Saturday, 23 June 2012

Awesome awesomeness

I love garage sale season and thrift store shopping!  And since having started this seemingly unrealistic challenge, I have been up for utilizing them even more!  In truth, that means I feel compelled to stop at each one I come across, despite if I need something or not, and often feel equally compelled to buy something, just to give it one more shot at life - heaven forbid it ends up in a landfill!!

That being said, I have found some great buys lately - all outside of the 'me' purchases, for the most part.

For 'real' 'me' purchases in the last month, I have a couple.  Oh, for one, I bought a car that I forgot to mention last time!!  I have mixed feelings about it, really, but I needed a car (it is inevitable really in the States, or at least Spokane, and I take care of a baby, so need wheels!) and wanted to be able to give my dad's back to him.  I bought a very reliable and very promise-to-last-15-years Subaru Outback and I am very excited about it.  So obviously that tips the scales a bit on the whole $365 idea!  But we will just carry on as normal.

I bought some new headphones since my $5 Walmart ones died - after over a year of near daily use (and lots of running sweat!) I think that isn't too bad.  The new ones set me back $15.  I also got myself some new-to-me clothes at Goodwill - $17 worth, but I am going to say that can come out of the garage sale fund, since I haven't bought any clothes in ages and did really need some summery tops.  Speaking of, I even tried to go to Target and Nordstrom Rack one day to stock up a bit (stayed out of Old Navy!), but since having downloaded the Good Guide ap and not finding anything that I searched as having very good reviews, I restrained myself.  I don't know, I just don't feel like getting this stuff right now....I did, however, have to get some new running shoes and some shorts - the shorts were on sale for $21, so guess I should count those.  That takes me down to $28.42 - eek!

As for the 'non-me' purchases, I have spent a lot more, but gotten some steals!  I stopped in at my fave thrift store and was helped by a nice teenage kid who really did well to sell me!  It was 50% off day - which is awesome since it is already cheap!  I made out - got a food processor, electric knife sharpener, and brand new salad spinner all for $9.24.  The thing is I really had been wanting them, they weren't impulse buys - I even told J we needed two of them that week!

I am also pleased with my crafty skills as of late - I made a whole bridal shower gift myself with the aid of some thrift store purchases - picnic basket with place settings and a wine bottle bag.   A pic of it is below, along with the pie I took the bride with the rhubarb I got in the veg box - nothing like homemade!

My first pie ever!  Not sure how it tasted though!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Garage sale - bonus bucks!

Yet again it has been a while since I have posted, and I am wracking my brain to think if I have made many purchases since last time - I really don't think so.  What I have so made note of is:

Paints at a garage sale: 25 cents
Dress at a garage sale: $2
Sports bras (really a necessity, but nonetheless): $24.99

This takes me down to $64.42 - not bad for nearly six months!  Again, I don't think I can stay within that for the next six months, but what the heck - still a good effort!

But, it is garage sale season and I am a sucker for garage sales!!  I have made some other purchases at recent ones, but not stuff just for me.  I bought some houseplants, some craft supplies for my kids' camps, and an AWESOME rug for only $50.  I thought that was a steal!
Cool rug for a deal!
I have also purchased some beads for a necklace set I am making for a charity auction, but those seem to fall out of the remit as well, to me at least.  And I have also bought quite a lot of stuff to work in the garden - my green thumb is pale, but I am hoping to learn about what works where here!  I do like it, if only I were more patient with it!

What else....

Oh yes, and we had our own garage sale this weekend!  Man, they are pretty intense!  People were here over an hour early to see if we had any good stuff - we didn't have the kind of stuff they would want, but were able to unload quite a lot of stuff.  A small dent, but a dent all the same!  I made over $200 all told, which is pretty dang good, I think, since I didn't have any major items.  I will admit, there is a sense of pride seeing someone walk off with a pleased look after getting something they will enjoy - the life of the item goes on!  The leftovers are hopefully going to be picked up by a charity this week, and hopefully will find good homes.  I would have liked to freecycle it all, to get to know about how it is helping people, but I couldn't see getting 25 different people and setting up all those different times to meet up, so this seemed the next best option.
Fun garage sale time in the sun - LJ's car still in the driveway since she lost her keys for hours :)
I think that at least part of my proceeds can go back into my pocket....seems fair?  I know, I know, I can't fill up any empty space with more crap, but luckily that is on the brain now, so I don't think I would be able to even if I wanted to!  But there are some clothing items, such as tanks, that I think I need a couple wardrobe staples, so will see what I can find that is ethical or somewhere mid-life range!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Disney World consumption

Well, I managed to eke out of Disney World without having made any solely selfish (material) purchases.  This, I have no doubt, is very hard to do!

My purchases did include, however: a Mickey hand oven mitt for my cat sitter, a Minnie dress and Mickey ears plastic bangle bracelet for a friend's daughter, a Minnie dress for the baby I babysit, and a cookbook for our cookbook collection.  Really not too bad, considering the damage that some families manage!  There is no shortage of stuff to buy (though, oddly, they have discontinued their entire pet line of Disney paraphernalia) and no doubt most of it is made overseas in poorly run factories.

I obviously had some qualms about the entire trip - the lack and decimation of real nature, the poor quality food offered to the masses, the commercialism and consumption, and the various takes on people, identity and cultures that could be dubious (I am reminded of a blog I used to follow) - but I tried to ignore these as best I could.  The trip was taken for a different reason than to be an over-enthused activist - my dad wanted us all to gather and have a good time, and so we did!  It really was a great time, and in a lot of ways, I love Disney - I love the happiness that it can bring so many people around the world, bring imaginations to the forefront, and bring stories to life.  I just hope they would continue to evolve down a more humane path, lessening any exploitation of peoples, helping care for the natural world and animals, and caring for people by providing healthy options and opportunities.  It really was a great trip and our family had a great time.

Other than that, what have I spent....Ah, $27.16 for a bike lock since my brother needed his back.  This is a toughie, since if I am trying to be more conscious of riding my bike more, I obviously need a bike lock, but still not a necessity.  That said, it is a fraction of what I spend on gas money each time I fill up, so in the scheme of things, not too bad.  I just wish I could bike everywhere and easier, but at least for work I can't.  As the weather warms up, I will do it more, I am sure.  That takes me to $91.66.  I really haven't bought anything else that I can think of, and am pretty good at writing it down - not bad!

I will say, I am pleased with how this experiment is going.  The fact that I started it before my Humane Education course is a testament to the fact that this was the right time in my life to go down both paths - I had these thoughts and concerns in my head and wanted to explore them and learn more.  I am still a consumer, of course, but it is definitely making me more conscious of my decisions and the fact that I can go into stores like Ross or Old Navy and not buy anything, is a good thing.  I am looking into more local options and making a lot more of my own stuff (like my niece's Easter bag, pic below!) and I like it.  It opens creative doors and makes me feel better, despite if I don't make it under $365.

Homemade Easter bag out of a 'Freebie' reusable bag
P.S. - I was in Shopko, and I saw that the cups featured below are now on sale for $2.99, $1.99 for the purple ones!!

Monday, 19 March 2012


Again it has been a while since I have posted, but amazingly, I have hardly purchased anything for myself in the last 6 weeks.  Well, that isn't entirely true, as there have been some caveat purchases, but I will get to that.

First off though, I bought a small cotton bag for $7 at an awesome independent theatre that my dad and I saw a movie at in Tucson.  I wanted to support them - it was a cool place.  As such, with having received all of my moving boxes, I realize how many of these reusable cotton bags I actually have - way more than I need - so lots of those that I don't have any sentimental attachment to are going in the garage sale/donation box.

I also got a reusable cup for $4.99.  There is more to this cup (pictured below) and it has been the subject of a few rants of mine.

Okay, so this is actually the second one of these cups I have gotten, which is annoying.  I bought it in the first place because I have been drinking quite a lot of tea and it made sense for a number of reasons - I can take it with me to the coffee shop to save them giving me disposable ones and I can make my own tea, saving me money.  BUT, the first one was kind of rubbish - it leaked all over me all the time!! That wasn't going to work.

So then I was forced to decide - do I want to take it back to get another one, thus supporting the production of a poor product that is NOT actually helping save the planet any?  As a matter of spite, I did, because I also want the shop to know that the product they are selling is not of high enough quality.  Then, they offered to trade me a new one (now on sale for a dollar cheaper, thus I got $1.08 back!) and I figured, 'Well, I still want the cup and if it does actually work, then it is hopefully doing its job.'  Thus, this is the second one, and definitely the last - I will not get another one if this one doesn't work!

The irony of it all is sort of laughable, hence why I had to take a picture with the 'Eco-Cup' label on display.  And it is a lesson to me again - when trying to save money and buy less, it might still be worth shelling out a bit more money to get a better product that will actually last, versus the cheaper one that is going to be unusable after a fraction of the time!!

As for the other purchases, I did buy some running stuff, but I will leave the shoes in the 'needs' category, but count the clothes, which was $44.10.  Running stuff is so hard for me!!  I also bought a sweatshirt to support a friend's clothing line they are launching - I am not counting it, though I probably should, but I wouldn't have bought it if it weren't for wanting them to succeed.  Plus, the sweatshirt itself is from a socially and environmentally responsible company, which I also want to support - it is super comfy too.  I told my friend too, in hopes that they continue using them!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012


It has been a ridiculous amount of time since I have written, but I have been keeping track of my spending on a note pad.  This, however, is the first time I wrote it all down and it looks like kind of a lot, or at least that I have made a significant dent in my allocated budget in just over a month!!

So here is what I have bought though, and I really do think I have kept it pretty minimal, only buying a couple things I didn't see as things I sort of needed.

Office supplies:
Pens $1.60
Desk stuff from the Dollar Store $4
Foam pad for upcycling my mom's jewelry box $1.49

(AWESOME) rocking chair from Craigslist $20
(AWESOME) footstool from thrift store $4.49
These I recovered, along with my sewing machine chair, to make them more homey, plus make a pillow.  I know, dorky.

Jewelry glue (to fix some broken earrings) $4.99
Ski gloves $14.99
Running socks $12.99
Other thrift store purchases - big shirt for fabric $0.50, rolling pin for massaging $1.50
Estate sale - $1 pillow cases (for fabric) and purse $2
Bike lights (bordering on necessity, but whatever) $38.02
Dress - Ross, for some fancy occasion (not a necessity!) $13.99

I also got a running jacket, but am going to say that was a need given that a friend driving by me at night in my old reflective gear told me that she couldn't see me AT ALL, so this one should help keep me safe.

So all in all, not too bad to make it through the Xmas holidays and sales.  I can see this is going to be hard - and I have serious doubts about making $173 make it for nine more months.  In all honesty, I can see that the fabric store is my downfall, and I just like buying stuff to be creative and make, or upcycle. Which I guess is good too, as at least I am cutting down on buying new expensive stuff.  We will see.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Crafty splurges = $295.47

I am doing fairly well at slowly whittling away the money over the holiday shopping season.  Don't get me wrong - it is hard!  And I am overspending on other people and food, but I can only take on one thing at a time.

So my items for myself have been limited, and even with an additional trip to Seattle with a bunch of running gals, where part of the purpose was to SHOP.  I withheld!

Here is what I have bought lately, including the odd pic:

- Found a great charity shop that is FULL of junk.  Yes, lots of junk, but some treasures buried within.  So here I got (an Xmas gift that can't be pictured), a ceramic receptacle for our kitchen counter and utensils, and I don't think that counts against me, and this awesome wrought-iron Santa all for $5!!  The guy was nice, and that was all the cash I had.  So the Santa I will take as my own and it worked out to $1.02.  Gotta love charity shopping!  Plus I decorated the Santa to make him a bit more festive - I swear those types of things go for >$30 at craft shows!
Santa decorated
$1 Santa before
- Then I had to pay a visit to Joann Fabrics, my fave place, where I got a $0.50 foam pirate hat that I could wear to I.I.'s 4 bday party this weekend.  I also got a bunch of crafty stuff, a new mini glue gun for making some Xmas tags and some fabric for some project at some stage - so that all set me back $19.23.  This brings the new total to $295.47.

Who could pass this hat up? Homemade eye patch = $0
I really think that is all of my personal purchases over the past couple weeks - not too bad, I reckon!

Oh, and some good news on the running front - I am hoping to get accepted into a group amongst fans of a major name brand of running equipment that would entitle me to 30% off all of their products.  30% off of running shoes can be a substantial difference!  So fingers crossed that works out, and I can say more about it later!  It also helps the vice that we had our running groups Xmas party last week and Secret Santa gave me some new arm warmers and gloves that are awesome!