Makeup Hoarding. Does Your Makeup Stash Make You Feel Guilty? How I Learned To Control My Hauling.

Growing up, my mother coveted two specific types of ‘things’. Makeup and purses. As a child growing up, I was a mix of a tomboy and a girly girl. I liked to rough house with the boys and play video games but I also enjoyed dressing up in princess clothes. On a side note, I also liked to pretend that I was followed by camera men on a daily basis as the new host of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous… but that’s another story. πŸ™‚

Hello Robin Leach!

Hello Robin Leach!

I swore for years that I would never get sucked into her two obsessions but eventually hormones kicked me in the ass and soon I was like my mom and cooing over cute handbags and pretty lipsticks. Unfortunately for me, I’m a bit of an extremist when it comes to my interests or hobbies. I’m not the type of person that’s content to know just a little bit about my hobbies, I go hardcore! Like jeopardy, is that your final answer on the background knowledge of my hobbies. When I became interested in makeup and handbags I had to know and HAVE the newest collections, know which products worked and which didn’t, who had what sales and when, etc; etc;.

I was relatively frugal when it came to my hobbies. At the time I wasn’t really thinking about saving for the future since I was still pretty young and I was also one of those people who shopped to relieve stress. Which let me tell you, is a bad bad habit. Ever read Confessions of a Shopaholic? Being somewhat frugal I tried to shop sales and tried to be crafty to acquire the things I wanted. If a store was discounting items or a product line was being discontinued, I would pick up items, which I would either sell, so that I could save up for what I really wanted or I would swap with other people for the items that I wanted. If the items were limited edition though, watch out! There was no time for coupon codes.. I was that crazy girl waiting until 3AM to be the first to punch in my credit card numbers before it all sold out in an hour.

In about 2-3 years, I amassed a pretty large collection of makeup items and purses. Regarding makeup, my stash was bigger than my mom’s stash and big enough to rival some of the stashes of the early youtube gurus. I enjoyed looking at my collection but over time, instead of making me happy, it actually started giving me anxiety. I just had too much stuff!!

You can only obtain so many things before it starts to become overwhelming. I felt guilty. Especially since I barely ever wore makeup. Yes, you heard that right, I had a ton of makeup and I barely ever wore ANY makeup EVER. And yet, I had enough makeup to paint 3 faces a day, every day for about 3 lifetimes. And purses. Ugh. I was the type of person that would just use the same purse day in and day out until I wore it out. Changing the contents of a purse daily was just too much trouble for me.

Once I hit the holy crap, my stash is too big stage, I sat myself down and decided to temper things a bit. It was hard though. I didn’t buy things constantly but for me it was a stress reliever. Reading blogs was also another of my favorite past times but the blogs that I read were extreme enablers. I didn’t want to feel like I was missing out but I needed to find another way to relieve stress. The light bulb didn’t go off in my head right away but over time I decided that since my stash was giving me anxiety, probably the best thing I could do was to reduce it and use some of the money to pay back the money that I had spent on it. Yes, common sense prevails!

I own three of these Alex Drawer Units and they are stuffed FULL!

I own three of these Ikea Alex Drawer Units and they are stuffed FULL! The shame!

The first thing I did was I stopped reading and participating in the blogs and forums that I had frequented several times daily. I figured that if I didn’t see it or know about it, then I wouldn’t want it. I started to read the news instead and that first step of avoidance really helped me. The makeup and purse stash stopped growing. That was a good thing. I didn’t have anymore room for it anyway. I actually also had more time to do other things. Another good thing!

The next thing that I did was I convinced myself to not purchase anything until I used up what I had. A few bloggers in the past had done this and it was nicknamed, the ‘Empties Challenge.’ I didn’t set a specific number for myself but I convinced myself that since I was being so frugal and good about using up my things that when I was finally done, that I would treat myself to something really high end when I finished the last item up. That system worked really well for me until I discovered my next fleeting hobby, extreme couponing. However, like before, that’s a topic for another blog post. πŸ˜‰ So at this point, not only had my makeup stash stopped growing, it was actually getting smaller. Woo hoo!

The last step that I am currently taking to tackling my stashes is simply to sell off, trade off or give away what I can. I went through my stash and gifted things to friends and family which made them happy and also made me feel great. It felt great that my things would be used and cherished by people rather than just sitting unhappily in a drawer or closet. (Yes, I think unused makeup and other things have feelings. lol. If something was produced, it was meant to be used. That is its purpose and the reason it was made. But I digress)

Anything that was totally unused and still had tags on it was targeted for my sale pile. I decided that anything that I would make from my sales, I would apply to debt or bills. I’m still at that step. However, where I thought I would dread selling off my things, I’m actually enjoying it. Every time something sells, it’s a little more room in my closet and a little less money that I owe someone. It’s going to take some time but I’m really hoping to expedite it with the help of my blog posts and maybe soon, youtube videos that I plan to make.

So if you’re reading my blog post and you’re struggling with a collection or a hobby that’s grown too big and you have some bills to pay. Try doing what I’m doing. You may be surprised at how much better you feel. Even if you don’t have a job right now, like me, you CAN reduce your debt or make some money just by selling what you have. Kill two birds with one stone and don’t let your love of things consume you like it did me. πŸ™‚ Just let it go!

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Swatch Watches From My Past, For My Future: My Beloved Swatch Watch Collection

Some of the coolest memories that I have from my childhood involve the Swatch watch. Yes, the Swatch watch. Those affordable and sometimes insanely colorful plastic watches that were uber popular in the 80s and 90s. My parents own a small watch and jewelry store (now you know why my name is Tiffany) and when I was growing up that jewelry store was my second home. If there was a day off from school, if I was sick or if I had a vacation break you would find me at their jewelry store in Chinatown, New York.
 
I didn’t just run around the store like a crazy kid, I actually had to work. From the age of 7 or 8, I would help my parents set up the store, close it down and even help out the customers. I can only imagine how cute it must’ve been to see a 7 year old doing math on a calculator and then negotiating the price with a customer. πŸ™‚ When I was a bit older, my parents agreed to give me a small wage, I think it was like $5.00 a day or something, to work in the store.
 
Around 1991, Swatches became supremely popular amongst collectors and we couldn’t keep them in stock. Happy Fish, Rollerball, Gulp!, Hocus Pocus… I knew all the Swatches by name and loved all the foreign tourists who would come in to purchase them. Some limited edition Swatch watches could only be purchased at official Swatch stores and my parents would bundle me up in the wee hours of the morning to go wait with them in line when the stores opened. We usually went to the Swatch store at South Street Seaport since it was close by but there were times where we would visit different Swatch stores around the city. My parents loved collecting Swatches too. We would sell what we bought but my mom would always make sure to keep one or two of the special ones for ourselves. Since my parents were authorized dealers, we were once invited to a special Swatch party at the Puck Building in New York. I was the youngest person there and it was my first ‘Cool New York’ party. They had contortionists dressed in white unitards on podiums who would slowly pose to the music and I believe that we were some of the first people to see Stomp performed in the US. I wish smart phones existed back then, lol.

 

During this time, I convinced my parents to allow me to trade in my weekly work wage for one Swatch watch a week. I wanted to build my own beautiful Swatch watch collection. My parents thought it was a good idea because prior to this I had been spending my money on New Kids on the Block trading cards and comic books. πŸ™‚ I only allowed myself to wear a few of the watches on a regular basis. Sometimes even two at a time on one arm! But the majority of the watches, I kept in their boxes untouched in a box in my room. I amassed quite a collection and for years I refused to part with them.

 

The Swatch watch holds a dear place in my childhood memories. I really wish that they would make a big comeback. The watches are still priced well and they are all so unique and beautiful. You can really show off your individual style rather than follow the flock when you decide to wear a Swatch.

Remember that wish list that I made on my first blog post? The first 5 wishes on that list, in some way, shape or form, unfortunately need money to fulfill them.

Here it is again to jog your memories:

I want to pay off all my debt.
I want to save up for the small wedding and honeymoon that I never had.
I want to help my parents stay in their home and help them with their bills.
I want to start saving to have a baby.

These wishes are very important to me and I want to see them fulfilled. So I have to decided to start selling off my things to make them come true. And yes folks, this involves my beautiful Swatch collection. While they hold a dear place in my memories, I’ve decided that with the proceeds of the items that I sell, I can make new memories for myself.

If you would like to support my endeavors, please visit my auctions here:

http://www.ebay.com/sch/zajiue/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_ipg=&_from=

Please follow, like and share. I’d greatly appreciate it and will reciprocate! Thank you!

Just a few of my favorite Swatch Watches:

Veruschka

Veruschka

$(KGrHqFHJEgFH8neRELoBSFtFd6MjQ~~60_57

Aserta

 

9c840e50-e67e-012b-b781-0050569439b1

Alfred Hofkunst Vegetable Bacon Watches

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Chandelier

 

acurrypowder_1

Curry Powder

 

SDK105_sa000_nvz

Sea Grapes

 

swatch-hocus-pocus-gz122pack-by-www-watches-bargains-a12519-470x470

Hocus Pocus

 

My Debt Story: Part Three: How I Took Control and Made My Own Job Dangit!

This is it, I promise! The final chapter of my debt story. Re-living one’s mistakes can be a bit disheartening I must confess.

So!

After a slew of mistake upon mistake upon mistake, how did I change my path? For me, it turned out to be a combination of luck and some guts. On a train ride to visit a friend of mine who had just given birth, I found out about a new electronic gadget from one of my fellow train passengers while we were engaged in conversation. It was something out of the box and new enough that most people had not heard about it at the time. It fascinated me to no end and I thought that it would resonate with people and be a great item to sell. Even though it was a bit pricey, I decided to purchase one once I got home to test it out.

Once I received the gadget, I tested it out for awhile. On the very first day, it blew me away but I wanted to see if it was a product that would have longevity. To me, it was amazing and I thought, this has tons of potential! (I’m not going to mention the specific product because I don’t want this to turn into an advertisement. :)) I did as much research as I could about the product itself and also about how to build and run websites and how to import items from abroad. With some help from the hubs, we got a website up. It wasn’t the prettiest thing since we weren’t tech savvy but it was functional.

I had always wanted to work for myself. There’s something about being an entrepreneur that always struck me as infinitely appealing. Immersing yourself into a business and being able to create not only your own hours but to bring forth your vision is intoxicating to me. For me, it’s almost a family trait to have your own business. Some of us do better than others but most of us on my mother’s side at one point or another has owned their own business. From fruit stands to hotels, we’ve run them all on our own. We’re a family of female hustlers. lol.

Anyhoo, I was so excited about the product that I decided to speak with my parents about it. Obviously, I had no start up money. I knew that my parents didn’t either but I thought that they might have some friends who might be willing to loan them some money to loan to me. My parents knew that I was unemployed and stuck at a crossroads in my life so they threw away their pride and started loan shopping through their friends for me. I didn’t want to invest too much in case I was wrong or if I screwed up, so I asked my parents to help me get a personal loan for $7,000.00. It was the bare minimum that I needed to get inventory and get everything started.

I’m not really what I would consider a risk taker. I know it’s a quality that most entrepreneurs need to have but gambling just pains me to no end. I tempered my fear by looking at what I was doing as a ‘calculated risk.’ I’ll get more into details about how I started my own company in the future but for now, I will say that that risk that I took was the best decision of my ‘working’ life so far. I was able to pay my parents back with 100% interest within 6 months. Their friends hadn’t charged me any interest, I just wanted to give my parents a bonus for believing in me.

The gadget that I was selling really took off with a bang at the time since the product was different and new. My website has been running now for over 6 years and while things have slowed down considerably since it started (for multiple reasons I’ll get into it later), I still make enough to cover most of my bills, especially through my real estate famine times. Yes, I’m still working as a realtor!

To be frugal and save money though, my husband and I live at home with my parents so my bills aren’t too crazy. In a nutshell, my website is never going to make me rich but it helps to keep me afloat. I can make the monthly payments on my student loans, help out my family with the groceries most of the time and take care of most of my expenses. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to pay off large chunks of my student loan or credit card debt or to have savings, but for now, it’s enough and I can’t complain.

I am aware though that things can change in an instant and that because trends change, there will come a day when there will be no customers and I will have to shut my website down completely. So that’s part of the reason why you’re all here. Not only do I not want to subsist hand to mouth for the rest of my life, I don’t want to be helpless. I want to be proactive. I don’t want my life to be dictated by others nor do I want to be vulnerable to the whims of people or the economy, and for me, working for someone else is just that. I want to be responsible for my own future. I’m not looking to make it rich, I just want to be able to take care of myself and to be happy and have the time to enjoy life. I believe that many people out there want that too and I have faith in myself that I can make it so. So that’s my debt story…so far.

My Debt Story: Part Deux

And now for the continuation of my ongoing debt saga. Let’s hope that this one doesn’t become a trilogy!

So when we last left off, I was still in college. While I was in school, I worked part-time at various jobs to try and keep my debt at a minimum. I was still following my parent’s mantra of get good grades so you’ll get a good job and I managed to finish school with a BA in History, a minor in Geography and roughly around $12,000.00 in student loan debt. I also managed to graduate with honors. Not too bad most of you would say but my strategy had come at a cost.

I lived off campus at home to save money and therefore did not socialize much. Who knew that networking would be so important? Also, no one had ever mentioned to me the importance of internships while attending school. Internships were where you worked for free, or at least they were in my day and what was working for free going to get me, I thought? I had originally planned to go to law school straight from college which is why I had chosen a liberal arts degree but 2 years of working part-time for an attorney had soured my yearning for an esquire after my name. So, I came out of school not having any idea of what I wanted to do with my life.

I went to job fairs and applied for everything I had an interest in and anything that I thought that I was qualified for. One hundred applications later and nothing. I sometimes made it to a second round interview but I received no job offers. No one was interested in me because I did not have any experience in the fields that I was applying to. I couldn’t even get an internship anymore since I was already out of school and most internships with big companies require that you receive college credit for the internship. I was just stuck.

Meanwhile my bills were racking up and I went back to my old buddy, Mr. Credit Card. This time however, I was just using my credit card to get by. I was definitely not living the high life. I had deferred my student loans due to unemployment and I was seriously becoming disheartened. I was too ashamed to ask my parents for help because they were having financial issues of their own. So my credit card bills just mounted while I paid the minimums.

Eventually, I sucked up my pride and got a job working for a real estate company called Foxtons as a salesperson/realtor. While I was good at my job, it wasn’t where I wanted to be and the full-time salary was low and only temporary. Yes, temporary. Foxtons paid their salespeople for only 3 months before switching over to a completely commission based pay system. They called it a meritocracy. I called it, this crap sucks. As I had mentioned previously, when you work as a realtor, it’s feast or famine. You only get paid when you close a deal and you get absolutely nothing for deals that die. But more on that in another post. After working with the company for awhile, I, along with 300 other employees, was suddenly laid off without warning. Mind you, this was 2007 and the housing bubble had just burst; Foxtons declared bankruptcy and I was a realtor no mo’.

I had managed to pay off part of my credit card debt while I was working and managed the minimums on my student loans but that was it. I once again started applying for jobs but the economy had tanked. I then made one of the worst decisions of my life and went back to school. While I love school and learning, I went back out of desperation. I thought that maybe I could right my wrongs from the past and this time do some internships while I was at school.

To save money, I stupidly decided to pursue a second Bachelor’s degree rather than a Master’s degree. I thought that I should be ‘smart’ and do a practical major like Economics since all my friends that were raking in the dough had studied Economics or Business and then also do a major (it ended up being Journalism/Communications) that would allow me to possibly pursue my dream of being a PR agent or working behind the scenes in the entertainment industry. Little did I know that the US was going to end up going into a double dip recession and that there wouldn’t be any jobs for Business majors.

I never finished my second B.A. I’m still about a semester short. I had to leave school because I maxed out my student loans (another thing that I didn’t know was possible) and couldn’t afford to finish. I remember reading a news article after I had left school that said that going back to school during this recession was the worst thing a person could do. Wish I had read that before going back to school! The article was right though. Going back to school hadn’t improved my job prospects at all and had actually just pushed me further into debt. About $18,000.00 further into debt than I was before! And that’s not even counting my credit card debt at the time, which was close to another $15,000.00. How could a seemingly smart girl, be so stupid? What was I doing wrong? What was wrong with me?! Maybe the smart thing to do isn’t always the right thing?

The tides were about to change for the better for me though… at least temporarily! Sorry folks but it’s late and I guess this will be a three-parter after all! Check in next time for (hopefully) the end to my debt trilogy. πŸ™‚

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My Debt Story: Part 1

So the other day, I wrote a pretty hefty to do list in regards to the things that I would like to tackle. I figure that it’s only fair to explain why I want to tick these things off of my list.

Obviously the closer to the top of the list, the more important it is to me and the more it worries me.

Numero Uno. DEBT. The real four letter word in my book!

A lot of people are alright living with debt. However, for me, debt feels like a chastity belt on my wallet, a vise around my neck or a really constricting and uncomfortable corset.

My first encounter with debt was when I first started college. Like many people out there, I had to pay for college myself. My parents were immigrants to this country and the notion of a college fund was not something that crossed their minds. They were too busy working and keeping food on the table. So when it came time for me to go to college, I had to do my best to get some scholarships and apply for a LOT of financial aid.

Like many clueless kids of my generation, I didn’t worry about the student loan debt that I was acquiring at all. I figured that once I graduated college, I’d get a job and I would be fine. If I only knew….

On top of just my student loan debt, I was one of those students that got suckered into getting a credit card for a free c.d. holder. Bad idea! I essentially traded my financial future away for a c.d. holder. But, like the clueless freshman I was, I was so excited that I had gotten my first credit card because it finally made me feel like an adult. Not only was I living on my own, I was charging things like I was a Rockefeller! Food, clothes, I even charged a freaking vacation. I was an idiot. I was charging so much that shortly after I got my first credit card, I received an offer from American Express for a gold card and I was like, hot damn! No credit limit! It’s gold, I must be special!

Not to blame my parents but as the child of Asian immigrants, I was never really taught much about the real world. The only thing that had been drilled into me was to do my homework, get good grades and no! no! no! to any boyfriends!! Things like fiscal responsibility and sex ed were verboten topics at home. They were considered vulgar and unnecessary. If I needed something, my parents would say yes or no and I either got it or I didn’t. I received a small allowance and from that I was supposed to budget my lunch money, my gas money, clothes and going out…with my girlfriends. Of course, boys did not exist. Anyhoo, long story short, I was stupid when I was 18 and there wasn’t anybody hovering over me to tell me what I should be doing.

Those first two credit cards got me in some major trouble. As the bills got larger and I couldn’t handle them, I started just tucking them away into non-visible places, unopened and unread. I was like the kid who thought if I can’t see you, you can’t see me! When I finally started getting collection letters and scary ass phone calls was when I finally dragged my parents into the financial mess I had gotten myself into.

I was lucky. My parents bailed me out. That was when I finally got my financial responsibility lectures. My parents shamed the hell out of me. They didn’t yell at me or make me feel bad because I had spent so much money on lots of stupid stuff. They did something that made me feel worse instead. Asian parents are the best at filial guilt, no doubt. My parents told me that they were sorry because they felt like they were bad parents because they could not afford to give me what I wanted in life. Dun dun dun! I felt guilty as hell. I was a bad bad kid that was making my hard-working parents work even harder. The switch had finally hit in my head.

My dad explained to me that what I was doing could ruin my life because so many things in life are based on credit history and fiscal responsibility. I took his words to heart and since then, I’ve tried my best to keep my credit strong.

From that point on I was extremely careful with my money. Gone were the days of vacations on credit and buying dinner for my friends. I stopped buying frivolous things and started being as frugal as I could. However, my debt story doesn’t end here. Stay tuned for Part 2!

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Just a Bit of Tiff

Every time that I start a blog, I needlessly stress myself out for a few weeks thinking about what I’m going to write, how people will think about whatever journey I’m tackling and just how forthcoming and honest I’m going to be about the subject.

The all important first post sets the tone for the rest of the blog! Exposing all the bits and pieces of your life to the public also opens up the possibility of criticism and mockery. It’s terrifying! No one wants to be judged or criticized and anything you say or do could potentially come back to bite you in the bum.

After all the needless mental anguish and over analytical hoopla I’ve decided… to go balls out! Yes, I will bare my soul. I’ll let all sorts of anonymous people read about my trials and tribulations and poke fun at my bits. I mean, what’s the point of living if you can’t make a fool of yourself if you want to, right?

So!

What’s the point of this blog you’re wondering? I’m not quite sure of it myself just yet. I believe it’ll be a little bit of self discovery, a little bit of change, lots and lots of little bits and piece that will ultimately come together to form me and what I want my life to be. A little bit ‘o’ Tiff let’s say.

I’m right at the cusp of my mid 30s and there’s just so many bits of me that I want to change and discover. I’m not where I want to be but I do know where I want to go and I guess this is my way of helping me get there with the help and hopefully support of people out there. Watch me fumble, watch me try and cross fingers, hopefully watch me succeed!

So what do I want to accomplish? Here’s my list:

I want to pay off all my debt.
I want to save up for the small wedding and honeymoon that I never had.
I want to help my parents stay in their home and help them with their bills.
I want to start saving to have a baby.
I want to start an online business that will help to keep my family afloat.
I want to lose weight and get healthy.
I want to always keep learning about my myriad of interests.
I want people to remember me.

It’s a pretty big wish list I know. The thing is, I believe that it’s all possible! With some hard work and faith, I want to happily tick all of those things off my list.

Now just to keep it interesting, let me throw a few personal wrenches at my list.

The biggest wrench? I don’t have a steady job. I work sometimes as a realtor but if you’re a realtor or you know one, you know it’s pretty much like being unemployed for most of the year. It’s feast or famine. I’ve been looking for a steady job for awhile but I haven’t received any interview offers or anything. More than 200 resumes sent out and nada. Not a peep. I’m smart and pretty well-educated so I’m at a bit of a loss as to why I can’t get a good job but I haven’t lost faith and I’m still trying.

My other wrench is that I’m out of shape and not the healthiest that I can be. For the sake of myself and my family, I will lose weight and become healthy. You can watch me as I struggle. πŸ™‚

So at this point, you’re probably thinking to yourself, how is this fat, unemployed person going to change her life, lose weight, pay off debt and save for anything?! I’m not quite sure myself but I do know that it will be an interesting journey. I’m not the type of person that moans and whines about their life and then does nothing about it. I will be pro-active. The internet is a powerful tool right? I am fully willing to exploit myself online to get this done. Let’s do this!