Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thrifty Thursday: Debut Post

Yes, you can save money in unique ways. Welcome to Thrifty Thursday!

My Moms R Us group had a spontaneous "Swap-o-rama" this week. This brilliant idea by my co-empress, April Hedman, proved to be an incredible opportunity for the mom's in my Monday morning bible study to rid their homes of items they no longer needed, (a nice post-Christmas purge), and to take any items from someone else that they found useful. It was Freecycle without the computer, or stipulation that you must offer an item in order to take another. We just set everything up like a garage sale and had everyone take what they wanted. I brought a huge box of stuff to give away and was told, gently, by my husband, to bring it home empty. Oops.

One friend even ended up with a pair of barely worn Dansko's. That is a serious find, my friends, as you can't get those shoes for under $100.

Yes, anything left over had to be carted away by the owner, but it was worth every penny not spent.

Zane ended up with:
  • A Lands End spring coat
  • A pair of size 13 rain boots (he's an 11-12 right now)
  • 2 pairs of 4T shorts
  • Small transformers which became potty training prizes
  • A pirate ship and pirate action figures to be wrapped up for his birthday this weekend
I paid nothing. And had a great time with my girlfriends.

Unique Thrift Store
I am completely inept at blow drying my bangs straight. I know, I have curly hair, why am I wasting my time attempting to straighten my bangs? Well, hey, we're not discussing that issue.

I have wanted a straightening iron for awhile, but wasn't willing to spend $30 on it. So, while dropping off the remainder of my stuff from the Swap-O-Rama at Unique Thrift Store, I stumbled upon a straightening iron for $2.99. We plugged it in at the store to make sure it worked. Voila. Straight bangs. Did I mention it was $2.99? I was in CVS today to pick up some sale items, and found the same brand of my straightening iron priced at $29.99. I think I got a deal.

Zane's Star Wars Birthday Party
Birthdays are hard. You want to indulge your child and his or her friends. Zane is having 5 little buddies over on Saturday night for pizza - not takeout - but rather, frozen Target brand pizza. The boys are 3 and 4. They so don't need Gigio's or La Rosa's. Pizza: $4.00.

George is making the cake based off of a picture I found on Google. The cake mix was $1.00. The frosting was $1.29. Darth Vader will be made with frosting and a bag of chocolate chips. The entire cake will cost us $6.00.

The table will have a black tablecloth with silver shred sprinkled on it. I also got plates and napkins. All from the $1.00 store. We have cups and forks. $4.00 total.

Goodie Bags. I am using some blue gift bags that were given to me as a gift. So, no money spent there. Ok, I splurged and got each kid an inflatable light saber to use in battling the bubble asteroids at $5.00 a piece ($30). But, the remainder of their bag includes: A sheet of stickers. I stumbled on a pack of 700 (yes, 700) Star Wars stickers for $3.00 at Target (bent box), a jar of bubbles (6 jars for $1.00), and a glow stick so that they can see while out in the galaxy (12 for $2.00). Total for goody bags: $36.00 (divided among 6 kids).

So let's add this up . . . free pirate ship, $4.00 for pizza, $6.00 cake, $4.00 for tableware, $36.00 spent on goodie bag items (so $6.00 a kid).

Total spent for Zane's party: $50

I couldn't stomach purchasing Star Wars plates, and cups, and tableware that would just get thrown away. Zane will have a great time eating pizza and cake, battling the asteroids, and trying to blow up the Death Star (our version of Pin the Tail on the Donkey).

So, I would say it was a wonderful thrifty week.

I've saved the best for last! Here's my BEST OF THE BEST for the week:

Paperback Swap
And this, my friends, is the best site I've found in a long while. Paperback Swap has enabled me to get 7 new, (to me), books by only spending the cost of media mail to ship a book to someone else.

Gather up all those paperback (and hard cover) books that you have finished reading and really don't need to hang on to. Are you really going to read that James Patterson or John Grisham book again? Doubt it. Go to Paperback Swap, create an account, and list those books on your "bookshelf". After putting 10 books on your shelf, you automatically earn 2 credits. Go shopping! Redeem those credits for books that you would like sent to you from the bookshelves of other members! Books "cost" 1 credit, unless otherwise specified.

I have spent roughly $12.00 shipping my own books to members of Paperback Swap. I earned 2 free credits for signing up. I redeemed those quickly, and got my 2 books. And since that time I have also had requests for books on my shelf to be "purchased", with credits, by other members. When the member receives the book, I get another credit. Of which, currently, I have 5!

Do the math. Once I choose my next selections I will have received a total of 7 books for $1.70 each. I can't "buy" books quickly enough! I pay more than this in library fines, so Paperback Swap is a great deal for me. Plus, when I am done reading, I'll re-list the book and wait for someone else to request it, thus insuring me another book. That is, unless I want to keep it. No returning it to the owner.

It's book recycling at it's best. Try it!

  • Swap goods with your friends.
  • Hit the thrift stores. They can be overwhelming, so for your first go, perhaps make a list of treasures you would like to find. Like that straightening iron.
  • Get creative with your child's birthday party. 3 and 4 year old boys do not need a full spread.
He who does not economize will have to agonize. ~Confucius


stacelito said...

I've used Paperbackswap for 2 1/2 years. It really IS everything it says it is! They have two "sister websites"...swapadvd and swapacd. We use swapadvd with great suscess. We haven't used swapacd because it requires .50 each time.

IT IS THE BEST FIND OUT THERE FOR BOOKS! After joining, check out the Book Bazaar and you could get 2 for 1, 3 for 1, or more deals!

Liz said...

Oh, this is SO exciting! Last weekend I picked up a FREE Aero Postale burgandy cordoroy with fur collar winter coat for Haley off of I get so many things from there!
Took Haley's old computer out of her room, stored it for 2 months, and recently took it out to hook up for the kids' computer games to find out it won't turn on. Where does one replace a computer that only kids will be using? On CraigsList. Found a compaq desktop for $50! Only need the tower, but if the monitor is smaller than the one I have, I'll freecycle the other.
Where can you find a pappasan chair for your daughter's room because she wants a reading nook without going to Pier One and spending over $100?? Craigslist - $20. Picking it up Monday night!

Amy said...

Great ideas, Joline! My MOPS group in Hawaii did a swap every couple of months. I got TONS of diapers for Bethany that way!

I LOVE the dollar store and the dollar spot at Target for birthday stuff. Our Dollar Tree even has mylar balloons for a buck so I just get 3 or 4 of those for the party instead of a bunch of latex ones. Penny's birthday was one month ago and those balloons are still decorating our living room!