Kathy Petersen’s Blog

I totally racked up!!!

Posted in frugal by Kathy on November 2, 2008

Yesterday, I went out yard-saling, and found so much stuff!!!

I live in Mississippi, so, yes, it’s still warm enough to have a yard sale on the first day of November. It would not be unheard-of to have yard sales year-round, although we live in North Mississippi, so it does get cold and even snows a few times in the winter. Yesterday, it was chilly in the morning, but was about 75 degrees by the middle of the day.

In our area, we have what’s called “First Monday,” which started out over a century ago as a local cattle-trading meeting for the area farmers. It took place on the first Monday of the month, at first it was on the square, and then eventually moved to its present location. Over the years, it has changed from livestock to a monthly flea market in the same area. And it happens on the weekend of the first Monday, but unless that weekend is a holiday weekend, it really is only open on Saturday and Sunday — on the actual Monday, it’s a ghost-town. Some dealers sell dogs (I always think they run puppy mills, and feel terribly sorry for the cute little puppies, and all the other animals in cages), rabbits, roosters, or even goats; in the springtime — especially Easter, they have a lot of ducks, chicks, and rabbits. But most of the dealers have your basic flea market-type stuff — old glassware, kids’ toys, antique farm implements; and some have salvage food (still in packaging, but most likely out of date or perhaps the box was damaged so the grocery store had to toss all the contents) or cosmetics (hair-care products, toothpaste, etc.); while others sell cheap Chinese-made things — pop-up hampers, pencils and pens, etc. And of course, there are also people who only have fast food — pork skins (yuck!!), hot dogs, corn dogs, popcorn, drinks, etc.

Because the first of the month is when all the people on government assistance get their checks (either the 1st or the 3rd of the month; or if either of those days falls on a Sunday, then they will get it the day before), and because this stuff is cheap, people come out in droves! Since people are already out (and have cash, thanks to the government checks!), it can be a very good day to have a yard sale. (But, when Monday falls on the first day of the month, people who don’t get paid or don’t get their check until then will typically be out of cash and those weekends are not so good.)

So, for yard-salers like me, First Monday weekend is one not to miss. You may think I’m horrid for giving my children presents I got used at yard sales; but a lot of the stuff there is in very good condition, and when I pay just a couple of bucks for something, I know I’ll get my money’s worth; when I pay $20-50 for toys, it’s a toss-up. Now, onto the stash:

From various yard sales:

  • The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, paperback, good condition, 50 cents
  • two Christian relationship books I’d heard of and wanted to read — one geared toward men, the other toward women, by Gary Smalley, a quarter apiece
  • 4 candy molds for chocolates (for my mom), $1
  • a small bag of mixed toys that had some of the old-fashioned Little People toys like my husband and I played with when we were kids — my mom still has some of the things at her house — $1
  • free Mrs. Fields cookies in their packaging, just out of date
  • a small bike for my older son (seat torn a little; may need to buy training wheels) — $6
  • a Sit-n-Spin, with batteries (my kids love the one at my mom’s house) — $3
  • a Pooh counting book with audio — 50 cents
  • a large-ish toy (not big enough for ride-on, but close) for the sand box — 50 cents
  • a Take-Along Thomas playset piece (no track, no trains, no coal-loader, just the building) — $1
  • a “Tot Spot” folding chair (like this, but different colors) — $1
  • a black purse, excellent condition — $1
  • an 80s version Trivial Pursuit game, box a little worn, but in mint condition inside — the little wedge pieces had not even been removed from the little stick — $2
  • at a “stuff a bag for a dollar” yard sale, I got a long sheer curtain (to replace the current short curtain in our bedroom), and then filled the bag with a T-shirt for my mom and a sparkly shirt for my niece (it’s much too “old” for her to really wear, but she’ll have fun dressing up in it) — $1
  • a brand-new still-sealed basket of play food — $3
  • a good-quality big backpack (to replace my worn-out smaller backpack that is my diaper bag — it also came in handy at our First Monday excursion — I put our stuff in it, my younger son on my shoulders, and my husband carried what wouldn’t fit in the backpack and was in charge of my older son) — $2
  • inside the backpack was a beautiful, soft Pooh-bear, which my older son immediately claimed (I had seen it inside the bag, and had intended on saving it for his birthday or Christmas, but emptied the bag in front of him); a few different craft items (paint-by-numbers type things); some girly stuff — brushes, combs, mirrors; and a few miscellaneous items — absolutely free!
  • a 100-piece puzzle of David & Goliath — 50 cents
  • a small “white-board” (I’ll use it like people used to use the old-fashioned slates [remember Laura Ingalls Wilder or Anne of Green Gables?], for my kids to learn how to write their letters and numbers) — 25 cents
  • two cheap curtain rods that go with the brackets I already have on some of our windows — 25 cents
  • a curtain set (valance, two floor-length panels) which should go with our bedroom —  (this looks like good-quality, and I shudder to think what the lady originally paid for it; even if it was just from Walmart, each piece probably cost between $10-20) — $1
  • and I saved the best for last! — a Duplo (larger-sized Legos) table that had the top come off in two pieces for storage underneath, with 4-color Duplo boards on each piece, and on the reverse side of the top, a painted-on road. It was the same that the pediatric dentist had in his office, but in better condition. My kids will be able to use it for a train table, drive their cars on it, or build with Duplos (I’ll have to get some more). In the table there were a few Duplos, some cars to go with it, and a few odds and ends (including some things that were thrown away). While the condition was not excellent, as I noticed afterwards (two of the Duplo boards had fallen off and will need to be re-glued, the corners showed some definite signs of wear from being moved, bumped, and played with), I think it probably cost at least $300 when new, and when I asked the price, was fully expecting her to say somewhere in the $30-50 range, and was already thinking about how to talk her down. I think my eyes bugged out of my head when she said, “five dollars.” Then she said in a tired voice, “I’m just ready to go home,” and gave a tired smile. My kids will play with this thing for years. It is definitely worth — $5

Then we went to First Monday, where we got

  • black socks for my husband, 3 pairs to a package, 3 packages for $5
  • several wire baskets for frying things in oil (my mother-in-law envied me mine when she was here, so we got her a set plus a few more in case other people want them); also usable for any sort of straining or storage (I think they were $1 apiece, but they could have been $1.25)
  • some pencils (about a nickel apiece) — $1 per package
  • hair gel (50 cents apiece, and my husband liked it when we got it last time)
  • hair color (I have a gray streak, plus many other strands throughout… hope it doesn’t turn me blonde or red — a little worried about it being salvage, hope not out of date or somehow messed up) — $1
  • some gourmet coffee (not sure how much, but think $1 per package)
  • a couple of DVDs for the kids, new and sealed — $5 apiece
  • sheet set for our king-sized bed, new, in the package, with pillowcases, actually match/similar to the color on our walls (I’m not too picky about this; and the last sheets I was able to find were navy blue, and our walls are green; I prefer to match or coordinate when possible, but I’m too tightwaddy to spend that much money on it, when cheaper but non-matching ones are available… within reason, of course — I usually prefer neutral tones anyway, so I’m not going to be clashing hot pink with fire-engine red anyway) — $20

I think that’s about it! I had a great time yard-saling (my husband took our boys to a father-son thing at our church Camp — he doesn’t like “roughing it” so didn’t want to spend the night in the cold, but was more than willing to take them up for some games and stuff in the morning, so I got to stop at all the yard sales I wanted without the kids getting crabby, or worrying about them needing to go to the bathroom or being hungry or thirsty), and I got some great bargains! I’m so jazzed about that table!! I want to give it to my son for his birthday this week, but am going to try to talk myself out of it, and reserve it for Christmas as a present to both boys. I’d already gotten everything I needed for his birthday anyway, so definitely should keep it until Christmas… but it’s so tempting to give it to him now! 🙂

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