Posts Tagged ‘craigslist’

Saving money by reusing, recycling, buying used baby gear.

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

Believe it or not, one of the many deciding factors for having a second baby so soon after the first was that we still had all the baby gear.  Veteran parents can sympathize with how much “stuff” costs.  Other than diapers and wipes, we have spent very little extra with our second baby.

Oliver still remembers his play gym, but is graciously sharing with his sister.  Since the kids grow out of their toys so fast, most all of his stuff is in excellent condition.  Another way we were able to save money was from the help of very generous friends and family members who have donated baby clothes for Evelyn.  Again, newborn and infant items are usually in mint condition and can be passed from family to family for several babies’ benefit.  Our daughter thanks her fairy godmothers for the cute outfits or she would have been in all of Oliver’s blues and browns if her parents had their way.

If you truly need something that you don’t have, buying used is a great way to save money.  Yard sales, Sunday ads, consignment sales, and are all great ways to find good condition baby items.  We bought this swing for a third of its retail value from Craigslist and it works great.

I know quite a few people who would never buy used baby items.  They’re worried about hygiene, safety issues, quality, whether or not it matches what they already have, etc… Some are also worried about some sort of stigma that they perceive with second hand things.  Well, I’m here to tell you that there are some great, high quality, fashionable, and safe things out there.  Babies phase through their first year’s equipment so quickly that most items look brand new. 

Frugal Tip of the Day:  Don’t be afraid to give second hand a shot.  Reuse, recycle, and save a pretty penny.  Also, don’t be afraid to let people know that you are looking for things.  You will be amazed how mothers pull together for each other.  Someday you will have the chance to do the same.

Free Bricks Project: Adding a path to the driveway.

Saturday, April 10th, 2010 is an excellent resource for the frugal do-it-yourselfer.  I constantly search under the “Free” category to find things for our various home improvement projects.  One day I saw a post titled, “Free Bricks – All You Can Haul.”

I drove the pickup truck to the address in the post and a demolition company was tearing down a house.  The old professor who had lived there had recently died and his family sold the entire property to a developer.  They had been tearing down the brick walls to expose the “bones” of the house.

I started loading the truck up with bricks, one by one, until I had gathered over 2,000 of them.  Later that same month, I spied another ad for Free Bricks.  This time an old church was being torn down.  Over 3 days, I gathered 3,000 more.

Ever the watchful hawk, I saw that someone was giving away the excess sand from a patio job just to get the pile off his driveway.  I grabbed a shovel and filled the truck up with free sand.  Next came a lady who was tired of her gravel and was giving it away for “free” to whoever wanted to come dig it up.  2 trips later, we had a mountain of rocks in our driveway.

We had all the ingredients for a nice walkway or patio.  We have decided on a walkway on both sides of our driveway and a small patio on the side of our house where we can store our garbage cans.

Here’s what we did today:  Phase 1

We chose a brick pattern from a library book and measured the width of the path.  My husband then cut squares out of the sod to preserve the grass for another location.

Removing the Sod from the Pathway

This is the path cleared out to the depth of one brick.  We will excavate more inches down later so we can add gravel for drainage and sand for a base.

The Staightaway Dug Out

Next, we dry-fit the bricks to see how the pattern would look and to see how many bricks we used.

We Dry Fit the Bricks to See How it Would Look

We had barely dented our stack of bricks and decided to go ahead with the patio for our garbage cans.  We outlined our plan.

We Decided to Go For the Patio

The hard part was trying to figure out how to angle our path pattern 45 degrees.  My  husband loves solving puzzles – he has yet to be stumped by any puzzle that I’ve bought for him! I left him to figure out how to merge the two paths together at the corner.

Figuring Out How to Merge the corners with bricks.

Once we decide on the final layout of our path/patio, we will move all the bricks and finish excavating the earth.   Without the added width of the pathways, we stomp the grass flat when we get in and out of our cars.  Without the patio, we have two ugly garbage cans sitting directly in front of our house in the driveway. I think this will be a nice improvement to our house!

Stay tuned for Phase 2!

Frugal Tip of the Day: Search often for freebies and be ready to pounce the moment you see the ad.  Most freebies are gone within the hour of the post.  Most people are willing to set up a pickup time convenient to you so you don’t have to drop everything that moment.

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