When I Feel Like Spending Money I Do This Instead

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So I thought this would be a fitting follow up to the post last week on our financial goals because y’all, the biggest secret to staying on track with our money goals is hands down not spending money. I know – it’s not super exciting and it’s rather straight forward, but that’s the long and the short of it.

I mentioned in the last post that I’m a firm believer that there are seasons in your life and I think we all know – some are more expensive than others. Not going to lie, the day when my first born starts kindergarten will be a bittersweet day. I mean, my child will be five – he will be more than a quarter done with his days living under my roof – but he will also be out of daycare, and yo, that place is expensive. Seasons where we’ve spent more money than others include: renovating our houses, moving across the country, birthing and raising our children – but I’ve looked to all of these as investments – one way or another, they all paid off in spades.

I’ve learned that there are a few ways to set yourself up for success with money and there are ways to bite it. I’ve actually turned the challenge of not buying things into a bit of a game. Sure – I could go to Chuckie Cheese and make the kid go coocoo for coco puffs or I could go to the park and play basketball with Henry! Sure, I could go out and buy a special dessert for tonight since the weather is so beautiful and it feels like the best idea EVER, or I could look around our cabinets for ingredients to make chocolate chip cookies. Or, I feel like my house needs something, I want to go out and buy throw pillows – but instead I’ll wash the floor (lol – does this just make you judge me? Legit, y’all I KNOW if you read this blog that you know that I sometimes go out and buy those throw pillows) 😉

In all seriousness though – it’s truly about finding ways to be happy with what you’ve already got, and challenge yourself and ask – Do I really need X. Or even, do I really WANT X – and the answer to each is totally fine if it’s yes, because truth be told, y’all – I enjoy shopping. I like get a little buzz like the rest of America when I go out and get things. It’s fun! But saving money is super fun too, and there are ways to stretch out your dollar as far as possible by being critical of every purchase you make. Give yourself 24 hours to wait it out for anything that falls into the category of non essentials. And if throw pillows fall into the category of essentials any given day – y’all – I do not judge. 😀

Here is a list of 40 things you can do, without spending ANY money. Get it girrrrlll (as my best frugal friend, would say xoxo)

  1. Go outside! Walk/run/stroll/skip – enjoy your surroundings
  2. Clean your house
  3. Call your mother. (just do it)
  4. Find something fun to eat/make with ingredients in your house
  5. Explore a new part of your city
  6. Go to the library
  7. Learn how to make something new
  8. Talk to your kids
  9. Write down goals
  10. Do yoga (youtube has free yoga!)
  11. Organize your closets
  12. Weed your yard
  13. Read a book
  14. Find a frugal blog and get inspired
  15. Change the oil on your car
  16. Go window shopping (but don’t buy)
  17. Ride your bike
  18. Purge items you don’t need
  19. Call your dad! (just do it)
  20. Scan pinterest for DIY ideas
  21. Play with your child (get down on their level and PLAY!)
  22. Go through/clean your coat closet (check pockets for goodies)
  23. Organize your garage
  24. Think of ways to make money – write down 5 ideas
  25. Walk the dog
  26. Build something
  27. Do a family plank challenge
  28. Dust the furniture
  29. Organize your junk drawer (you never know what you might find!)
  30. Look around your house for things to sell
  31. Volunteer
  32. Sip Wine on the Porch (does this count as spending money – probs – I cheat when it comes to wine)
  33. Do 20 squats (werk off that wine, y’all!)
  34. Meet your Neighbors
  35. Build Something
  36. Try a New Hairstyle
  37. Clean your fridge
  38. Plan a Frugal Vacation
  39. Write in a journal
  40. Meditate

Guest Post | Haggling 101

I’m so excited to introduce you guys to Sarah, over at 702 Park Project. This girl has got some mad taste, and is currently in the process of fixing up a gorgeous old home here in NC! I fell in love with her home renovation virtually, and I’ve asked her to swing by the blog to bestow some of her tips and tricks to all of you! Enjoy!

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Hi there, I’m Sarah from 702 Park Project! My husband and I have been restoring our 1902 house in NC for the past 18 months and I’m so happy to have a fellow renovation-lover like Mary so close now! What she has done with more than just a single home is nothing short of incredible!

I love to shop second hand at thrift stores, antique shops, auction houses, yard sales, and estate sales for our home as well as my online shops. So today I’d like to share with you some tips on one of my favorite parts of the shopping experience: haggling! I feel like sometimes haggling gets a bad rap, but in many cases it is actually expected, and it can be lots of fun.

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1. Room for negotiating is almost always factored into the price. Unless the price says “Firm” there is a little wiggle room. Most of the antique shops that I visit automatically give you a 10% discount, sometimes without you even having to ask.

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2. Group things together. Sellers are more likely to give you a better deal if you are buying more from them.

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3. Bring cash. Sellers would always rather deal in cash than credit cards and checks, and will often give a discount for paying with cash.

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4. Revisit. If you see something you love but just aren’t willing to pay the high price, test your luck and wait it out. If you go back later, say in a few weeks or even months, and the piece is still there, bring it up to the seller. Mention that you’ve seen it there for a while and offer a lower price. Sellers are usually motivated to sell older items to make room for new finds.

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5. Ask this question: “Is that your best price?” I’ve gotten a great deal on many pieces just by asking this question. Sometimes it leads to an awkward silence, but just be patient and wait for the answer. You might be surprised!

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6. Be willing to walk away. If the seller can’t get the item into your price range, leave it. I have walked away disappointed plenty of times, but time and time again I quickly learn that there will be others like it.

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7. This one is just a personal belief, but I don’t like to haggle at charitable stores like the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Salvation Army, Goodwill, etc. To me, it just feels wrong.

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The most important part of vintage shopping? Have fun! If you’re like me, you’ll quickly find that haggling is not only an exciting game, it’s addicting!

You can follow my complete home restoration starting here. Thanks again for having me, Mary! 🙂