I plop down on the deck with a freshly-made vodka gimlet in one hand and a print out of our bank statements in the other. I take a long sip and start working my way through our budget, line by line. “Food. Utilities. Insurance. Bullshit.” Now, I’m not saying that food, utilities, or insurance are bullshit. I’m saying we have an actual line in our budget labeled ‘Bullshit.’ We have a Bullshit Budget and IT IS TRANSFORMATIVE. I think you should have one, too.
I hate to be this person, but I think you guys should know:
I liked Airstream trailers before they were cool.
In 2001, I’d pull off the highway, scramble over barbed wire and peer into the windows of Airstreams sitting in fields with hand-written ‘For Sale’ signs in the window.
At 22, I stopped into a dealership and toured new models, opening tiny fridges and eye-balling counter space. I researched living in a travel trailer above the frostline and how much it costs to rent a spot in a trailer park.
So when I found an Airstream trailer on Airbnb, I viewed it as A Sign. All my dreams were about to come true! I would confirm that, yes, I was meant to live inside a stylish silver marshmallow, winnowing my belongings down to only what could fit under my snug, cocoon-y bed!
Imagine my surprise when I hated it.
Now, to be fair, the Airstream in question was the smallest model; it’s 22 feet long. But I felt like a marble in a tuna can. YOU SIT ON THE TOILET TO SHOWER. (more…)
Friends, it’s time to talk about the back corner of our closets. And the bottom drawer in the bathroom. And that weird, hard-to-reach cupboard above the fridge. You know what I’m talking about. And you know what lives in those places.
The dress that still has the tags still on it. The expensive conditioner the stylist said you absolutely needed. The KitchenAid mixer that seemed like a great wedding gift. I KNOW THIS BECAUSE I’VE LIVED IT MY DUDES.
For yearrrrrs I’d fill my closet with ‘close enough’ clothes I found on sale. I’d buy any cosmetic that was packaged cleverly or dispensed in a novel way. Oh, what’s that? Spray-on eyeshadow and foam lipstick? Into it. For a huge swath of my life, I bought shit I didn’t need. Like, lots of it.
But one day, after my second Goodwill drop-off in as many weeks, I took a long, hard look at my spending habits and decided things needed to change. I decided to stop buying shit I didn’t need. Of course, these changes didn’t happen overnight. Habit change is hard. But little by little, Target run by Target run, I started spending my money more intentionally. I started to make my spending align with my happiness and my values.
And interestingly enough, I don’t get a lot of happiness out of $17 Target sundresses that fall apart after two washes or a tube of clear lip gloss when I already have five at home!
Without exaggeration, my life changed when I stopped buying shit I didn’t need. And I bet yours will, too.
5 things that happen when you stop buying shit you don’t need
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It’s time for thematic sweaters, egg nog, and the joy of finally giving that perfect gift you’ve had tucked away for three months! It’s also time for holiday card-triggered feelings of inadequacy, credit card debt, and never-ending sugar crashes.
As we head deeper into the holiday season, I wanted remind all of us (myself very much included) of these seven holiday truths.
“Minimalist gift ideas, Sarah? Like a single leaf in a vase? Or one drapey linen shirt? Har har har.”
I can already hear the good-natured eye-rolling, friends. And let me tell you with all the love in my heart I AM NOT HAVING IT.
When I say ‘minimalist gifts’ I’m not saying you spite-give everyone a copy of The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up. I’m not suggesting you give your sister a single polished stone (though honestly that would be so funny.)
To me, a ‘minimalist gift’ is something that
Can be used up
Recycled or composted
Doesn’t require storage or dusting
Minimalist gifts don’t require us to lecture anyone about Consumerism! And Carbon footprints! And Fast Fashion!
I’m not talking about giving people things we WISH they wanted. (No matter how nice the sleeping bag is, I’m never going to like camping, guys.)
Honestly, you could probably give a minimalist gift to every blessed person on your list! No matter who you’re giving gifts to, there’s probably a way for you to give them something happy-making and life-improving that’s not for sale at Target and won’t end up in a landfill.
11 Minimalist Gift Ideas That Add To Happiness, Not Clutter(more…)
I’m at a dinner party, sitting between two very nice people I just met.
The man to my left is a financial planner and the woman to my right is asking him about retirement, investments, etc.
“I mean, I know I’ve got to get it together,” she nods over pasta. “I know I should be maxing out my 401k and all that. I probably wouldn’t need help with my retirement if I’d just unsubscribe from the J. Crew newsletter.” She laughs self-consciously and takes a sip of red wine.
“I’d be happy to help,” Financial Planner Man says, and smoothly hands over his business card.
Reader, it was all I could do not to slap that card out of his hand and yell “YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG YOU’RE NOT GOING TO HELP HER YOU’RE TREATING SYMPTOMS NOT THE CAUSE!!!”
But, uh, that’s not polite dinner party behavior?
A bit of real talk: 99% of the money advice starts in the wrong place.
It treats a symptom (living with debt, spending too much) without addressing the cause (buying things to keep up with our friends, shopping when we’re tired/overwhelmed.)
Here’s the truth:
You’re not going to have any money to invest if you keep shopping instead of feeling your feelings.
You won’t have any money for the down payment on a house if you keep buying shit you don’t really like because you don’t understand what ACTUALLY makes you happy.
You won’t be able to open your bank account and feel calm + proud if you don’t understand which purchases bring you joy and which ones bring you regret.
If we don’t understand what makes us happy + why we spend the way we do, a budget is just moving numbers around on a page.
Put Your Money Where Your Happy Isaddresses allllll this. We get to the root of what makes you happy, see if it’s actually reflected in your spending, and if it’s not, I teach you how to change that.
Without deprivation, shame, guilt, or cutting the cable.
Of course, I’d love it if you joined us inside PYMWYHI, but even if you don’t I hope you remember this: