Garage Sale Finds Make My Day But Leave Me in a Frugal Conundrum

There is so much to do to get ready for this move, and so much we still need.  It’s somewhat ironic that after spending lots of time and energy to get rid of things from my Dad’s house – like a microwave oven, a kitchen table, televisions and a patio set – what we most need to replace are the microwave oven, kitchen table, a television and a patio set.  I don’t feel the need to fill all the rooms, but there are some things we’d need and/or want right away.

My community’s annual garage sale was today, and since I decided not to participate as a seller that means I was free to be a shopper!  I love to go “garage saling”.  Son and I will get up early, go to Dunkin’ Donuts and make the  rounds.

We’ve not gone in awhile – part of my campaign to divest us from clutter instead of collecting more – so this was a treat.  Heck, this move has almost made it imperative that I hit the garage sales.  Snort.

Son and I were up and ready to go by 7:15 am.   I put a huge “FOR RENT” sign on our front door as we left (hey, you never know), armed with cash,  my cell phone and my huge Vera Bradley tote.  Son was armed  with a Hotwheels car.  Priorities…

There are 300 homes in my community, but only about 40 owners participate in a good year.  At 7:30 this morning I only saw a handful, but from experience I know that some people skip the professional garage-salers (or sleep off one too many Cosmopolitans) and set up as late as 10am.

In my first (of four) tours of the property I found someone offering a microwave oven for $25.  I was going to buy a new one, but after pricing them at the size we need I realized it was going to cost over $100 – something I was not doing. The oven being offered was white, it was clean, it was big enough.   The owner had never even removed the protective plastic covering over the keypad, making it seem in worse shape than it was.  I bargained down to $18, and the first thing I did when I got it home was remove the plastic covering.  The darn thing looks brand new! Cha-ching!

I needed to take Son to his Karate class, and after we returned I took another tour.  This  time I found a 19″ television that will be perfect for either Husband’s office or Son’s playroom.  They were asking $25 – I got it for $15 and they threw in a VCR for free.  Cha-ching!

On my third tour I picked up four DVD’s  – two Thomas the Train and two Spongebob Squarepants for $5.  That’s better than the usual going rate of $2-$3 per DVD, but I think I got the “cute kid” discount.  Whatever works!

On my fourth tour I came across a kitchen table and chairs that may work for us.  It’s  from Pier 1, made of Brazilian  wood and I could  probably get it for $150 or less.  Here is a very lousy photo showing some of it:

Garage Sale Table

It’s very rustic looking, and  it comes with 4 chairs.  The table is marked up a bit, but it is a great deal.

I didn’t buy it, but I did get the owner’s phone number.  Why not?

Well, I don’t love it.  I love this:

dining-set

But THAT set will likely set us back $750 – $800.  But it does include the hutch and 6 chairs.

But I love it.  It’s so preeeeeeeeeeetty.  And well made!

I want to make a good decision, and sometimes that’s hard to do.

We may only be living in my Dad’s house for 2 years.  Do I spend an extra $600 for something I love, something that won’t  fit well into my townhouse (if we wind up moving back), or do I buy the inexpensive, not quite as nice rustic set?

That’s a good question.  What would you do?

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The Shopping Fairy

Today I went to Costco for my normal Monday stock-up.  Back before Husband’s Diabetes was diagnosed I would have made back my entire membership fee in just 10 weeks.   Husband drank 5 gallons of milk per week, and Costco’s milk is $1 less than the milk at Publix, not to mention the savings on produce and dry goods…

I am also a huge fan of their  meats.  Publix has pretty good meat, but Costco’s is better, and almost always cheaper.  Because I have a refrigerator/freezer in our garage, I have room to buy in bulk (really, for the extra $5 per month it costs it’s well worth the convenience!).

Today I needed hamburger and steak.  We don’t buy steak all the time, but we do treat ourselves occasionally.  Costco’s sirloin is dee-licious (especially when you use a teryaki-garlic marinade!!!), so we get our steak fix without breaking the bank.  Today I got 4 large steaks for a little over $15 (and we butterfly them to go twice as far), far less than the $38 the package of four top-tier steaks nearby.

As I was selecting my sirloin I saw a woman looking at the $38 steak, and she had that look on her face that said, “I’d really like some steak, but this is soooo expensive!”  So I said to her, “You know, these sirloins are fantastic, and far cheaper than those.”

We chatted for a moment, and I assured her that these were great on the grill (that’s how we always cook steak), and shared my great.  She looked familiar, but that happens to me a lot.  I’ve lived here for twenty-five years, and I have a memory like a sieve…

“You look familiar,” she says as I start to walk away.  “I know – you helped me find something in Hallmark a few weeks  ago!”

Ah, yes.  She  was looking for a glass ornament for her sister for Christmas, and I struck up a conversation.  She didn’t want to spend a lot of money, which is my specialty.  As I browsed I pointed out several options for her, and she wound up finding one  she really liked.

“You’re my shopping fairy!”  Hmmm. I felt a little embarrassed, but I really don’t know why.  I helped the woman, both times.  That’s a good thing, isn’t it?  Or am I just a busybody???

Has anyone ever struck up a conversation with you while  shopping, pointing out a way you can save money?  Are you a shopping fairy yourself?

is was

Deal of the Day December 14, 2008

Amazon has some great deals on toys, and if you spend $25 or more (on most  items) you get free shipping.

Here are just a few of the  deals to be found:

Fisher-Price Elmo’s Restaurant is $44.99 (reg. $103.99)

Tollytots Graco Deluxe Playard with Playgym – Heatwave Red(This is for dolls) is $11.99 (reg. $24.99)

Crayola 50ct Telescoping Pipsqueaks Tower is $9.99 (reg. $29.99)

Moon Sand Adventure Island is $8.99 (reg. $29.99)

Baby Alive Learns to Potty is $17.99 (reg. $59.99)

Jakks Pacific G2 Game Girl Hannah Montana Guitar Video Game is $11.99 (reg. $59.99)

Transformers Animated The Battle Begins – Optimus Prime vs. Megatron is $10.99 (reg. $24.99)

Transformers Universe Voyager Autobot Blaster is now $10.99 (reg. $21.99)

Planet Toys Planet Earth Digital Microscope Kit is $14.99 (reg. $49.99)

Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

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Deal of the Day December 13, 2008

More Restoration Hardware deals!

Restoration Hardware’s Friends & Family Sale for December is now in progress with savings of 20% sitewide. Shop online or over the phone to collect your discount on home fashions for every room, toys and more. Simply use coupon code F2HP801 when checking out. Sale ends 12/15/2008.

Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

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Deal of the Day December 12, 2008

Just in time for the holidays American Eagle has a great new offer of Buy One, Get One 50% off their entire Collection. Load your cart with hoodies, sweaters, graphic T’s, jeans, outerwear and tops during this sale, the best BOGO sale I’ve seen from them. Offer ends 12/23/2008.

Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

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Last Minute Deal – 40% off at Old Navy

Going to Old Navy today?  Print this coupon for 40% off one item.  Good today only, and you can only use it in-store.

Happy shopping!

Deal of the Day December 9, 2008

They’ve opened a Kohl’s by me and I’ve yet to shop there. I went to one in Connecticut last year, and their regular prices seemed super dee duper high. The sale prices – at 75% off – brought them down to where they should have been for a regular sale, at least in my opinion.

Still, I should go at least once, especially with all the great sales going on…

I discovered this $5 off $5 Kohl’s Purchase offer. Just enter your email address to sign-up for their email alerts and you’ll get a coupon to Save $5 off any $5 purchase.  I think this is an ongoing deal…

Check back tomorrow for another great deal!

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