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Consumer Watch: Online yard sale

Website allows you to buy or sell during summer moving season

Aug. 30, 2012 - 06:06PM   |   Last Updated: Aug. 30, 2012 - 06:06PM  |  
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Summer is the time when many military families are on the move — and that means they're getting rid of excess stuff.

At the same time, many of those families are looking for deals on furniture and other home items once they hit their new duty stations.

That's where the relatively new website SargesList.com comes in. If you haven't been there in a while, it might be time to revisit this classified ad site, which now has about 75,000 active listings — and the number is growing by about 50 percent each month, said Lisa Klinkhammer, CEO of SargesList.

Housing and jobs are the most popular categories, especially during the summer moving season, followed by vehicles and household goods, such as appliances and furniture.

But all year, there are listings for baby and children's clothes, jewelry and many other items.

A number of military spouses use the site to market the wares they make through their home businesses: A wife at Andersen Air Force Base on Guam makes specialty cakes, and a California Marine wife makes jewelry.

A new feature on the site is "housing swap." The first listing came from a Navy family moving from their home in the Bremerton, Wash., area to the Whidbey Island area. They were hoping to temporarily swap houses for a few years with a family moving from Whidbey Island to Bremerton.

You can browse categories or search for specific items available near a particular installation.

Many of the listings come from companies, including those who make items geared for the military community. (Just be cautious about financing offers and read the fine print before agreeing to anything.)

SargesList identifies sellers who are in the military with a paw-print icon, which is tied to those who initially register with a .mil address. Items for sale range from a $5,500 motor home in Huntsville, Ala., to a $200 canopy bed in Lacey, Wash., near Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The paw-print icons don't represent all those who are military-connected, because some register with their personal email addresses.

Sellers are encouraged not to publicly list their email, phone numbers or other personal information, but to have buyers contact them indirectly through SargesList. Sellers use their personal email accounts for these contacts.

Buyers can search and connect with people without registering on the site, but you must register in order to get a seller's private email and phone number.

The site lists a number of precautions for buyers' and sellers' personal safety and finances.

SargesList is working to increase its listings connected to military installations, Klinkhammer said.

Military spouses are being hired to do local marketing, starting with five test locations in June. The goal is to hire spouses at about 100 locations near the largest installations, but that will be a gradual process as financial resources become available.

Spouses can contact SargesList if they want to be considered for possible future jobs.

Case lot sales

Don't miss your commissary's case lot sale, the last of which is scheduled for Oct. 13. Visit www.commissaries.com, click on "Shopping" then "Case Lot Sales," to find out when your store is having its sale.

This year's sale features nearly 400 products, which may vary by location. Some products are at savings of 50 percent or more, and many are in the "club pack" packaging you find at off-base club warehouse stores.

Sale items include:

• Back-to-school items such as trail mix, nuts, fruit bars, juice, sports drinks and kids' meals.

• Pastas, rice, soups, sauces.

• Diapers, paper goods, razors, shave gel, soaps, shampoo.

• Frozen foods such as waffles, sausage links, chicken, fruit pies, family entrees, pizza.

New app helps your finances

The Military & Money app, provided by the McGraw-Hill Cos. and the Better Business Bureau, is available free on iTunes.

A companion website is www.militaryandmoney.com. The app and website offer training videos on such topics as budgeting and credit cards, with calculators that track cash flow and build savings and debt reduction plans.

You'll find information on using credit cards wisely, digging out of debt, savings opportunities unique to service members, protections provided under the Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act, and preparing for military deployment and separation.

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