Small House Living & Why I Like it!

Because it’s Eeeeeeeeeasy! Our house is around 1,000 sq. ft. (3 bedrooms, 2 bath). When I tell people that our house is around 1,000 sq ft which is smaller some of friend’s apartments, they would be astonished that the floor plan could even have a third bedroom. But it works. And yes , there are times like ANYONE you wish there was just little more space here and there but in the end, living on the smaller side of life has taught me so much about what I want out of life and how much easier it is to get it than what the American dream dictates.

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90-Day Spending Fast Challenge: Use it of “Lose” it!

Today at the store, I picked up some facial moisturizer knowing that in about 2 weeks or less I would run out. Now, the store is within 10-15mins from my home and I pass by it everyday on my way home. I remembered my Spending Fast and decided to put the jar down until I NEED IT! Out of habit, I buy before I need something so I have it on hand at home.

For some things like food that you can put in the pantry, having it on hand is a great option. I like having cleaning supplies on hand so I don’t have to worry about running out while I’m in the middle of my chores. And most of the time, I buy in bulk to save money…..however, I have what I need “on hand” right now AND with passing by that store everyday….I don’t have to worry about “making a trip” to it.

I’m realizing is that I have a habit of getting items before I really need them or too far in advance before using them again. Meaning I have an accumulation of stuff like hotel bath soaps, shampoos, toiletries, etc. that I’m not using.

AND HERE’S WHAT I’M GOING TO DO ABOUT IT:

  1. DONATE: There is a local charity called St. Vincent’s that I can donate extra toiletries (unused of course) for their charity programs. They also encourage no waste in the community by having the recipients bring their empty bottles to them and then they refill the bottles with shampoo, soap, etc.
  2. PERSONAL GOAL: In regards to what I want to keep, I’m going to have to make a new habit to not restock my supplies until I’m down to 10% of the product. I think Toilet Paper will be an exception to this rule 🙂

Spending Fast FINISHED: Conclusions and Lessons Learned

So in retrospect of my Spending Fast, here are some conclusions that I have come to

Wants:
Reality:
Eating out/happy hours 1x/week – more of bummer as I was pretty frugal when I did go out = normally spending $10
Hard – I make this sound like I’m a socialite but I’m not. As long as I keep my “mad money” to $10/week (not per event)…..for any and all Happy Hours, lunches, coffee, etc. I think I’m good.
  • This was also harder to plan for if I didn’t pack enough lunch or I was running errands and they took longer than anticipated.
Gifts – will be recycling, re-gifting or making all gifts
Medium to Hard – This one wasn’t so bad as I have a lot of crafts and got creative however….don’t give junk to people. If the person can’t really use it, a $10 gift card along with a nice card is much better. I say something is better than nothing, even it’s offering to wash and detail someone’s car.
  • I hate washing my car so I would love this one.
Haircuts
Easy – besides my bangs which I’ve been watching YouTube videos on how to do this myself in the future, my hair is long enough to put up or down. I have also been looking at Pinterest for more updo’s so when I am do for cut, I can hide it.
Clothes
Medium – I actually found myself purging clothes than wanting more during this Fast. It made me take a look at what I have, what I actually wear and what I have worn in a LONG time.
New hobbies or crafts
HARD – this was hard for as me I constantly get coupons for Michaels and Jo-Anns however I have so much in boxes already…..I have to contain myself and see what can I repurpose.
Groupons or Living Social Deals
Easy – delete the app and just remind yourself of the goal
Specialty Coffees at Coffee Shops
Easy – I got treated to coffees by nice friends however I won’t abuse this and honestly will return the favor, with coffee in the future. I like good coffee yet having a to go cup from home is fine with me.
Contact Lenses
Easy – this was the easiest as I like my glasses = which is KEY!!!

Lessons:

  1. Put your needs before others, if you really want to achieve your goal.
    • This is a hard one for me; however, if you put other people first, then you always put second or last. And what does say about the value you put on your time, energy, money, etc.? It is of value also. And if something is of importance to you, share this with your loved ones so if you miss out of something, they know that you are working towards your goal and when you can, you will be there.
  2. This Spending Fast is NOT about “just getting by in life.”
      • Don’t be so cheap or frugal to the point that you feel like you are existing to achieve your goals.  Here are some suggestions to still have fun:
        • Organize a picnic in the park
        • Scout out new restaurants that may have a cheap happy hour
        • Offer to clean the yoga studio in return for taking a free class
        • Go for walk with someone instead of eating/drinking
        • Do a hobby or craft with a friend

    I’ll write a whole page on this later as I came up with a lot of small things to do.

    1. When there is something that really want or need and a possibility of it running out, BUY IT and YOU CAN ALWAYS RETURN IT LATER!!
      • I waited on purchasing material for a quilt for a baby shower as I’m doing this Spending Fast; however, the fabric is now discontinued and I can’t find anywhere, not even online. So lesson is: If there is something that heart is really set on and you know it’s perfect for what you want or want to achieve (in this case, I KNEW my friend would have loved it for her lil one) = Go For It!! Get rid of the guilt of spending and take advantage of the opportunity.
      • I once had a girlfriend tell me, “If it’s exactly what you want, then it’s worth it.” So far, I have not felt guilty purchasing something more costly when it was EXACTLY what I was searching for. (OK, in the beginning I did; however, I got over it and learned to enjoy my decision as some things are worth it.)
    2. Take advantage of coupons, reward points, timing, and COMBINING them together!!
      • For instance, I had an ULTA reward point that I had to use before the end of the month. I know that I was on my Spending Fast however missing out on the fabric, I was not going to make the same mistake twice. Also, my friend gave me a $5 off coupon and my mascara was on sale for “buy 1 get one 50% off” along with getting a cosmetic bag. When I got to the register, not only did I get my hair accessory (as I only had Category 1 of reward ULTA points) = got for $2 after using the reward points; got 2 of my mascaras and then used  the $5 off coupon; still received the cosmetic bag, yet I also received a free Moroccan Oil bottle for being a loyal customer for coming in the week since it was Memorial Weekend. All in all, I spent $12 when I should have spent more than $25.
    3. If you are going to buy something, be smart and get some cashback $$ for it if you don’t have reward points and timing is not of the essence.
      • I signed up for ebates.com where they pay you for shopping online at 1,600+ websites. First, you log onto the site, then find the online store that you want to shop at, a tracking code is issued to you for that shopping experience and when you check out, you get a certain percentage of cashback reward dollars. Also the site tell you which promotions and coupon codes are going on at the store prior to finishing your purchase.


    I got 3% cashback at Burt’s Bees = $0.91 along with a $10 Wal-Mart gift card for making my first $25 purchase within the first 90 days of signing up. And on top of this this, I used my Discover card which I get cashback dollars with them as well just for using my credit card to purchase the items.
    So I get cashback on the front and back ends of the purchase.


    • By the way, make sure that your address is filled out in your account information in order for Ebates.com to send you a check. A check is not sent until you have $5 accumulated in cashback dollars.
    • You can also have your Paypal account credited or donate to a charity, if that works better for you. 
    • And for the gift card, you can also choose between Targets, Wal-Mart and a couple of other major department stores. I just choose Wal-Mart as I can buy food and it’s in my local area.
    • NOTE: Discover card has their own shop online version however they don’t have as many vendors as ebates. Any cashback dollars I get from Discover, I use on Amazon as you don’t have to have a certain dollars to hit prior to being able to use it. It could be $0.01 and you can use it. Also search on Bing and receive points towards an Amazon gift card, too.

    Spending Fast: Day 21 – Get Creative

    So  honestly….I’m just wanting to revamp some of my clothes although I realistically, I don’t NEED new clothes and the next year of my life is going to be Nursing school. So with going through my closest, I decided to:
    1. Go through and get rid of clothes that I don’t wear anymore and are just there
    2. If the clothes are nice enough = give to a girlfriend
    3. If they are just OK or maybe too out of style = REVAMP!!!
    And here are some ideas from Pinterest:
    1. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/garter-stitch-swingy-sweater
    2. http://blog.easilydunn.com/2011/10/diy-make-an-awesome-cardigan-out-of-a-shirt-from-the-6th-grade-that-you-refuse-to-throw-away-but-never-wear/
    3. http://wobisobi.blogspot.com/2012/07/no-sew-halter-3-diy.html
    4. http://wobisobi.blogspot.com/2012/07/no-sew-one-shoulder-shirt-diy.html

      My Spending Fast


      So I’m giving myself the 30 challenge before quitting my job to go on a “Spending Fast.” I live a pretty frugal life already so honestly this is going to be a little hard honestly…..

      I’m telling myself to spend money on only what I NEED instead of, “Well, it’s under $5…ya only live once…….” and any other excuse to spend beyond my needs. Also to boot, I live about 30mins out of town so if I forget something at home of needs something, including a snack, I plan to bring more with me in my car as a “just in case.”

      In order to help me with this Fast, so I have my priorities and focus, I have made a list of what I believe to be need and want:

      Need:
      Wants:
      Groceries
      Eating out/happy hours 1x/week – more of bummer as I was pretty frugal when I did go out = normally spending $10
      Mortgage
      Gifts – will be recycling, re-gifting or making all gifts
      Cell phone/internet
      Haircuts
      Utilities
      Clothes
      School loan payment
      New hobbies or crafts
      Gas
      Groupons or Living Social Deals
      Auto Incidentals (just in case = have to get to school)
      Specialty Coffees at Coffee Shops
      Medical exams
      Contact Lenses

      As you can see from Wants List, that I really don’t have anything extravagant. My haircuts along with color, styling, waxing were under $60 an appointment. Now, I am dying my own hair from color and processor that I get from Sally’s that cost $6-8 for both however it lasts me about 6-8 months totaling a whopping $1/month. For eating out or happy hour, luckily I live in Reno where I can go for a happy hour or get something to eat for under $10. I normally ate out only one time a week any how so…..it’ll be interesting to see how I get around this one.

      Couple of Clarifications:
      1. Specialty Coffees at Coffee Shops – I’m allowing drip coffee as it’s much cheaper but the main reason for this is some study groups for school meet at Starbucks and sometimes it good to keep in contact with some of your professional network. To save even more money, When I can buy Starbucks bagged coffee on sale (or ask for it for Christmas gifts) and then use the empty bag to get my FREE coffee. I also have a gold card that I use in order to rack up points towards a free food item or coffee.
      2. Contact Lenses – I wear glasses and contact lenses. I prefer to wear my contacts when I’m dancing, or doing other physical activities; however, I just bought my last pair of glasses and now have “an extra pair” as my bang-up glasses. I am not really in a position to afford more contacts and the solution to clean then when I need food and gas.

      Lastly, the reason why I am doing this beyond the obvious of needing to live like this once I quit my job to not go into debt due to cost of living expenses, is……..I have a lot of things at home that I have once bought and never worn, used, make into that craft/gift, etc. and would like to downsize what I have and only keep what I need and use on a regular basis.

      Thanks for stating the journey with and if you have any tid-bits of advice, I would gladly appreciate a comment on this blog.