Monday, July 25, 2016

Flea Market Man: Selling What You Own to Make Ends Meet

We see all sorts of different people at the flea market. Some are pleasant and friendly, some are unfriendly and rude, and some are in between. 

There was one individual in particular I met this weekend who I felt such empathy towards. 

He was not only out of work, but had recently been in the hospital and was trying to come up with money to pay his mortgage and some other bills. So, in his efforts to raise money he was selling all of the tools he used to make a living. 

He was very motivated to sell, stayed on his feet the whole time, talking loudly to try and sell things, offering a lower price to customers who started to walk away. 

One item he had for sale was a like new wheelbarrow. I was surprised when I saw it for sale because who sells something they just bought only to have to turn around and sell it?

One customer asked the price and he told him it was $40, but when the customer started to walk away he lowered his price to $35 and said he had recently paid $80 for it as Sears. 

Several times during the day he said he was going to have to buy many of these items again once he got back on his feet. He was a very likable fellow and my heart just went out to him. 

This gave me a lot to think about over the weekend and how people do whatever it takes to make ends meet. And why some people stay in their particular financial situation year after year and don't seem to make any financial progress over the years. 

This man had paid top dollar for his tools and was now selling them for half of what they were worth only to have to purchase them again later once he got back on his feet. It's like two steps forward, one step backward.

Still, this man was doing what he needed to do to take care of himself. I don't know if he had a family to support or not. I do know of other people who have done similar things and I'm sure many of you know someone like this as well. 

I may not completely understand this man's situation, but I feel like I know where he is coming from. I know I have sold things in a pinch to make ends meet. 

When my ex-husband left me with a baby and no income to support us, I sold many things to make ends meet. And I did without many things. Cable TV was the first to go and even the telephone was turned off at a time when not everyone (including me) had a cell phone. It was a tough time, but we made it through that difficult time. 

Reasons like these are why it is so important to have an emergency fund. So when times get tough you have something to fall back on to get through the hard times. 

If you have a job, keep it. Never stop working to better yourself and your financial situation. You never know what may be just around the corner and you will need the money from your job or your emergency fund to make ends meet. 

Just some food for thought this Monday morning. 

~ Living within our Means ~


  1. Hmmmmm, one thing I know for sure, men who make their living using tools don't ever sell their tools. How then, if his tools are gone, when he gets back up on his feet, will he earn a living to get back up on his feet if his tools are gone? You mean to tell me he had nothing else in his house to sell? No furniture, TV's, flat screen TV's, appliances, dining room table, car????? The list goes on and on.
    My husband is a mechanic and just recently he had to buy a double set of tools for a different working location. First off, tools aren't made in America anymore, which makes his original tools more valuable and irreplacable than ever. DH would rather die than part with his tools. The newer tools coming out now, are from China and pure crap. He can't work accurately with them.
    I have no idea what this guy was talking about. I think he was playing people or the tools were stolen. Just my gut feeling.

    1. Very good questions, Cindi. I also wondered how he was going to make a living without his tools. I even heard him mention one of the tools had a lifetime warranty. And doesn't Sears have that with their Craftsman tools or at least they used to have that. That they were stolen had not occurred to me until you mentioned it. It is more food for thought.

    2. Sears no longer have their Craftsman tools made in America. They're made in China and my husband says they are awful. Makes him clutch his 'Made In USA' tools all the more. I'm only going by my husband but he is adamant that he would give up his life before he would give up his tools. Just sayin'.
      I do however, pray that the man does find peace and happiness. Let's hope his life was not as desperate.

    3. I remember hearing or reading about Craftsman tools being made in China now. Nothing is made like it was years ago when things were made to last. I did say a silent prayer for him while we were there and I hope things straighten out for him.

    4. Cindi, thank you for your reasoning. His story screamed scam to me, and you set his stage. Nevertheless, Belinda's heart may be the winner.

    5. You're so sweet, Anna. Thank you. :)

  2. Maybe he had already sold the tv and other things. this may have been the end of his rope.

  3. During the financial meltdown in 2008, Hubby and I hit some very hard times. A combination of job loss, serious health issues (read cancer) sent us in a downward spiral. We had an emergency fund of $30,000 and when that was gone, we lost everything. A medical crisis combined with job loss will make the money go fast. I read a lot about emergency funds, but even those can be depleted before you can get on your feet. Yes, it helped us for a time, but eventually, it went. There was a lot of criticism from people. "Just get a job" they said. But the truth is, a job at Home Depot is not going to pay the mortgage and the utilities in this day and age.

    1. I agree Isabella, a job at Home Depot is not enough to support a home these days with a mortgage and utilities. I hope and pray you and your husband are back on your feet now.

  4. Thank You for praying for this man. We lost a lot in 2008 financial crisis. Many clients moved out of state or lost jobs. We were down on clients in in the day care. Then we had a huge water leak in our home and business bad contractors, they did not fix the mold problem and we had to stay in a hotel for 2 months waiting on the fix. So I lost my 20 + year job because we had no house. I was hospitalized it was probably
    stress. Then we moved into a condo tried to do childcare again
    had the licensing lady from Hell finally got licensing oked.
    Started doing day care again renters stopped paying rent. Lost those properties and income. Had some health issues it was hard to do day care. The owners sold said condo had to move.
    Hard to find a place in a big city that we could afford. God opened a door we found a place. Tiny 180 square feet but peaceful inside. Mean people next door they did not like my old car and would call police to have it towed it is ugly (paid for) God always allowed me to find the notice on the car. Rented parking from a nice person on the other side. We were in a Million dollar area per property. Thank you Jesus! I sold many things
    that I never thought I would sell. I learned to be kind. I said all this not for pity but because we live in uncertain times. We had a Large emergency fund. We had done things right
    but still had some trials. I do not know this mans situation but Jesus does and I hope things turn around for him. I hope he finds work . I hope he did not steal those tools.:( Thank you for being kind.Thank you for bringing encouragement to my week. I am glad I am a frugal person and was able to make it during that time. I know these are skills that I have learned over the years and from blogs like yours, thank you. I will get off my soap box now. I hope you have blessed week.

    1. Oh Patti, your post brought tears to my eyes. ((((())))) Hugs to you. You've had a rough time of it. I'm so glad you have come out of that situation and that God opened the door for you. It is rough to have to sell your things to make ends meet. We can all learn from each other. I'll be praying for you this week and I hope you'll do the same for me. Love and hugs. :)

    2. Thank you Belinda :) I will be praying for you and Bailey.
      I was thinking about you the other day. I like to cook outside during the summer to keep the house cooler. Do you have someplace on the porch outside you could plug in
      your crock pot or toaster oven? Maybe a small table? Have a wonderful week and thanks again.

    3. Thank you, Patti. We do have somewhere to cook outside and that is a great way to keep the het out of the house. My grandmother used to do the same thing during the summertime. They even had a real stove outside to keep the house cooler. It's such a great idea.

      I hope you have a great week too. :)

  5. Not about cooling house, but if you have a large freezer that is not full, freeze large blocks of ice overnight until your freezer is packed. I use Corning Ware casseroles to make blocks and then run cold water over bottom of casserole to release ice. Saves electricity.

    For years during hot weather, I've placed small electric cooking appliances on a covered porch table while cooking. Crock pots, electric roaster, steamer, electric fry pan do well for me.

    1. All terrific ideas, Anna. We also use blinds to pull up and down to protect our freezer (on the back porch) from the sun during hot weather at times like this.

  6. When I was growing up, my parents had taken their old gas stove and had it hooked up in the basement. My mother always used the oven down there in the summer. She made turkeys, baked beans and all the things you probably wouldn't cook due to the heat of the house. Different generation, different times but a good idea.

    1. Definitely a good idea, Mary Lou. Basements are always cooler than the upstairs part in a home.


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