And while you are at it… sell the big stuff too!
Last week we talked about selling the stuff we no longer used, you know, the stuff that was just collecting dust in our basement. As of last week, we had already sold $250 worth of small things with the goal of selling more. Well, we didn’t end up selling any more of the smaller items (we will save them for a garage sale in the summer), instead we were able to sell a big ticket item.
A couple years ago we purchased an elliptical machine with the intention of working out at home, however unfortunately rather than getting in shape, we became just another statistic… Did you know that 90% of home gym equipment isn’t used regularly within two months of purchase?… or something like that… also 42% of statistics are made up on the spot…. anyway.
We set aside our best intentions and sold the unit for exactly $520 and nailed down week 52 of our challenge.
We certainly value physical fitness, however for us, an elliptical machine in the basement represented the pinnacle of convenience and laziness rather than an effective tool for physical fitness. The decision to sell it allowed us to exercise new muscles in our pursuit of financial fitness.
All together in the last 2 weeks we have been able to make $770 by selling stuff we no longer used or needed.
We deposited the $770 to our holding account and executed 2 transfers into our savings account.
Savings Account Balance: $210
Holding Account Balance: $1165
Total Saved 6 weeks into 2014: $1375
Going with the flow
Our goal for this upcoming week was to explore how much savings could actually be had by shopping at “discount stores” compared to “regular stores” and talk about a couple of cool couponing apps we are trying out. However as the weather in Regina remained a ridiculous -40C, we decided to stay inside and to shop and share another day.
Instead, Stephanie my pregnant wife, “nested” and in a matter of 3 days pretty much had our entire house organized. With all the space cleared in our basement from selling stuff, I was able to move my office downstairs and Stephanie made Emma her own little girl room along with reorganizing the boys room.
Encouragement from Friends
One of the most exciting things for our family is the encouragement and support we are getting from our friends. Although this 52 Week Money Challenge is designed to help us build discipline in our lives, we also want to inspire and be inspired by other people, that is why we are blogging about our journey every week.
Here are a few of stories that have encouraged us so far!
I was tagged in a post from my friends Darcie & Shae Noyes on Facebook! I have to say… $123.80 is not bad for loose change around the house!
“Decided to take our loose change from around the house in for dolla bills to contribute to our money challenge! BOOYA — with Jackson Middleton"
One of our goals was to set up a coin scavenger hunt around the house for the kids and save the money, not sure we will find $123.80, but it should be a fun spring cleaning event either way!
Stephanie and I were at a social event for the Salt Food Boutique last week, where we met up with some of our twitter friends (who by the way are real life friends as well). A buddy of mine said to me…
“You know, I read that blog you did about neglecting your automatic payments. The next time I opened my AMEX statement, I noticed I was being charged $10/mth for insurance I didn’t need. One simple 5 minute phone call to cancel it saved me $120 this year! Thanks for that.”
A Little Professional Help
Our friends Justin & Megan Reves contacted both Stephanie and me on Facebook Messenger with the following message:
"Hey guys! So we've been on holidays the past few weeks and I'm just catching up on your "52 week money challenge". I read all 6 blogs this morning haha. I'm hooked! Or really, I'm totally inspired. Let's just say, it hit really close to home. Literally... How does it work with your financial advisor? I'm interested in having a professional come in and help us budget properly, etc."
First of all, I appreciate Justin & Megan’s openness and encouragement, secondly I love the fact that they recognize the value in working with a professional.
As Stephanie and I are learning… there is a reason people suck at personal finance, our world is set up to pressure us to consume all the time. Debt is considered normal and immediate gratification is encouraged. It takes a lot of discipline to fight what society considers 'normal' spending habits. Most people have simply never learned the necessary skills to properly manage their finances. And the funny thing is... when they are fed up and feel "its time for a change" they don't want to pay anything for it. However I argue this is when hiring a professional is critical.
When you are sick and tired of being broke all the time and you are ready to make a change, invest in your future by hiring a finance professional, to help you figure out a game plan, to point out your blind spots.
Stephanie and I are working with fee only financial planner Sandi Martin from Spring Personal Finance. Now, if you haven’t heard of a fee only planner, that is okay, until last year, neither had we. It is really a simple idea... rather than dealing with a banker who is going to try and sell you financial products and give you "free advice", you pay an upfront fee to a planner for only the services you actually need.
Sandi does a great job explaining fee only financial planning in this article called “why fee only”. Sandi is fabulous and is an absolute pleasure to work with. We recommend her wholeheartedly.
I should also mention that Robb & Marie Engen from Boomer & Echo have recently launched a fee only finance business. Having spent time with Robb over the past few months on the #becausemoney podcast, where I play the resident mortgage expert and financial newbie, I can say with absolute confidence that Robb knows his stuff. Certainly someone you should consider as well if you are looking for a fee only planner.
I have also had a lot of conversations with Noel D'Souza from the Money Coaches of Canada. Although I don't know Noel as well as I know Sandi or Robb, everything I have seen from him tells me that he is a true professional and works diligently with his clients. Again, certainly someone you could consider talking with! And just a heads up... its Know-ell not Knowl, I made that mistake!
Facebook seems to be the popular place to connect. Yesterday our friend Renee Coghill shared the following:
"Taking on Jackson Middleton and Stephanie Middleton's 52-week Money Challenge to save for an upcoming family trip. Kids are each attempting to save x1, Gary Coghill and I are hoping to multiply by several times. Decorating money jars and making check sheets is the order of the day."
This got us thinking, what a great idea! Money Jars are a great way to get our kids involved in this challenge!
To this point Stephanie and I have been doing the majority of the heavy lifting as we try to get everything organized and the pace set. All of our money is being saved in a bank account, and although we have been talking with the kids about money and what we are doing, they have nothing to see, touch, or feel.
Money jars are a great way for our kids to physically see the accumulation of funds and learn the value of money as they earn coins for doing chores or tasks. It also helps to keep a more tidy house, win win.
Over the next few weeks, Stephanie and I plan to get the kids crafting and earning their own money for the challenge, although the majority of the money will still be coming from my kilt pocket (or sporran depending on your knowledge of kilted attire) we will be looking for more ways to involve our kids!
So with all that said, we just want to thank everyone who has shared with us in these first 6 weeks of 2014. Your kind words mean a lot to us!
If you are trying to make changes to your spending habits and learn new ways to save money, we would love to hear from you! Everyone is on a journey of some kind, our goal is to learn from those who have been there and found success while hopefully motivating those who feel ready for change but have no idea where to start! Everyone is welcome to share!
Use the comment box below or connect with either Stephanie or me anytime. We would love to hear your story!
In case you have missed some of our previous posts, here is the full collection.