Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bringing Thrifty Back

I'm cheap. There, I said it.

Cheap has a certain beauty, no? This is what you get to see if you get up and get moving on a Saturday morning. Caught this beautiful sunrise as I left one of the sales I stopped at on my one-hour-garage-sale-tour-of-the-week.

It's okay to be cheap in my book. I've always been cheap; I hate to waste money because, number one, I don't have it and number two, I know I'll need any money I might otherwise spend later. Heck, I need it now! I am plagued with a practicality gene that co-mingles with a high anxiety gene. It's a tricky combination that has been known to keep me teetering on a mental and physical cliff. Some days it sure would be nice to get a chance to step back from the cliff. Sure, frugality has served me well in many respects, and heaven knows the bind I'd be in had I not been doing without in so many areas of life for so long. It's all about trade offs. In many ways, for all my thrifty living and "passing" on things others consider necessities, I'm not exactly getting ahead. Some days I'm treading, some days sinking. Treading's not so bad, floating would be a nice change, but the responsibilities and overwhelming demands of life are relentless. It is really hard to keep up. I'm not talking "get ahead", I'm talking "get to a level place where the house, car and me aren't in a state of rot and decay". Much of that is not about poor spending habits, but about the course life takes. Those are the baseline challenges to which my life's thrifty habits find themselves paying homage. It's not a complaint or a woe is me. It's an assessment.

Let's just say, I live as small as possible, and while it helps to scrimp, it is a bit exhausting at times.

My $6.00 haul of the week. Woody is meant as a gift. The car wax was something we needed and it was FREE! The lazy Susan I had to get after seeing what Bliss Ranch did with one she found. Mine won't turn into anything like hers (I don't have a "Brawn" to do the routing for me), but it will get an overhaul and may become a gift. The ladder was a dollar. Can't beat that.

Enter the junking phase of my life and add a bit of thrifting to the mix. It gives "financial treading" an adrenaline rush that can trick the mind into thinking it's a sport rather than a constraining necessity; like making lemonade out of lemons. That sort of idea, a coping mechanism, you might call it. The thing is, even with small inexpensive finds, the bits spent add up over the course of a month and year. If I'm not selling the stuff, then it is just money blown on diversion if it's not stuff I need. (Do I need another folding ruler, two handfuls of keys, a Woody doll, another ladder, two old books (practical as they are)?) Spending on diversions goes counter to my plan, and frankly my basic needs. I have rarely been one to have a place in my life for spending for sport.

So I'm gonna work on bringing thrifty back in a few ways. I'm now giving myself a $10 limit each week on sales (aiming for $5), and whatever cash I can make it home with is going into a kitty (another competition for myself). I have a feeling that if I start shoving even small bits of money into a jar, I'll find I can fund one of my necessary house, car or "me" repair or upkeep funds (they are overwhelming and never-ending) or at least contribute a small chunk of change to something (the rising cost of gas, if nothing else). If the bits I spend add up, surely the bits I save should add up as well. The only way I will justify spending more on an item is if I buy it to sell and actually either list it on Etsy or try to sell it some other way within the week. My goal is to list it all, but I tend to buy practical items I can use, and then immediately press them into service in some way or another.

Okay, I confess! I bought this stuff at Goodwill before I made my new vow not to spend more than $10 in a week. I got all this for $7, so I'm over budget by a few. So sue me! Good luck with that. If you do, all you'll get is a nice assortment of cool old junk. Some of you would like that, though, now wouldn't you?

Unfortunately, I had a plan to paint the jewelry box and I did. Dumb move. Shouldn't have done it. It was perfectly fine as is. It's just that in Goodwill surrounded by tons of 70's (and beyond) wood, it seemed to need new life. I ruined it. Sure, things can be redone, but I. don't. want. to. redo. a. redo! I also started painting this tray which is a bigger version of the pink one I already did. I decided it should match the other. Why? It's actually pretty nice a plain wood. But I could have none of that. Silly me. I have to finish the tray and try to rework the jewelry box a bit before I show you.

The other plan is to make my thrifting count more often toward all the gifts that need to be given. There is plenty of good stuff out there that could be remade or renewed to give. Knowing what others are in the market to find and going looking with a purpose can make the time rewarding and cost-saving, because gifts are a one expense that much of the money brought into this house seems to go back out toward. It will take some planning and concentration, but it could make a huge dent in the gift budget if I could re-train myself to buy low, add a touch of creativity and present someone with something they will truly use and enjoy, knowing I didn't cut into the house, car and "me" repair funds to do so.

It's time to not only make thrifting thrifty, it's time to give my competitive spirit a chance to kick into overdrive, strut its stuff and make some things happen that might make an "honest woman" of my thrifty nature, because thrifting just to thrift could become counterproductive. Can I get an "amen" out there?

Lucky for me, if I get out on trash days in the different communities around here, I can score more freebies than I could probably overhaul in my time off, but it's way more exciting to get things for free than to pay even a single red cent.

So, off I go to work at bringing thrifty back!

Yesterday  morning after I wrote this, I drove through a neighborhood nearby where it was their bulk trash day. I should have brought a camera. I could have gotten the best old bike that was in excellent shape or an armoire or a broken chair. Couldn't get the bike in the car. By the time I got to work and my friend and I went back for it, it was gone. We decided to pass on the armoire. We didn't feel like dealing with the bulk of it. I should have picked up the chair, but just wasn't in the mood for fixing it. The seat was broken, but fixable. I figured this little item would be enough to deal with for now.

Score. I have a plan to turn this into something fun and useful. It's a sewing cabinet without the machine so those are faux drawers.

The hardware is worth salvaging, if nothing else.

Someone had tried to do some sort of redo on it, but frankly in person, you would have to say, it was a fail. They used a gold glaze that turned out looking green and dirty.

Not sure this picture shows how ugly the finish is.

I want to make this into something else, but depending on circumstances and timing, if nothing else, I'll sell it as is at a garage sale or just salvage the legs and hardware. There you go. I got it for FREE!

See, I'm bringing thrifty back already!

Stop over and visit some of these fun parties this week:

Ivy and Elephants

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special

Furniture Feature Fridays

French Country Cottage


Lavender Garden Cottage


mop it up mondays


  1. You make me smile - you make me laugh
    ( you make me want your autograph lmao )
    What a great post - wish I could be more like you - I'm drowning also but have never learned how to be frugal which means I'll go down that much quicker I guess...............
    I'm all over the board - pay a great price here - get ripped off there.........
    I turned one of those sewing machines into a computer desk for my daughter - she loved it - it was a curbside find also.
    AND I'm jealous you found a lazy Bliss - ( refuse to call it a lazy Susan )

  2. Liz, I think the free gene is something we're born with cuz I KNOW I have the EXACT same gene. Sometimes it gets me into trouble and other times it leads me to a job : )It's funny, I was looking at your first picture and I swear I just hauled some of the SAME stuff, like the keys (even the cool old key ring). So see, you DO find cool things. Hugs to you my dear friend ~
    Keep that gene going ~

  3. Okay... I take back my suggestion: you should NOT get a truck. hee hee I'm picturing Sanford & Son, Florida Style. :) You amaze me with your finds, your deals and your resolve. If thrifty junkin' had a poster girl, it would be YOU. Have fun and keep taking us along for the ride. xo

  4. Honey, at my age there is no hope of bringing sexy back, so I'm in - thrifty it is!


  5. Oh, I wish I can find that kind of deals around here! I like your determination on setting a budget and I think you're doing pretty well! I love that sewing table, just like that it would do good as a night table!

  6. it just amazes me how much you can get for very little or free! you are a pro

  7. I wish I could find a stash of keys like that. I am 95% thrifty but if I see something that I love that I will NEVER EVER find thrifting I will buy it. Usually if the things I love are in antique shops I have time to visit them a few times and make sure I really really want them. It's kind of a challenge to decorate on a REAL budget.

  8. First, thank you so much for putting that song in my head. Second, you will be surprised at how quickly your jar will fill. I know I blew my March budget, but if I have any left at the end of the month, it is saved for a major purchase. Third, get your Etsy on, girl. People are waiting to buy this stuff. (like those beautiful keys, those books!)

  9. I love hearing about your adventures, Liz. I am always amazed!

  10. You go girl!! With the treasures you find, there's no need to be spending any more than $10. Love that sewing machine cabinet and all your fun finds. Yes, you do need another folding ruler and more keys:-)

  11. Your pile of stuff makes me drool. I would've grabbed the keys, too. And the ruler. Not sure about Woody...:)

    Start doing the Etsy thing. It will bring in a bit of income, and help you edit what you buy, too.

    Email me if you have questions...I'll share my experience!


  12. Liz,
    Before my husband retired, (he was a truck driver) he would hold on to his loose change given when he ate, etc., and just kept bringing it home and dropping it into a large jar. If he had any one dollar bills, he would put those in also. When we finally carried it to the bank to be counted and deposited, he had over $2200.00. We had taken out probably 3 or 4 hundred altogether over the years. I'd grab change instead of writing a check for lunch, etc. and at one time he let our grandson get all the dollar bills out. Anyway, this was probably a three or four year time span. So, it is really surprising how much it counts up over time. Good luck! Love the sewing machine table. I saw one someone had refurbished on a blog, but can't remember whose blog. If I can find it, I'll let you know. Have fun thrifting!!

  13. Hi ~Liz~
    You are such a trend setter! I see many doing the same thing. I was wondering who to give the credit to, he he he!
    I think the table will make a great re-do. I too would have grabbed the keys and the folding ruler...Like Revi, I have an etsy and I enjoy having thrifted items in my home for a while...ON DISPLAY...but then it sells and it makes room for more!
    I also like the Lazy Bliss... and like, Kathy Moreland,...I say, stick all the change you can into a jar or that sweet little box you pictured! and don't take it out ...EVEN TO THRIFT.
    It will all start to add up.
    As to Woody.
    My little grandson was sitting in my lap this morning (he's 2 1/2) and he was happy to see Woody's picture while scrolling... shouting very excitedly, 'THERE'S WOODY!'
    ...so that was money well spent in my book.
    Talk to you later, my wordy friend, Pat

  14. I would love to be going to garage sales right now, but 20 degree weather & snow ain't cuttin' it for that. Lucky you, to have that opportunity in March! I'm green with envy over those keys though! And FREE stuff is usually good! I couldn't make it on a $10 budget/week. Around here, everyone thinks their stuff is gold for a premium price and MINE is junk and should just be given to them. I do find some dandy stuff though!

  15. another fab write, liz:) i love thrifty, but, am guilty of paying way too much sometimes. and your table...i love the finish as is, i really do. happy spring!

  16. Wow! Amazing stuff. I am visiting you via No Minimalist Here. I would love for you to stop by My Dream Canvas. I am hosting a Giveaway for my blog's birthday. Please join in if you like it :)

  17. Sweetie, if you ask me you are the queen of thrift. You always find amazing things and after you work your magic they go from amazing to fabulous! Can't wait to see them after you get through with them. lol! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  18. Woody is a classic. My youngest brother ( who is 16 now) had one when he was a kid. It survived and my 7 year old daughter LOVED playing with it. As did my 5 year old daughter. It's still in great shape and my 18 month old son recently has started hauling it out of the toy chest. That's going to be a great gift.

  19. What a fabulous HAUL!!!! Lovin EVERYTHING!!!! : ) Thanks for sharing...you really did great this week...CONGRATS!!!

  20. That initial photo is just the cutest thing! Love all the finds and the arrangement - Woody's personal collection. :-)

  21. You get an amen from me sister! That sewing cabinet has some potential. I might look at converting it into a mini-bar.


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