So let me start by saying this 52 week money challenge is proving to be a real journey of self-discovery as well as a great way to save money. Stephanie and I have probably talked more about planning and setting goals for the future in the last month than we did in our entire first 7 years of marriage.
Choosing to use responsible financial management as a tool to develop discipline in our lives has been very rewarding. Rewarding but a little uncomfortable as well... as we dig into some of the unhealthy habits and views we have developed with respect to money.
For as long as I can remember, I have had a hard time with cheap people. They irk me. As a result, I will do almost anything to avoid even the appearance of being cheap.
My frustration with cheap people is that I feel they place an emphasis on money over relationship. Little did I realize, in attempting to stay away from this, my actions could be interpreted as doing exactly the same thing.
As mentioned last week in Go to Disney or Pay Bank Fees, Its Your Choice, this week our goal was to sell some of the stuff that has been collecting in our basement. This doesn't sound all that difficult, but it was for me. It's a real struggle for me to sell things, not because I care about the things but because I would rather just give them away. I absolutely hate that awkward interaction of asking someone for money for something you clearly don't need anymore.
Week 5 Sell Stuff No Longer Needed
Here is the picture of the stuff in our basement that we are going through and have started to sell! BTW... Emma is not for sale.
This simple exercise of selling stuff from our basement triggered the realization that I have a problem. It's not a keeping up with the Joneses problem, because I really don't care about stuff and have never compared my stuff to the stuff of the Joneses. However I have a perspective problem. I want to control what the Joneses think about me and spare no expense to do that.
Over the years, my subconscious fear of looking cheap has caused me to place little value on my money and has resulted in frivolous spending of my money and a real nasty accumulation of debt. I am typically the guy who buys dinner for friends, always the guy who buys coffee, and up until this week, I have given away my used stuff for free, regardless of value.
I wonder if in my attempt to not appear cheap, I have come off as arrogant and a show off with my money?
I mean at what point is enough enough? I know that I have avoided hanging out with cheap people, I wonder if some people have avoided hanging out with me because of how they perceived my actions? I guess that is neither here nor there, the point is, Steph and I have realized this is something I struggle with and I am trying to find a happy medium. I am trying to get to the middle of the pendulum swing between cheap and arrogant.
So Steph and I came to a compromise, we would sell things from our basement, but make sure to give the buyer a really good deal! So far we have made over $250 selling stuff we no longer use. And as we still have some things listed online, we are waiting to see how much more we can sell before depositing into our holding account! Hoping to check a big box with this one!
There is Money in the Small Stuff
A Samson Meteor microphone was the first item we sold... a cool $20 in cold hard cash. Our goal was to get pictures with everyone who bought stuff from us with a gnarly scowl on their face, but we figured no one could top this picture, so we gave up on that idea.
Some of the other things we sold were...
- The small wooden rocking chairs (in the picture above) $20
- Double headed smoothie maker $45
- Kitchen Aid Mixer $45
- 1TB External Hard Drive and miscellaneous cords $40
I know it is a small thing, but by selling some of these items from our basement, I have been able to let go of some of my pride and work with Steph on gaining some perspective with our money. Long way to go... but at least we are going. And as we are not eating out in restaurants this year and have drastically cut back on our coffee shop coffee consumption, I won't feel the need to always pick up the tab!
Next week we will talk about our experience buying bulking, shopping around and price comparing to save money!
In case you want to look back through some of our previous blog posts in this series, we have included this list.