Monday, March 4, 2013


This is Women’s Money Week. I'd like to celebrate by telling you the story of a torn dollar bill.

I was at the dog park a couple of weeks ago, one of those gray wet mornings when the dogs are having a great time running around and getting muddy, and I was chatting with two other women about everything and nothing. Frank and Al paused on their walk to say good morning. As we talked, Frank reached into his pocket for something and a crumpled dollar bill fell to the ground.

He didn’t notice, but my dog Zoë did. She ran up to retrieve it. I reached down and grabbed it before she could and handed it back to Frank.

He was in a jocular mood, and said something like, “A dollar bill! Hah, means nothing to me.” And with a big grin he tore it in two and tossed it up into the air. We all watched the pieces flutter to the ground, where they stayed. In a few minutes he and Al walked on.

Judy and Alison and I waited until they were far enough away not to notice, then Judy picked up the pieces of the dollar bill. “What was that about?” she said.

“Beats me, but I’ve got some tape at home.”

“It’s yours.” She handed the pieces to me. And I knew what to do with a dollar.

Although garage sales are thin on the ground this time of year in Oregon, I found an estate sale later that morning. And for one dollar I purchased a professional-quality whisk for my kitchen, and a vintage sugar dish that I've repurposed to hold my homemade body lotion. (Three parts coconut oil, one part olive oil, whipped into a lovely creamy froth.)


Monday’s theme for Women’s Money Week is “Increasing Income.” Picking money up off the ground is one way to do it. Easier than getting a second job or working more hours or asking for a raise, though limited in scope. But the best way I know of increasing income is to utilize its corollary: “Decreasing Outgo.” And if you’ve read my blog before, you know I've always done that not by deprivation, but by confining most of my shopping to driveways. All it takes is a little time and some patience, and the knowledge that if you keep showing up amazing bargains will be yours.

How amazing? Decide for yourself. Here’s a random selection of finds that all cost a dollar or less.

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2’ x 3’ wool rug!

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Le Creuset kettle!



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Vintage Vera linen in perfect condition!


Perhaps you have no interest in kitchenware or tools or DVDs etc. But I bet you wear clothes! Secondhand clothing is the biggest bargain around. You can have much classier and better quality items if you let someone else wear them for a bit first. You’ll even find some with the tags still on them, bought and never worn. How classy, how much less expensive? The twenty-five cent cashmere sweater is what I think of as my Personal Monetary Unit, against which I measure most other purchases. And I have found this deal more than once. Want a Jones New York silk skirt, Armani shirt, J. Crew wool sweater, Wrangler denim jacket, Pendleton wool bathrobe, and a linen sweater from Ireland—all for five bucks? You can have deals like this. But you’ll never find them at the mall!

So here’s to Women’s Money Week. Decrease your outgo and have the most fun doing it. Shop on driveways!


  1. I can't wait for yard sales to start up in your area. I always look forward to seeing the great deals you get. I can't imagine why someone would throw away money. It is just silly. But you a great whisk and sugar bowl.

    1. You should have seen our expressions when he threw that money on the ground and walked off! Even the dogs thought it was silly. Of course they were willing to try eating the bill as it was rather than wait for it to be converted into something more palatable!

  2. You said this so, so well!

    I have my list updated; there is a rummage sale at a local school tomorrow (people have to pay $5 for a space to sell, so I am hoping that prices aren't too high). If I find several things on my list that will be a huge help to us. I wrote down what clothing is needed for each person and in each size, as well as some other needs and wants.

    I purchased tools at a garage sale last year and they were part of a gift for my son for Christmas.

    I am also lookig for some beads this time, as well as old jewelry that I could take apart to make new jewelry. By combining garage sale beads and new findings, I was able to make earrings for .15 a pair at Christmas, which made great gifts.

    1. Wow, impressive planning! I have a 'watch for' list but it's rather informal. And I have to keep reminding myself to look at it!


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

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