Thursday, October 16, 2008

Day 16, Delaying Purchases (93...Free!)

When my children were small, I was an avid garage saler. It didn't take long to figure out that just about anything I could ever need--or want--could be found at garage sales. I started to make garage sale lists...that's right, garage sale shopping lists. On the lists went things that I needed but didn't absolutely have to have immediately. When the kids were little, almost all their clothing and shoes were purchased at GS...and much of my own as well. (Just last week my neighbor stopped to admire my Birkenstocks...purchased about seven years ago at a GS for $2.) In the last few years, I haven't had as much time for GS, but I make similar lists for used store shopping...Goodwill and the like.

Which brings me to my latest story of saving money...

I regularly use paper lunch bags for probability lessons in the math classes I teach. While paper bags aren't that expensive, I don't like the "use once" concept even if it's something that can be recycled. It just seems like a waste of resources. But after a pair of kiddos has finished one probability game with a lunch sack, it's pretty much a goner. In the last class I taught, kids needed to replace sacks in the middle of the game because they worn thin so quickly that pieces were falling out the bottom.

So I decided that it'd be awesome to make little cloth bags that could be used repeatedly and washed in between groups of students. The more I thought about it, the more the idea grew...

"Oooooh, and they could be CUTE. I could use fabric with math print! That would be adorable."

Adorable...and EXPENSIVE.

As anyone who sews knows, material--especially CUTE printed material--can run upwards of $10/yard. I found several great options on the internet...all expensive.

So the material went on my wish list. And lo and behold, here's what I found for $1/yard at a benefit auction this last Saturday.

The slightly humorous part of the story is that this was an auction to raise money for a Christian humanitarian organization. I don't think there was a person in the crowd who would have known what to do with the game pieces fabric except for a crazy teacher wanting to make bags.

It just reinforces the idea of delaying purchases whenever feasible. And you know what's interesting? Sometimes I'm able to cross things off my "list" just by virtue of delaying a purchase long enough to realize that I didn't actually need the item in the first place.

Funny how that works. ;)


Michele said...

I just love yard sales. Two weeks ago I found snow pants for my oldest son and a small Christmas tree that were on my list. For total of $3!

AmyP said...

Next time you are up in Portland, you should stop by Scrap. It's filled with all sorts of stuff for super-cheap. Every time I go in, I think every teacher needs this place!

richmomma said...

Michele--That's AWESOME! I think we've purchased all of our kids' snow clothes at yardsales. I now have one bin in the garage with various sizes of snowpants that I cycle through kids. That's one of those expensive purchases that (at least around here) would only get used a couple times a year. Perfect for garage sales!

Amy-LOL. Been there. ;) I bought several rolls of adding machine tape for school projects. 5 cents a roll! But haven't been back for a long time. Need to go again. ;)

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