Apr 2 2011

what? it’s only $1,074 [day 310]

Deciding to get a pet of any kind is a big decision, not only for the responsibility associated with them, but for the expenses you will incur.  A couple of weeks ago we adopted Zuri, a 6 month-old kitten.  She’s precious and is the perfect fit for our family.  Although we adopted her from the Humane Shelter, we had to pick her up at PetSmart.

Now, adopting a pet means shopping for pet supplies.  Under the challenge rules, I can buy her food and litter, as those fall under the toiletries and groceries categories that are allowed.  I was going to need at bare minimum, a food bowl, a water bowl and a litter box with a scoop.  I was prepared to get creative.  I have bowls and lots of them.  I’m quite sure I could modify some plastic container in my garage for a litter box.  The scoop I had to ponder a little longer.  Old kitchen utensils?  Something in my garage?  After an intense thought process, I decided I would be able to make one from old coat hangers.  Yep, we were ready for a cat in every way possible.

When we went to pick up Zuri, we also picked up my friend E. because she adopted Zuri’s sister a week earlier.  As I was walking though the pet store, I had to stop and look at the senselessness of what I saw.  Gourmet canine cookies.  My kids don’t eat stuff this fancy or expensive.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to treats for pets, but this seems a bit excessive to me.  Does Fido really care if he gets the pretty little treats shaped like dog bones, dipped in colorful icing?

How about pet fashion?  Yes, Martha Stewart has come to the rescue, not only to help your pet in the fashion world, but to stylistically incorporate pets into your home.  Again, I have no problem with pet supplies, what I’m saying is this seems excessive.  Yes, a pet bed is good if they’re not sleeping in your bed.  Yes, they need bowls to eat from.  Yes, they need a toy or two.  But do they really need all this stuff?  Let’s say I bought one of everything for my new kitten.  I’ll choose middle of the line items.

My list includes such things as a UV light cat pee finder, and cat sitter DVD, a mid-sized cat scratch tower, cat repellents to tell them where they don’t belong, a bed and much more.  The total?  $1,074. And once you’ve spoiled your pet and there’s nothing new left to buy, there’s now kitty anti-depressants. Continue reading


Mar 29 2011

note cards & envelopes [minimalist challenge item #40]

[item] Blank notecards and envelopes

[purchase info] Purchased new at Target for $9.99

[time in my possession] Approximately 6 years

[last used] 2 years ago I used one

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Easy

[destination] Freecycle

[info] I’m not sure why I bought these.  I don’t send cards and I don’t even own a stamp.  If I need a card, I’ll pull something out of my recycling bin and use that.


Mar 12 2011

keep austin weird [day 290]

This is one thing I want to buy, a “Keep Austin weird” t-shirt.  I need to find a thrift store and hopefully they’ll have one.  I guess I could offer someone some money to take one off their back.  After being here for one night, I’m not sure I’m weird enough to fit in here.  I’m a dime a dozen.  Now that is weird.


Mar 12 2011

light switch plate [minimalist challenge item #23]

[item] Framed light switch plate with artwork

[purchase info] Purchased the frame new, but on sale for $7.00 and the switch plate came with the old house

[time in my possession] Approximately 8 years

[last used] 4.5 years ago

[difficulty level in getting rid of it] Easy

[destination] Freecycle

[info] I made the switch cover using a decoupage technique with artwork from old art books.  The frame around it made it look like a mini painting.  I had a few of these, some are in my house now without the frames.

 


Jan 17 2011

airing my dirty laundry… and clean laundry [day 235]

I promised you dirty laundry, so here it is.  There’s actually more of it, but this is my basket.  My kids have one upstairs too.  So why an I showing you this?  I have no idea, other than it seemed like a fun title for this blog post.

I was thinking a few days ago how ridiculous it is that I have as many clothes as I do.  I have a relatively small closet, at least considered small by Frisco standards.  It’s a walk-in for skinny people.  I thought, “What if I got rid of half of my clothing?”  Helping my friend move back into her house, and helping her purge clothing from her son’s outgrown wardrobe, was the final push I needed to do this.

I decided to do it.  Get rid of half of my clothes.  Going into this, I had no idea if this would be easy or difficult.  Will it feel like a sacrifice?  Let’s see…

Let’s start with my closet.  I have approximately 278 pieces of clothing in there, so I will need to purge 139 pieces.  The first pass through the closet yielded 84 pieces of clothing.  Not bad for a first pass, but still a pretty long way to go.

The second pass, which was a little bit difficult, yielded 28 pieces of clothing.  This pass felt a little bit like a sacrifice, but when I thought about it, most of this is stuff I don’t wear anymore.  This batch included my pair of mismatched shoes, as they’re too small and hurt my feet.  Sad about those, but it makes sense to pass them on.  These will go to the first person that asks for them (size 7.5), as the thrift store would pitch them in the trash thinking they need exact matches.  Continue reading


Jan 1 2011

new year's resolutions [day 219]

I don’t have any resolutions for the new year.  I’m doing the no shopping challenge, I’m getting a lot of things done in my house and I’m doing most of the things I want/need to be doing.  One thing I do want to change is my cooking habits.  Cooking is not fun for me, but I’m trying to be better about cooking more and eating out less.

I upgraded my kitchen this week so I have more counter space and I bought the final piece of Le Creuset cookware to complete my collection.  Yes, all of it was used.

I found an island for my kitchen on craigslist.  I’ve been thinking about doing this for about a year now, but the island has to be on wheels and a very specific size to fit in my kitchen.  Color is no problem, as I can redesign it.  I needed something solid so I can tile the top of it.  After looking at islands, I think this one retails for around $150-$200.  I paid $60.  Here it is after the makeover.

The drawers are on the other side.  I have the tile to do the top, but I didn’t have the setting materials or grout, so I decided to do an artistic treatment and collage artwork on the top.  It’s a great thing to do to recycle and reuse books or magazines.  It’s easy to do, just use spray glue for the artwork, layer it until you’re happy with it and paint a couple coats of clear acrylic over it.  It’s very durable, as I have a bathroom floor done this way.

The next item I purchased (Merry Christmas to me) was from eBay.  It’s the final piece to my Le Creuset cookware.  I bought a steamer insert 6 years ago and the guy at the store told me it would work with a pot I already had.  It didn’t.  So this was not an impulse buy, as I’ve been planning to buy this for a while.  Why?  Let’s just say my MacGyver steamer rig didn’t work out so well.  It steamed great, but it took about 3 hours to clean up and luckily didn’t ruin my stove.  It was pricey, but it works into the no retail thing.  $188 including shipping.  This pot retails new for $315 and you can’t kill this stuff, it will be passed on to your grandkids.

I didn’t pay a lot for most of my pieces.  I got my first one at the thrift store for $4.  I got a set for free with my AMEX points.  All of the others were eBay or factory seconds, and I got their coupon calendar, so I paid next to nothing.

I guess I really didn’t need any of this stuff, but it’s all used and because I was not in a hurry, I found exactly what I wanted and for a good price.  Value might be a better word.  Happy new year.


Sep 16 2010

backfired! [day 112]

Forward… FIRE!

I efforts to save money, not be wasteful and make sure my kids are full after a meal, I told them no more kids meals.  Yes, they’re cheaper, but I have to buy extra food because the fast food kids meals just aren’t enough to fill them up.  As for the little plastic toys that always end up going to a thrift store?  They don’t need it.  On occasion, I made them realize that and they gave the toys back to the restaurant.

Backfire!!

Well, I wasn’t very specific when explaining this to my kids that it means fast food, not restaurants.  We went to eat at Posados and my son wanted to order ribs, which by no chance is the most expensive thing on the menu.  I asked him to look at the kids menu and he clearly reminded me of my new rule, telling me that he must order from the adult menu.  They had a half order of ribs, so I allowed him to have ribs.  At least there’s no plastic waste associated with it.


Jul 10 2010

the challenge: day 44 [good buy, bad buy]

I made a purchase.  It was within my guidelines of “it must be used or come from a thrift store”, but let me confess, I didn’t need it.  Here’s the short story…

Once upon a time, many years ago, a girl with ADHD and a love for colorful and shiny objects, bought an expensive bowl at an art show, for a ridiculous (undisclosed) amount of money.  Oh how she loved the bowl and prominently displayed it in her house.

This week, while shopping at Goodwill in Boston, she found the matching divided serving tray for $5.  Conflicted with should she or should she not buy it, she quickly scooped it off the shelf and bought it.  It travelled home with her, snuggled in a padded compartment of her backpack, next to her computer.

Feeling somewhat guilty, knowing she did not need this, she at least knew she was supporting a good thrift store and decided upon returning home, that she would clean out her kitchen cabinets, donating all unused items to the local thrift store.

If it wasn’t for a bad buy, she might not recognize a good buy.  After all, good buys are hard to find, so if you find one, you shouldn’t pass it up, right?  She and her good buy lived happily ever after.  The end.