How I paid for 1 year of dance by selling “trash”

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Paying for Dance with Trash

As a family we’ve been going through a rough time financially. At the end of last dance season (2015/16) we had to figure out if we could keep our girls in dance. I can’t work a regular job because of health reasons and my husband is working as hard as he can to keep up with life and medical bills.

payfordance-visionboardIn June 2016 I sat our girls down and explained that we have to figure out a way to pay for dance without using daddy’s money. I told them about what a vision board was and we made one for our goals. We first figured out what our goal was. We needed money for summer dance classes, tuition for the 2016/17 year, competition entry fees, costume fees, photos, year end show tickets and things like shoes, tights, makeup… We then came up with ideas on how to get this money. The girls wanted to give their birthday and tooth fairy money to the goal. As well as they went through their toys and clothes and decided we should have a yard sale. We then made two goals. We met the first goal within a week of our goal date. We met our second goal a few weeks after our goal date. We also agreed that we would never say “if” we meet our goal, but we would say “when” we meet our goal.
yardsale to pay for danceIn the beginning we had 2 yard sales, we felt it important that the girls be fully involved in setting up this yard sale. We wanted them to know it takes hard work to earn the money they needed to do the things they wanted to do. Our yard sale consisted of items around our house that we now longer used or needed. The girls also set up a water and snack stand. We made sure we kept track of how much we spent on supplies and made sure we paid daddy back. The 2 yard sales paid for summer classes.

Aside from the yard sales I started selling items on kijiji and VarageSale. We soon ran out of items to sell from around the house so my husband and I came up with the idea of selling items people throw out along the side of the road. For years it bothered me seeing so many good items going to landfill. We’d go out trash night, find items we thought were still good enough to use. The next day the girls and I would look through the items, clean them up and make any repairs that may be needed. It was important to us to have the girls involved in this work as well.

Junk we sold to pay for dance

Amazingly enough we found really good items and were able to sell them. The rest of the dance year was paid for by other people’s “trash”. At first I felt guilty selling “garbage” but then I thought about it. We took the time to pick the items up, saving them from the landfill, we took the time to clean them up and fixed anything that was broken. I then took the time to photograph, measure and list the items. Then I had to arrange pick up of the items. All the while dealing with no-shows, late comers and down right rude people. I decided I should not feel guilty for selling other people’s “trash”. I was doing the hard work the people who threw them out should have done if they wanted the money. Don’t get me wrong, I was thankful that people were throwing out perfectly good items. It helped our family a lot.

Our neighbors were amazing to us as well. They found out what we were doing and instead of throwing out good stuff or donating it to a thrift store, they would give their items to us. I hope with this blog post that maybe more of our friends and family will think of us before throwing something out or donating. We’d gladly pick it up from them and do the leg work of finding a new home for their unwanted items.

Rakings leaves for danceWe also did small projects around the neighborhood to help pay for dance. We raked leaves, helped shovel snow and other helpful things. We never asked for a specific amount but welcomed a donation.

The most important lesson we wanted to teach our girls was that this money was a huge blessing that came from God. We taught them about tithing and we had them tithe on everything they made. I loved seeing how excited they were to put the money into the offering plate at church. Tithing should be a joy, not a job, and our girls found joy.

I’m not sure what the 2017/18 dance season will look like and whether we’ll be able to sell as much. The trash pick up and rules are changing this Spring and I’m nervous that there won’t be as much out there. But we’re going to trust that the money will come. The girls and I plan on making a new vision board for the new year.

4 Comments on “How I paid for 1 year of dance by selling “trash”

  • I’m so glad that you were able to not only pay for a year of dance lessons, which in and of itself is important, but you also taught your girls about making goals and working to achieve them. An invaluable life lesson that they will remember forever!

  • We are all in that situation at one time or another so things will get better and you taught your children a good lesson and you should be proud of them and yourself for your great idea and executing it!! Totally awesome!

  • Wow! That is amazing….loved reading how inventive and ambitious you and your kids are. I work with families and children programming (recreational and social) and am very impressed what you are teaching your children. Wish more parents would follow your lead. They could certainly learn from your ways. Hope your girls are enjoying their dance lessons:) Kudos to you!!

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