There is one thing I can guarantee you – no matter where you live, it is going to rain. Maybe just one day a year, but it will rain. When it rains on you, are you prepared with an umbrella or are you going to get soaked?
The same way it will rain on you literally at some point this year, it will also rain on you figuratively. Something unexpected is going to happen. An emergency is going to happen. Life is going to happen. Do you have an umbrella or are you going to get soaked?
Right now, many people in this country are wishing they had an umbrella – even a small one. It is raining on them right now. They are not getting paid because of a situation that they couldn’t control. Some were prepared, but many were not. Some will be able to continue to pay their bills and put food on the table, but many will not. This is just an example of what happens everyday in this country and in our lives. Life happens – some things we know might happen and some things we have no clue are going to happen. This is why an emergency fund (umbrella) is so important. If really should be the number one priority in your finances.
So how big should your umbrella be in order to not get soaked the next time it rains. Ideally, you want to have one year of expenses set aside. But start somewhere, even $50. And just keep building it. You want to get $1000 to $1500 as soon as you can. This way you can handle a sprinkle if it comes through. Next, set aside 3-6 months of expenses. This will cover a regular rainstorm. And then save up to one year of expenses. This size umbrella will cover any storm that comes your way – sprinkle to hurricane.
It is going to rain this year. Are you ready? Today is the day to start. Whether you are starting at the bottom, or building what you have into a bigger umbrella, today is the day. As people find out each and every day, you never know when a storm is coming. The best thing you can do is be prepared. Having an umbrella can be the difference in the rain being just a little nuisance and it being a drowning storm.
Listen to Debbi’s podcast on this subject and so much more.
I am currently sitting in the Atlanta airport waiting to catch a plane home after spending 4 weeks in SC taking care of my parents. As I am sitting here, I am reflecting on how financial freedom played a role in that. You see, most people wouldn’t have been able to leave their home or their job for 4 weeks to do something, even if it was necessary like my situation was. However, many years ago, I had a big aha moment and realized that debt wasn’t taking me where I wanted to go. So I developed a plan to change all of that. And now, I enjoy financial freedom – the ability to not worry about being away from home for 4 weeks. Most people would not be able to leave their jobs – most can’t go 4 days without pay, much less 4 weeks. Financial freedom has given me the ability to own my own business and have no worries about whether or not I could afford to be away. When I got the call and needed to be there to take care of my parents, it was a no brainer – something that financial freedom brought me.
I want that for all of you. I want y’all to be able to not have to worry when life happens. Today, I am going to share 5 things that you can do immediately to begin the journey to financial freedom – there is no need to wait. Let’s talk about them.
- No More Excuses – You need to stop all of your excuses as to why you can’t get out of debt, save money and also stop your “reasons” as to why you “need” something now and it just can’t wait. We all have an excuse bag. I had a huge one. It’s a bag that we carry around every excuse in the book in and are at the ready to pull them out when needed. Stop being a victim. Stop making excuses and start making a plan to pay off your debt, build your savings and reach financial freedom. I did it with $200,000 in debt – you can do it!
- Save Something – We all have an excuse as to why we can’t save money. But without saving money, you will never have any extra. Do you think I reached financial freedom without saving for a rainy day. You need an umbrella – it is going to rain and like most storms, there won’t be any warning. Start somewhere today – automate $10 to come out of every paycheck – today! No matter how much debt you have, do this one thing. And when you build that muscle up, raise it up and soon you will have a rainy day fund that can cover any emergency and like me, you will be able to jump on a plane, no questions asked, and help someone.
- Live Within Your Harvest – This simply means live within your means. We reap what we sow and what we sow is our harvest. What you earn is your harvest. If you keep borrowing against a future harvest, you are going to owe more than you can possibly pay back. Stop using debt today. If you stop today, and just pay your payments, you will eventually be out of debt even without a plan. A plan will simply get you to financial freedom quicker. Stop using debt to get what you want. Debt will never bring wealth.
- Develop a plan – No one builds a house without a plan and you will not build wealth without a plan. Whether it is a plan to get out of debt, a plan for retirement, a savings plan or a spending plan, you need plans in your financial life. Don’t go through life willy nilly – living on what’s in your head. Develop a plan and you will have success in all areas of life.
- Believe in yourself – If you don’t believe you can, you won’t. It’s that simple. Believe you can reach financial freedom. I believe you can because I did and if I can, anyone can. Believe you can and you will.
These are 5 things you can start today that will bring you wealth and financial freedom. They are the top things I did when I decided to pay off $200,000 in debt. It wasn’t instant and it definitely wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. Financial freedom will bring you a peace beyond understanding and especially in those moments like I have had recently. Financial freedom is worth every sacrifice. It is freedom!
Listen to Debbi’s podcast episode on this topic right here!
This past Saturday, I did what I do almost every Saturday from April to October – I went yard saling. For me it is a hobby – I really don’t “need” anything, but it is fun and you never know what kind of good deals or rare items you may find. In addition, once a year, I have a yard sale. I am always evaluating what I have and if it doesn’t bring me value anymore, it goes in the yard sale box in hopes it will bring someone else joy. The one thing I noticed as I go from neighborhood to neighborhood is that some people take this yard sale concept to an extreme. Some people selling think they are a retail shop and some people buying think everything should be a quarter. Today I wanted to share a few tips from both sides so that every transaction is a win/win.
Buy Like a Pro
- You want to be reasonable in your buying approach. You are at a yard sale so you don’t want to overpay; however, you don’t want to insult someone either. If the host of the yard sale is reading this, they will have priced items fairly and to move. Some people want close to retail and some, like me, just want to get rid of it. Don’t hesitate to make an offer, but be willing to walk away depending on the seller’s attitude.
- Know the value of something as much as you can. For example, this weekend a lady was selling Vera Bradley purses for $20 each – new. She refused to negotiate on the price. Yes, they were new; however, I could go to the outlets and get the same purse for $20 and it would be showroom new. I politely declined. If I were selling the same purse at my yard sale, I would have sold it for $12 and been willing to take $10. Again, don’t be afraid to walk away if it’s not something you really want.
- Take lots of small bills and change. When you have ones, fives and quarters, you have more negotiating power. It is awkward to offer someone $1 instead of the $2 they are asking and then whoop out a $20.
- Have a list of items you are looking for. This will help you to focus and not get too caught up in the goodies. I usually come home every week with one thing not on my list, but I always have the perfect use for it. If you get caught up in the sales, and who wouldn’t, your house will eventually be overrun with too many things you don’t use. And if you do buy something for the price and hope that you can find a use for it, if you don’t, make sure you donate it. This way it doesn’t take up residence too long and collect dust.
Sell Like a Pro
- You want people to buy your wares so make sure you price them accordingly. Would you rather have $3 for something or $0 for the same something? Remember, you are not a retail store. Your items are used even if they have tags on them. Price them accordingly and you will make more money. Selling 30 items for $1 is more than selling 4 items for $5.
- Price everything – when items are priced, people know exactly what you are wanting and they can decide if they want it or not or if they want to make you an offer. If it is not priced, odds are they will walk away. You can always change it if you see a lot of people looking and no one buying, but pricing everything usually brings more sales. I also have 10 cent, 25 cent and 50 cent boxes. People love those and they are great for the small stuff you don’t want.
- Run your sale Friday and Saturday if possible. I have had yard sales in both PA and in SC and in all cases, Friday was the busiest day. You get a lot of professionals and older people, but for the right stuff they are willing to pay. One year, I made $200 on Friday and $10 on Saturday. This all depends on the area and if it is a neighborhood sale or not, but give it a try if you can.
- Advertising is important. People need to know you are out there. We have a local circular that comes out every week with lots of sales in it. It is inexpensive to advertise in something like that and so worth it. There are also many free websites and social media groups. Let people know what you are selling and use catchy phrases like “huge yard sale” or “everything must go”.
- Be willing to negotiate. On Saturday of our sales, we have a half off everything event many times depending on what is left. Your goal, like mine, is to get rid of everything – not take it back in the house. So sell what you can for what you can and then donate the rest. Remember, your stuff is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. Sell it, get something for it and move on.
This year I was just going to donate my boxes and not have a yard sale. Then my wise daughter said “Mom, have a yard sale, sell what you can and then donate the rest. You will have more money than you would donating it and you can donate what is left.” Those are wise words. We made over $200 and donated 2 car trunks full of stuff. That’s a win/win in my book. So whether you are buying or selling, have fun with it, don’t pay/charge too much and everyone wins!!
Debbi’s new budgeting course – “The 411 of Budgeting” – is now available in her store for only $19.95. For the price of a pizza, you could take the first step in the journey to wealth and financial freedom. Check it out right here along with her “Adulting Survival Kit” and all of her award winning, best selling books.