Thursday, April 30, 2009


I came across this article from the Go Frugal Blog and this past week and thought it was interesting. The article is about Freeganism groups popping up around the country, including New York where the group is up to about 500 people.

Freegans are groups of people who make it their lifestyle to live as frugally as possbile, to the point of finding their food from the outdated things bakeries and stores throw away. According to the blog, some of them refuse to work, taking the Freegan way of living not only to live cheap but to basically prove a point against corporate America.

"Some of the Freegans' tactics are quite sketchy for the average greenie--they advocate peeing on or super gluing trash compactors, calling them the enemy. The Freegans support shoplifting, squatting, and employ theft as ways to stick it to the man. They also encourage avoiding flushing the toilet to the extreme of drinking your own urine."

There are a few things about this group that are understandable. There's nothing wrong with wanting to 1) live frugally and 2) reduce waste. But there are limits. It is a shame that bakeries and other food shops throw out so much edible food at the end of the day, but some of them do sell at a discount. For those truly down on hard times, I can almost see the justification in taking things like thrown away bread. It's a little scary to think of other foods being pulled out of the trash that might have germs and bacteria that could make them sick or even kill them.
There's also a difference between living frugally and saving your money and just not working because you think you're really bucking the establishment. Seriously, with the unemployment rates like they are, I doubt the establishment really cares who's bucking them. Fine if it's your lifestyle choice, but like most choices, there's always a happy medium. I'm cool with the not flushing every time you pee, but you will not catch me drinking my own urine. And I can't condone shoplifting or theft.
What makes this group so fascinating is that it seems to be a product of the economy we're living in these days. If anyone has any more info on these groups or wants to set me straight on anything, please feel free. I welcome any discussion and thoughts. And please make sure to read the original article linked above.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Today's Savings

My first saving of the day was the gas I saved when my BF and I walked to the 2-Mile Fun Run/Walk we participated in today. It's only a short distance, but it's still a few cents in gas, not to mention the stress it saved me in having to find a parking spot.

This afternoon, we went to Dillons to get some lunch. They have a big salad bar that we've been wanting to try and I figured today would be a good day. While there, we picked up some good deals. My faves?

A box of Special K Blueberry cereal for 1.99 with coupon (normally about $4.00, on sale for 2.99, used a coupon for $1.00 off)
Two boxes of Kelloggs Fiber Plus Bars for 1.39 each (normally $3.09, on sale for 2.39, used a coupon for each box for 75 cents off, and then the Dillon's system multiplied it to take off an additional 25 cents).
Half gallon of one percent milk on Manager's special for $1.19 with a week left before the expiration date (we'll finish it by then).
Fuze drinks (part of their 10 for $10 sale, and since I'm trying to cut back on soda, I got five of them to take to work with me this week).

It's a good thing we saved where we did because our salads ended up costing ALOT. Jon's was over $10 (4.99 per lb...he was hungry). I got a regular salad and a fruit salad which weren't that high. They both cost about $7.50 together. Mine could be made for alot cheaper I think, but I can justify Jon's since he piled his with all sorts of things that would have cost more to buy individually. But I'm cool with's a nice treat for us having finished our walk this morning.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Using a Handbag as a Craft Bag

Because I've been in such a decluttering mood lately, I'm getting rid of a bunch of purses that I've picked up along the way for free or cheap at garage sales. But I still have a thing for bags. I don't like carrying around a bunch, but like notebooks, I can always think of some purpose I COULD use them for.

I am keeping a few of my favorites and one of those favorites is a larger bag I picked up at the local secondhand store for about $4. It's original intent was for my laptop, but I ended up just keeping my old laptop bag and using this one as a purse. It was finally time for a change, though, so I switched to a different purse (one I already had) and decided to use this one for my knitting bag.

For the most part, it works for me. I'm not crazy about my longer needles sticking out like they are, as during travel I'm likely to poke someone's eye out, but I think the shorter needles and the scissors are good. The identical pocket is for an extra ball of yarn. I actually don't use those long needles very often anyway, so they can probably be put away.

This little pouch on the side is perfect for the smaller crochet needles of which I only currently have two but will someday add to my collection (maybe). The second one is the one I'm using right now and so is stuck in the ball of yarn I'm working on.

Right now, the afghan fits into the inside of the purse and the yarn right next to it in the inner side pouch. Underneath this is another three pairs of knitting needles in a plastic pouch. They're Xmas themed and fit better down there than in the side ones.

It's not as swanky as some, but it's exactly what I need right now, and I still get to use something I really like. Also, if you can't read the button, it says "Better Living Through Sarcasm." Which has nothing to do with knitting or repurposing...but I find it funny.

Monday, April 6, 2009

More Craigslist HiJinks

In follow-up to last week’s Craigslist finds, the girl who I bought the griddle and kitchen stuff from emailed me to let me know she still had a bunch of stuff left. Thrilled that it fell in line with payday, I headed over to see what she had. Though the coffee pot and the dish set were no longer there, there were some things that hadn’t been there the first time.

First, my favorite find because I’ve been wanting one of these forever…a spice rack. Only three or four of the spices were open and were still fragrant. All the rest were sealed and the rack was in good condition. Going price for this on was about $19.00

Besides the spice rack, I got a whole hodge podge of kitchen things, including two sets of wine glasses, silverware, a colander, a spoon holder, a cheese grater, a Fry Daddy, and a George Foreman grill. Estimated cost of all these based on was $101.00.

As far as non-kitchen stuff went, one of the bigger things was this nifty footlocker. Not only do we now have an extra packing “box,” but this will make for perfect storage in the new place. In fact, being that it’s pretty sturdy, I’m thinking of throwing the tablecloth I got over it and using it for our coffee table, which will mean one less thing we have to buy. Estimated cost of the footlocker and the table cloth on was $47.00.

Here’s the other things that came in the haul with their prices listed next to them (some prices are estimated so I low-ended as much as I could):

Hi-Def DVD Player - 58.00
Universal Remote - 15.00
Egyptian cotton Pillow Cases – 15.00
Sheets – 15.00
Shower curtain and hooks – 20.00
Small trash can – 10.00
Towels (about six of them) – 25.00
Laundry Basket – 5.00
Curtains – 15.00
Wool stadium blanket – 5.00
CD/MP3 player – 10.00
Ironing board/iron hanger – 10.00
Oil and Vinegar holder set – 10.00
Grateful Dead Wall Sheet - ????
Random Christmas items – 10.00
Paper Towel Holder $15.00
Decorative hatbox – 5.00
Decorative vase – 15.00

I think there were some other things in there as well, but my mind is just not remembering what they are right now. The estimated grand value of everything I bought comes in at around $425. The total amount I paid for all this stuff? $75.00. I so love a good bargain and I’m really happy that so much of our apartment “to-get” list is now taken care of.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Kicking Off Sale Season

Yesterday after work I found an ad for a sale being held at Cico Park. We weren't going to go, but let's face it...I can't say "no" to an opportunity and I've been waiting patiently for garage sale season to start.

The bad part? Seeing all kinds of great furniture that I can't get at this time due to lack of storage space. There was an awesome coffee table and end table set for twenty dollars. I'm holding on to the hope that not being able to get it right now means that something better will come along after we're in our new apartment though.

We did find two pictures to hang in our new apartment though, so we grabbed them because they're much more storage friendly. The first one is small and I picked it out for $2.

I thought it was kind of contemporary and will go great in our bedroom, which the plan so far is to decorate kind of hodgepodge, kitchy, random. The second one Jon picked out for $5 and was pretty excited about finding it. Not suprising...he has a thing for Germany, but the pic is neat and will look good in the living room.
We also got (but didn't take a picture of) big blue bathroom rug that's in really good condition for a dollar. It's a dark blue, so now we get to find a matching toilet cover and rug. I have to say our first sale was successful and now I can't wait to hit a few more.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Economic Stimulus

Warning: This is not a political commentary.

I have to admit that I’m not big on news programming. In fact, I rarely actually watch television. So last week when the Economic Stimulus Plan was mentioned to me, I had no idea what was going on. Call me an ostrich because I bury my head…it’s just what I do. I’ve accepted it.

I was told that my next paycheck would be slightly bigger because of the plan. The first thing I think of when I think Economic Stimulus is a big check made out to me from the government. And while that’s nice, I’m actually liking this new plan better. For the part that directly affects me at the moment, my paychecks will increase by about 13.00 a week, or 26.00 per paycheck. That’s 52 dollars a month more income.

I understand that there are people who may be disappointed about not getting a big one time check, but for myself, I’d much rather have the extra money per month. If you give me a lump of cash, I’m going to spend it, and I’m probably not going to spend it on things I should spend it on. Sure, I’m going to stimulate the economy…for a week. Then I’m back at square one wondering where the heck my money went.

That little bit of extra money each month can be budgeted into what I’m already doing and what I have leftover makes for a nice treat somewhere along the line. Looking at my spending right now, an extra $52.00 will definitely help with my long term economic stimulation. This month it gets to go to a new pair of shoes. Next month’s will serve as some extra money for my Michigan trip. And if there’s nothing to buy, it can go into savings where I’ll be able to use it later in the year for things.

I’m sure there are some who can argue that this isn’t going to be a good idea in the long run, but seeing as other things haven’t worked, this could work out. Only time will tell. Until it does, I’ll happily take my extra money and hope it doesn’t come back to bite me for some reason later.