Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Season of Rummage Sales

Rummage sale season is upon us here in the lands of snow and ice. I am not a hard core rummage saler. If I was really a frugal zealot like one of my favorite frugal books, The Tightwad Gazette (see here) describes, I'd live for this time of year. But I don't.

I'm not sure why. I frequent thrift stores on a regular basis, so I don't have any objection to buying used stuff. It might be the hours a true rummage saler has to keep. Those sales start pretty early on Saturday mornings and I have become a gal who likes to take it easy on a Saturday morning, if I can help it. Yeah, that's probably it. Thrift stores are open during hours when I am actually awake and functioning.

While I don't do much garage sale shopping, I do hold a sale of my own every couple of years. I am pretty ruthless about clutter around the farm - fodder for another post. We donate lots of items to a thrift store/food pantry in town, but when we need some extra cash a rummage sale is a great way to go. We're actually going to be having one at the end of the month.

But back to the point of this post...

SOMETIMES I do go shopping at garage sales. I go when I have some specific items that we need and I know that I can get them MUCH cheaper at a rummage sale than anywhere else, even a thrift store (which is why I have never earned my Frugal Zealot badge - I know where the cheapest prices are and I don't always shop there). The local newspaper and craigslist are my favorite places to scout out the sales. If I see one that is offering an item we need or it seems like they might have the item based on other items they're advertising, I'll give it a shot.

This year canning supplies are at the top of my list. I've gotten all of my canning equipment from rummage sales over the years. It wouldn't have broken the bank to go out and buy new items, but getting it all at rummage sales made the initial investment next to nothing. In the photo above are my beauties - the big processing pot with a jar rack in it, the funnel used to fill jars, some lids and seals, a few jars and the grabber thingy that takes the jars out of the hot water. These things, plus another big pot or two to cook up your tomatoes and such, are all you need to start canning.

I encourage you to give rummage sale shopping a try - just make a list of what you need before you head out the door. Just a warning; It's easy to get sucked into buying that amazingly cool set of dishes because they are practically giving them away or that gigantic box of legos because your kids will LOVE you or that life size bust of Elvis because, well, if you find one of those at a rummage sale you HAVE to buy it. Something like that will definitely come in handy some day.

I'll be on the look out for canning jars, rings and seals this year to hold what will hopefully be a bumper crop here on the farm so don't take them all if you get there before I do, ok? Leave some for the lazy gal, please.

Oh yes, and I was serious about the Elvis thing. Think of what you could do with that!

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