Day 5, Money Challenge #1: $500 in 31 days

It really pays to spend a couple hours listing stuff over the weekend. Day 5 is already here and I just made the most I’ve gotten in a single day so far: $25! I sold the gross grill!

My money bag looks so much less pathetic.



The only annoying thing about selling on Craiglist is the rush of anxiety about texting total strangers directions to my house. But so far, it’s been worth the $50 I’ve made in less than a week.

We’ll see how long this Craigslist luck lasts. At the rate I’m going, it’s going to take 47 days to reach my goal. Time to step it up…

Day 5

Today’s gain: $25

Total amount accrued: $52.71

Left for the win: $447.29

Day 4 of Money Challenge #1: $500 in 31 days

I sold the picnic basket I listed on Craigslist! That’s $15 more toward my goal. 

Plus last night I freaked out when I only made .53 cents and summoned energy from within to stay up late to list a dress and a skirt on ebay. I’m beginning to realize how much I’ll have to stay on top of listing stuff if I’m going to meet my goal. It’s probably time to look into additional money making possibilities…

But today, my money bag is $15 richer!

Day 4

Today’s gain: $15

Total amount accrued: $27.71

Left for the win: $472.29

Day 3 of Money Challenge #1, Part 2

To avoid breaking the chain of accruing cash to aid in my $500 goal, I kind of turned my dresser upside down to try to find loose change. And I looked on top of the washing machine. 

Together, my ventures provided me this modest loot: 



$0.53………I’m rollin’ in it. But at least i didn’t break the chain! Day 3 has some money buried in it after all!

Bonus for the foreign currency I found in my dresser: 



An Indian rupee….somehow in my dresser. A French franc….somehow in my dresser. And two small Canadian coins that fell out of a vending machine at my work. Look at me, I’m cultured!

Day 3…….oh my this is sad.

Today’s gain: $0.53

Total amount accrued: $12.71

Left for the win: $487.29

Day 3 of Money Challenge #1: $500 in 31 days

I’ve always been a big believer in the high probability of jinxing oneself. And I seem to have done it again. I have 5 listings floating in the big sea of Craigslist and no one’s biting!

Selling stuff online can take time. But dammit I don’t want to lose my money streak!

Scanning my brain when I got home from work for some “fast cash” possibilities, I remembered this ole’ girl:


Psst! It’s a piggy bank! The Beard and I used to make bets on random things for $1 and put it in the piggy bank, which we called The Vacation Fund. Example: “I bet you don’t know that actor’s name?” “Of course, I do! That’s Jeff Goldrush!” “Wrong! It’s Jeff GoldBLUM. Put a dollar in The Vacation Fund.”

But we kind of forgot about it. Or at least I did. Until today!

And just as I was humming “Sweet Mystery of Life” and getting ready to open the piggy bank and count up the goodness for my challenge, The Beard walked in. I had told him about the challenge yesterday and I explained the rules.

“Isn’t a piggy bank like a savings account?” He asked. “And can’t the $500 not come from any savings account you have?”  I started to make the argument that a piggy bank is not an actual savings account and it’s just forgotten money lying around like coins in the couch cushions but then I realized how desperate I sounded. Of course a piggy bank is a savings account. It may be a primitive depression-era type savings account only seriously utilized by 7 year olds and 70 year olds alike, but it’s a savings account nonetheless.

Herumph! Got me on a technicality.

Unless some sweet angel responds to my Craigslist postings with some cash in hand within the next 2 hours, Day 3 might prove fruitless.

Day 2 of Money Challenge #1: $500 in 31 days

After a blast of Spring weather yesterday, today is back to cold and dreary Winter. This made me very productive in listing stuff to sell on Craigslist while watching a marathon of the show Community.

In the last 24 hours, I’ve listed the following items on Craigslist: 

  • gross BBQ grill (see post from yesterday)
  • media shelf that’s been sitting in the garage ever since The Beard (my husband) and I downsized our dvd collection.
  • a pair of candelabras that I have no idea why I own or how i got.
  • a set of very heavy cast iron window weights from our bathroom remodel because I’m an optimist.
  • an 8 jigsaw puzzle pack that I got as a gift and never opened.
  • a picnic basket with wine and cheese accessories that I’ve had for years but have never used.

I listed stuff for cheap with the aim to sell and get rid of it.

….And it’s working!!! 

I made ten buckaroos this morning!



That’s right. I got so excited about it that I decorated a special “money bag” to store my Money Challenge loot!

Now I keep refreshing my e-mail to see if I have any other buyers. Selling stuff is strangely addicting.

Day 2

Today’s gain: $10

Total amount accrued: $12.18

Left for the win: $487.82

Temporarily Embarrassed Millionaires

I am poor. I work around poor people. I live in a neighborhood filled with poor people. There are poor people at the grocery store shopping around me and when I commute to work, it’s poor people driving in the cars beside me.

But they don’t know they’re poor.

They may know that their checking account is low right now or say “times are tough right now because of the economy, job market, inflation, etc.”

But it’s just “right now.” Not always. It’s temporary…

They say, “When I win the lottery….” or “Well, when I make my millions….” and “I’ll be able to pay this off when I get that book deal, earn that degree, open that business, score that better job, get famous, etc.”

It’s a special kind of insanity that plagues many people when they find themselves consistently using the twisted logic of “let me buy this NOW because I’ve decided things will be different LATER.”

They seem to avoid acknowledging their actual present lot in life. They surround themselves with things to prove to themselves that they’re not poor. “I can’t be poor if I drive this nice car and shop at the expensive boutiques and eat gourmet. I can’t possibly be poor since I have this big house, these rich friends, and I take vacations abroad.”

Never mind the credit card debt or the student loans or the mortgage loan or the car payments. You can lay it all out for them and show them the numbers and they’ll still ignore it. They live their lives in complete denial. They fuel their denial by making excuses and turning their nose up at “poor people stuff” like budgets, frugality, and doing without.

In their eyes, they are not poor. They are temporarily embarrassed millionaires.

Sound depressing? It’s because it is. Denial and ignorance are incredibly depressing. Why do so many choose to live in a false reality they construct from excuses and denial?

Because they don’t know HOW to be poor.

And let’s be honest. It’s terrifying to admit or realize that you are something that you don’t know how to be! It’s far more comforting to revert back to the habits that reinforce not the reality but the possibilities. Why live in reality when you can easily live in a dream?

The first step to solving a problem is acknowledging that there is a problem. Most people don’t make it past this step. They may acknowledge the problem when they see their balances owed on their statements. But when they’re in the store or out with friends or dreaming of a new car or a new travel destination, they stop acknowledging the problem.

Being poor is not depressing. Denial of being poor is depressing. Being impoverished is scary. But being poor is quite manageable……if you know how to be poor.

I am not a temporarily embarrassed millionaire and I work hard to avoid the mindset. I am poor. And I live my life with the intent of being poor in the best way. This is not a blog on how to get rich, it’s a blog on how to be poor.

I am not an expert. I’m just trying to figure this out and document the journey. Feeling motivated? Me, too.

Day 1 of Money Challenge, Part 2


I own a very gross grill. My mother in law bought it a few years ago, used it often, cleaned it not so often, and left it exposed to the elements. It somehow ended up in our backyard last summer. Image


It’s been an eyesore for a minute, now.


Come on now. That’s nasty….


Finally, with the new money challenge, I felt motivated enough to list it on Craigslist. For $25 to some brave fixer upper person who might want to get it back on its feet. Goodness knows I don’t have the energy for that kind of stuff.

Now if I could just find a buyer…

A nice unexpected side effect of launching a money challenge seems to be the surge of motivation to do unwanted tasks. Hooray!

Day 1 of Money Challenge #1: $500 in 31 days

While I’m excited by this challenge and incredibly motivated to win it and meet the $500 goal, let’s be honest. It’s a Saturday and I have a whole month ahead of me to come up with the cash. So I sat back and looked at obvious places to gather extra money.

For guys, their pockets and dressers probably have some hidden change lurking around. For a gal like me, it’s this beast:


No, not the actual beast photo bombing the background. Her name is Zelda and she’s a walking money pit in her own right, but I love her. I’m talking about the purse.

I haven’t cleaned it out in ages. Who knows what might be hidden inside…


Dear lord, it’s worse than I thought. I’m beginning to understand why my husband calls it a trash bag. No turning back now. Time to unpack it to find the gold.


Well this is just embarrassing. A million pens that seem to disappear whenever I need one, a roll of plastic doggy poop disposal bags, and four leftover peanut butter cookies wrapped in saran wrap that I forgot I brought home from the office….


Ah, there it is. Amongst cough drop wrappers and binder clips. And a random rabies vaccine cat tag from 2012. Life is funny like this.


Behold the GOLD!


So shiny, so pretty. $2.18 closer to my goal. And I didn’t even have to get up from my seat.

Day 1

Amount accrued: $2.18

Left for the win: $497.82

Money Challenge #1: $500 in 31 days

In lieu of an introductory post outlying the intents of this blog, I’m just going to dive into a challenge that’s been on my mind: Somehow accrue $500 EXTRA in 31 days. This means that by the end of 31 days, I need to have $500 in my savings account that was either earned or found during the 31 days timeframe outside of my day job earnings. I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to get an average of $16.12 per day. I’d have to find a lot of pennies on the ground…..

Right, let’s get to it. Laying the ground rules of Money Challenge #1:

Rule #1: As of this moment, I have $37.62 in my wallet, my checking account and my savings account. This mythical $500 I hope to have after 31 days of scrounging cannot come from any of these assets…….obviously.

Rule #2: We’re talking cold hard cash here. Not money saved. I can’t just go to the store and buy toothpaste on sale and say, “I just saved $2. That’s $2 earned toward the $500.” No. That doesn’t count.

Rule #3: Aside from my wallet, my day job earnings, my checking/savings accounts, and money saved, THIS $500 CAN COME FROM ANYWHERE! Couch cushions? YES! Sell stuff on Craigslist? YES! Odd jobs? YES! Prostitution? YE–let’s not take this too seriously.