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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Paula's Choice Deal...and Thanks for the Comments

I wrote a post questioning whether people found frugality a FUN activity. I received many thoughtful comments, which were met with . . .silence.

Sorry, dear Readers, I have a very difficult work schedule this semester. It's one that sounds easy to those who do not teach. However, when I describe it to teachers, I am met with a jaw drop, followed by OMG. I will respond to the comments after the completion of the stress-inducer outlined in the next paragraph.

The other thing that's slowing me down is that--miraculously--the house in New Orleans, owned by us, where Frugal Son lives with two fellows, was chosen for a makeover by a reality show! I will report on this when it's over. Hopefully, it will be all treats and no tricks.

Speaking of treats, I was roused from my torpor by a good deal from Paula's Choice. I only mention these when there's a convergence of super deals.

This weekend, you get  30% off on "two anti-aging potions." Plus, free shipping on any amount. Plus a sample of serum when you spend over $50. The babies below are $$$, but somewhat less so at 30% off. This is good only for 2 days: Oct 30 and 31. CODE is EDDTREAT14. I'm thinking of getting the Vitamin C potion for myself.

If you haven't bought from this wonderful line, you can use my code, which gives me $10 off and gives you $10 off too.

Cheap as I am, I buy this stuff. It's really good. Here's my code for $10/$10.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Frugality: Is it Fun?

I wrote a followup to my post on selling excess clothing on Tradesy. I received a rather horrified comment from Shelley to the effect that all this "in and out" made her head spin. She seemed to marvel that I found it fun.

But I do. So does at least one other blogger--Frugalshrink--who is doing similar things not because she has to, but because she likes to.

My family of 4 spends less than $1000 a year on clothing (not all is 2nd hand). I still treat both my 20something kids in this department because I have the time to do it. It is a major component of my frugal practice.

The other component is killer grocery shopping, sans coupons, but keeping an eye out and stocking up. This must work because I occasionally have to institute a "shopping fast" in this area and use up the stuff in my freezer. I mentioned in a blog comment the other day that my family has always spent well under the food stamp budget--not that I even knew what that budget was till recently.

My Partner in Frugality--Mr FS--would break out in hives doing my above fun activities (though he sometimes accompanies me on walks to a nearby grocery store). His frugal practices involve doing all the yard work and fixing whatever can be fixed. 

There are zillions of ways to be frugal. Read The Tightwad Gazette for ideas. Or check out the relevant chapter in Your Money of Your Life

My parents were pretty frugal when I was growing up (and my parents were self-employed for many years, which necessitates careful budgeting). They pretty much stopped when they moved to a fun golf community in Florida (at the exact ages of me and Mr FS!!!). I guess frugality wasn't fun for them.

I'm kind of curious to see how I may change in the frugal department when I retire. In graduate school (talk about stressful days!) I was frugal by necessity. Now, I am frugal by choice. That is the greatest luxury as far as I'm concerned. I don't think I would do it if it weren't fun.

Do my frugal adventures sound like fun to you or do they evoke "the horror! the horror!"? Do YOU think frugality can be fun?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Declutter/Reclutter Report with Tradesy and Thredup and Buffalo Exchange

Miss Em (in absentia) and I continue to rework our wardrobes with the above venues. One thing about buying on the secondary market: one need not be racked with guilt at overspending. I have been reading various blogs on wardrobe construction and the guilt at overspending and resentment at being manipulated by salespeople is very dispiriting.

Tradesy: Miss Em and I continue to do pretty well with Tradesy. We just sold a bunch of Hermes ties. I was saving them for the men in my life and realized that Mr FS has worn a tie exactly 0 times in the past 5 years. Frugal Son wore a tie at a job interview a few years ago. We saved a few Ferragamos for him, but that's it.

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT TRADESY: You hold on to the item till it sells. You can sell items in less than pristine condition, as long as you are upfront about it. As might be expected, people search by brand (as on Ebay). So if you have "prestige" brands, go for it. We don't have much that is high end, of course (aside from those ties), but have done well with shoes (Naot, Dansko, and even a beat up pair of Tory Burch Revas that we sold for under $10 within ten minutes).

Interestingly, we have sold a lot on this site but have never bought anything. That is because the seller sets the price and most sellers put prices that are way too high. We put fairly low prices on everything.

THREDUP REPORT. We are the opposite on Thredup. We have bought 5 black Eileen Fisher skirts (Miss Em has high end taste for a 23 year old).  We especially like Eileen's washable crepe. These tend to be UNDERPRICED on the site because they are not listed as such. They are listed by fabric content. Since I know the crepe fabric content, I can buy with some confidence. (Hoping that Thredup is not reading this!)

We have never sold on the site. You send a bag; they pick what they want; they put extremely low prices on the items--and take less than 50% of what you send. You don't get the rejects back unless you pay a return fee. Check out the on-line reviews of Thredup. Sellers are miserable and angry  as a rule.

So in our experience, Tradesy is for selling and Thredup is for buying.

Yesterday, we had a bunch of errands in New Orleans. We topped off the day with free admission to a wonderful folk art show at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. We had a bit of time before Frugal Son got home from work, so I took a bag of clothing to the Buffalo Exchange, conveniently located just a few blocks from Frugal Son's abode. While the hip fellow went through my bags, I looked around. This is a rare treat, since usually Miss Em looks and I stay with the buyer.

I found two items: an Eileen Fisher poncho sweater and a Nordstrom wool cape/jacket (each $17: the Buf is cheap). After deducting those purchases, I got $45 in cash!

Are my adventures in the clothing trade "worth it." Probably not for me in a financial sense. I have a job. For Miss Em--trying to set up a biz in the arts--yes. We both find the process relaxing and unstressful. In fact, it is a destresser for me. That alone would make it worth it. But I also like going to the Buf (as we call it) because I am of an age where young hipsters generally ignore me. TOTALLY. So I have to work a bit there to get some attention. Maybe it will keep me young(er), at least in spirit.

Clementine Hunter from the Gasperi Collection at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Tradesy, Ebay, Buffalo Exchange: Cash for Decluttering Report

So sad! Miss Em is back in Belgrade, for four months this time. While she was here, she spent a lot of time amassing items that were requested by friends. So much is unavailable there, or scarily expensive. Most US companies will not deliver to Serbia. Here's what she carried: a post-mastectomy bra and forms (unbelievable that these are not to be had there); melatonin, Opi nail polish, well, now I can't remember the other things. We live in such over-abundance.

I have lost my in-house beauty salon operator (thanks for the haircut) and--perhaps most needed--my personal declutter assistant.

Here are the final numbers for her 2 months back in the USA. She got to keep all the money (much-needed) and I got a little breathing space.

TRADESY: An astonishing $800!
Ebay: An astonishing $500plus, mostly for two Filson garments!
Buffalo Exchange: A pretty good $200.

Miss Em also picked up some cash by taking care of a kid for a weekend. She was able to spend the rest of her time planning for her return to Belgrade, getting her art website set up, and applying to a grad program.

If you want some glimpses of our trip to the Balkans, see her tumblr: she captured so much of what we did, especially some of the little moments that truly define a vacation.