Monday, April 28, 2014

Thrifting Finds #54: Step by Step!


Once again, there was diddlysquat in the thrifts this week, though I did manage to pick up something tasty for someone else.

Hubs took off work all last week, and I was off Thursday and Friday.  We did a lot of maintenance-type stuff--got our hair cut, had our eyes examined, got a marriage license :).  That sort of thing.  I got waylaid by a migraine on Friday (I could feel it coming on and between having my pupils dilated and that bright light shining at me, well, that didn't make it any better), but by Saturday I had pretty much bounced back.  Thank you, Imitrex.

Since we missed our usual Sunday rounds last week, Hubs and I decided to make up for it on Thursday.

Is Thursday some big thrifting day?  The stores were packed, despite not having any special sales or anything.  And it was all of them, not just one or two.  They're not that busy on the weekend.  Yeesh.

Didn't find anything, though.  Nothing even slightly tempting, darnit.

So since we already did our usual rounds, we decided to head up to Hanover, PA yesterday to hit a couple of Goodwills and the Community Aid(??) thrift store.  I only found one item, one that probably needs a bit of an explanation.

I have a friend at work who just got promoted and is a HUGE New Kids on the Block fan. I mean, a major major fan.  So when I found this on the shelf, well, buying it was a no-brainer:

1.  New Kids on the Block game!  I had a moment of unease when I realized that I really don't know one boy band from another, and that these dudes might be the wrong ones.  But then I kind of recognized one of the guys from a picture over her desk and figured these dudes were the right dudes.  They also had a NKOTB (that's what people In The Know call them, apparently) lunch box, but I thought that might be overkill.

And that's it, kiddies.  Nothing for your ol' Uncle Veg, nothing for the Hubster.  On the other hand, who knows what we'll find next week, right?  It could be anything!

In Other News Department:  I finally got my FreedomPop phone on Friday.  It's a little early yet to make a final decision, but everything seems okay so far.  Not fabulous, okay.  Which, given the cost, is still pretty good.  I've found that with every new phone I've had, there is a teething period that you need to get through before making a final decision.  I'm going to live with this for a while and see what happens.

Due to the lack of really cool thrifted finds, I am linking up rather shame-facedly with Sir Thrift A Lot, Thrifter/Maker/Fixer/Farm, and We Call It Junkin.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Thrifting Finds #53: Yeah, I got nothin'

To get right to the point, I found squaddoo this weekend.  We made a few stops on Saturday but nothing good turned up.  Sunday being Easter, the thrifts were closed.

Which is a shame, actually, because Hubs and I went to Bro's for Easter dinner and passed by a Goodwill we had never been to before.  Dang.  Always like to discover a new thrift and unfortunately, we don't get up to that neck of the woods very often.

So yeah.  The only thing interesting enough to report is what happened on April 15.  Tax Day dawned gray and gloomy, which only seems appropriate, no?  The wind blew, the rain...rained.  All in all it was the kind of weather I like (really), until Hubs came in from the balcony to announce that it was snowing.

On April 15.



So the next morning, I got to scrape off the cars one more time because why should our weather be normal?

Anyway, all of us here at the Fondue Corporate Offices hope you all had a wonderful Easter and hopefully we'll return next week with some fabulous finds.

Oh. Almost forgot to mention that I tried my hand at making some peanut butter fudge.  Hubby's reaction:  "Shame on you for making me taste that!"  I took half to Bro's house and I'm betting his half isn't going to last any longer than ours.  The fudge turned out to be the exact taste and texture of the inside of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.  Next time, I'm dipping the squares in milk chocolate.

Basho sez "Happy Easter!"

Linking up rather shamefacedly with   Sir Thrift A Lot, Thrifter/Maker/Fixer/Farm, and We Call It Junkin.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Thrifting Finds--Now With 20% More Vintage Linens!

Here's something different:  I'm not going to start off by complaining about the weather!  It was really quite lovely this weekend, if a little humid.  Turned on the ceiling fans because I absolutely refuse to turn on the AC in April.

So.  We hit our usual spots, as well as a flea market.  Can't tell you how long it's been since we went to one.  The thrifts all seemed to be overflowing with merchandise this weekend--full shelves and unshelved carts all over the place.

And yet somehow there was nothing worth buying.  I almost got a new decanter for my mouthwash, but it was marked $8.00, which was about $7.00 more than it was worth.

Well, there was almost nothing worth buying.  I did get a couple of things, including the above-mentioned vintage linen.  Oh, and there was an Avon lady at the flea market, so I managed to scoop up 10 tubes of the hand cream that Hubby likes at two bucks a pop.  It was worth stopping just for that.  No picture, because who wants to look at new hand cream?

Here's what I got:

1.  Bob Newhart!  Yeah, I'm pretty sure I said sometime back that I wasn't going to buy any more records. But c'mon--this is Bob Newhart.  Unfortunately, it's not the album with the bit about the Grace L. Ferguson Airline and Storm Door Company, but it'll still be good.  Rescue Mission Thrift, $1.00

2.  Vintage Tablecloth!  Christmas tablecloth, no less!  My first!  I can honestly say that this is my first-ever sighting of a vintage tablecloth, much less a Christmas one.  It had some pretty bad stains, but most of them came out with an overnight soak in Oxyclean and Biz.  There are a couple of "shadows" still, but I think a little Spray & Wash and another trip through the washer ought to take care of the problem.  I made the rookie mistake of not unfolding it and checking for damage but luckily, there was none.  I don't think it'll fit my dining room table but on the other hand, there isn't a tablecloth made that will fit it.  So I'll just deal with it.  No tag, so I don't know who made it.  Flea market, $5.00

And that's it for the purchases this weekend.

In Other News:  Your ol' Uncle Veg had a bit of an adventure this past week.  Okay, it wasn't much of an adventure, but you know how I live--anything out of the ordinary is an adventure.  Anyhoo, I got to do a taste test for a spice company!  I don't know if I'm supposed to mention the company or not, but I live in Maryland and it's a major spice company, so do the math.  Basically, I got paid 30 clams to eat two chicken tenders.  Can't say I cared much for either one, but the money was good.  
Edit:  If you're interested, you can sign up here:
I love doing this kind of thing.  A few years back, I was on a consumer panel for a major power tool manufacturer (again, this is Maryland, so put 2 and 2 together) about rechargeable vacuum cleaners.  I can't remember if I got paid or not, but I definitely walked out with a very fancy Dustbuster, and they also sent me one of those rechargeable jump starters that I put in Hubby's trunk because I worry about him.

Thriftiness Update:  You may remember from last week that I've begun a program of belt-tightening.  Here's the update so far:

Newspaper:  We have officially started our $10/year Wednesday 'n Weekend subscription.  Of course, the old subscription hasn't expired yet, so we're getting doubles.  Which is fine on Sunday, because it means double coupons.

FIOS:  This was kind of a nightmare, but what do you expect from Verizon?  I successfully cancelled our TV service and when I did, the woman I spoke to said "Oh.  Looks like I saved you another $5.00 a month.  I'm not sure why..."  Okay, that's fine by me.  I also asked to have the speed of our Interwebz access bumped up and supposedly that went through as well.  And yet somehow I managed to still save $15.00 a month.
Well, it turns out that the Interwebz upgrade actually didn't happen, which explains the savings.  When I called to get it bumped up, the woman said it would add 10 bucks a month to the bill, which is exactly what I expected.
Until she told me that her system was adding 20 bucks a month to the bill.  Even though it should only have cost 10.  She was understandably confused, yet didn't seem at all motivated to find and fix the problem.  So I left things as they are and for the time being, I'll enjoy my $15.00 a month savings.  I may revisit this in the future, but it's fine the way things stand now.

FreedomPop:  Still have not received my new cellphone, so cannot comment on the service.  Well, I guess I can, since they say it'll take 2-3 weeks to ship the phone, which seems like an awful long time to me.  But I'll hang on and when the new phone arrives, I'll report back.

And that's it for this week's installment.  Linking up with  Sir Thrift A Lot, Thrifter/Maker/Fixer/Farm, and We Call It Junkin.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Thrifting Finds #51: No finds, but thrifty anyway!

Now that I think about it, this was probably the first weekend we didn't have any snow all year.

So I'm starting to think that maybe this whole thrifting business is cyclical.  Despite visiting our usual 6 thrifts this weekend, neither Hubs nor I found anything worth buying.  I didn't even give in to Empty Hand Syndrome, as I have done so often in the past.

I notice that a lot of people on other blogs I read have said the same thing, that the thrifts have had slim pickin's lately.

So we'll give it a couple of weeks and it'll pick up again, right?

You may have noticed how I've been whining reporting that pricing at the various Goodwills lately has been nothing short of insane.  I was pleased to have my opinion confirmed by another customer yesterday.  She walked up to her husband holding a large white-on-pink Butterprint Cinderella bowl and indicated her displeasure with the price thereon.

Or, as she succinctly put it, "This is bullshit."

I believe the bowl in question was marked $12.00.  It was in good, not perfect condition.  I know that pattern is popular, but I don't collect it so I don't know what the going rate for it is.  Does the price seem out of line?

Well actually, no matter what the going rate is, I think the GW is out of line. I mean, it's a bowl for heaven's sake.  And a used one at that.  Isn't the point of the GW to actually move the merchandise? They seem to be thinking they're an antique mall lately.

Okay, enough of that little rant!

Now then.  Even though we didn't get anything at the thrifts, we didn't come home empty handed.  We got these:

Freebies!  Have you guys discovered Harbor Freight Tools?  It's a chain of stores that sells basically cheap tools.  They're not Black & Decker or Snap-On quality--not by a long shot-- but often they're good enough fer what they're fer, if you know what I mean. It's where I got my rechargeable drill (which works just fine, thank you.)  Anyway, they have a lot of really good sales and almost always have coupons for free stuff--no purchase required.  So I got this tape measure and the multimeter, both for work.  I highly suggest signing up for their emails. Over the course of a year, you can pick up a whole lot of good stocking stuffers.

In Other News Department:

I've been on quite a belt-tightening tear lately.  I'm not really sure why, other than the fact that I'm basically a cheapskate.  So here's where I'm going to start cutting back:

A:  The Newspaper.  We get the daily paper, at a cost of about  $218.00 a year.  A couple of weeks ago, Groupon had a deal to get the Wednesday and Sunday papers only, for 10 bucks.  A year.  Now, I really only get the paper for the funnies and the Sunday sale ads, so the ten-dollar deal seemed like a no-brainer.  Of course, this is the Baltimore Sun we're talking about, where intelligence and/or logic do not exist.  My current subscription runs out on April 28th.  One would think that they'd wait until that was over to start the new deal.  Not so.  So now I'm getting double papers on Sunday (and presumably Wednesday as well.)  Because that makes sense.

Potential savings:  $208.00/year.

B.  FIOS TV.  When we signed up for FIOS last year, I had them add the most basic TV package, which is basically the 3 or 4 networks plus a bunch of Spanish stations.  That added 10 bucks a month to the bill, which I didn't think was bad.  Unfortunately, we also need to rent a little decoder box, and that runs another 6 bucks a month.  Now, we really don't watch much TV (other than DVDs), but it wasn't until I really started paying attention that I discovered we don't watch TV at all.  Well, hardly.  Hubs watched the Tonys or the Oscars or something.  And there was a good six-month period where, even if we wanted to watch TV we couldn't, as neither Hubs nor I knew where the remote was.

So the TV service is going, if I can cancel it without screwing up the rest of my plan, which I think I can do.  I think, though, that when I cancel the TV I'm going to up the Internet service speed for that same 10 bucks a month, if it can be done.  At the very least, I'll save $6.00 a month on the little converter box.

Oh, and by the way, we get the same channels with an antenna, plus a whole lot more.

Potential savings:  $192.00/year, but more likely $72.00/year.

C:  Cell phone.  Currently, I pay $37.00/month including taxes to Virgin Mobile for my service.  This buys me unlimited text and data, and 300 talk minutes a month.  All in all, a very good deal.  I've been with VM for years and years and the service is just fine.  Turns out though, that I don't use my phone nearly as much as I thought I would.  For instance, last month (which was typical, I think), I only used 130mb of data and 35 minutes of talk.  I forget how many texts I sent, but I'd be surprised if it was more than 10.
Enter FreedomPop.  Has anyone tried this service?  I first discovered it when I saw a deal for a phone on One Sale.  I looked into it and kind of impetuously ordered the phone for $99.  Unfortunately, it turns out that the particular phone won't run a couple of apps I need for work, so I'll have to send it back.  But I ordered a different one right from FreedomPop that should work just fine.
Now here's the deal on their service.  They have several different levels, but the one that seemed the best fit for me is 200 talk minutes, 500 texts, and 500mb of data per month.  
The price:  Free.  
There are some downsides, though.  For instance, voicemail is not included.  I decided to spring the $2.49/month for that service.  Even though I don't often get voicemails, I wouldn't want to be without the service.  Also, you can't send picture texts (MMS) at this time, though they say they're working on it.  Youall probably know that most of the texts I send are pictures of weird stuff from the Goodwill.  Not a deal breaker, particularly if it may change in the future. Kind of a biggie is that you can't port your current phone number to their system, you have to get a new one.  That sounds like kind of a pain, but on the other hand, it might be a good way to do a clean sweep and get away from those people you're sorry you gave your number to!
The big question, though, will be the call quality.  They use a different scheme for making calls than most cellphone providers, and I've heard varying reports on the quality of the calls.  Granted, I don't make many calls at all, but when I do, I kind of want them to go through, you know?
Anyway, they give you 30 days to try it out and if you don't like the service, you can send the phone back and cancel and no hard feelings.  I've already signed up, though have not received my phone yet (they seem to take 2-3 weeks to ship.)  If anyone's interested, I'll report back on my findings and let you know what's what.  For the time being, I'm keeping my Virgin Mobile service, just in case.
And if anyone else signs up, you can make them your friend or some such and thereby earn more data each month.  

Potential savings:  $414.00/year

Annnnnnd...that's it, I guess.  Hopefully, there will be some Pyrex or Corningware or something worth buying at the thrifts next week.  

So until then, I'm linking up with  Sir Thrift A Lot, Thrifter/Maker/Fixer/Farm, The Nifty Thriftyand We Call It Junkin.