Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Penny Pinchers United!

Penny pinching is alive and well in Salem, Oregon…and practiced by a lot of nice folks! I had a ball doing my Shopping on Driveways workshop last Saturday at the Library. Had about 50 frugal people in the audience. If you were there, thanks so much for coming!

I’m not sure I taught anyone much, since nearly everyone seemed to be an experience garager already. Unless it was the part about figuring out how much I’ve saved on each item by not shopping in stores. As I’ve mentioned here before, I keep a spreadsheet with all my finds.

imageThere was a little eye rolling over the idea of writing it all down. Okay, maybe keeping records seems silly, but there have been lots of times I’ve wanted to know how long I’ve had something or what I paid for it (as opposed to what I think I paid!). It truly only takes a few minutes each week. But the real payoff comes at the end of the year, when I look at my bottom line and compare what I spent for a whole year of fun treasure hunting with the probably value of my finds.

image Yes, that was a very good year…but typical. I just keep showing up, and the treasure is there. Not every week, but often enough to keep me more than happy.

More than the stuff though, I value the stories. And I got a couple of good ones at the workshop. Before we started the presentation I was chatting with a friend from the dog park. She said, “I was reading your blog the other day and saw that tray you found. Did by any chance come from an estate sale?” Why yes. “Blue house?” Sure was. “I thought so,” she said. “That was my mother’s tray. It was originally silver and I remember her painting it when I was just a little girl.” tray, carafe, quilt - all from yard salesThe sale where I found the tray was at her sister’s house! Of course I offered her the tray, but she declined, saying she just wanted to make sure it was the same one and that she was glad to know it has a good home. Her mom must have been a talented lady. It never occurred to me that a regular person had painted this lovely thing!

vintage metal pinecones tray

A little later I was talking with another lady, who said that Judy and I had come to her sale back in August. “You both bought wooden drying racks from me,” she said, which was the clue I needed. Of course I remembered her and her sale.

“Funny thing,” she went on. “My husband never noticed I had gotten rid of those racks until a couple of days ago. He asked me where they were and I told him I had sold them in August.”

Now it was my turn to look sheepish. “I have to confess I haven’t used mine yet,” I told her. I actually feel a little guilty each time I see it down in our storeroom. I still use our metal rack and probably shouldn’t have gotten the wooden one. “Would your husband like to have it back?”

But no. She got it out of her house and it’s not going back. Maybe I should have offered to pay her to take it? Guess it would be a lot more frugal just to start using the darned thing!


  1. Even better than the collectibles you find, your stories are a collection in themselves! Glad the workshop was so well-attended! Guess that's what comes of being a famous blogger!

    1. Not too sure about the famous part, but you're right about the stories being as good as the stuff!

  2. I have that tray! its hammered aluminum now that you mention that it was painted. I recognized that handle and looked more closely. I love hammered aluminum I guess becaus
    e being a 50's kid I grew up with it in the house. I get mine usually at Goodwill and hope that someday it will be worth lots!

    1. The nice memories are as valuable as the tray. And now we know they can be painted! ;o)

  3. was your talk free? or did you charge? curious!! : )


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

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