Monday, June 18, 2012

$153 and yard sales

Food spending was down considerably this week:  $37, for sports drinks, cereal, and coffee.  (My husband got to sneak away for a few hours from his three-week army drill, in case you're wondering).    As for me, I used this week as a way to practice not going to stores.  This brings our 16-week grocery average to $153/week.

But food is dull stuff.  Yard saling is much more interesting right now.  This week I managed to corral the boys and get their waist and inseam measurements.  I also made my usual early-summer inventory of school clothes, which are now packed away for the summer.  Because boys' pants sizes don't do a good job of reflecting how they'll actually fit, I measure the pants and write both the width and the inseam length inside the waistband.  I make a little spreadsheet to help me know what I've already got (and therefore, what I'll need).   Here's part of this year's spread sheet (photo by N-son):
From this I can see I'm all set on "small" pants:  I have lots of 28" waist pants (the circled numbers following the 28 are the inseam length, but that seems not to matter too much).  On the other hand, if I find some cheap 32+" waist pants, I'll get them so N-son has something to grow into.
Above, you can see the whole spread sheet. On the right side, I've counted shirts. The takeaway for yard saling: we have lots of short sleeve shirts. We're hurting bad for long-sleeve shirts.

And I'll have to admit, I'm clueless about C-son's clothes.  Because he's 15 years old AND very new to our home, I'm reluctant to dig through his drawers to figure out what he has and (more importantly) what he doesn't.  I've asked him; he thinks he's set for the year.  I don't believe it, but I'm just going to resign myself to a few so-called-thrift-shop purchases this winter.

We are going to need shoes. Even though I had stored up a HUGE stockpile of shoes for the boys to wear, we're down to essentially zero. Style consciousness has arrived. Name-brand-necessity rears its head. The old, massive collection has been donated back to Good Will. $20 down the drain.
A carefully collected concoction of shoes,
now of no use to us.
I don't take my clothing inventory along with me on yard sales; I make a small shopping list.  The boys' sizes, clothes I'm searching for, people on my Christmas list.  I pack my bags with quarters and a measuring tape, toss the boys in the car, and go.  (This past time, I forgot the water bottles -- a mistake).

This Saturday, we hit a giant neighborhood yard sale. First acquisition, a pair of tennis rackets, $2.  Soon after, an applesauce mill, $3, and six canning jars, 25¢ a piece.
Canning jars, an apple saucer, and
(in the back) swiss chard and kale in a vase.
 For N-son, two pairs of church pants, 50¢ each.
 And then, to the boys' delight, we found "real" shoes.  Pair number 1:  $2.
 Pair #2: again, $2.  C-son is demonstrating that they fit.

A fun morning had by all.  With an outlay of $12.50, we've got a good start on restocking the winter wardrobe, plus getting ready for canning season.  


  1. Apple Mill jealous! Good find! And tell the boys those shoes are awesome!

    1. The boys are already shoe-jealous, in fact. They do not believe I could be so cruel as to STORE THE SHOES AWAY until school starts. That is NO FAIR. But I try to remind them that the shoes they currently have will do fine, and that we will continue to go shoe shopping every weekend.

      Now if we could only find a toaster that works . . . -MM