I have a strange sense of humor and my phone is littered with pictures of things I’ve encountered that make me laugh. This is not related to frugal living, is barely related to Fort Collins, and is not appropriate for any audiences.
Somehow I am STILL purging unwanted items from our house, but now I am managing to make some pretty good money off of it. I switched up my selling game from strictly Craigslist and local Facebook buy/sell/trade groups, with a fall-back plan of consignment, and tried my hand at eBay. Let me just say that I am still very much an eBay novice, but I have sold things for way more than I could have gotten from any of the other ways I’ve tried.
I probably would have gotten maybe 10 bucks for these boots at Plato’s Closet or around $20 or so selling on Craigslist or Facebook.
But I sold them on eBay for $60!!!!!!!! That’s double what I paid when I bought them new. Turns out that Naughty Monkey leather boots are not in high demand in FoCo, but are everywhere else.
I bought this in Steamboat for around $20 about 7 years ago because I guess I felt like I needed some workwear??? Who knows… I wore it approximately twice for things like riding in a car and sitting in a chair (hard work). I went straight to eBay with this when I noticed it still hanging in the closet (not sure how it survived so many purges). While my favorite discount gear store had it for sale in pink and purple for $37.50, the MSRP is $79.99, and Carhartt Brown is almost impossible to come by in women’s vests…except on eBay. In under a day, I sold it for $60.
I am certainly not just selling things like crazy on eBay. It all comes down to pictures, keywords, and timing. It took me two listings to sell a silk J. Crew dress that I wore to my first black tie optional event while working for CSU Events, and I think I ended up selling it for $15 (half of what I paid, so I got my money’s worth). I am also trying to unload a pair of Steve Madden boots and a couple of Moosejaw jackets, but I haven’t had any bites yet. I’ve gotten some views, though, so I think I need to take some better pictures.
However, I can’t sell everything on eBay and I lucked out yesterday by leaving a post up in the Fort Collins Trade Swap group on Facebook. (Pro-tip: if you are looking to sell things in Fort Collins, this is the place to do it because the 6700 members all get real-time notifications of what’s for sale in their newsfeed). I have been trying to sell this gem of a bike since this summer:
This picture does not do the ridiculousness justice…it has huge rearview mirrors, a giant bell, the back tire is super fat, and the seat has a velvet checkerboard pattern.
Lo and behold, my Christmas present came early and a guy found the post from August, offered me $150, and gave me the money before he ever looked at the bike. It was somehow exactly what he had been looking for all over Northern Colorado. Goodbye, chopper bike! I told the boy that we are now a 6-bicycle household, and then it felt like all the purging progress went out the window.
Moral of the story: when you’re selling things you no longer want, figure out where you’re going to get the best deal. If it’s a brand name and easily shippable, try eBay. You don’t pay anything until you sell, the listing fees are reasonable, and it’s SO EASY. You’ll get way more money than if you consign it or take it to a place that buys on the spot. Definitely read up on selling tips to make sure you’re reaching potential buyers. If you can’t easily ship it, check out a local facebook buy and sell group. The Fort Collins group is very active and everything shows up in the newsfeeds of your potential buyers.
When you’ve made some extra cash, sock most of it away in your emergency fund or put it toward paying off a debt, and use some to have a little fun. I hear there is a new trampoline park that is awesome and on Tuesdays, 2 can jump for the price of 1. I haven’t been there yet, but it sounds ridiculously fun (and like a broken spine waiting to happen).
I’ve totally been doing The Creep…the Lifestyle Creep. A little over a year ago, I was making about a third less than what I currently make. And somehow I am saving WAY LESS than I did while at my previous job. Yes, we bought a house and took on higher bills and a little more going to the mortgage than rent at our previous place. But where is the rest of it going?! I will tell you, my friends. It’s going to me being an idiot about spending.
It’s so easy to find an excuse to reward yourself when you’ve gotten a raise or when you feel like you work really hard. Trying not to spend on non-necessities has shown me that I have a SERIOUS lifestyle creep problem. Instead of aiming to go out for a beer, now we’ll go out for a beer and dinner. I also used to primarily eat out for breakfast, and that has turned into dinner. That’s dumb because I LOVE BREAKFAST. I don’t even want to eat dinner (that’s a lie…I love all food all the time), but given the option, I pick breakfast any day. And you know what the best part about going out for breakfast is? It’s way less expensive than dinner. We also used to have people over for brunch or game nights. Now that Andy is working nights, that doesn’t happen and we end up meeting people out at restaurants or bars. And since when do I stop at Whole Foods more than once a month, let alone 3 times a week? Oh, since I started taking the bus that leaves from the Whole Foods parking lot. I don’t need coffee. I have coffee at home. I don’t need kombucha. I have kombucha at home and it’s expensive. I also don’t need a $4 breakfast burrito that isn’t really that good anyway.
Check out this article from LearnVest about lifestyle creep.
So I’m going to combat it. I’m going to go back to doing what I do best: hosting people and eating breakfast. Meaning, I’m putting an end to the lifestyle creep. The higher bills aren’t avoidable, but I can cut other places. I started by canceling my Audible membership before they could get me one more time for this month. I even resisted the $20 coupon they offered me to stay. Look at that willpower…
Have you experienced lifestyle creep? What’d you do about it? Or did you just keep Doing the Creep?
To FINALLY wrap up the minimalist game from July, Andy and I took a giant load of purged stuff to Arc. In a fit of desperation of wanting my garage back, we took a bunch of stuff to Arc, a thrift store in town that provides training, jobs, and resources to people with developmental disabilities and their families. I had some stuff that was slated for sale, but decided I would rather reclaim the garage and donate a lot of it. I also get the joy of itemizing on my tax return, so it’ll help out when tax time rolls around.
Some highlights: a big box of VHS tapes that our friend sneakily abandoned in our living room before he left for the Peach Corps, my alarm clock from college and grad school that tortured me for many mornings, my old climbing shoes, lots of clothes that did not make the Plato’s Closet or consignment cuts during previous purges, a shoe organizer, a wireless router (sneakily abandoned with the VHS tapes), a rug, a toaster, an old pan, and a Fossil purse and matching wallet that I bought at a garage sale. There were also many giveaway items from conferences, a giant bag of ribbon scraps, and a couple of DVDs that we have duplicates of.
Not absolutely sure of the final count, but I do know for certain that I eliminated way more items than I planned on. Sadly, I still have two rooms in the house that I didn’t touch.
I am certainly nowhere near being a “minimalist,” but it felt great to get rid of some of the extra crap that’s accumulated and I’m always shocked when I purge at how much we can get rid of and never miss it. I am currently reading Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things, and I vow not to die from being crushed to death by a mountain of junk.
I am so behind with posts, but I don’t want to bore you with massive posts on the junk I’m getting rid of. Starting with a few where I left off earlier…
Sell: two pairs of nicer brand sunglasses.
Donate: a business card holder and a cheapo pair of sunglasses.
Trash: four expired McDonald’s free sandwich coupons and a losing scratch ticket left on my dresser by Andy (thanks, BTW).
Sell: The Woman Movement and an Otterbox case for an HTC Evo (provided there is still someone out there with an Evo).
Turn in: three winning scratch tickets totaling $5 in winnings. Actual thanks this time to Andy for leaving them on my dresser and the coffee table.
Trash: an old, filled up day planner, two basketball tickets from last season that have been sitting on our shelf since before the game, and a pompom that I made and it looks terrible.
Electronics recycling: an old broken phone.
This is the day of getting rid of some big stuff from the garage and cleaning out my office because clutter does not stop at home.
Sell: my bike from middle and high school that I barely rode. It’s still in great condition because it was preserved in the museum quality environment of my parents’ garage for all these years.
Electronics recycling: a giant tube TV that weighs a million lbs (not pictured). Works great, but evidently you can’t even donate these nowadays. I will try to post on Craigslist for free before I have to pay to recycle it. Two printer cartridges that have been sitting my office for a month.
Return: a defective printer cartridge that has been sitting in my office for a month, two keyboard trays that have needed to be returned since November, but the company never sent me return labels.
Recycle: four cardboard boxes.
This minimalist game is working out way better than I thought it would. I have been meaning to clean out and organize my dog stuff since…oh, I don’t know…2010 when I got Banjo. Dog stuff just multiplies and appears out of nowhere. But I conquered it. I also cleaned up my tea cabinet because, yes, I have a tea cabinet.
Here’s an update on the shiz I’ve cleared out so far. If you see anything you want, let me know. 🙂
Donate: State Farm strappy backpack that someone handed me at Taste of Fort Collins that I will never use, a Lisa Frank coloring book (love it but I don’t have anything to color with and some child will appreciate it more than me), and a bazillion little cardboard tubes that each held three flowering tea buds. The tea is now living in jars and my cabinet has wayyyyyyy more space.
Donate: a candle. Smells nice, but I won’t use it.
Sell: three books from various graduate sociology seminars.
To return: Expensive earmuffs I bought for my dad from LL Bean. Then I found the same ones in a better color at TJ Maxx for a third of the price. I have just been too lazy to return these, but LL Bean has a great return policy.
Sell: Dog sweater. Banjo and Prexy just aren’t punk rock enough. But mostly they hate sweaters.
Donate or sell if possible: two Spanish workbooks. I’ve already sold the textbooks that go with them.
Sell: Dog v-neck. Banjo and Prexy just aren’t hipster enough for the deep v.
Donate: Two dog harnesses made entirely of velcro (I have no idea where they came from and I have never used them), a slip collar for a small dog (Banjo’s first collar, aww…), and a lanyard.
Trash: Lint roller handle that doesn’t fit any of our lint roller rolls.
Trash: Two old squeakers from toys that have been murdered.
Donate: Two dog bandanas because my dogs aren’t nerds, two leash clips from leashes that Prexy has chewed through, and another collar.
Trash: a reusable bag with a broken handle and whatever that black thing is. It was in with the dogs stuff. Possibly from a harness…????
Donate: Clean habitat spray for cage animals because I haven’t had a hedgehog in two years, and a pet ID tag.
Sell: Wedding stuff. I have a bazillion battery operated strings of white lights, a bunch of silver bead strands, and some white ribbon. Make it all add up to 8 because there are actually probably 30 items total in this round.
I’m currently working my way through the rest of our terrifying garage. Stay tuned for a bicycle or two, a backpack, and some other big ticket items I hope to make some legit cash from.
Are you doing the minimalist game? What have you gotten rid of? And who wants to take all this junk?
My do-over first day was MUCH more successful than July 1. Here’s the breakdown…
On the financial front, I did pretty well. No money was spent on anything that wasn’t necessary to my livelihood and wellbeing.
I had to go to the grocery store because we were out of TP–ABSOLUTE NECESSITY. I also bought vegetable broth and soup. All of it was on sale. All fits the healthy eating bill because I bought the organic, simple ingredients, no preservatives kinds.
I did have to give in and get a massage after having a knot in my shoulder that was pulling a rib out of place. I assure you, dear readers, that I did everything I could to treat it at home, but it had gotten to the point where I had to call in a professional. As I mentioned previously, I usually have a massage membership. My back muscles can be such a hot mess that I get tension headaches, muscle spasms, and this one damn knot that gets so bad it pulls my rib out of place. The combination of going to the chiropractor regularly and getting bi-weekly massages has worked straight up wizardry on how my body functions. After having a yearlong membership to the extremely inadequate Massage Envy, I switched to LaVida, where I have truly never had a less than phenomenal experience. I pay $75/month and get a 90 minute prepaid massage and then member pricing on additional massages. In May, I decided to try to save a little money for traveling, so I put my membership on hold for 3 months. When I decided this week that I really did need to give in and get a massage, I shopped around for the best deal and settled on the massage clinic at IBMC. Because it is a school, the prices are incredibly low to help give the students and grads a chance to perfect their craft and build up clientele. I was able to get a 90 minute hot stone massage with aromatherapy by a grad for $60 (compare that to $100-120 elsewhere). Because I booked for a Wednesday, I found a coupon for $5 off that’s only good Monday-Wednesday. It was incredibly easy to book online, the facility was really nice and had a relaxing atmosphere, and it was substantially less expensive than what I’ve been paying. It’s located along the MAX line as well, so no driving necessary. I think I am going to cancel my LaVida membership, though I have loved going there, and utilize this great resource for inexpensive professional massage.
Earlier in the day, I had the single most painful chiropractic adjustment of my life because of the tightness in my back and everything being out of joint. After that and the massage, though, I slept really well and feel much better today.
Julia had Courtney and me over for dinner and made these delicious enchiladas. The poblano cashew crema was mind-blowing.
The stuffing was chard, onions, and olives and a tomatillo salsa. I had three servings. It was vegan so it’s like one serving. Don’t judge me.
For the Minimalism Game, I’m sticking with the month of July so I don’t have to do math by the end. For July 1, the teddy bear went to the start of the Donate bin. For July 2, I trashed an old raccoon snowdome missing most of its water and my favorite bra of all time. It’s the end of an era but it was getting too risky to wear, as one of the straps was literally hanging on by a thread. There could have been a serious wardrobe malfunction.
Do you get regular massages? Why or why not?