Last Week's Simple Living Secrets

I am back after a great but whirlwind weekend! I hosted my sister's bridal shower on Saturday, which ended up being a day-long affair by the time everything was set up, decorated, enjoyed, tore down, and cleaned up! It was well worth it, but after all was said and done, I enjoyed some much-needed sleep (and a delicious Olive Garden meal!).

Today I'm going to share a few of my seeking to live [more] simply secrets (how's that for alliteration!) that I tried in the past week. I'm hoping to be able to do this once each week to share a few secret or not-so-secret ideas I've learned or tried each week.

Secret #1: eBay is a great place to sell things to get rid of!

We are always trying to simply our lives by having less "stuff" in our home and cluttering our closets. A few weeks ago, I decided to try to sort through some of our dispensable items to see if any of them could not just be donated to Goodwill/Salvation Army, but could have money-making potential! The first item was Ben's old iPhone 3G. He has a new one and so this old one has sat around for a long time, sadly unused but in perfect condition. Feeling inspired one day, I read an article on Gizmodo.com about how to successfully sell an iPhone on eBay, went ahead and listed on the site, and one day later, voila! $231 earned from our unused iPhone. I was so inspired, I have sold two items of clothing since! (The real secret though is not to turn around and spend it right back on another great eBay deal - hard to do!)

Secret #2: Check out your credit card's special offers and promotions.

Ben and I have not gone to the movies in what feels like forever. It's not that we don't like movies, it just feels like an unjustifiable amount of money for us to spend on a short-lived experience. So we've pretty much eliminated this from our lives (and budget!). However, after finding a special deal on Fandango.com offered through our Visa Signature credit card, we were able to get buy one get one free prices on our movie tickets (only valid on Fridays)! We still won't be going frequently, but for a fun change, we got to treat ourselves to a movie at the theater this weekend. From what I've read after finding this great deal, there are others like it that you may find if you research your credit card company's promotions. I will be checking these out in the future!

Secret #3: First, look at your Dollar Tree store!

This week, I have had lots of little things to get for the shower, and decided to first stop by my local Dollar Tree (my favorite dollar store!). I was able to get great deals for things I needed to buy, but would've paid exponentially more for full-price. While buying a card, I stocked up for several more occasions, since they were 2 for $1! (I always feel so guilty buying cards for almost $5/pop!) I also bought a roll of wrapping paper, cute sunflower gift bows, and lots of tissue paper, each for $1. In the past, I have found things at the Dollar Tree to reorganize my frig (more on that in another post), decorate a book-swap party, and stock my last-minute gift shelf. I try to go here first when I am looking for something!

Secret #4: Go to the library!

I know this is not a secret, by any means - just a re-encouragement to check out your local library once again! This week Ben and I decided to try to cut back on our tv watching, and spend time doing more simple-living-friendly things instead! (I mention a little bit more about this in my earlier post last week.) I made a trip out to my local library at the beginning of last week and got an armload of books about making soap, natural beauty products, and patchwork projects, but also audio books on cd to listen to in my down time or in the evenings. We have listened to Car Talk Classics (one of our favorites from NPR) in the evening a time or two, as well as to Garrison Keillor, and a British mystery series (my pick!). I am going to try to do this more - it is easy, free, and actually a lot of fun to pick out new things to listen to! It brought me back to what things must have been like in a simpler time, when there was less visual stimulation and media overload, and more quiet time in the evenings to relax and listen to a favorite radio show.

Secret #5: Check meat prices at your local market.

This week I wanted to make a special meal of Ben's favorite, steak. I usually own reserve this for occasional eating because of its price at the grocery store. This week I went to Central Market in our downtown to check the meat prices. I price-shopped quite a bit, but I ended up getting what I considered a good deal for two nicely cut and fresh NY Strip steaks, at $10.59/lb. My total cost for the two was a hair less than $20! Definitely less than we would've spent on an evening out or at the grocery store deli. I will be checking back at the market when I need meat in the future, partly because of the price, but also because of how good it felt to buy from a local farm who could tell me about how they raise their cows and how fresh the meat was at market that day.

Last week was a large shopping-related week as you can see, but still a chance for me to challenge my status-quo and be a little more creative in where I look to live simply with less things and less cost.

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