My Idea of a Cheap (and Fun!) Date

I have been posting a weekly report on how it’s going with using cash to buy our groceries.  Since one of the reasons I am behind on tracking our finances is due to spending Friday out with Mr. A, in lieu of the weekly report, I’m going to share my idea of a fun and cheap date.  I am hoping to get back on schedule in time for next week’s report. And now, without further adieu…

Mr. A and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary this month.  It’s our second 2nd anniversary, since we remarried in 2007 after being divorced for fifteen years.  To celebrate we had planned to go out to dinner using the $50 gift card his mom gave him last month for his birthday.  Last year, I asked Mr. A to get me a dozen white roses, like I’d used to make my bouquet at our wedding.  They were expensive, because he had them sent to my job from a florist, but they sure were gorgeous. I was feeling more nostalgic last year, and they really made me feel happy. This year, we decided to take a different approach.  Since we had to go into the big city to get to the restaurant which offered the gift card, I told him I’d love to go early enough that we could go to some thrift stores.

We planned to go on Friday, since it is a day off for me. Mr. A, being self-employed, just cleared his schedule for the day.  That’s one great perk to being self-employed!

We decided to leave by 9am, so we’d have plenty of time to go to a few stores, and then on the way home we’d go by the restaurant and have dinner, around 4 or 5 o’clock.

I had to stop by my job to print out two legal sized documents for my church. My printer at home won’t accept legal size, and the manual feed option won’t work lately (it’s an HP Laserjet 4).  While there, one of my coworkers asked what we were doing today. I told her we were going to go to some thrift stores, and she was just aghast at the thought of going to thrift stores to celebrate an anniversary. She just couldn’t grasp the concept at all.  I told her Mr. A actually enjoys going to thrift stores, he usually finds some neat thing he can use.

Another coworker told me she thought it was a great idea, and suggested her favorite Goodwill, which unfortunately I didn’t find anything there. No wait, I take that back. There was a really neat looking desk that I would have liked to have had, in a different life.  I need a lot more room on my desk than that desk would have provided me. It was real wood, and only $50.  If I had wanted it, I wouldn’t have been able to bring myself to buy it, knowing it would be going on sale the next day (50% off sale).

Next we headed a bit further north, to a Savers located at 43rd Avenue and Olive.  There I donated the box of stuff I’d brought, and was given a $3 off $10 coupon.   This was strategic on my part. I purposely took a box of things I’d been planning to donate, so I could get a coupon.  There I found two large family frames for $3.99 each.  My mom’s birthday was a couple of weeks ago, and I totally failed in getting her a nice gift. I always try to do something really nice for my mom.  The frames hold about ten photos, and my mom has a ziploc bag of old photos that were my Grandma’s. I’m going to scan them first, and then mount them into the frames. I think she’ll be excited about that. I’ve had the photos since my Grandma passed away two years ago, and keep forgetting to give them back to my mom. I also bought some yarn, as a friend of mine is pregnant with triplets and I’m going to knit some baby hats for her. I don’t know if I can manage a baby sweater and hats for all three, so I’m going to start out with something I know I can get done, hats.  🙂

After that, we got sidetracked at a church rummage sale. There I bought a VHS movie, The Princess Bride.  I don’t know if I’ve ever watched it, but have heard it’s a good movie. Have you seen it?  Also at the rummage sale was a metal eight sided gazebo for $75. The guy even said I could make him a deal, but we left it behind. I wished we’d had our truck with us, for I would have offered him $50. I think it would be so neat to have something like that out by my garden.  It didn’t come with a top though, so Mr. A didn’t think it would have been very useful out here in the desert.

Finally we went to the last Savers we’d planned to go to. One I used to shop regularly about a decade ago. It’s located at Bell Road and 35th Avenue.

There we found two really neat things, and I found something I’d been wishing for just a few weeks ago on the blog here. It’s not exactly a laptop bag, but my boss has recently given me permission to work from home one day each week.  This is great news, but I really needed something to carry the paperwork home in, besides the bag I was lugging around.  This luggage piece is by Lewis and Hyde and seems to be very well made, but I know nothing about luggage so I can only judge based on the fact that it appears to be well made.  I’m so excited, because the laptop bag I was lusting after was going to cost $40 to $50, and this one cost me FIVE DOLLARS.  I was so excited!

Rolling Suitcase

The other thing we found was Mr. A found a toolbox. He says you can never have too many. This one is a stepstool/toolbox which is very sturdy and will come in handy when he needs just a bit of a boost.


This toolbox also cost us a whopping FIVE dollars.

I also found a belt for $5. My last one came from Ross Dress For Less, and cost me ten dollars. It is tearing apart where I buckle it. So frustrating that belts don’t last longer than a few months nowadays. They say they are real leather, but somehow there is cardboard in the middle and they just wear apart.

Mr. A and I were “off” on our eating today.  I ate breakfast at 6am, and was hungry by 10 so bought a few slices of deli meat and a bun to eat on the way. Then Mr. A was hungry by noon, so he got some fast food; I had a few bites.  We both still weren’t hungry by the time we were on our way home so we just passed by the restaurant.  We’ll go out to dinner another time.

I’m really pleased that I found the rolling suitcase for only five dollars! That is my best find of the day. It’s big enough to hold all my paperwork, and then I can put my laptop inside its case, inside the suitcase and just roll it into work and back home.

We ended up spending $65 today.   The toolbox will be a business expense!

Here’s a list of what we got:

  • $4.99 Stepstool/toolbox (retail $22.95)
  • $4.99 Rolling Suitcase (retail $50 plus)
  • $12.99  Decorative Eagle (heavy black cast iron)
  • $4.99  Belt (retail $10 or more)
  • $4.99 100 8 1/2′ x 11″ sheets photo paper (retail $22.95)
  • $2.99 Yarn, 4 skeins (retail $2 or more per skein)
  • $1.99  Air Vent for AJ’s bedroom (retail $8.99)
  • $4.99 Rolling Pin decorative piece for AJ
  • $3.99 Frame for my mom (retail at least $10+)
  • $3.99 Frame for my mom (retail at least $10+)
  • $3.99 Long Sleeved shirt for Mr. A for work (retail $18)
  • $1.99 Hat for Big A (retail $7)
  • $1.99 Hat for my Secret Santa at work who is a Cubs fan (retail $7)
  • $0.99 Baggie with binder clips, paperclips and thumbtacks (retail $5+)
  • $0.99 Pink, white and blue baby yarn, 2 skeins (retail $2/each)
  • $0.99 Light blue and light green yarn, 1 skein each (retail $2/each)
  • $0.99 Mighty Morphin Power Rangers thermos for Big A (?)

I don’t get to go to thrift stores very often anymore, thank goodness because we don’t really have the money to be buying stuff that we could do without. But it is something I derive pleasure from, and really doesn’t cost all that much when you consider.  And I do enjoy going occasionally. Mr. A also reminded me that since the weather is cooling down, people are going to start having yard sales in our area.  I like to go to those every once in a while, too.  Especially in the early morning, when it’s blustery cold out.  Fond memories. Seriously.  I love the winter here.

Yours Truly,

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5 thoughts on “My Idea of a Cheap (and Fun!) Date

  1. My father-in-law loves shopping at thrift stores. He finds the coolest stuff, like antique telephones and typewriters (which he then gives to us!) He is very patient and will visit many thrift stores on a weekend. Of course, it helps that he is now retired. He has lots of time to do this.


  2. Pingback: Cheap Date Ideas

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