Clothes Shopping on a Budget

Today, I am excited to be helping out at St. Paul’s UMC Rummage Sale.  This annual event is HUGE.  People stand in line just to get in the door and grab some deals.  WHY?  Seasons are changing – finally.  Warmer weather is coming and we can always use something new (at least to us)

You know the saying “one woman’s junk is another woman’s treasure”, right? I will admit, clothes shopping is not something I really enjoy. Yes, I have lost most of the weight so I can shop off the racks BUT I still see the “fat” person of yester year.

Growing up, we didn’t shop in thrift stores. In fact, I am not even sure they were around in the 60’s and 70’s. I do remember donating items to those who were less fortunate but I don’t think I ever saw where they ended up.

As a single mom, thrift stores were a fun place to go – not just for me but also for my daughter. We checked out rummage sales at the local churches and scoured the thrift stores for goodies. From toys to books to kitchen stuff to clothes. We always found some treasure which would make the day a success.

There are two sides to most thrift stores – you get to help out a charity by donating and then again when buying from them. You get to make a difference in the lives of others. When donating items you no longer need or want the charity is then able to sell it to someone who needs or wants the item. The money raised helps others in need with food or other essentials. A win-win for everyone.

Let me say, I do know there are some “not so good” charities or thrift stores.  The ones who sell items to feed the pockets of their administration staff or some corporate big wig.  I am not talking about those because honestly, the best deals are not usually found at those “stores”.  I am talking about the local church rummage sales or the thrift store whose money goes directly to help those in need.

Here are some myths about thrift store shopping we are going to BUST!

Myth #1: It is shameful to go into a thrift shop.

Remember you are giving to a great cause and getting yourself a bargain at the same time. The items you are getting aren’t dirty but have been carefully sorted. Give your items a quick wash once you’ve bought them and they will be just like new. I even think for a period of time, this was the preferred way to shop.

Myth #2: Sometimes thrift shops can be considered ‘expensive’

I know, kind of crazy, right? The truth is everything is not “cheap” – a dollar or two. Things will be cheaper then buying brand new but there are those occasions when they could be a little bit more expensive than what you expected. Thrift store employees know value too. Their goal is to offer items at a reasonable price while helping raise funds for their cause. So, the designer dress may be cheaper than a brand new one but it is not going to be given away for just a few dollars.

Myth #3: You should just stick to one thrift store

The truth is frequenting the same thrift store on a regular basis is good. Don’t limit yourself to just one – find your favorites and stick with them. How else are you going to bag yourself some amazing bargains? Check in once a week to see what they have new. Every once in awhile, mom and I will spend the day exploring some new thrift stores. We meet some great people, and get some bargains.

Myth #4: You can’t try the stuff on!

Yes, you can actually try the clothes on in most. Don’t see a dressing room, ask if they have one. If they don’t, ask what their return policy is so you can try it on at home and return it if it doesn’t fit. Don’t be afraid to ask!

Just like shopping at the mall. the most important part of all this is to have fun. Thrift store shopping isn’t grimy or dirty. It’s a fun thing to do while grabbing bargains at the same time.

Remember to keep to your budget. It can be just as easy over-shopping in a thrift store as it is at the mall. The idea is to keep within a budget, when the purse strings are a little tight. Don’t go overboard otherwise you’ll defeat the objective of thrift shopping!

Heading out for a day of shopping.  Grab your Thirty One Large Utility Tote to keep all of your treasures in.  You’ll be amazed at how much this classic tote can hold. The structured metal frame keeps it open for bulky items and provides strength for durability. Use it to keep your closet in order, carry toys or groceries while you’re on the go, haul camping gear and so much more. It even collapses for easy storage!  The best part is they are on sale this month!

Let me know what you think about second hand shopping. Share some of your favorite places with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Time to Get Your Finances In Order

I’ll admit, I am not the one to give financial advice because I still struggle with staying on budget as well as paying down debt.  As hubby says “You will never be a Rockefeller” which is why I was a perfect fit for social work and non-profits.I am always looking for tips on how to get better at this because:

Managing your money is the key to success!

So, if you’re looking to try and get your finances in order, stop spending, and start saving, here are some top tips are for you to try….

 

1. Create a Spreadsheet 

Do you know how much you owe?  If you have debt, do you now how much your interest rate is on each one? To easily organize your finances, a spreadsheet is a great way to see your income and your expenses.  You can create one in Google Drive so you can stay on top of it.   I have a list including interest charges so when there is extra money, I can pay down on the highest interest rate first.

2. Set Up Savings 

I know this sounds crazy if you have debt BUT you need to start saving for an emergency.  It can be as little as $10 a paycheck or $25 a month.  Check with your bank too for some of those instant kind of saving programs.  Bank of America takes the change from your ATM transactions, rounds up and the money is put in your savings account.  Those pennies add up quickly.  It all helps!

3. Organize Direct Debits 

I used to advocate direct debits but when my income varies, it is better for me to have repeated reminders set up. I have reminders set up on each of my credit cards when payments are due – 14 days out and 1 week out.  This ensures I avoid any late payment fees and any (further) damage to your credit score.

4. Refrain From Impulse Purchases 

Yup, we are all guilty of it.  Sometimes it is easier said than done.  Be sure to have some room in your budget for treats – large or small so you can occasionally splurge!

5. Make A List – Stick To It How many times have you gone to the store and your list is home?  The end result, you buy more than what you need and usually forget what you originally went to the store for.  I have started putting my grocer list on my phone.  When was the last time you left home without your phone?  Whether shopping for Christmas, clothing or groceries – always stick to the list!

6. Set Budgets for Events 

Everyone’s salary is different so why not set a budget for Birthdays so you don’t feel pressured to match what everyone else is spending.

7. Emergency Fund 

This goes back to #2 when we set up a savings account.  What happens why you have a surprise expense – car repair, etc?  Tempted to pull out the credit card. DON’T!!!  Use your savings account or emergency account.  By saving a little each money, you are ready for those unexpected events.

8. Don’t Be Drawn In By Offers 

Sales.  How often are you drawn in by the offers non things you may not really need.  If you need it, great.  If you don’t, why buy it.  I mean do you really need the  half price Ben & Jerry’s ice cream?

9. Make a Packed Lunch 

Taking lunch to work is so much cheaper than a daily visit to the local sandwich shop.  Think of the money and time you will save.  Have an hour for lunch?  Imagine being able to enjoy a full hour of leisurely eating your lunch and catching up with friends instead of waiting to order food and then gulping it down.  Bringing your lunch to work is better all around as well as far healthier for you.

10. Cut the Coffee 

Yes, I went there.  When I was commuting to work, I would do a WAWA stop on the way to and from work.  That came to at least $5 or more a day or $25 per week or over $1,300 per year.  I’m now hooked on Starbucks unsweet green tea and thankfully, I don’t commute or it would be about $1,000 a year on ice tea.  What could you use a $1000 on?

 11. Use Your Legs 

If you live in the city or your commute is to an area where there is good public transportation, this is a great way to save money.  Growing up in NJ, there really is not a very good public transportation system unless you are headed to NY to work. In addition to saving money, you can also burn some extra calories by walking to and from the stops.

12. Seek Out Deals 

Yes, I have gotten lazy when it comes to looking for the best deals.  Whether it is car insurance, phone service or our cable bill – I haven’t shopped around for the best deal in ages.  When I did call Comcast to re-negotiate our bill, I was able to save about $50 per month which is $600 to apply to paying down credit card debt.

13. Sell And Buy Online

I used to do this all of the time – selling on eBay was a regular thing.  It has gone by the wayside but it may be time to revive this old habit.  When it comes to shopping online, I am always looking for the best deal using apps like Ebates and others.

What is YOUR best tips for getting your finances under control?  Share them with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Are You Spinning Your Wheels?

Throwback Thursday is when I look back on past posts, a time for reflection.  A time to see how far I have come (or where I am stuck).

After working with the AMAZING Britt Bolnick owner of In Arms Coaching, I have learned how important reflection is.  When I first met Britt, I connected with her.  I could relate to her struggles as a single mom since I was one.  I was in awe of how she used those struggles to build an amazing coaching career helping other women.

As a “bag” lady, I see everyone as a customer/ client. I mean who doesn’t need a bag, right? From purses to totes to thermals, we have them all at Thirty One.  As Thirty One returns to their “gifts” roots, the customers change a little bit. I know my customers have been buying gifts all along but now we have a broader base of products and with it comes a broader base of customers. I don’t want to leave any customers behind.

So, are you wondering who your customers/clients are?  Are you struggling to figure out how to get the “right” ones?  Here are some questions from one of Britt’s virtual retreats which might help you figure out your next steps:

1. What isn’t working for you in your business right now?

Think about it.  Put it on paper.  I don’t mean just “no one wants to party”, I mean be specific.  What isn’t working for you?  Not enough time to work your business?  Not enough new customers?  No time to schedule parties?  For me, what isn’t working is the lack of a full calendar for the summer months along with a steady flow of new customers.

2. What do you want SO badly for your business or work you’re NO LONGER willing to settle for NOT having it?

We all talk about our “why”, and for some it is stronger than others so it keeps them motivated.  For others, a vision board helps to keep them focused.  Make a list of the things you want in your business – just keep writing, let the feelings pour out.  When all is said and done, you can sum it up in a sentence or two.  For me, it is an action plan for consistent sales, parties which will bring me new recruits and expand my business.

3. What would the ripple effect be OF you having it? How would it affect your life, relationships, even your health?

It is like Andy Andrews says in “The Butterfly Effect”, one action creates a ripple effect changing not only your life but the life of others.  So, for me the ripple effect would be: If I grow my business with an increase in sales and recruits, it would mean a higher consistent paycheck every month. This would allow me to pay off my credit card debt.  Paying off my credit card debt would allow me the freedom from stress. Less stress would allow me to smile more which would make hubby happy which would help our relationship/ marriage.  In addition, less stress would allow me to focus more on maintaining my goal weight which would make me feel better.  Less stress would also help to keep health issues in check.  Expanding my business would allow me to give back to the community (it is about what the money can do).  Therefore, an expanded business = happy, healthy & wealthy Hope.

What is your ripple effect?

I love my Thirty One business. I love it pays my bills every month. I love I get to meet new people and share the gift of Thirty One with them. I am transparent with you when I am struggle because having your own business whether a storefront or direct sales isn’t always rainbows and sunshine. There is some rain along the way. You need to be willing to work past them to move forward.

What about you? How would you answer these questions? Be truthful with yourself. You know what isn’t working in your business. Own it so you can figure out the best way to move past it. I would love to hear from you.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Gaining Confidence Is An Ongoing Process

I have been having one of those weeks…. yup, fear and doubt has crept in.  My confidence has been shaken and I am wondering what my purpose is in life.  What happened?  I’m not sure except I have had some weird health days.  Days of feeling unsure.  Most days I can shake it then there are some when I need a confidence booster.  Surrounding myself with supportive  friends and family is part of it BUT sometimes I need to work on me.

Here are some things I do to help shake those nasty inner gremlins:

1.  Share Your Gifts & Passion with Others

Everyone has gifts and talents even when our confidence is lacking.  When I have days like this, I start writing.  Because I know sharing my struggles with others is one of my gifts.  You have accomplished great things – don’t downplay what you have achieved.  I know I am guilty of this all of the time.  The truth is, we are all good at something and there is always someone who wants to learn.

2. Forgive Yourself for Your Mistakes

When I have days like this, I tend to focus on all of the mistakes I made in life. Remember negative thoughts brings more negative thoughts.  When we hold ourselves or others to high standards expecting perfection, we are usually left feeling less than, a failure, and unworthy. Give yourself a break!  Self-forgiveness is an important step towards building your self esteem and confidence.  Everyone make mistakes, you are no exception and you deserve to be forgiven.

3. Pay it Forward or Pay Yourself

Are you looking to right your wrongs or make a change due to mistakes from your past which may be holding you back?  We can’t wave a magic wand and make them go away BUT we can change the outcome.  Didn’t make school a priority in your life?  Go back and take some classes.  Maybe you weren’t there for friends and family – make amends.  As a recovering addict, my mission is to help those who are struggling because others helped m.  What mistake can you forgive yourself for so you can move on?

4. Be Solution Focused

I always say negative thoughts brings more negative – positive brings more positive, it is the way of the Universe.  So, when you are always complaining about not having enough (of anything), nothing gets accomplished. Look for solutions when things aren’t going as planned. This will take some practice before it becomes natural.  In the end, you will be able to approach a problem from a mindset of how to solve it instead of WHY ME victim mindset.

5. Smile

I know it is hard to smile when you are feeling less than BUT a little smile goes a long way. You would be surprised how it can actually change your mindset. It makes me feel good to smile, and it can also brighten someone else’s day.  In some cases this is where I advocate, fake it till you make it.   I don’t mean being fake to others, it is about learning to pick your head up and feel good along the way. The more you do it, before long, you will forget you were “faking it” and actually feed better, maybe even GOOD or GREAT!

6. Fear is Your Friend

FEAR is huge when we are not feeling confident (at least for me).  I am trying hard to use fear to my advantage! Think about it – fear shows up when you are about to step out of your comfort zone, stretch yourself and build your confidence. This is your secret weapon to growing.  When you recognize it is about to get scary, you are about to expand yourself which is HUGE confidence builder.

Despite popular belief (and my constant writing about it) I do struggle with confidence.  I am always amazed how I am more confident around people I don’t know then I am around friends or business colleagues.  Those nasty inner gremlins love to play the comparison game.

Share your struggles and your successes with us.  Let’s BUILD each other up so we are all successful in our business (and our lives).

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Tasty Tuesday: Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Peppers

This recipe is courtesy of Moscato Mom. Be sure to check out her blog for lots of great information.

I LOVE stuffed peppers.  My grandmother always made them and despite using her recipe, they never seem to quite come out the same. I have been looking for a recipe and stumbled across this one….

Ingredients

8 large bell peppers
2 rotisserie chickens
1 can red enchilada sauce – mild
1 can black beans
1 can niblet corn
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
sour cream and/or guacamole (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350*.
  • Remove and shred meat from chickens into a skillet on medium heat.
  • Add in sauce, corn, and black beans.
  • Simmer about 5 minutes.
  • Add in 2 cups of shredded cheese and stir until well combined.
  • Cut tops off bell peppers and remove seeds and ribs.
  • Gently spoon chicken mixture into peppers and top with remaining cheese.
  • Bake uncovered about 15-20 minutes or until peppers have softened and cheese is bubbly.
  • Remove and let sit about 5 minutes.
  • Top with sour cream and or guacamole.

I love the fact this recipe makes enough for leftovers for lunch (or dinner for hubby).  Need a thermal to carry your lunch to work in?  My favorite is the Going Places Thermal.Snacking on the go? This stylish bag with an adjustable strap does double duty as a thermal and crossbody to make it easiest to pack lunch or treats for every family outing, play date or sporting event. Dimensions: 8″H x 9″L x 5.5″D

Here is a secret….. SHHH!!! ALL Thirty One thermals will be on sale in the month of June. Spend $35 and get any thermal at 50% off.

If you try the recipe, let us know what you think?  If you have a recipe you want to share, please let me know.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

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