No Spend Year Update

Brief recap of the one decision that I made back in January that has literally changed my life. It has created a snowball effect and has really helped me reset, basically like a “financial cleanse”. I made the decision to not buy certain things for the entire year of 2019, including clothes, shoes, accessories, purses, makeup and also gave up hair dye, products and haircuts.

I was doing REALLY REALLY good with it and staying strong and not missing anything and in fact finding myself in the process. (mainly by avoiding stores and unsubscribing to all the emails) Lately though, I have definitely been struggling to stay motivated and the consumeritis can sometimes feel contagious. 😷

I know I justified and bought sunglasses a few months back when mine broke, and if we’re being real honest, I could have worn one of the random cheapo pairs lying about my house, like the ones I got at a conference with built in bottle openers on the sides..lol. I also caught myself borderline begging my husband to tell me it’s ok to buy some used earbuds from a neighbors garage sale. 😂 Then there was this past weekend at Target where I was getting a few toiletries and a new nail polish jumped into my cart. 💅🏻

See below..they are both cute and will last me for years to come. 🤷‍♀️

It’s not about the $14 collective dollars that I’ve spent this year that if you want to get all technical..are totally on my banned items list. It’s more about me losing my way and my why in the process.

Life has been throwing a bit of a difficult season my way, and it’s easy to fall back into old ways and “things” to make me feel better. But I still ultimately know it’s only a temporary feeling and it’s a VERY slippery slope. The long term mindset shift is more important to me than the temporary gratification followed quickly by buyers remorse. So I’m committed to getting back on track, especially knowing that we are entering into the biggest spending season. Since it’s my first one on my new path, wondering if anyone has any tips on how to get through it without buying all the things. 🤔

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The Best Meal Prep Items

With back to school upon us, along with another year of back to work (after a weekend off..lol), I thought I would share some of the containers that I absolutely love!! If you are trying to stop eating out as much, whether it’s to save money, eat healthier, to simplify your life, or whatever your reason, the right containers can set you up for success! It took me under thirty minutes to prep lunches for myself and my five and ten year old for the upcoming week. With the amount of time it takes to run out and grab lunch, along with the cost, I expect to save over $2,600 dollars for me, $1,000 for kids and 7,000 hours of my time. (15 mins each way to grab a $10 lunch x 5 days a week and kids school lunch at $2.50 a lunch x two kids)

The first and absolute favorite is what I refer to as the “food tackle bait” containers. These bad boys are perfect for bento box snacky type lunches, since they have containers perfect for people like me who get weirded out by their food touching. 😂. Also for non-food touching weirdos..it’s still nice to keep things separated and fresh so you can prep in advance. You see modeled here in the back containers with hummus/crackers, guacamole/chips and strawberries, carrots and almonds. Perfectly balanced. 👌🏼 The front container is another awesome one for those of you who like sandwiches of any variety. 🥪 Seen modeled below in the front with an English muffin, peanut butter, celery, apple slices, and pretzel twists, all of which I’m fully prepared to dip in peanut butter. 😋

You guys..I’ve tried a LOT of meal prep containers, and these are hands down the best bang for your buck.  My old ones were cheaper, but they also were cheaper quality and cracked and broke in under two years.  These are heavy duty and also have more space for food.  I’m so excited and I don’t get excited over much, so if you are just as excited and ready to set yourself up for meal prep success, links below to each item.  Follow me for more upcoming posts on ways to simplify your life and save money and your health in the process!

Let me know what you think of these containers and what you plan to do with all that saved time and money!!

Food tackle box container:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FMQL1TN/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=543704-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B07FMQL1TN&linkId=431257d1f1e0c1fc4eeda7c3198f420e

Sandwich container:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07RP46XC3/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=543704-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B07RP46XC3&linkId=d3bb07523bc590f78723b8554b82f17b

Garage Sale Season

With end of summer upon us, I start thinking about all of the garages full of stuff that is no longer used, too small or has been upgraded. I have memories of being a kid and getting up early every weekend to go to garage sales. (bribed with donuts and the hopes of a new toy of course) 🍩 🧸

Nobody asked me about my opinion on garage sales, but I’ve decided to tell you anyway. I can say that I had one several years back and made around $800 when I was on maternity leave. I also did one for a work fundraiser and made around $500 for our Big Brothers Big Sisters bowling team. For mine, I sold a bunch of maternity stuff and baby stuff we weren’t using and all of Kylie’s clothes we had saved from NB-4T, after picking out the gender neutral stuff for Caleb of course. 😉

Looking back..I definitely think people with babies up to 4 years have the best luck. Also, people in a high traffic area or neighborhood having a lot of sales the same day can also be successful. But I also think we can avoid the need for a garage sale by sticking to the bare minimums and borrowing stuff that we will only need for a short period of time. Babies seem to be a reason to buy everything, and baby registry’s make it easy to add a bazillion things you will likely be too exhausted to figure out how to use once parenting shows you it’s true colors. Then it will end up in your pile for the sale, likely priced at half what it costs, just to have someone ask you if you’d take five dollars for it. (I know because I’m a garage sale hardcore negotiator) 😂

If your sale includes clothes, shoes, and household items, and you still have a closet full after outing for the sale, then it might be time to just stop and reflect on your stuff strategy. Not only did that clutter used to be money, but that money used to be your time.

I will say if I’ve finally persuaded you to join my minimalist lifestyle and you are simplifying your life and need a fresh start, one big sale may be a good idea. But only if it ends there, and you don’t just go out and accumulate more stuff to replace what you sold. Also, think about the time and energy that goes into one. If setting up, pricing, getting nasty warm lemonade for the kids to sell and dealing with them badgering your customers for 5 hours on your Saturday morning with extreme temperature variations like smoldering heat or pouring rain and going back and forth with hardcore negotiators like me sounds like a good time to you..well start borrowing those tables my friends. 🤷‍♀️

If that sounds comparable to a root canal, then selling things in “lots” on Facebook Marketplace is a great alternative. Or let’s be honest, we all know that person that’s selling clothes that are so loved they should be donated. Just saying..don’t be that friend..also don’t be the friend that sells hand me downs you got from a friend. (Totally did that on accident and still getting shit for it two years later) 😂

When it comes to shopping at garage sales, this can be a double edged sword. I remember finding a rocking chair with foot rest at a garage sale for $15 that I used with both kids. I negotiated it from the $30 it was marked at and was so proud. But I’ve also lost all common sense and self control at a sale and just bought the whole damn table of baby clothes I didn’t need. So be careful when you shop..they can be sneaky and fill your trunk up before you realize you only needed a few things. 🤷‍♀️

Now you know my thoughts..what are yours and please share your garage sale fails and success stories. 😊

No Spend Year Check-in

There have been 107 days that have come and gone in 2019. Of those 107 days, I am very proud to say that I have stuck with my no spend challenge!! If you haven’t read my original post, I started with saying no clothes, no shoes, no purses and no accessories will be purchased for the WHOLE year. Once I saw how easy it was and began to see my savings build, I quickly made the decision to add on no dying my hair and no makeup. I’ve also had a few questions along the way that I wanted to answer.

Yes..I can still eat out or grab a coffee if I choose. I am continuing to live off my monthly allowance like I’ve done for years, and once it’s gone it’s gone (until the next month).

No..I do not have a giant stash of makeup somewhere that I’m using up. I have decided to go makeup free and only use a tinted moisturizer/sunscreen and occasionally curl my eyelashes. Never been more confident in my own skin!!

Yes..my family is supportive..for the most part. 🤣 My husband rarely shops, so it’s not a big deal for him to go a year without. The kids did recently get new shoes, socks and undies, so I’m not depriving anyone of necessities over here. My son had a growth spurt, and I did also get him a few pairs of pants and shorts the next size up.

We also have lucked out and scored some awesome free stuff (love our neighborhood and finding freebies). When we have outgrown stuff, I usually try and post it to pass on to another family. It’s like a free exchange of goods and it’s awesome!! It’s where I get almost all outdoor toys, sports gear and this month alone, I got all the clothes pictured below, including a nice Adidas jacket and bonus Christmas gift bags they came in that I can reuse, a few nylabones for the puppy, a used IPOD, a wicker outdoor set, a bike and a puzzle. I have given away some clothes, pull-ups, a few toys, Tupperware, slime making supplies, etc. It also helps me with an outlet for purging while downsizing to a more minimalist lifestyle. Do some research and ask around if you don’t have a neighborhood page..there are free (or practically free) resources everywhere!

Like I mentioned, I have LOVED my No Spend Challenge so far and have gained so much from it.

1. I’m forever changed when it comes to spending habits. If it doesn’t bring me value..I don’t need it. Through this process..I’ve also learned about and refocused on what I truly value.

2. I don’t miss anything..none of it..the cute new outfits, the freshly dyed hair, the $100 random Target trips, the sales at Old Navy, Ann Taylor outlet, etc. I honestly don’t even remember where all I used to shop, because I’ve been unsubscribed and haven’t gone into a store in so long. So nice having my money and time back!!

3. I love using what we have and swapping with neighbors because it makes me feel like motha earth would totally high five me for respecting her ass and I’ve met some cool peeps along the way.

4. I secretly love being rebellious to societal norms of consumerism and taking a path less traveled. It’s just icing on the cake if I inspire a few people through my journey who also begin to think twice about their own habits and values.

5. The little things DO add up and I’ve been able to do some big things because of it (the big things took years of hard work, but the no spending certainly helps). In the past 107 days, I have used my new relationship with money, and the savings I’ve had while not consuming, to get one step closer to being debt free (paid off car last week). In the past 107 days, we have also purchased our first rental property.

Interested in joining? I encourage you to give it a test run on a no spend weekend, week, or month and see how it goes. If it’s surprisingly easy, or you are ready to dive right into the deep end, you can jump on in for the whole year with me. 😉

And don’t forget the power you hold in your life and beyond!!!

Stuffed animals run this motha

I swear it started with one innocent stuffed animal..then another somehow found it’s way into the house. Then..they started multiplying. I don’t recall going to 334 carnivals or claw machines and actually winning from them, or having that many grandparents gifting them.

Seriously..look at that smug face on the octopus..just livin his best life as king of the massive stuffed animal collection.

Is this only a thing at my house? And why is it so hard to part with any? My kids have a back story and emotional attachment to every furry little shit in there. Yet they haven’t touched, talked to, or slept with them in their bed for 3 years. 🤔

I allow 5 stuffed animals in each bed. How many total animals do you have running your house? Any tips to destash and keep them out of my house in the future? Anyone want to guess my grand total for a prize? (prize may be a stuffed animal)

Closet chaos challenge update

I ended up taking my closet from 350ish items down to 115 and have had it cleared out for 10 days now. Of course I couldn’t part with any of the clutter I got out just yet..had to make sure I’m totally on board with this minimalism stuff. 🤷‍♀️

I have to say that I cleared out an entire section of my closet, and was expecting to feel my heart rip out of my chest for removing these items. I also thought my closet was going to be empty, lonely, sad, depressed and scared. Turns out it had the opposite effect on me. My heart is just fine, and I’m now looking in there and thinking I still have way more than I need. What the what?!

I have also noticed it’s way easier to find something to wear. I haven’t once said to Matt “I literally have nothing to wear”, which used to be kind of a staple statement in our marriage, where I tried on all these clothes that I usually don’t wear in an attempt to make use of all the stuff. Then he rolls his eyes and I make a comment about how I need to go shopping, to which he rolls his eyes again.

Now I just have my faves. My faves consist of a lot of basics that I can actually do a lot more things with less things. Everything is meant to go with everything. I even freed several items that were trapped behind other clothes. They may have been lost forever if I didn’t declutter my closet, and it was like a free shopping trip in my own closet.

I think I can easily cut my 115 items down to 75ish, but taking baby steps. If you haven’t seen a capsule wardrobe, GTS (google that s$&@). People doing this are living with around 30ish items. 😳

If you haven’t tried the closet chaos challenge, please look back at my other 2 posts and give it a try or pass it on to a friend that could use a more basic life.

My closet chaos challenge results

Who is willing to share what your totals were? I accidentally threw out my list, but I was really surprised by HOW MUCH STUFF I have accumulated over the years. I know my total number of items ended up being around 350. This included around 50 shoes, 30 scarves, 70 dresses, 40 pants and 160 shirts, sweaters and hoodies and a few random purses and hats.

You guys..I went through and trimmed it down to around 115 items on my first try 💁‍♀️. So clearly I did not NEED almost all of the crap I bought. Let’s say that each of the items in my closet cost on average $20. That’s $7,000 😳

What else could I have done with that money? More importantly, how much of my time was spent working for that money, only to so freely give it to these companies and for stuff that I didn’t even NEED?! I can just imagine myself in Target right now just throwing all the things in my cart and not even thinking twice about the random clearance items and my YOLO mentality. And even talking to the cashier about how great of a deal I was getting 🤦‍♀️

The first part of this closet challenge was really just to get you thinking about your own stuff and how much you may or may not have. Where did it all come from and what made you buy the things you bought? Were they impulse buys? Do you have to have certain brands? Are you attached to these things? When’s the last time you wore half of the stuff you have? Are you a regular purger but then find yourself quickly back in the same place with acquiring more? What else could you have done with that money or time you spent working for that money?!

I’m new to the minimalism world and trying to make my life more basic, so this was a huge eye opener for me. Look for my next post to talk about what life is like for the past week after my first purge and how this is going to hopefully help me on my semi basic life journey to living more with less. 😊