A big spend after a no spend.

We entered this summer with a goal to maximize savings and reduce spending to zilch outside of the monthly bills and mortgage. We had a dream and it inspired us to great heights of tightening the purse strings. And we did very well with it. The garden blessed us with onions, potatoes, zucchini, eggplant, and tomatoes. The neighbors’ nectarine tree hung over our fence to share plenty of the sweetest fruit it has yet to produce, and a kind and unknown soul sent us a Winco card for a large sum. We were truly blessed. We also walked everywhere and did everything at home. I mended worn-out yoga pants, we spent our days doing free activities such as art on scratch paper and reading our library books. We even ordered CD’s for the truck when the rose bush ripped my radio antenna off the truck hood. I make fancy lattes at home with a stovetop espresso maker and handheld milk frother and cook from scratch. I am proud of all this.

Then our dream was dashed and I went into a deep depression. Thank goodness I was quick about it as who has time for lengthy depressions, right? Ah, but it was a dark and wilty one with brooding and crying during certain songs and such.

Oh my but I sure do know how to recover even quicker. Nothing like a shopping spree…but with purpose of course. Yes, there was some spending that was about to happen.

Now, the first thing to happen was a new fence in the front yard. I have my second kitchen garden out there and lately, I feel like I’m right on the street (which I am, it’s the front of the house). I want privacy and a secluded sanctuary all around me these days. I feel vulnerable and weird, what can I say. After some shopping around we found that reed fencing is the cheapest and if you double it, it gives the illusion of somewhat privacy. We still don’t want to spend too much money on this house as the dream of moving is still floating about in the ether.

Then I decided to take some things to the thrift store. I went through my closet and dresser and got rid of everything that was frumpy or had been waiting for years for this grand weight loss I kept swearing was about to happen. I went through the boys’ clothes and rid their drawers of small and stained, ugly and short clothes. It’s almost time for them to start school. They are doing Independent study through a charter and one day a week they have enrichment classes and kindergarten for Sammy all day and one day I take them to a forest outdoor school. We have been blessed for almost 5 years with nice hand me downs but I’ve used up the last box and they needed clothes. Nice and sturdy clothes.

I’ve got this very keen sixth sense about the thrift shopping. Some people know what horses to bet on and some know when the “right time” is to invest in certain stocks. I can feel when the thrifting will be profitable and all our clothing and toy dreams will be actualized. I can even sense what store we should go to.

I woke up the next day and had a vision. I knew where to go and that we would be very lucky.

The place was Savers in Vacaville where the wealthy from the bay area drop off all their clothes and toys. It’s an hour away but the drive is through lovely farmland filled with orchards, tomatoes, and sunflowers.

Savers is a great experience. Clean and well lit, large store, good music to tap your toes while you sift through well-organized clothing. Everything is sorted in sizes which saves hours. My only complaint is that the prices have gone up quite a bit since my last visit a year or two ago, kids clothing is way too pricy now, and the candles were a rip-off. They wanted $3 for a half-used candle!

Thrifting has become so popular over the years that these places are jacking up the prices, but when they start competing with Walmart, that doesn’t sit well.

Now, there are many items that may be $50 or more in their prime and are still in great shape, so $10 isn’t asking much. I bought a Pyrex glass casserole dish for $4.99 and many name brand, high-quality clothing pieces that would have total some high prices so the $5.99 wasn’t a big deal.

Since we shop there once a year…or two years, I stocked up on clothing for us all and purchased clothes a couple sizes up for the boys. I passed on the overpriced candles and the boys chose some fun toys. Arjan is very into dinosaur collectibles from Papo or Schleich, and CollectA. Most of these cost $10 to $20 something each but he found a bag of these collectibles for $5.99.

You just need to know the cost of goods and clothing and then go to the thrift store with this knowledge. There are wonderful deals there and then some items will have you shaking your head.

I will be buying candles from Walmart and hitting more garage sales for better deals. Another tip is to find out when the big half off days are. Some Goodwills have a half off day once a month and that is the time to go, but go early as everyone else will have the same idea.

We spent a pile at Savers, I won’t lie. But I have a new wardrobe, Bali has somewhat of a new wardrobe, the boys have huge new wardrobes to last a couple years, then there are new toys, Pyrex casserole dish, some towels…I feel great about it. It’s been a looong time since we actually bought anything outside groceries or gas.

We then had lunch. The boys wanted Panda Express and although the glossy food filled with sugar and oil called to us we chose a less nauseating fare of Poyo Loco. We felt full and happy minus the sickness and exhaustion that comes with eating fast food after ordering the family dinner of chicken, beans, rice, tortillas, and quesadillas. The family dinner meal is the cheapest way to go when eating at these types of chains.

But we didn’t stop the party there. Somewhere near Davis or Dixon, I never know, there is a wonderful produce farm store. I love going there and loading up on produce and snacks. We filled a big box and snacked our way home.

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Normally I get a bit uptight about spending money. I love going places and doing things, going out to eat, thrifting, and playing tourist, but we have been frugal for so long and always saving for something so I tend to have this worrying in the back of my mind around opening the wallet.

Yesterday was different. I just feel there is a time to go have some fun and spend some money and very often it is for things we use and need.

I have also spent a pretty penny stocking up my garden pantry so to speak, with seeds, artichoke plants, banana trees, foods and oils for nourishment and remedies. But this will pay off with months of free and organic food.

Now what? Well, today I wash all the thrift clothes and get our closets and drawers organized and ready for school and winter. I start my seedlings and simmer my tomatoes I harvested to make more spaghetti sauce. I will sit down and figure out the budget and how to do a quick recovery on the spending. It’s amazing how much one can spend in a matter of days, but then you must keep in mind that it takes months to replace it.

What is my point besides just sharing a shopping spree? Us thrifty, frugal folk need to go on shopping sprees now and then. We need to enjoy the money we have and not just focus on hoarding it away. I tell this more to myself. I actually have to talk myself through spending. But when you have no debt, a small mortgage, no car payments, and a nice savings…it’s ok to splurge occasionally.

However, I will admit that the best way to do it is to save for these moments. Have an envelope and put a certain amount in the envelope monthly and when it’s packed with green bills, go do something fun like a road trip, a huge thrift shop buying spree to redo the wardrobes and decorate the home a bit, or use it monthly for a dinner out or movie at a real movie house.

Life is short and if we just work and save it becomes gray and bleak.

So, yes, I did some retail therapy and it felt oh so good. Partly because there wasn’t that emptiness and guilt after just blowing money on nothing but instant gratification. We actually have fantastic clothes and a new fence in the front yard and I have enough gardening goodies to keep me busy for weeks.

My point is…not all retail therapy shopping sprees are bad.

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19 thoughts on “A big spend after a no spend.

  1. I love savers but you are right some of the prices you can buy the item new! I just got my grocery order delivered from Walmart..Lots of vegetables and some fruits along with all the other stuff I needed..

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    1. Kate, you write very well. Glad you had a wonderful time shopping and preparing for school. I have been looking for new material from you on U
      YT, missing you. You have a calming voice. You should consider the voice over business. Probably could make serious money in the California area. Hollywood here we come!! Just keep on being you and true to your ways. You are honest and put yourself out there which makes crazies come up with outlandish material. I saw those hurtful remarks, totally uncalled for. You know we your subscribers know it is just one crazy, lonely person trying to start trouble. It’s not easy but try to ignore the crazies. Pray they get the help they need. Turn the negative into a positive by praying for them. I hope the boys have a wonderful new school year Jill

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      1. The crazies are disturbing but I stopped taking it personally by the third time as they have been hitting other channels as well. It just means I’m officially a YouTuber!! I’m putting up a vlog right now and should be posted in a couple hours.💖💖

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  2. I just signed up for your blog and I have to say I think I love it as much as your YouTube channel. Although you say you went on a spending spree, everything you bought was either a need or a well thought out purchase. It’s great to save money and live frugally but as you said, we need to live our lives and that includes spending money and enjoying a day out here and there. Little boys grow to be big boys who need clothing and to allow for new toys is something that we all want to provide as parents. Keep looking for good yard sales in richer neighborhoods….they are usually giving their stuff away. Head out first thing in the am, big cup of water and coffee in hand!! Even if you don’t buy anything that day, it’s always fun to look around. Stick to a list and you won’t buy stuff just because it’s cheap. My entertainment Saturday mornings with my husband!!

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  3. Great blog Kate you know you could be a writer. Lol! Your writing makes me feel like I went along with you on your spending spree.
    My spending sprees these days are mostly on Amazon. Its no fun to shop alone anymore. I live so close to most of the shopping in Yuba City but it doesnt call me. I do enjoy going to the Discovery Shop and Good Will whenever I get a chance. Im still baby sitting Mon – Wed so those days I am in lock down. Its hard to do much on those days cause I got to keep
    Eyes on the toddler at all times. My grandkids are with me about 3 days of the week which is usually on Thursday or Friday my days off from the little one. When they are with me I feel like i cook and wash dishes all day. So by the time I do get a alone day Im to exhausted to go shopping other than for neccesities. Im hopeful I will get a break when the grands go back to school. I plan on using the gym on Thursday and Friday. My husband is still home recovering from his knee surgery but should be returing to work early September. I wish I could be more greatful for all that I have but I guess we always think the grass is greener elsewhere. Your videos and blogs keep me entertained and remind me of when I was younger and strived to make ends meet the best I could. I am pretty sure all my sacrifices were worth my present financial state. I dont have debt other than the usual expenses. My home isnt paid for but my mortage is reasonable. Ive never enjoyed traveling so Im okay there. I guess what I miss the most was being able to socialize when I worked. I guess I should have invested more in that area but I was always busy managing my home and family. I should be grateful that all these little hands still need me but it would be nice to have a companion that doesn’t need to have a meal made or a diaper changed or help them tie their shoes. Lol. OKay enough pity party.
    So I will persevere and make the best of my life. Im thinking of taking the baby on a stroll to the nearby park on this beautiful morning. Keep up the good work😊

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  4. Hi Kate, I understand where you are coming from. When all you do is save and don’t get a few smaller things you want along the way, you tend to start feeling suffocated by it all. Sounds like you have purchased alot of needs for you and your family.
    Cheers

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  5. You might say I had a spending spree today…I BOUGHT A CAR! I have needing a vehicle to take Obie to his appointments and fun things, plus there are a few volunteer activities that I want to do, but they are after the Redneck goes to work in the afternoon. I don’t like having to ask folks to give us a ride home all the time.

    Don’t worry–I got a great deal, and I paid cash, so no monthly payments. And I still have a nice bit of money left over for other needs and projects. BTW, the car’s name is Hortense, and she is silver with black interior.

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      1. What’s funny is, even though we have that ability now, I find my self being even more of a homebody. I do want to try out a local writer’s workshop, attend yoga classes, and finish up some volunteer work for the genealogical society at the library. An Obie story. Last night while I was doing dishes, Obie was dancing around, and saying something I didn’t understand. I finally said, “Show me.” He ran to the front window, pointed out and yelled, “CAR!” I laughed.

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  6. You guys have been doing so good at not spending. Don’t beat yourself up too bad, you’re still sticking to your budget and working towards your goals. Don’t forget that even when you need to spend a little.

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  7. Have read many of your books, then followed you on YouTube and I love your outlook on life. On my 50th birthday we left the UK and moved to a small holding on Ireland. I’m now 62 and love it. Keep holding onto your dream, it will come when the time is right.

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  8. Hooray for you Kate and boys it sounds like you had an awesome day.you are so right when you say that you need a little bit of therapy when you’re down and there’s nothing better than shopping therapy. I’ve been down for a while now it comes and goes maybe I’ll try the shopping therapy this weekend there is a ton of yard sales in my community I think I’ll hit everyone up..can you post a picture of your fence that you put up I can’t wait to see it. I have a she shed in my backyard with a big large fire pit a picnic table and lots of chairs but I need a fence because I don’t like people driving by and looking in.. can you tell me the name of the fencing that you bought. Anyways have a great day and I’m glad that you enjoyed your day of shopping

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    1. There is a vlog posting right now that shows the fence. It’s reed fencing from Homedepot…but you can get it anywhere. We had to double it. Still can see through a bit but creates some feeling of a bubble.

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