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Debt Repayment Recap 2.0 – The Beginning

Oh. my. gosh.
Y’all, it feels SO GOOD to be able to start blogging about my Debt Repayment journey again. It’s been a huge theme in my life for the past 2 years, and as we’ve been cash flowing our wedding, aggressively paying off my debt has been on the back burner.

and now I AM MARRIED (omg what) and it’s time to get going on my our debt snowball. There is a LOT that has changed since I first started my journey to get out of debt. I’ve become an avid listener of Dave Ramsey, I’ve spent a lot of time talking about finances with people, and more than ever before I can see the Financial Freedom Finish Line way off in the distance.

There is a LOT that has changed since my very last debt repayment post. I now work for myself. It is crazy and scary but so good. I’m now part of my own family unit. Justen and I both moved out of our parents homes into our own apartment.

Right now I’m going to start with two things: the numbers and the WHY. First, the WHY.

WHY are we making a plan to get out of debt? It’s easy to wander into debt, it’s impossible to wander out. I want to be financially free. One day, I want to own a paid-for house so that we can sleep easier at night because our living arrangements are secure and paid for. Eventually, I want to be millionaires. Not because I want a lot of money, but because I want to work hard and live on less than we make and be in a place to be outrageously generous.

The numbers. They’re a little different than before, because now Justen is a part of this as well. We cash flowed our wedding !!!!!! but we did end up with some balances on our credit cards because of hotels, rental cars, etc. The numbers are all smallish, but still too big for me. They’re listed smallest to largest in true debt snowball fashion.

Debt Repayment 2.0 – November 1, 2017

Rings: $416.39
Disney card: $984.24
Southwest Card: $1,012.89
Justen’s Car: $6,533.46
Stephanie’s Car: $14,820

Total Debt: $23,766.98

That’s it. That’s the snowball. That’s what we need to plow through before we can start saving money to buy a house. Justen and I are figuring out the whole budgeting thing, but as we start to get our feet underneath us I’ll share more details about the money and how we’re snowballing and what that looks like. For now I’m just SO EXCITED to start throwing all the dollars at this debt and getting our head above water.

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The Poshmark Series: Listing on Poshmark

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Welcome to the third installment of The Poshmark Series, where I’m walking y’all through how to make some moolah on Poshmark. You can read the intro post here, and you can read about why I choose Poshmark over other selling platforms in this post here.

Check out my closet here, and sign up for Poshmark here with my code BWCTE for $5 credit towards your first purchase!Β 

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything in The Poshmark Series, but the more I talk to my friends about Poshmark, the more I realize how valuable my Poshmark knowledge is!

Last time I covered why I choose Poshmark over other selling platforms and today I’m going to walk you through one of the most important parts of Poshmark: listing your items to sell!

Let’s break this whole listing thing down into easy steps. Listing on Poshmark is actually pretty easy once you get the hang of it. I’m going to be really thorough, so stick with me, y’all! This is how I list.

ONE: GATHER ALL ITEMS TO LIST

Whether you’re attempting to earn a full-time income or just cleaning out your closet, you should first gather everything you want to list. For me, that doesn’t mean ALL of my unlisted inventory (or death pile as resellers call it), it just means what I want to get through in that listing session. I find that it’s best for me to get into a groove, so I’ll grab a pile of usually 20-25 items and bring them to where I’ll be photographing. Unfold them all and lay them flat on each other. It’s one less thing you have to do in the groove.

If you have items that desperately need to be ironed or steamed, this is when you should do that. You can get a steamer for around $20 but you probably already have an iron. Irons just stress me out πŸ˜‰ Once you start listing on Poshmark, it’s good to have everything photo-ready.

TWO: SET UP YOUR PHOTOS

If you look through my Poshmark closet, you’ll notice that I have a BUNCH of different photo layouts. Some were on a fuzzy blanket, some were on a white bedspread, some are hanging, some are on a white rug with a wood floor, and some are a white rug with a yellow rug behind it. I’m still figuring out the best way (for me) to take photos. I like hanging them, but I also don’t have the space to do that consistently. Find what works the very best for you, and get the area all set up. Move away any furniture or decor that gets in the way. Here are some of my favorite Posh closets for some inspiration for listing on Poshmark:

@alvictoria

I love her gold speckled wallpaper. It’s unique but still really classy + girly. Her flatlays for shoes + bags is really nicely done, as well.

 

@sydneyodelia

Sydney does a BEAUTIFUL job with flat lays!

 

Here’s what you’re looking for with your location for photos: LIGHT! Lots of natural light. Try to find or create a bright, clutter free space for your photos, regardless of if you’re hanging them or flat laying them. If you’re unable to find any natural light, you could invest in a lighting kit. That’s the next step for me, so that I can take photos that are bright and airy regardless of what is or isn’t coming through my window.

THREE: PHOTOGRAPH

For the first few months I only used the Poshmark app for taking photos, and now that I’ve stepped away from that I highly recommend taking photos with your camera app. For whatever reason, Poshmark doesn’t let you edit the orientation of your photos and sometimes the photos take sideways and you have to keep retaking them. By taking them with your camera app you can easily edit them, regardless of their orientation.

At a MINIMUM, I take 3 photos of each item: full-length front, close up of tag/size, full-length back. If there are any cute details (embroidery, ruffles, lace, beading, etc) I always include a close up of that as well.

If there is ANY damage to the item, take a photo of it. Snags, wear, tiny holes or stains. You can still sell the item damaged, but you need to disclose any and all wear. Photos make sure the buyer knows exactly what they’re getting.

Go through the pile, photographing each item. Once you’re done with that, it’s time to move on to actual listing.

FOUR: OPEN AND LIST ON POSHMARK

Since I’ve started selling on Poshmark, they’ve enabled web-based listing. My computer is always really slow and on the verge of freezing or crashing so I’ve chosen not to list with my computer. If you decide to list on your computer, go to Poshmark.com and go to the top right of the dashboard and you’ll see a the words $ SELL ON POSHMARK. Click that and you’ll go to the new listing page. You’ll have the opportunity to upload up to 8 photos, add a description, select the size/color/brand and set your price.

On the app it’s very similar. Once you open the app, there’s a camera with the word “Sell” underneath located in the middle of the bottom of the screen. Click that and you’ll be at the app-version of the new listing page. You can upload photos, add the description/size/color/brand and set the price.

Something you need to know about pricing: DO NOT list for the lowest you’d be willing to take the item for. I used to list items at $7-8 each and would get so frustrated when people would offer me $3 (I’d make $0.05 off of that!) So I started listing things at a higher price to accommodate offers. I’ll share more about offers in a later post, but for now make sure you pick a reasonable price that allows wiggle room for people to offer lower.

For what it’s worth, I usually turn on Netflix (click here for some of my recommendations!), sit next to the pile of photographed items, and then list them. When I’ve listed an item, I put it on the other side of me. At some point I look like I’m sitting on a throne of clothes.

FIVE: PUT YOUR ITEMS IN A PLACE YOU’LL REMEMBER

Just today I had to contact a buyer because I couldn’t find this one pair of shoes she purchased. I’ve seen them, I know I have. But I cannot for the life of me FIND THEM. Make sure you keep them in a box or a bag or a special place in your closet. I’ve refined my inventory system, and I’ll share that soon! Keep everything together so you’ll know exactly where to go when you need to ship them.

Some helpful tips when it comes to listing on Poshmark:

  • Always disclose any damage or flaws to the item, both in writing and in pictures.
  • Make sure you always take pictures of brand and size labels and other details that make the item appealing.
  • Use natural light whenever you can!
  • Always fill out the brand in your listing. A lot of people search for brands!
  • Share to Pinterest! You have the option of sharing to a variety of social media platforms, but I think Pinterest is the best option – often times when I’m searching for something, what I’m really seeing is a Poshmark listing via Pinterest!
  • Don’t list your item for the lowest price you want to take. Give it some wiggle room.

Sorry it’s taken me so long to keep this going, but I’m really glad I’ve waited. In the past 4 months my knowledge of Poshmark has probably doubled and I’m glad I can share all of this with you!

My last post will be answering questions my friends have asked me, so if you have a question about Poshmark drop me a comment!

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Five Friday Faves | Pocket Change | July 14, 2017

If you know me I am down with the free pocket change. It adds up. There are entire websites dedicated to how to earn pennies (LITERALLY The Penny Hoarder) but seriously who has time to go through and try all of their suggestions (Justen Martian often tries stuff he reads on there LOL)?

I’ve spent time looking at a lot of “earn money by doing this” apps/sites/etc, and I’ve compiled my five favorite ones that require very little effort and whose rewards I’ve benefitted from.

001. SWAGBUCKS {site + app}

Swagbucks is my first “earn free gift cards” love. I just added up how much I’ve earned from Swagbucks in the 7ish years I’ve been a member and… get ready for this… I’ve earned $425 in PayPal cash and/or gift cards. WHAT! That’s SO MUCH MONEY. Swagbucks is pretty easy: you search + earn points. You can take surveys, daily polls and even link your debit card to earn money at connected retailers. I haven’t been using it as much recently (so dumb of me) but it’s seriously my favorite way to make money doing something I’d be doing anyway (searching the internet)

002. EBATES {site + app}

I first started noticing Ebates on Mattie’s budget recaps. She had money she was earning for shopping online and I was kind of mind-blown. Swagbucks offers Swagbucks for shopping, but this was like real money with no real threshold and I was intrigued. I really started using it last fall and since then, I’ve made $170.40 just by installing the Ebates button on Safari and clicking it before I check out on any site. I LOVE that you earn 7% back when you shop on iTunes – before I buy anything on iTunes, I go to the Ebates app, click through and then enjoy getting some change back just for buying music I was going to buy anyway!

003. SHOPKICK {app}

Last week I was at the store and took the twins on a scavenger hunt to find things and scan them. They had fun and I earned points to redeem for a gift card. So far I’ve earned $65 in free gift cards simply by opening the app when I’m wandering around the mall (you get kicks just for walking in to certain stores!) and scanning things. Often when we’re at Target and I’m looking at stuff, Justen will take my phone and go get some kicks for me.

004. SEASHELLS {site}

Okay Seashells is pretty brilliant. You buy gift cards online and you receive cash back for them. Want to know the best part? Some of them stack! For example, when I need to buy new ink for my printer, I buy a $40 Staples gift card. Then I go to staples.com and activate Ebates. I choose to pick them up in the store, saving on shipping, and then I’ve received cash back for the gift card AND cash back for Ebates. They have Amazon, iTunes (stacking potential there!), Chipotle (omg praise hands), Red Robin, Regal Cinemas, Home Depot, Walmart and Uber… to name a few. If you join using my code (mw1llubX), you’ll get $5!

005. RECEIPTPAL {app}

Last Justen checked, ReceiptPal isn’t accepting new members. He uses something similar, ReceiptHog. I love ReceiptPal because all I have to do is scan receipts and I earn points to be redeemed for Gift Cards. I recently connected my e-mail address so I automatically get points for any receipts that come to my e-mail inbox – including my Poshmark sales! That is AMAZING, because I’m earning money for gift cards just by making money! I love it so much.

There are tons and tons of ways to earn some pocket change online (that’s what I love to call these apps/sites because do you KNOW the power of saving your change for a year and then cashing it out for $110 unexpected dollars? it’s so exciting!), but these are my 5 favorite that have consistently paid out.

Have you signed up for any of these or am I missing some other great way you’re collecting pocket change?! Let me know in the comments!

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How we saved money on our wedding invitations

I love weddings. Actually. I LOOOOVE weddings. Prior to Pinterest, I bought wedding magazines regularly because I loved looking at all of the beautiful things.Β In my mind, my wedding would be big and elegant and fancy but somewhere along the way my dreams for my own wedding departed the land of fairytale romance and landed in the realm of frugal reality.

Once we locked in our wedding date, I immediately went online to find wedding invitations. We found some really beautiful ones that totally go with the theme of our wedding. I was so excited about them… until I realized that they were like $1.75 EACH at the cheapest. A huge part of how we’re doing our wedding is that we want to invite EVERYONE, and thinking about sending 500 invitations at $1.75 each… that’s $875! Then I thought, “I’ll just design our own wedding invitations!” and that lasted for about 1.5 hours before I realized I’m actually too lazy to do that.

Cheap Wedding invitations, DIY Wedding invitations // stephanieorefice.net

That’s when we decided to order them and go about it in the most inexpensive way possible.Β Here’s the way we’ve done that:

ONE // VISTAPRINT

We decided to go with Vistaprint.Β They always have sales and coupon codes plus we were able to combine it with Ebates and get cash back for our purchase. Their site has a bunch of different invitation designs that would fit a variety of themes, and their bulk prices are really reasonable. If you’re frugal and way less lazy than I am, you can even upload your own designs and they’ll print them. After the 30% off code, we paid $0.46 per printed invitation (they came with envelopes!). We ordered matching return labels, which were $13.38 for 280 (or $.05 each). Total = $.51 per invitation.

TWO // NO SUITE

While the part of me that LOVES receiving mail really wanted RSVP cards, the part of me that LOVES saving money really didn’t want to buy them, so we didn’t. We didn’t include any of the “suite” ideas – RSVP cards, ceremony details, etc. Instead we decided to utilize the back side of the invitation and filled it with those details. We added an RSVP page to justenandstephanie.com (Justen built it – I love it!) and said you could rsvp there or to either of us. The back also has our ceremony and registry information. Boom. One piece of paper.

THREE // ADD YOUR OWN SPECIAL TOUCH

Once we received the invitations, I spent days staring at them and actually wishing they were a little more fancy. They had printed glitter, but no real glitter or shiny gold or anything that made them feel personal. After receiving multiple clear messages that I should not fill each envelope with glitter, I realized I could maybe somehow add a bag of glitter. I looked everywhere for clear envelopes of some sort. They were all too expensive. I carried an invitation in my purse and went into store after store holding it up to treat bags of various sizes and trying to find SOMETHING so that I wouldn’t have to resort to the Pinterest pins I’d seen about making your own envelopes using wax paper because I AM JUST SO LAZY!

Then one day at Party City, I found the perfect size Wilton treat bags and bought a couple hundred. Then I embarked on the journey of finding the stuff to fill the bags with. Did you realize that finding a bulk bag of gold confetti glitter mix isn’t really easy? I finally caved and ordered thousands of sequins from some sequins supplier and then some tissue paper holes from Amazon andΒ sat around and waited. While I was waiting, I discovered a bunch of Target Easter grass, paid $1.69/lb for some and then went home to experiment. I had a random jar of chunky gold glitter, which I then supplemented with more gold glitter and sequins from Target. If you’re doing the math, yes I have way more loose sequins than I can even figure out what to do with.

Thanks to binge watching Are You The One? (don’t get started on my taste in classy television) I was able to sit down and spend HOURS cutting up easter grass and sprinkling that, glitter + sequins into little treat bags, folding them and taping them and then taping them to the top of the invitations with washi tape.

sorry that ones so grainyΒ 

FOUR // HAND DELIVER

Since owning an owl to deliver mail has yet to become a thing in muggle world,Β and stamps can add up quickly, we’re hand delivering as many invitations as possible. My dad will get all of the invitations for my stepfamily, my mom will keep the ones from her friends, and we’ll make sure to keep the invitations with us when we see people. Stamps add up.

Now that the invitations are starting to be delivered people, it’s starting to become so real. We’re going to promise in front of our friends and family to choose each other every single day, and then we’re going to have a party! I’m excited to continue sharing with you ways we’re saving money on our wedding. πŸ˜€

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April 2017 Savings Update

In March I saved $1,000 towards our wedding. I realized that I’m actually attempting to cashflow TWO things – one is a wedding and the other is a trip to and from Nashville, where I’ll be spending the summer.

April savings update // stephanieorefice.net

April Savings Goals
Starting: $1,250
Goal: $750
Actual save: $850 (113% of my monthly goal completed)
Total Saved since March: $2,150.04 (43% of my overall goal completed) (that .04 is massive amounts of interest being paid by my bank)

May is going to be hard. I’m only working two weeks in May… AND I need to spend some money at the dentist, and I need to make my car payment, and I need to travel to Nashville. As much as this sucks, I may need to pause my savingsΒ for the month in order to fund those things. I’m going to use the extra I paid this month to offset my goal for next month. Instead of a goal of $750 for May, I’m going to work. my. butt. off. to save $600 in addition to the aforementioned expenses.

Wish me luck… I literally have no idea how I’m going to do all of this!…any suggestions?!

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The Poshmark Series: Poshmark vs. other options

Welcome to the second installment of The Poshmark Series, where I’m walking y’all through how to make some moolah on Poshmark. You can read the intro post here, or you can keep scrolling to find out why I recommend Poshmark over other reselling options.

Check out my closet here, and sign up for Poshmark here with my code BWCTE for $5 credit towards your first purchase!Β 

How Poshmark compares to other selling platforms // stephanieorefice.net

Poshmark VS. ThredUp

ThredUp is an online consignment store. They send you a big bag, you shove it full of high-quality name brand items and send it in. Prior to them sorting the bag you can pay a fee to have anything they won’t accept returned to you, or you could forgo that expense and they’ll discard the unaccepted clothing. They take the shipping charge off of what your bag is worth and then they give you a ThredUp balance of that amount. After two weeks or so you can redeem it for a visa gift card sent via the mail. The waiting period is probably in hopes that you’ll choose instead to spend it on their site.

ThredUp is better than Poshmark if you have piles of clothing you’re on the verge of donating and making $0. If you have a bunch of clothes you want out of your house ASAP, then ThredUp is the best option for you. You can join with my link and receive off your first purchase.

Poshmark is better than ThredUp if you are wanting to have control of the money you make and you have the time/space to dedicate to clothes you’re waiting to sell. Your items may not sell immediately, but you get to choose the price and you get to control how low you’re willing to sell them.

Here’s why I choose Poshmark over ThredUp: I once found a pair of Athleta leggings at the bins. I only paid 75 cents or so for them. They weren’t in my size, but I thought they were a pretty good find. This was pre-Poshmark for me, so I sent them to ThredUp expecting to make some good money off of it. They gave me $4ish dollars for the leggings, and within 24 hours they had sold them for $54. No. Thank. You.

Poshmark VS. eBay

I have been selling my old Victoria’s Secret PINK sweatpants on eBay since… well, forever. Most of my sweats came from various thrift stores, so I tend to acquire overflowing drawers full, then I’ll sell a bunch and then re-fill the drawers. Most people know how eBay works, but here’s an overview just in case. You can list your item to sell or auction and it’s seen by a lot of people. Buyers can bid and outbid and they have a bit of a choice over how much they’re willing to pay. You, of course, can set the startingΒ bid or buy it now price.

Where ThredUp is the middle man between buyers and sellers, eBay is less so. You are in charge of determining shipping costs and deciding which shipping method to use and invoicing the buyer, unless you have a set shipping fee.

eBay is better than Poshmark if you want to sell a variety of items. Poshmark is strictly clothing, shoes, accessories & NWT makeup items. If you have lotions, trinkets, etc. eBay is your way to go. It also is more widely known, so your potential audience is much greater.

Poshmark is better than eBay if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of shipping. I’ll talk about this more in a later post, but they charge a flat shipping rate of $6.95 for 2-3 day delivery up to 5 lbs. The buyer automatically pays the shipping cost and your only hassle is making sure you have the correct packaging.

Here’s why I choose Poshmark over eBay: There were a pair of NWT Old Navy jeans that had been sitting in my Poshmark closet, unsold. I’d picked them up at the Bins and I decided I just wanted them gone.Β Shipping is confusing, and even though I’d weighed the jeans beforehand when I went to buy the postage, I ended up paying almost exactly what the buyer had sent me to cover the whole transaction – meaning I sent away a brand new pair of jeans and made less than a dollar on them. I’m sure there’s a learning curve, but I’m not down to lose a bunch of money while I figure it out.

Poshmark vs Vinted, Mercari, other clothes reselling sites/apps

Vinted is similar to Poshmark, but online. They have forums and encourage a lot of user engagement. There’s just not a huge buyer audience there. There’s a reason you won’t find a J. Crew store in a little Main Street shop in the middle of nowhere. If you’re selling a product you want people to buy, you should probably sell it where the buyers are. This is why so many big name stores have been closing lately. The buyers are not walking into their doors, the buyers are shopping online.

As for the other reselling sites and apps, I just don’t have time to manage that. Cross posting, making sure the inventories are accurate.. I just have not the time. Instead of spreading my energy thin by learning a zillion different selling tools, I’ve chosen to focus on ONE: Poshmark. If you want to learn more, here is a post about selling on Mercari and here is one about selling on Vinted.

So now that I’ve shared with you why I choose to use Poshmark over other platforms, join me next Friday for the next installment in The Poshmark Series, which is going to be all about getting started – the lingo and the basics! As always, hit me up with any questions you may have because the last post in the series is going to be full of YOUR questions!

 

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