Cleaning Out

We have been whirl-winding through our​ house, getting rid of stuff we don’t need. Recently there has been a focus in the garage, which is mostly my stuff. I fix cars out there a lot and it is a source of income, so I do have a lot of equipment. It’s really hard for me to let go of tools knowing that at some point I was stuck and needed to buy a tool to finish the job. 

I was able to let go of a lot recently though and consolidated several tool boxes into one big one.  There are times when we will spend money in order to consolidate. Clutter is the enemy. It results in wasted time cleaning and reorganizing with a result of trying to make it look like you don’t have the stuff, so why have it?  

Many times you can get rid of a few items that serve the same purpose and replace them with one that you do really like. You can probably sell the old items and get some money for that new one. 

Do not fool yourself into trying to justify why you don’t want to sell something because of how much you paid for it originally. If it was a piece of electronics like a computer, you certainly paid a lot more than it’s worth now if you bought it new. If you aren’t doing anything with whatever the item is, don’t worry about how much you bought it for or how much you will lose on the sale, just get rid of it. It’s just adding to the clutter and stress that you don’t need. 

Remember that your health is priority one. When you die, your euligy isn’t going to include any kind words about your AMG Mercedes or your MK purse. Nobody really cares about that shit. 

So try to focus on what will improve the quality of your life, not what will make you more lazy. This is all about weighing your needs and wants, and if you do want to downsize in some areas, you’ll have to decide whether spending some money will actually make you feel better outside of that original purchase buzz. 

Selling vs Spending

There are a lot of people who spend money to get that instant hit of gratification. Everyone has done it. We all know what it feels like to get something new. If you’ve ever gambled, you know how exciting it is to win too. So what is it that you are chasing?  

Let’s focus on gambling for a minute. You go in knowing that you might walk away with nothing, or even less than you went in with. But there is that chance that you leave with more than you had that morning.  If you do win, what will you do with that money?  Buy more things for a little more of that rush?  Does the cycle ever end before you realize that you are a rabbit chasing an imaginary carrot?  The funny thing is that for the rabbit, the carrot would at least be something good. 

The house always wins, right?  Everyone knows that too. They are making big bucks on suckers. Unless you rarely ever gamble and happen to get lucky that one time, you are losing. It’s spending money that you really love and winning more just lets you spend more. 

What if there was something that also gave you a little rush, but you always won when you did it?  This exists and it’s called getting rid of your shit. Sort of. It’s selling things you don’t need on eBay or some other market place. 

Imagine this. You EASILY list an item by downloading the app on your phone, taking a few​ pictures, and finishing up by following some simple instructions. Then, someone places a bid on the item. Depending on how you set up the auction, you may have just made money!  Then another bid comes in and you’ve made more!  Who knows howany more bids you’re going to get before the auction time runs out!  You get a few email notifications trickle through in those last few seconds, and you did it. You got rid of your shit and made a few bucks. 

Now package it up and ship it. Win win. 

What DO We Spend $ On?

Aside from the basic needs, we usually will spend some extra money on footwear. It’s not that I’ll go seeking out a specific brand, it’s just that the really cheap stuff just never seems to fit right or be very comfortable.

I do tend to hang on to shoes and boots for several years, usually until they start falling apart or begin to take on water.

Something I’m having a hard time letting go of are my coats and jackets. I have a black wool dressier coat that is my main winter coat, a light rain coat wind breaker thing I wear a lot, a waterproof winter coat, a Dickey’s work coat, and this green army looking coat. I considered buying one coat that has a fleece jacket inside to get the two in one deal, but I never did it.

I don’t spend extra money on tools, car parts, clothes in general, furniture, electronics, anything really. I think I’ve gotten along just fine not going top shelf. Well, there are a few consumables that we do spend money on. Those are beer, wine, and I have some nice bottles of scotch in the cupboard. I have a plan to cut back on the beer spending because the craft stuff is so damn expensive. I will be saving those for special occasions rather than making it a weekly expense. As for the wine, my wife has been getting boxed wine and it lasts way longer, so you don’t have to pound the bottle in a couple of days. Don’t judge the box, it’s becoming more popular and there is good stuff you can now buy in the box. If it tastes good to you, then it’s good.

We did recently sell all gas powered lawn equipment and replaced it with electric. We started with the snowblower. It was big and heavy, sucked to store, and it seemed like everytime I needed to use it, we were out of gas.  Not to mention, you smelled like an asshole after you used it and it was loud as hell. Well, not anymore!  The Greenworks 80v snowblower only weighs 30lbs and had enough juice to clear our driveway out after a big storm this year. I can fold it up or hang it on the wall too.  Here is Darth Vader and I doing a little demo of it.

The same goes for gas mowers. They suck. We will be getting the Greenworks 80v mower this week that will share the battery with the snowblower.

With this technology being somewhat new, finding used units is very hard. I haven’t found any near me at all, so this time it will have to be new.

Earlier I said I don’t spend extra money tools. Let me clarify that. I have spend a shit load of money on tools, just not more than I needed to. I buy anything I can from Harbor Freight, as long as the online reviews are good. If not there, I’ll look at Amazon. If you were going to bring your car to get the brakes replaced, you’d probably be looking at between $300 and $1000 to get them changed. Why not put that money toward the equipment needed to do it yourself?  Everytime something comes up where I don’t have what it takes to get a job done myself, I make that investment. It is always wayyyy cheaper than paying someone else to do it and you also have the option of recouping some of that money if you decide to sell the item when you’re done with it.

Remember that a lot of outsourcing isn’t necessary with the internet around. Look at it as a task before sending the work off to a “professional.” You might find that it’s not as tough as you think. Have some confidence in yourself and have a back up plan if you do get stuck. This is a huge area of savings that could even turn profitable for you if you end up liking to do the work.

Our biggest money sapper is still food.  We go out more than we should and we could probably cut back on groceries although we have gotten better about buying less and wasting less by going more than once a week.  We get the bare essentials one day then just make trips while were out and about if we end up needing more later in the week.

We will continue to learn from our mistakes. That’s one of the only things setting us apart from the vast majority of the general population.  You don’t really ever “learn your lesson” if you don’t modify your behavior before the next incident occurs.  Learn and improve.

Get Rid of It!

Here is a screenshot of what cleaning out some junk got me on eBay in the last two months. 


This is some stuff that was doing nothing for me. It added nothing to my life. 

Here is a shot of some recent Craigslist action. 

You are sitting on a gold mine, I’m tellin’ ya!  There is currently $250 worth of stuff sitting on there right now waiting for someone to snatch up. What would have done with these things?  What do you do with things you don’t use anymore?

I love these win-wins, when you get rid of junk and make money doing it. 

The apps make it so easy to list items too. You just take a picture of what you are selling and it walks you through the posting process. Setting up an account is easy too. 

Craigslist buyers can be easy to deal with or awful. There are a lot of scams out there and they list some of the signs in their site. 

Start to price your items by searching to see what other people are trying to get for theirs. I have a rule where I won’t meet up with anyone for under $20. It’s just not worth the hassle. I usually bring the sub-$20 items to work and give them away. 

Just meet up with the buyers or sellers somewhere public and only deal with cash. Don’t feel pressured to sell something just because they are offering you “$100 cash.” I hate when people say that as a part of their low ball offers. What the hell did they think you would accept other than cash?  It doesn’t sweeten the deal in any way. Also be prepared to be peppered with these lowball offers by throngs of idiots. 

eBay on the other hand is much easier to deal with when it comes to the buyers and sellers.  The only downside is that you have to package and ship the items when they sell and you have a feedback rating. If you sell busted stuff, you’ll get negative feedback and you’ll have a hard time selling anything else. Timeliness and service are important as well. It’s sort of like your own little business, and it actually is for many people. I’m proud to have 102 eBay sales with 100% positive reviews. Oh, you’ll also want to set up a PayPal account if you’re going to be using eBay. That’s easy to do too when you get to their site. 

Homework: Get eBay, PayPal, and Craigslist accounts then find one $20 item you can sell. It’ll be like the first time you smoked crack all over again. Cripes, I hope you weren’t able to make a strong connection there. 

Go!

Do I have to Go Without?

No!  You just want to take the big picture into consideration. 

If you are passionate about playing the piano and want to keep taking lessons to get better, then do it. Consider if what you are putting your money toward brings you some happiness. Not brief gratification, but something lasting that your really enjoy. 

Maybe you collect trinkets and this is also tied to your social life, keep doing it. You’ll be allocating funds from other areas you’ve saved to apply here and this should also be part of your budget so that the spending doesn’t get out of control. 

Something I’ve had to do a few times is scale back on my hobbies and what I’ve bought for them. I meantioned before that I used to have four guitars and a lot of photography equipment, but realized I could sell most of that stuff since I didn’t really need it. My basic needs in the hobbies were still satisfied with the basic gear I held on to. 

Just keep the end goal in mind and ask yourself if this spending will get in the way of what you want your future to look like. Ask yourself what is more important to you?

Renting vs Buying

Understanding the concept of depreciation and resale value can help you decide whether you should buy, rent, or borrow something. 

Let’s use a tile saw for example. The big box stores rent them for about $40/day. A quick search shows that you can buy one for between $50 and $300 from various easy to access stores. You want to ask yourself how often you are going to use one of these things and​ do you want to store it?

Some of you may already be thinking that buying one would be the way to go here because you could sell it after and still beat the rental cost. This is a good thought, but there might be a better option, or two. 

Clearly, if you know someone with one, you could ask them to borrow it and give them some beers, wine, whatever. If that’s not an option, then looking used is probably your best bet. 

Knowing that the second you use that new saw, it’s value will plummet, you will still be losing out on max value here. Fast depreciation is a problem with new purchases.  I wouldn’t imagine it would be hard to sell, but who knows. 

Now, searching on Craigslist shows that there are a bunch of used units ranging from $30-300. Some appear to be industrial units but keep in mind, these are the depreciated values here. After a one time use, you will likely be able to sell it for damn bear what you paid or possibly even more because someone else took​ the depreciation hit, just like with cars. 

I’d go for that cheap $30 one and try to sell it for $40. 

Likely Results? -$10 to +$10 (buying used and selling) vs -$40 (rent) vs -$60 to -$300 (new) vs -$20 to -$100 (buying new and selling). 

Ok, so i made up those numbers, but the point is that you have more options than buying or renting. Always remember that you can sell something after you’re done with it to recoup some, or more than all of your money. 

Don’t underestimate the value in selling things that you have no use for anymore. 

Mo’ Money Less Problems

Knowing that a lot of life’s stress revolves around your bills and your job, only an idiot would think that having more money would create more problems.

Cripes, the fact that the vast majority of the country has to work forty hours a week to SURVIVE should be an indication that money is the problem.

People who complain that the lottery winnings get taxed like crazy and you actually “only” walk away with half of that 100 million, just don’t get it. Get me a million bucks and I’m done with the race forever.

Getting a hold on you finances is the key to less “problems” and I believe that financial independence and having no debt is the pillar of happiness, allowing you to do whatever the hell you want with your time.

Someone actually told me that they weren’t interested in retiring early because they liked working…

Here are some other phrases that make me cringe:

– If you make more, you just spend more

– I’ll be paying that off for the rest of my life anyway

– It was on sale, so I couldn’t pass it up

– This might be my only chance to buy a new car

– I’m not going to go without in order to save money

There are flaws in all of those statements if you are trying to live more simply and save more money, or are even interested in freeing up your life to di what you want.

Being a regular follower of this site, you can identify what those issues are, can’t you?

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