One big, huge way I have been able to save money is by not being too proud to accept hand-me-downs and castoffs. When you are open and thankful for the cast-offs that people are getting rid of, your friends and neighbors and even at times strangers are much more willing to send things your way and much more likely to think of you when they are deciding to get rid of something. I happily take everything that people give me. Sometimes it is junk, sometimes it is brand new and sometimes it is both, mixed together. It requires work on my part (sorting and distributing takes time!) but is well worth it in the end. The only word of warning is that it can become very easy to become over-cluttered with excess stuff (since, after all, it was free!) that you don't need and shouldn't keep. I sort out the things that would be helpful to me as soon as I get it and try to get rid of the stuff I don't plan to keep ASAP. Sometimes it is thrown out, sometimes it is donated, sometimes it is passed along to someone else. I have even been able to sell some things at rummage sales or the consignment shop. I am not perfect at this (our granary can attest to this fact!) but I try hard to keep on top of things.
Through the generosity of others and because I wasn't too proud to accept them, I have been blessed so abundantly and in so many different ways. Because they know I will happily take these things off of their hands, they think of me when they are about to get rid of things. Almost all of our furniture has been picked from the side of the road or given to me by someone who no longer wanted it. I have even had wonderful blog readers (you know who you are!) send me boxes of beautiful yarn and give me an old sewing machine when mine broke down (which I still use a few years later!) My Judahbear is clothed almost entirely by the castoffs from a friend at church, my girls and our bookshelves have been outfitted abundantly from another such friend, almost all the green beans I canned last year were given to me by a neighbor who was overwhelmed by her crazy bean crop, my perennials have grown exponentially through the kindness of neighbors who know of my love of flowers or see me out working in the flower circle and the list goes on and on and on.
I know some of you do this- just a few weeks ago on the FOF link-up, I read that pounds and pounds of coffee beans were able to be gleaned from a coffee party that had used coffee beans in the bottom of vases. How cool is that?
This week, in particular, was a wonderful week of castoffs for me.
* A neighbor who is cleaning things out sent along some mattress covers, curtains, a comforter and some sheets. She also sent along some candles, a few bud vases and a soapdish. The rest of the knicknacky stuff I will not keep.
* I got a garbage bag full of clothes for my Judah (including pj's, socks and shoes!) from a friend who has essentially clothed the boy his entire life. A good thing since Andrew pretty much destroys all his clothes before the season is over. I never have to look at yard sales for Judah and I LOVE it.
* I sorted through 2 more grocery bags of clothing for the girls. Some of these were such high quality I might try to consign a few of them.
* I was given some lilies, poppies and a very tall yellow flowering plant to add to my perennials.
A few other financial things this week~
* I bought five fruit trees!!! Extremely excited about this
. (Hence the bazillion repetitious photos on this post!) I have been meaning to get fruit trees going since we moved in and kept missing the deadlines so finally I just decided I would buy the trees from a local greenhouse. 1) I can see them. 2) I know they will thrive in this area 3) They are more mature than their mailed counterparts 4) No shipping 5) It ACTUALLY HAPPENS.
There was no sale happening and I had searched for coupons to no avail so when I got there, I asked the guy if he would give me a discount if I bought more than one tree. He took $10.00 off EACH TREE! I was so excited! I was able to get the trees at about the same price I would have paid through a catalog I had earmarked! I saved $50.00 just for asking!! I got a sweet cherry, a pie cherry, two peaches and a nectarine. I hope to go back when I have some more money to get the other trees I wanted (plums and pears!)- otherwise, FEDCO it is for the rest of the orchard.
* Made the crocheted Easter dresses and bowties
for Easter from yarn I have had for several years.
* Made the slips for the girls using stuff I had lying around (though I admit I would have paid money for the slips had I found some!)
* set up a free trial month of Amazon Prime to get free, fast shipping on some spelling books I needed to order (and pronto!) I wrote on the calendar the date at which I need to cancel the subscription so as not to be billed. I hope to order next years' school stuff before the month is up.
* Everything I made to serve for Easter was from scratch, including the French bread. Others brought food along with them too.
* Made ham and scalloped potato soup with the Easter leftovers.
* Got a bunch of jars and tablecloths ready to go to a friend whose daughter is getting married. (Love that they are just asking around for stuff to borrow instead of going out and buying everything!)
* Used a 50% off coupon to buy 25# of air-dry clay for art projects.
I guess that is all I can think of and I am already getting this post up late...so I will leave it there.
Anyone else want to chime in on their financial pursuits?
Have a happy weekend!