October 1, 2014
I told you I had a story about Ed Hardy shower gel. Are you excited? Good. But first let me explain.
Financial Peace University is a 9-10 week program. You attend class once a week, watch a video of Dave teaching to a live audience, and then discuss questions, thoughts, ideas, concerns with your fellow classmates. There is an online option of FPU but I am personally grateful for the opportunity to take classes at a physical location, surrounded by a community of people who share a lot of the same struggles as I do.
After the first lesson, I left class feeling about 40% excited/hopeful and about 60% freaking overwhelmed. Dave talks about 7 baby steps to getting out of debt and living in financial freedom. As he was introducing us to these concepts I thought, great! I love baby steps! And then I realized that the first baby step is getting $1,000 in an emergency fund as quickly as possible. Then I started thinking great! How in the (insert your favorite 4-letter word here) am I supposed to get one thousand extra dollars?!
A few days after I processed what had just happened to me (attending a class that would surely wreck my world), I reached out to Loni and asked for some guidance. Early on I realized that I was going to need someone honest, tough, loving and trustworthy to sit down with me, one-on-one and walk me through this. I must be held accountable or I simply will not do it. Most of the people in the class are married or engaged so they have built-in accountability partner. I needed to be a little more proactive in finding mine.
Of course Loni agreed and a week later we met for coffee that neither one of us ordered. For an hour we sat going over the "budget" I brought. I put "budget" in quotation marks here because it certainly wasn't a budget. It was a snapshot of what I had spent in a month's time. A snapshot of how much I had overspent in a month's time, really. A snapshot of how I'd spent $400 OVER what I make a month. OHHH WELL FANCY THAT, NO WONDER I'M BROKE AS A JOKE AND HAVE CREDIT CARD DEBT.
Anyway...I showed Loni my "budget" and said, I have no idea where this $1,000 is going to come from. And sweet Loni began to tear up, which naturally led into my tearing up, and then there we were, two blonde, weeping women. It was beautiful. I'm sure other people were confused. But she was crying because she remembered what it felt like to think the same thing. Where will this money come from? And that's when she let me in on a little secret.
Facebook Online Yard Sales.
I giggled as soon as she said it. I'd seen these groups on Facebook, but had not ever looked into one. But she swore this was how she got her and her husband's $1,000 fund...well, funded. She then challenged me to go through my things, and start online yard selling, and come up with $100 by the end of the month. The end of the month was one week away. I giggled some more and reluctantly agreed.
I started by just joining some of these Facebook groups in my area, taking a look at what people were selling and how to list it, etc. It took me a while to figure out what "cross posted" meant and what some of the random acronyms were (answer key: cross posted means you've posted the item in more than one yard sale group because there are MULTIPLE ones; ISO means "in search of"). A few days later I went through some clothes that had been sitting out for quite some time, that I had never gotten around to taking to the thrift store (we'll call this providential), and began hanging them up one-by-one and taking pictures.
Later that night, after much procrastinating, I took the leap and uploaded a few pictures. I posted two pairs of pants and a skirt, all from Ann Taylor Loft. I was selling each one for $5. FIVE DOLLARS. I know I spent at least $30 on each of these. For the rest of the evening I kept checking my phone, looking to see if someone had commented on my pants. Nope. And as each hour went by I started feeling a more and more rejected. WHY DOESN'T ANYONE WANT MY PANTS?!
At the end of the day as I was lying in bed, I was sent in to a mild state of shock. I was scrolling through the yard sale, seeing what things were, in fact, getting commented on and I was suddenly very confused. Someone had posted Ed Hardy shower gel for $4 and it had gotten TWO COMMENTS. Wait...so you will buy Ed Hardy shower gel for $4 but won't buy my perfectly wonderful pants for $5? What the.
So, whatever. I felt pretty rejected for a while, but dusted myself off and tried again. A good friend recommended selling other things besides clothes. I am happy to report that by the end of the month I have made $90! Woo woo! I would have made $100 but no one will buy my stinkin' office desk lamp. However, I'm going to continue to try to get rid of these clothes and a few other items to build my emergency fund. As crazy as I felt posting things, verbally committing to sell them, then meeting someone in a random parking lot to make the switch (feeling very much like a drug dealer), I realized how easy it really is to make a few bucks here and there.
So the morals of our story:
- Online yard sales work.
- Some people on these online yard sales are crazy and have no taste in pants.
- Sometimes you have to get real creative to make a buck or two.
- When you do get creative to make a buck or two, and drive to meet someone just to get that cash in your hand, it really changes your perspective on how you're going to spend it.
- Ed Hardy shower gel will easily sell for $4. Whatever.