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. 

Our Kids and Money

We have had a few different plans and oddly enough, the unplanned is what seemed to make the most sense to young Vader. 

He enjoyed played a computer game with me where you have to win events like racing your vehicle, doing stunts off of jumps with it, and collecting coins. You are able to “level up” your vehicle to make it faster and handle better and you also have the ability to buy new ones and many times you have to earn a certain amount of points before you can unlock the next one. Then you also have to have enough money to buy that new vehicle. 

In the beginning, he​ didn’t understand why he couldn’t just get the firetruck. It was right there. He could see it and saw other people driving it in the game.  Everytime, I explained that we didn’t have enough money and showed him how we earned the money and how much we had in the “bank.” Soon he started asking me if we had enough money to buy the next vehicle in the game and I could see that he was putting it together. 

Making the transition to real money was easy. He knows that he has $11 and now we are working on him not wanting everything in the store and on YouTube. 

If someone told me that they used a videogame to try to teach their kid about money, I probably would have thought it was a bad idea, but, whatever works. 

Your Clothes

I’m going to get fired up while writing this one, I know it, because I know me. 

I rarely buy clothes. I am wearing a belt right now that I got in 1999. I wore pants to work yesterday that I got in the mid 2000s. Why?  Because there is nothing wrong with them. I’m not trying to impress anyone with fancy duds. If my wife is ok with it, then so am I. She happens to be ok with it. 

I own less than 50 articles of clothing right now. That sounds like a lot, but it’s not. I have undies, socks, a few solid color t-shirts, a Beatles t-shirt, a Fender t-shirt, an MS bike tour t-shirt, a pasta sauce t-shirt, two jeans, three sweatpants, a hoodie, five dressy shirts, three dress pants, some undershirts, a couple of sweaters, and three flannel shirts. Even that seems excessive. I think I am going to get rid of all of my socks and just get one color because you can’t really see them, I don’t care, and sorting them sucks. I have a pair of boots, brown and black dress pants (I can probably downgrade here too if I ditch brown related dress outfits), and a couple of coats. 

I got rid of a ton of clothes recently. A ton. People who I work with know I wear the same stuff all the time. Having less makes decisions easier when getting ready for the day. Wash loads are more frequent, but smaller and easier to manage. 

When I do buy clothes, which I don’t, they are from second hand stores or bargain basket sale deals from Walmart or Kohl’s.  I’m not a kid jumping around on my knees worrying about wearing them out. I sit at a freaking desk at work most of the time, so quality means very little to me. You aren’t going to sell me on the “feel” of a $1000 suit. Comfort is super important to me, but so is price. I would wear sweatpants and t-shirts or hoodies every day if I could. And why can’t I?  A few months ago while browsing a Goodwill, I found about ten fleeces in excellent condition by brands such as L.L. Bean, Landsend, and Columbia, all for less than $5. My wife even got a Mountain Hardware jacket for $5 a few years ago!

Rant time – dress to impress, dress for the job you want, not the job you have. BS. Dress me up, I do less work. I’m unconformable. It does nothing to my mind to improve my performance. Stop it. 

I went to a Louis Vuitton store in Phoenix years ago and it turned my stomach. I curiously asked the guy working there how much for the golf bag and he said, “eight.” I laughed and said, “eight hundred dollars for a golf bag?” He did not laugh, but replied, “eight thousand dollars.” I don’t know if it should or not, but that just pissed me off.  I feel like I wouldn’t have much in common with the kind of person who would buy something like that, but who knows?  Wrong. I know, I wouldn’t. Bath towels were $200 and they weren’t spun from unicorns tails. They felt like the ones I’ve been using, since, I don’t know if I’ve ever bought new ones?  I have not personally ever purchased a towel. I think I stole a few from my parents when I first moved out and my wife might have bought some, but they work great!  I can even dry myself off with them after a shower. I wonder if anyone has checked the tags to see if they were designer while they were hanging on the backs of the door?  Probably not. 

I mean, what are you really paying for here?  It’s like you just want to pay the people at the top of a particular company when you overspend on things like this. We KNOW that the cotton in them isn’t magical. So why is it so expensive?  We KNOW that the people who actually made them are not earning great wages or even using some special skill to make them. Where the hell do you think your money is going?  Designer fashion easily makes it to my top lists of useless industries. 

Using your cost-value knowledge, how much “better” are Versace socks at covering your feet than the Berkley-Jensens I got from BJs?  Hmm. You think about that one. 

Summary, get rid of clothes you rarely wear and spend less on the ones you do buy.  

Are You Successful?

Nobody can answer that question for you.  There is not, I’m my opinion, a way to define success for another person.  It’s subjective.  One person may think that it’s having a fluffy title “earning” over  $8,000 a month.  Someone else might think that it’s having a big house filled with flashy items and an expensive car.  It’s nearly always tied to wealth and/or quantity/quality of possessions.  That’s odd.  What are we talking about here?  Successful at what, our Job?  How we earn money?  How much we make?  I think that it’s really tied to your happiness.  Would it surprise me if most people who feel successful are also feeling the need to buy more things to improve their lives?  They are probably carrying an amount of debt proportionate to their income.  “The more you make, the more you spend” they say.  That is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard and it’s considered the norm.

Every time we have run into a new life event, we wondered, how are we going to be able to afford this?  On paper we make more than enough to cover the bills but it’s always close in reality.  Having a kid, buying a second house with a higher mortgage, having another kid; these things do add expense to a fixed income, which is what I believe we are all really on.  We made it work.  Made a little more money over the years finding creative ways to bring in more cash. We found creative ways to save money on the basic human needs and cut some luxuries.  The funny thing is that living a more basic life feels better.  Life did seem different back in the day where you had to call a friends house and hope that they were home since there were no cell phones.  I’m not planning on dumping my cheap phone plan but things did seem different back then.  Maybe because I was 10, but maybe not.

Looking back on that, I wish that I was saving much more back before those life events.  Those events showed me how much we were wasting all that time before them.  I wish someone told me that it would be smart to pretend you had kids in daycare and put that money aside, before you actually have kids in daycare.  Before buying a new house it would have been nice to double your current mortgage to see what it’s like to take it all on.

To me, success would be living debt free and enjoying life.  Catching your mistakes early on with knowledge sets you up for success exponentially more than floundering through life.  Building on those mistakes.  Being ready for that one next time.  Having no debt means that you only have to make enough to cover your basic human needs.  I don’t care more about the things I own than having control over my life by not having to work 40+ hours a week to live.

Does the big shot executive have the luxury of doing whatever the hell they want every day of the week?  Maybe.  If the don’t keep their debt from climbing to match their earnings.  If they don’t think owning expensive, nice things, is critical to happiness or even important in anyway.  Maybe those ones are successful.

Sharing experiences with those I choose to be around is more important to me than owning objects.  This is a lifestyle that I’ve been really interested in for only about six months now but it makes 100% sense to me.  Do you care more about your things and earning money than your life?

Living more simply doesn’t need to be, only owning 50 total possessions, or really even going without.  You just find different ways to do things.  It’s fun to get creative with it.  When you do want to, it feels great to just get rid of shit in your house that you never use.  I think clutter is stress.  It’s more to think about, and clean.

Success, to me is being able to live far enough below your means to have full control over your life, and, be able to do whatever the hell you want.