Following the Apron Thrift Girl tradition, I wanted to share a list of things I am thankful for. Last year I shared a list of Thriftful things. This year it will be about frugality.
Top 8 Frugal things I am Thankful for.
1) Freecycle. Elffie is currently eating food from a bag of organic dog food that I picked up on Freecycle. What's not to love about a place to give and receive free stuff.
2) Azure Standard Food Co-op. I save hundreds of dollars each month by shopping with this amazing food coop. Eating healthy isn't cheap but finding the secret ways to cut down on my food bill is the trick to really appreciating what I eat. The best deals on Azure is their sale section which lasts for two months. This allows you to try something the first month and stock up the 2nd. They deliver to many states in the western part of the US.
3) My parents who really taught me how to be frugal even when I didn't appreciate it as a child.
4) Blogs that also share a belief in frugality and simple living. I'm easily influenced which can be a bad thing when I have friends who love shopping and consuming. Sometimes when I get the need to buy (aka January when the holiday bug is still thriving) I visit blogs that talk about thrifting, frugality and saucy vampires (of which this guy is now off my list and this guy has been added) and my need to spend, calms down.
5) Thrift Store Sale 1/2 off Days. Our local Value Village and Goodwill are getting more and more expensive. They sometimes sell ugly made 60's dishes for $5.99 each . And that's just a little bowl. The reason I don't ban black Friday like many people is that I want to be at the 1/2 off Goodwill sale tomorrow morning. Plus I sort of buy nothing most of the year and on this one day I do like to get the deals especially if it has to do with cheap pens and paper.
6) Home Exchange is the most frugal way that we vacation. We trade houses with another family for a long weekend for up or anytime up to three weeks. We always go to the Santa Rosa/Sebastopol area but of course that will change this year. Now we'll probably want to do an exchange between Santa Monica (where we will move to in February) and our island near Seattle next summer. Spending a few thousand dollars for a vacation spent on meals out, hotels and car rentals can make my frugal stomach queasy. I prefer vacations where we can take our van (to fill with thrifted finds), stay in a house for free and choose whether to eat in or go out for a meal.
7) Library book sales. Most of these sales sell books at very cheap prices. Some are .25 for soft cover and .50 for hardcover. Ours has caught onto online values and now sells their books online or prices them higher to sell at the sale. But you can still find a good deal, especially on children's books. To find out where your sales are check out this site.
8) Bartering. I still adore bartering and find it golden in an economic time such as this. I won a sewing machine a year ago. I loved winning it but I didn't really need it. I wanted to wait until I ran into the perfect situation so that I could give it to someone. I was waiting for the person to show up in my life but they didn't appear. In the end I put it on Craigslist. Someone contacted me and said they wanted it for their girlfriend as a gift. They asked if I would take some dark red beverages that possibly might have been made from grapes in trade for the machine. I said no, that would be illegal (right?). So instead I gave him the machine and he gave Dave 10 bottles of very expensive wine. It was a perfect trade. If you see something on Craigslist that you are interested in then it might not hurt to ask if they would consider bartering? obviously make sure you feel safe etc.. Lots of people have been asking for my help recently with either bookselling or budget making or even brand creation for a home business and I have found myself accepting more and more bartering. While I would appreciate to earn the money, I enjoy helping people so much that I don't mind taking a traded item in return for my services. Everyone wins. I started taking singing lessons to help with my self confidence. At the first lesson we discussed payment and my voice instructor said that she would barter for the lessons. What a dream.
My bartering wish list would include: horse back riding lessons for Cerys and me, someone to do my laundry (shuddering), swim lessons for Keiran and someone to finish painting the outside of the house (which we were quoted $6000 for-we started painting it ourselves)
There's the list for Thanksgiving 2008. And one more thankful comment; thanks to all of my blogging friends who make my life feel so complete. Happy Thanksgiving to you.
Elffie who hasn't been himself with his slightly injured back leg. Oh I should add Vets bill to my bartering wish list. Sigh.