Oil Painting for a Dollar? Done.

One of the hardest things about No Spend Month is how it cuts into one of our family’s most cherished activities, Saturday morning yard sale mania.

In theory, these outings shouldn’t be affected by limited spending, since they are already so cheap by nature. But the problem is that we don’t want cheap stuff for even cheaper prices. We aren’t the type to snatch up the bagful-of-pulp-novels for a quarter, or assorted t-shirts for the same, even though I’m sure that’s a good deal to somebody who doesn’t already have enough t-shirts (certainly this is not us).

We tend to only buy quality clothing from labels we already respect and toys that would have been purchased at a higher end toy store (not plastic stuff made in China). So, though we might not buy a ton of items at yard-sales, we do spend more than others do because we’d rather spend $1 on a Le Creuset pot (true story) versus a nickel each on cheap kitchenware.

Yard Sale in Austin by Elayne Crain
Come to me, my precious.

We find it really challenging and fun to try to maintain an upwards-of-comfortable standard of living through yard sales. Before anyone preaches at us about materialism, we know. We aren’t slaves to our possessions. But, with both of us working, there is a certain amount of materialism, particularly in regards to professional dress and appearance since we both work at a well-known business school, built into our lives. We’ve outfitted ourselves well for work partially through yard sales.

We cruise for the unique or underappreciated when we go yard saling. Anyone can get a child’s book at a yard sale for 25 cents. It takes a practiced eye (and lots of yard sales) to find an antique edition of Mary Poppins for $1. Same for shoes; I paid $1 for a pair of Kate Spade black kitten heels that had the Neiman Marcus tag on the bottom of them – for $278. I can’t believe my luck, still…what were they thinking? (You’d have to have seen this lady’s crazy house and the clothes spilling out all over the driveway to believe it.) But, I do know that even if those shoes had been $20, I would have snatched them up. I wear them at least once a week at work.

It doesn’t have to be something so dramatic to be a best buy, though. For instance, one of my favorite yard sale buys are some vintage linen kitchen towels with different geographical themes on them, like a map of London, etc. We use them all the time and they still make me smile when I reach for one.

What is your best, or favorite, yard sale find?

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