take one picture of one jar, and then use it for each lot that you sell.

* Consider adding a Buy It Now option. A few times, I had people contact me about Buy It Now because they needed jars soon for a baby shower. If I'd have put the option on there, they might have clicked through and made the sale. Keep in mind the total cost per jar with shipping as indicated above!

* Make sure you package them well. Broken jars will equal unhappy customers and you'll likely have to refund some of their money. Thankfully I have never had any come up broken. Here's what I did:

I used a half newspaper sheet to wrap each jar individually. I then tucked them in the box, and added extra crumpled newspaper in the empty spaces to make sure the jars wouldn't shift during shipping.

If there was room at the top, I filled that with crumpled newspaper as well. In addition to considering box size to keep down shipping costs, I also considered box size as to how the jars fit. If the box had very many empty pockets and needed a lot of extra newspaper, I tried to find a more appropriate size.

* Finally, I checked the other listings for baby food jars before I posted mine. If there were a ton with no bids, I waited a week or two to post mine. Also, I had one customer buy from me a few times, so when I posted more, I'd send them a message and give them a heads up if they were interested.

Good luck - go out there and make some money! For more frugal ideas, visit Life As Mom here, and feel free to leave me a comment as to what to do with all my 2.5 oz jars. I have some ideas that I will post soon, but I'd love to hear yours!


Niki Jolene said...

That is bizarre! I wonder why people buy them????


Lenetta said...

I went over and commented on your blog, Niki, but in case anyone else is wondering, I think people use them for organization. Nuts, bolts, screws, craft stuff like beads and buttons, etc. I also think they are used for various things at baby showers - incorporated into favors, decorations, etc.

I figure so long as I cover my ebay fees and shipping costs, it's better than throwing them away! Unfortunately, we aren't able to recycle glass in our community.

Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

Now way!! I would have never thought of this, but it is brilliant!

Wait a minute, you can't recycle glass??? Yikes!

Well, I'm pulling some out of my recycling bin ASAP, thanks for the tip! :-)

Kim said...

Lenetta, do you have a Freecycle email group for your area? Or how about Craigslist? You might be able to get rid of them at one or both places.

Lenetta said...

Excellent point, Kim! We do have freecycle but not a very close craigslist. Actually, one person posted once wanting baby food jars (for homemade horseradish) and I think he was quite overwhelmed with the response! My in-laws have some in the quonset from when their youngest was a baby (she's hmmm, 24 now I think!) and I'd like to find a jars-only craft since I think the lids are rusted. Thanks for commenting - and I'm so relieved things went well for you yesterday!!!