There was a time not too long ago when I would tell you that buying a product when it was low in stock and reselling it for a higher price is a good way to make some extra cash. I still remember back in the day when I saw people lining up for iPhones overnight and then reselling them. In fact, people were even selling their spot in the line to newcomers who were shocked by the long lines when they got to the store. I just thought it was good honest work. You were willing to camp out in the line days before in the cold and getting compensated for it. That’s just getting compensated for willing to put in the effort.

Recently, my quest to get a Playstation 5 (PS5) made me question my view of this money-making technique. You see, there’s a huge shortage of the new gaming consoles and people are blaming the issue on scalpers. Thanks to technology, these people can quickly buy up all the stock whenever stores sell them online, and then they can resell the ones they get their hands on. What’s become ridiculous is that there is now software you can rent (yes, rent!) that automatically checks online store pages and will help you secure a product for reselling.

My friend used to buy two or three of the same gaming consoles whenever they come out. He used to say that he’s just using the profits from the resell to pay for his console. I never thought it was bad at all. He put in the work and is rewarded. I may not have done the same thing, but it wasn’t illegal.

Nowadays, I doubt he’ll so openly talk about scalping because the practice is frowned upon in the console world. You can simply look at the comments on social media postings of any restock alert or Reddit to see all the hate you’ll get whenever someone tries to talk about the availability of the latest gaming consoles.

All of this begs the question – is scalping ethical?

Do I Only Think It’s Unethical Because It Affects Me?

Like I said already, I never really saw a problem with someone trying to resell something at a higher price before. But now that I’ve read all this hate on scalpers and my struggles with buying a PS5, I can see how the practice can feel scummy. I’m starting to doubt my old view of the whole practice.

On the other hand, isn’t scalping sort of like investing? My uncle owns a wine cellar full of highly prized wines. He’s bought them years ago when the prices were high but relatively much more reasonable. Now that those wine vintages are in shorter supply, the prices keep going up. He actually drinks them but he can certainly start selling them for a profit. Ditto with my other friend who collects Lego sets. He buys them when they come onto the market, and now they are worth much more because they are no longer available for purchase. He collects them but he does sell some from time to time.

I don’t think anyone would hate on my uncle or my friend if both were to start selling their entire collection. We might even admire their business savvy. Yet, they are making money exactly the same way scalpers do. They buy the stock when it’s available and then resells them for a higher profit later when the stock is low.

Let me give you another example. If your nephew told you he entered those random draws for a limited-edition sneaker from Nike and then resold it for a profit, would you immediately think of criticizing him about whether that’s ethical or would you congratulate the kiddo for being smart and earning some lunch money? I know the reaction around my house would be overwhelmingly positive.

So, is scalping only unethical when it affects me?

Scalpers Aren’t the Only Ones to Blame

To be honest, I put more blame on the retailers and Sony than the scalpers on the shortage issue. I understand that Sony is doing everything it can to increase stock. That’s not my beef at all. The problem is that these major companies seem to be happy to see news that there’s a shortage because it’s free marketing. For Sony, it sells them more consoles. For retailers, it gets customers to keep going back to their online store to check on availability.

You sometimes hear of how major retailers are spending all these resources to combat scalpers, but they can easily fix the issue in an instant. All the big retailers have to do is to ask customers who are interested in buying the gaming console to put down a small security deposit to hold their place in line. Then, they can just email the customer to log in and pay for the rest when it’s their turn. If they don’t respond in, say, 24 hours, then they get bumped off until the next restock. They can limit the unit to one per credit card, or even one per government ID. What I’m proposing isn’t a perfect system, but it’ll vastly and instantly improve the problem significantly.

It isn’t done or even attempted though. You have to wonder why.

Is Scalping Just Another Way of Making Money?

In some states, ticket scalping is illegal but only in very specific circumstances. It’s perfectly legal to buy and sell tickets online at places like StubHub, but it’s illegal to resell them on the grounds of the event.

Reselling PS5s, wine, Lego sets, collectible sneakers on the other hand are perfectly legal.

But is it unethical?

It’s a tough question to answer for me personally. While I’ve never resold something for a profit (at least not that I can remember and definitely never systematically,) I never really thought of the practice as a problem. I see how these scalpers are making it very inconvenient for me to secure a PS5 for myself, but this is far from the only time someone making a profit is indirectly causing inconvenience for me. This is simply supply and demand and I happen to be hopelessly stuck on the demand side of this equation.

But then I see all the hate and it makes me wonder. It doesn’t help that you sometimes hear about how ridiculous prices can actually be. My friend just shared on social media today that the admission to a concert in Hong Kong this year is being bid up to $230,000HKD (roughly $30,000 USD) a seat.

INCREDIBLE is the word I would use if I want to sound positive and polite about it. There are many other words I can think of that’s not appropriate to write on here.

What do you think? Is scalping unethical? Or is it just another way of making extra money?

It’s rarely a good idea to make important decisions when you’re under stress – especially if that stress is emotional in nature. Emotional distress can lead to poor financial decisions, which, in turn, can deepen your money problems.

When you feel distressed, it’s common to try and ease your feelings by engaging in activities that trigger good feelings, or that at least allow you to temporarily escape from the situation. If you’re not careful, making money decisions based on your feelings can lead to ruin.

Distress, Control, and Money

“Distress often comes from feeling out of control,” says Kathy Gruver, Ph.D., a health and wellness expert specializing in stress. When you feel out of control, she points out, you do your best to seize control of the situation. The way you use your money is one of the easiest ways to exert control in your life.
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The weather is warming and the virus is receding. This means to me that garage sales, lots of ’em, are going to pop up soon. From visiting neighborhood garage sales to cruising the city in search of signs, garage sales can be a fun and frugal way to stock up on needed items. Hosting a garage sale can also bring in additional cash for items that you no longer need or want.

You don’t want to overspend soon, do you? Here are some tips to make this year’s yard sale experiences profitable.
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Is Inflation Everywhere?

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Have you noticed how everything is so much more expensive lately? Gas prices stick out like a sore thumb, but at least that fluctuates all the time and can go down in the future. The increase that is most scary to me is the restaurant prices in my area. What used to cost $8 or $10 a meal is easily $15 now. We got takeout from a sushi restaurant the other day and the place charged us $28.95 for a sushi combo, which was a 30% increase!

Even video games are trying to raise prices. I don’t have a Playstation 5, the next-generation console that came out last year. But a new game came out for it and they are charging $69.99 for the game when the norm for a new release has been $59.99 for years.

Emma told me that grocery prices have gone way up too. And we aren’t talking about a 1%, 2%, or even 5% here. Some things have gone up by 20% or 30%. Yikes!
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Hobbies are part of how we express our individuality. In the daily grind of life, they’re also a way we can unwind, have some fun, and do the things we most enjoy. Without this outlet, life would be a lot more stressful. You could say that having hobbies is good for your health and well-being.

On the other hand, hobbies can be downright expensive and a huge strain when balancing your budget. For some people, their hobby is actually a source of financial stress even if they don’t realize it’s causing that much damage to their financial health.

Here’s a list of some of the most expensive hobbies in the world:

Big game hunting, sailing, flying, mountain climbing, cigarette boat racing, hot air ballooning, collecting art and other expensive antiques or memorabilia, drag racing, flying, horseback riding, playing polo, ballroom dancing, tornado chasing, and sky diving

Believe it or not, some of these hobbies can cost millions of dollars a year. It’s important to keep in mind though that hobbies should be relative to your lifestyle and income level. Someone who is making several million a year can afford to spend more on their hobbies. What would be an expensive hobby for us might only be consuming 1% of another person’s income.

I heard on the radio the other day how two-thirds of Americans spent more time (and money!) on their hobby since the lockdowns. So, how much should YOU be spending on your hobbies?
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More often than not, persistence and the will to keep plugging away pays off. This is Travis’s debt story…

After having accumulated $109,000 in credit card debt, our finances finally reached a boiling point a few years ago. No longer able to meet all of our financial commitments, my wife and I enrolled in a debt management plan. This lowered the interest rates on our lines of credit, allowing us to finally make progress on the balances.

But that wasn’t good enough.

We needed to reduce our expenses. Each month, my wife and I examined every expense and cut everything we could to create more breathing room in our budget. But there was one thing that I promised my wife I would fight tooth and nail to keep.

I promised her we wouldn’t sell our house.
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