Friday, September 9, 2011

The Finale.... Or Is It?

A year has passed. The end of the Thrift Store Diet has arrived, and most unexpectedly too. We wanted it to be grand. We would have loved to showcase something awesome about our journey like the total amount of money we saved this year. Or some super awesome thrifty find that trumps all others. But when we really think about it, the reason there's nothing too grand in our challenge's finale, is because thrifting has seriously become our way of life. When shopping, we think in terms of thrift stores and the day-to-day wonderments they can provide each of us with. And sometimes, there's just nothin' "grand" to report about that! For us, the finale is all about the fact that we indeed rose to meet our goal and our challenge.

Even more importantly, we can look back over the year and see how drastically each of our lives have changed. Through it all, SalVal, Goodwill, and our favorite second-hand sources have never let us down! Adele's biggest news this year was all about a baby on the way. And all of her favorite local thrift stores (and friends) provided her both maternity and baby items on the cheap. In fact, Adele can honestly say that to date, she has NOT spent a DIME on baby clothes (and probably roughly 90% of baby items overall) OR maternity clothes outside of second-hand sources. *glee* And for those interested, Adele is now 34wks along. :)

Sarah Jane's happenings include both a major move to a new state (where many a thrifting adventure remains to be discovered!) AND some more recent excitement that will also provide her with more thrifting opportunities. Sarah Jane is super thrilled to announce the grandest news of all in this, our final *official* post, that she is 12wks pregnant with a little, squirmy bundle of joy of her very own! (She has been a bit under the weather with some bad bad morning sickness for the past several weeks, and that is one of the reasons for the general lack of posts.)

So the two besties and Frugal Friendzies move on to mommyhood together in the coming year. And in the midst of all of these life-altering changes, we are both committed to continue updating this blog as we go, to show you what wonderful ways you can still be super frugal and still have the best-dressed kid in the neighborhood! No longer does our official challenge remain in place; however, we both know that shopping retail will never feel quite the same again, and so this blog (and our lifestyle) must go on! Continue to check in on us now and then to see what local treasures we've uncovered as thrifters, besties, and mommas.

Before we close out this year, here's just a few more pics of the very latest finds...mostly baby-related at this that you all may be reminded of just how wonderful and rewarding the thrill of the thrift can be!

Tired Adele at her baby shower sporting a consignment store find: Motherhood Maternity dress for $8.00.

gDiapers cloth diaper loot. Got 10 of these babies (8 with liners included) for $80 on Craig's list (second-hand). They retail for ~$18 each!
All my second-hand baby clothes finds. Found at yard sales, thrift stores, and a few hand-me-downs. All in excellent condition, and ALL gender neutral. Has actually been super easy to find quality second-hand baby clothes around central PA. Don't think I could ever shop retail for this stuff!

Here's a closer picture of the clothing piles. Since this was taken, a few more items have made it to the stash as well including some more clothes and many fun baby toys for mere change!
Since I'll have a newborn this winter, I HAD to snag this great find at a local consignment store. It was $9, is adorable suede with a matching hat, and is fuzzy on the inside.
Here's a close-up of the hat that came with it.
And the best part is, it's Baby Gap brand, which means it retails for a LOT more than $9! :)
Here's a baby bathtub I found for $8 at a local consignment shop. It retails for around $20.

This Boppy I found at a yard sale for a mere $.50. Yes, FIFTY cents! It is in very good condition and came with the cover pictured.

See? It's legit!

I know it's not fully assembled here, but this is a year-old Graco brand Pack-N-Play I got for $80 (with a wipe warmer thrown in as well). This would retail for over $120 easily. And despite being used for multiple babies, it looks like it's in brand new condition.

And with that, our year-long challenge officially comes to and end. To recap: neither Adele nor Sarah Jane has bought ANY clothing or accessories (barring shoes, if you recall ;-)) from retail since September 9, 2010. We have even extended our thrifting beyond our original goal to include basically finding ANYTHING we needed second-hand if possible (especially baby items as of late). We hope, through this little journey, that we have shown you how the world of frugality is accessible, practical, and worth every penny! Happy thrifting, fellow frugal friendzies!!

~The Frugal Friendzies :)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Moving to Georgia, and decorating from GoodWill :)

So it has been a little crazy the last few months, as can be evidenced by our lack of posts. Not to worry, this does not mean we have abandoned our challenge! On the contrary, we still have about a month and a half to go and we're still going strong. (Oh, and I should mention, Adele has not had to buy ONE piece of new maternity clothing, wow!) 

Adele has been quite busy with her job and preparing for the arrival of her little bundle of joy, and I and my husband made a rather unexpected and quick move to Georgia from Illinois in mid-June. Now that we are pretty much settled in though, I thought I would put up some pictures of our thrifty Georgia finds for our new place. (By the way, we LOVE Georgia so far!)

We found this solid wood table and six chairs at our local Goodwill for $159! It even has an extension, but I didn't put it in for the picture. It's in great condition, and we think it might be mahogany even- what a deal! As you can see, Zsa Zsa likes it too ;)

I snagged this adorable little side-table at the same GoodWill for only $4.94! Oh, and the antique teapot I picked up for only $4.99 at another local thrift shoppe.

I have always wanted a papasan chair, and now I finally have one. We got everything you see in this picture from Craigslist for only $75, brand new condition, and they delivered it to us! This is from Pier 1 Imports, by the way, and had we bought this all new, it would have cost us $225!

The cushions are reversible, and this is a picture of the other side. Pretty cool, huh?
I didn't include this in the picture, but we picked up an empty papasan frame and ottoman from GoodWill for only $16, (usually this is about $115 for just the frame and ottoman new), so all we had to do was buy cushions, which we got at a discount with coupons the post office sent us with our change of address packet :) We would have probably had to spend several hundred more dollars had we decorated our apartment with new furniture. Needless to say, my husband is very, very happy with his frugal, deal-finding wife :)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Frugal Furry Friends

Well, faithful readers, it has been a bit of a hiatus for us Frugal Friends, has it not? Major (but wonderful!) life changes have been taking place, and hanging out at local thrift stores had taken a temporary backseat. Not to worry! The Friendzies have not been idle! In fact, we think we've been even MORE creative. We want to bring you a variety of ways to live a thrifty life, and so, today's post was born.

Both Sarah Jane and Adele are in love with pets. But our furry friends happen to also be frugal finds. We wanted to share our pet adoption/rescue stories, and a few from fellow frugal friends of ours, to help you all see yet another way to serve, help, and stay thrifty!

I, Adele, have two dogs my husband and I adopted after we bought our house. Our first adoption was through "a friend of a friend" who was needing to move into a smaller apartment. Henry, her 30lb. hound-y mut, needed a new home. Henry had entered the SPCA system around the age of 1. We don't really know what his background is before that. At the SPCA he was neutered and caught up to date on all of his shots. From age 1-3, he lived with the "friend of a friend" of ours, and around age 3, we adopted him through the SPCA. Since he had previously been an SPCA dog, we had to continue to include them in any change of owners that occurred...kind of like selling someone a car and switching over the title, I guess. There was really minimal paperwork involved, overall. Took one evening. We were fortunate because the previous owners gave Henry to us for free, which is the frugalest way to come to possess ANYTHING! While Henry has some bad habits still in need of breaking, he is a totally unique, intuitive, smart pup who loves us dearly. Our house would not be the same without him!

Our second dog, Loki, came to us this past year when he was around 1yo. He's a pit bull, Rottweiler mix, from what we're told. While that particular mix scared me a little at first, I'm a TOTAL convert now! Cameron's boss saw Loki at a local pitbull rally through the Bad Press organization and thought he would be perfect for our family. (Bad Press is basically an organization dedicated to spreading the truth about how wonderful misunderstood dog breeds are, dispelling myths about said breeds, and rescuing mistreated/abandoned dogs when necessary.) Loki had been owned by a nice couple who lived in a "bad part of town." He spent his puppyhood meeting all the neighbors and being showered with love and affection. He also grew up with another dog by his side, so he was used to sharing the love. He was kept up to date with shots, and was neutered young. When his owners needed to move into subsidized housing, there was no more room for dogs. So Loki ended up with Bad Press, and was shown off at all of their events and rallies. After we made contact with Bad Press, we had a few meet-and-greet sessions with Loki, and then with Henry and Loki, and our decision was quickly made! We got Loki for free as well, and following minimal paperwork and a few "house checks" by Bad Press (their policy), Loki was in his forever home. He is the BEST dog ever! He loves people, naps, and pleasing everyone. He still has a little puppy left in him, so he can occasionally get himself in trouble, but that is really rare for him (and makes his mommy proud!). He may be 60+lbs, but he sure thinks he's the most loveable lap dog there ever was! (And we tend to agree! ;))
Here's Mr. Loki (with Henry perched in the background). We love his one floppy ear and overall adorableness. (Like, how he's sitting half on his dog bed?!) What a ham!
Sleepy little Henry...on the rare occasion that he's sleeping! Love how tightly he can curl himself up (and believe me, he curls up tighter than this even!)

I, Sarah Jane, adopted a kitty a few months after I got married. Originally my husband had wanted a dog, but after writing a pros and cons list with for dogs v. cats, we both decided a cat would better suit our situation Anyways, I found her at the local shelter, and we immediately bonded in the "meet and play" room, not to mention the shelter worker informed me they put down cats EVER day (she said this while Zsa Zsa was on my lap making a desperate attempt to snuggle into me and be petted as much as possible). She was sweet sweet sweet from day one, and my husband, who was a bit cat skeptical at first since he had never owned one, was very quickly won over. We named her Zsa Zsa. She's a beautiful smoky tabby, and very plush. She's a wonderful pet in pretty much every way, easy to care for and very clean, and she is so bonded to both my husband and myself that she gets depressed if we even go away for the weekend. Zsa Zsa only cost us $60 to adopt and that fee included the adoption fee itself, spaying, micro-chipping, shots, and a flee treatment. So, in truth, this "fee" was a real steal, considering what it would have cost to get all of that done for a non-adopted pet. Normally $60 wouldn't even cover the total cost of spaying. She came to us in great health and litterbox trained, with no behavioral issues whatsoever. In fact, the shelter she came from was a "high kill" shelter and they told me that it is the "cream of the crop" animals that make it to the adoption floor. The rest are simply put down because they don't have enought room or resources. The good news for frugal consumers is that through adoption like this, you will most likely be getting a top-notch animal (since the less desirable ones don't make the cut). The other great thing is that in adopting an established, adult animal, their personality is generally set. So, what you see is what you get when you're picking out your pet. If the animal can be calm and well-behaved in the stressful environment of a shelter, you will find that personality sticks around when you bring your pet home. One other perk we found through adoption - when we took Zsa Zsa for her first vet appointment, the vet in our area waved the first visit fee because we had adopted her. So in the end we saved even more money than we anticipated.

Doing what she does best -- napping!

Lacey, a friend of both of ours from college adopted a dog with her fiance this past year. Lacey wrote a little blurb for our blog about her pup, Crosby.
Kurt & I adopted our dog from Cast Away Critters.  He and his siblings were actually featured on the show Animal Hoarders too, if you've ever heard of it.  His former owner had around 10 grown mastiffs, including his parents and then 4 puppies (one of which is him).  He was rescued along with his brother and two sisters.  He was about 8-9 weeks old when we got him and is now about 11 months old.  He is a mastiff-boxer mix, mostly mastiff, 1/8 boxer.  We named him Crosby (after Sidney Crosby a Pittsburgh Penguins hockey player).  I haven't heard anything about his brothers or sisters, so not sure how they are doing.  He is a great dog though, very friendly and loving.  He likes to snuggle, even though his just as big as me now, haha.  He loves going to the dog park and playing with other dogs.  I would definitely recommend adopting to anyone interested in getting a pet. 
Crosby as a pup. Cute as always!

Crosby making sure Lacey behaves!

One of Adele's friends, Liz, adopted a dog this past year. Dena is a retired greyhound that Liz and her husband found through a local greyhound "rescue." They had some of the typical paperwork to fill out, a fee of a around a couple hundred dollars for the adoption, and had to meet a few requirements with their housing, family situation, etc. But to them, this is a small amount of work for the great reward of giving a dog a "forever home." Soon after they adopted her, Dena developed bone cancer in one of her legs and had to have it amputated. Who knows the kind of situation she would have been in if it weren't for faithful, dedicated owners to see her through the whole ordeal. Today, Dena's thriving as a three-legging wonder woman!

Despite the blurry pic, you can see Dena's playful side clearly!
She just wants to be close to you all the time!

Sarah Jane's friend, Janet, wanted to share about her pup, Lola. Lola came from the same shelter Zsa Zsa did, so the benefits of her adoption are similar (up to date on shots, spayed, micro-chipped, flee treatment, etc.). Her adoption fee was under $90 for all of this!
Little Lola peeking out of the shop window.

Oh, Lola!
Another couple, Arka and Swati, actually adopted two cats after meeting Zsa Zsa and seeing how great (and cute!) she was. They adopted their cats, Chica and Cienna, from a no-kill shelter, and only spent $60 per cat for everything- spaying, microchipping, shots and a flea treatment. Seriously, even only from a financial perspective, adoption is way superior to a pet store, breeder, or even a free puppy or kitten! Here are Cienna (calico) and Chica:

There are so many loveable furry friendzies out there who need the security of a forever home. We hope we've clearly shown you all just how secure, cost effective, and just plain rewarding adopting pets can be.

Save money, and save a life.                                                                                                                                         

Friday, April 29, 2011

Your bank account's best friend

Although we are only constrained to purchasing clothing for our year-long challenge (which is more than half-way over, by the way), the sweetness of the never-ending cheap finds at our neighborhood thrifty haunts has inevitably caused thrifting to spill over into almost every area of our lives. Other than groceries and underthings, thrift stores are now our first stop shop, and we think that if you follow the tips and tricks to thrifting listed in this blog, you can make them your first stop too. Seriously, why, in this economy, (which will probably only start to get worse since the U.S. is now over 14 trillion dollars in debt), would you waste precious money by paying full retail price that you could otherwise be *hopefully* using to quickly pay down any personal debt you have? We know we kinda indirectly say this a lot, but to be more clear: thrift stores are located all over America and are your bank account's best friend, so utilize them! 

We try to list most of the items that we find on this blog, but the fact is, we now buy so many of our day-to-day items second hand that we really doubted you wanted to hear about the ironing boards, candles, wrapping paper, random cups etc etc.... that we pick up as we need. We have become so used to thrifting that we now find ourselves in the Wal-Mart turning down $10 lamps and such because we think "I can probably find something just like this for $2 at SalVal." The best part is, we usually can.

So, here are some more of the useful and trendy things we regularly find:

Three pretty medium sized tins, each $0.50 from a garage sale and Salvation Army.

$2.00 Fossil brand crossbody purse at Salvation Army in absolute brand new condition.

Huge purses are really in right now, and this $4.99 lilac (no brand) bag from
 GoodWill  was a pretty fashionable find. 

Super cute black purse with roses, can we say "date night?"- $4.99 (no brand) at GoodWill

I wish I could get a better picture- the fabric is diaphanous and oh so pretty. Oh, I'm also
wearing a White and Black brand shirt I paid $8.49 for at G.W. Boutique.
Brand new Minnetonka sandals- super comfy and only $14.99 at a local consignment shoppe
This has since been played with, but when found at Salvation Army for $3.99, it was in
its original shrink-wrap!

Mr. Coffee 4 cup coffee maker- $3.50 at Salvation Army. Picture is proof that it works!
Cute little cups- $0.99 each at GoodWill.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Antique Bavarian teacups!

It's always the times when I (Sarah Jane) am out thrifting just for fun, not looking for anything specific, when I run across the most amazing treasures. A couple of weeks ago I was at the GoodWill in the "bric-a-brac" section when a gleam of  gold caught my eye. In the corner of one of the shelves sat several antique-looking teacups and matching saucers, just calling out to be admired. Upon a delicate closer inspection, I found that they were indeed from Bavaria, gold-gilded, and each one was different from the other. Being a tea lover, antique lover, and general lover of the thrill of finding something that is probably worth a lot more than the $0.49 per teacup price tag, I bought the seven oldest-looking and prettiest cup and saucer sets and four biscuit plates. All in all I paid about $8 for the whole lot. I have not yet decided what to do with them all, and if I weren't living in a small apartment, I would buy a pretty wooden shelf and display them in my dining room. I wish I owned a little tea shoppe, they would be perfect as decoration there. I might just use them myself- anyone want to have a tea party? The brands on the bottom are Thomas Ivory, Bavaria; AL-KA Kunst Kronach, Bavaria; Eschenbach, Bavaria; and Johann Haviland, Bavaria. Here are a few pictures I took of them. Aren't they just darling? 
The teacup was $0.49, the saucer was $0.49, and the biscuit plate/lunch plate was just $0.69. See what beautiful condition they are in too? I just love when I find things like this!

Here are all seven of the teacups and their matching saucers.

The four plates with the GoodWill price tags still on as proof :)
You just never know what you're going to find!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The New Addition

The Frugal Friendzies have some BIG news for this month: A new little friendzie is on the way! I (Adele) am almost 11 weeks pregnant, and now on the hunt for some baby-related frugal finds of my own. Recently, I scored some great finds at a local consignment shoppe. My challenge is that we aren't planning to find out the gender of the baby, so the stuff I purchase generally has to be gender-neutral. That's why I've started shopping early! Also a challenge will be finding adequate maternity wear. My goal is to find as much as possible from second-hand sources....and we'll just have to play it by ear based on what I find. Thankfully, two friends of mine have passed on all of their maternity wear, so if it all fits, I should be mostly set! Can't beat freebies! ;)

Now, here's this month's finds:

Here we have a 3-piece Carter's ensemble. Got it on *sale* for $4.49. And this was the most expensive baby buy of the day! Practically brand new condition as well.

Here's a close-up of the froggies on the above outfit. I just love frogs!

Carter's onesie for $2.24 (on *sale* also!). It's light green with a little teddy bear on the front.

Light yellow Carter's onesie for $2.59. Has two teddies hugging on the front.

These are little Carters pants that came with one of the onesies above, but I thought they could go with a couple different outfits. They have little yellow and green bears and animals on them.

This Carters outfit was just $2.63. And for being white and yellow, there's not a stain or mark on it!

The front of the above outfit. *cuteness*

And yet another Carters outfit. This one was $3.59. It's white and light green with giraffes.

Here's the close-up of the giraffe above.

And finally, the cute cute CUTE little slippers I found for $1.99 and $2.59. If you can't tell, one pair is duckies and the other is bunnies. 

Now we just need the baby to get here to model all these adorable (and frugal!) finds! At least I know my baby can be well dressed on a dime.