Just another opinionated weblog

I like cheap, the cheaper the better.  But not junk.  I use yard sales and thrift shops a lot.

As young parents with little money, we learned to make-do, to get along with what we had.  I have completely furnished a two-bedroom house for fifty dollars, and it looked good.  My husband painted and re-glued while I cleaned and polished.   Authentic old furniture magically appeared as antiques to friends and family.   They eyed it greedily and we glowed.

Our house was always filled with a passel of kids, so nicks and scrapes were common to our furniture.  I didn’t stress over them because I knew furniture was replaceable.  And cheap.  Another bonus is that old furniture was better made than the new, lower-end stuff.  I’ve owned both and believe me, low-priced new furniture is pure junk!  You’re wasting your money.

As the children grew older and our finances improved, we bought new stuff and it was nice, but we didn’t enjoy it as much.  Is that strange?  Not to me.   Kids can’t romp and play on new furniture.  They can’t bring a snack into the living room and enjoy family conversation or games when Mother is worried about stains and scratches.  The fun is taken right out of the day when a child is banished to the kitchen.    Kids are more important than ‘stuff’ and they give hugs.   Mine have good memories of their childhood and I’m glad to say I helped.

Now that we are retired grandparents on Social Security, we’re back to the thrift shops.  This time for yard toys.  Slides, swings, rocking horses and tricycles – even a Little Tyke playhouse was added to the backyard for five dollars.  These are good, top-of-the-line toys that other kids have outgrown.  The cost is minimal.  The memories the kids will have of visiting their Grandparents will be priceless.

I don’t see the sense of spending hundreds of dollars for toys that will be outgrown or forgotten too soon.  I would rather spend as little as possible and do without the stress if something breaks.   Wouldn’t you?  Of course you would.  

If the kids are old enough, they can help clean the new toys, maybe paint a trike for a younger brother or sister – apply some decals.  They will develop pride and self-esteem through their artistry, they really will.   Do you see those runs in the paint?  Dab their length with a bright candy color, or gold.   Bring them out to be noticed.   They’re supposed to be there!

And, in my opinion, anything that aids brothers and sisters to get along and like each other is a huge bonus and stress-reliever for everyone.


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