Thursday, January 4, 2018

This is the Way it Was

Hooray, it's spreadsheet time! It's probably crazy how much I love looking at the past year through Excel, but it is so darned satisfying. And 2017? It was a very big year.

Bottom line? Spent $1197.50, my second highest year since I started the spreadsheet in 2005. The biggest year was put over the top by our Ekornes sofa, which would have retailed for about $4000. Well worth the money: comfortable, handsome, and the entire family (two people, two dogs, one cat) can sit in front of a fire crackling in the fireplace at the same time. 

A few steps away sits the item that put this year over the top: the large handmade bell I majorly splurged on back in July. We still ring it whenever we pass by. The splurge did not diminish my lifestyle, we still have enough to live on. I'm good with it.

That’s the spending part, but the next column on the spreadsheet is the fun one—the retail value. I’m conservative when I figure these, mainly because it's almost impossible for me to believe that people actually pay the prices I’m seeing when I look up what I've brought home. Like the Brooks Brothers Italian merino sweater I found for the hubster that would retail for right at $300. 

My price? Ten cents.

My “retail” total this year came to $21,490—an average of $18.20 value for every $1 spent. Yes, of course it is true that much of what I bought would never have entered my doors if I couldn’t buy it on a driveway. But let’s face it: there are many, many people who shop in malls the way I shop on driveways, and a lot of them have the credit card debt to prove it. I get to have the goodies and live without debt. Talk about a win!

It's fun to look at my individual categories too. All except for one: the donations category. Yup, all those things I bought that I decided not to keep. And there were a bunch this year, 70 in fact. (Hangs head in shame.) Half of them were things I bought for either crafting or décor. (A focus for 2018 will be to diminish that trend!) But even though it's a tad embarrassing to make what turn out to be buying mistakes, the total cash outlay was a little over $60, the stuff was donated to the kitty rescue that provided us with Millie, and hopefully it will help at tax time.

Clothing continues to have the highest return on investment, and this was an amazing clothing year, mainly thanks to the estate sale that spanned the first two weekends in February. The sale where I spent about ninety bucks total (which is like a zillion dollars when you are the Queen of Fifty Cents) but brought home over $9000 worth of cashmere and silk and more. 

Hardly a day has passed since then that I am not wearing something from that sale. KK and I often greet each other with, “Is that a Katherine you’re wearing?” (Katherine was the artist whose estate was being sold.) I'm still astounded by that sale, and positive it will be a once-in-a-lifetime event. And so grateful that I got to experience it.

To make it even sweeter, the Pendleton white raven blanket I found at that sale resold for over $300, thus paying not only for that sale but also for about a quarter of my garaging year!

After clothing, craft and sewing items are a biggie and have led to a lot of fun this year. I've made several Welsh-smock style shirts to wear over my cashmere sweaters and keep them unspotted, and tried my hand at textile jewelry. 

My little Dancing Bunny art quilt hangs over my sewing machine. 

I even used thrifted thread and cloth to repair a travel dog crate of mesh and ripstop nylon when family visited last summer for the amazing solar eclipse. Now that was an interesting mending project! (Of course, Millie was a huge help as always.)

Every year I swear I'm going to lay off the décor items, and every year I bring more home (as noted above in the donations!). But…I love the things I kept! As long as something makes me smile whenever I look at it, I will continue to consider it priceless.

And admit it—you would have taken home an armload of those Steiffs too, right?


  1. Wow on the clothing you found. I never seem to hit the mother load on clothes. Still it's the best shopping ever as far as I'm concerned. Thanks for sharing your steiff find with me and my Tiger! Hugs!

  2. Wow wow wow on that Katherine sale! I remember a fantastic sale where the seller had collected all my fave things.....Pyrex, Fireking, barware, glassware and everything was around a dollar! It was so amazing we unloaded the car at home and went back! I love the hens and the bunny you kept so adorable!

  3. yes I would have brought home the steiffs, especially for what you paid! Looking forward to see what you buy this have much better sales on the west coast

  4. Wow! What fabulous finds. I am trying to donate as much as I bring home. I LOVE your kitty. She looks like my rescue, Emily, but Millie's 'stache is longer than Emily's.

  5. What a brilliant idea recording the cost against the value like this. I may try it this year. I still can't believe the Steiff you have found. They look adorable displayed like that. Jane x


I really love your comments. Thanks for coming along on my thrifty adventures!

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