downsizing · organising /good ideas at the time · shopping / or not

Frugal Friday Fortnight [2 September 2016]

My Frugal Friday report struck a chord with many readers – thanks for your emails and messages. You’ve encouraged me to think even harder about living lightly and consuming less.

Reusing and “making do” has become a natural part of our lifestyle since committing to a year of buying nothing new (which has evolved into 2.5 years and counting). We routinely ask: Is there a cheaper way to achieve this? Could we make do with what we’ve got? Could I manage by borrowing something? And the corollary: Do I know someone who needs this or would love this?

Here’s an update on how some of that frugal-fresh thinking has played out in the last couple of weeks.

  • Ahead of our upcoming downsizing, we held a Garage Sale to purge some of our excess possessions. We’d already gifted many items to where we knew they’d be loved or valued, but we had years decades of accumulated “things” to re-house. It took us months (and several false starts) to actually make this garage sale happen. We were super excited to see around 85% of the goods we offered head out the garage door to new homes. We pocketed several hundred dollars cash (ka-ching!) and best of all … we boxed up EVERYTHING that didn’t sell on the day and donated it to good will. *Refer my garage sale tips below.

vegie soup, falafels, being fifty-something, frugal living, midlife

  • Karma happens. Last time I told you about gifting My Girl some limes I’d thrifted and soup I’d made. She returned the favour with half a dozen lemons, a double serve of home-made veggie soup and falafels. Of course, I promptly Instagrammed the shit out of that Karma.

vegie soup, falafels, being fifty-something, frugal living, midlife

  • After our garage sale, we were exhausted. And grubby. Very grubby from spending all day in the garage, amongst boxes and dusty wares. Neither of us felt like cooking or getting cleaned up to eat out anywhere fancy. So we scoured our Entertainment Book, threw jackets on over our jeans and headed to The Petrel Hotel (which happens to be Geelong’s oldest pub) with a two-for-one main course voucher in hand. We arrived before 6pm, enjoyed a relaxed drink in the not-so-classy atmosphere of the sports bar ‘twixt TAB machines and screens flashing every sort of sporting event you can imagine. We fitted in nicely, grubbiness and all. The bonus: my vegie burger (which was quite delish) was FREE. Extra bonus: on the way home we called into Dan Murphy’s and found a favourite single malt whisky on tasting. A generous (and complimentary) pour at the tasting table meant our nightcap was nicely taken care of.
  • When the mute button on my phone stopped working, I panicked. Then I had a serious talk to myself about first world problems before settling down to devise an alternative solution to an expensive repair ($80 -$100, I’d been warned). I made do with flipping onto “aeroplane mode” for a couple of days (whenever silence was demanded) while I checked out my options. Google eventually came through with a solution other than jailbreaking my phone – deep in the settings, already on my phone, was a virtual button I could position on my phone’s screen and use to mute/unmute my phone. Crisis over. The bonus: the physical mute button has since decided to fix itself.
  • I refused to be intimidated by this dress code on a book launch invitation: “Dress beautifully. Definitely heels.” Instead, I borrowed a fabulous statement scarf from My Girl and teamed it with a thrifted black dress (I’d never worn) and thrifted flat boots (already in my wardrobe). On the night, there were surprisingly few dressy heels clicking over the polished concrete floors of the swish venue. So glad I didn’t waste my cash shopping for an expensive new outfit and heels!
  • One for frugal future: stumbled upon a tiny Neighbourhood Book Exchange just a couple of streets away. When I finish my current read, I’ll be heading over to take a book … leave a book.

vegie soup, falafels, being fifty-something, frugal living, midlife

My tips for a successful garage sale:

  • advertise in local paper and on Gumtree
  • head out after dark the night before to hammer promo signs on nearby street corners
  • price everything (but be prepared to be haggled down)
  • organise a float of change (coins + small notes)
  • have recycled carry-bags and boxes on hand to pack goods in
  • start early, finish early (the bulk of sales will happen in the first hour or two anyway)
  • enjoy the ride … you’re bound to meet some interesting folk.

What frugal wins, big or small, have you had lately? Don’t be shy: let us all know in the comments.

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