My garage saling partner and I headed out Saturday morning in the search of treasures. It was an interesting day!
Autumn has a 16" 2 wheel bike that I bought her last year at a garage sale for $3. It works well. Sami has a 12" princess bike with training wheels. My husband and I talked and knew she'd need a new bike by the fall. Eli is in the same situation. We bought him a cars tricycle (which much to my husband's chagrin has plastic, nonreplaceable wheels) for his birthday in April. It was $60. We both realized that he has taken to riding a bike far more quickly than the girls and would need a 12" bike by the fall. As parents we all have things that we would like to get for our kids as "new" items, but sometimes our budget doesn't allow for that. Bikes are one of those things for my husband. The first time I brought home a used bike for our kids, he was very sad and disappointed. Then I brought home another for Sami, a $1 Big Wheel for Eli, and Autumn's $3 16" bike.
Last weekend, we bought new helmets for the kids which cost $15 each. With 3 kids, it adds up fast! But, I didn't want to buy used helmets for several reasons. 1) I wouldn't know how many times the helmet had been dropped. 2) I wouldn't know how the child who wore the helmet took care of their hair. So, new helmets are justifiable to me.
But, pondering two new bikes at $60 each was daunting to me. So, these two items went to the top of my garage saling priority list. At the first sale on Saturday, we found this bike for Eli in like new condition. I checked the tires to make sure they had air in them and gave it a quick once over before I bought it. I could tell from the treads that the bike had been ridden only a little. The gal wanted $15 for it, but agreed to $10. I was very thankful. It retails for $60 new, so my 10% rule almost worked.
We went to another garage sale down the street and I found a purse for me for $2. I find that as a mom I need a practical purse, so it was a huge treat to find a nonpractical purse for special occasions for me.
We moved on and I found a huge plastic bucket of legos. What I didn't realize at the time was that this bucket was going to require a lot of sifting on my part. With most things from garage sales, I do expect some fixing or pruning to be involved. I spent this morning pruning the bucket and discovered that about half of them were legos. The other half was mega blocks or random toy figurines. But, since I only paid $8, that's okay with me.
We headed from that garage sale to a community of houses nearby that was having a sale. Early on, we turned down one culdesac and found a bike for Sami. The bike was in like new condition, but it was a 16" bike (bike with 16" wheels) and it had no kickstand or training wheels. It was also missing one of the handlebar grips. I knew that though the bike was in like new condition, it was missing all of these things. The fellow asked me for $10 and I offered $5 since I'd have to buy all the other parts. Little did I know how much those other parts would cost! Later that day, I went to Walmart and bought a kickstand, training wheels, and grips. Altogether, the parts cost $26! That brought the bike's cost to $31! But, for a like new bike, it was still saved me at least $30. A new 16" bike starts at $60.
The lesson I learned on Saturday is to know the cost of replacement, or missing, parts if I can!
When I came home, I thought about the desire to buy something new for our children. It's tempting to think that we should do that. But, I read an essay by Wendell Berry today on Waste, at the request of my husband. One reason I like to hand down our toys and clothes to friends and also why I like to garage sale is that I'm not contributing more to the waste of our society. I don't feel very extreme about this, but I do value the idea of minimizing my family's consumption of natural resources. I don't want to be wasteful. So, at the end of the day, though new bikes would have been beautiful in my children's eyes, I think that their "gently used" and refurbished bikes have much greater value--to me and to them.