Sunday, July 21, 2013

Yard Sale Tips

I always look forward to Summer weather for several reasons, one of them being yard sales. Yard sales or tag sales are a good way to find bargains on needed items. (Yes needed items, not additional clutter of unneeded or duplicate items.)

My husband and I will go to yard sales on Saturdays during the Summer. We enjoy seeing the bargains, meeting people and just spending time together. 

Some tips for yard sales are:
  •  Wear comfortable shoes and clothes.
  • Go to nicer neighborhoods, they usually have brand name items.
  • It's not easy to shop with little ones, they like to look too and wander off, finding something you don't want them to have. 
  • Fanny packs, back packs or a wallet in a deep pocket is easier to shop with then a purse hanging from your shoulder.
  • Search the newspaper, bulletin boards, or listen to your local radio station (if they announce yard sales) for locations.
  • Start early. You find the most and best items this way.
  • A bargain isn't a bargain if it's an item you don't really need. 
  •  Buy clothes that are your size. If you buy clothes hoping you will lose weight you may very well  just be adding more clutter to your home and wasting money. 
  • For children buy clothes that are their size if they need it and it is appropriate for the season now. Or buy clothes for the next season a size larger. Usually kids clothes are the best buys because they grow out of them before they wear out.
  • Don't buy stained items believing you can get the stain out. You are taking a chance and maybe wasting your money. 
  • Also look clothes over for tears, broken zippers, and missing buttons. It may be an easy fix and the seller may sell cheaper then the asking price if you ask. 
  • Beware of electronics. Test them before buying to ensure they are fully functioning. I believe the seller is selling them for a reason and may not be honest about why.
  • Microwaves are a scary buy to me. Microwaves can work and heat but may not be fully functioning and leave hot spots in your food, which could burn you or a loved one. 
  • Run your finger around edges of glassware and dishes to ensure there are no cracked or rough edges that may cut you.
  • To avoid lead contamination look at dishes and glassware to note what country it was made in. Some countries use lead in many of the products they manufacturer. You can look up on line to review which countries goodies to be aware of. 
  • Measuring cups and spoons are useless unless you can read the measurements on them. 
  • Try out and look over on all sides and underneath any furniture to make sure nothing is broken, stained, torn and possible have some kind of infestation before agreeing to take it home.
  • It never hurts to ask a seller if they are willing to take less then the marked price as long as your offering price is reasonable.
  • Never buy used shoes, underwear, swim suits or mattresses. The possiblity of viruses, infestation and body fluids are too great of a health risk. 
  • Open cases, boxes etc. to make sure what is on the label is what is inside the package. 
  • Look DVDS over to make sure there aren't scratches. 
  • Used computers are always a no-no. Too many possible risks for internal damages, viruses etc. 
  • Personal care products are another no-no. You don't know how old they are, how they were stored or if they have been tampered with. 
  • Craft items like yarn are usually a good bargain. 
  • Accessories like purses, scarves etc. I tend to buy used. They are easily cleaned and disinfected.
  • If you collect books, yard sales are a great place to add to your collection. If you don't collect then don't buy them go to the library instead and avoid more clutter and wasting money. 
  • Pots and pans need to be looked over well. I've found most are very worn and not something I would want in my home. 
  • Stationary and boxes of cards are usually a good find.
  • Holiday decorations are generally in good condition and inexpensive.
  • Estate sales and moving sales tend to have good items the sellers are trying to sell at lowest prices to get rid of the items. 
I hope these tips help with your yard sale adventures. Happy Shopping!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Frugal Friday–AAA Membership

When finances are tight many people cut expenses drastically, to the point it hurts them in the long run. Unfortunately we cut expenses back September and it hurt us tonight.

Our AAA Membership was due in September and my husband decided we couldn't afford it. Tonight he started singing a different tune, after he had an accident. (He is thankfully safe and all has worked out.) The discounts and road-side assistance would have paid for the membership tonight.

We live in a very rural area, a minimum of 1 1/2 hours from a city. At least once a month, if not twice, we have to drive the 90 miles to Reno for items we can't find or afford here locally. In cases of long trips, and the possibilities of car problems AAA will pay for itself if you have a problem. This is one case where we were "penny-wise and pound-foolish". I believe we will be getting AAA again on Monday.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Frugal Friday–Leftover Turkey

This Thanksgiving we had a 30lb. turkey, which meant a lot of leftover meat. There are numerous recipes and suggestions online for leftover turkey. My uses this year for my turkey are: turkey soup, turkey stock and freezing it for later use. Simple and easy.

Turkey Soup.
Turkey Stock. 
This year was the first time I made turkey soup. I didn't follow any recipes, just made up my own.

Julia's Turkey Soup

Turkey drippings
Water-to finish filling your pot.
3 cups of turkey
1/2 bag of frozen carrots (I really like carrots.)
1/2 bag of frozen mixed vegetables
2 tsp of poultry seasonings
2 tsp salt
1/3-1/2 uncooked barley

Mix all together, cook until barley is soft. Add more poultry seasonings and salt as needed. Many recipes I read used celery.

We served the soup with corn bread and homemade canned peaches. Yummy!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Frugal Friday-Freebies

I enjoy receiving freebies. Freebies in the mail are my newest and fun way to get free stuff. I always get excited when I see one of those little boxes in the mail from a company I received a promotional incentive from.

In the past most of my freebies came from gift bags at stores I shopped from on Black Friday. Samples or rebates I receive from these stores, job and health fair giveaways or Doctor's Offices are great. Many times the samples from the Doctor's office are most helpful. The medicine samples they give, instead of writing a prescription, can save you money at the pharmacy.

The newest place, I get my free and frugal samples are from the internet. You can find blogs which focus on free stuff, coupons and store sales. My most favorite freebie blog is If you haven't checked it out you need to.

One of my new freebies. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Extra! Extra! Turkey Eggs

Today, as usual I went to gather chicken eggs. My girls are notorious for hiding their eggs, causing me to search different spots in order to find them all. I was making my circle and stopped to check the unused old dog house. I didn't find any chicken eggs, but to my surprise, were two turkey eggs! My husband's pet turkey, which was supposed to be Christmas dinner, had laid them.

She must be productive, I'd checked the dog house yesterday more than once for chicken eggs and the turkey eggs weren't there. This leaves me to believe she laid both of them today. The eggs are cream colored and covered in brown speckles. They are larger then chicken eggs and more oval shaped. Not sure how they taste yet. Guess I will have to find out for breakfast tomorrow.

I just had to share my new find with you because I'm just so excited!

Turkey eggs in old dog house.  
Turkey egg
Turkey egg next to chicken egg. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

How to Start a Fire

I enjoy having a wood stove for heat. The heat penetrates and keeps me warmer than other forms of heat.
The supplies I use throughout the winter to start and maintain fires are; seasoned wood (usually Juniper), newspaper, kindling and lighters. Items I use occasionally are: lint, toilet paper rolls, cardboard, junk mail and magazines.

When I start a fire, I crumple up newspaper or other forms of paper i.e. junk mail, and place on the floor of the stove. I crumple it to allow little pockets of air which the fire needs to burn. If the paper is not crumpled it won't burn well and will burnout quickly. Sometimes I add lint which I stuffed into empty toilet paper rolls to give it a boost. Lint burns easily and quickly.

Crumpled paper.
Next I place dry, thin pieces of kindling; twigs, splintered pieces of wood from spliting wood, pieces of board from projects and even leaves. I place them in a criss-cross style to allow air to circulate through. After they are in place, I set a piece of wood on top ensuring space between it and the kindling to give the fire air. 
Wood on kindling.
Lastly, I start the paper on fire with a lighter. I leave the vent door open slightly to allow enough air to get the fire going. Then I sit back with my hot chocolate and relax. 
Fire. Wood will shift as fire burns kindling. 
Safety precautions when heating with wood:
  • Each year the chimney needs to be cleaned professionally to ensure repairs aren't needed and to prevent fires caused from collected soot. 
  • Have a working fire extinguisher handy at all times. Not next to the fire though just nearby. 
  • Do not leave lighter near fire. It can heat up and explode. 
  • Having working smoke detectors. 
  • Keep children away from the stove and all supplies, especially the lighters. 
  • Ensure the door and vent is closed to stove before you leave it unattended. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Winter Routine

Each year I go through the same tasks to prepare our home, family and myself for the winter. This particular year we've been busy with building projects and food preservation, leaving me behind in my pre-winter routine. Some tasks are done, others not so much. Another problem which has caused delays, is my list keeps growing as I find other things to add.

Home Preparations:
  • Have wood stove cleaned.
  • Trimming of trees and blackberry bushes.
  • Draining of all hoses and outside water pipes at each animal home site.
  • Have new fire extinguishers if others are old or don't work.
  • Put all gardening tools in storage.
  • Wrap outside faucet to prevent freezing.
  • Have working non-electric can opener.
  • Indoor-Outdoor thermometer. 
  • Change batteries in smoke and CO2 detectors.
  • Boards or plastic to cover back porch screened areas.
  • Air conditioners out of bedrooms and into storage.
  • Plastic on windows, inside and out
  • Wood for heat.
  • Small eco-friendly electric heaters for bathroom and kitchen to prevent frozen pipes. The electric bill is cheaper than repairing broken pipes. (Which happens all too frequently in this area.)
  • Winter clothes pulled from storage.
  • Summer clothes put in storage.
  • Material for sewing projects and yarn for crocheting projects.
  • Food preserved and breakfast breads baked and put in freezer.
  • Stockpiling of food, personal care products including over the counter meds and cleaning supplies. 
  • Stored water. Just in case pipes do freeze. 
  • Ensuring flashlights are working, extra batteries, working radio (preferably crank or solar). Electricity goes out frequently in our area.
  • Lighters for starting fires.
  • Extra blankets available.
  • Electric mattress pad.
  • Stockpiled food for animals.
  • Heated water bowls for outside animals.
  • Eight to ten inches of hay on chicken house floor for insulation.
  • Mulching of trees, shrubs and plants. 
  • Extra hay for bunny. 
  • Extra water for bunny to change out when other is frozen.
  • Snow shovels.
  • Boots
Car preparations:
  • Ensuring up-to-date on maintenance and re-check all fluids.
  • Inflate and rotate tires.
  • Water in car for drinking and to clean windshield if needed.
  • Food in car.
  • Sleeping bags in car.
  • First aid kit in car and other supplies in bathroom cabinet.
  • Extra gloves and hats in car.
  • Ice scrapers in car.
  • Extra winter coats in car.
  • Supplies for animals for times of travel; food, water, treats, dog sweaters, extra leashes, copy of shot records. 
  • Flashlight and batteries.
  • Tire chains.
  • Jumper cables.
  • Flashers.
  • Maps.
  • Shovel
  • Kitty litter to provide traction if you get stuck in the snow or ditch.
What do you do for winter preparation?
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