Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pilgrimage to JC Penny

I still remember the annual school shopping event.  We lived in the suburbs of Seattle and mom would take us once a year school shopping at JC Pennys.  It was across the lake to the downtown heart of the city.  This was long before shopping became a regular entertainment event at least for the people I knew.  The next big shopping event would be for Christmas and we kids were not part of it.  I am always amazed how much things have changed!  I'm sure most teenagers cannot imagine what they would do for fun if shopping was taken off the list.

Even though where I live there are endless places one could shop for fall clothing I still do the annual event.  As you know from other posts I love the deals I find at garage sales and nothing, I mean NOTHING compares to the price.  But there is a reason why I return to JC Penneys and it is their Worthington line among the others.  There are a few reasons for this:
  • Affordable prices
  • Durable quality safe for the washer and dryer
  • Professional look
  • Most of all - Worthington pants actually fit a woman's body!
No, this is NOT me.  I wish! :)

I actually have slacks that have been worn for five years and are still in good condition.  Last year I replenished my slacks supply so have a row from black to brown to olive to tan all lined up.  This year the trek was necessary because it REALLY was time to replace my worn forever black jacket. 

The other thing I wanted to find was some straight leg black pants to go with my saddle shoes.  Guess what?  They were on sale for $15!

It gets better...there were some $2 racks.  We went wild!  Between two ladies we got 13 items at $2 each!  We didn't even look at the $10 and $12 racks that were packed.

My grand total for a jacket, pants, one skirt, and 4 blouses was less than $60!  I will continue to browse but I am really good to go for the fall and winter when added to my previous finds.  I'm still trying to figure out where I can wear my green sequin floor length dress I got for $3 at a garage sale.

Another thing that really pleased me about this years selection was in the teen section and were called  Skinny Jeans.  I love the colors!  I admit I am so tired of seeing girls wearing blue jeans all the time.  What happened to variety and dresses, skirts, and colors?  Skinny jeans come in so many colors, I think I saw at least 12 bright varieties.  With Christmas coming around the corner I know what I will be buying for the teen on my list.
For those who are realizing that it is time to put away the tank tops and see what sweaters still fit here are the popular colors for this fall:
I found this cute website for those who like to find fashion on a budget.  Uber Chic for Cheap.  As you head into the office or work place this fall it's fun to receive a compliment knowing that the outfit you are are wearing cost less than a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The House Hunt was a success!

In July I mentioned that we were participating in a house hunt for a friend who is in Afghanistan and wanted a home for when he returns.  He gave us his criteria of price, bedrooms, features, and square footage.   Last week the search concluded, the deal is done, and the papers signed.  We had a blast!

Each week we would scour the new listings along with his wonderful agent Kelli and schedule appointments to do the look see often after doing a preliminary drive by to check it out.  We learned much along the way.  In previous house hunting it had often been what was called a buyers market.  A buyer would find a house they liked and make an offer often lower than the asking price and negotiations would begin with a conclusion usually resulting somewhere in between. 

This was entirely different.  Houses that would come up on Thursday, we would look at them on the weekend and by Monday there would be up to 15 offers on the house!  I had never seen anything like it.  Often in the short time we were scheduled to be at the house there would be someone looking when we got there and someone else waiting to look when we were finished.  There was 4 of us including the potential buyer that had to change our strategy after missing a number of really good houses.  We had entered what is called a sellers market.

Yes, prices are still low, interest is still low, but the available houses was also low.  One would not know it by looking at because the listings shown include: short sales, foreclosures, contingents, pending, and active.  The first 3 types are really not available and they radically increase the houses that appear to be available.  The actives on the list were the only possibility but we had to sift through them all to the real potentials.  The next step was to make sure they met all the buyers criteria which included a large lot and RV parking.  In this area that reduced the choices down to an average of two to four to look at per weekend.  Because the area also had a high foreclosure rate many of these were trashed and had smells that one could not imagine unless experienced with their own noses.  There was more than one home where the front door was opened and we walked away without entering.

Through a process of trial and error we learned that the only way one was going to buy the desired house was to up the offer over the asking price and make it the BEST offer on the table come Monday morning.  In order to insure that this could be done we first had to lower our search criteria price to allow for the buffer.  Our ebay experience helped here and got the adrenaline flowing.

Mind you the potential owner is sitting in Afghanistan during the entire process.  After anyone of the four of us would find a potential home, he would review it, "his team" would go visit it and as a group would decide if he would like it, then we would take pictures and send them to him and give  our recommendations from "okay", "good investment", to the top recommendation which was "BUY IT NOW".  With him giving the approval the offer was in play. 

It was so fun and crazy as we three women "the team" would discuss the pros and cons of the property and all the tidbits of positive or negative comments he had made on prior places so we got better at it and more unified as we went along.  One house that he was very excited about from the pictures and after seeing it we all had a flat "NO" and he stated that there was no way he would go against the word of three women.

After a few good deals were missed due to the competition the realtor found a house and an offer was made sight unseen by any of us.  Two days later the team of ladies went to look at it knowing the offer could be rescinded if it did not meet objectives.  We were more than pleased and the deal continued buy not without the expected multiple offers, renegotiation's, and haggling over the details.  The offer was almost pulled and just when it looked like it wasn't going through there was another turn around and all parties were able to come to an agreement.

The timing was absolutely perfect because the buyer was able to come and see the place in person before final papers were signed and he absolutely LOVED the place.

Making the deal even sweeter the renters who had been taking care of the place so well are staying on until he returns and are very happy that they don't have to relocate yet so they are able to meet their own house hunting goals in the future.

The pictures from have already been deleted but here are a couple to give a feel for the place:

Yes, the carpet is Berber.  It also includes four bedrooms, 3 baths.  Even after all the haggling that was done the price was probably less than half of what it what it would have been five years ago.  For those who have been waiting for a time to buy or refinance the fed also just announced that interest rates are the lowest since the 50s.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bare Necessities

If you were to ask almost any adult what the necessities of life were they would rattle them off with ease:

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Shelter

Depending on a persons health they may add medical care to that all important list.

So simple. So straightforward.

What we speak with our mouths is not always what or how we really view reality. The Minimum Basic Budget in the book focuses on making sure that this is where we place our efforts and in doing so may free us sooner for recovery from financial hardship or position us to get off any type of public assistance or subsity sooner.

Yet so many don't, can't, or won't take the steps necessary. Our lives indicate certain other things that many hold important. How do I know? Riding the bus and listening to others around me some of the most common things people hold onto that may contribute to them not taking the steps they need are:

  • Cell phones*
  • Cable t.v.
  • Eating out
  • Internet*
  • entertainment
  • Name brand clothing
  • Gifts for social events
  • Alcohol
  • Cigarettes 

*Sometimes these are a necessity for those in home business, realtors, etc.

Maybe it is not even one or two of the items above that will sink the ship but often it is a combination of many or all of the above that keeps people from having what they really need for themselves and children which is:

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Shelter

It is indeed hard to adjust or break our pet habits even if for a temporary basis for long term gain.

As I have talked to people even mentioning a temporary reprive the resulting response is not just unfavorable but can get downright uncomfortable. I guess I'm just not very good at phrasing it with my often direct approach. A much better instructor is my childhood teacher Baloo from the Jungle Book. If you have never heard the song or it's been a while I hope you will check it out and use it for your budgeting motto to help you over the hurtles.

Look for the bare necessities
The simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the bare necessities
Old Mother Nature's recipes
That brings the bare necessities of life
Wherever I wander, wherever I roam
I couldn't be fonder of my big home
The bees are buzzin' in the tree
To make some honey just for me
When you look under the rocks and plants
And take a glance at the fancy ants
Then maybe try a few
The bare necessities of life will come to you
They'll come to you!
Look for the bare necessities
The simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the bare necessities
That's why a bear can rest at ease
With just the bare necessities of life
Now when you pick a pawpaw
Or a prickly pear
And you prick a raw paw
Next time beware
Don't pick the prickly pear by the paw
When you pick a pear
Try to use the claw
But you don't need to use the claw
When you pick a pear of the big pawpaw
Have I given you a clue ?
The bare necessities of life will come to you
They'll come to you!
So just try and relax, yeah cool it
Fall apart in my backyard
'Cause let me tell you something little britches
If you act like that bee acts, uh uh
You're working too hard
And don't spend your time lookin' around
For something you want that can't be found
When you find out you can live without it
And go along not thinkin' about it
I'll tell you something true
The bare necessities of life will come to you

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Book Review - The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn

I have done my share of reading on the American Economic Crisis but no book was more intriguing than The Harbinger - The Ancient Mystery that holds the Secret of America's Future by Jonathan Cahn. 

Who would think to pick up a book about the economy written by a Messianic Jewish rabbi?  The idea itself is interesting.  Below is a excerpt and link to his website where he has a congregation in the New York area: 
It was one of those books that I didn't want to put down once I got started.  I read until my eyes were tired and then picked it up in the morning.  The author tells the story of how the events first of 9/11 and then the fall of the stock market was the fulfillment of a specific, detailed, and accurate prophesy in the book of Isaiah in the Bible.  He further states that the events are a call to repentance of the nation of America for turning away from God.  The book has caught enough attention to be on the New York Times Best Seller list and has a 4.5 star rating in the Amazon charts. 

One thing I appreciated about the book is that although the book was written in the format of a story  the author provided a number of footnotes to the events he spoke of that were easily verifiable using the google search engine.  I did just this as I was going along and was surprised.  The events speak of things in the past, present, and future of the country.

Yes, I highly recommend it.  I could give much more detail but it is one of those books best absorbed personally so I wouldn't want to spoil it for the reader.  Amazon does have numerous reviews but I found the back cover to be the hook for me.  Even if you decide that you don't agree, once you read it you will be thinking and talking about it....

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Harvest Time 2012

Many have been away from the agricultural lifestyle for so long that they may not realize that it's the beginning of Harvest Time.  After the long summer of crops and animals growing preparations now begin to bring in the crops and store them for the winter.  The vastness of our trucking industry and imports allows more diversity than was experienced in previous generations but generally speaking fall is the time of preparation.

Stories like the grasshopper and the ant remind us and have been passed down for years.  Not all stories used to end happily in the past for if you remember the grasshopper died for his lack of watching and reacting to the times. 

This year is even more important than usual that we take the time to prepare.  Recently I did a post about the drought currently effecting the country.  CNN has now published an article titled Opinion: Global food crisis in 2013  Not sounding too good.

What can we do?  We can do what our forefathers have done for generations: pray and bring in the harvest with thanksgiving.

The grocery stores are currently receiving the first of the produce and prices are probably lower than they may be for the next year.  Many will continue their regular shopping habits and only buy what is needed until the next payday or not even that.  They will ultimately be hit the hardest as prices are expected to rise as time progresses coupled with reductions in quantity and quality.  The grasshopper  approach to shopping may have more of an impact then in previous years.

How much should we try to store?

The next harvest will not be in for another year.  Though this may not be an achievable goal for most people it should motivate us to go beyond our comfort zone and stretch just a little farther then we might have otherwise.  Those in the city (98% of the population) do face challenges.  This year I too am starting from scratch.  Although I will not be able to do what I have done in the past I figure something is better than nothing. And, something is always better than fretting. 

Here is my own starter list:

rice - 100lbs to start.
canned chicken
dry beans
mushroom soup
chicken soup
Tomato sauce
canned tomatoes
green beans
mixed vegetables
corned beef
jiffy mixes
stove top stuffing

Toilet paper
baby wipes
feminine products
shower gel or soap
Dove soap
Dish soap

I'm sure your first question would be why I would include a list of bathroom products.  There are a couple of answers.  First, if you have ever had to do without any of them (I have) you know it is no fun.  Second, if food prices do go up all these things are needed and best purchased on sale.  Putting them on the list helps to bring focus to be reminded of what to watch for in the sales so as not to buy unneeded items.  Finally, they all store very well.  They do not attract bugs or any other deterioration making them good storage items.

Our local grocery store currently has canned vegetable for 50 cents each.  $6 will buy a whole case.  The purchase of 5 cases will allow the family to have corn once a week for a year.  Even if a person can only afford to buy 1 case at this time, if it was held until winter a savings could be acheived.

Obviously the food is a very limited list but based on my personal experience these are the most versatile and easy to store items.  These are a starting point to be built upon.  Notice that I have included both dry beans and rice which together make a complete protein.  I have added a bean cookbook to my Amazon wish list to create some varieties in flavor. Also notice that many of the items are the staples for casseroles.  At this point I do not want frozen or perishable food included as it includes it's own cautions and risks.  Being currently a city dweller I do not have a garden or livestock this year so I will do what can until I get back to the country.

What if the media is making a scare that does not come to pass?
Our news loves to sensationalize all events to make little news big or make big news small.  It's all about ratings. In this case the only thing that would be lost if they were wrong is that we would have bought a bunch of quality food at sale prices that we could later use.

Where do I put it?
That is the easy one learned from my grandmother.  Once she sent me to grab a tomato.  I asked where they were are she led me into the bedroom and pulled out a tray from under the bed.  I do love my grandma.  She could always blow my mind.  When I got on my own after having many discussions with my mother about not having room enough for food storage my grandmother's idea in it's eccentricity showed itself as the logical and wise solution.  How many cases of canned goods can fit under a king size bed, a double, or a twin?  I'm honestly not sure but I would imagine a years worth of canned goods easily.  And the more in your family the more storage space available.

This photo was circulating on facebook and a good reminder to us all regarding priorities:

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Campbells Soup. Ummm Ummm Good

I grew up on Campbell's Soup and aways loved it.  Nothing goes better with a grilled cheese sandwich than tomato soup.  With a tuna sandwich my favorite was chicken noodle.  It is not surprising that people in many generations are familiar the company since it was founded in 1860 based on this article I located in a blog titled The Material Culture Museum :

"Nearly 150 years after its inception, The Campbell’s Soup Company remains one of the most successful food corporations in the world. It dates back to 1860 when Abraham Anderson, an icebox manufacturer, opened a canning factory in Camden. In 1869, Joseph A. Campbell, a Philadelphia produce vendor, went into partnership with Anderson and together, the two began canning and selling vegetables, condiments and other goods. By 1876, three years after Walt Whitman arrived in Camden, Anderson was out of the picture, and Campbell had taken full control of the business and renamed it the Joseph Campbell & Company."

The history of the company is quite interesting and though some might not like them I always felt an affinity with the Campbell's Soup Kids and have a set of potholders in my sewing box I need to finish now that I think of it.
Recently I did a post on my lunch choices.  Admittedly this is not the most economical way for a noon time meal but compared to the others in my office who go out to lunch each day I am saving a bundle.  Every few months I have to change it up a little as I get bored with my selection.  Imagine my delight last time I went shopping and found that Campbell's had introduced a new line of soups, and they are delicious!  I know I do get excited about little things but gratitude is one of the best ways to appreciate our lives no matter what the situation.
One of the really neat things about these soups in addition to the varieties is that they can be heated right in their bags and it only takes 2 minutes so one is not creating a line-up at the office microwave.  These are wonderful for a lunch or an addition to any dinner meal.
Ummm, Ummm, Good!


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Self-Sufficiency on 5 acres

The conversation started about food.  I mentioned that since moving to the city I could tell that the food I was eating was making me feel horrible and I'm putting on weight.  Remember, for years I lived in a rural community and was able to raise some of our own meat supply and had some locally grown produce.  All meals were cooked from scratch with the basics of meat and potatoes.  Now my meals are often fast food or processed food.  It meets the budget and the schedule but I often have cravings for good pot roast with gravy and mashed pototoes.  As we continued with the conversation it came back to my desire to get back to "living off the land".  I had not reached my goals yet but miss so many things about the lifestyle I loved and take each step forward hoping it will lead me back.

In 1988 when I first moved to the rural community I would take walks and everywhere I went people would wave at me.  It was so strange after living in the Seattle area all my life.  Seattle is also a very friendly city but not nearly as outgoing as what I was now experiencing.  I would smile and wave back all the while a little puzzled.  Grocery shopping was also a bit strange.  Whenever I shopped people were stepping aside moving out of my way.  It took me a while to realize it and then of course I wondered why.  After consideration I laughed when I realized that I approached my grocery shopping like a mad woman on busy mission.  Others sensing my hurry would give me room to zip down the isles.  I slowed down after that and started to move with the flow of shopping cart traffic.

Many had moved to the community around the same time I did.  There was a new emphasis on self-sufficiency, homeschooling, and everything country which I didn't know was happening as my move had been made purely for economic necessity.  More on this story in previous posts and the In The Trenches book.

After the food conversation and my recent trip back to the area my mental engine and longing has been revved up.  Everything in the news indicates that that there are very good reasons why one might want to be out of the cities now or in the near future.  Just out of curiosity I checked to see what a five acres and a home would run.  Notice that I like most country people list the acres or barns first and the house is a bonus to the deal.  In many rural communities the homes are 100 years old.  Of course they have the new homes and even mansions but they are far from the track homes of America suburbia. 

My search only had 2 criteria:  Over 5 acres and under $150,000.  The reason 5 acres was chosen is that this is the typical amount needed to be self-sufficient in being zoned for and raising ones own food including beef.  Some get by with less if they raise pigs but as I am not a pork eater for many reasons this is not a consideration for me.  I have raised beef for meat and dairy, goats, sheep, and poultry.  Horses were also on the top of my dream life list so pasture was an important priority.

I choose $150,000 because although there may be places much less expensive they typically may need much more sweat equity even to basic systems which may be more than most would want to take on.  My own place was $43,000 years ago but that was my no running water story.  Most would not consider it.  By now some of you may have visions of the homestead act and be familiar with the phrase "40 acres and a mule" solution of yesteryear and that is exactly the idea but geared toward modern know how. Most of us would be dumbfounded at the idea of hitching up a plow to begin a self sufficiency lifestyle though I for one would definately apply if the opportunity came up in certain parts of the country.

A couple things about my quick search that should be mentioned:
I have not seen or inspected any of the properties so cannot warrant their condition in any way.
Personally I would not buy a manufactured home since it is a depreciating asset but they are very popular because many are more concerned about newer than long term appreciation.  Financing is also very different.

Prices can vary much up or down depending on location in the country and all the features
Typically months have been involved in any property search I have been part of to compare prices, features, and benefits of the specific piece and the area.

I say all that only to say that I did this for fun and information not to present my best pick for an area.  Readers of this blog live all across the country and even the world and are in different financial situations so no one piece of property would be relevant to all.  You can use the link to play around with this yourself.

One thing right off the bat I need to say about almost all rural property.  It does not have city water or sewer.  To some that might be obvious but to me it was a complete shock.  Wells and septic systems are the norm here and the first thing to learn about.  It's fun to study the incubation of chickens but quite another to spend thousands of dollars to replace a well or septic that does not function properly.  It is especially a headache if one has never heard of such a thing.

So just for a time of playing around on the internet here are a couple of starting points.  Be sure and click them to look at the land.  An acre is quite different than a back yard.  All rural properties are completely individual.
Property Listings:

Lewis County WA

Lodi, CA

Carbondale, IL

Another thing to consider about moving to a rural area is income.  Many do not have any sources.  They are going through an economic downturn just like the cities.  Most people CANNOT make a living off of a farm of small size despite ideas, books, and dreams to the contrary.  So would might have the easiest transition to a rural life?

  • Those willing to commute to employment.  This could be up to 1 - 2 hours depending on location.
  • Those whose business is independent of a job such as computer based options.
  • Those with retirement or disability income but still able to do manual labor to some degree. 
  • Those with equity in a current home of investment that would allow a cash purchase of property leaving only minimal monthly expenses.
  • Truck drivers
  • Athletes or other traveling professions that just need a home base for their families
  • Investors wanting to buy land now and build a home later.
  • Flat broke and willing to live off the land in more primitive conditions.
  • RV dwellers who get land with power, water, and septic while they travel at will.
  • Those who have a good paying job but want their family home outside the city.  I have a friend whose husband had a high paying job in the city and maintained a very minimal apartment for the work week and came home to the family each weekend.
  • Those with skills that would be used in a very small town like teachers, bankers, some medical professionals, and grocery store workers.   I have seen many small businesses fail over the years not because they were not good but because the town did not have the population or disposable income to support it.

In summary I guess it would be accurate to say that it would NOT work for the AVERAGE person.  Though there is nothing wrong with being average most are very dependant on the regular paycheck which is not always available in small towns.  At one job I applied for the owner responded "No, no one has died lately" of course meaning that was the only way they had job openings.

If one is looking for cheap housing but doesn't want the fuss of a small farm small rural communities also provide a home that might fit the bill.  Use the website to find some in your desired area.

Book and Blog links you may enjoy:

Simply Self Sufficiency

5 Acres & A Dream

Books on Self-Sufficiency on Amazon.  If you see a title that interests you check your local library for availability.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dragnet - "Just the facts ma'am please".

She stated "Every fifth (5) person you meet is on welfare...Every seventh (7) person you meet is on food stamps...Please vote on Thursday, Aug 2, empowering me to vote for you, policies which will stimulate prosperity and the spirit of commerce through the free market while putting this government on a fiscal DIET."

The numbers are staggering. I don't post this as a political statement but rather to raise awareness of how dependent we have become on govt and how much we are spending money that we don't have. Financial education and personal responsibility is what we need: Not long term private subsidies.
Of course statistics like this are used as fuel to supercharge any political debates whether the subject is the economy, state of the poor, or support of one's local candidate.  Either side can bend the twist to "prove" their own argument.  One could just as easily say "my, the economy is worse since President Obama took office", Or, "we still haven't overcome the downturn in the economy caused during the Bush Administration and have a long way to go".  People will believe either position that most represents their own opinion.  Possibly there is some truth in both scenarios.  A former boss used to tell me about statistics "Figures don't lie but liars can figure".  He was teaching me to make sure that my statistics were not only accurate but also representative of the entire picture to the best of my ability to not mislead.  People will draw any conclusions they want even when the numbers are seen in black and white.  Conclusions and facts are not necessarily the same or even in the same ball park.  One who is unemployed could look and this and be further discouraged and one who is employed can be glad that they are in the far greater majority of adults.
What troubles me more than the actual numbers is my own observations while living in a small community that was in fact in financial distress brought on by the cut back in the lumber industry.  However even with the real obstacle what I saw was that up to 50% of those receiving government benefits were committing fraud in some way.  The gnawing question of "when did it become okay for Americans to receive handouts for any more than an emergency temporary basis to get them back on their feet?"
In small towns people tend to know your business whether you publicize it or not not like the bigger cities where people can remain anonymous.  The three primary types of fraud I witnessed were:
1.  Lying about household members.  It was common practice for single mothers to obtain all possible benefits and having done so then moving in the baby father or boyfriend.  The male of the household often had income that was not reported or received the support and benefits from the women that they were not entitled to.
2.  Receiving unemployment benefits while not making a full effort at the job hunt.  The strategy was to run benefits down before doing a diligent search.
3.  Receiving what was called "under the table" income that was not reported.  Of the two above this was the one I tended to be more sympathetic towards because earning a few extra bucks to supplement what would be on the average of half of an income might be more necessary to maintain a roof over the head or food on the table.  Nonetheless it does violate the terms of receiving the benefit and therefore should not be allowed.
At one point I became so outraged about this, it was at the beginning of the economic decline, that I wrote letters to all local elected officials including the governor requesting audits on the systems. Guess I should not have been disappointed when I got no response.  Please do not assume that my post indicates an opposition to these programs.  I myself have need to avail of them in the past.  However, any person receiving them must realize and be conscious of the fact that it is only by the grace and expense of the American people that these programs are available and should in no way should be taken for over a minimum of time, without abuse, and covered with gratitude.  They are not a right they are a gift of grace whether our circumstances are due to unexpected actions or our own poor choices or management. Any use of these funds should therefore be limited and not a lifestyle.
If what I observed on a small scale was indictitive of what is going on statewide or nationally imagine the difference it would make to the numbers regardless of if one has allegiance to the Democrat, or Republican party, or  neither.
What if one of the candidates were to vow to do extensive audits with the objective of cutting all disbursements by a third or half based on the findings?
Oops.  I guess they would not get elected.  The old expression of "may the best man win" probably won't work in Washington D.C. because we all know that elections in large part have become popularity contests and one cannot be popular by ruffling peoples feathers, especially if you want their vote.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Labor Day Garage Sale

Yesterday we got an invitation to a garage sale.  I say invitation because usually we spot them by the brightly colored signs and arrows that we cruise around and see on Saturday mornings.  This sale was given by a young married woman we know who it due to have a baby in two weeks.  Her father (soon to be grandpa) was on the spot to move everything, load cars, and his care of his daughter in any way that might be needed. It was very heart warming.

We attended the baby shower a couple of weeks ago and though we did not stay for the opening of all the gifts it was evident that her friends had really blessed these first time parents and the coming child. 

Though both parents are working they wanted to be prepared for the upcoming expenses, needs, and diapers.  We bought more than we needed just to be part of the effort.

Today we spent some time in the garage going through our own stack of stuff and made a designated pile to give to them to add to the sale items for the next day of the sale which might be coordinated by the husband on a day he is not working or even after the baby is born. 

There was something just good about the experience.
  • Young parents doing what they can to provide for their family.
  • Getting rid of unneeded items at low prices so that others could benefit from them.
  • A community supporting these efforts just by participating. 
I have been to enough garage sales to know that they are given for many reasons.  Yes,  the money and good deals are the goal but it is the stories behind the event that make it interesting.