(Note: there are some great photos at the bottom, including the most awesome piece of sports paraphernalia I’ve ever owned.)
Recently, for reasons beyond my control (technical jargon: mortgage increase due to tax underestimation on initial escrow calculation at closing a year ago, shiiiiiiiiiit), I have been forced to watch my spending. Not that I ever lived a lavish lifestyle (I still think that going to Outback counts as a “nice dinner”), but there were definitely areas where I was completely capable of cutting back. Therefore: budget.
Author’s note 2/16/17: Enjoy one of my “vintage” posts, from the time when I thought I’d start a beer blog but I never really wrote anything. I didn’t have the heart to use the WordPress “Start Over” feature and lose these little time capsules from when I was husbandless and childless and wish now I could tell myself to stop drinking so much beer because post-baby me would have so much trouble losing that beer pooch.
I put myself on a pizza ban for July-August, as well as an all-out takeout ban for July only. The pizza ban was not only for financial reasons, but also because I have an extremely unhealthy relationship with pizza. So unhealthy is this relationship that it frequently (if not always) ends with me weeping softly into an empty pizza box, a bit of sauce clinging to the corner of my mouth, crying partially because I have just crammed an entire pizza into my body, but mostly because there is no more pizza left.
I also set my thermostat/AC to 82, at which point you sort of wonder if it should be on at all, but with 100+ temperatures and 1,000% humidity in a July heat wave, I had to set it at something to prevent my rugs from fusing to the hardwood.
One area though where I could not seem to cut back was in the beer department. I just couldn’t bring myself to buy a “30” of “light”, as in my college and early post-college years. I still found myself grabbing $7 and $8 six packs, and sometimes even $7 and $8 bombers, because I didn’t really pay attention to the price tags. I just bought what I wanted, and the best I could do was cut out the occasional weeknight stress-relieving brew (now replaced by weeknight stress-relieving entire bag of popcorn).
A light bulb went off recently though, a light bulb that was sparked (yes I know that’s not how light bulbs work) by a blog I started following. niftythriftygoodwill is an awesome blog penned by a gal named Eva Zaret who gives great tips about how to shop Goodwill, and posts photos of the awesome things she’s found. I was inspired to take up thrift shopping for clothes as I once did in high school: finding old tshirts and 70’s sweaters and once, a prematurely hip Kelly green Izod/Lacoste shirt with a WHITE collar. Why did I ever donate that back to Goodwill??
So I swung by my local Goodwill in Pennsauken, NJ and, after dropping off 4 trash bags of donations, went inside to spend what amounted to TWO HOURS of thrift shopping. Unfortunately I don’t have Eva’s same great eye/luck for awesome finds, I also have to blame my freakishly long gorilla arms for the fact that nothing fit right. But below is a little gallery of some of the things I found but didn’t buy, proving that you can find worthy stuff at a Goodwill. Then there are the things that I did find that I didn’t really need, but I only spent $25 TOTAL on all this stuff, so I really can’t feel that bad. Bottom line is: buy other people’s old stuff because 1) a lot of it is perfectly fine, no need to spend your money on brand new shit and 2) you’ll have more money to spend on beer. After Goodwill I went to my local and bought Elysian’s Night Owl pumpkin ale, Long Trail Centennial Red, and a sixer of Victory Headwaters Pale Ale. The beer wasn’t cheap, but the haul from Goodwill was!