Why You Should Always Cash Out Your Venmo Account

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

I recently became aware of the fact that people keep funds in their Venmo accounts. I was shocked. From a finance perspective, this is a terrible move, keeping your money locked away for someone else’s use. By keeping money in a Venmo account, you are funding Venmo’s ability to fund others. I’m sure Venmo is happy. But your future self won’t be when you realize why this is bad for your financial life. So I decided to write a post about why we should always cash out our Venmo accounts. But first, a bit about my philosophy around money.

I like to think of money as our life energy. We spend time and physical energy doing our work, in exchange for money. Money then becomes a tool to buy what we need and want. Therefore, money is the middle man between our life energy and our possessions. Because money is a symbol of life energy, I treat it preciously.

You see, I don’t like to work for money. I would prefer my money working for me. That is the basic premise of being rich. The more we get our money to make money for us, the less we have to do the physical work, which then saves life energy and time, both of which increases our potential to make even MORE money.

What do I mean by making money work for you?

Well, let’s say you take your money and invest it in a brokerage account. You buy an investment at $100 and the company grows and does well. Your $100 is now $150. You just had your money work for you, earning you $50 without you having to work. Of course you will be taxed on your gains, reducing your earned income to let’s say $30. That isn’t much different than being taxed for the income you earn. In the end, that’s still $30 you didn’t have before, and you didn’t lift a finger to earn it.

Another example is real estate. Take our story. We scrapped together a down-payment to buy our primary home. We purchased a property whose monthly mortgage would cost the same as our monthly rent. Then we rented a portion of our home. The money we put into the home adds value to our assets in the form of equity earned, and the rental unit downstairs earns us an extra $623 a month. Prior to purchasing this home, we were paying someone else to keep a roof over our heads. By buying this property, we are making our money work for us, not us working for someone else’s benefit.

Even if you feel like investing in stocks or buying real estate is out of reach, you can still have your money work for you in more conservative ways. I wrote about investing in High Yield Savings Accounts for people who want access to their money in the near future or who are too uncomfortable with stocks and real estate.

Also, in my free course on Mastering a Budget, I wrote about the importance of assigning every dollar a job. Dollars are like responsibilities within a household or a workplace. If someone isn’t assigned a responsibility, the work doesn’t get done. Likewise, you need to make your money accountable for doing the work for you. If not, it’ll most likely float past your fingertips into another person’s hands as quickly as you earned it. Nothing gets done because money isn’t held accountable, and neither are you.

What does this have to do with Venmo?

Well, I personally never keep my money in my Venmo account. There is no benefit to it. It doesn’t make my transactions go through faster. It doesn’t make it more convenient for me to track the dollars I have. It doesn’t allow me to give every dollar a job. And it doesn’t grow my wealth.

I pull out every dollar from Venmo (at $0 charge using the Standard Trasfer to my bank account) the minute the notification goes through that I got paid. There are two pros to this.

  1. This pulls every transaction amount separately and automatically logs each bank deposit from Venmo as its own transaction. This is important because we use YNAB (a platform for budgeting called You Need A Budget) to give all our dollars a job. Withdrawing every dollar when I receive a Venmo deposit simplifies the categorization step in YNAB (my affiliate link to get you started). The categorization step allows us to track how every dollar is made and every dollar is spent.
  2. It also allows us to then take that money and increase our wealth, by putting it somewhere it can grow (like a HYSA or investment account) or paying for something to avoid debt.

Keeping money in Venmo is like keeping money locked away. It prevents financial wealth from growing as fast as it can. It also makes it more difficult to master a budget. I don’t know about you, but I cannot keep track of how much money is in my Venmo handle once two or three transactions go through. I simply forget! If you think of your dollars as little employees working for you, then you are essentially keeping your employees in a cage preventing them from accomplishing work!

And one final note. There is a circulating argument that it is more convenient to pay a friend when there is already money in a Venmo account. I just want to attest to the fact that it’s not any more difficult to make a payment through Venmo by pulling the money directly from a bank account. And if, by “convenient”, one means that they can justify spending money more easily when it’s already in an account meant for fun activities (dining out, birthday gifts, pizza, etc.), then that’s just them fooling themselves. But they would be right.

It’s easy to tell yourself, “I can dine out tonight and I’ll venmo my friend Bob for the meal. There’s still money in my Venmo account.”

That IS convenient! But you aren’t getting any richer.

Imagine the alternative. Your friend Sue pays you for last week’s dinner. You had offered to pay for the meal for your group of friends so that you can earn the credit card reward points in order to travel hack and fly internationally for free. You immediately transfer the money Sue gives you and place it in your HYSA (this is my affiliate link to set a HYSA up with Marcus. It gives my readers an additional 0.2% APY boost). When Bob asks if you want to grab dinner, you think about how you don’t have enough in your “Dining Out” envelope for dinner tonight. You ask if Bob would prefer to order pizza and save $10 a person or if he would be open to rescheduling to a future date when more people can join so that you can catch up with multiple friends at once and save on your “dining out” spending.

Sure, it isn’t glamorous. But it isn’t inconvenient either. It is simply … financially SMART.

After you’ve emptied your Venmo accounts, consider – Where else are you holding your money for the “just because”? And then go out there and pay yourself first. Make your money make money for you.

Your life energy will thank you.

Reducing Waste One Lunette Cup At a Time

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

I suppose it’s safe to say that this is a space wherein I talk about the topics people normally never talk about – like money, social status and the American nightmare. It’s no surprise, then, that I will talk about how menstruating persons can reduce waste, one Lunette cup at a time. So as not to disclude half of the population, I would like to open this topic up by saying that we all know someone who menstruates. So whether or not that’s you, I hope you still read on to see how we can work as a society to reduce waste in this absolutely common and normal thing.

It is now 2021 and the availability of menstrual products on the market are vast compared to what it was a decade ago. It can be difficult to choose the best solution and it depends on many factors, including cost, lifestyle, level of physical activity, fit, comfort, and consumption preferences. But before we go into why Lunette satisfies all of these factors for me, let’s first discuss what you need to know about menstrual cups in general.

What You Need to Know About Menstrual Cups

Menstrual cups are sustainable alternatives to disposable tampons and pads. There are many positive characteristics around menstrual cups, such as:

  • They are environmentally friendlier than disposable products.
  • They teach us a lot about our individual anatomies.
  • They are comfortable to use.
  • They are efficient at leak control, even during physical activity such as running or yoga classes.
  • They open our minds to normalizing menstruation cycles and open our hearts to sharing with other people the way sin which we mange them.

However, it isn’t all unicorns and rainbows right away. Some difficulties when transitioning to them include:

  • Like everything else, they require a bit of practice in terms of placement and removal, but once mastered, it’s as easy as using tampons.
  • It takes a while to learn what your body needs and to understand your flow schedule. No one else can teach that except you.
  • They are a bit more inconvenient for traveling in places where clean water is inaccessible or for emptying in public restrooms.

When I ask others whether they would be willing to transition, most of them naturally have fear around switching over. I will say, however, that it is no different from learning how to first deal with the monthly Mother Nature visits back in our wee teenage years. Remember how awkward that was? We survived once, we can survive again.

I try to put it this way. Think about how much money you spend a year buying disposable tampons and pads. Count how many products you send to the landfill each month. Research what exactly it is you are putting in your body. Recall the number of inconvenient times you’ve had to run to a pharmacy. For me, plenty.

Focus on your health, your lifestyle, and your impact, and use that to overcome anxiety and uncertainty. I find that when we fear something, it is usually because it is something we don’t understand. But it is important we try to elevate ourselves past that point, and if at the end of the day it still isn’t your thing, then at least you know WHY.

Why I Love Lunette Cup

So why Lunette, specifically? If I am being honest, Lunette was the first one I happened to try. Promoting Lunette isn’t discounting the other available menstrual cups on the market, but when I find something I like, I stick with it to avoid decision fatigue and overwhelm. Lunette, to me, was not only good enough at first go, it was bloody awesome on all counts. Both the company and the product are doing fabulous things, which I briefly outline below.

Environmental Impact

The vegan masterpiece from Scandinavia is a reusable and recyclable product. The company’s efforts to be as sustainable as possible is apparent in their zero-waste packaging and renewable energy. This is also one of the few companies that encourage remote work from their employees, a transition that I really wish to see in the near future.

Social Impact

Lunette understands that education is the key to empower menstruating persons. Destigmatizing periods is a form of activism that we all need to take a part in. They have printed and distributed over 150,000 education booklets around the world. Over 30,000 Lunette cups have been donated through various organizations, while over 500 education packs are delivered to health professionals every year. So far, their product has prevented over a billion period products from reaching the landfills and our ocean. On top of all this, they have increased awareness via their fun, informative, and beautiful blog.

A Frugal Choice

At $32 a cup, this and other menstrual cups, are a frugalist’s best friend. A small box of tampons that last me about one cycle costs $5-7. Multiplied by twelve cycles a year, that comes out to $60-84 per year. A Lunette cup lasted me three years, which would have been about $180-252 in tampons. Assuming the lower end range, buying a Lunette cup saved me $150 over the course of three years. It also kept away at least 432 tampons from the landfill and oceans.

A Minimalist’s Best Friend

I am weird about storing multiple things for future use. In short, I hate doing it. We only have 1-2 toilet paper rolls available at a time. I only buy toothpaste or soap when it runs out. I don’t keep things for the “just because”. It’s the organized, controlling, clutter-free minimalist in me. So when it comes to period products, I don’t like keeping a box under the sink for just-in-case. I also dislike carrying four tampons or two pads in my purse wherever I go. No sirree, not for me. I keep a Lunette cup satchel in a tiny clutch, along with my wallet, cell phone and lip balm. That’s it. For the minimalist, they have this cute clear cup that I absolutely adore.

A Safe Product

The Lunette cup is made with medical silicone that is BPA free and chemical free. It is FDA approved and verified as vegan friendly. It also contains no latex for those who are allergic. Be aware of cheaper menstrual cups that are made with low quality materials that could include BPA, phthalates, latex and heavy metals. Also, look at where it is being made. Be cautious if they are coming from China. Learn what to avoid when buying a menstrual cup for the first time here.

Lifestyle First

What I chase is not money or accolades, but a lifestyle – and an atypical one at that. Lunette, however, fits that lifestyle. I like to purchase environmentally friendly products that make good social impact, which Lunette does. I like as few things as possible and as inexpensive as possible, without sacrificing quality. I like zero-fuss when it comes to my day-to-day. I like comfort, versatility, and ease of use. Simplicity is key. Lunette satisfies all of those requirements, too. I can depend on it during periods of physical activity such as running and yoga. I can depend on it at work, at home, and during sleep. It is easy to maintain and clean, especially with Lunette’s vegan cleanser solution – it only takes a drop. And it can hold twice as much as a tampon plus, so it reduces the amount of times I have to stop during my day to empty them. My period weeks are without a hitch! The only time Lunette has been a challenge for me was when I travelled to countries wherein I could not depend on the cleanliness of their tap water. In which case, I do switch my menstrual management over to Thinx, which I wrote about here! However, Lunette has stood by me for everything else. And with their release of 100% biodegradable cleansing wipes, it is possible that travelling post-COVID wouldn’t be so much of a challenge anymore. It’s a game changer for those who like to camp, road trip, or simply walk 20 hours around a new city.

If you wish to live a more sustainable lifestyle, a healthier one, a more frugal one, or even a simpler one, I would highly recommend making the switch and trying Lunette Cup. Perhaps 2021 is the year to make a commitment to the planet and yourself. If so, make use of their offer this month and purchase an animal-friendly Lunette. All Lunette Menstrual Cups are 20% OFF with the code veganuary at checkout, an ode to their public registration with the Vegan Society. You can use this or any of my affiliate links within this blog.

For those who are just starting on their menstrual cup journey, I highly recommend the Lunette Starter Kit. It comes with one cup, the cleanser, and cupwipes. I was gifted the two cup version, which allows flexibility depending on the flow. The size guide can help you decide which to buy if this is your first time. Or you can always get the starter kit with two cups to learn more about yourself. Both happen to be on sale.

Once again, I thank you for your open mind, your willingness to listen, your intention to understand, and your support of this blog space, including the companies that support me. This post was sponsored by Lunette, but all thoughts, opinions, and content are originally mine.

Play Pretend: Sleep

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

On the heels of my previous post regarding the power of sleep as a method of self-care, I decided to play pretend and create the ideal space for a good night’s rest. Good sleep isn’t fashioned out of thin air for most. Many factors play a role. Some of these factors include the avoidance of blue-light from screens up to two hours prior to bedtime. Light in general should be avoided. Heavy duty curtains can prevent outdoor light from shining into the bedroom of a downtown loft. A cheaper option would be an individual sleep mask for the eyes. On top of sleeping in a darkened room, an ergonomic mattress has been shown to greatly improve quality of sleep. An added priority should be sheets that are friendly to the skin and worth sinking into. Lastly, humidity control and replenishing masks allow skin to recuperate overnight from the harshness of sunlight.

In an effort to create the ideal micro-environment for decent shut-eye, here are a list of home favorites that set me up for sleep success.

In an effort to stray from the indication that good sleep requires spending, here are a list of free actionable tips to improve your sleep.

  • Maintain consistency in following your natural circadian rhythms.
  • Avoid screens up to two hours prior to bedtime.
  • Drink a glass of water prior to sleeping and upon awakening.
  • Quiet the mind in the form of meditation.
  • Include physical activity in your daily routine.
  • Consider when you eat. Go to bed satiated, not hungry or full.

Of course, a combination of both creating the right environment and doing the right actions creates the best results. You may also find relevance in the following posts.

Related Posts:

Intentional Living: Invest in Rest

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

A good night’s sleep is one of the best forms of self-care. It is regenerative for the body, mind and soul, and much to any frugalist’s joy, it is free. Often viewed as an unproductive activity, getting a good night’s rest lies low on the priority list for the majority. On the contrary, I attribute much of my productivity and success to sleep – and a lot of it, too!

Ever since I was young, I was very fond of the stuff. My parents love to tell the story of how I would nod off in my high-chair, often plopping my face down on my food. I was the last to wake up on Christmas morning (well, every morning for that matter) and the first to fall asleep at night. At family get-togethers, one could be sure to find me on the couch, hogging up the sitting space asleep in fetal position. I took afternoon naps until high school and even in college, I was one of the few people who got eight hours of sleep, frequently trading in a night of partying for my warm sheets.

There was a time when I went against my sleeping pattern and took up midnight shifts as an early-morning baker. I noticed the toll it took on my health. Even though I was still sleeping eight hours every night, the fluctuation between night shifts and day shifts every other day really wrecked my body. I started depending on coffee, lost a lot of weight, and had trouble eating. My mind was exhausted and I noticed that I was on survival mode, less productive overall and more lenient about my tasks and deadlines. It only took three months for me to realize the effects, and while I was happy and alive, my body was barely keeping up.

As I gained awareness of my body’s circadian rhythm, I learned that my optimal sleeping time is 9 hours per night. If I receive less than that, it is best if I take a mid-afternoon nap. Now there are groups of people who would argue against the health benefits of this. But every person is different and the range of ideal sleep time is vast. Regardless of what the actual number of hours is, sleep is a crucial part to your overall productivity and here is why you need to make sure you get enough of it.

Reasons to Invest in Rest

  • Sleep is important for memory and processing daily experiences.
  • A night of sleep more than doubles the likelihood that you will solve a problem requiring insight.
  • Sleep clears toxins in the brain.
  • Sleep is the most crucial factor for peak performance, memory, productivity, immune function, mood regulation.
  • Even mild sleep reduction has detrimental effects on cognitive function many days afterwards.
  • One-third of working Americans sleep less than six hours a night.
  • Sleep deprivation was declared a public health epidemic by the CDC in 2018.
  • Lack of sleep increases the risk of heart disease, obesity, stroke, and cancer.
  • Getting consistent sleep is very important to your health.

As a person trying to live an intentional life, I care a lot about sleep. I understand that the long-effects of getting enough shut-eye will outweigh the few hours I lose each day. Investing in rest doesn’t just mean making the resolution to sleep a set number of hours each night, although that is the FREE self-care part of it. However, one must also consider what they sleep on.

I spend a lot of time curating my bed, and highly recommend getting a mattress and pillows that are ergonomically beneficial. Spinal problems caused by having a cheap bed will translate to decreased quality of life and productivity. My personal favorite company is LEESA. We own their mattress topper and pillows, and it has been such a game-changer. I used to have a lot of neck and back pain due to maintaining static postures and craning my neck at the dental office – so much so that I would wake up in the middle of the night from the pain and spend entire Saturdays lying on the couch unable to move. Once we switched to high-quality pillows and added the LEESA mattress topper, the pain went away! After watching my dad undergo three spinal surgeries in the last two years, I knew that I was not going to wait until my own symptoms got worse. If you want to step up your bed game, Try LEESA! Get up to $400 OFF a LEESA mattress this MLK weekend by clicking on my affiliate link. They have a great trial-period guarantee. For those who are wary about making such an expensive commitment to their health, LEESA also offers 0% financing through Affirm for as low as $25 a month, the equivalent of 8 drip coffees! Think of it as getting better sleep and saving on the coffee.

Likewise, I also invest in high quality bedsheets made out of clean fabrics that are good for the skin. I really like Parachute’s linen sheets and have written why Parachute sheets are the only sheets you need to own this post. Since then, we’ve tried a cotton duvet cover from them as well, pictured above, and we love it just as equally.

An alternative for those who wish to have cotton sheets is PACT. Pact is an eco-conscious company who makes clothing and textiles for the home. Currently, they have a sale on their bedding and bath products lasting until January 31, 2021. Simply use the code REFRESH25 to receive 25% OFF. You can access the sale by clicking on my affiliate link here.

Shop Pact Today.

Other rituals I have around my sleep include making my bed every morning so that the sheets stay clean, turning on a humidifier, and putting my phone away an hour before bed. We also wash the sheets frequently, vacuum the mattress, and rotate the toppers and pillows as outlined by my ultimate cleaning list.

Regardless of what you do to make sleep an important part of your day, make sure to prioritize it for the years to come!

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Financial Advice for Young People in their 20’s

I find that financial literacy is quite low for people in their early 20’s and 30’s. This is not a fault of their own but rather, a cultural failure that presents us all with opportunity for improvement. As a society, we do not openly embrace talk about money. In our educational institutions, we do not teach young children about finance. Within our media channels, we promote a consumerist lifestyle. Culturally speaking, we value hard work, status symbols and the physical earning of money over the actual growth of financial wealth.

I was once young too. I was financially illiterate. I obliterated my savings, worked multiple jobs, and took out more than half a million dollars in debt trying to chase the American dream. Only now, in my early thirties, am I realizing that the short-comings of my financial education is the cause of my financial mistakes. We learn these things later than we should.

The success of young people greatly depend on our ability to talk about money. So I am now talking about it.

In order to combat this information gap, I wanted to share five finance tips with our young population.

Top 5 Things Young People Should Do To Get Ahead in Finance

Master Budgeting Skills. It doesn’t matter how much money you make if you don’t know how to budget. You could make a million dollars but if you spend a million dollars, you aren’t any richer. In my opinion, knowing how to control the outflow of money is more important than increasing income. Mastering a budget is the first step to financial independence because you learn how to manage your cash flow. Without this control, everything else is irrelevant. Budgeting requires an awareness of your spending. It’s like losing weight. The first step to being healthier is knowing how many calories are being eaten and burned. Without monitoring what goes in and out, there is no chance for improvement. Mastering a budget is mastering your self-discipline around spending. But it takes a lot of practice and work. So start early and make the habit stick! I wrote an entire course on How to Master a Budget and published it for FREE to help others get started.

Learn how to flex those frugal muscles. Being financially savvy requires the same diligence and work as being physically strong. Just like real muscles, frugal muscles can grow – with practice. Learn how to be frugal. Realize that not everything needs to be bought. There are many alternatives to spending! For example, try skipping the spin or yoga class and run outdoors or go on a hike. Instead of dining out, try cooking a new recipe. Want to read a book? Look for it at the library. Be creative in finding ways to get what you want for free. Try making things instead of buying them. Learn the art of the trade. And when all else fails, find the beauty in living without. Remember, everything you think you need you were once without, and you were just fine. It all comes down to understanding that every clutter you own used to be money and every dollar you spend used to be free time. Here are a few frugal challenges to get the ball rolling.

Choose a social circle that will uplift you financially. Sometimes, when we tell others that we want to opt out of brunch or happy hour because we are trying to save money, we get a negative reaction. People can get defensive when you turn them down in favor of saving yourself a couple bucks. Trust me, I have been there. However, there is a saying that I love to preach. You are only as good as the five people that you spend the most time with. You will have an easier time on your financial journey if you have like-minded people around you to celebrate your wins. These are people who will motivate you to save, as well as support you when times get tough. If you have difficulty setting boundaries, perhaps this is a good place to start.

Invest in yourself before anything else. I am not entirely against spending. I believe that spending on things that add value to your life is important. However, you want to make sure you invest in yourself before anything else. When I refer to investments, I am not referring to a car or a home. I am referring to investing in things such as continuing education, management skills, mental health, physical health, relationships and personal time. After you’ve invested in yourself, you may see that informational wealth and good health can lead to financial growth. And THEN you can think about investing in other things.

Start planning for retirement now. It is best to start planning for retirement as soon as possible. Due to the exponential potential of retirement funds, early starters will have an advantage over those who wait until they are in their 30’s or 40’s. If possible, maximize your 401k and get your company match. If you have extra money, I would recommend funding a ROTH IRA on top of that. If you have additional income, you can invest it in the market, get into real estate, or for the most conservative, keep it in a high yield savings account to earn interest. Make money work for you, instead of working for your money. Those who act now will go through the difficult parts in their youth but will have an easier time as they age. And vice versa. The unwillingness to act could lead to a very difficult financial future. If you are in your 30’s or 40’s, there is no use crying over spilled milk and lost time. It is not too late for you, but start TODAY.

These are just the basics but all of these things will help create a strong foundation for the decades to come. Most importantly, do not be afraid to ask, be willing to listen, keep an open mind, and constantly seek information. That, in itself, is another level of wealth.

How to Guarantee a Successful Craigslist Sale

My experience in avid de-cluttering has led me to a solution that deals with the stockpile of items that no longer add value to my life, while making money from them. HOW? I now re-sell everything I de-clutter so that instead of feeling a sense of loss, I make a financial profit. It is seriously a great motivator to get rid of stuff and allows you to say goodbye to things with a positive note. Additionally, it prolongs the life of your used and unwanted goods, keeping them out of landfills for a while longer. Lastly, I am sure that others who buy your gently used goods at a discount appreciate the financial help you provide them. With all of the good the act of re-selling does to both you, your environment, and others, I wanted to share how I guarantee a successful sale on one of my favorite platforms – Craigslist – in the hopes that some people may begin to do the same!

Where I Started

Initially, when I started the de-cluttering process, the amount of stuff that I decided I didn’t need was over-whelming. It was SO MUCH STUFF that even hauling it to the Goodwill Store was a hassle. When I realized that Goodwill wasn’t exactly making good use of my things, I started to bring it to my parent’s house so that they may be shipped to my home country. However, a few months later, I visited my parents only to find my stuff still sitting in the garage for “just-in-case”. So then there was the debacle between my parents and I and the dilemma I faced about burdening them with even more things.

Where I Am At Now

Thankfully, I eventually reached a point where I simply didn’t own much. My de-cluttering feats now result in only a handful of items at a time, which make them much easier to find homes for. These days, everything I de-clutter, I sell, sometimes on Poshmark and OfferUp, but mostly on Craigslist. I have yet to have an item that I cannot successfully sell. Over the past year, we made over $1,500 selling our stuff on Craigslist. Usually, we use that money to buy our next item, thereby essentially creating a cycle wherein we adopt new things without spending more money.

It isn’t rocket science, and I can assume most people have dealt with Craigslist by now, but here are a few of my own tips on how to have great success with this platform!

  • Start with things that hold value. We are minimalists. Which means what we buy holds value, and in my recent years, I have made an effort to buy things that retain their value, too. There are certain brands that people want. Brands such as Restoration Hardware are coveted and people are willing to pay good money for them. I once sold a broken lamp from Restoration Hardware at 50% of the buying price, which was amazing because I had originally bought it at 50% OFF whilst using a gift card someone had given us for our wedding. So in that scenario, we made money. Another example was Mike’s desk, which was also Restoration Hardware. We resold it at $1k, and used it to pay for a Herman Miller Sit-Stand Nevi Desk when it was on sale at DesignWithinReach for under $1k. We made money with that, too. Our East Fork Pottery which I rave about constantly is a product that actually gains value. Try googling East Fork on Ebay or Poshmark and see how much they sell. I bet you’d be surprised. Each item resells around $65-85! Likewise, Elizabeth Suzann clothing is ethical clothing that gains value and most people pay more for these them used than new. Both of these brands resell well because they are made in limited quantities. Both are decent buys under my book, if you really do need pottery or clothes. If you start with a good buy, you’ll end with a good sale. Regardless…
  • Clean all items you wish to sell. Making the item appear as clean and new as possible will really help your chances of selling the item. People want things that are in good condition and working order. If someone comes across two identical products, they will 100% choose the newer-looking one, not necessarily the newer one. So do take time to polish and shine, no matter how old your item is.
  • Take good photos. I know this sounds silly, but a picture is worth a thousand words and I cannot tell you how many times I quickly dismiss an item because it isn’t photographed esthetically. You may call me vain but if I am doing it, then other people are too. All the things I post are photographed in good natural lighting with a camera (not a phone). Most of the time, they are staged. I can attest to the fact that the best photographed sell the fastest. Take the time to create good photos that will sell your stuff for you. At the same time, be honest with your photography. Acknowledging the flaws of your piece will save you time (and time IS money!) because you will only attract buyers who knowingly wants your item, flaws and all. If an item has scuff marks or an article of clothing has pilling, I take photos of the defects with a note to the buyer.
  • Determine Pricing. This is the hardest part. I have discovered that most owners, myself included, tend to over-value their stuff. They remember its original cost and don’t want to be at a loss. Unfortunately, the hard truth of the matter is that once an item is used, it depreciates in value significantly. If you wish to sell on Craigslist, you need to keep an open mind on the price. A way you can combat this is to decide on a price that you wish to sell at. Then list the item at an even higher-price to increase the perceived value of the item to potential buyers. Most Craigslist buyers will haggle, so this will account for that. Do not be afraid to haggle back. Explain to them why your item is worth more. Be a salesperson and try to show them how worthy your piece is. And if all else fails…
  • Be open to reducing the price. Typically, I will hold out for at least a month before entertaining a price that is below my asking. For those who make offers below, I tell them that I will reach back out to them in the future if it doesn’t sell at my asking price. Most times, one of them will still be interested after a month. Being open to reducing the price allows you to still make the sale, which is better than holding on to something you don’t plan on using again anyway. One way I make peace with reducing the price is by using logical reasoning. Currently, my item isn’t being used and I am not making money from it. A little bit of money now is better than nothing, especially since I can invest that money in something and watch it grow. An item sitting in the back of my closet could never make money for me. Plus, I like to think that I am helping someone else by giving them the discount they are seeking. If they reached out to me, then it’s obvious they want my stuff more than I do. What’s the point of being selfish? It would just be a lose-lose scenario.
  • Categorize the item properly. The category you choose is important because it draws the correct audience. I have found that some categories sell better than others. For example, furniture and home goods sell really well on Craigslist. For clothing, I tend to sell at Poshmark instead, which is also a great resource for home accessories. Either way, if you fail to categorize correctly, you will miss out on potential buyers.
  • Use text that will attract the correct people. I always add the following in my text: the brand, the name of the product, the original price, the current price, the size (if applicable) and a description. I also write what I like about the product and why we are selling. I note its condition as honestly as possible and lastly, I use SEO words such as “vintage”, “industrial”, and “mid-century modern” to hone in on the audience that I want. The text really makes a difference. Lazy one-liner descriptions will not do well.
  • Repost, repost, repost. When you post your item, Craigslist will send an email with a link that allows you to edit or delete your posting. When you click on this link, there will be another option to repost. I repost once a week, which continually puts my listing at the top. Also, for the best results, repost on a Thursday night or Friday morning. This is when shoppers lurk Craigslist for a weekend pick-up. Time and time again, I will get a few offers after a reposting on a Friday. After the sale, make sure to delete your posting to avoid additional buyers contacting you, thus saving you from wasted time with these unwanted emails (did I mention time is money?)
  • Make the Sale. Most people are afraid to use Craigslist because of the meeting up part. I am a petite gal and I have never had trouble making a sale. A few things that help. I always tell someone when I am meeting a random stranger to sell something. If I am able to bring someone along, I will. Lastly, I make sure to only accept cash or Venmo payments, never checks. When I do get cash, I use my skills from cashiering in retail to quickly check if the bill is fake or not. Hold the bill up to the light, and look for an invisible face on the bottom left corner that is the same as the face on the bill. I have never had an issue with counterfeit money, or with anyone paying for that matter.

While this all sounds elementary at best, I hope it has provided at least one insight. As more people accumulate more things, the need to be skillful in marketing and re-selling your stuff increases. I am all for “trading-up”. Lastly, I will leave you with the following thoughts:

  • Newly bought things depreciate in value INSTANTLY.
  • All the clutter around you used to be MONEY.
  • The TIME you spend de-cluttering is more valuable than money.

It helps me to think about that the next time I wish to spend money on things. And finally, one man’s trash is another’s treasure. Use this to your advantage two ways.

Sell your trash to buy your treasure, which could be another man’s trash, preventing you from wasting time and money.

Related Posts:

Why A Kitchen Reno Is Not Happening Any Time Soon

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

Sometimes, this space is as much for my readers as it is for me – a place where I can store letters to myself or record the reasoning behind this experimental project which I call life. Today, it serves as the latter, although my readers may find the value in it too; A kind note to myself as to why a kitchen renovation is not in the cards in our near future, and why that is perfectly okay.

I toyed with the idea of re-doing our kitchen in December, after visiting a few friends who underwent just that. Their pretty white cabinets and shining appliances made an impression on me and had me stumbling down a rabbit hole of quartz countertops and custom-made wooden doors. In my musings, I mulled over all the flaws of our tiny kitchen space – the creaking faucet that is sure to break any minute now, the super thin metal sink banged up from carelessness, the water-logged floorboards caused by a leak every time we ran the dishwasher left undiagnosed until three plumbers later, the oven that clicks without a fan in the rear, the plastic microwave with its sticky hooded vents, the peeling panels stickered onto the laminated cabinet doors and the crusty chipboard slowly giving up underneath these fake countertops – all the things that my dream kitchen did not have.

My consideration even went so far as physically going to Ikea, planning a kitchen with a consultant, getting quotes from the third party counter-top company and the installation crew, and coming up with a game plan to ensue renovation at a moment’s notice. As usual, my husband gave me pause and we agreed to dog-ear the project and revisit at a later month.

During which, all the things I love about the kitchen re-surfaced. I had already written another note to myself about How to Fall In Love with a Kitchen but forgot it in the midst of celebrating all the newness of our friend’s “new” home. Which goes to show that sometimes, we need reminders of our love, such as that which I hold for my own space.

How it was my own bakery for a year of my life, how I know exactly the way my breads will turn out in this faithful oven of mine, how the light hits the fake-wood and adds a soft glow to my mornings and late afternoons, how the countertops never cause me worry and allow me to thoughtlessly spill sauce that would certainly stain marble and leave hot pans unattended which would certainly burn wood, how the kitchen fridge holds enough food for the three of us, how my dishwasher keeps my hands from drying out in the winter time, how we eat breakfast and prep meals around the free wooden island that came with the house and those fold-up-Ikea chairs, how there is just enough room to store all our belongings, how a cabinet in particular holds the exact dimensions needed for my beloved KitchenAid Mixer, how there is a very specific counterspace wide enough to house our espresso machine and coffee grinder, and how it brings me so much joy to stare at my kitchen from the couch, thanking my lucky stars that we get to call this abode our home.

With all of this recognition for our kitchen’s enoughness comes the flaws of doing a renovation. Redoing a kitchen would definitely put us behind on our loan repayment journey, which serves as our number one priority and biggest goal. Redoing a kitchen would take away time from our daily lives, as well as erase my bakery’s memories. Redoing a kitchen will unlikely bring us lasting happiness, as I continue to spill sauce on new countertops and drop things in a new sink while relearning the workings of a new oven. Lastly and most importantly, redoing a kitchen is not exactly what we are about.

In an effort to practice gratitude for what we already have, to live freely from working 9-5, and to live purposefully and to the fullest, I have decided after much consideration not to tackle the kitchen renovation. And while Instagram will feed me mementos as to why renovation is a must, I will be baking away in this darn kitchen, grateful for it supporting all my culinary endeavors, forgiving my experimental failures, and hosting my favorite people while learning and relearning the beauty in the aging of things and the growing of ourselves.

Other reminders and related posts:

The True Cause of a Spending Problem

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

Do you have a spending problem? Are you someone who just can’t make ends meet? Have you found that no matter how much you increase your income, you can’t break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle? Do you find yourself shopping when you are stressed or tired or sad? Perhaps this post is for you.

It may not be what you want to hear, but the truth is this:

A spending problem is the result of not knowing who you want to be, or where you want your life to go.

Emotional spending occurs because a void needs filling. Unfortunately, more often than not, the spending itself fails at solving the problem. Rather, it extenuates it by creating a loop cycle that enlarges the void and brings us further from our true goals.

For example, have you ever tried to treat your stress by shopping online? At first, it felt good, but after a while, regret starts to sink in and your newfound purchase falls short of delivering lasting happiness, not to mention instantly decreases in value. Does it sound familiar to you? Because it sure does to me.

Not knowing who we want to be or what we want our life to look like makes it difficult to know what is worthy of our time and money. If we do not have a clear purpose, goal, or ambition, then it becomes easy to fall into the cycle of spending our resources on what people around us promote, rather than what we need. Because what we gain was never truly for us, it doesn’t fill the void at all, resulting in spending again, and again, and again.

If you want to treat a spending problem, my financial advice is to start with you. Define who you want to be and where you want your life to go. At least, that’s what we did and it worked for us. Because I used to be like you, too. I had $30,000 in credit card debt. I had more than half a million dollars in student loans. I went shopping every weekend in my early twenties and bought avocado toast while I was in dental school. I had a serious spending problem, until I realized who I was and what I wanted.

I am a simple person. I enjoy reading books and baking bread. I find joy in quiet time and yoga. My mind is healthiest when I am outdoors collecting rocks on a beach. I wanted a life of financial freedom. I wanted to be able to choose a job to my liking. I wanted the autonomy to work in a way that is aligned to my values. I want the freedom to call my own hours, to choose days of rest, to pursue other passions, and I understood that I couldn’t do that if I chose material stuff, trends, and status symbols. That’s how this all started.

I was lucky enough to find a financial advisor in my early years who delved deeply into what I wanted for my future. It was only then, when I saw the big picture, did I have the motivation to get rid of my spending problem. And if I am being honest, without a clear picture of where I wanted my life to be, I would just as likely have reverted back to my previous ways. It was the clarity that kept me going.

The true cause of a spending problem is not being intentionally clear enough about your life.

Here are good places to start:

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