'Tis the Sea-sun for Mittens!Submitted by Dorval & Chorne on January 22nd, 2020
By Keagan Kinsella | January 22, 2020
Below zero windchills and snowstorms are the perfect recipe for lazy days snuggled up under a pile of blankets, and some Netflix (or reading a good book if you’re one of us high-achieving, lazy people). The cold, hard truth is Minnesota winters make it easy to lose motivation! Seriously, sometimes the best part of working out at the gym is just to remember what it feels like to be warm. I bet you wouldn’t be surprised to know one of my favorite things is to daydream - while I’m scraping a layer of ice off my car - about how nice it would feel to be somewhere on a beach, where the temperature is warmer than my age… The nice thing is my mom thinks the same way, and she has found an awesome way to turn the daydream into motivation. And today I want to share a little about her side-hustle!
My mom is a lifelong sewer, quilter, and my personal seamstress. She has always been crafty and creative. A few years ago, she decided to perfect a pattern for a pair of mittens, reused from a cozy sweater, and they turned out pretty cute! Fast forward to today, she is making hundreds of pairs of mittens every year and can hardly keep up with the demand. She sets aside the money she makes from her sales for what she likes to call our “mitten trip.”
The mitten trip is a mid-winter, weeklong escape with our family to beaches and sunshine— this year we are going to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic! My mom is pretty frugal when it comes to splurging on spendy items or vacations, but knowing that all the hard work she puts into the mittens is going towards a special occasion (and above zero temps) makes it very fulfilling to her. She has found a way to monetize her hobby and enhance her quality of life. Isn’t that what we all would do in a perfect world?
Can you think of something you could do to create a bucket of money to set aside to help accomplish a goal that would make you happy? It doesn’t have to be setting up your own little business and making mittens. Let’s be real about our sewing skills here… (in defense of millennials, home-ec doesn’t exist anymore!). Ellen from our group has a similar personal experience. This summer she went through all the old baby/toddler clothes and toys she has acquired over the past six years, and organized a garage sale. It was a lot of work, but she wanted to use the proceeds to take her family on a trip to Florida this past fall. Her kids loved knowing that letting go of their toys was going towards a day at Disney World, and they had a great time!
We believe an important part of financial planning is tying the resources you have to a goal. For example, a 401K is a retirement account, so invest in one based on that goal. Saving for a down payment on a home is directly related to the quality of life you will get from having a nice place to spend a lot of time (especially in those Minnesota winters!). If you want, you could set up an automatic deposit from your normal paycheck into a separate account that you tie to a personal goal, and you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you are intentionally working for whatever that may be! Or, maybe it is as simple as making your cash flow more efficient. Could you work to refinance your student loans, or pay off a credit card, that will in turn, create “new found” cash flow which you can tie to a goal?
My mom has passed on the crafty gene to me (and the frugal gene too). For me, I really enjoy doing calligraphy and making custom decorations with creative handwriting. Truthfully, I would do it for free because I love it, but I have discovered people are willing to pay me to do unique projects for them! I have found that it is much more fulfilling to use the profit I earn as “fun money,” and put it toward something special, like buying something new for my house…or even mittens from my mom ;)
Financial planning is all about aligning your decisions and financial resources with goals that enhance your quality of life. Spending time with family on the beach does just that for my mom (and thankfully she still invites me on these mitten trips!). If you aren’t already, hopefully this inspires you to find motivation to intentionally save for something that you might not normally treat yourself to!