Saturday, June 16, 2007

No Money, No Fun??

We are making this weekend a 'stay around the house weekend'. In other words, we're broke and we can't afford to do anything else! As a 1-income family, those are the choices we have made for ourselves. For me to stay home and raise our girls and for Hubby to be the sole bread-winner. We may not have a whole lot of money, but we have a whole lot of other stuff to more than make up for it.

There are times I have to sacrifice something I want, to make sure I can get the things we need. But you know what? When I wait until we have extra money to get IT, I find that by then, I don't want IT anymore. A lot of things that people purchase are 'impulse buys'. I have had more than my share of those when I worked at the post office. We made so many impulse buys that we put us in debt with the credit card companies. After I quit, we cut up the credit cards and decided not to use them anymore. We tried and tried to pay down the debt, but with the high interest on them, it was nearly impossible. When we sold our old house and made a profit, the first thing we did was pay off 95% of the credit cards. The other 5% was a small, low interest card that we wanted to keep for emergencies and we have since paid down most of the debt on it.

Now, living on the income we get from Hubby's job, and the money we make from selling items on eBay, we are doing alright. We have our days where we can't spend a dime because we don't have a dime to spare, and then we get some extra cash and we save them for rainy days. It has really helped us to see what is important and what we can do without. Pricey brand name clothing? Foo! Who needs to pay $50 for a shirt when I can pick up a perfectly nice Ralph Lauren Polo shirt at the Goodwill for $5 (no kidding! I really did!). Eating out 3 or 4 times a week? Foo! I prefer to know exactly what is in the food I eat and I can't see paying $8.00 for a plate of pasta when I can make a whole meal for $8.00! Expensive toys for the children? I used to buy everything brand new when we first had Oldest, but after spending $75.00 for a saucer and then seeing the exact same saucer at a children's consignment shop for $25, I had a major wake-up call. There are very few toys that I buy new and those are mostly for sanitary reasons-- talking, plush Care Bears can't really be washed and who knows what baby drooled all over it?

It helps that Hubby and I are both yard sale connoisseurs and we love digging up a good bargain. Lots of times I find something for cheap and I re-sell it on eBay and make a nice profit on it. Once, we went to a barn yard sale and they had all kinds of goodies. I had a big pile and when I was ready to pay, there was a pile of stuff on the ground near the table where you pay. A shiny metal canister set caught my eye and I asked about it. The lady shrugged at it and said it was junk. I asked if I could have it and she said 50 cents. Turns out it was a vintage aluminum grease canister and matching salt and pepper shakers with it's original label in the original, tattered plastic bag. I cleaned it up a little, posted it on eBay and it sold for over $30!!
Hubby likes to imagine those people at the yard sale snickering to themselves, "Those suckers! They bought our trash for 50 cents!" Who's laughing now?

A friend of mine also runs a children's consignment shop and I sell a lot of my girl's outgrown clothes and toys through her. I volunteer and work with her and in return, she gives me the full profit on my sold items instead of the customary 50%. I will also go to yard sales and find toys for 50 cents and turn around and sell them with her for $25 or more. She does her sales twice a year, Spring and Fall, for about 6 weeks at a time. I can take my kids with me when I volunteer and it is a nice break from my usual stay at home routine. I like to think that Hubby and I have all kinds of resources to make money if we needed to.

So while I am a little bit disappointed that we can't afford to go yard sale-ing or take a drive up to anywhere-but-here, we had lots of fun at home. We spent the morning after breakfast picking mulberries and blackberries, then worked in the garden a little. Took a break for lunch, then it was back outside to cut some trees down. We put the girls to work hauling the cut branches to the burn pile and we promised roasted marshmallows on a stick when we burn our pile later on. We are trying to clear some trees for a bigger back yard and at the same time, we will use the cut trees for firewood this winter. Nothing goes to waste! Tomorrow will probably be more of the same, except we will let Hubby relax a little since it is Father's Day.


Krissie said...

Well, we can't afford eating out or fancy brand clothes and I so don't care. Sure, having more money would be great, but this way I at least buy stuff that I really need or really really like. You know, when I see a shirt or something that I think I like, I usually have to wait a week or two to get the money for it and by that time I can tell if I really want it. And you're right, often I decide I don't.
And when we were kids, we didn't get all the expensive toys other kids had, and I wanted a Barbie doll so badly but guess what? I survived. Spending time with loving family is so much more important than buying things.

LS said...

I often think these terms "want or need" when I go shopping. I pick up clothes and carry/browse a while then those clothes register in my mind "want". So off they go back to the rack. I left the store with a piece of clothes or none. Its really reward feeling knowing I save my $$$ lot that way.
I LOVE barn sale. A lot of hidden treasure there!


DJ Kirkby said...

We had a lovely father's day, hope your family did too! I love buying second hand clothes too and I sawp clothes with other moms for number 3 son as he is still too young to notice his are second or third hand. We have no credit cards and glad to hear there are others who feel the same!

jenny said...

Krissie-- I always find it more creative to make your own fun! I was the same as a kid, mom didnt get me what I asked for because we couldnt afford it. But I sure loved to explore the woods around us and let my imagination go!

Before I met Hubby, I would buy pricey clothes at the mall.. until Hubby went with me once and was sort of shocked when he saw the price tag on several shirts I was buying. But I didnt have any bills and I was making lots of money for the first time ever so I was splurging. I still have those shirts.. I cant bear to throw them away because they cost so much, but I never use them anymore. They may end up in a rag rug....

And you are absolutely right! Family time is wayyyy more important!

ls-- Thanks for stopping by. It does help to walk around and think about what you are going to buy and then end up putting most of it back. I do that too sometimes, I'll grab a few things on impulse and then after awhile, I'll have second thoughts and put it back. Aren't barn sales great!!!?!

Dj-- Mom has never owned a credit card in her life and when she wants a new car, she will save and save and pay cash for it. I am trying to learn by her example. No one I know to swap clothes with, but volunteering at the consignment shop is great. When people dont come back for their unsold items, us volunteers get to take them for free! I come home with several boxes of clothes, toys and books! We have enjoying Father's Day here! Thanks for coming by!

sufferingsummer said...

this sounds so familiar...I love ebay both for buying and selling as the yard sales and thrifting is ok out here but not as great as somewhere less populated!
I like the idea of waiting to see if you really wanted 'IT' to begin with because 9 times out of 10 I didn't really...besides isn't poor just a state of mind?