Author Archives: Darcy Cronin

About Darcy Cronin

I'm a Mother/Coach/Blogger/Business Adventurer from Portland OR. My family consists of my Hubby of 12 years, our 8yo Kieran, 5yo Makenna, and 1yo Teagan. I love dreaming about a better future, and making it happen.

AirBnB Curious?

AirBnB is such a unique way to travel, and our guests have really appreciated us opening up our home!

I first became intrigued about the idea of earning a side income by hosting with AirBnB last winter, after reading a great article from the perspective of a family from California (which naturally I can’t locate now…). I had just left my stable City income, and the idea of earning cash while on vacation certainly appealed to me.

A month later, I was interviewing Ms. Kathy about the prospect of enrolling Mama Bliss Coaching School and trying to figure out how I was going to afford tuition (which isn’t that much if I hadn’t already paid for the Simplicity Parenting training). She kept gushing about how much she loves Portland, and visits often, so on a whim I threw out the idea of doing a trade for staying at our place during the month of August, when we were already planning to be gone on vacation. It turned out that they were planning a big move, so it wouldn’t work. But the suggestion did get me thinking…“Well, what if I could earn that money from someone else staying at our place?”

We were already planning a big spring break trip back East, so initially I thought it would be great to get our place listed and hope that some family wanted to come to Portland for spring break. I did some more research about hosting, and decided to set up a profile. The only thing that was missing was photos.

But even as a Mama who strives to live a decluttered life, the place was never quite clean enough to be able to take photos for the world to see. So, I decided to clean and take pics the day before we were heading out of town. I was shocked to get two requests/reservations within the first 24 hours! 

Our first reservation was for ten days when we were already planning to take our annual anniversary/family trip. We’re packing up for our trip to B.C. (Mayne Island/Vancouver Island and Van), and we’ll be making nearly $2k while we’re on vacation. A couple from Connecticut will be staying with their two grown daughters while they visit family in Portland. The woman even sounds excited about watering my garden!

Flash back to spring break, and ended up getting three reservations with guests staying at our place for nine of the ten nights we were gone on vacation. It brought in nearly $2k…nearly our monthly mortgage!

We’ve been out of town a fair amount this summer, and by Labor Day we will have grossed nearly $8k in our first six months of AirBnB rentals! 

Even if you haven’t considered hosting until now, the potential for extra income may have you curious too… There’s a lot more to it than just posting a listing, so I’ll be sharing more of our AirBnB story…while we’re away on our road trip. 🙂

Let me know if you have any questions or if you have your own experiences to share!

Happy hosting,
Darcy

Money Stories: Releasing Our Cultural Stories

Miel and I enjoy observing our cultural environment, having both lived abroad as exchange students at an early age, and continuing on to major in International Affairs/Studies. Miel has lived abroad for far longer than me, but paying attention to your cultural surroundings can be practiced anywhere.

Our money stories are so deeply intertwined with our culture that it’s impossible to separate them from our personal beliefs.

Here are some personal beliefs that I/we have held in the past that we are more than ready to release:

  • The economy is scarce, and there isn’t enough to go around.
  • There aren’t enough great jobs for everyone.
  • In order to earn a living, you have to work for someone else.
  • As women, we can always expect to earn less.
  • You have to work hard to get ahead.
  • Success is tied to stress.
  • More money means more responsibility/stress.
  • Managing money is boring and stressful.
  • Selecting and buying stocks is difficult, risky, and should be avoided.
  • It’s better to save for tomorrow than to live for today.
  • Going to college was/is the only way to succeed professionally/financially.
  • Paying off student loans will take half a lifetime.
  • You have to “do your time” in unfulfilling work to get to where you want to be.
  • Kids are damn expensive (this may still be true, but I am ready to remove the damn part 😉
  • Saving for college is prohibitively expensive.
  • Money will spoil our kids.
  • Wanting more money is selfish.
  • Getting what you want is somehow bad.
  • Having money, or making more, is something to worry that your friends will resent.
  • We shouldn’t talk about money.
  • Retirement either means living on a fixed income or spending your kids’ inheritance.
  • You have to wait until the government allows you to retire.
  • You’re lucky to retire “on time” and by the time we get there Social Security will be bankrupt.
  • We’re beholden to an economic model that doesn’t value the social good or environment, and politics are too corrupted for us to change it. A sensible carbon tax will remain a dream. A socialized safety net will never happen in the U.S.

This feels like it just scratches the surface of all the negative money stories we’ve bought into through our American culture.

What negative money beliefs/stories are you ready to stop believing in?

Darcy & Miel

Money Stories: The Importance of Forgiveness

Nelson Mandela quote on forgiveness

Perhaps the most important aspect of sharing our stories is to accept and forgive them. Sometimes that means a particular person, a more naive version of yourself, or a belief that you simply soaked in through your culture. Our stories have more to do with our understanding of the world than the actual reality.

In writing my stories, I felt that honesty was the most important thing in helping release any doubts about my self worth or my ability to manifest my dreams. I knew that no one else could possibly remember things the same way, and that each of my close family/friends has their own version. I wanted to be sensitive to those diverse perspectives, but I needed to be completely honest in order for this whole forgiveness thing to work.

So, it didn’t entirely surprise me that a close family member read my post about Before Becoming a Cronin and took offense for saying “Essentially Kevin forgave me for growing up poor. He fell in love with me in spite of my meager upbringing, knowing that I was determined to be successful in life.” We had a long heart-to-heart, and I explained that it wasn’t that I felt poor growing up (with the exception of a few minor hardships), but that this realization of “growing up poor” first came to mind once I was out in the world. And, yes, wealth is all relative. As we both shared, we were very well off compared to most of our friends growing up and our parents were/are very generous. My parents were/are successful in life, just not in a monetary way.

the importance of forgivenessMy point in detailing Kevin’s comparatively elite upcoming was to share the fact that we come from very different socioeconomic backgrounds. Early on a running joke of ours was that he fell in love with me even though I lived in trailer when we met (to save money for returning to Denmark), and I would loving remind him that he was an even poorer grad student. For the longest time he would tease me about the rednecks I grew up with, knowing full well that I came from a very distinct and privileged hippy breed. I honestly don’t think that Kevin would have been attracted me if I weren’t already a confident and hard-working person. And just as he forgave me for growing up poor, I in turn forgave him for growing up rich (As Miel did with James). He wasn’t saddled with college debt and could always afford his picky tastes. I was probably secretly happy that his parents didn’t continue to support him into adulthood, because I don’t know if we could have related if he had never known what it feels like to come up with rent.

So, I hope my sincere apology will be accepted. I know in my heart that any adversity I’ve faced in life has only made me a stronger person. Publishing these personal stories isn’t about tooting my horn or raking mud with my family, but it’s my/our first step in releasing the subconscious money baggage that’s been holding us back…and no, I don’t feel held back by anyone but myself. I’m responsible for my own abundance, even as I give gratitude to everyone in my life who has and will help along my path.

Again, with each money story, big and small, repeat this forgiveness mantra:

I accept you. I forgive you. I love you.

Love,

Darcy

Money Stories: What Would Wally Want?

After our father, Wally, passed away we both seemed to have a new lens on life, especially on how to spend our time and energy. We started to call it, What Would Wally Want? and his lifelong partner “best-ex” liked to think about What Would Wally Do?

Before we share that chapter of our money stories, there are a few that surround Wally’s death

  • One of the most surreal things about Wally’s death was that he was found peacefully in his bed on the same day that he was supposed to meet with the lawyer and his sister, our Aunt Carol, to settle the estate of his mother, our Grandma Jones. She had passed away at age 94 the summer before, and it turned out that we scattered his ashes on the one year anniversary of her death. 
  • Wally also happened to pass away just after Kevin and I had signed our own wills/directives. I remember telling myself that I would have the tough conversation about writing up both (I actually had had the conversation once before when Grandpa Ellis was in hospice, and didn’t have a directive, and Wally still wanted to avoid the topic…even though he understood the need).  Miel talked to him about a Will on the last day they saw each other, and luckily got some information about what his intentions would have been.  It didn’t save 7 months of probate, but it did help us to know his wishes.
  • In our late teens, we remember driving back from Fern Ridge Reservoir and him telling us about how Grandpa Ellis was going to sell his rhododendron nursery for a million and a half because a developer wanted to build condos near the mall, and he was way past retirement age by that time.
  • We remember Grandpa Ellis deciding to buy a post office, since it seemed at the time to be one of the safest investments possible at the time. He also wanted to invest in something that was a bit fool proof, knowing that asset management might not be the top skill of his wife and kids.  Now the future is rather bleak for small post offices, but we can hope that the modern one built in the 90’s will be useful for many years to come… Regardless of the future, the investment gave/gives a reliable return rate. It brings in just over $5k in rent each month, and the only maintenance is a roof and siding, even the taxes are reimbursed by the feds. Now we each earn a 1/4 of the total business (Aunt Carol owns 1/2), which we’ve fondly and playfully named Sahalie and Koosah Adventures, LLC. At the moment, our income goes directly to pay the mortgages on the beach cabins…which we’ll share more about below… 
  • Truthfully, the inheritance was always this “someday” thing. Someday when Wally would inherit his parents money he would travel…buy fixer houses and invest like his good friend, Robert. When we went through all his belongings, a blank passport application was sitting on the top of this desk. He had only ever traveled to Mexico hitch hiking in his youth (where he met the astonishing woman from The Survival of Jan Little).
  • In the stack of mail, he had just requested to cancel his life insurance, which his mother had invested in 1963 and she had continued to pay on it for almost fifty years. Thankfully it hadn’t actually expired yet…six days later and the $40k in life insurance would have been null and void.
  • He also had made two loans to his friend, Robert, with money from his father’s inheritance when banks weren’t lending money to landlords with dozens of rentals. The timing turned out just fine, and we were repaid just in time to finish paying for the beach cabins.
  • Which brings us to our biggest family investment, our beloved Olivia Beach Camp Cabins. This investment feels both very intentional and very serendipitous. It’s frankly a big enough deal in our lives to warrant another post, but it’s a good way to wrap up this post…since Wally would have wanted us to invest in our dreams and live them.
  • He also would have wanted us to be generous. That’s why we chose to give away virtually all of his material possessions to his friends. The day after his wake, we invited his closest dozen plus friends over to take what they wanted…music collections, skis, backpacks, furniture, dishes…it was pretty much all up for grabs. Prior to the giveaway, we had each collected a few boxes of belongings, but neither of us wanted to hoard his things. Miel’s favorite take away was a nice carabiner from Wally’s key chain that is now on her own keys and Darcy treasures the variety of musical instruments for the kids to learn and play. Within the next few days, everything else was donated.
  • After we got the inheritance, we also gave $10k to his ex-partner. While never married, they were best friends and lovers for nearly thirty years. She in turn chose to use the money wisely, and occasionally on things that Wally would have wanted, like concert tickets or a pint.  This was one of the wishes that Wally had mentioned in his discussion with Miel about he need for a will.
  • As we come close to the country fair, I recall one of my last fair memories with him. We had met up on Sunday afternoon at Toby’s Tofu Palace, and he could sense that I was mentally debated about whether to pay an extra $3 to get an hibiscus cooler. He shared his sage wisdom, always opt to get the drink. It’s always worth it; you won’t regret it.
With that, we continue to try to live each day and spend each dollar evaluating the true worth. Indeed there are paradoxes between living in the moment, and trying to think about future generations. But the sweet spot is indeed sweet.
 
Who inspires your money decisions?
What dreams are you investing in?
 
Darcy and Miel

Darcy’s Money Story – Life After Death

A photo of us at Wally’s wake, held at Sam Bond’s with barely enough room for all his friends.
The photo I’m holding still hangs in the bar.

One way to identify your own limiting beliefs is to ask yourself “If money wasn’t an issue or if you “won the lottery” today, what would your do with your life?”I’m sure that I had done this little self-growth exercise along my journey, but it wasn’t until my father passed away that I was able to answer it deeply.

  • My (Our) father, Wally passed away suddenly three years ago. His passing was one of the most surreal and transformational experiences of my life. It was heartbreaking, but in a surprising way. Instead of feeling depressed or lonely, I felt like my capacity to love had been expanded tenfold. In the days and weeks after his death I felt a vibrancy and aliveness like never before. I also felt a deeper joy (even in the midst of sorrow) and a deep gratitude for everything in my life. Wally had soooo many friends, and the outpouring of love that came from our friends and family was truly amazing. It was also sensing the preciousness of each moment in life.
  • Above all else, Wally was a friend to everyone. He lived life on his terms and defined his own success. He was a ski bum in his teens, then a college drop out hippie, but he didn’t feel the need to seek other people’s approval. He was unapologetically easy-going. Our Mom called him lazy growing up, but we enjoyed just hanging out playing cards and listening to him play his guitar. While his lack of money was embarrassing at times growing up, it wasn’t something we held against him as adults. Our relationship/friendship grew as we hit adolescence and deepened as we explored the world, with him always being so eager to learn from our travels. He always loved to listen and debate, and even when we disagreed with his perspective, it helped us think through our own position better.
  • I remember lying in bed grieving, my mind racing with intense feelings and thoughts. I didn’t know the exact total, but I knew that I (we) would be getting a large inheritance, via our grandparents. So, I asked myself the question, “What would I do if money weren’t a concern?” I immediately realized that I wanted to have another child. I felt like, similar to my father, that my true legacy will be found in how I grow as a person through parenting and in turn through my children’s own legacy. I didn’t think of quitting my job, even though the thought of working half-time did appeal to me, versus the very hectic schedule with 9 hour days for two full-time working parents we had been managing.
  • Receiving an inheritance also felt like a big values test. I didn’t want to blow the opportunity or make choices that my grandparents would have disapproved of (although they were veerrrry frugal, so I’m sure I’ve made a few splurges that they would have questioned). So, initially I made simple choices like paying off my student loans, and then buying our Toyota Sienna outright.
  • We still kept to our exact vacation budget on our already planned trip to Denmark, and truly didn’t splurge in advance of our inheritance actually being deposited.
  • Knowing that the money would be coming did shift my money mind frame in some ways though. I certainly wanted to be more generous now that I was “able.” About a month after Wally passed away a community member I had been working with to bring sculptures to Pittman Addition HydroPark sent me a link to her campaign where she was raising funds to do an art project with kids at an orphanage in Honduras. She’s one of the most bubbly and vivacious people I know, always ending conversations and emails with “Have a blessed day!” So I couldn’t help but want to fund her project, plus she was offering a unique “Destiny Map” session if you donated $100. So I did. But even though I felt great about my choice to sponsor her, Kevin completely wigged out when we reviewed our credit card bill during our “Money Honey” chat (which also included a thousand dollar vet visit that he was furious about). I realize now that I glossed over this part of our conversation, I guess mostly because $100 didn’t seem like much money in comparison. But the reason money issue is/was that I am intrinsically more generous than Kevin. We’ve always had this rub in our money relationship. 
  • Prior to getting an inheritance I was already donating small amounts regularly, but once I had more money I certainly felt the desire to tithe/donate more. I set up auto-donation through my employer for my top five favorite charities (Rotary International, International Medical Corps, Oregon Environmental Council, Friends of Trees and McKenzie River Trust). They each got $5 per paycheck, so it was a total of $50 a month, $600 a year in extra donations. We were already tithing a small amount to our church, Grace Memorial Episcopal, but we finally upped past a $100 donation. Altogether we weren’t donating nearly a true 10%, which is something I would like to do. At the time our childcare bill was so expensive that we figured out what we could afford after all our expenses.
  • Another “donation” that I started was to lend out $1000 through Kiva in what I dubbed, The Kiva Experiment. So far that thousand dollars has been relent over 60 times, and made a $5k impact around the world to aspiring entrepreneurs who wouldn’t have a chance at a traditional loan.
  • Upon returning from an amazing trip back to Denmark, I also decided to join the Portland Pearl Rotary Club. Joining the club was/is a big commitment in terms of both time and money. I volunteer regularly through the club and pay a monthly dues of $550 a year, plus an expectation to donate at least $100 to the Pearl Fund and $100 to Rotary International. We now donate a rental our beach cabins to the annual auction as well.
  • While growing our family has been a long journey, I couldn’t be happier with my initial instinct to have a third child. Teagan brings us such joy every day. (We even had a new babysitter last night, and she agreed that she’s never met such a happy baby. She literally woke up and played with her for a full hour and half before she even started to wonder where we might be). Yes, she will cost us more, but any potential sacrifice would be worth it.

After Wally’s death, we (being my sister and his best-ex, Karen) came up with a way to reference things through Wally’s unique lens on life. We called it WWWW: What Would Wally Want?? We’ll talk about this in our next shared post.

Have a blessed day!
Darcy