[By Samantha Fraley]
My baby’s first Christmas tree and her "new" set of wheels (in the background) is from Goodwill. Could I have bought everything new? Sure. I have enough credit - I'd just pay it off later. But that’s not how I operate anymore.
For a long time, I craved all things new. New clothes, new cars, new furniture. I became financially reckless. As long as I had the ability to go to work every day as a bartender/server, I knew I would always have money to spend. Then, came along credit cards and boy did I learn my lesson. TIP: say no to your cashier at TJMAXX when asking you to apply for a store credit card. It’s not worth the $15 off your purchase. My credit score plummeted. My stress levels escalated. I could feel depression creeping in, and that was not okay. So, I worked extra hard to pay off my credit card debt and all the interest that came with it (thousands of dollars).
FAST FORWARD TWO YEARS ⏱
I retired from the service industry and therefore was no longer reliant on tips from customers. I now work at a desk, in front of a computer, getting paid by the hour. Paychecks come bi-weekly. I never imagined not having cash in my wallet every night, so this was a huge, but necessary change. I had to choose between getting fuel for my car or picking up a pizza for dinner because I was exhausted and the last thing I wanted to do was cook dinner (w/ food in the fridge wasting away) … privilege, I know. This happened too often, and I almost lured myself back into the restaurant industry for extra 💵 despite knowing the negative toll it took on my mental health.
I’ve got to admit, 👆 that was my lowest moment, and it made me reevaluate my entire mindset. No going back, Samantha, only forward. I thought to myself, how do I become financially stable and stay that way? The answer was clear, yet so hard to make a reality.
I'm about to hit you with the words nobody wants to hear: a lifestyle change.
But what I have realized is you can’t change your lifestyle overnight. There is an entire ✨obstacle course✨ that needs to be attempted & failed at least 3x over until completion. I may not be who I dream to be, yet. But I am determined. I understand the steps I need to take for the journey. Now I must condition myself, and just do it.
Stop spending your money as fast as you make it.
Use the food you buy from the grocery store; do not let it expire.
Delete your shopping apps.
Take care of your belongings.
Read more books; knowledge is power.
Take risks, fail, adjust, & try again.
Learn new skills.
Don’t be afraid of challenges.
Receive less, give more.
Be proud of yourself.
And that, my friends, is why I shop at Goodwill for things such as clothing, toys, household essentials, and DIY projects. I recently discovered all the good that happens when shopping here, like strengthening the local community, supporting my neighbor’s journey of career growth, and reducing my carbon footprint on our planet. To be completely honest, I always thought this place was only for those less fortunate than me, so I avoided it. Let me tell you this: I have never been so excited for the weekly trips to my local Goodwill. Between the mind-blowing #GoodwillFinds, the amazing deals, and their mission to change lives, Goodwill has my business for life.
But the best part of it all? My daughter loves her Christmas tree and her set of wheels just as much as she would if purchased new. As she grows into a person with her own ideas and experiences, I’m never going to stop shopping at Goodwill for her. She will be humble and kind with a unique sense of style. She will be thoughtful and principled with a caring heart. She will be open-minded, balanced, and most importantly, she will be a decent human being who will inspire the world. Not only am I on the road to a new lifestyle of financial maturity and sustainable habits, but I am also paving the way for my child(ren) so they have the tools to successfully navigate this ambiguous life.
Moral of the story: Buy your kids the used Christmas tree. 🎄