Monday, June 23, 2014

Thrifting Finds #61: Hey, we haven't found any 200-dollar clocks lately...

Today's post is going to be more about thriftiness than it is about thrifting.  That's because the thrift store situation this week was even worse than last week.

And this despite the fact that a brand-new Goodwill opened up that's right on our usual Sunday Thrifting Route!  It's a big store, nice and neat, with tons of stuff, just nothing that I even thought twice about. Plus, it was full of middle-aged women with an inflated sense of entitlement.  You know the type--Starbucks cup in one hand, pushing a cart with the other, blocking everyone while she either has a loud cellphone conversation, or worse, uses her phone to look up every single item on ebay.

I was glad to get out of there.

What makes this doubly disappointing is the fact that, after doing the math, I discovered that Hubs and I visited nine thrift stores this weekend.  Really, doesn't the law of averages kick in at some point?  Shouldn't I have found something somewhere?  Oh, well.  That's that much less money that I'm out of, right?  (A good thing, considering how expensive this weekend might have been.  More about that in a minute.)

So as not to disappoint, here's a Blast From the Past, a Golden Oldie if you will:

Howard Miller clock! Howard Miller?  Or Herman Miller?  I always get those two confused.  Whichever, I found this beauty at the Goodwill a few years back and I believe did a little Happy Dance when I did.  When I was in line to pay for it, the guy behind me kept asking "Is that something?  Is that something valuable?"  I just smiled and said that I really liked the color, which was the absolute truth.  I paid $5.00 for this little baby and sold it on eBay for over 200 bucks, which is the origin of Hubs and me saying "Hey, we haven't found any 200-dollar clocks lately."

And as far as thrifting goes, that's it.  Please, can next week be better?  I haven't found anything really cool in quite some time.  Geez.

Ringplus update:  Well, I switched my cellphone over to Ringplus more than a month ago, and I'm happy with the service.  I would recommend the service to anyone who isn't a heavy user and/or has ready access to WiFi.  Oh, and has good coverage on the Sprint network.  Here's how it breaks down:

Virgin Mobile:  300 talk minutes, unlimited texts and data (though after 2.5gb of data, they throttle you):  $37.70/month with tax.

Ringplus:  400 talk minutes, 400 texts, 300mb of data:  $11.91/month including tax.

Difference: $25.79/month.

Last month, I used less than 20 minutes of talk and maybe 15mb of data, and a handful of texts.  So far this month (16 days left in the cycle), I've used 1 minute of talk, 63 texts(unusual for me), and less than 3mb of data.  So the Ringplus plan definitely fits me better than Virgin Mobile.  They have a number of different plans, so it's easy to tailor your service to how you actually use your phone.  My data is low because I almost exclusively use WiFi (which is faster anyway.)  Strangely, if you send MMS (picture or group) texts, they cost $.07 each.  Kind of odd, but doable.

Keep in mind that if you switch, you may have to buy a new phone.  P.S.  I am loving my Samsung Galaxy SIII.

So what am I doing with that 25 bucks a month that I save?  It's going right in the bank.

Bargain of the Week!  Well, relatively speaking, anyway.  We got a call from The Girl Child that the Mac laptop we bought her after graduating (like 5 years ago) is on its last legs.  The screen has been held together with binder clips for a couple of years now (but they're Vera Bradley binder clips, so they're chic), but after falling off the tray table on the train, the screen is officially dead. Luckily, she can hook it up to her TV and use it, but now it overheats and really, its days are numbered.  The GC indicated how she would someday like a Macbook Air, maybe for Christmas?

Fast forward a couple of days, to a deal that Best Buy was offering.  To wit, a Macbook Air, on sale for 800 bucks, 100 bucks off the regular price.  Oh, but if you have an email address ending in .edu, they'll take off another $150.  Hard to say no to that, right?
Overpriced Apple product
So, instead of paying $900 plus tax, we only paid $650 plus tax.  Eh, we could have done worse, right? What gripes me is that an Intel based laptop of similar ability would have cost about half that much.  Unfortunately, The GC is an Apple Fangirl.  Which brings us to

How this might have been an expensive weekend:  On Saturday, we got the dreaded call from The Girl Child:  "Daddy, I dropped my phone and now it doesn't work!" (She was using The Boyfriend's phone.)


She can't be without a phone, because what if her agent calls about an audition?  (Is that straight out of "That Girl" or what?)

We were out at the time, so we said that once we got home, we'd start the ball rolling on getting her a new one.  Thank goodness for phone insurance.  What's this--the deductible is $175.00?  That's highway robbery!  Still, it's better than paying full price, right?

You can imagine our chagrin then, when we discovered that we had neglected to purchase said insurance.

Double crap.

How did we do that?  The Girl Child and Phone Insurance go together like peanut butter and jelly (girl is hard on phones.)  Clearly, we are old and feeble and shouldn't be left without adult supervision.

How much would a new phone cost?  Oh, about $450.00.

Triple crap.

I decided not to worry about it for the time being and to go ahead and take a nap.  As soon as I lay down, I got a fabulous idea:

You know how every year or so the credit card company sends that little booklet of all the benefits of having a platinum card?  Well, why don't I give them a call and see if they can do anything?

The gal I spoke with at the Benefits Center couldn't have been nicer and more helpful (this was a Wells Fargo Visa, so if you do this, YMMV.)  Unfortunately, what the card does is double the original manufacturer's warranty, and since dropping the phone isn't covered, it was no go.  It would be different, she said, if we used the card to pay for the monthly service.

Oh but My Dear, we do!

In that case, she said excitedly, we're covered for loss, damage and theft as well!  Twenty-five dollar deductible!  Woo hoo!  There's a certain amount of jumping through hoops that has to be done (mostly involving gathering paperwork), but it sure beats paying $450 for a new phone.  

Because Apple has such a stranglehold on their products, The GC would have to take the phone to an Apple store and have them see if it can be repaired or if it would need to be replaced.

To make a long story even longer, The GC went to the Apple store, and guess what?  The warranty does cover dropping the phone!  It doesn't cover dropping it, say, in the toilet though. Apparently, if you get it wet, all bets are off.  So after they configured a phone for her, she got it right there, no paperwork involved.  Even better, no money involved.


So while we didn't have to take advantage of the platinum card benefits, the lesson learned is that the benefits are there, and you might as well use them if you can.

What I Made Department:  I haven't done one of these in a while, so I thought I'd throw this in.  

Remember this cookbook from a while ago?

Well, I was poking around on and came across this video:  Comprehending Blending.  (Sorry, I can't figure out how to embed it.)

Which inspired me to drag out the blender and the cookbook.  I made Cheese Dip and Mock Sour cream, neither of which I bothered to take a picture of (they just weren't very photogenic.)  The dip was good, though we both thought it needed a little something extra--lemon juice, maybe.  The mock sour cream is basically cottage cheese, water, and a little lemon, whizzed until it's smooth.  It's a pretty good impostor if you ask me.

And this cookbook from last week:

Well, I actually made a dish from it:  Hearty Sausage and Green Bean Casserole:

It was actually pretty good.  Hubs requested that it go into the regular rotation, which is high praise indeed!  I doctored it up some because the only seasonings it called for were salt and pepper.  I threw in a good spoonful of roasted green chilis and a number of shakes of hot sauce.  The final result had a slight kick, just enough to notice, not enough to spoil the dish.  The biscuits on top were a little weird and random.  I'm thinking next time I might just serve it over rice instead.

And I think that's about it.  Funny how this was such a long post, despite having so little thrift store involvement.  Well, nobody ever accused me of being short-winded!

Linking up with Sir Thrift A Lot, Thrifter/Maker/Fixer/Farm, and We Call It Junkin even though I probably shouldn't, and I'm going to try to remember to do my linkup with Dawn before the last minute this time!


  1. Hmmm, I can see how finding a Bitossi clock could make one think you'll keep finding good stuff in thrift stores. Don't think I would have been able to part with it! But I rarely go to thrift stores, just too chaotic for me and too dependent on the kindness of strangers. No estate sales or yard sales or tag sales in your neck of the woods?

    1. I love the color of that clock but it weighed a ton, and what I really wanted was a Sunbeam Mondrian clock, which I eventually got. Estate sales are pretty scarce around here, and as for yard sales, I haven't come across one that wasn't selling some Little Tykes thing, which gives you an idea of what else they have. I just drive on by...

    2. Okay, I admit I DO get tired of all the kid stuff!!

    3. the kid stuff sells REALLY well on the local yardsale Facebook page I run! ok I sound a little excited but people seek so low at garage sales that you can make a profit if you buy and sell

  2. great read long rambling and fun-also good to know about the credit card coverage but we use auto bill pay to pay everything!