Friday, September 25, 2015

Fall consignment sale update

So the fall consignment sale is over, and I had a request to make an update on how things went. This was a big year for me - I sold all of our little baby equipment, a few toys, and a bunch of clothes. I'm not sure exactly how many items I dropped off, but 139 things sold - which is probably more than 75% of what I dropped off. (The rest will be donated to a charity, and I'll get tax paperwork related to that.) I make 60% of what sells, and my check will be around $300. I'd guess it's at least what I'd get by doing a yard sale, maybe better since most of the clothing sold for $2-4 and at a yard sale each piece would be priced at $1 or less. And even better, I didn't have to actually sit outside for three days to make those sales!

I went shopping on half-price day, and got a potty, potty insert, four pairs of shoes, two coats, five pajamas for Baby Bear, and a bunch of stuff for Pickle (eight pants, three sweaters, one skirt, two outfits, and three pajamas) and some other things for $75. I had hoped that this would be all the shopping I needed to do for them until next spring, but a lot of the stuff didn't fit Pickle well - she's so slim that getting pants that stay up but are long enough is a big challenge, especially now that she doesn't have diapers to help hold them up. I can modify a couple of them to fit her better, but I think I'm going to either need to take her to a store or start making her clothes for a while. As she gets older, there isn't as much choice in clothing (infant clothes don't get worn out, but toddler clothes do) and we might have to try some stuff on in person to find some brands that work for her consistently.

I will keep using these consignment sales for selling and buying. It's the easiest way for me to make some money for the stuff we're getting rid of, and also the easiest way for me to get what we need for the upcoming season. I'm trying to stay on top of hanging and tagging stuff as the kids outgrow it instead of doing it in big frantic batches as the sale approaches. I'm also less focused on using it as a vehicle to make money and considering clothing to be handed down - we now have some girl cousins who can use Pickle's old clothing, and perhaps someday there will be a boy cousin as well - so I'm starting to store some of the cutest items or the ones that were given to us by people who will get to see those outfits used on more kids.

In addition, I'll probably start getting rid of more toys - we're getting more toys (and more annoying toys) as the kids get older and I'm trying to keep the clutter to a minimum, so I'm going to start pruning our toyboxes more regularly and more ruthlessly.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Five Frugal Things

Inspired by the Non-Consumer Advocate, here are some frugal things I've done lately.

1. I made soup from scratch, using up a bunch of bits of things in the fridge that weren't going to last much longer. It hit the spot on this cool Minnesota fall-is-almost-here day.

2. I bought more than $300 worth of groceries from Target for $1.83. We are serving dinner at Ronald McDonald House to pay forward the meals that we received while Pickle was in the hospital, and my mother in law was able to get Target to donate $250 to cover the cost of the food. By shopping carefully, using Cartwheel deals, coupons, and her employee discount, we stretched the money a lot further. (And, that $1.83 that I spent out of pocket is tax deductible!)

3. I dragged a bunch of stuff out to the kids' consignment sale the other day. I made more than $120 in commission after the first day of sales! On the one hand, I think maybe I priced my big items a little too cheaply since they sold immediately; on the other, I think that this is money in my pocket and I don't have all that junk in my house anymore, so who cares.

4. I will go shopping at the same consignment sale - but I will only go on the last day, which is half-price day. I used to go to the consignor's pre sale to get first dibs on the stuff, but then there's no discount. Now I hold out - there are still plenty of great things to go around by the end of the sale.

5. I've given up soda - more because of the sugar content than because of the cost, but that won't go unnoticed either. I watched Fed Up a couple weeks ago and it really made an impact on me. I have a terrible sweet tooth, and it's been a struggle to weed out all the sugar, but soda was an obvious thing to cut.

What frugal things have you been up to lately?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Update in list form, and a PSA

I have lots to write about, but no time to form thoughts, much less sentences.

In brief:

* Pickle has started preschool! We went with a program through the parks & rec department, so it's very affordable. We started at two days a week but might bump up to four since she really seems to love it
* Pickle is turning three! Her birthday party will be a frugal affair: cake (made by me) at home (no venue cost) with immediate family only. I might spring for balloons this year, but I'd like to keep things small and manageable.
* Baby Bear is on the move! Time to do more baby proofing. It's different with a kid who puts everything in his mouth!
* We have movement on the new-to-us car front! More to come next week on that.
* Anyone know anything about hot water heaters? Ours has started leaking and we think it's about twenty years old (and is the only major appliance in the basement we haven't had to replace yet, so.). We have someone coming out to look at it and I'm bracing myself.
* I took a quick trip with Baby Bear to visit a family member who has not been in the best of health lately. Funny how traveling with one child now seems so simple! I got a good deal on the flight and had no lodging or food expenses, plus was given an unexpected bunch of money for the kids.

Lastly, if you do not have term life insurance and you have a spouse or children or might have children one day, go get life insurance. Here, I have googled it for you. Two clicks and you can enter your information for a quote. Don't wait - the unexpected happens when you least expect it. Due to a tragedy in our social circle, we are seeing what happens when you don't have life insurance, and it's just adding devastation to an already horrible situation. Please show your love by getting insured.