Healthy Living ebook Update And More Secondhand Made Easy

by Frugal Babe on November 2, 2012

I’m glad you guys have been enjoying the amazing healthy living ebook sale this week (here’s the link where you can get the whole package for $29).  I’ve been browsing around on the Redmond clay, Earthpaste, and Real Salt sites, and I’m excited about the $21 worth of free gifts from those companies.  Such an awesome bonus… in addition to 34 books that only cost 87 cents each (a lot of them normally retail for more than ten dollars each) and the free sourdough or buttermilk starter from Cultures for Health.

As far as the books, I can’t wait to read all of them!  But I’m most excited about Holistic Mama’s Guide To Homemade Skincare by Roxanne King (that one normally sells for $19!), Don’t Compost It, Cook It by April Patel (homemade veggie broth, here I come!), Simple Natural Health by Nina Nelson (normally $17!), and all five of the grain free/Paleo books.  I stopped using wheat about a year and a half ago, and have drastically reduced our consumption of other grains as well.  We’re not grain free, but we eat far less grain than we used to.  Even though we’ve always been healthy, we noticed that my husband’s hayfever was very mild this year, and I no longer have to clear my throat on a regular basis – so we’re sticking with the grain-lite lifestyle.

If you haven’t bought the ebook bundle yet, make sure you get it soon.  Because there was some trouble with the links on the first day of the sale, and because so many people have been without electricity this week in the wake of Sandy, the sale organizers have decided to extend the sale through the weekend – so you have a couple more days.

In other news, I wanted to write a follow up to my secondhand made easy post, with an example of how I make thrift store shopping work for me.  We needed (wanted?) shower curtains.  We currently have two bathrooms, but we’ll have three once the basement is finished.  We have the tub and tub surround in place already, but the room is still a couple months away from being finished.  So although I knew we needed a shower curtain, I knew I had plenty of time to find one.  I also needed a shower curtain rod.  And a shower curtain liner, preferably fabric instead of vinyl (I try to limit vinyl as much as possible – not good for the air we breathe and not good in terms of production or disposal either).

In our current guest bathroom (the second one upstairs), we had an old plastic liner that we’ve had for ages, and a dark olive green curtain that we’ve had since we lived in our old house.  That tub only gets used a few times a year, so there’s no mildew or anything like that, but the plastic liner had gotten ripped at the top and wasn’t staying in place well anymore, and it was bulky and awkward in how it hung.  We weren’t wild on the dark color of the curtain either, but we had lived with them for years, so again – not an emergency to get them replaced.  But I decided to look and see what I could find when I was searching for stuff for the new bathroom downstairs.

I looked online to see what these things cost new.  Curtain rods were $10 – $20.  Fabric liners were $10 – $15.  And fabric shower curtains were mostly in the $15 – $40 range.  Shower curtain hooks ranged from $2 to $10.

Armed with that knowledge, I checked Goodwill a few days later.  I found one shower curtain:  peach colored, with giant ruffles all over it.  It made me giggle a bit.  But no, it was not going in my house.

No worries though, because as with most things we buy, this wasn’t an emergency.  We didn’t need to replace the shower curtains in our upstairs bathroom at all (want does not equal need), and I knew we still had quite a while before the basement bathroom would be completed.

A few weeks later, I was back at Goodwill and since shower curtains were still on my list, I went over to check out the linens section.  It happened to be 50% off day, and I hit the jackpot.  Two brand new fabric liners (they retail for $15) for $2 each.  And two perfect shower curtains, also for $2 each.  One even came with shower curtain hooks, so I don’t have to buy any for the downstairs bathroom.  I had also come across a shower curtain rod for a dollar at the used building supply store when I was buying baseboard earlier in the week.  So I ended up getting the rod, hooks, and both curtains for the new bathroom for a total of $5, and I was able to replace our upstairs shower curtain with one we like a lot better (plus a much nicer liner) for a total of $4.

I didn’t take a picture of the old shower curtain in the upstairs bathroom, but it was a dark olive green color and made the whole room feel dark (we didn’t notice how dark, until we put up the new one!).  here’s the new shower curtain, with the nice new liner that hangs so much better than the old one:

IMG_6605

No pink, no ruffles, no weird designs.  This is a curtain that I would pick out even if I were buying brand new.  It’s a simple, lightweight fabric, and fits the space very well.

The curtain for downstairs is still folded up since we haven’t finished the bathroom, but here’s the fabric:

IMG_6606

I couldn’t have come up with a better pattern and color if I’d tried.  Our downstairs is going to be mostly tan and blue, with white trim.  This curtain is lighter shades of the same colors and it will be perfect.  The fact that it came with shower curtain hooks was an added bonus.

If I had just bought everything we needed for the downstairs bathroom on Amazon, it would have set us back about $45 – $50.  And if I had just opted to redo the upstairs shower curtain with brand new stuff, that would have been about another $30.  If I had given up after seeing the 1980s peach ruffles the first time I checked at Goodwill, I might have ended up spending $80 for stuff that ultimately cost me $9.  But because I knew that getting these things was not an emergency, I was able to be patient and just look again the next time.  If I hadn’t found them that day, they would have just remained on my list until I found something that worked.  I was open to possibilities, which is another big plus if you’re shopping secondhand.  If you have your heart set on finding a specific item that you’ve seen somewhere else, or an exact color or pattern, you might never find it secondhand.  But if you just have a general idea and are willing to consider anything that comes close, you’re much more likely to be successful.

I wanted to share this story as a reminder that most of what we shop for is not something we need to buy right away (so it’s ok if we don’t find it the first time we look), most of what we shop for is a want, not a need, and that some days are better than others in second hand stores.  So don’t give up if all you find the first time is in a lovely shade of peach and covered in ruffles!

Do you buy your home improvement supplies and/or décor items secondhand?  Any tips to share?

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  • kat89

    My best tip is – learn to sew. This skill has saved me more money than any other. Also, let family members & friends know when you are looking for something. You would be surprised at how many people have something you need and are willing to part with it. I wanted to find a juicer to help with my jam making. I make a lot of jam and juicing makes the process go faster. I emailed my family and said if they know anyone who is looking to get rid of one, let me know. Within a couple of hours I had a response from someone who had one collecting dust on a shelf and by the next day I had a juicer! I’ve acquired quite a few things this way and in turn have provided quite a few people with things they needed too. Win-win and no money is spent.

  • frugalbabe

    Great tips! Knowing how to do some basic sewing has helped me a lot too. I made a curtain for our son’s room by sewing two thrifted sheets together. And the day that I found the shower curtains at Goodwill, I also found perfect curtains for our new guest room in the basement. Perfect except that they’re oriented the wrong way and in order to make them fit the window I’ll have to remove the curtain rod tabs and reattach them on the other edges of the curtains. It will probably take me an hour or so of undoing seams and then sewing them back together, but I got really great black-out curtains made from an awesome fabric, for $5.
    I love your idea about letting people know when you’re looking for something. Sounds like you have a great family network!

  • jean

    I was in need of two valances for bedroom windows in an RV we were getting ready to sell. The previous owner had removed whatever covering was there and left us with blinds only. After looking for something inexpensive at all the usual discount stores I was ready to give up. All I needed was a simple tan color to match the trailer decor. Available colors in a price I was willing to pay included black, pink and neon green. Off to the thrift stores I went. No valances without crazy prints, but I did find a twin bed skirt in the perfect color. Price -79 cents. It was 20% off day to make a great deal. All I had to do was remove the two side panels, cut them to size and sew over the top seam and pocket for the curtain rod. It was a very simple job!

  • frugalbabe

    I love stories like that! It’s so awesome to think outside the box a little bit and end up saving money at the same time that you get to do something creative. Nicely done!

  • frugalbabe

    That is a great story, and I’m glad you shared the link to your post about it. We’re doing something similar between our new bathroom downstairs, and the under-stairs storage area. The opening to the storage area is wider than most doors (and we want to keep it that way), but we want to visually close it off from the bathroom. A curtain seemed like the best plan, but curtain rods and curtains are expensive. So I bought a wooden dowel at the used building supply store ($1) and I’m going to mount a couple small pieces of 2×4 on the walls at either end, with slots cut in them for the dowel to slide down into (we own the house, so holes in the wall are fine). I’m using shower curtain hooks, although I love your idea about clip-on hooks, since you don’t have to sew on loops or cut holes for the hooks. May have to reconsider how I do that…

  • jean

    Frugal Babe I just wanted to let you know I went to the site in the replies and clicked on the person that had kale in the title. When I went to look at some things on the blog I got all sorts of weird things. One was porno, another something about dogs and so on. Just wanted to let you know something is very wrong with that site. thanks for the great blog I really enjoy reading and pick up all sorts of tips from you. I am also a 61 year old grandmother! thanks again Jean

    Spencer & Jean Villagio

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