Mark and I have been brainstorming along the lines of de-cluttering our lives and saving cold hard cash, and here are a few things we came up with that we just might try.
1. Garage sale
It sounds so simple, so quaint: “Let’s have a garage sale.” Anyone who has held one of these events knows setting up a shop in a yard or garage can be a pain at best and an episode of “Hoarders” at worst. Mark and I have been like rolling stones these past few but we’ve gathered a whole bunch of moss: stuff. Kid stuff, sentimental stuff, stuff, stuff stuff. Also, in the past four years, I’ve had two kids and been in more pants sizes than you can shake a stick at. It’s not like I think pants are a hot seller, but I’m saying I have clothes to sell. Jewelry to offer up. Books like Infinite Jest that I’m not going to have the time to read any time soon, so I might as well stop kidding myself, sell my copy and visit the library if the mood to crack that one open ever strikes. We’ll pick a date for early spring and see how this goes.
2. 1-week spending freeze
The TLC show “Extreme Cheapskates” gave me this idea. For that show, on which people dumpster dive for gifts for spouses and wipe bums with washcloths to save on TP, a one-week freeze seemed pretty moderate. I saw the episode with a spending freeze a while back. Come to think of it, though, the guy with the idea also ate road kill to save money. Last week, my friend Erika suggested I read a blog post from a gent whose family does a *month long* freeze and give it a try. I don’t see how a month would be possible for my family, but I can envision a week of no spending. For a month, I suppose you’d have to stockpile throughout the year with that idea in mind. It would also help to live somewhere with good public transit and/or biking-to-work options. That does not describe OKC. Any way, I’m willing to try a one-week freeze, though we’d have to freeze some recipes and stockpile diapers to do it.
3. Experience over stuff
This is more of a philosophy, a pre-emptive strike on stuff. Mark and I have been budgeting a little bit each month for our personal discretionary funds — I’m talkin $50 to $100. That means he can’t hassle me when I show up with the occasional fashionable thingy. I can’t get sassy when he gets fancy and … OK, he doesn’t do anything fancy. The poor man just wants to have lunch with his friends now and again. Maybe instead of getting *things,* *I* could save up for an experience — and Mark and I could get to a movie together now and again. We could apply this theory in different ways beyond our meager personal budgets. Tighter budgeting all around yields more savings. We want to carve out cash from our savings for experiences — namely, vacations. Because while we want to save and have more peace of mind about our financial well being, we want to live, too. We want to get out into the world outside our home, where there are no laundry piles or dirty dishes, just fresh air to breath and new places to see and memories to take home.
Thanks for reading! My family is trying to save more and knock down around $40K in student loans and another $5-6K in other debts. I try to write about our effort every Monday in an effort dubbed Money Madness.
How much cash did a garage sale yield for you? Was it worth it or were you driven to the precipice of hell and back? What do you think about a spending freeze — would you try this or is this something you have tried? Are you a stuff person or an experience person? Let me know if any of these ideas worked for you. If you have another to add along these lines I’d love to hear it.