Yard Sales and Birthday Fun

I love yard sales, and this past Saturday was the Collingswood Town-Wide Yard Sale. I am not a professional when it comes to going to yard sales, by any means. Sometimes I buy dumb stuff; sometimes I buy something just because I feel bad if I don’t buy anything. But I really lucked out this time. The first house I went to turned out to be the home of someone I know from my oldest’s preschool days. She just flat-out gave me a bunch of stuff her two sons had outgrown, including snow boots, long-sleeve tees, and sweatpants. And… a giant bag of boxer shorts.

“Some people skeeve used underwear…” she said.
“Yeah, not me,” I assured her.

The boxers hardly seem used at all. Still, I didn’t tell my husband or my son about them yet. My husband might insist I throw them away. We’ll see. I’ll have to give them a close inspection.

In addition, this woman’s sister-in-law was selling her daughter’s old clothes. Jackpot! I got a ton of stuff for my daughter, plus a dollhouse and a water table. They hadn’t put prices on anything, so I just pressed $30 on her. I think if you combine everything I got between the two of them, it works out to a very low per-item cost, although I haven’t actually done the math.

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Then my daughter and I continued on to the Container Store. I had a $15 gift card and got some small containers for my son’s lunches as well as a microfiber mitt for cleaning. Honestly, I just love the Container Store and its implication that everything can be organized. It’s a pretty little dream. And my daughter was being so good and cute all morning that I was really enjoying just being with her and letting her run around the store and babble about what she saw.

Then it was on to my son’s baseball game, then back home, where I got three loads of laundry on the line. Then my husband and I decided that the next day (Sunday) would be a good day to celebrate my middle son’s birthday, i.e., at the very least, have a cake and sing Happy Birthday. This evolved into a last-minute BBQ. I combined the party food order with my regular food order and put the order in around midnight on Saturday. I didn’t really have time for couponing, but I did get $30 off my order for spending more than $200.

I’ve written before about how we can get out of control with party planning. The last-minute nature of this party kept it pretty contained. I don’t think there was too much food waste. Most leftover food was frozen, and I was diligent yesterday about eating other leftovers and pushing them on the other members of the family. I used our reusable plastic plates and real silverware (well, metalware of some type — it came from this nightclub venture my husband was once involved in). On the flip side, I used a throwaway tablecloth and LOTS of paper towels. I asked everybody to NOT bring gifts for the birthday boy, which worked out great. He didn’t notice at all. I made cupcakes from a box mix and frosting from scratch. It was a fun little party. I haven’t confessed it on here yet, but back on Memorial Day I went to Toys R Us and bought one of those giant water slide/splash pools. It was +$400 and I opened a Toys R Us credit card to put it on. ūüė¶ My rationalization is that we will use this instead of joining the town pool (which costs around $200) and I will find money from somewhere else in the summer budget to make up the rest. Now I just have to make sure it doesn’t get punctured and that I don’t leave the pump outside in the rain… Anyway, the kids at the party really enjoyed it, and sometime when nobody is looking I am definitely going to try to go down the slide.

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With my yard sale finds,¬†my daughter’s summer wardrobe is complete. My middle son has a ton of hand-me down clothes, but he keeps insisting on wearing the same few things over and over. I suppose I should applaud his nonconsumer instincts. My oldest is becoming the hardest to shop for, for a few reasons. One, the sizes get more murky as they get bigger. It’s easy to buy 3T on eBay; it’s¬†harder to tell¬†if a boys’ “medium” will fit my son without seeing it in person. Two,¬†some of the thrift shops I like cater more to small kids and/or adults. So¬†over the weekend I dug out an old Gap gift card that still had a balance on it (thanks Aunt Peg!), combined it with a 20%-off promo code and 2% off from eBates, and got him¬†a bathing suit, flip-flops, rashguard, and some T-shirts on Gap.com for around $38.

As far as overall budget, I did have a surplus for May, and I was able to stick some money in my savings account, but June is not looking good (because some expenses from May got pushed into June). So I need to sit down and think about what I could do for June to make sure we end up in the black. This may require taking a look around finding something to sell. I don’t think ordinary thriftiness is going to cut it.

Did you have any thrifty good times this weekend?

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