Saturday, February 21, 2009

Absolutely Never Again. Perhaps.

All the way through Bloom, I told Paul, "We're never doing this again." I admit, I may have said it partially for the benefit of some workers stocking shelves. But then I realized that I had a bad attitude, and it's not their fault really.

But duh. The second day of Triple Coupon Weekend after I had seen it promoted on like four blogs. What coupons do you think EVERYONE in the store had? What was I thinking dragging my poor little toddler out and expecting him to be good when I was having a hard time being good? No sour cream, no cottage cheese, no peanut butter, TWO Knorrs sides, ONLY turkey pot pie Campbells Chunky Fully Loaded, no Betty Crocker Supreme brownie mix. Okay. You see why I was chiding myself for driving all the way to Greer to triple my coupons. I felt like they had just announced a hurricane watch.

At the height of my resolve NEVER to enter another Bloom during Triple Coupon Weekend, I ring up a $16.46 purchase for $4.78.

Well. Maybe I'll try to go on Friday next time.

Friday, February 20, 2009

YardFest 2009 Anecdotes, Part 3

This was just wild. Guy comes up, starts looking at the seminary-level books Ben (as I mentioned, he's my sister's brother-in-law) has available. This reminds him of a study in astronomy he's been doing lately. So he and Ben strike up a conversation. Afterwords Ben (who was great about trying to pitch his stuff to potential buyers) encouraged the man to look around at the rest of the products offered. So the guy goes over to the electronics department and takes a look at the printers. (I believe I've alluded previously to the fact that there were five available.) He then produces from the inside of a printer a genuine one-hundred dollar bill.

"Whose printer was this one?" was the incredulous question of one of the day's employees.

"Ben's," was the reply.

So the dude was about to sell off for like five bucks a printer in which was stashed a hundred dollars. Not even kidding. He still doesn't remember putting it there.

So Honest Abe left the yard sale, not having purchased anything, but with a spotlessly clean conscience . . . You know. I should have at least offered him a Rice Krispy treat.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

YardFest 2009 Anecdotes, Part 2

Lady arrives as we're packing up. Begins to peruse merchandise lying around.

Ben (my sister's brother-in-law): You need a computer printer? (We've got no fewer than 5 to choose from.)

Customer: If I knew about computers, you think I'd be shoppin' at yard sales?

Well, I mean . . . some people think it's fun.

Same lady.

Me: How about a free Valentine treat for the road?

Customer: Oh thank you. That's nice! I need it like a hole in the head, though.

You probably had to be there. But I thought it was a great way to end the day.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Hey guys, is it too late to hang a moose rack about Monday?

Okay. Well. I will anyway. I didn't even want to go. It was Presidents' Day. Jon was off all day. We sat at home and hung out. It was like 5:45, and I wasn't really in the mood to shop. But I had heard that the Publix penny item was carbonated, so I really wanted to spend ten dollars there. So, I loaded up the kid, left Jon to get some much-needed stuff done, and headed out to CVS and Publix.

I had to spend $7.99 in Extra Bucks at CVS since they had expired the day before. I asked her really nicely. So anyway, long story short, I pick up 2 Colgates for $2.99 each and 2 Neutragena bars that I heard here would be a good deal. I used two $1.50 Colgate coupons. My total ended up being: the $7.99 plus $1.21 on my CVS gift card I got for getting a new prescription filled there. So I get back: $5.98 for the toothpaste, $10 for the soap, and $10 for doing a survey for them online back in January. Not bad.

Publix, briefly. I got 2 gallons of milk, 2 coffee creamers, 2 boxes of Ritz crackers, 2 boxes of Lipton tea bags, and a Valley Fresh Steamer plus the Publix soda for $9.06. No, no. You don't understand. That's with the milk being $2.99 each and the crackers being $1.50 apiece. Those things add up to $8.98. Now you see what a deal this was. You can see more at Fiddledeedee. Thanks. It was a happy Presidents' Day.

YardFest 2009, Debriefing

Well. The brilliant coupon idea . . . wasn't. But it's not like there was any overhead involved.

The hot dog output was offset by one philanthropist, bringing our hot dog bottom line to negative $7.

The treats paid for themselves since we sold 6. So we did a little better than break even on those.

Total Gross (for us): $103
Overhead: $18.93 (That's signs, a marker, and food ingredients)
Net: $84.07

But about the hot dogs. Look. We're not throwing them away. The unused packs of hot dogs and buns are safely tucked away in the freezer waiting to lower a grocery bill in future weeks. Plus, being at my house, it was my job to feed the folks who participated. If you count what we used and take away the dollar contributed to the cause, I figure I fed 10 people (2 of them were toddlers, but they ate their share) for $2.20. So, don't feel sorry for us on the hot dogs. It was fine.

And. If I can add my own commentary here. If you are contemplating holding a yard sale of your own, and all you plan to spread around your yard are clothes and wrapping paper, don't bother.

Firearms, flashlights, half-empty cans of air freshener (of all things), portable electronic devices, cleaning supplies from Walgreens, anything--regardless of what it is or whether anyone even knows what it is--with a sticker reading "FREE"--these things are what make yard sales a success.

That's what I learned.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

YardFest 2009 Anecdotes, Part 1

Guy at Sale: "Hey, you've got this portable CD player marked 75 cents, and the headphones are a dollar. What's up with that? The headphones should be cheaper."

My Husband (totally kidding): "Well, alright. How about 75 for the headphones and a dollar for the CD player?"

Guy: "Okay."

Hands over a buck seventy-five.

Guy: "Wait. That was the same."

Big smiles all around. No hard feelings.

My husband: "Tell you what. If the CD player doesn't work for you, you can bring it back."

The end.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

YardFest 2009, Part 2

The weather continues ominous.

But it's only Wednesday. Today was run-around day. Not much was accomplished toward the yard sale except buying another piece of poster board for signs.

Progress thus far:
Identified nearly everything we want to sell.
Priced nearly everything we want to sell.
Recruited fellow participants from far and near.
Purchased hot dogs and dessert ingredients.
Made 3 signs.
Discovered it is against county ordinance to post said signs on utility poles. (Like everyone else does. But. If everyone else jumped off a cliff. . .)
Diagrammed intended yard layout for the set-up crew, i.e. other participants and me.

Progress not yet made:
Tomorrow's house day. I intend to stay here until late afternoon. No grocery stores. No drug stores. No doctor appointments. Just stay here, enjoy Paul, hopefully depose James II (see here, if that's bizarre to you), clean the house for company, move all the yard sale stuff that will fit into the laundry room, close the laundry room door and pretend it's not part of our house until Saturday. The goal is to be ready to set up by the end of Thursday so I can devote Friday to sign posting (still brainstorming on that one--ideas?) and dessert making.

Oh yeah. My brilliant idea. Okay. I confess. I probably built this up a little too much. I've never seen it done, but I have no doubt that my fellow Frugal-Blog-Goers have done this at every yard sale they've held. Drum roll please. I'm selling coupons. I clipped them, categorized them, bundled them, and priced them. They're the coupons I didn't think I would use from this past Sunday's paper. Like dog food. Think it'll work?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

YardFest 2009, Part 1

How about a series? Sound fun? Okay. I'll run a short series of live updates on the progress of my yard sale.

Ad. For those of you in my area (you know who you are), be sure to tell your friends and family to stop by at 8:00 on the 14th for the best merchandise, or at 11:30 or so for the hot dogs. . . or both. End of ad.

I'm having a Valentines Day yard sale. I'll be selling, in addition to the usual yard sale staples, heart-shaped treats and cookies with red sprinkles. We're also planning to grill up a few hot dogs at lunch time.

A friend of mine, "Hi Deborah!" is coming along and contributing some of her items. Which is a huge plus, because, though we've got way more than necessity demands, we've had only four years in smallish dwellings to accumulate. It wouldn't be a very large wing-ding if I was by myself. But with some help from Deborah and my sister, it's going to be quite respectable.

So far I've spent $16.96 on advertising and food. I think I'm done, but I'll let you know.

Yard sale advice for me, anyone?

Next up: My brilliant (I hope) idea that I've never seen anyone else do.

Monday, February 9, 2009


Okay, so Paul has gotten used to grocery stores. His favorite is Bi-Lo. I'm not sure if that's because he gets a balloon when we go there, or if it's because he can pronounce it. We pulled into a grocery store parking lot this morning (not Bi-Lo, but cut him some slack; he can't read yet), and he starts chanting, "Bi, Bi, Biiiiiiii-Yo! Bi, Bi, Biiiiiiiiiii-Yo!" It was hysterical. At least I thought so. Maybe you had to be there.

Publix Strikes Again

I'd miss the place if I couldn't go one week. Let me tell you, I love surprises. Baked beans. I don't buy baked beans. I make baked beans. But hey. They'll go great with our pork roast this week. (I didn't get the pork roast at Publix; that's a semi-funny story.)

I did get at Publix:
2 boxes of French toast sticks
2 gallons of milk
a box of cereal
a bag of potatoes
a box of cake mix
2 coffee creamers
2 Campbells Select Harvest soups
2 cans of ORGANIC tomato sauce (can you believe it?)
Parenthesis. My rule about organic is, "Get it if it's cheaper." Which means I never get anything "organic." However, if we're technical, it's basically all organic. Let's take my normal cheap tomato sauce. If "organic" means (and it does) [characteristic of, pertaining to, or derived from living organisms], then, if it grew, it's organic. Okay? Let's move on. End parenthesis.
and the baked beans.

This came to $20.75 before coupons.

After my $8.40 in coupons which were:
2 French toast stick coupons
1 Frosted Mini Wheat coupon
1 Pillsbury Reduced Sugar Cake mix coupon (RP 1/11)
1 Campbells Select Harvest coupon (SS 1/4)
2 Coffee Mate coupons
2 Muir Glen coupons

My total was $12.35.

Now, about the tomato sauces. They cost $.85. That's outrageous. It's like 30 cents at Aldi. But I needed tomato sauce. And I had these $1 coupons. I've never done this at a grocery store before (just drug stores), but I got them to pay me 30 cents to buy organic tomato sauce. This is so fun.

So, for the statisticians out there, here's what I "saved." If I had waltzed in there another week when this stuff wasn't on sale and bought it without coupons (which I never would have done, but go with me here), I would have spent $35.18. As it is I spent $12.35. That's a savings of . . . 65%. Wahoo!

Thanks, Sarah at Fiddledeedee, for all the Publix info!