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Monday, June 27, 2022

Online Shopping Deals for Dresses, Bags, Other Clothing - Inflation Mitigation

How to get the best clothing deals on Poshmark

Since I have been both a buyer and seller on Poshmark, I can give you an insider's view of how to get the best deals on that platform. Inflation mitigation requires that we closely watch and prioritize all of our spendings, but, but, but we still need clothes! 

Once COVID lockdown changed how we dress for work, the vintage and second-hand clothes markets, both real-life and online shopping marketplaces, have been saturated with beautiful women's clothes.  The clothing is well-tailored and very suitable for the office, but no one wants to wear this wardrobe working remotely from home.  

There are great online shopping deals and platforms for dresses, shoes, electronics, ... heck, they even have fishing gear and household items.  Some discount shoppers and sellers focus on Ebay, Mercari or Etsy, for example.  

In my case, I focused on using Poshmark to pick up new-to-me items for my capsule wardrobe and even sell items from my own closet  https://poshmark.com/closet/isabettarose.  (I'd rather sell or donate gently used clothes than feed the fast-fashion marketplace looking for new, cheap alternatives).

Top 3 Reasons You Will Get a Great Deal on Poshmark from a Seller

1.  It's easy!    You can search by brand, color, most recently listed, lowest cost to highest cost, etc.   Here's a screenshot of a recent search I did for Coach brand bags.  The results returned options priced everywhere from $27 to $375 in the first row alone. 

This is the first four of HUNDREDS of Coach bags that were listed at incredible prices. 


Selection of Discount Coach Bags Poshmark
Search "Coach Bags" on Poshmark - First 4 Items Listed $27-$375












2. Easy discounts,  too.  When you "like" an item you see on the app, you will receive all additional specials that the seller may offer on the item. 

Notice the numbers next to the redline hearts below the photo -- that's how many people liked the item. Twenty-six people liked the Vintage Coach Tan Suede Bag, for example.  

Periodically the Poshers, i.e., people who open a closet, will offer special discounts to "likers." 

The Poshmark team offers special shipping discounts on certain days, as long as an item is offered to likers at 10% -  40% off the lowest price in the last 90 days.  This is good news for anyone who likes the item, as you are going to receive that discount on the item, along with reduced or free shipping. 

Protip -  You can also filter for items that are NWT (new with tags).  You will receive the item at the negotiated discount price and it's brand new!  Now that's a deal. 

3.  First-time buyers can get an initial purchase discount when they set up an account and make the first purchase over $5.  It just requires using a code at check out.  You can use my code @isabettarose or any other posher's closet name with the @ sign ahead of it. 

The Good and the Bad "Real Life" Examples

Good- I used Coach bags as my example in this blog because I purchased this beautiful vintage Coach bag last year from a Postmark seller @faboy  


My Burgundy Suede Coach Hampton Bag


I love love love!!!! my Coach Hampton bag.  I had been searching for a new version of this bag style, as I once owned the same model in a light tan color and literally wore the purse out.  Since they weren't being made any longer, I hit the vintage sites and found this model in a different color. 

At first, I backed away from the deep burgundy.  But then I realized that it is really a beautiful, classic pop of color for most of the items in my closet.  In fact, this burgundy suede has held up better, so far, than my tan suede bag, in great part because of the color.  If anything has stained it yet, I can't see it.  

The price was 50% of what I would pay for a new lower-end Coach bag, plus it was shipped to me in perfect condition.  

You can probably get even better buys now that the second-hand clothing marketplace is ever more saturated with pretty wonderful deals.

- If I hadn't gotten a product that matched the photos and description on Poshmark, I could have filed a return request.  The app offers buyer protection.  Any type of return request that is validated as "not matching initial posting description" is a ding against a seller's Poshmark account status, so sellers do the best they can to make sure every customer is happy!   

For items over $500, they offer brand authentication services as well.  If you are looking for Chanel or Hermes or Louis Vuitton, I'm sure this authentication would be very valuable.  

- Also, sellers are reviewed with stars and notes, so it's even more incentive to keep customers happy. 

The Bad and How to Avoid It.  

As with any online transaction, beware of scammers!

- I have heard about one luxury-item scammer on the site.  But Poshmark can take action against any that scammer, or any others, if you conduct the sale via the site.  Don't be dupped into going offline to conduct the transaction, there is no protection there. 

- Also, beware of "mystery box" offerings.  Poshmark can't help you with these offerings as nothing is promised in the description.  

- Only use a credit card that handles disputes well.  I always use my American Express card as they have backed me up on every single dispute in the last twenty-five years of holding the card. 

Have you used Poshmark, or Ebay or Etsy and scored an unbelievable deal?  Or maybe you faced a hurdle that you would like to share?  Please comment below!  

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Frugal Tips for Soaring Inflation and Stock Market Crash

Classic Frugal Tips for Turbulent Market Times from Millionaires

Why reinvent the wheel?  Here are some of my classic go-to inspo tips for rocky market days, straight from the minds of seven-hundred and thirty-three millionaires.   I first published some of these tips in 2009 and they still work so well that even millionaires continue to do them after topping their number and building additional wealth.

Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D., author of the Millionaire Next Door, interviewed those millionaires, with a net worth of $1 million or more, and catalogued this approach to living in The Millionaire Mind. You can get it on Amazon or from the library.  You can't go wrong following their frugal tips! 


Keep in mind that this group has a median net worth of $4.3 million.  Even with that level of wealth in mind: 

  • They use Costco (or Sam's) and bring a shopping list before hitting the store.  It saves time and money.
  • They buy household supplies in bulk.
  • They don't spend much on cars. ($41,000 was the most ever spent) 
  • They never spent more than $38 on a haircut including tip.  Barbers are cheaper than ladies hairdressers and can often give a better cut.
  • They often buy pre-built homes, or foreclosures.  The majority of them live in homes that are forty years old or older.  
  • Millionaires have shoes resoled or repaired.  
  • They have furniture re-upholstered. 
  • Even millionaires raise the thermostat setting on the air conditioner during the summer.  (See Michael Blue Jay's electricity site below for the fun in all that!)
  • Usually they only vacation overseas once every two years.
  • They do use tax advisors. 
  • For fun they attend a child's sporting event, visit a museum, or play cards with great friends.  It's cheaper and more gratifying. 
  • They stay married. 


A frugal tip anyone with a computer can use starting today -- calculate how much you can save by biking instead of driving, or how much money you can save turning up the thermostat by visiting Michael Blue Jay's Saving Electricity Site

I used Michael's calculator to find out which appliance was driving up my electricity bill -- it was the clothes dryer!  Michael estimates about .35 cents per load of clothes.  Not a lot except I dry a bunch of clothes every week.  And it seems to cost more in my area, here's how I calculated the savings of using an indoor dryer system (fancy name for clothes line!). 

For a month I clipped my clothes to a shower curtain and the bed sheets and towels hang outside on the porch.  I live in the hot south, so it doesn't take long to dry the sheets and towels.  (Plus they smell fantastic this way, no dryer sheets needed).  

My experiment saved me $35 in one month.  That's $50 that I would have to earn at a job ('cause - well - taxes).  Times 12?  $600 per year!  Passive income in a way.   I can't make $600 a year on CD interest with $100,000 saved right now.  Sweet frugality fruits, plus I actually enjoy hanging my clothes.  

The Millionaire Mind - I highly recommend this book to get a glimpse of the frugal lifestyle that pays off.  It's available on Kindle from Amazon and I'm sure it's available at your local library.  

What's your favorite frugal tip?  I'd love to hear your comments below. 

Monday, March 14, 2022

Side Hustle Remote Work - Jackson Hewitt Tax School and Tax Prep

Is Jackson Hewitt worth working for? 

During the last big scary stock dip (2008-2009), I took on a side hustle and became a tax-preparer by going to Jackson Hewitt Tax School.  They trained me and hired me.  The original post about that process is linked below.   If I can do it, so can you -- I'm a math-phobe from way back. The only cost I incurred was for the books ($99).  

If you are looking for a side hustle that is seasonal, this might work for you.  Not only do you help people, but you also earn extra cash, and keep up with all the latest in the tax code.  H&R Block also has a tax school and they also train and hire part-time tax preparers


The pay from the local Jackson-Hewitt Tax office in 2010 was only $7.50 an hour.  Remote work wasn't even contemplated, so I was in a retail office for a few hours every weekend, which was really unpleasant.  

After I completed one season of work, I didn't go back because I made more managing my taxes differently than I did actually preparing taxes by the hour for others.  The learning was invaluable.  If I had made more per hour and kept up the training, I probably would have switched to H&R Block.  

Now that so many returns are completed online, I can imagine the experience with either of these tax prep shops would be much better.  I never worked in a Wal-Mark kiosk for Jackson Hewitt, but always feel bad for those employees who do. 

Now if you like numbers and want to work remotely? There is enough training, support, and software at either of these companies to make it your while.  

If you have worked remotely to do tax preparation, please share your experience in the comments!  



Sunday, February 20, 2022

Should we worry about inflation? Not so much.

An Update on Financially Free - Can I Live on $3,000 per month Shows Us Why "No Worries"

One of the most-read posts on A Juicy Enough Life is about living on $3,000 per month.  The data is seven years old and could be considered a case study in why inflation isn't such a big deal.  

I had just retired early for the first time and was headed toward tiny house living.  It was seven years ago.  Even then I knew it would be tight and was a bit concerned about inflation.  

A reader recently asked for an update on this post and if things had changed.  Well, so much changed that the ups and downs could be considered a case study in "why plan at all???  LOL!  But primarily my net worth increased because of additional work and the increases in the stock market.  

Expenses didn't increase all that much, because of diligent spending, LBYM, and a partnership.  #inflationmitigation

If you watch your spending closely and apply what you've learned about personal finance, odds are you don't have that much to worry about regarding inflation either.  Vicki Robbins mentions in "Your Money or Your Life," that conscious spending is the best hedge we have against inflation.  If the last seven years of my personal data prove anything,  she is 100% right. Jose Dominguez, her co-author, was fond of saying: 

Consciousness grows faster than inflation ... Once you are FI (financially independent), you'll have more time to learn.  More time to DIY.  More time to bond with others.  More time to find just what you need for a fraction of the cost.  

Here is my 2022 DIY hedge plan against inflation:  
  • Passively invested index stock funds (22% of my asset allocation).  I can avoid touching these for 10 years or more.
  • A social security start date well into the future.  Social security is the only cost-of-living-adjusted (COLA) asset I have at this time.   
  • Strike-point grocery shopping - buying in quantity when items are on sale.  (I use an Excel spreadsheet to keep up with good prices on 30 or so items we purchase a lot.  A can of black beans or spicy diced tomatoes at less than $1.00?  I'm stocking up!).  
  • Use grocery store apps to check prices and create my list before hitting the supermarket.
  
So What Changed in 7 Years?  

My net worth went up by 275% while my expenses only went up by 57% (and that includes fun money I didn't expect to spend). 

I went back to work for a few years at my dream job (LSU's internationally renowned nutrition research powerhouse Pennington Biomedical Research Center).  Never saw that offer coming and was thrilled to get it.  Their focus at the time was on nutrition research to reduce heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.  It was a great four years and I would have done it for very little, but they paid me well.  I retired from that job last year.

1) Cash in the Bank went up by 275%

Even though I was making a good salary, I kept my lifestyle simple.  Even kept driving the same 2011 Honda Insight.  So I saved a lot.  The stock market did well.  I also had a small inheritance from my Mom's estate, which I'm now sharing with my daughter.  (Thank you, Mom and Dad!) 

  • Debt (non mortgage)
    • 2015 - $0
    • 2020 - $0
  • Assets
    • 2015 - Over $350,000 in retirement funds plus almost $80,000 in cash. 
    • 2022 - Over $750,000 in investable retirement funds plus $150,000 in cash. = $900,000. 

2)  Expenses up 57% including discretionary spending. 

They could have stayed the same if I hadn't eased the spending reins for fun money.

  • Monthly Overhead 
    • 2015 - $2,999 per month
    • 2022 - $5,250 per month

The increase in monthly overhead is discretionary and aspirational type expenses.  My basic needs can still be met at the $3,000 per month level.  And that includes my "must-haves:" 

    Housing
    Utilities
    Healthcare
    Personal care such as toiletries and clothing
    Auto and auto expenses
    Cell phone
    High-speed internet.  


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Detailed Monthly Spending

  • Housing - 25% higher
    • 2015 - $600 per month for 280 square feet.   
    • 2022 - $800 per month for half ownership in 1700 square foot home 
We share a smallish home - only 1,700 square feet, 1 bedroom, 1 study and 2 baths.   Costs are about the same except for the darn maintenance.  (boo hiss - so expensive!)
  • Medical, Dental, Vision, Long Term Care - 0% higher
    • 2015 - estimated I would spend $800 per month including a cobra policy. 
    • 2022 - about the same  (Medical is $560, Dental is $35, LTC is $170)
  • Utilities - 15% higher
    • 2015 - $229 per month
    • 2022 - $264 per month

I split some utilities with my partner, which helps. My share of energy and gas is $100 on average per month, $32.50 for water and sewer & garbage.   I pay $37.50 for my cell service and $94 for high-speed internet, my partner picks up cable television, I still don't watch it very much. 

  • Food & entertainment - 86% higher
    • 2015 -  $430 per month, which included eating out at restaurants
    • 2022 -  $800 per month, also including eating out at restaurants. 

This category definitely went up.  But I know I can cut back on eating out if I need to.  I also share some of that expense with my partner.  And I'm looking forward to dusting off the strike-point grocery pricing sheet to see how I can reduce the monthly cost.  
  • Transportation - 0% higher
    • 2015  - $450 per month
    • 2022  - $450 per month
This cost has stayed the same or gone down.  I'm still driving a 2011 Honda Insight which now has 127K miles.  The maintenance costs have been primarily oil changes and tires.  I got LUCKY with this car.  

My insurance per month is less because I don't drive to work anymore.  My fuel costs are less.  But I still save $200 per month for buying a new car next year and for maintenance costs.  

  • Gifts/charity/helping daughter with student loans - -64% (down)
    • 2015 - $250 per month
    • 2022 - $150 per month
My beautiful daughter is now married and handling her own student loans.  My giving is primarily through my Rotary Club membership and a few favorites like public radio, plus a few cash gifts throughout the year to my daughter and her new family.
  • Clothing - 
    • 2015 - $  65 per month
    • 2022 - $200 per month
Guilty of splurging here!  I have plenty from years of clothing purchases for corporate world job.  That's finished, but I'm now finding that my running shoes and outerwear needs were piling up. A destination wedding for a family member last year necessitated lots of new clothes and shoe purchases.  So I'm selling some of my better pieces on Poshmark at @isabettarose.  I'm also finding great deals there for branded, new with tags, fantastic clothes!  Won't ever need to buy new again! https://poshmark.com/closet/isabettarose
  • Personal supplies, grooming, etc.  - 33% higher
    • 2015 -  $75 per month
    • 2022 -  $100 per month 
Not much more in this category and it is flexible.  I learned during the pandemic that I just don't need to highlight my hair at $300 per 6 weeks!  

  • Household supplies - 0%
    • 2015 - $100 per month (Includes food and litter for cat, paper goods, cleaning) 
    • 2022 - $100 per month  (Includes paper goods, cleaning and home office supplies)

Very little growth in this as my kitty cat passed away and I haven't had the heart to adopt another one yet.  Also, cleaning supplies just don't cost that much more than they did.  

Following professional and/or obsessed housecleaners on Facebook and TikTok has saved me a fortune in cleaning supplies.   Following others' experiments with cleaning supplies and asking questions of the group members has been very helpful.

  • Taxes -- No change, still in the 22% tax bracket - boo!  (Single - No dependents) 


More Reasons Not to Worry
  • Your Personal CPI could be much lower than general CPI. 
    •  Here is a fairly simple  Personal Inflation Rate calculator based on your own expense estimates.  It's important because the calculator weights inflation on what your consumption habits.  If you don't purchase new cars, you probably don't care if new car prices are up, for example.  If you drive an electric car, are you concerned about diesel gas prices busting your budget?  NO.  

My personal inflation rate is around 2% -- which is right in line with my fixed income asset returns.  Whew!  I'm good!  

Check it out and let me know if it works for you!  
http://www.candaceshira.com/learning_center/calculators/personal_inflation_rate

What are you planning on doing or learning or testing to fight inflation costs in your household?  Please stop by the comments and share!  We would love to hear from you.