A No-Spend Summer: Week 5

We started Sunday by finishing the yard sale. Very few people stopped by, and it was 97 degrees. Luckily we have a shaded porch. We brought a fan out there and it wasn’t bad.

We hauled a van load of donations to the Goodwill trailer. Then we went to buy the things we decided the yard sale money would pay for. Magnus needed a new comforter because his was ripped. He assured me it was still functional, but I wasn’t okay with that, plus it was dirty and kind of worn out. Shopko had bedding on sale, so we went there to look. Nice twin comforter in solid colors for $30. We’ll take it. We also planned to buy a new toilet brush. We went and looked at the selection. $8.99 for a toilet brush in the holder. I said we already had the holder, The Dude pointed out that it is probably as gross as the brush. Then we saw a solo brush. It was $3.99. We went to grab it, but I said we should check Dollar Tree first. We also needed a new mop head. Ace carries our brand. We paid for our comforter and headed to Dollar Tree. They had toilet brushes in holders! For $1. We then went to Ace and I found that our mophead was $6.99-$7.99, depending on width and amount of scrubbers. I felt resentful about paying so much for such a disposable piece. Especially given that the mop itself costs just twice that. So, back to Dollar Tree we went, and purchased a $1 mop that has $1 refills. I figure if I hate it, I am only out $1 and a little more landfill space. If it works fine, then I just saved myself $6 every month or so.
We also looked at bath rugs, since ours is not doing well. We saw them from $14 and up to way more. We want to get away from rubber padding because it holds bad smells. We discussed and almost convinced ourselves to go to a thrift shop to check for bath mats. In the end though, we decided to continue with our current solution: use old but nice looking towels which can be thrown in the wash easily and therefore changed often. Problem solved with no money spent.

Our trip to town could have cost $46 or even more if we had gotten the bath mat. Instead, it was $30 for the comforter and $2 at the Dollar Tree.

On Monday, we took the books to a local used book store, and sold a few for a total of $20. We then hauled the rest of it to the thrift shop. Dropping off there was tough because they had some nice things in their donation shed! But we were tough, we dropped off and did not go inside the store at all.

I guess all of that saving had us feeling pretty good, because by mid-week, we started acting like we had access to the Rockefeller bank account! On Wednesday, I went to school unprepared as far as lunch goes. I spent $7.50 on a fast food lunch. Then we took the afternoon off to go swimming in the river. We bought an unplanned cookout dinner and ice, for a total of $17.

We put out an extra can on Wednesday also, so that was another $3.50 out of pocket. On Thursday, we took the rest of the garbage to the dump. We had 4 sturdy, but in-need-of-recovering dining room chairs that we had listed on craigslist for a month. No thrift shop would accept them in that condition. No bites on cl. So we finally gave up and took them to the dump. Wouldn’t you know, when we got home, there was a request for the chairs! ugh! Our dump run cost $15.
I had a book that was overdue and lost. I did turn it up, but 2 days after due date, so that is a 50 cent fine.

I decided to buy a new swimsuit. I have had my old one for possibly ten years and it is not fitting very well right now. Shopko was having a big sale, but I about fainted when I saw the original price of the suits were $80! At Shopko, for a small piece of nylon. I went over to Ross where there was better prices but the selection was just about exhausted by this time of year. Living in a small town, our choices are quite limited, especially since there is a certain box store that we do not shop in. I was feeling frustrated and really wanted a new, better fitting suit since I want to start doing laps for exercise. I took a deep breath and entered THE THRIFT SHOP!! All by myself. A little scary, but the first thing I saw was a sign: swimsuits, shorts, and tanks were buy one get one free. I went to look at the suits, and I found a cute one in my size, with tags still on it, for $5. I threw in a pair of shorts to wear over it, and left the store. whew! I left with nothing besides those two (well 3, since the swimsuit is a 2 piece) things.

The rest of the week was dedicated to thesis writing, so no more money spent.

This week is tricky to total. The dump run, extra can, and household items were expenses. The household items hover the line between necessity and not. We could have lived without them, but they are also items that are pretty normal to replace due to wear and tear. We could have squeezed the extra garbage into our weekly can, but it would have taken a couple of months for it to be gone. Also, the payment for all those things came out of the proceeds from the garage sale. The food for our day off was expensive, but it was food. $17 sounds like a lot all at once, but it is just over $3 per person. It was: hot dogs, buns, chips, cherries, ice, and Little Debbie snack cakes. Pretty normal dinner food. We brought baked beans and drinks from home.

My swimsuit wasn’t technically a need either. But my old one doesn’t fit well. I could have found a work around with shorts, but I don’t have a top that would work like that.

What is a need anyway? When you get down to it: food, shelter, a heat source in winter, health care when ill, and enough clothing to keep you protected and out of jail. We all live beyond that. But just about everything else falls into a grey area. For instance, Netflix. We have the $7 instant streaming only plan. Is that a need? No, of course not. Are we continuing it? Yes. Justification? Our library doesn’t have a lot of movies to borrow. Downfall of a small town, although not exclusively because I have lived in other small towns with really kick ass libraries: great movie selections, awesome kids’ areas, free passes to local zoos and museums. That is not the case here though. I have found that if I am engrossed in a series and only allow myself to watch it when working out or folding laundry, the house is tidy and I actually go to the gym. My iPad is perfect for taking to the gym, a laptop would be awkward on the elliptical. And I can’t do dvds on the iPad. So Netflix stays. But these are things we wrestle with.

So far, we got back $200 at the yard sale and $20 for the books. I have some GRE study guides I am selling online. We have a Coleman cooler from way back when, and some Knex to sell. By some Knex I mean a lot. The boys have been sorting and bagging them so that we can sell them in lots.Update: GRE books only netted $4. They are from the old test, so no one was buying any except one math book. Well, $4 is $4.

The Dude bought 3 lunches at $3 each.
I am really not sure how to tally this week, so I won’t. 🙂

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