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Monday, June 20, 2016

A little shopping last week -- frugal-style

With one daughter home most of last week (before her summer job began), we took some time to do a little shopping.

There are a couple of areas nearby with a selection of thrift stores. So, on Thursday, the two of us went thrifting. We hit 5 stores, and bought a total of 4 items between us, 2 of which were mine.

Here's what I bought:

A really great condition bath mat for the upstairs bathroom, to replace the fraying 15 year old mat. ($1.99) A good deal, considering it was in great condition.

And a butter warmer, by Farberware. Butter warmers are small saucepans, with a pour spout. Not just for warming butter, these are great for heating a cup of milk, cocoa, making fudge sauce for ice cream sundaes, or making small batches of gravy. A while ago, I had been looking at one of these by All-Clad, but priced at about $100, I nixed that thought. So I was delighted to find this one, by Farberware, for just $2.99. This model retails for about $20, and can be found on sale, or at Amazon, for about $10. It just needed a good scrub on the bottom, and good as new. For $2.99, I think I got a good deal.

I suppose I'm a rather particular shopper. In 5 stores, I only found 2 items (and spent just $5) that I wanted to buy. But we did have a great time shopping together.

Then on Friday, I had another $10 Kohl's coupon to use before the end of the weekend. I first hit the accessory department, where I found these sunglasses on clearance for $6 (originally $30). I've been needing sunglasses for a long time. And with summer just beginning, these will come in handy.

Next, I went up to the home decor department. The last time I was at Kohl's, I saw Christmas season door mats that I liked. But they were only marked down to $5 on that last shopping trip, so I had passed them up. Well, on Friday, they'd been marked down, again, to $2.49 (originally $24.99). "Pretty cheap" seems to be my price, so I picked up one of those.

That put me at $8.49. Needing to spend $10, before tax, I checked out the clearance candles and found a box of ivory tapers (6 tapers). I use tapers on the dining table for special occasions, so I knew these would be useful. The box was 70% off, at $2.99.

After tax and coupon, my out of pocket cost at Kohl's, for these 3 items, was $1.63. Not bad. What I love is how the receipts read. It assigns a portion of the $10 coupon to each item. So, the Christmas door mat cost 32 cents, the candles cost 38 cents, and the sunglasses cost 78 cents!

And finally, on Sunday. My daughter needed to return a purchase at Value Village. So I offered to drive her, and while there, we also went into St Vincent de Paul.

At Value Village, I found this linen pillowcase. I'd been pricing linen this past week, and one of the things I'd been looking for, while thrifting, was a linen table cloth, to use for the yardage, for a project for Christmas. Well, this linen pillowcase about jumped out at me. At 20 inches wide by 33 inches long, it's the perfect size to make 2 good-sized linen tea towels. I'll show you more about that project as I work on them. Anyways, $1.99 at Value Village, at not quite 1 yard of fabric. Plus the front hem is already done for me, with nice hem-stitch detailing.

And at St Vincent de Paul's, I found a cloth napkin to replace the one which went missing, months ago. Somehow, one of our burgundy cloth napkins has disappeared. 30 years ago, I bought 8 of these. They are a good color to go with the Toile de Jouy table cloth that I bought this winter. Twice now, I've used that new tablecloth with 8 at the table, only I've been short one cloth napkin. So, now I have a replacement and am back up to 8 in the set. To show you how close a match my find was, the napkin on the left is from the old set, and the one on the right is the "new" napkin. 49 cents plus tax. And if the lost one ever shows up, we have a spare to use in a basket for bread at the table.

A week's worth of shopping, and I spent less than $10, out of pocket.


  1. lili,
    You had some great finds. I have been thinking about Christmas. I need to check what already have and start making some things. I got a lot of socks on after Christmas
    clearance and kitchen things. I will sew today it was already 78 at 6 this morning. It is a good day for indoor projects.
    Have a great day.

    1. Hi Patti,
      Sounds like it's going to be another super hot day, there. I hope you get some cooling breezes soon.
      I've been making out my Christmas gift list, planning ahead. It doesn't just save money, but makes the holidays much simpler. Enjoy your sewing, today! And stay cool!

  2. That's my kind of shopping, Lili! It is fun to find things that you really can use for such good prices. I enjoy the "treasure hunt" aspect of thrift shopping or using one of those great coupons that some stores send. Our church has it's annual rummage sale this weekend and while I have been busy getting things together to donate in my efforts to lighten up the house, I am also looking forward to what I might find there.

    1. Hi Mary,
      Oh that rummage sale will be fun for you! I hope you find some good treasures!

  3. That's a lot of home decor items for $10!!

    I are to home decor as I am to craft supplies...that's where I spend the bulk of my discretionary money. Last week at Savers, I bought more yarn and sewing notions, and at Salvation Army bought a Japanese dishcloth (new in package) that I was hoping to use in soymilk making to squeeze the okara, but it didn't work as well as planned. Spent $7.29 at both stores.

    The big savings last week were at grocery stores. Two free Celeste pizza for one (single serv) at Safeway, rebated from Savingstar, plus I had another points coupon from SYWR, so I was able to buy $15.67 worth of groceries for $5.67 in points (redeem $15 in points and get back $10 in points), less a dollar rebate from Savingstar, and less $4.50 earned from a points sweepstakes, so net cost was .17 for 18ct eggs, 2 bottles of Purex, shredded sweetened coconut 7oz pkg, and Yuban instant coffee 120 cups.

    I have another $10 back in points coupon (however, must spend $20 cash instead of $15 in points), so less savings. I'm running out of things to buy at the Kmart and Sears so I may let this coupon pass, since it is at best a 50% off sale, and if I buy regular priced both initially to earn the points and later when spending the rebated points, I will have saved even less, only 1/3 off? However, this coupon allows grocery and clearance (rare) so I may check the sales ads and clearance aisles this week. I hate being forced to spend money in order to save.

    My granddaughter loves the shopping app, and lots of things are a dollar, plus $1 shipping. So I bought a sunglass for free (only $1 shipping) as a new customer. The reviews about that site are mixed, some say it is a scam. I tried a few jewelry finds, clasps and chains, supposedly 925 silver but I doubt it. But at Walmart prices, thought I'd chance it.

    Have a nice day!!


    1. Hi YHF,
      I know, it is a lot. That's what making the choice to look second-hand can do! As you know!

      Great deal on the groceries! Good luck with the Kmart/Sears points coupon. Are those points coupons transferable?

      I've never looked into I'll check it out. Thanks!

      Have a great day, YHF!

    2. The coupons that come in your email, which you must either load onto your card or print, are not transferable, but the coupons that are printed at the register are. The email coupons are not very conspicuous in the text, sometimes you have to scroll down midway or to the bottom to view the offer. I like to print it, that way I'm sure to have the fine print details handy with me in the store, and have more control when I want to use a particular coupon. Sometimes I break up my cart purchase in coupon lots. And there are times when a coupon that was previously loaded on my card will conflict with the coupon I want to use. Then there are computer glitches because their system has so many types of promotions, including surprise points that I may not be aware of. I think I'm the only diehard SYWR coupon user these days. But if you are persistent, talk to the manager to get an adjustment (Kmart managers can do up to $10 point adjustment at their discretion) or have them help you talk to SYWR at customer service, then you will get your discount.


    3. Like Walgreens, the coupons are targeted. Either you can choose to combine accounts with another member of your household, or keep separate accounts. My husband and I have our own accounts, that way we can receive different offers, but these are not transferable.


  4. Great finds! I'm on the look out for tapers, too. I've been looking at yard sales, but have yet to find any. They'll turn up eventually. I've been looking for a ceiling fan to replace the broken one in my boys' room for a year. New ones are so pricey. Anyway, I ended up finding two at yard sales in the last month. So my oldest son's room (which he shares w/ our youngest boy) now has a ceiling fan also, which it never had before. This house is old and even with air conditioning (which we keep at 76 degrees--I really can't handle any hotter than that) there are parts of the house that don't circulate well. I know that ceiling fans are a design faux pax, but around here, with summer temps in the 100s, they're a necessity. Melissa

    1. HI Melissa,
      I don't think ceiling fans are necessarily a design faux pas. I think they just *are*. Like the heating/ cooling vents in the floor or wall. just a necessity. Great that you found 2 of them at yard sales! Air movement at night can make such a difference in how a room feels. I'm sure your sons are appreciating the fan!

      Have a great day, Melissa!

  5. The key to your shopping is that you buy what you have a plan for and don't buy just because it's cheap. It's easy to buy just because something doesn't cost much, not necessarily because you have a use for it. I have a friend that does just that and then wonders why her house is so cluttered and where her money goes.

    You keep mentioning you Kohl's coupons that I don't get, so I went to their site to figure out how I might get more of them. The best I could come up with is that they send different coupons to different people. Until they deem me worthy to send those $10 coupons to, I'll just have to live through your trips which are always interesting.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      You know, I still have no idea how I got onto this mailing list of Kohl's, but am very grateful I did. With every coupon I think, surely this will be the last for a while. And then I'm pleasantly surprised to find another one in the mail. Penneys, though, I think caught onto me. I haven't received another Penney's coupon for several months.

      I could be like your friend. But, now, I'm just tired of managing all of my stuff. And I think that makes me more particular when I shop. I occasionally have a splurge, like when I found 4 tops this past spring at a thrift store for 99 cents each. I didn't really need 4 tops, but the price was so good, and I wanted "new" clothes, so I did. I try not to do that very often, as it just stuffs my closet. And I have a hard time giving things away. If I can't give it away, then I have to limit how much I buy. Your friend may have an easier time with the giving away part.

  6. I'm on the lookout for garage sales and Goodwill bargains as I am helping two of my kids prep for apartment living during the next year of school. I'm finding garage sales are not cheap. One lady had a casserole set of two casseroles with a handle that you could clip on and one lid so it was 4 pieces for $30. The casseroles were small maybe 6 inches. That's not a bargain for me so I left it. She had a Taste of Home cookbook for $3 and she wouldn't budge on the price. It was her final day of a garage sale and her garage was full of unsold stuff. I'm almost too busy to garage sale but I have to get moving on deliberately stopping and looking for stuff for them!

    1. Hi Alice,
      As we were shopping last week, I kept thinking how awesomely cheap it will be to set up an apartment, when my kids move out on their own, by shopping garage sales and thrift shops, and taking some of our furniture with them.

      Garage sales vary in their deals. Some of them are way over-priced, others, you can tell they just want to get rid of stuff. If I don't find many good deals in one neighborhood, I stop shopping those garage sales, and try a different neighborhood. Most folks seem to base their pricing on what their neighbors are doing. But, the really great prices sell out early in the day.

      Also, check different thrift stores. Our Goodwill has excellent prices on canning jars, but horrible prices on clothing. And our St Vincent de Paul has excellent prices on dishes, mugs and placemats/napkins, but high prices on shoes and canning jars. Value Village is great on their 50% off days, for pots and pans. there was a saucepan I was looking at, but it was $5.99. If it's there on their next 50% off day, I'll get it then, but I won't pay the regular price. I think shopping around the different thrift shops and finding the deal days (check online for a calendar of sales), you can do quite well and will have a lot to choose from.

      I agree, the lady selling her used casserole set was overvaluing her stuff. In her mind, she paid a lot for these items, so she's not ready to give them up at a cheap price, even though she no longer finds them useful to her.

      Good luck finding the deals, Alice! I'm sure you'll find quite a lot, especially as you're getting an early start (and not waiting until the weekend before move-in day).


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