Sunday, February 3, 2008

Having the Gift of Thrift

This last week was a bit of a whirlwind.

My parents came to visit and picked up my sis and her two boys on the way. When they usually head this direction, we spend our time visiting and taking the kids to do all sorts of fun stuff. But, for this specific trip I had another mission in mind.

My parents are in the process of having their house redecorated and some renovations done, but because they live in a small town where comparative shopping is not really an option, I felt the need to intervene. My plan was to hit up some large fabric wholesale stores, while hunting down mass amounts of accessories in a short amount of time. And I knew Challi would benefit since she is also redoing some rooms in her house, as well.

The tightwad in me just refused to let them all pay top dollar prices for things I knew we could find much cheaper here in "the city". Seeing as I am "Queen of the Bargain Hunt", a little elbow grease and a lot of pavement pounding is no obstacle for me.

The real challenge was keeping my family on task. Mom's focus tended to gravitate toward the grandkids, therefore forgetting the vast amount of swatches placed before us. Enter exhibit A:

Dad, on the other hand, seemed to agree to just about anything, simply to forgo the whole shopping experience. As for the little boys, they only wanted to participate if it included climbing on everything and running laps throughout each store. And Challi was simply oblivious to price tags, as long as the item fell in the general vicinity of being something she may or may not someday want. It seemed to be difficult for her to grasp the concept that we could find something equally as beautiful as it was monetarily appealing.

In her defense, having two young boys only 20 months apart, I think she just wanted to get her projects done while she had the chance to actually leave her house with assistance.

But, regardless, I began to lose heart when I realized that the only person not willing to shell out the cash for such overpriced items was the one person who was not actually shopping for anything herself. But I pressed on because I had made up my mind that whether they liked it or not, I was going to save them money.

We just needed a new plan of action.

Step 1:
With the exception of the bre*st-feeding baby, banish all children from coming with us, thus eliminating whining, staining of materials, breakage of valuables and an unfocussed Lolli. Step 2: Use Pops as the babysitter to keep him away from anything remotely resembling shopping. Step 3: Only take remaining family members to stores with very good prices to counter "overly willing to spend" sister. (Your welcome brother-in law)

And with that, we made some real progress. We shopped 'til we dropped or at least until Pops couldn't manage another episode of Barney.

Not only did we have so much fun together, but we successfully found designer quality for minimal prices. Mom, Dad, sis, and nephews left here Friday with enough fabric to sew a new living room and accessories to dramatically change up any remaining areas. We even threw in a trip to the Christmas warehouse that has now become one of my favorite places, where they all purchased face lifts for their holiday decor at 40% off.

Feeling pretty good about my penny-pinching gift, I was ready to declare that, "My work here is done."

Until I remembered my parents will be back in a few weeks to find more fabric for their kitchen. And Challi will be with them, ready to overspend on some new furniture for Krew's big boy room. It seems my work here has actually just begun.

Good thing this thrifty gal thrives on a challenge.


Sunni at The Flying Mum said...

We need to go fabric shopping together! Will you tell me the good stores?

Amy said...

I'm with you. Thrifty is my middle name!

raenette said...

Looks like your mom is having way more fun with the babies than doing any shopping! Now that is a grandmother for you!!