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Cozy winter movie nights with WinCo pizza and Coca-Cola®

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, INC. and The Coca-Cola Company, all opinions are mine alone. #WinCoPizzaNight #CollectiveBias

Is it just me, or does it seem like the days go by faster once the sun starts setting earlier? Suddenly it’s “night time” at 4 pm and it’s hard for me to want to do ANYTHING once the sun goes down.

Pair that with being a newlywed whose husband takes on an overtime project and making dinner when he gets home + eating it + cleaning up after dinner is LITERALLY followed by pajamas and bed. Y’all, that has been our glamorous life. When people ask how married life is going for us we’re like IDK we really don’t see each other that often.

Luckily, we make time to try and get time to slow down. We’ve adjusted our language from not “having time” to not “making time,” because we have as many hours in the day as Beyonce, according to Pinterest. Anyway!

On my 101 in 1001 list is a goal to watch a bunch of movies Justen wants me to watch, one of them being A Christmas Story! We made time by picking up a WinCo pizza and Coca-Cola® (for him) and a Diet Coke (for me)!  Really, is there any better way to pair pizza than with Coca-Cola?!

WinCo (follow them on Facebook and Pinterest!) is an employee-owned company with consistently low prices. Their Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat (ilovewinco) are full of behind the scenes and employee stories, which I LOVE. They limit their advertising, which helps them pass that savings on to their customers! Cozy nights in that don’t break the bank? Double win. The cozy night savings go even further. Save $1 when you buy any WinCo Pizza and (2) 2-Liter Coca-Cola Beverages (in-store coupon offer Ends 2/28/18)! We picked up a take and bake pizza at the deli and grabbed our Coca-Cola on our way to check out.

We popped in the pizza, got on our pajamas and queued up A Christmas Story. The pizza was done just in time, and thanks to our festive paper plates + cups, there were ZERO dishes to do afterwards! Which meant that we got to spend the rest of the night all cozied up, watching the movie.



Here’s the thing, y’all. It’s not about not having time. It’s not that we don’t have enough time to make memories or spend quality time or pause life, it’s that we don’t MAKE time to do those things.

If you live near a WinCo (check their site for store locations), pick up one of their deli pizzas (you can even get them HOT and READY TO GO!) grab a bottle of Coca-Cola and make time to have a night with someone you love.

Also – if you had a list of MUST WATCH movies for your spouse or best friend, what would be on them?

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November 2017 Debt Repayment Recap

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I AM SO EXCITED TO POST THIS! I feel like I’ve waited for EVER to get back to my monthly debt repayment posts! I started my debt-free journey 2.5 years ago, and this is the first month that it’s been done as a team with Justen. We’re learning how to budget and have chosen to be a little light on our debt repayment right now because we’ve had to get a few more things for our apartment (like a printer and a Christmas tree!) and didn’t want to be tempted to put any Christmas gifts on a credit card.

All of that considered, we dropped our debt by 4% this month – we paid roughly double the minimum payments. We’re doing this in true snowball fashion so we paid off our smallest debt, the rings and then moved on to the Disney card. We creeped up on paying off half of the Disney card! Unfortunately,  our Southwest card also creeped up a little bit because there are some recurring payments that are processed there and since we were focused on the Disney card, they didn’t get paid off immediately. That’s the danger of putting those things on a card! Once we have a $0 balance on our cards that will be easier to manage.

I’m really excited to pay off Justen’s car. Having my personal debt repayment journey be $1000 credit card and then a $15,000 car payment was daunting because it’s hard to feel the power of a snowball with a debt that big, but now we have one right in the middle of the two! Plus Justen’s interest on that is BRUTAL. The minimum payment of his car would nearly double the payment on mine, so by the time we get to my car we will have 1. a smaller hole and 2. a much bigger shovel.

To see the plan we’re using at a glance, check out this post I wrote about Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover

You know what feels SO GOOD, though? Having $0 to pay on our wedding. We do have some of the honeymoon reflected on these cards but it’s not going to linger with us very long.

 

Rings: $416.39 $0 {-100%}
Disney card: $984.24 588.48 {-40.20%}
Southwest Card: $1,012.89 1,229.35 {+21.37}
Justen’s Car: $6,533.46 6356.62 {-2.70%}
Stephanie’s Car: $14,820 14,595.50 {-1.514}

Total Debt:  $23,766.98 $22,769.95 {-4.19%}

 

Okay so here’s a question for y’all! Do you ever get overwhelmed with Christmas spending? Does it kind of creep up on you or do you enter into the season with a plan of what you’re getting and how much you’ll be spending?

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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: How to list on Poshmark

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! 

 How to list on Poshmark

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 😉 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.

@alvictoria's Poshmark Closet

 

@sydneyodelia

Sydney does a BEAUTIFUL job with flat lays!

@sydneyodelia's Poshmark Closet

 

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.

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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. 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. Here’s the way we’ve done that:

ONE // VISTAPRINT

We decided to go with Vistaprint. 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 and 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 grainy 

FOUR // HAND DELIVER

Since owning an owl to deliver mail has yet to become a thing in muggle world, 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. 😀

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