Monday, February 21, 2011

I saved $1,000 in two purchases

Petite Poe and Little Pie’s birthdays makes for our March Madness. What to get Little Pie? I’ve been looking for months. I’ve already scouted out her party favors.

The answer finally arrived in the window of the Archer Goodwill this Friday. A blue Electra 24” Townie kids step through bicycle. Pie is too big for her old bicycle (we reclaimed it from the alley as did my Schwinn red cruiser). This Electra is specifically designed to grow with the rider so we need not purchase a transitional bike.

Electra is the current crème de la crème of new cruisers, which have been popular in Denver for years. So popular, citizens can rent shiny red cruisers at sites all over town. Just slip a few dollars into the machine and voila, a cruiser complete with basket is yours for the time paid for.

Given it’s a holiday weekend, Mr. Golightly and I have not had the opportunity to photograph the bike for there are little eyes about the house that would discover us. It’s going to be a tough month of not spilling the beans.

When I find something like this, I cannot wait to give it. I think this might require the use of duct tape over my mouth, or as Pie used to say, “duck tape”. Pie loves duct tape and she gets it honest from her great grandfather, The Big Messer we call him. He, like so many WWII veterans, has a life long love of the invention that could fix nearly anything, or at least hold it together until it could be fixed properly. One super-hero day at school Pie went as Duct Tape Girl.

But I ramble. We purchased this bike in excellent condition; the rubber on the kickstand shows little sign of use at all. Not a spot of rust. This bike has over $100 of added components including a removable basket.

It retails $480 at our local REI (without components). We paid $170 for it. Family members are chipping in and Little Pie will be so delighted to ride a slick bicycle that fits her. Petite Po has Electra envy though she has no reason to complain for she has a beauty of a Trek cruiser with white wall tires and blue fenders with two over-the back tire baskets acquired from Craig’s List for $140.

I was on the cell phone with Mr. Golightly, discussing the possible purchase of the bicycle when the guys from the stock room placed another treasure just two feet away. A beige microfiber swivel rocker from Room & Board, the fabric hardly worn, not a rip, stain or imperfection now sat in the window for $40. How long do you think the sale sticker remained on that chair? Generally, I’m very polite in thrift stores, but when it comes to high-end items for pennies on the dollar, I am a Tasmanian Devil, I’ll either beat you to it or scare you away from it.

Everything in this photograph is either estate sale or thrift. The lamp for $6, pillows $6 total, rug for $30 and round mirror for $8 were purchased thrift. The antique knitting cabinet and dresser from an estate sale for a total of $120. I refinished both. [We're working on a better photo but this small version will do for now.]

This chair was EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for our sitting room. When we came home, Mr. Golightly looked up the chair that is currently listed on The Room & Board site for $700. Wow.

Like many Americans, we are economically stressed and are compelled to discuss any large purchase, generally anything over $75. But, even in better times we discussed large purchases.

The biggest purchase made without mutual consult was our 100-year-old, quarter-sawn oak, up right grand piano for $600 at a neighbor’s estate sale. I couldn’t call Mr. Golightly because, after I heard the price, I involuntarily exhaled, “I’ll take it!” and fainted. Okay, I didn’t really faint but I did need to grasp hold of the piano to steady myself. I figured the price at least five grand and just asked out of curiosity. At first, Mr. Golightly was a bit miffed but after walking a block down to see it, he exclaimed, “Honey, you told me you purchased a piano! You didn’t tell me you purchased an institution!” We’d been wanting a piano for about a year.

We named our piano Sarah, after it's previous owner. We know it's entire history. One hundred years ago, the grandparents of Sarah's husband boarded a train to The Packard Piano Company in Fort Wayne, IN to select this piano which was one of five on the show room floor. They brought the piano back to Denver and Sarah's husband grew up playing it. During it's 100 years of life, it's been moved twice. It has a rich, robust sound that has come to be a blessing and a curse. When someone sits down to play, the entire house hears a concert ready or not.

Does your family mutually make decisions on high-end purchases? What price point? Have you always done this or have current times made for dialog?


lesliele said...

I've been reading you for quite some time-- but it's my first time commenting. :-) Love your blog!

My husband and I have been together for 10 years, and we've always had the mantra, "Anything over $100 is expensive." And we talk about ANY purchase that's over $100. We both have to agree that it's practical, we can afford it, and there is a genuine NEED for said item. It's been really great for getting us on the same page (as he is a computer geek who "needs" upgrades, etc. and I am a dyed-in-the-wool thrifter/garage saler who shudders at paying retail for ANYTHING).

It really has helped our marriage to be able to discuss monetary matters in such a cut & dried way.

sraikh said...

Anything above $50 in our houshold.

Normally, I will click a picture and text it to spouse and he has rarely refused me.

I however make judgement calls on buying expensive inventory for reselling on my own :)
Cannot wait to see pictures of the bike

Marilyn said...

That is a terrific piano! Mine, too, is over 100 years old and it is the only piece of "furniture" that I have that is that old! I started taking piano lessons when I was in second grade MANY years ago, and it still sounds good. ♥♫

Lui said...

I'm just wowed by this blog. The thrifter in me is just happy I found this.

Hubby and I both discuss what and how much to buy specially for big purchases. Anything worth more than $50 is big for us already.

Right now I'm agog with the thrift home accessories/furnishings I find in Japan Surplus stores and Expat Yard sales here in Cambodia.

Let me also drop you an invite..Were having a meme every Thursdays, its called the Share-A-Thrift-Hunt Meme where we could feature thrift finds, goodies bought on sale, yard sales, thrift shops, anything bought on a good bargain. Hope you can check it out and join us =)

Jean von B said...

What outstanding finds! I'm a dyed-in-the-wool thrifter (gives me hives to walk into an actual retail store unless its 75% clearance and I have an additional discount coupon in my purse). My husband on the other hand - - - not so much! He used to laugh at me for practically living in thrift stores, Goodwill, etc., until about a year ago I decided to keep track of exactly how much I was saving. Suffice it to say he's not laughing anymore! :)

Prairiecactus said...

Bike love!!!

Prairiecactus said...

Bike love!

Heather said...

I love thrifting! In fact, I'm doing a weekly "thrifty tips" feature on my blog you might enjoy...dhwilson dot blogspot dot com