Friday, December 27, 2013

The First Bang for the Buck Awards, Finale

We return from our second intermission to give out the final awards for items from 2012. In keeping with the season, let’s start with the Christmas category. If you go to many sales you know that there are endless opportunities to augment your ornament collection (if you have one). Of course, most of these opportunities are ones you’re just as glad to let slip by. You can certainly find both the best and the worst, like this sweet vintage putz house from Germany covered with mica glitter (in the ‘best’ category)  CHRISTMAS BEST & WORSTand the infamous Santa in the Outhouse ornament (about 20 cents each, so at least the price was right) with its annoying mosquito-like medley of carols. Definitely the worst!

2012 wasn’t a huge year for ornament finds, but I love what I brought home, like the silly cat tree topper ($1), the vintage wood-shaving trees (50 cents)


and the old hand painted glass balls ($5).VINTAGE CHRISTMAS BALLS

I’m a bit surprised at the Bang for the Buck winner – two cans of “Victorian Christmas Tinsel” ($3). It doesn’t look like much when you take it out of the can, but somehow it picks up whatever light there is and gives little shimmering streaks through the tree.

Victorian tinsel


We don’t use lights on our tree (seems safer with rambunctious pets) so this gives a nice bit of glitz. I found another can of it this year, so I’m hopeful it will keep turning up on driveways and I’ll be able to amass quite a collection.

Next we have the Garden awards. Nominees include the compost bin ($20) and under-sink collecting bucket (50 cents), the non-exploding frog sprinkler ($1), and the weathered one-eyed cat bamboo wind chimes (out of a free box).

GARDEN COLLAGEAgain, we have a tie in this category. The $5 patio umbrella was an amazing find that has made our upstairs deck so comfortable for two summers now. And I found the first of several deck-rail planters in 2012 ($1 each) which let me grow herbs and all kinds of flowers for months. We live on that deck as soon as it warms up in the Spring to as late as possible in Autumn.Garden winners

Our last category of merchandise would be Things Bought to Resell. I’ve cut way back on this, because it’s actually a fair amount of work for the return, but it’s also exciting to test your picking acumen. I spent $55 on stock and made a profit (after all fees) of about $310. The shirt (10 cents!) that to me was just a pretty decent plaid shirt had a Jesse James label made over $30. (Yes, I’d love to find more of those!) The adorable embroidered pillow cases cost $2 and earned $6, the Bitossi-style ram figurine was 50 cents and made over $7 (if it had been a real Bitossi I would have kept it!).


But the deal of the year was the wooden dollhouse. Bought it because it reminded me of our house, cleaned it up and played with it for several months, then sold it via Craigslist at Christmastime for $95 – and believe me when I say that was a good deal and the mom who bought it was delighted. 

Now there’s one more category dear to my heart, and that’s the stories that go with garaging. I spent a couple of days reading through 2012’s posts with a smile on my face, remembering various encounters. We learned why it pays to buy good sunglasses, how and why our favorite rug was made, and what happens when a short-legged person (me!) is on the carousel horse that stops at its highest position.

But no story could top the tale of the gun-running Peke-a-poo. For sheer amazement I may never surpass that one…but I’ll certainly be out on the driveways of America with my ears flapping, hoping to hear something even better.

Gun-running dog flies to South America cr


  1. I just clicked over and read your exploding frog post -- the people who need to be worried about that must have way better water pressure than we do at our house!

    We lived in Salem until a few years ago.

    1. OMG, this cracked me up...mostly because we have really pitiful water pressure!

  2. I had to go back & retread the gun-running peek-a-poo story! What a wild tale!


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

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