Thursday, June 17, 2010

Smart or Cheap?

I've been cutting down on the clutter in my house. I haven't been doing it alone. I've had some help from my family, especially Caboose.

That's probably because he's always been my keeper and stasher of things. He really doesn't like to get rid of stuff. He always remembers something special about an item, or a stuffed animal is just "so cute" or whatever reason.

But he has ruthlessly gone through his stuffed animals (more than once...he keeps going back and trying to slim back more) and has given up more than I want to admit he had on a public forum. He and his brother have given up all the Rokenbok sets except the one they really play with (it's a dueling set where the vehicles battle on a raised stadium platform), he's given up some of his Imaginext sets (the primary toy type he plays with), and some miscellaneous toys that were just taking up space and not really special enough to keep.

I've been going through our homeschool materials and books just as ruthlessly. They're hard for me to get rid of, especially books. I've sold some of the curriculum that we've outgrown (Caboose being the youngest) on ebay, and I participated in a local homeschool used book and curriculum sale recently.

I brought home less items than I took, and there are a handful of things that I can list on ebay. The other 67 books I didn't want to put back on my shelves (I did want to, but I didn't), and I didn't want to hold on to them until the next sale in the fall. One of the local Barnes & Noble stores has a used book section and they buy and sell used books. I decided to take them there and see what would happen, even though I knew I wouldn't get close to the prices I had originally wanted at the used book sale.

When you take items there, they offer you an amount for store credit (that you have to use that day, but on anything in the store), or you can take half in cash. They were willing to take every single book I took in that day, but they were only willing to give me $57 in store credit. There were some really nice books in there, so I had to make a hard choice.

Hubby and I had been at the store about a week ago and he found a couple of birding books that he mentioned he'd like to have for Father's Day if I needed any ideas for him. I didn't even look at them, and I didn't have anything for him yet. I called him on the phone from the store and asked him which ones they were. I was able to get him not two, but three birding books, and after my teacher discount on those, I was also able to get three paperback mystery books for myself (one from the used book area).

So I took the store credit and got Hubby his Father's Day gifts and my bonus books for 80 cents out of my pocket. And the gas to drive to the store and home.

I also have those 67 books out of my house, I don't have to hang onto them or try to list them online, keep the ones that don't sell, etc. I think I would have spent as much as my time was worth trying to make the extra money I thought those books were worth.

Sparky and I had a big discussion on the way home whether I was cheap or smart for getting Hubby's Father's Day gifts that way — discussion instigated by me. After we talked about all those scenarios, she decided I was smart. I'm glad. I think I would have felt bad otherwise.


Mari said...

I think you're smart too and I bet hubby agrees!

Betsy said...

Say frugal and sounds better! ha. And yes, you were both!

Scaling down your 'things' is such a great thing to do! And it's great to teach your kids to do it, too. I come from a long line of hoarders and it's just a terrible, obsessive, controlling thing! And if you can step back enough to look at it objectively, it's actually humorous sometimes what people insist on holding on to! I've taken many, many van-fuls of stuff to the thrift store over the last few years. I love the freedom I feel when I do it!

Lora said...

Definitely smart!:)

Purging is on my agenda for this next week! At first I was putting stuff aside for a yard sale, but I've decided to go for the tax write-off I don't have quite enough to make it a good yard sale on my own and the stuff is starting to drive me crazy. I'm looking forward to loading up the back of Vince's truck and taking it to the local veterans' thrift store!

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