Clearing Out

We started the summer off with an impressive burst of motivation to have a rummage sale.  DD was a huge help and went through every box of toys and kid books, and clothes too!  We hit the stage where it’s pretty clear what toys are with us for the duration and which could be better served with a new friend.

noexif_IMG_5920_privateThings we found helpful in making the rummage a success were:

  • Having pre-printed Avery price tags.  They were inexpensive and what kid doesn’t love to put stickers on things!
  • We lacked a hanging clothes rack, but we found people were willing to go through bins on a table that were labeled by size.
  • We also found it worthwhile to bag like items together in a Ziploc and sell them as a bundle.  Within the first 20 minutes all of our Melissa and Doug wooden toy food was gone.

Our 4 hour sale netted us about 100.00.  From that $100 I paid our daughter a flat rate for labor and a 10% commission on sales.

It feels great to have things like her old bike out of the garage.  The longer it sits around the more likely it is to become broken or rusty.  I’d rather price it reasonably and have someone using it.

We used the cash from the rummage to buy some portable folding chairs that we need for an event later this summer.  It felt great to meet a future expense with items taking up room in our basement.

I did break a cardinal rule of having a garage sale… I brought three boxes of stuff back inside the house.  I labeled the bins and hope to have a rummage with the rest of it at my mom’s house that has great street traffic.  I put the bins in my laundry room so I won’t forget my plan!

Got $10 and Time?

Mr. Saver is Head Gardener in our home.  He was researching shrubs and trees and came across a wonderful, economical resource at the Arbor Day Foundation.  The Arbor Day Foundation sells an enormous variety of evergreens, fruit and nut trees, shrubs, and flowering trees, many of them priced from $ 4.00 to $ 19.00.  Who needs Monrovia at the garden center?!

Of course, there is a catch.  The plants are small, many from 6″ to 3 feet.  So, you need to be both frugal and patient to make this work.  There is also a “tree wizard” which will help you select the best trees for your growing conditions.

I was drawn to the “American Beech”  – its “beech nuts” serve as an important food for wild turkeys, foxes, and porcupines!  It grows 70 feet tall, has fall color, and you get all that for the low low price of $ 9.00!

Note – they only ship in spring and fall.  This is not a sponsored post – just sharing!

 

 

From Prudent to Extravagant in 40 Minutes

Now, you know we plan ahead for kid expenses, whether it be school fees or summer activities, we are thinking and budgeting in advance.  .  . (most of the time).

Our daughter sure grew this year, and surprise! her bike is ridiculously small.  We tried to drum up a used bike from friends — no luck.  Thought about a bike from Target or Amazon, but we’re not real comfortable with assembling a bike with so many gears.  That brought us to the local bike shop.  Are you seeing dollar signs?  Wait, it gets worse!

My husband and I previewed the offerings at the bike shop alone to avoid possible kid disappointment.  We thought we could aim for an entry-level TREK 24″ wheel bike.  I brought her to the shop and the clerk was about the same height as our daughter.  Turns out she is ready for an adult-sized bike, and not even the smallest adult frame!  Dollar signs!

While she was testing the bikes out I was, of course, texting Mr. Saver: “Adult bike… $ 400-500, not 300. as we planned! ”  The upside is that this bike should work for her for a long time unless she hits 6 ft tall.  I advised her that she can buy her next bike because this one should last until she is 35!

mcdonalds-grimaceWe hone in on one model, only to find out the entry-level adult Trek comes in one color:  charcoal gray.  This is a moment where your parental resolve is tested.  Naturally, there is a purple bike, with better components, and it is teetering close to $500.  The clerk calls the bike “Grimace” purple.

So, for Mother’s Day, mom bought a $ 500 bike for daughter.  Quintessential parenting moment.  We have been out biking together every night when the weather cooperates.  Her bike is much nicer than mine and I may be a bit jealous of her slick looking Bontrager puncture resistant tires.  We paid in full for it… I would never finance a bike even if it were the last Grimace-purple bike in town!

Trek 7.2

 

 

 

 

Did You Give Your Inner Child a Credit Card?

No ConsequenceesMany things about being an adult come as a rude awakening:

  • I thought I would never go to the dentist when I grew up.  Now I go twice a year and make my kid go too!
  • I thought I would grow up and be able to eat Cheetos whenever I wanted, every day if possible!  My grown-up self fears the effects of that kind of eating.
  • If I had known our income today I would have thought it would be enough to live like the Drummonds in “Diff’rent Strokes”.  Reality is decidedly non-Park Avenue.

One other “unfair” part of being a grown-up is that while we are fortunate to be able to afford many things, we have to save our own money for them! Seriously disappointing!  Even being debt-free has not made a money tree grow in our backyard.  If we say we want something – be it Starbucks, or taking a special vacation – we have to come clean with ourselves and allocate money towards what we value.

That “coming clean” part of budgeting can be a little mentally painful, because my human nature wants all the pleasure with no pain.   This isn’t a pity party, but I want to capture the thoughts that go through my mind every week on Saturday when we update our weekly budget.   We confront our financial choices twice in our house – once when we enter the purchase into Quicken, and the next time when we close out our budget at the end of the week and see what we spent.  This “reality check” is what keeps our inner child from running away with our bank account.  Pout.

If you find expenses like lattes, drinks after work, eating out, or new clothes are busting your budget – or that you can’t commit to a budget – could it be that the kid part of your personality isn’t on board with the reality of adulthood – a reality where the consequences are all ours to enjoy?

 

brokeGIRLrich

 

 

Saving at CVS Today

CVS deal AprilI had a great little CVS trip today.  I am on the lookout for water and soda on sale because we need to provide these for a large family reunion this summer.

  • I bought three 12 packs of Coke products for 9.00
  • Two packs of mini cans for 5.98 and
  • One 1.25 litre for .99
  • Total = 15.97
  • Less $5.00 off a $ 15.00 purchase coupon which was in my CVS app
  • Received $ 5.00 Extra Cash Back WYB 15.00 of Coke products for a net cost of $ 5.97

I also stumbled onto a deal on TIDE pods

  • Fourteen count bag was 5.49
  • Less 25% off everything except sale items coupon mailed to my home (-1.37)
  • Less $2.00 off Tide Pod Coupon in CVS app
  • Less $2.00 off Tide Pod manufacturer coupon Exp 5/31
  • Final cost .12 cents

What We Did to Save Money This Week 4/25

From the children's book "Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Ben Franklin"

From the children’s book “Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Ben Franklin”

I am turbo-charging my savings mode right now because we would really like to go to England next year.  Traveling out of the United States is expensive for a family, so planning and saving ahead is very necessary.

This week:

  • I had an opportunity to work extra hours at work.  I was grateful I already had a meal plan and groceries purchased so I could say yes.   Wonderful to earn extra money AND come home to something to make a meal out of.
  • Mr. Saver researched our medical plan and found that we could also get preventative dental care as part of our existing plan.  We are charged a nominal amount for each service provided (cleaning, oral evaluation, etc).  There is a quality dental provider walking distance from our house.  We will be able to save up to $ 750.00 a year… money we are currently paying out of pocket by paying without insurance.  This mini plan does not cover big ticket dental problems, but then again, we aren’t paying anything extra for it!
  • You know me.. I have been charging our phones, doing dishes, and washing clothes using  Time of Use rate for electricity.
  • CVS sent me a coupon for 5.00 off a 15.00 purchase.  I am studying how I can use that to purchase water and soda for a big family reunion this summer (both are on sale starting Sunday).  I already budgeted money to pay for reunion expenses, but money unspent is money I can reallocate elsewhere!
  • Speaking of coupons, my hair salon is running a Mother’s Day promotion — buy a large gift card, get an additional $20.00 gift card.  I budget haircut money out of every check, so I already had money to pay for the gift card, and now have an additional $20!
  • Today is “lock in day” at our house.  Our daughter requested a day to not go anywhere – just family time at home.  Saves lots of money and lets us recharge after a busy week.  We are planning some baking, puzzles, and Simpsons Monopoly.

Overall, a pretty good week and a gold star to Mr. Saver for digging deeper into our medical insurance and looking for a new dentist that takes this type of insurance.

American Girl Warehouse Sale-Wilmot 2015

A reader left a comment yesterday asking about the dates for the American Girl Wilmot Warehouse sale. It will be held June 11-13, 2015, from 10:00-8:00 pm.

You can read about our experience at the first day of the sale in 2013 here

You can read about our experience on day two of the sale in 2014 here

Directions can be found on the Mattel Outlet Website.  I’m happy to answer any questions!

noexif_IMG_4667_private