bits and pieces.

21 06 2010

i’ve started to get into a pattern where i save up all my buying lust for sundays where i plan one big binge. the boyfriend was away all week camping with with his dad, and he promised me that upon his return, he would take me to not one but 2 targets. we also decided to cram in a couple of flea markets, and i would take a covert jaunt to the old navy while somebody was asleep in the car.

it was certainly not the day that i planned in my head, a day bursting full of target endcap bargains. actually, there were none. the cupboard was pretty much dry on the retail end except for one accidental old spice money maker, but the thrifting was hard core.  i’m still struggling with my deep desires to buy things that i don’t need- even if i have scaled down dramatically on the amount that i spend… but shopping is one of my greatest joys in life and i’m not sure i can live happily ever after without it. in the meantime, i am embracing the summer flea market season and trying to find my joy for under $30 a week:

montsweag flea market: threatening rain made the whole thing kind of lame today. place was pretty much cleaned out, but i did manage to score a big pile of stunning vintage fabrics for $4, and the above pictured parker brothers palm reading game (complete and pristine) for $5. hot hot hot!

after the disappointing and brief turn @ montsweag, we decided to hit the waterfront flea market in brunswick to see if we could make up the difference. better, but still not amazing. i did however grab a very beautiful half finished painting (40s?) for $10. the woman who sold her to me had tears in her eyes, even though i assured her that the painting was going to a loving household. it crushes me a bit to see people sell things that they love, especially for so little.

in an attempt to shake off the bummer from our last stop, the boyfriend deposited me at the topsham target while he went off to scoot around the neighborhood on his new motorcycle (don’t get me started). i knew i had a nearly unlimited amount of time, and combed that shit from top to bottom. NOTHING! moderately depressed, i decided to use some leftover P&G bogo coupons for old spice body wash and get myself a $5 target gift card in return. it was supposed to work like this: 2 old spice bodywash @ $3.54 with bogo coupon, 1 old spice bodywash & 1 old spice deodorant @3.54 with bogo coupon. $5 gift card in return makes the whole mess $2.08. good deal! things started to unravel at the register when my total came out to $4.39, and my giftcard didn’t pop out. i was shuffled over to customer service where they gave me $5 in cash. i still don’t know what happened, but somehow i made $.61. thanks for the donation target! the preble st. resource center will be grateful for the personal care items.

of course the topsham target is goodwill adjacent, so a quick stop in there i grabbed an awesome 80s dress pattern for $.99, and a sweet black knit minidress for $2.49.

at that point we were getting a little wilted, and it was time for the last stop at the south portland target before we headed home for the day. similar to topsham, it was bunksville. does anyone know the discount endcap filling schedule? when is the best time to go? i’m starting to feel like sundays are not optimal for bargain hunting.

disappointed with my target experience, i decided to sneak over to the old navy while the boyfriend was napping in the car. their summer clothes are really awful right now. all frayed hems and boxy peasant blouses. no me gusta! i did however find a 3-pack of my favorite underpants for a mere $7.99. not exactly a giveaway, but they’re usually $12, and it might just be time for me to toss out some of the 2nd string underpants that are either way too small, way too big, way too unflattering, or have lost all concept of elasticity.

total damage:  $28.87.

$30 a week thrifting/bargain hunting is $1560 a year. would that money be better spent on my credit card debt or perhaps my nest egg? maybe, but at what point is it ok for me to have a little fun? where do you draw your frugal line in the sand? please tell me i’m not the only frugal failure out there with a habit that they might not be interested in kicking!





now what the hell do i do with it?

26 01 2010

perhaps you’ve heard me spout off before about how i refuse to buy anything that  i either don’t use, or that can’t be donated. the scary truth is that you can technically “donate” anything by ditching it at an unattended donation center, or camouflaging the rogue goods in with other more useful items, but i don’t play that way. my concept of donation-worthy means that the product being donated can actually be used by cause it is being donated to. for example, i’m pretty sure there isn’t a cause that exists that needs lee press on nails. thus, i don’t buy them.

anyway, blood glucose monitors had always been on my “no buy” list, but this week i’m reevaluating that stance after reading this kick ass article on couponsdealsandmore. it really made me think about all the other things on my list that might be more donate-able than i give them credit for. air fresheners? nope. box haircolor? still nope. diet pills? NEVER! make-up? maybe.

i’m a pretty low maintenance girl, and what products i do use,  i’m fiercely brand-loyal. however, there are usually tons of great drugstore deals on cosmetics every week, and every week i pass them by.  maybe it’s time to reconsider.  i did a little bit of research today, and was able to come up with a few ways that your unopened lipstick stash (be it from couponing or impulse buying) can find a good home.

1. my first call was to the preble street resource center. although they don’t list cosmetics on their in-kind donation list, they will most definitely accept them. i spoke with the (very nice and extremely helpful) head of their in-kind donations program, and she said that they don’t get a lot of that sort of thing, but that they do go over well both at the women’s shelter and teen center. that said, they don’t exactly need a dumptruck of eyeliner to show up at their doors, but unopened cosmetics included with other in-kind approved products are most certainly welcome.

2. my next stop was the southern maine branch of dress for success. a very cool program that promotes  economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire and career development, they do accept donations of unopened cosmetics.  Unfortunately at the moment (due to the small size of their current facility), they have had to put a halt  on accepting donations of any items (including cosmetics), except the following:

-women’s winter dress coats/lined raincoats in all sizes
-women’s professional clothing ONLY in sizes 16 and up
-new knee highs and trouser socks
-shoes that are new or barely worn in sizes 8 and up

they will update their website when they are able to accept more items, but in the meantime- go dig through your closet, or load up on knee-highs the next time you’re at rite aid!

3. in my googling travels, i also came across this pretty cool new jersey based organization called cosmetics for a cause. if nothing else, maybe we can send our donations in the mail?

all in all, it looks like there aren’t a ton of cosmetic donation opportunities, but maybe more than you thought (certainly more than i thought). if you can’t find an opportunity that works in your area, you can always use your good old fashioned yankee ingenuity and make one of your own. maybe there’s a local community theater that could use some new make-up, a broke friend who needs to throw a kick-ass sweet 16 party, or you could just sell it on ebay or craigslist and donate the money to whoever you like. as tim gunn would say, make it work!

although as a side note, you might want to leave the day-glo clown-whore make-up at the cvs. try to go for things that are professional, clean looking, and appropriate for all ages.