Recently, we concluded a Financial Peace University group in Mansfield, TX. It was a wonderful gathering of people who laughed at the weird things we’ve all done at money, cried together over losses, expressed our bewilderment at changes during the nine weeks, and thought about all that we can accomplish if we’ll just make a plan, on paper, according to our deepest held values. We decided to celebrate the conclusion with a big beautiful cake and garage sale. Who wouldn’t want to make some quick cash while accomplishing other goals?
Our minds opened to new possibilities. Our hearts grew lighter as hope buoyed them. Our lives were busy before, and they continue to be – but the key difference is we feel like we’re moving towards something good. Something that was just a wild dream before could become a reality with some disciplined work. We know what to expect from the process of managing our financial resources better, and from ourselves (and tendencies) as we work to stabilize our financial situations.
For some of us, stabilizing our financial situation was putting our debts to paper and getting mad. We paid off several small credit cards and disposed of them. We’re not “over our mad”! We ARE putting that angry energy to good use by getting over our mountains of debt and getting debt-payment free. How incredible would it be to put the money you might be paying towards debt into a wealth building account?
For others of us, stabilizing our financial situation was being sure of our household budget as we prepare for retirement in the next 1 – 5 years. We knew something about mutual funds and retirement accounts, but putting together the pieces of information into a cohesive whole was invaluable. Retirement to us means working when we want to, at what we want to do, for a “wage” that satisfies us deeply. It felt a little strange to exercise our “optimism muscles” and dream again after having spent so much of our adult lifetime doing what it takes to put food on the table. What would you do with all your time and talents if you were financially independent?
For a few, stabilizing our finances was having that hard conversation with a spouse about a habit (or three) and how we wanted to work that into our future without putting our family at risk. The habits didn’t have to stop, necessarily, they just needed to be considered within the context of our entire life – rather than compartmentalized. Talking through a budget may be a short time of “heated fellowship” between spouses, but it should not be World War 3. How awesome would it be to be able to TALK about money with your spouse, rather than fight?
We now have joined an elite group of people willing to put in the time and effort to become more financially literate. It just made sense that having a garage sale would be the capstone to our group’s formal association. As a group, we earned several hundred dollars at the garage sale which then could be put towards our family’s financial goals.
Having a garage sale allowed us to de-clutter our homes and be a blessing to others looking for some sweet deals on household items, clothing, tools, musical instruments, collector items and other “treasures” that were living rent-free in our homes. Now those sale items that were “junk” to us, are “treasures” to other families and households and classrooms.
We spent a lot of time talking about and thinking through how to have a successful multi-family garage sale. If you would like the organizing document that Julia put together, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re going to follow this garage sale conversation thread. What might you add to our conversation?