Tag Archives: Frugal Inspiration

Frugal Review

1.My husband has a month free membership to high intensity work our class. He has been going about twice a week and comes back drenched in sweat!!
2.Last weekend my husband and I went to the discount movie theatre to see Krampus. Although it lacked most of the frills of the new movie theatre in our area, you can’t beat $2.50 for a movie ticket and the movie was actually really good!
3.I baby sat this morning for a friend and made some extra money.
4.I sold my first three items on eBay this week and have listed a few more!
5.Although it is around 45-50 degrees everyday here in Austin, TX I have yet to put on my heat. So far I’ve gone the past three months without using my A/C or heat! It has also been fun exploring my new town in nice weather!

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A local park near my house! Texas is much more beautiful than I thought it would be!

-Candy

 

16-01-26 Thrift Finds Goodwill Shopping Trip- Ugly Christmas Sweaters!

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I had a really fun trip to Goodwill today after I stopped at the post office. I found the above ugly Christmas sweaters for a few dollars each. I plan on A) wearing them to a Christmas Party or B) selling them on eBay next year. Apparently this is the time of year to buy them.

 

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I also had some great luck in the shoe department! I bought-

  1. Pair of Blue Sperrys Boat Shoes
  2. A Pair of decorated black heels
  3. A pair of herringbone shoes
  4. A pair of blue heels

The last three pairs I will wear to teach and the first pair I will either wear or sell on eBay.

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In this picture I got a White House Black Market Skirt (also in the photo below), a teaching skirt with hot air balloons on it, a white knit sweater, a thermal men’s shirt for B and a flannel shirt for B.

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I found the above black motorcycle style jacket but it’s all cotton and really soft and comfortable, I also bought a Gators shirt for a friend, a blue flowered infinity scarf, books and a candle holder.

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I also found this Dooney & Bourke Duck Purse like the clutch we found here for $6.99 but I didn’t end up buying it. I wasn’t sure how well it would sell on eBay so $7 seemed like too much to pay.

Orlando SkyView Goodwill Outlet Finds and Shopping Trip

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At the beginning of January, before the semester started we were lucky enough to get to visit the Goodwill outlet in Orlando at the below address. Anyone who is familiar with Orange Blossom Trail aka OBT knows that it’s not a great area to be in and it wasn’t. However, the plaza that the outlet was in wasn’t that bad and even had a Publix in it. We were very excited to find out that this place existed half an hour from where we live after our great success at the Austin Goodwill Outlet!

Skyview Goodwill Outlet Center Florida

7915 S. Orange Blossom Trail
Orlando, Florida 32809

Click HERE to read some tips for getting ready to go to a Goodwill Outlet Center.

The price was actually cheaper at the Orlando outlet at only .99 cents per pound! We were disappointed to find that it was almost entirely clothing and textiles where the Austin Goodwill Outlet had an equally large section of housewares which we actually were more interested in than the clothes. However we still had fun and above and below are pictures of our finds.

In the first picture above we found

  • A Lucky Brand Men’s Shirt
  • An Express sweater
  • A converse designer jacket
  • Some other really nice clothes
  • All of the nice flannel shirts I could find in a variety of sizes that I want to use for a sewing project.

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The above rug was so thick and nice I had to buy it even though it doesn’t entirely go with our decor. However, the cat seems to love it.

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We found the above embroidered quilt. I weighed it and at about 6 lbs it cost about 6 dollars which I thought was a steal. That isn’t the best picture of it draped over my drying rack but you can really see the beautiful embroidered flowers.

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The above two double sided towels looked brand new and spotless. I’m very picky about buying used bedding and towels and they have to look brand new. Goodwill does receive new items from Target and I believe that these are one of Target’s higher end brands.

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B actually found the above vintage Dooney & Bourke purse and expensive garment bag.

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B also had excellent luck with the shoes. He desperately needed running shoes because we go running at a local park and he has been running in flat, clunky Vans. He found-

  • A pair of work boots for when he works remodeling houses with his father
  • A brand new looking pair of light jeans shoes
  • Blue running shoes that fit him perfectly
  • Suede NewBalance shoes

Overall, we had a blast looking for bargains and all together we spent about $30. Next time we are planning a trip to another semi-close outlet that reportedly has 48 bins of clothing and 48 bins of housewares. Check back next month to see what we find there!

 

How to Get Ready for the Goodwill Outlet AKA The Bins

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I think it’s safe to say that my sister Candy and I LOVE the Goodwill Outlet AKA The Bins in Austin Texas as proof by our hours long shopping trips two days in a row! We got so many amazing bargains! We literally found designer purses for $1.39 a pound!

Click HERE to read about our Austin Goodwill trips and see our finds! 

I don’t want to downplay the fact that Goodwill Outlets are intense places. It is probably only the most hard core, pirate level thrift shoppers that go there. You literally have to be willing to get a little dirty but with some persistence it’s totally worth it. I makes me not want to shop anywhere else because everywhere else is literally 100s of times more expensive!

However, there are a few things that can make your shopping trip even better. A little preparation can help you make sure you are getting the best bargains.

Here is the list of what I like to bring to the outlet:

  1. Gloves– They don’t have to be heavy duty gloves but it is nice to have your hands covered when going through mountains of stuff.
  2. Hand Sanitizer– If you pick up something and you wish you hadn’t, it’s a quick way to wash your hands.
  3. A luggage scale– I’ll post the link below but they sell on Amazon Prime for $7 and mine works great for my 50lb suitcase and smaller items too
  4. A large reusable bag– You want to have your hands free and reusable bags are the way to go. IKEA Bags were the bag of choice at the Austin Goodwill. Note- If you don’t have a bad already this is a great place to grab one. In fact, we often don’t bring our own bags and just grab one while we are there.
  5. A tape measure– One problem we were having at the Austin Goodwill was guessing if something would 1. Fit in the car, 2. Fit on a plane.
  6. Small Purse/Pockets– If you are going to bring a purse make sure it is over the shoulder and small so that you have your hands free
  7. A phone– So that you can take pictures and look up the value of times you might want to sell.
  8. Comfortable, close toed shoes– You will be on your feet the whole time so you want to be comfortable and you also want to protect your feet.

Other Items You Might Want- 

  1. A phone band– If you don’t have a pocket to put your phone
  2. A stain stick– like the tide togo pens in case you see a mark on a piece of clothing that you really want but don’t know if a spot will come out.
  3. SaniWipes– again in case you see a mark on something that you really want but don’t know if you can clean it.
  4. A Small Over the Shoulder Purse– like the one above if you don’t have pockets to put your stuff in so that your hands will be free
  5. A USB Phone Charger– You might also want a portable charger if you are planning on being there for a long time, if you are as into thrifting as we are you will find that time flies at the outlets

Check back soon to see what we bought on our most recent trip!

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Setting Myself Up For Success- This Spring I will be teaching 9 classes at 3 colleges at 4 campuses

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By Ney 

The new semester started last Monday and I am teaching 9 classes at 3 colleges at 4 campuses. Yes, that is the life of an Adjunct Professor. I will be well compensated for it and none of the classes are classes that I haven’t taught before (Setting up a new class takes a lot more time than reteaching it).

Don’t get me wrong that is a LOT of classes! However, I am a planner and I am literally OCD organized. And part of that is getting ready for the semester. I am working on streamlining my life and a process I am calling setting myself up for success.

Here are some of the things I have been doing-

  1. Stocking up on groceries for at least the first couple of weeks of the semester so that we have easy to grab breakfasts so that I can get out the door quickly in the morning and other food for dinners so that we don’t end up wasting money on take out
  2. Filling everything that needs to be filled so that I don’t run out of anything for a few weeks
  3. Doing as much as possible before the semester starts so that I have less to worry about in the middle of craziness
  4. Cleaning and Organizing the house
  5. Getting rid of junk so that I’m not trying to clean a house full of stuff I don’t want/need
  6. Organizing my clothes especially my dress clothes to make it easier to pick out professional dress outfits 5 days a week. I have plenty of clothes and accessories to get through the semester so I’m trying to buy as little brand new clothing as possible and instead continue to buy 2nd hand.
  7. Putting a set of everything I need to get ready in each bathroom
  8. Setting up a better office area so I’m not always working at the coffee table and dining room table and also so that everything I need when I’m working from home is within arms reach so that I’m not always having to get up and grab things I need
  9. Putting away the Christmas Tree and Christmas stuff
  10. Stocking up on Pet supplies
  11. Getting as much set up for my job as I had time to do ahead of time
  12. Trying to be as efficient as possible with my time
  13. Buying products such as Dry Shampoo, fantastic conditioner and 4 in one makeup that makes it much faster for me to get ready in the morning
  14. I have been setting up the best possible online class sites for all of my classes because having those set up from the beginning of the semester can really help your semester go much more smoothly as a college instructor. Students can find all the materials they need, take quizzes, turn in assignments and generally be a huge help to instructors and students alike.
  15. I’m really setting myself up for a successful and also frugal semester; however, I also know that there will be occasions where I will have to spend money on extras just to get myself through some difficult weeks because I get paid a lot more to work than I do to do some money saving activities. However, I’m still going to try to be as frugal as possible while earning as much money as possible.

So far things are going very well. I have some great class and I’m sure this is going to be a great semester. One huge advantage of teaching at the college level is that I can take the summer off if I decide I want to!

Goals for 2016!

Goals for 2016!

1.I am only going to buy my clothes from thrift stores. The only exclusion ,of course, will be undergarments.
2.Only buy items that bring me joy! I will not buy stuff just because it is on sale!
3.Research products before I buy them especially makeup!
4.Buy items that will last a lifetime that I will not have to throw away in a few months.
5.Work out at least 30 minutes a day! Lately I have been doing my own version of yoga/ pilates in my living room!
6.Read more and not just articles on the internet!
7.Become more inventive/ willing to experiment with food!
8.Research alternative living spaces/ tiny houses and if possible start to save $$!
9.Sell more stuff on eBay! I recently sold my first item. It was only listed for 1 day!
10.Go caving!!! I live about an hour and a half from San Antonio which has beautiful caves!

Posted by: Candy

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Two of my recent thrift store Vision cookware finds. I intend to use theses until they fall apart!

As you can see below they can be quite expensive!

1-8-16 Recent Frugal Review

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By Ney

This has been a crazy year and an even crazier Christmas. The colleges I teach at didn’t end their semesters until about a week before Christmas and finals and final grade submissions are so all consuming that very little else gets done during that time. However, we had a wonderful Christmas and New Years! This winter break I visited my sister Candy in Austin, Tx then we visited B’s family in South Florida and right now we are glad to be back in Central Florida getting ready for the next semester! I can’t believe Spring semester starts on Monday!

Frugal Successes

– I am so thankful that I got to visit my sister! We has sooooooo, soooooo much fun at the Goodwill Outlet and got so many amazing deals and bargains and designed purses! We also got to visit and play with a Zebra for free which is what the above picture is of!

– Thank goodness that I bought a stash of nice Christmas gifts throughout the year when I found items on sale or for good prices

– I am also soooooooo thankful for Amazon Prime and its two day shipping! We were able to have most of our purchases delivered right to our door. Not only did we save money on shipping but the items are usually cheaper anyways and it kept us out of the crazy stores where we might have wanted to spend more money.

– We rarely ate out the entire time I visited Texas, thanks to Candy’s fantastic cooking, which was a huge savings

– I was determined to teach myself to use my sewing machine this winter break and I did! I also taught myself to hem pants because I have a stash of 4 or 5 pairs of really nice dress pants that I bought at thrift shops and never got hemmed. The first pair I did turned out amazing and it was really fun for me (I should probably be careful saying that before I get flooded with family members needing pants hemmed lol). Honestly, I’m surprised at how well they turned out! Watch out family, I just might be making your Christmas gifts next year!

– I just found out that there is a Goodwill outlet in Orlando and we went and looked for stuff to sell on eBay, fabric for sewing projects now that I know how to use my sewing machine and other things we want/need. Future post on that soon!

– Our entire family has made it clear that we not only enjoy but encourage practical gifts! Among those that I am really enjoying are a new shower head, a new watch, a new can opener, makeup, and thread for my sewing machine!

– I lost my parking permit hang tag for one of the schools I work at. Fortunately they gave me a free sticker replacement that I’m certainly not going to lose or have to worry about forgetting it’s on the car.

– I went to faculty meeting where they fed me a free meal of expensive meats, cheeses and breads.

– We got a free desert from outback when we went out for a free meal with Christmas gift cards but we always tip well! I supported myself through school by waiting tables.

– I used a 40% off coupon on my phone to buy a new seam ripper from JoAnn Fabrics.

– We have been going running at a park around the corner from our house that has a nice track. Free and healthy!

– B went to ALDI and we stocked up on TONS of groceries before the semester starts and we are running around like chickens with our heads cut off. I have realized that one area where I still spend a lot of money is work lunches, snacks and coffee while I’m on the go. It’s really difficult to plan out all of the meals, snacks and drinks I will need when I’m working on multiple college campuses in one day. Now that it’s not 100 degrees outside ever day I’m going to try to stock up my car and take things with me more often.

– I’ve set up a little office in our guest bedroom where I will *hopefully* have everything I need for my job teaching at 4 different colleges within arm’s reach. I wish I had my own office but we don’t have the space here and the best I can do is make the most of the space I do have. I felt like I was wasting too much time getting set up different places around the house to work and distracted by other things going on. Instead of going out and buying office furniture I’m using what I already had in different ways and it’s also forcing me to get better about my use of the space we do have. I’m getting rid of stuff and trying to store things more efficiently.

– On the same note as the bullet above, the theme for the second part of my winter break (after traveling but before school starts) has been setting myself up for success next semester. I’ve been getting the house stocked up on everything I can possibly need for at least the first few weeks if not more. I consider this frugal because having to run out to buy things the fastest way possible when I’m super busy usually means I end up paying more.

Mixed Frugality

– Because of the dates I needed to travel it was more expensive than I had hoped to visit my sister (flying from Florida to Texas) right before Christmas. I ended up flying out on Southwest Airlines which was great because I was able to check two bags free and bring their Christmas presents. I had to fly back on Allegiant which was inexpensive but you don’t get to bring anything besides a personal item without paying. I wasn’t sure if I would need more than that on the way home so I didn’t pay for one in advance. However, with all of the fun we had at the Goodwill Outlet I ended up paying for two checked bags for $20 each. It was cheaper than mailing the items and even with having to pay for the bags we got amazing deals worth a lot, a lot more than what we paid.

– I usually try to go without or make things streatch for as long as possible before buying new. However, with a crazy busy semester coming I went ahead and bought a few things

Frugal Flops

– A few of the things I wanted to buy as gifts on Amazon prime became very expensive right before Christmas so I didn’t end up buying them but I did end up buying other things that were more expensive. Note to self- Amazon prices get more expensive before Christmas so I should just buy inexpensive items when I see them and set them aside.

– I have been carrying a smaller purse because I hurt my shoulder trying to haul around too much stuff at work and in life so I was forced to downsize. Unfortunately this means I don’t have everything under the sun with me at all times in case I might possibly need it. I didn’t have my student ID with me for a discount at Goodwill and I didn’t have my target debit card with me for a discount at target. Not a huge loss but everything adds up.

Chemical Free Living

– My new favorite Chemical Free way of cleaning is my Steamer Mop! I got it at the goodwill outlet for .99 cents and it sells on Amazon for almost $70!

– I bought Honest brand dish soap (we have been using Chemical Free bar soap for months). It wasn’t expensive and it smells great!

What have you done recently to save money? 

12-6-15 Recent Frugal Review – Posted Late

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By Ney

Frugal Successes

– I have been watching Married at First Sight, Married at First Sight the First Year and arranged for free the A&E and FYI Website and Ap so that I can stream it FREE live

– I was able to buy a pair of black dress pants for under $4 at Goodwill. The best part is that someone else had already nicely hemmed them for me (I’m short!). I had looked through all of the dress pants in the store and not found a pair so I was going to pay for my other items at the register when I saw another rack of dress pants in the front of the store and score! They don’t look like anyone ever wore them and it was enough to get me through the rest of the semester.

– The university I work for decided that they would reimburse me for my cross country trip to present my research, especially because I won a very prestigious award. Initially I had been told I would have to pay for the trip myself and it was really, really crappy to have to spend that kind of money on a work trip but it was a career move and I felt I had to do it! And I can’t believe that as soon as I got back I found out that I was being reimbursed almost $1,000!!!! (Above is a picture from my trip!)

– I bought a $7 luggage scale off of Amazon (see above) for FREE using giftcards I earned through Swagbucks. We travel frequently and I couldn’t take the stress of not knowing how much our bags weighed before we got on the plane, if we stayed in places that didn’t have a scale. It was a great buy and works great! Completely worth the peace of mind!

– I have already bought an assortment of Christmas gifts for my family which will save me a lot of money buying gifts. I’m planning on going through them today and seeing where I still need to make purchases.

– I sold a couple of higher priced items on eBay this week! It’s great to make some extra income right before Christmas!

– I was able to change my phone plan to the $30 a month unlimited Metro PCS phone directly through the My Metro Ap without even having to talk to anyone. When they originally started this plan I was blocked because I had a phone not bought through Metro but I guess they changed the policy. My service is fantastic in the area we live in. I can’t believe I used to pay $80 a month through Sprint for horrible call service.

– We have really wanted to get take out tonight this week because it’s finals week, always a crazy week for us but instead ate dinner at home from the big grocery shopping trip we did at the beginning of this month

– If we are careful we won’t have to go grocery shopping again for the rest of the year (haha it’s a December joke!)

– I have spent a long time looking for dress pants at thrift shops without much luck. Recently I’ve had a lot of luck but they all need to be hemmed. I’m determined to learn how to hem!

Frugality With Mixed Results

– My dad bought a great deal on NBA team basketball tickets and really wanted to take me to a game. I love going to NBA basketball games! Since he bought the tickets I bought the food and drinks while we were there. This wasn’t cheap but I didn’t have to buy a ticket. We also parked in a $5 lot around the corner instead of the $20 garage next to the stadium.

– I might have found a healthcare plan for about $285 a month next year which is HORRIBLY expensive but because I have occasional health problems it will probably save me money in the long run.

– I have a brand new sewing machine that I have never used but I recently have become very excited about learning!!!!!!!!!! We moved away from the wonderful lady who lived around the corner from us and previously did all of our alterations (I actually told her she should charge more!) and so it would be nice to be able to do it myself!

Frugal Flops

– I made myself a sandwich out of leftover thanksgiving turkey and bread we were given thinking that I would save time and money from going out to buy lunch. And I got REALLY sick! So sick in fact that I had to cancel a class (I’m a college instructor) for the first time ever! So not only did I not save money but I don’t get paid for that one class! Ugggg! However, I did manage to make it to the class before that one (even though it was a really short class) so I do get paid for that class.

– Because I was so sick I was unable to buy what I needed for my first two classes final reviews at ALDI and Dollar Tree and instead bought the stuff at Publix. I love Publix but I’m sure I paid twice as much. I will use the extras for my other classes and go to ALDI and Dollar Tree for the rest of the stuff I need to purchase. Note- I did go to Aldi and Dollar Tree for the rest of the items and it was 2x more at Publix for almost everything!

– I forgot to grab the parking permit that B and I share as I raced out of the house. It meant I had to either pay $5 for a day pass or risk a $30+ ticket. I chose to buy the day pass. Even with the price of 1 $5 day pass we still saved about $100 this semester by sharing a permit and we have really done a great job of sharing and making it work.

– I forgot to send copies of one of my final exams to the copy center enough in advance so I just made them at home. I didn’t have to buy anything so all it cost me was 75 pages of paper and 150 pages of ink which I do buy as cheaply as possible.

Chemical Free Living

– We have been using Shugar Soap in the kitchen, chemical free and made from vegetables in the USA. We have been using it to wash our hands and instead of buying dish soap we have been using it as that as well. It has worked out okay as dish soap but the consistency just isn’t great and it’s really not made to be dish soap. We will go back to buying chemical free dish soap eventually I’m sure but it the meanwhile we are still chemical free and saving money. ALSO, Dollar Tree has started carrying Shugar Soap and it’s a LOT more than $1 on their website.

– It’s really hard to keep mildew out of our bathrooms without chemicals, especially because one of our bathrooms in our rental townhome doesn’t have a fan. Any suggestions would be a huge help!

– I have been using my electric kettle to boil water and this is great for chemical free cleaning.

Goodwill Outlet Shopping Trip and Haul- Awesome Thrift Finds at the Austin Blue Hanger Goodwill Outlet & Shopping Tips!

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We went to the Goodwill outlet with no expectations since we had never been before. My sister was visiting me in Austin, TX my new home so we decided to go to this infamous thrift store, where most items are $1.39lb. Yelp reviews were basically 50/50 between this place is awesome and this place is hell. To us the Goodwill outlet is paradise enough so that we went twice in two days! The above picture shows some of our finds including a cast iron Le Creuset cast iron skillet, bags of clothes, a rolling duffle, and a sewing machine. Scroll down to see more from our two trips!

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Shopping Tips:

1. Have lots of time to browse. Take a picture of the price chart to reference.
2. Bring gloves, hand sanitizer and a reusable bag at minimum. To be super prepared bring these additional items: measuring tape, a luggage scale, a screwdriver. Don’t be intimidated by the shopping conditions
3. Do not touch carts parked within yellow lines on the floor. This is designated space for shoppers to leave their carts while they shop for more treasures.
4. If you decide to park your cart in a safe place find a throw or scarf to drape over it so no one will be able to see your finds. Also watch for sneaky shoppers just in case.
5. A section will be closed when they switch out the old bins for new ones. People then line up waiting for the new bins which cannot be shopped until the rows are finished. Once an associate gives the go ahead to shop there will be a stampede for bargains! We watched this spectacle a few times before we braved the crowed. The rush can be compared to a runners high! (It is much easier to navigate this crowd with just a bag)
6. Grab anything you think you want to buy and put it in your cart or bag. You can go through it later.
7. Bring a buddy who knows your taste and isn’t easily intimidated.
8. Know the sizes of your family/ friends because you never know what you might find.
Have fun it is going to be crazy but you will find bargains!

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Our Finds:

2015-12-22 20.22.42A slightly dirty Coach purse (check back soon to see how we try to clean it up)
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Lots of expensive glassware 20 items for $1.99 including a large pyrex casserole dish, pyrex pie dish, pyrex bowl, two corning ware dishes with lids, 3 vision cookware lids, 3 blue mason jars, a pyrex measuring cup, cafe du mode coffee cup, and a stainless steel water bottle!

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This real leather satchel / laptop bag Solo brand. We paid $2.99 and it’s still currently selling online for over $120

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The above really cool brown shelves and picture

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The above seatbelt brand purse that is currently selling on eBay for $50-100

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Really nice children’s books 5 for $1

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The above generic magic bullet for $1 and it works!

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This storage trunk for $2.99

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A rolling laptop bag for $2.99, everything else was weighed @ 1.39lb

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Damage from our first trip including a giant wicker basket for $1 and a free Ikea comforter from another Austin thrift store. Several purses and tons of clothes!

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A floor steamer for 99 cents and it works! An ikea lamp and a bag of corks for DIY projects.


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All the Vera Bradley bags we found over two days. We found more, but decided not to buy the other purses.

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Little girls dress up clothes 1.39lb. These will be a Christmas gift for a friend’s daughter.

Overall, we had a blast at the Goodwill Outlet. Not for the faint of heart, but great for pirate thrifters. 

Have you ever been to a Goodwill Outlet and what did you find?

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Get FREE $10 when you redeem 5 deals from BankAmeriDeals® until 11/30/15

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I accidentally already did two of the deals. And I will be going to Starbucks for a work meeting on Thursday so I’m thinking I will get gas next at my local Wawa and then I have to buy something from the petstore anyways. Since I would already be doing all of these things, getting $10 to do them is a great deal

This is a neat little offer for Bank of America customers. If you are a Bank of America customer then you probably already know about their free BankAmeriDeals® aka free cash back if you use your debit card at certain stores/retailers. I personally have gotten cash back a few times as a surprise since I forget which deals are ongoing which is always nice if happen to end up shopping at one of the places anyways.

However, the free $10 back for redeeming 5 deals (looks like the above image but is for 5 deals) is great if you are going to be shopping at one of the places offering free cash back anyways. Right now the deals showing up on my online banking include Jo-Ann Fabrics, Starbucks, Panera, Wawa and more.

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