Jun 12, 2011

How to yard sale with the best of 'em!

Look in your local merchandiser, check craigslist.com, the best deals out there can be found in people's backyards across the country every Saturday morning! It may seem like an odd concept to travel to other people's homes and dig through boxes of stuff they are getting rid of. In reality, people give away junk as well as treasures for pennies on the dollar each week. It's your job to find the treasures, and trust me, they can be found.

Here's some tips on how to make the best of yard sale outing:

1 - Good stuff can be found all day, but the GREAT stuff goes early. Try to go out as early as possible to snag the best deals

2 - Go to well-to-do neighborhoods. They've got money so they've got the best stuff.

3 - Find community yard sales. I am not a big fan of driving around to independent yard sales even though my mom swears that's where you find the real treasures. I love community yard sales because you just park your car and walk around the whole neighborhood, saving on gas and time spent searching for people's homes. Figure out which strategy works best for you and just go with it.

4 - No price is permanent. If you'd pay less for something, offer it out. Most people just want to get rid of their stuff and will probably take you up on it or counter offer.

5 - Consider upcoming gift-giving. I buy lots of brand-new or new-looking gift items at yard sales for future birthdays, baby showers, weddings, etc. Sometimes I don't even know who I'm going to give it to, but I buy something anyway knowing eventually it will make the perfect gift for someone. I've bought journals, candles, baby growth charts, picture frames and lots of other goodies that I've given as gifts that looked brand new (some stuff was). Remember, gifts don't have to be expensive to be meaningful and exactly what someone wanted.

I have gotten SO MUCH great stuff at yard sales! In fact, I've got too much stuff, so my friends and I will be hosting our own this Saturday and hopefully I'll be able to sell some of my CDs, housewares, decor and other stuff I don't need anymore. If there's anything I love more than thrifting, it's getting rid of stuff! More on this next time!


Jun 11, 2011

Fight allergies for less

As summer begins, pollen levels soar, leaving us stuffy-nosed, congested, and pretty miserable all around. If you've taken a trip the drugstore lately, you know that name-brand allergy medication prices are through the roof. But you're in luck. There are ways to fight allergies without falling to prey to sky-high prices.

Short-term plan
To cut medication costs, trying buying off-brand/generic drugs. For me, Claritan works best in clearing up my sinuses when the grass allergy is high, but it's exorbitantly priced at about $20 for 30 pills. Luckily, the off-brand I found at Target (Up & Up), only cost $3.99 for 30 pills and uses the same active ingredients as Claritan. I actually approached the store's pharmacist and asked him if the off-brand would work. He told me he gives his kids off-brand medication; if it uses the same active (fighting) ingredients, it will work just as well. I happily took my medication home knowing I saved about $15. Not too bad.

Long-term plan
Though allergy medication helps in the short-term, allergies come back every season which require more medication. But if you want to fight allergies in the long-term, start with local honey; it's known as a possible natural remedy to reduce allergies. The idea is that since honey is comprised of local nectar, by eating a spoonful a day for a month, your body starts to become immune to local allergens.

To find local honey, go to your local farmers market or stand. Be sure to check the label and make sure it's truly made nearby. I bought mine at an independent farm stand for $4.35 and have had some success in reducing my allergies by taking it, so it's worth a shot! Plus, if it effectively reduces your allergies, it will save money on medication in the long run. And of course, saving money in the long run is always the goal around here!

Next for The Thrift World: How to Get the Best Deal at a Yard Sale


Jun 6, 2011

Cheap summer entertainment

Yesterday, I got together with some friends from church to have a picnic and we participated in some good old fashioned fun. We played some foursquare (costs include $5 ball, and $1 chalk @ Target).

The temptation during the summer months is to try as hard as possible to stay in the air conditioning by going to a pricey movie, eating out or lounging in a coffee shop. While none of those things are bad, it's important to remember that there is TONS of opportunity for next-to-free/fun entertainment everywhere in the great outdoors!

We need to get out and embrace the sunshine and the heat. Once we're used to it, the heat becomes bearable and we can be free to participate in outdoor activities. It seems that during the summer, people are just way more willing to get together and gather in groups to barbecue and just hang out, so we'd be foolish to not take advantage of that.

Lots of games/activities have very low equipment costs depending on how much you already have, how frequently you use them, and what equipment your local parks already have. Here are some suggestions for outdoor activities that won't cost you a lot:

-bocce ball
-ladder ball
-board games on the deck
-shuffle board
-tether ball

...and there are plenty more.

Gather some friends and revive an old game or play some news ones! Pat yourself on the back for indulging in cheap entertainment, you thrifter you!

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