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. πŸ˜‰

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) πŸ˜‚

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. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

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) πŸ˜‚

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. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

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

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Haircuts At Home

Well..against several people’s wishes 🀣 I went for it and cut a little over an inch off using the Unicorn method. πŸ’‡πŸΌ πŸ¦„

BEFORE:

My thoughts πŸ’­ ummm..I wish I would have tried this sooner!! I haven’t looked at the back, but my husband said it was straight, and he has to be seen with me, so pretty sure I can trust him. I feel very accomplished trying something that terrified myself and many others for me to try. It was actually so super easy, only took about 5 minutes, and was absolutely FREE. (my husband had scissors so I didn’t have to buy anything) βœ‚οΈ

AFTER:

Just kidding 🀣..

THE REAL AFTER:

My family may be a little scared of me venturing out to their heads next, but going to try and earn their trust through β€œgentle” persuasion and possibly bribery . πŸ’β€β™€οΈ

With a family of four averaging $25 per cut, that adds up to around $900 a year and $15k over an 18 year period. This doesn’t include color, which I already stopped all together 9 months ago, or eyebrow maintenance, which I’m still trying to navigate on my own, literally one tweeze at a time (had a bad home wax incident of 2013 I’m still recovering from). 😬

The verdict: Go get you some nice shears, watch a few YouTube tutorials, put on a brave face, and go for it! If it goes well, send me a shout out. If it doesn’t go well, take comfort in knowing it will grow back soon. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

What can you do with that $15k I just saved your family? Feel free to Venmo it to me. πŸ€‘

What else do you do at home or what should I try next on my new DIY kick?!

(Disclaimer: I am not a cosmetologist and your results may vary, so you have been warned that it’s all on you whatever actions you decide to take after reading this)

6 months down!!

What better day than Amazon Prime day to give an update on how my No Spend Year is going. I wouldn’t have even known about it if it weren’t for my coworkers. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ While shopping holidays like today have never really appealed to me, I will say the No Spend has been a bit of a challenge the past few weeks. 😬

Timing was just right that I had a really amazing friend gift me some clothes that I absolutely love and am so grateful for (my new fave skirt..it has pockets!). I did end up buying sunglasses a few months back because mine broke, which I considered a need for eye protection. I also bought some stuff, including a T-shirt for a fundraiser for a friend, but I don’t count that since it was for a great cause. I’ve been battling with buying a pair of sandals for work. I can technically wear flats that I have, so not sure this qualifies as a “need”. Do my feet really “need” sandals when it’s 100 degrees out, but still frigid cold in the office? Probably not. Lastly, I bought a new AppleWatch and new Nike running shoes, but these I can explain..I promise. I work for a great employer, and both were FREE as part of my employee benefits package. Yes you read that right..and yes we are hiring. πŸ˜‰

Overall, I’m SO PROUD of myself for the amount of restraint and growth I have experienced this first half of the year. I would like to thank the former “consumer” in me for knowing her weaknesses, and avoiding emails by unsubscribing to everything, and staying out of any of my “trigger stores”. πŸ˜‚

I would estimate that over the past 6 months, I have likely saved upwards of $2,500. This is just an estimate based on my previous patterns. My old consumer self went to Target 2-3x a month and would average around $100 per trip, along with usually having my hair colored every 10 weeks at about $85, and don’t forget buying some makeup here and there, shoes, and at least one big “seasonal” shopping trip for new clothes around $500ish total. Don’t forget the little random purchases here and there also. πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ

I’m really looking forward to continuing to save and invest my money for the second half of the year, which will help keep me on track. Besides the savings of time, money and not having extra clutter, I definitely have a different mindset about money. Knowing that every day I’m trading my time for money, reminds me that each purchase, no matter how small, has to be bought with hours of my life. That’s a powerful translation of currency that will always stick with me going forward. πŸ•° πŸ’΅

This is us

I thought with all the new followers, it’s a good time to re-introduce the magic behind mysemibasiclife (you read that right..I totally referred to myself as the magic). To celebrate, my daughter humored me with a photo shoot, and my favorite was one of the bloopers. 😜

Sometimes life is more about what happens behind the scenes, between the β€œperfect” pictures, when you’re trying to pose and get the best lighting, hide that lazy eye, those wrinkles and those frizzy grey hairs. She captured all of these things, all of my imperfections, including crows feet I didn’t even know were there. How fitting to show my imperfections to all of you who have been following along on my imperfect journey to financial freedom. This is me..always laughing at my own jokes, never taking things too seriously, currently staring off into space like only a true dreamer can do. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

This is the entire family that puts up with my latest crazy schemes, understands the bigger picture behind those crazy schemes, sometimes appreciates my hilariously witty comments and penny pinching ways, and packs in the car with me for that fifth trip to the library in a two day period. πŸ˜‚

You weren’t there for the early years, the dark debt days 😬 where we were living beyond our means and got ourselves into a financial spot where all of our paychecks were going towards debt. But you have now followed along as we ditched the debt, got rid of car payments and paid our last student loan off, which puts us at a grand total of $165,000 in consumer debt paid off!! You’re following as I am feeling weak, but holding strong and halfway through my #nospendyear. You followed along as we bought our first rental property and are following along now as we now search for the next one. πŸ‘€

We are excited to continue sharing our life after debt journey, including our ever changing goals, working on growing our net worth, celebrating the success, overcoming the setbacks, and the blood, sweat and tears along the way as we define what financial independence looks like for our family. πŸ”₯

Enough about us though..I want to hear from you..what’s your story? What topics that I’ve covered have helped or would help you along your journey?

What questions do you have for me?

πŸ‘‡πŸΌπŸ‘‡πŸΌπŸ‘‡πŸΌπŸ‘‡πŸΌ

We are officially landlords!!

It all started in December. The choice to live a more minimalist lifestyle with the No Spend Year I challenged myself to. Turns out I had a lot of extra time and money once I stopped shopping. 🀣

So I started listening to the BiggerPockets podcast, and a few other FI podcasts, along with reading a bazillion books for 60 days and kept penny pinching away. After talking to my husband, and getting him sold on my crazy ideas (besides the selling our house and living in a van down by the river idea), we set a goal to buy our first property by March 2020. Except this may surprise some of you..I’m kind of inpatient. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

We then went and looked at several places and decided to put in an offer on a single family home because we loved the location. We discussed doing short term AirBNB, but found out the city is pretty strict, so went with the long term rental strategy instead.

Closed on my 36th Birthday on 3/26 for $103k with 15% down and walked into $10k of equity right off the bat. We put a few hundred bucks on paint and new screens, trim touch up, etc. and put some weekend sweat equity in to get it rental ready.

If you remember from other posts, we recently got rid of a car payment and daycare, clearing up $1100 a month of outgoing expenses. So we have decided to pay the $700 mortgage out of our own funds, and take the $900 rent and put it in our investments account for a down payment on the next one. (We actually got a really great tenant who signed a two year lease AND paid $10k for the first years rent in full). We are going to use that rent towards our next investment and are currently in the market for a multi-family if you know of one. πŸ‘€

It still feels a little weird to say we are landlords. We dreamed about and talked about owning real estate for around five or so years. But we were so strapped with debt and were scared because we didn’t have any real estate background, or solid goals or plans put in place. Didn’t realize it was as easy as picking up some books and listening to other investors tell their stories to educate ourselves. It’s exciting to see our years of hard work and sacrifices starting to pay off now though. Only regret is that we would have taken action sooner. Next step is continuing to build our net worth and getting a little closer to financial independence every day!!

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. πŸ˜‰

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

Messy Hair Don’t Care

11ish years ago..I was getting ready for a date with my boyfriend (now husband) and I asked “how does my hair look”. Keep in mind I had spent a LOT of time and effort on coloring, washing, blow drying, and flat ironing. He responded “well, it’s a little frizzy”. 😳 Now if you’re a man reading this, I would encourage you not to be as honest as my husband was to my question. Sometimes it’s ok to lie, and in fact encouraged in certain scenarios like the above.

I share that story as a reminder that..with or without investing my time and energy, my hair is likely still going to be a little frizzy. So why bother right? If you read my post about my No Spend Year, you know I started off with a goal of not buying any clothes, shoes or accessories. Then you may have read my makeup free post, and how I’ve been rocking 2019 makeup free.

Since I’m on a roll, and have set some lofty financial goals for our family this year, I started thinking about other areas that I spend a lot of time and money on. I do believe I spend on average around $750ish on my hair. How much do you spend on average? This is for upkeep on coloring every 10 weeks to cover up grey, shampoo and dry shampoo. I’m already a pretty big minimalist compared to some in the hair arena, since I don’t really use any products besides dry shampoo..a LOT of dry shampoo. But if I spend $750 a year for 40 years of hair maintenance, that adds up to $30,000 over my lifetime. πŸ˜³πŸ’ΈπŸ’ΈπŸ’Έ

See above mention on my lofty financial goals? I have decided I could allocate that $750 towards my final debt payoff, or for a down payment on our first investment property. Either one will give me better returns than a few people saying “oh your hair looks really good” for a day or two after my hair appointment. πŸ’β€β™€οΈ

So I’ve decided to try and skip the salon and add that to my No Spend Year. In the process, something else unexpected happened. I stumbled across all these women rocking the #grombre on IG, and it turns out this is trending now. So I will be totally trending, will get to see what my natural color that I’ve covered up the past twenty years (mixed with greys) will look like, and also set an example for my daughter who said “I don’t know why you would want to cover up your natural beauty anyway”. Dang..little wise old soul for the win. πŸ€“

And as a side bar, I also have stopped wasting time and money washing every day or every other day like I used to. I can use that hour of time to read, or write a blog post for you lovely folks, or hang with my family. I stole a hat from my husband, and can rock that dirty pony for up to 5 days. You read that write..5 days! My dirty pony goes great with my makeup free face. I have honestly never felt more confident than I do now and that is ALL that matters.

So if you haven’t thought about your hair lately, stop and think about it. How much time and money are you investing? Are you happy with your returns? If so..great..keep doing what you’re doing and I will be that person who gives you compliments after you get your hair did. If not, feel free to come rock the dirty pony and #grombre with me this year!