In real life things often come up that interfere with our fantasies of how debt pay off or investment build up will look like. We plan and plan and plan some more and sh*t happens. That’s just life. By the way, I’m saying this with amusement, not dour sadness and frustration.
If things went to plan life would be awfully boring and uneventful. Sometimes great stories come out of these adventures, but often they are just frustrating when it comes to finances.
Since I am not allowed to make more than $1,100 a month from working I often get creative to make money for debt repayment or unexpected expenses.
One of the things I often do is pick things up at thrift stores, auctions, or clearance and flip them for profit. Like houses, but on a very small scale.
This week I picked up a stroller and a travel system that were 75% off retail price. This is my favorite way to flip items as there is no risk when you buy something new from a store this way. If I can’t sell it in a few weeks I can return it before 30 day return window expires and I haven’t lost anything but a little time.
These items retailed for $200 and $120. I paid $88 (including tax) for both. I have already sold the travel system for $130. I’ve recouped my investment and when I sell the jogging stroller it will be all profit. My intention was to take that $42 and apply it to debt, however my van popped a code and needed a new EGR valve. I tried to clean it first, but that didn’t work so I took that $42 and applied it to the $80 cost of the part (the remainder coming out of my checking account leaving me $61).
This sort of thing happens all the time to low income people and can be very disheartening. Even more so if you do not have an efund. Many people get in the mind set of they “can’t save money,” because something like this always takes it. So why deny yourself a coffee or a dinner? If you put aside all year and save, your car will just fall apart and need it, so you’d rather be happy NOW.
It’s a real thing and a mindset that can prove true over and over just because of circumstances.
I get it.
I’ve seen it in family and friends. Even done it myself back in the day. But with time I have shifted. An emergency fund really changes things for one, but also, I’ve learned to have a longer view and have seen results, but it was years in the making.
I started learning about FIRE and applying financial principals almost seven years ago. To see that, and look at my finances, one may not be impressed, but I AM. I know what it could be like. Over the last seven years I paid off my car, paid off my student loans, paid off consumer debt and built an efund while also paying down my mortgage on under 25k a year while dealing with disabilities and health issues, car accidents, law suits, and more.
If I hadn’t worked away, little bit by little, for what may look like a small benefit to others, my current situation could be much worse. I’ve built habits for a lifetime that will build dividends.
So when something like my car needing a part messes up my debt repayment plan I can just sigh, take care of it, and move on. It is a bump in the road on the way. It’s not the end, it’s not proof that all this effort is worthless, it’s just a bump. We’ll get there.
We can also look at it like this:
If I hadn’t tried to flip/make funds what would this car situation look like? Immediate credit card debt or emergency fund pillaging.
Instead, I was able to pay it out of funds I would not otherwise have had. I look at it as fortuitous that I came across this deal at this time, and not anger that this effort didn’t go to debt repayment.
Recognizing all the shifts that happen with time and effort, even small ones, is so important to reminding yourself that your work and effort is not pointless, but very very pointy!
Best wishes my friends, keep your chin up, and let’s continue to inspire each other with all our achievements! Even the little ones. Especially the little ones for they create big impact over time.