Friday, March 30, 2012

A Toddler's Outdoor Paradise--for practically free!

Everyone who truly knows me understands that I will never pay market value for anything.  This includes houses, cars, toys, clothing, entertainment, food and even fuel for the car.  When we need to purchase something, I scour all my resources for coupons, coupon codes, rebates, used deals (thrift stores and craigslist) and any way possible to get absolutely the very best deal possible.  And, of course, free is best.  I feel like if I can't buy something for significantly less than everyone else, then I have not done my job.  It is the way I was born and bred.

Is my thriftiness extreme?  Am I a little bit OCD?

This thriftiness even spills over into utility costs.  This is part thriftiness/part being environmentally conscious.  I will never do laundry unless I have a full load (doing a small load of laundry may use less water, but it uses about the same amount of electricity/energy.)  The same goes for dishes--the space has to be extremely maximized, and I will use the same glass for an entire day.  Or, if I go out to eat (like to Chick-Fil-A), I will use that cup as long as possible to avoid having to dirty a dish, thereby extending further the time between washes.  Drew laughs at me because I don't even use an ice cream scoop for ice scream even though we have several--I will use the same spoon to dip my ice scream into my bowl as I use eating it.  If I make a casserole and we eat half of it, I will never move the remaining food into a new, smaller dish.  We don't lack fridge space and I would never want to dirty a new dish, as that is wasteful to me.  I could go on and on forever on the crazy little things I do.  I am thinking this may have come partly from my dad. 

Where did this thriftiness come from?

I remember growing up that he was always reminding us to turn out the lights when we left a room we were previously in.  This habit is so ingrained in me now, that I always turn off lights when I leave rooms.  Unfortunately, sometimes Drew is still in those rooms.  :-(  Also, Dad would drive an extra mile to save pennies per gallon on gas.  Although I complained about it as a child, now I completely understand as I have become much like him.  I love my cheap gas-finder app on my phone.

Now, on to the point of this post.  Many of my neighbors often put perfectly good things out to the curb for the garbage truck to pick up.  Well, other people's trash is definitely my treasure.  

I know that my thriftiness may be a little annoying at times.  Especially to Drew as he gets embarrassed when I knock on neighbor's doors to ask if I can have their junk.  But, here is picture proof of the benefits of my thriftiness.

Little Tikes Adjust 'N Jam Basketball goal:  found on neighbor's curb, left for trash pickup. (approx $50 new)

Little Tikes Clubhouse Swing Set ($594.49 on Amazon)--we paid $60 after searching daily on craigslist

Luke enjoys his new swingset!

Our Toddler Paradise--total cost, $60 (The little Tikes red/blue slide up front retails for $50 and was thrown in for free when we picked up the swing set).

Little Tikes Turtle Sandbox ($49.99 new at Target) and Step 2 Sandbox ($50 new)-- found free on neighbors' curb

Luke enjoys the slide on his new swingset.

Step 2 Naturally Playful Storybook Cottage ($400 new)--free from neighbor who was going to put it to curb.
So, in case you haven't been keeping track, this is the new vs. what we paid cost for this outdoor toddler paradise.

  • Step 2 Naturally Playful Storybook Cottage:  $400 new, we paid $0
  • Little Tikes Clubhouse Swing Set: $550-600 new, we paid $60
  • Little Tikes Basketball Goal: $50 new, we paid $0
  • Little Tikes Slide: $50 new, we paid $0
  • Sandboxes: $100 total new, we paid $0
Total Retail Price: $1200
We paid: $60 for a savings of $1140!

  Yes, some of the items are not perfect, but do you think this little toddler knows the difference?

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