modern thrifter

modern thrifter

Thrifter & designer. Blogging about life in our MCM home & living on a budget. I also design things with my husband. You can see our work at The Mahoney Studio

[ CHANGE OF PACE ]

I’m still here, I promise—still thrifting, too. I haven’t picked up any big “wow” pieces as of late, but I am quite pleased with some of my smaller finds—a shiny white Karlsson alarm clock, a book by the very funny David Sedaris that I’ve been wanting to read, and the perfect pair of italian leather sandals for summer, to name a few.

Projects around the house have come to a stall, mostly because we’ve been spending our spare time working on design projects, but also because we’ve decided to get really serious with our budgeting in order to build up a larger emergency fund/savings. It’s amazing how quickly we can settle into “comfortable” and start letting extra income flit away one dollar at a time. 

It’s hard for me to not be constantly working on fixing up the house, but I’m taking this as an opportunity to find the neglected, tedious, and free things that need to be done. Yesterday we spent most of the day outside tidying up our yard [ivy jungle]. You may not know this about me, but gardening is just about my least favorite activity—cleaning moldy food containers wins the prize for most dreaded household chore, in case you were wondering. 

Yard work really isn’t that bad once I get started, and it’s not the manual labor that I don’t like. It’s the creepy crawlies that I could do without. It would seem like being a mom of a little boy would have desensitized me to that by now, but, no. The only thing that eases the anxiety about plunging my hand into an overgrown patch of patch of mystery weeds is my pair of elbow-length leather gloves (I’d get shoulder length if they made them). 

The other free chore that yields instant gratification is organizing, which is how I plan to spend the better part of this coming week. If I wasn’t so embarrassed about the current state of some of my closets, I would post before and after pictures to keep myself motivated. Maybe I’ll muster the courage to put them on twitter.

[ CHANGE OF PACE ]

I’m still here, I promise—still thrifting, too. I haven’t picked up any big “wow” pieces as of late, but I am quite pleased with some of my smaller finds—a shiny white Karlsson alarm clock, a book by the very funny David Sedaris that I’ve been wanting to read, and the perfect pair of italian leather sandals for summer, to name a few.

Projects around the house have come to a stall, mostly because we’ve been spending our spare time working on design projects, but also because we’ve decided to get really serious with our budgeting in order to build up a larger emergency fund/savings. It’s amazing how quickly we can settle into “comfortable” and start letting extra income flit away one dollar at a time. 

It’s hard for me to not be constantly working on fixing up the house, but I’m taking this as an opportunity to find the neglected, tedious, and free things that need to be done. Yesterday we spent most of the day outside tidying up our yard [ivy jungle]. You may not know this about me, but gardening is just about my least favorite activity—cleaning moldy food containers wins the prize for most dreaded household chore, in case you were wondering. 

Yard work really isn’t that bad once I get started, and it’s not the manual labor that I don’t like. It’s the creepy crawlies that I could do without. It would seem like being a mom of a little boy would have desensitized me to that by now, but, no. The only thing that eases the anxiety about plunging my hand into an overgrown patch of patch of mystery weeds is my pair of elbow-length leather gloves (I’d get shoulder length if they made them). 

The other free chore that yields instant gratification is organizing, which is how I plan to spend the better part of this coming week. If I wasn’t so embarrassed about the current state of some of my closets, I would post before and after pictures to keep myself motivated. Maybe I’ll muster the courage to put them on twitter.

Comments
[ DATE NIGHT ON A DIME ]
I’m convinced that dates don’t have to cost a fortune. I’m also convinced that dating shouldn’t stop when you get married. Living on a limited budget, having kids, and being busy can definitely make dating more challenging, though. It’s easy to slip into the “we’ll just watch a movie at home and call it a date” routine, but that gets old pretty quickly. Over the years we’ve gotten better at figuring out how to go out without going broke.
Here are some of our favorite “going out” dates:  
Museums - We like the Frye Art Museum (it’s always free, but they accept donations), or the Seattle Art Museum is free the first Thursday of each month. The SAM’s Olympic Sculpture Park is fantastic, and again, it’s always free. 
Second Run Theaters - We are fortunate to live near the Crest Cinema ($3 tickets for all shows), my guess is that nearly all cities have a movie theater like this. 
Live Theater - For those of you who are under 25, many of the theaters in the area offer $10 tickets for most performances as a way to encourage young people to engage in the arts. 
Star Parties - The Seattle Astronomical Society has monthly stargazing parties at Greenlake and Cromwell Parks. Telescopes are set up at dusk and viewing is free. 
Dance Lessons - I just received a Groupon this morning for one month of swing dance lessons for $24, something we’ve wanted to do for a long time. 
Canoe/Kayaking - Once the weather gets a little nicer, check out rentals on canoes. We like going to the UW Waterfront Activities Center and canoeing through the arboretum. Canoes are rented by the hour, and the last time I checked I think the rate was $5–$10/hour depending on the day of the week and if you are a student or not.


Let’s face it though, sometimes it’s just too expensive or difficult to find a babysitter every week. Here are some of our favorite “staying in” dates (besides a movie and popcorn):  
Cook Dinner Together - This idea comes from Ashley over at Not Without Salt, and I think it’s brilliant. 
Board Games - Some people just aren’t game people, but we love them! A few of our favorites over the years have been Settler’s of Catan (the 2-player card version), Ticket to Ride, Dutch Blitz, and Cribbage. 
Wine & Cheese - We like to get a few different cheeses and accompaniments like pears, apples, crackers, etc. and just sit and talk over a glass of wine


Lastly, I want to point out that I don’t think that all dates should be cheap. We spend less on the majority of our dates so that every now and then we can really indulge in a bigger date—an expensive restaurant, drinks at my favorite little French Cocktail bar, or an overnight trip somewhere.
Do you have an idea for an inexpensive date that I haven’t mentioned? Please share!
Photo by Acacia Bergin

[ DATE NIGHT ON A DIME ]

I’m convinced that dates don’t have to cost a fortune. I’m also convinced that dating shouldn’t stop when you get married. Living on a limited budget, having kids, and being busy can definitely make dating more challenging, though. It’s easy to slip into the “we’ll just watch a movie at home and call it a date” routine, but that gets old pretty quickly. Over the years we’ve gotten better at figuring out how to go out without going broke.

Here are some of our favorite “going out” dates:

Museums - We like the Frye Art Museum (it’s always free, but they accept donations), or the Seattle Art Museum is free the first Thursday of each month. The SAM’s Olympic Sculpture Park is fantastic, and again, it’s always free.

Second Run Theaters - We are fortunate to live near the Crest Cinema ($3 tickets for all shows), my guess is that nearly all cities have a movie theater like this.

Live Theater - For those of you who are under 25, many of the theaters in the area offer $10 tickets for most performances as a way to encourage young people to engage in the arts.

Star Parties - The Seattle Astronomical Society has monthly stargazing parties at Greenlake and Cromwell Parks. Telescopes are set up at dusk and viewing is free.

Dance Lessons - I just received a Groupon this morning for one month of swing dance lessons for $24, something we’ve wanted to do for a long time.

Canoe/Kayaking - Once the weather gets a little nicer, check out rentals on canoes. We like going to the UW Waterfront Activities Center and canoeing through the arboretum. Canoes are rented by the hour, and the last time I checked I think the rate was $5–$10/hour depending on the day of the week and if you are a student or not.

    Let’s face it though, sometimes it’s just too expensive or difficult to find a babysitter every week. Here are some of our favorite “staying in” dates (besides a movie and popcorn):

    Cook Dinner Together - This idea comes from Ashley over at Not Without Salt, and I think it’s brilliant.

    Board Games - Some people just aren’t game people, but we love them! A few of our favorites over the years have been Settler’s of Catan (the 2-player card version), Ticket to Ride, Dutch Blitz, and Cribbage.

    Wine & Cheese - We like to get a few different cheeses and accompaniments like pears, apples, crackers, etc. and just sit and talk over a glass of wine

      Lastly, I want to point out that I don’t think that all dates should be cheap. We spend less on the majority of our dates so that every now and then we can really indulge in a bigger date—an expensive restaurant, drinks at my favorite little French Cocktail bar, or an overnight trip somewhere.

      Do you have an idea for an inexpensive date that I haven’t mentioned? Please share!

      Photo by Acacia Bergin

      Comments
      [ GUILT-FREE VACATION ]
Have you ever taken a vacation that you knew you couldn’t afford? It’s hard to enjoy getting away when each meal eaten at a restaurant, or every ticket purchased causes a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. We used to travel like that. Sometimes it was out of necessity—like visiting a sick family member—but often times it was just out of a misled sense of entitlement.
After starting the Totoal Money Makeover—our journey to becoming debt-free—we began saving for all of our vacations in advance. The first year we took a vacation with no credit cards (we don’t even have any now), just cash in our hands, I was amazed at how different it felt. There was no stress about visiting a museum, buying a drink, or filling the tank with gas. The picture above is of Alden last spring, relaxing at Lake Chelan.
We are leaving this Saturday for our bi-annual trip to the Oregon coast, and I love that I’ll be driving through the bank tomorrow to withdraw the cash that we’ve already set aside for the trip. We’re not at a point where we can take elaborate vacations—airfare for our family alone would monopolize most of our trip budget, but the rejuvenation gleaned from a low-key vacation within our means far exceeds the feeling we would get from traveling to an exotic location that is more than we could afford.
Here are some ways that we’ve made vacations more affordable and more enjoyable:
Rent a house instead of booking a hotel. Often times, houses are less expensive than hotel rooms, and they have the added benefit of a kitchen.
Plan to cook some meals. This is easy if you’ve rented a house, but even if you’re in a hotel, bringing your own breakfast food can save you money. We always eat out for some meals, though. It not only provides a much-needed break from the kitchen for me, it also lets us try some of the local fare, wherever we might be.
Travel during non-peak season. Most vacations cost considerably less if taken in any season other than summer. 
Plan a trip budget. We always make sure we include gas, eating out, and entertainment in our budget.
Consider visiting less popular destinations. When we travel to Oregon, we go to the central coast, instead of the very popular Cannon Beach which is closer to Seattle and Portland. We’ve found that the central coast is just as beautiful, less crowded, and much more affordable.
Here are links to two companies though which we have booked houses:
Home Away - This site lists rental houses all over the country. We used them when booking a house in Austin last summer.
Bayshore Rentals - If you plan on visiting the Oregon Coast, this is the best site I’ve found. We’ve rented from them for the past nine years, and we’ve never been disappointed.
Do you have any budget-minded travel tips that I’ve missed?

      [ GUILT-FREE VACATION ]

      Have you ever taken a vacation that you knew you couldn’t afford? It’s hard to enjoy getting away when each meal eaten at a restaurant, or every ticket purchased causes a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. We used to travel like that. Sometimes it was out of necessity—like visiting a sick family member—but often times it was just out of a misled sense of entitlement.

      After starting the Totoal Money Makeover—our journey to becoming debt-free—we began saving for all of our vacations in advance. The first year we took a vacation with no credit cards (we don’t even have any now), just cash in our hands, I was amazed at how different it felt. There was no stress about visiting a museum, buying a drink, or filling the tank with gas. The picture above is of Alden last spring, relaxing at Lake Chelan.

      We are leaving this Saturday for our bi-annual trip to the Oregon coast, and I love that I’ll be driving through the bank tomorrow to withdraw the cash that we’ve already set aside for the trip. We’re not at a point where we can take elaborate vacations—airfare for our family alone would monopolize most of our trip budget, but the rejuvenation gleaned from a low-key vacation within our means far exceeds the feeling we would get from traveling to an exotic location that is more than we could afford.

      Here are some ways that we’ve made vacations more affordable and more enjoyable:

      1. Rent a house instead of booking a hotel. Often times, houses are less expensive than hotel rooms, and they have the added benefit of a kitchen.
      2. Plan to cook some meals. This is easy if you’ve rented a house, but even if you’re in a hotel, bringing your own breakfast food can save you money. We always eat out for some meals, though. It not only provides a much-needed break from the kitchen for me, it also lets us try some of the local fare, wherever we might be.
      3. Travel during non-peak season. Most vacations cost considerably less if taken in any season other than summer.
      4. Plan a trip budget. We always make sure we include gas, eating out, and entertainment in our budget.
      5. Consider visiting less popular destinations. When we travel to Oregon, we go to the central coast, instead of the very popular Cannon Beach which is closer to Seattle and Portland. We’ve found that the central coast is just as beautiful, less crowded, and much more affordable.

      Here are links to two companies though which we have booked houses:

      Home Away - This site lists rental houses all over the country. We used them when booking a house in Austin last summer.

      Bayshore Rentals - If you plan on visiting the Oregon Coast, this is the best site I’ve found. We’ve rented from them for the past nine years, and we’ve never been disappointed.

      Do you have any budget-minded travel tips that I’ve missed?

      Comments