Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Do you shop at Target, Walmart or Garage Sales?

We just finished a kitchen upgrade in our house. It all began over the summer when unbeknownst to me, Mrs. Dude decided the kitchen was ready for a re-do. But it's not like I was totally blindsided, I just didn't know how to recognize the signs. The first clue revealed itself one summer morning. I came downstairs and noticed our old toaster had mysteriously disappeared. In it's place sat a stainless steel toaster with a fancy setting dial and a totally unnecessary blue LED timer clock. At seeing this, I should have immediately caught on. But instead, I chose to ignore this early warning sign of change. Then on the following morning, I discovered that our perfectly functional wooded bread box had mysteriously disappeared! In it's place sat a space-age looking stainless steel bread box. I immediately felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up! This subtle appliance swap-out was the meteorological equivalent of the first gusts of winds that signal a hurricane. Instead of a storm however, Mrs. Dude was whipping up a costly kitchen upgrade!

Knowing you can't fight a hurricane, I chose instead to "shelter in place." I grudgingly went along with Mrs. Dude's plan and for the next few months made multiple trips to Lowes Home Improvement store.  We ordered stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops and other dumb stuff that drained my wallet. We even became close, personal friends with several of the sales associates at Lowes. Even mindful of saving money, I have some great stories on working down the sales people on the prices of the kitchen appliances we bought. But this a garage sale themed blog. In keeping with that theme, let me share a garage sale score that saved us some bucks during the renovation.

Remember that bread box I discovered sitting on the old countertop?  Turns out, Mrs. Dude ordered the thing on-line from Target. Although I was afraid to ask, I had a bad feeling the tin box cost some serious jingle. This suspicion made me resent the shiny new bread box even more. With my resentment growing, I plotted to replace the tin box as soon as possible. It would be a bread box coup de'tat! 

Over the new few weeks, I kept my eye out for an inexpensive bread box at the garage sales. It finally paid off in August, when I found a near-identical stainless steel bread box. The price was only five dollars! However, before I started negotiating with the seller I needed to know one crucial piece of information from Mrs. Dude...did she still have the original box packaging for the Target bread box? I made a quick call home and after a long groan, Mrs. Dude verified she had the box the receipt. With the original box still available, I knew the Target bread box could be returned to the store for a refund. Now it was game on! Hoping to make a good score even better, I asked the seller if she would take three dollars for the bread box. She didn't seem thrilled about my counter, but accepted my three bucks anyway. With the acquisition made, the real work was about to begin. Would the replacement bread box pass Mrs. Dude's inspection?

Arriving home, I nervously looked around the house to see if Mrs. Dude was within view. I implored my television watching daughter to give me a warning if she spotted her Mom approaching. Although the bread box was in nice condition, I needed some extra time to spruce it up before the official inspection. Feverishly wiping it down with Windex, I discovered what could have been a deal breaker. It had a Walmart sticker on the underside. This was extremely stressful for me because Mrs. Dude is a loyal "Target" shopper. She prefers the "Red" store over Walmart, finding them cleaner, brighter and easier to maneuver around in. Her Target loyalty over Walmart is similar to teenyboppers and their strong feelings towards either Team Edward or Team Jacob. Although I don't know where Mrs. Dude falls in that battle royale, I know for sure she's on Team Target!

Can you tell the difference?
Walmart sticker or not, I had the bread box looking pretty spiffy. I was just finishing up when Mrs. Dude walked into the kitchen. The moment of truth had now arrived. I've come to learn that with Mrs. Dude it's important I not show fear. So instead, I totally faked confidence, handing over the bread box like Prince Charming handed Cinderella her glass slipper. Accepting the slipper, I mean bread box, Mrs. Dude let out a curious "Hmmmm" as she examined it. I couldn't tell if this was a good or bad sign. Time seemed to stand still as I waited for her to pass judgement. I felt like an anxious chef who just labored over a meal and could now only watch while the picky food critic tasted the results. She spotted the Walmart sticker, but to my surprise passed over it without comment. Handing the bread box back to me, she announced her decision, "Ok, it's fine." I let out a sigh of relief...the bread box passed the ultimate test! (In case you're wondering, my garage sale find is on the left in the picture.) In righteous victory, I proudly placed my bread box right next to the fancy Target model. 

Although both served the same function, there was a shocking price difference between the two metal boxes. Mrs. Dude found the receipt and I nearly fell over upon learning the Target bread box cost almost fifty dollars! I stood in stunned silence, wondering if Mrs. Dude had ever noticed that I have a slight obsession for saving money? I waited patiently to hear her insight regarding this lavish purchase. With moral support from our very amused daughter, Mrs. Dude smiled and sheepishly uttered, "Whoops" as her only response! I don't understand Mrs. Dude's thought process sometimes. After all, aren't we both suppose to be playing on the same team? 

Needless to say, the fancy breadbox was returned to our local Target store for a big refund. The garage sale breadbox went in it's place and the kids didn't even notice the difference.  I saved  fifty dollars, putting the money to use for other kitchen improvements.

That was one small victory for me! How about you? Do you have any garage sale finds that replaced a store bought purchase? Give us your story below.....  


Pin It now!


  1. I love to make bread in garage sale Panasonic bread maker. Had hardly been used, seller said she likes making by hand. I paid $20.00 a couple months ago and we have not bought a loaf of bread from the store yet. I found a device to put the bread in to hold it why I slice it. Paid a $1.00 for this.
    Fun saving money.

    1. Life goes on- That's an awesome deal! And there's nothing better then the smell and taste of fresh bread, I am a sucker for it!

      Eat, bake & save scored a great deal all the way around!

      Thanks for sharing the story....Dude!

  2. I looked at stainless steel breadboxes at Target and on Amazon for about a year, but was too cheap to take the plunge. I found one for $5 this summer at a yard sale. I was super excited! It still makes me happy, just seeing it on my counter. :-) It's identical to the one I liked at Target, but soooo much cheaper.

  3. Kari- You used "Cheap" to describe yourself...."money smart" is the proper description! A garage sale find for only five dollars is super smart and a great find. Since they are growing in popularity, I guess we'll see more and more of the stainless steel bread boxes showing up garage sales.

    Thanks for writing in and sharing your story...Dude!

  4. Love your story about the bread box! I'm glad the yard sale find passed the test, although I will have to agree with Mrs. Dude on Target over Walmart. There is no comparison there....Walmart actually makes me fell ill, whereas Target makes me happy (and I am really not a shopper...get in, find it and get out....but Target is oh so cheerful and wonderful......)

    1. Wendy-I think Mrs Dude gets that same happy feeling that you're describing! I am told there is a whole marketing science to that by Target, height of the racks, wide aisles, ect. All to appeal to the female shoppers-and it works! ( The sale stuff in the back of the store is pretty cool too!)

      I am glad you like the bread box story-the best stories are true ones! Thanks for writing in....Dude!

  5. I think the Walmart breadbox is much nicer looking. I had a bread box once. I don't think I ever kept bread in it so I got rid of it after a month.

    1. Veronica-It looks good, right? I hope when you got rid of your bread box you sold it at a yard sale. Might as well get a few dollars out of it! : )

      Thanks for writing in....Dude!

  6. WHAT? You didn't know about the bread box purchase???!!! ;-) Just kidding. But am wondering - what is your "Team Dude" price point at which you discuss the purchase with each other before purchasing? Is Mrs. Dude as frugal as you are, Dude? I am definitely the more frugal one on MY Team! And I'm with the others - Target over Wal-Mart any time - we even broke down and got the Red Target credit card for the 5% discount on every purchase (and we do pay it off every month, so not an issue). But I can go in there and browse for hours! The others are right - it's just a "happy, oh so happy, place!" and the smell of popcorn and Starbucks Grande mocha-latte-chino-frappe-ding-dong!

  7. Susie Q - I saw the box, but never conceived it would be $50 guacamoles!! I had true sticker shock!!! And while Mrs.Dude likes a good deal, (most of the time) I am more diligent (obsessed?) about it!

    Your description of Target is spot on...popcorn and Starbucks aroma wafting in the air as you enter. It's an irresistible combination-those marketing folks at Target are evil geniuses! Ha!

    That's too funny, Thanks for writing it....Dude! : )