Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sell those unwanted games

Like a lot of folks, we have some Wii games that don't get played as much as they used to. So I decided to see where I could sell some games and come out the furthest ahead. All of the 3 major sites for selling your stuff have different fees. So I decided to calculate the amount I would pocket if I sold a game for $25+$4 shipping on eBay, (also owned by ebay), and Amazon Marketplace.

How much would you get to sell at $25 item with $4 shipping? This of course assumes that each of these would find buyers willing to pay the same price. Surprisingly, I found that Amazon was the most expensive and Ebay was the cheapest!

Amazon Fees

Sale price of the item $25
Shipping credit $4
- Referral Fee of 6-25% of the sale price -15% for video games
- Variable Closing Fee
- $0.99 Fixed Closing Fee (waived for Pro Merchant Subscribers)
Total deposited to seller's account = $22.91

Ebay fees:
$25 + $4
No insertion on
-9% of sales price
-2.9% + .30 paypal fee
= Total deposited to seller's account = $25.73 fees
15% commission
+.60 shipping commission
= Total deposited to seller's account = $24.05

Monday, November 15, 2010

How much does it cost to have a baby without insurance?

We had a difficult decision to make last year. I got hit by a layoff with my Fortune 500 employer but we knew it was our best opportunity to have a baby.

At the time, I called every hospital and doctor's office in the area to see if I could get an idea of price. That was a lot more difficult than it should have been -- as it seems that most hospitals have no idea.  After a lot of digging, my calculation was that it would cost $8,000 out of pocket.  This was also with the assumption that we would carry medical insurance on my wife (but not maternity) so any complications would be covered.

We had a relatively uneventful birth with no complications. After tallying all the bills, it turns out that was a pretty accurate estimate. Here is what we were billed for. I hope this is helpful to some of you out there who are in the same boat.

The first line is the "fake" price you see on the bill.  I hope that no one really pays this.
The second line is the insurance negotiated price.  This is what insurance uses to figure your co-pay.
The third line is the cash price.  This is a 50% discount on the retail price -- and oddly enough -- also cheaper than the insurance negotiated rate.

Location: Raleigh/Durham, NC, USA

Anest. Hospital Lab OBGYN Path Specialist Total Result
Sum - Retail $1,404 $9,223 $237 $3,677 $80 $2,874 $17,495
Sum - Insurance Negotiated Rate $1,123 $5,979 $92 $2,157 $60 $2,051 $11,463
Sum - Cash 50% $702 $4,612 $119 $1,839 $40 $1,437 $8,748

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Is Kohl's training me to wait for discounts?

About once a month we get a marketing piece from Kohl's in the [snail] mail with a peelie on it that says you can either get an additional 15, 20, or 30% off your purchases.

Every single time until today I've always gotten 15%. Then I throw it in the garbage thinking -- why would I go get 15% off if there are 30% coupons out there. Today I finally got a 30% off and thought -- "ok, maybe I'll use this."

So my question to my wife (and now to you all) is whether the Kohl's promotion is good or bad for business. They've been using this same promotion for at least a few years. Are they just conditioning me to never buy anything unless I have a 30% (or even 15% off) coupon?

Same thing happened to Linens N Things. They totally conditioned me to never shop without a coupon. Because the coupons were everywhere! (And now look where they are!)