Friday, September 23, 2016

Shopping Cheap Shopping Local

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One of our goals here, not yet obtained but getting closer, is to live under the poverty line. Here, in the USA, for a family of 2 that magical number is $16,020. Scroll to the bottom of this post if you'd like to see how these poverty levels break out by family size.

In my years of nursing management I brought home five times that level. Coupled with our prior farm income from sales of organic meat and milk, we were fairly flush. Currently our income is far more inconsistent. When our Chatsworth farm tenants were making the agreed upon payments last year, our income was enough to pay that mortgage , our small mortgage here and our basic living expenses. In July those payments stopped and our financial world was flipped over on its face. By selling off livestock and equipment we've kept our heads above water. Our ears were drenched, but with the right upward angle of our chins, we've stayed afloat.

Soon, we hope to close a deal on the Chatsworth farm, I'll tell you details on that when it happens, and then after that...we'll see a huge income drop. Huge.

It's exactly what we want, what we have planned for. Less income, less expenses and most important; less taxes paid to a government that overreaches its boundaries and under claims its responsibilities. We are not victims of downsizing, early retirement or layoffs. We are both college educated and we have chosen to decrease our "standard of living" in order to work primarily at home at the tasks that bring us the most satisfaction: homesteading and writing.

One way we live cheap is by shopping cheap. The terms pre-owned, salvaged, recycled and just plan USED make us giddy. It took me years to figure out that once an item enters your home and is worn or used just one time, it is know longer "new" yet generally just as valuable. We, society, pay big bucks for sharp creases and shiny surfaces that do little for an items functionality. Household items are an excellent example of this and so I wanted to tell you about this great new shop in Fairbury, Il. I recently discovered.

Someone Else's Treasure is located downtown at 124 W. Locust Street and it is a welcome change. The owner has filled her shop with a nice variety of items including home decor, housewares and used furniture. These items are not so unusual in themselves but what is unusual, what is super appreciated, are the prices. They are reasonable. Definitely marked up from the estate sales, or auctions from whence they originated, as they should be, but still easily affordable.



Her used furniture is by far the best of deals, recliners for $25-$50, end tables for $10, dining chairs for $15. Certainly one can find these same things at other used furniture stores but lately there has been this insane upward pricing of used furniture that is "Mid-Century" aka. over 50 years old. Craziness to spend $200 or more on upholstered furniture that contains other peoples, excuse me, moistenings. Don't get me wrong. As a retired RN, I have a fair tolerance to other peoples' body fluids but I don't care if George Clooney napped in that Lazyboy, it isn't worth more than the one my grannie snoozed in.

And sure you might get furniture cheaper at garage sales,but soon garage sale season will be over and great deals generally take travel time, going from one sale to another. The owner at Someone Else's Treasure has taken the time, gathered the items and made it easy to find wonderful used stuff for great prices.



And no, she is not a friend of mine, nor do I get a free set antique dining chairs for my blogging efforts. I just appreciate the entrepreneur who wants to make a living without skinning her customers alive and I like telling others about good deals.  Here is her FACEBOOK PAGE.



2016 Illinois Poverty Levels, For Your Viewing Pleasure



Household SizeYearly Income Poverty LineYearly Income (125%)Yearly Income (150%)Yearly Income (175%)Yearly Income (200%)Yearly Income (250%)Yearly Income (300%)Yearly Income (350%)
1$11,880$14,850$17,820$20,790$23,760$29,700$35,640$41,580
2$16,020$20,025$24,030$28,035$32,040$40,050$48,060$56,070
3$20,160$25,200$30,240$35,280$40,320$50,400$60,480$70,560
4$24,300$30,375$36,450$42,525$48,600$60,750$72,900$85,050
5$28,440$35,550$42,660$49,770$56,880$71,100$85,320$99,540
6$32,580$40,725$48,870$57,015$65,160$81,450$97,740$114,030
7$36,730$45,912.50$55,095$64,277.50$73,460$91,825$110,190$128,555
8$40,890$51,112.50$61,335$71,557.50$81,780$102,225$122,670$143,115
9$45,050$56,312.50$67,575$78,837.50$90,100$112,625$135,150$157,675
10$49,210$61,512.50$73,815$86,117.50$98,420$123,025$147,630$172,23

16 comments:

  1. It's nice to see reasonable prices. I think the killer for most businesses, is affording the rent on commercial property.

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    1. I agree Chris. Always a toss up I am sure about selling a few things for a higher price or many items for lower. When we owned our retail farm store we always struggled with the price of our meat. We priced it less than the higher end organic stores as folks had to drive a ways to get to us. We hoped the cheaper prices would encourage them to buy more and it did, but every business has to figure out their own price points for best value, best customer returns. Being self-employed is such hard work!

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  2. LOCUST Street? Now that I have a bigger income than any time in my life, I no longer have the desire to spend; in fact I have a great desire to live frugally. However, I don't deprive myself.

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    1. You bring up a good point Cro, self deprivation. I do choose to deprive myself of fancy clothes as it;s easy to do so, I really have no where to go! But I will spend more money for good food in a good restaurant. Yeah, won't spend more than $2 for a pair of shoes but I will spend $20 for fresh salmon. Oh Kinvara Salmon of Ireland, how I miss you!

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  3. I haven't bought much new in memory (furnace, watersoftener doesn't count). New has no gravitas and sharp and shiny make me uncomfortable. I buy used/recycled/refurbished and have been known to help myself along the road on trash day. I revel in recycle and repurpose and tout trash as treasure.

    About the only new I insist on is underwear. A gal has to draw the line somewhere.

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    1. Also shoes (thanks for the reminder, Sharon) and gloves.

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  4. My parents were firm believers in buying quality used items. Lots of people still do, as confirmed by online selling like kijiji (it is here in Canada, don't know if you have it in the states). Furniture, especially, is not made to the same standards as it used to be. If you want solid wood made to last, you would be wise to buy used in my opinion. -Jenn

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    1. Absolutely agree. The "furniture" sold at Walmart, other discount stores is best burned straight away. It lasts about five minutes.

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  5. Underwear & shoes are always new but furniture?? I don't think so. Ya gotta think about depreciation - the moment you take it home, it's worth 20% less. I've never owned a new car, couch or fridge.

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    1. Underwear...agreed. Shoes however, I've napped many pair over the years that were worn just a couple times and given to me or sold at a garage sale. Very used shoes, no. They'll have the owners foot print, heel print embedded and can cause back issues in a new owner, but a newer pair of Clark leather shoes for 99 cents? you bet I'll try them out. I am the oldest of 6. We shared everything. Yes, even underwear.

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  6. The charity shops here in the UK are slowly and steadily upping their prices making it sometimes cheaper to buy new!!

    I love to see someone with a good business ethic and a lovely shop do well, she deserves your 'advertising'. I have absolutely no problem with buying used, secondhand, call it what you will, stuff. Most of my 'new to me' cars have been purchased at 6 months old to avoid that immediate depreciation of driving a new car off the forecourt (those that weren't knackered old bangers that is).

    I will buy anything secondhand except underwear and shoes unless they are still in their original wrappers.

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    1. Sue, I noticed in Ireland last summer that the charity shops there also had raised their prices. I wonder why? I used to buy gifts for my family there side stepping the cheap tourist crap.

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  7. So glad to read this post, Donna, as I am so with you on buying recycled, pre-used items. We even live in a recycled building - a former textile mill here in Nashua, NH. We donate and shop regularly at a small thrift store within walking distance of our apt which benefits pet rescue. There is simply no challenge in buying retail. I agree with you that the exception is certain things (shoes and underwear). Recently, we found some nightstand lamps at a nearby business that sells former hotel furnishings. The cost was so much less than buying "new" and the lamps are much better quality too.

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    1. Oh, I love that..."There is no challenge in buying retail." It is in many ways like a great game to me. How little can I spend, how big a deal can I find. Today I bought a grey, velour wing backed chair for $3!!! Felt like I won the flippin' lottery.

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  8. Hi again, thanks for your recent visit to our blog and you comment. I re-visited your previous and this current blog and was overjoyed to read that the farm had been sold, but dismayed to read about the aftermath. You may recall that we previously were in contact after I read the farm sale blog and shared that we were also trying to sell our eastern shore VA home and for nearly the same time period (4 years). And, similarly we had a buyer this past July who then defaulted after 6 weeks of keeping our place listed as "under contract." This weekend we learned of another "very interested" party and we are hoping for better results and wish you the same as well. I enjoyed reading your blog(s) and and plan to return often.

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    1. I wish the very best for you as well. Keep me updated on your "very interested" party. If our Chatsworth farm sells we'll have to celebrate together on line.

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