8-20-16 Thrift Shop Finds

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I was excited to pick up some clothes for teaching like the Ann Taylor skirt on the lower left.

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This Express dress was only  $6 and I think it will be perfect for all of the baby showers I will be attending this year!

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Nine West shoes (left) are my crack cocaine of shoes because I can wear them for 12 hours without them hurting my feet. And I adore the Christian Siriano (love him from project runway!) slingback heels on the right!

the tightwad gazette

I was also super excited to pick up this copy of The Tightwad Gazette for $2! This is only the first book and I have the complete one you can see below but I absolutely love this book! It’s full of amazing money saving ideas! I will pass it along to someone else who wants to read it.

Austin Goodwill Outlet Haul

This past Saturday I was spending time with a friend who had mentioned she had started selling some old jewelry on the site Postmark and was interested in eBay too. I was telling her my experience about the Goodwill outlet in Austin, Tx. We were a short drive away so we decided to go. I had only ever been to the Goodwill outlet on one other Saturday night. This time it was super busy and hot. We did still manage to find some good stuff. Here is what I found:image6-14

I plan on selling this brand new Stephen Colbert book on eBay and keeping the Jim Gaffigan book. Ive already started reading it! Books were 4 for $1.

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I picked up this Little Golden Books out of curiosity. Turns out they really don’t sell for much on eBay but i might just list them anyways!

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A story book from 1981.

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We found so many old interesting books this visit. I believe the maroon book is a 1961 reprint from 1879, the blue book is the complete collection of William Shakepshere published in 1926, and the small brown book is a shorthand dictionary from around 1916!

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I found both these mugs to sell on eBay. If I sell just on I will make enough money to pay for my whole shopping trip!

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Lastly, I found four small like new Ikea plates I was going to buy a few months back, but for some reason decided against. I found two pyrex bowls, one anchor bowl, and a vintage Welchs Looney Tunes jar from the 80’s.

I also found a Maxi dress from Charminig Charlie (at least $40 in store), a pair of Jessica Simpson maternity shorts (at least $34 at Motherhood Maternity), and a cute tank top. My total was $10!

7-24-16 A Few Frugal Things

fridge

(Our Fridge Full of Leftovers)

Last night we had a dinner party at our townhouse. This is one of the first times we have had friends over and we have lived here for over a year! We had a great time and although buying food for 8 people isn’t the most frugal choice it was worth every penny and we had a great time.

Dinner Party Frugal Things-

– I chose Tacos because they are fun and require little cooking since I am still finishing Summer B semester. All of the groceries were purchased at ALDI and Dollar Tree (Our friends love ALDI too!)

– We have fantastic friends who brought food and drinks with them too which is always fun!

– As always, we bought way too much food and drinks so we will have leftovers for a week! Yay for not having to cook again!

– We played Catch Phrase with a Catchphrase game that I bought at Goodwill a while ago. We watched an Orlando City Soccer Game on our Goodwill flatscreen TV using the antenna (no cable). We ate at the beautiful bamboo real wood table that my sister gave me when she moved because I had always loved it. We sat on the double recliner, Lazyboy couch I got free when someone moved out of my old college apartment complex and was throwing it away. I heated the food on my buffet warmers from my stainless steel cookware set that my father gave me for Christmas one year.

– We had extra seating from the flat folding sofa my mom bought my for my college dorm room and the $12 funky, fun, 80s, folding table and 4 chair set I bought at Salvation Army a few years ago. When you live in a semi-small space owning some flat folding furniture is always helpful when having people over.

– I used all of my Pyrex, Anchor, etc. clear glass food storage containers with lids to set out all of the food and cover it after we ate. This made for especially easy clean up at the end of the night as I only had to put everything in the fridge to put it away.

– I also bought paper plates, cups and napkins since we usually don’t buy paper products; however, I do feel that once there is a certain number of people eating we are saving money by not washing dishes, napkins, cups, etc. Not the most eco-friendly but frugal and very efficient.

– I deep cleaned the entire house and tackled some projects that I had been putting off. There is nothing like having company to motivate you to clean the house (Not that anyone would have cared if the house wasn’t spotless). I LOVE, LOVE having a clean house and this is like killing two birds with one stone because we have company coming to stay in a few weeks and we will *try* to keep up with it.

– I used rags, rubbing alcohol, vinegar and some old toilet cleaner my mom gave us to clean the house which means I didn’t have to buy anything to clean the house and there was very little waste.

– We were able to recycle a lot this weekend which I am always proud of. I want to always have more recycling than trash and we are working on it.

Other Frugal Life Things-

– I bought snacks and paper products for my end of the semester class parties at Dollar Tree. I spent less than $20 for 4 class parties.

– B washed his phone in the washing machine and while that is certainly not frugal, we had an extra phone that was the same as the one he was using and the Metro PCS store activated it for free so this didn’t cost us anything. (Metro PCS stores in our area all have different owners, prices and policies. We are lucky to have 1 good one nearby surrounded by really bad ones that try to rip you off…long story)

– During my cleaning spree I also went through our entire kitchen and got rid of a lot of things we no longer need. I also matched containers with lids and got rid of odds and ends. I should be ashamed to admit that this is the first time I have really organized our kitchen since we moved in but I’m not because instead I was accomplishing more important things. However, that’s not to say it wasn’t driving me crazy. We also decided to get rid of almost all of our plastic storage containers in favor of glass ones. And one of my friends was more than happy to take them. My mother wants our second blender. Everything else we are getting rid of will be donated to a local thrift shop.

– I found some great finds at the thrift store on half off day this week but haven’t had time to post about them including a shower curtain, sheets, a table cloth, a hand towel holder, some clothes, a matching curtain set, a couple very expensive university hats and a fog machine! I have always wanted a fog machine and it was only $2! B does not approve lol

Swagbucks- How to Earn $10 From Your Mobile Device

Swagbucks is the web’s most popular rewards program that gives you free gift cards and cash for the everyday things you already do online. Whenever you shop, watch videos or search the web, Swagbucks gives you points called SB. You can use your SB to redeem gift cards to hundreds of your favorite stores.  With the Swagbucks Mobile and SBTV apps I can use my spare minutes to earn free gift cards on my phone! Like the Swagbucks website, I can rack up SB by shopping, answering surveys and watching videos.  [if you have any more ideas that relate to you personally, replace a below example or put them here!] While you wait for the coffee to brew, download free games and other apps through the Discover tab: 20 SB During commercial breaks, take a featured survey or fill out your survey profile: 60 SB While standing in line at the grocery store, answer the daily poll: 1 SB When you’ve finally made it to the gym, watch style, tech and celeb news through the SBTV app: 2 SB for every 10 videos Just as you’ve put dinner in the oven, your Swagbucks app tells you there’s a new Swag Code!: 3 SB Before you go to sleep, use the Swagbucks app to shop from your favorite stores. You deserve it!: 100 SB  By downloading the Swagbucks mobile app, I can earn a free $10 gift card by the end of my week. Who knew playing on my phone could be so productive! Invite your friends to download the Swagbucks Mobile app so they can start earning their way to free gift cards. It’s 100% free to download and 100% easy to use. Its available for both iPhone and Android devices.

How to Pack for a Week In a Free Personal Item Bag – Even with Allegiant and Spirit Airlines Restrictions

How to Pack for a Week in a Personal Item Bag

By NEY

When my sister Candy (one of the authors of this blog) and her husband moved to Texas for his job I knew that airports and flying were going to become a way of life since there was no way I could go more than a few months without seeing my sister!

We are really fortunate that we live between two airports: a major airport and a smaller more local airport. We have a lot of flights to choose from when flying between Florida and Texas. However, recently the least expensive choice has been flying in and out of the smaller, local airport on the discount airline Allegiant. I know that there are many people who hate this airline but I have mostly had positive experiences with them but you do have to expect that you will probably be leaving and arriving somewhat late. Usually the delays are under an hour and they are frequently $200 less than the next cheapest flight. In addition, they are the only option when flying our of the small airport and you don’t have to arrive very early if you aren’t checking a bag.

All of this being said, the only bag you are allowed to bring on this airline included for free in the price of your ticket is a personal item bag.

From their site

“Every passenger can bring One Free Personal Item

Your Personal Item (like a purse, briefcase, or a small backpack) must be stored completely underneath the seat in front of you.

Maximum dimensions are 7 x 15 x 16 inches (17.8 x 38.1 x 40.6 centimeters)”

personal-item

While I was actually on the plane I measured with a pocket tape measure and the under seat dimensions where the bag has to fit is actually closer to 15 x 10 x 16 so if you are a little over 7 inches you should be okay. They don’t usually check the personal items that closely. I’ve actually never had one checked at all but I have seen people charged right before getting on the plane when their bags were obviously too big and then it costs $50 per carry on bag.

It costs $30-$50 to add a carry on or checked baggage prior to a flight. I would be lying if I said I didn’t see this as a money saving challenge.

I wanted to make sure that this process is as easy as possible because I fly frequently and don’t like feeling like I’m dragging around a ball and chain while waiting at the airport.

The difficult part way trying to find a bag that would fit as closely into the maximum dimensions as possible so that I could bring as much stuff as possible in what would ultimately still be a very small bag. For me it was an easy decision to purchase a rolling laptop bag because being able to roll a bag is much easier on my back.

I ended up purchasing the above Protege 16″ Rolling Briefcase with Laptop Section, Black bag from Walmart (I try not to shop at Walmart but I needed it right away) for about $35. You can find it here or in a store. The dimensions are 16 x 8 x 13. I know that this is technically 1 inch over the requirement for Allegiant but if I don’t stuff it until it bursts it can still measure at 7 inches. I’ve boarded 5 flights with this strategy and I’ve never had a problem. No one has even looked twice at my bag. 

If you are looking for a bag, I also think this very similar $40 Targus bag from Amazon Prime would work.

To start with I will show you what I wore to the airport in the following picture.

What I Wore

I wore-

  • A tank top
  • A Lose T shirt
  • A Tight T shirt
  • A comfortable jacket with huge interior pockets
  • Skinny Jeans
  • A pair of sneakers

This is what I packed in the bag-

What I Packed

In the laptop bag I packed-

  • A shirt
  • A pair of shorts
  • A pair of PJ shorts
  • A swimsuit
  • A Full length Maxi Skirt
  • Flipflops
  • A pair of High Heels
  • My laptop and mouse and charger
  • My iPad and charger
  • My Kindle
  • My phone and charger
  • My Makeup Bag and Brushes
  • A Small purse
  • Another Shirt and Dress that were gifts
  • Underwear
  • A small clear plastic case I used as a toiletry bag
  • Sunglasses
  • Glasses
  • Dramamine and Ibuprofen
  • Headphones
  • A wallet
  • A travel pillow
  • A protein bar as a snack for the plane
    • since water is not provided on the flight unless you pay for it
  • My Hydroflask aka refillable water bottle
    • since water is not provided on the flight unless you pay for it
  • The Cat is only in the picture. I doubt she would have made it through TSA!

Between what I was wearing and what I packed I ended up with 5 tops, three bottoms and a dress which is more than enough clothing for a week long trip.

I measured and remeasured the bag before and after I packed and it still fit into the strict Allegiant Airlines Personal Item Guidelines. My bag wasn’t stuffed when I was done and I could have fit more inside.

It made a huge difference that I put my clothes into gallon freezer bags and removed all of the air inside the bags and that save a ton of space. This gallon bag strategy worked out much better than using my packing cubes that I originally thought I would use.

I have learned my lesson and I also usually pack the above duffel bag from IKEA that is meant to fold up in a square that is almost flat. That way if I decide to go shopping while on vacation and bring a bigger bag home then I don’t have to buy one. It also costs significantly less to bring an addition bag home than it would to bring one round trip.

I also am no longer as worried about not stuffing my bag to the limits. I know that my bag will fit the dimensions under the seat and I put as much as it can carry into it.

 

Here is the breakdown of my strategy:

1. Find out the dimensions of the personal item you are allowed to bring for free and purchase a bag that is as close to the maximum dimensions as possible without going over. I highly recommend a rolling bag because it is easier to maneuver through the airport and then you don’t have to worry about the weight of your bag as there is no weight restriction on most airlines personal items.

2. Wear your bulkiest clothing items on the plane so that you don’t have to fit them in your bag. I always wear a couple of shirts, a jacket and my bulkiest shoes because I am usually cold anyways.

3. Wear a jacket with large pockets on the plane. This way you can put additional items in the pockets like snacks, your water bottle, etc. that would usually take up more space in your bag.

4. When packing choose clothing items that can be mixed and matched for different outfit combinations. I usually choose black basics so that they match with everything. I also bring clothes that can be dressed up or down. Look up the weather before you go so you know what you are most likely to need. I actually find that I usually bring more clothing than I need.

5. Put your clothes into gallon plastic bags and press on them to remove the air. This will condense the bulk of your clothing so you can pack more in a small space. I am amazed at how well this works. I tried using packing cubes but this works 10x better and they are cheaper. Don’t forget to pack a few extras in case they rip.

6. Make good use of your technology so that you can pack less stuff. My phone is my camera, guidebook, GPS, ticket etc. My kindle allows me to bring plenty of reading material on every trip instead of hard copy books. Remember that often pictures are the best souvenirs anyways!

7. Bring a water bottle like My Hydroflask (to fill once through security) and snacks for the plane so that you are not tempted to buy them during the flight and you aren’t starving when you get off the plane.

8. Pack a flat folding duffel bag in case you decide to bring more home than you brought with you. I enjoy thrift shopping in new places so I am often guilty of wanting to bring more home than I took with me. This way, I never have to buy a bag to take home. The above duffel bag from IKEA was a great buy and it’s cheaper when purchased directly from the store.
9. Measure and re-measure your bag once it is full to make sure that it fits the maximum dimensions. If you personal item bag is too large you can be charged $50 just to board the plane. I have never had this problem but I have seen angry people with their too large bags who have. You don’t want this to be you.

10. Put items you need to remove during security and on the plane in easy to reach places in your bag so you don’t have to pack and repack. This also ensures that you aren’t left searching through your bag at the last minute.

Taking one small bag means that I don’t have to arrive early to check a bag, I’m not juggling a bunch of luggage, I don’t bring more than I need, I’m not worried about dealing with the overhead bins and it overall streamlines the whole travel process.

Best wishes! Enjoy your flight and your trip! 🙂

Swagbucks: Celebrate July 4th with MyGiftCardsPlus

In America, we do everything big. Big hair. Big portions. Big parties. Celebrate the 4th of July with MyGiftCardsPlus (Powered by Swagbucks) – where you have the freedom to spend big AND save big!

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via GIPHY

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6-16-16 A Few Frugal Things

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-The three toys above are the three our cat Pickles pulled out of her toy box and dragged into our room. She has way too many toys for one cat and yet of the three she chose none are actually cat toys. One was given to us and the other two were clearance Christmas ornaments. They are:

  • An alligator
  • A pink elephant
  • A coffee cup

-Taking a Frugal Trip to Texas. I’m flying a discount airline, received a $50 rebate for the flight, staying with my sister so no hotel costs or rental vehicles, and I’m packing all of my stuff in a personal item bag (more on how to do that will be posted soon).

– I made a huge pot of split pea soup (Mmmmmm my favorite!) using leftover ham my mom gave me. Unfortunately, I didn’t have anything besides the spices and ham so I had to buy carrots, an onion and the peas. Thankfully that only came to about $4 and B was given a gift card. We have soup for lunches and dinners for a week for FREE!

– Downloaded some free Kindle books to occupy me on my flight this week.

– My dad was given a free sewing machine for my sister, packed it up and wanted me to mail it to her in Texas. Instead I figured out how to take it on the plane as my mom’s personal item bag for free! I can only guess but I’m sure a sewing machine is expensive to mail and I feel more confident it won’t get damaged if I can deliver it directly.

– Got $200 worth of free Publix groceries thanks to 2 gift cards B was given for his Bday.

– I skipped the 50% off day at the thrift store today because I need to work since the Summer B semester starts on Tuesday and I fly home Sunday.

– I am now teaching a 4th summer class which is great because it’s only 6 weeks long and little additional planning mostly just more grading but nothing too bad. This will also raise my income for the year if when we start trying to buy a house.

– Did another sponsored Swagbucks post

6-15-16 A Few Frugal Things

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– I cut open our bottle of organic ALDI ketchup and got a huge amount of ketchup out of the bottle for the current meal we were having after I had been repeatedly assured it was “empty.” I try to always use up everything to the last drop and if you don’t do this you will be shocked at how much is left in “empty” product and food bottles.

– I used the above Betty Crocker double ended spatula that I love that can be found for $1 at Dollar Tree! I love it so much I own 2 and I think I’m going to buy one for everyone’s stocking this Christmas.

– I mailed out a couple of items I sold on eBay this week

– I resisted going to the thrift shop to look for other items to sell because I have some items here that haven’t been listed yet

– I ran on my thrift store bought treadmill at home for free exercise

– I’m watching free TV (We don’t have cable) on my Flatscreen TV from Goodwill

– I received a $50 rebate in the mail for a plane ticket I bought at the end of last year

– I don’t have to buy any groceries this month because B was given some Publix gift cards for his Bday

– I’m combined a work errand that was an hour away tomorrow with visiting my mom and going to some local thrift shops. Unfortunately, I had to drive an hour each way but I’m glad I can combine work with fun.

– I listed more items on eBay, I’m using my free listings and eBay is running a deal where they are capping their final value fees at $20 for the whole month so I would love to sell enough items to get over that amount

6-10-2016 Thrift Finds – 25 Cent Clothes and a Griswold Cast Iron Skillet

 

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I had a fun day out and about thrift shopping last Friday with my mom. The best find of the day was definitely this above Griswold Cast Iron Skillet for $5. These skillets are basically heirlooms because they can be used forever. I haven’t decided if I will keep it or sell it on eBay. I already have a cast iron skillet in this size but it’s not as high quality which is ironic because the one above is probably many, many years older.

Cast iron is prized in the chemical free community for not leaching harmful chemicals into food like the non-stick coating on so many pans.

I also got the below clothes. They were .25 cents to $1 which is significantly cheaper than the $3-7 each item at Goodwill. I love smaller, less expensive, charity thrift stores but happen to live closer to several Goodwills. Still secondhand is sooooo much cheaper than buying new and has a lot less of an impact on our planet.

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Swagbucks – MGC+ Father’s Day Sale [US Only]

 

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