Friday, July 24, 2009

Latest frugal acquistion

I am a person who can become intently focused on an idea or a plan. To ensure I had enough canning supplies, I recently added more pectin, jars, lids and bands to my collection even though I am not sure how much I will really use for canning jam and tomatoes with my water bath canner. In 2007, I decided I wanted a used bicycle for around $20. It took me a few months but I purchased one for $25 in wintertime. My latest quest: a used tent.

Now, I have never been camping except in a truck-topped camper when I was a young lass. There is no urge to pack up and hit the road with a tent. However, it would be nice to sleep outside when it is warm and see how I might like camping in a tent--at least in my own yard. My first stop was craigslist, and my experience was more interesting than I wanted it to be.

Again, I was setting the threshold for cost low because I did not want to invest much money in something I may or may not be using. So my target cost was $20. Surprisingly, there were more than a few near this mark. Unfortunately, I encountered several issues in seeking a tent to call my own:

  1. I did not contact the seller soon enough and lost out to someone who e-mailed quicker.

  2. My offer was too low for the seller.

  3. I was looking at tents that while in my price range were larger than I needed (and were difficult for one person to assemble).

  4. I was treated to a reprimand on how to do business when the seller was unhappy I chose not to buy his tent.

However, my persistence and desire not to go beyond $25 paid off. I attended a garage sale where a two-person tent was available. It was a dome tent, shorter than me and could be assembled by one person. The price on the item was $20, and the seller was on her third day of the garage sale. I offered $15 and she accepted it.

To prove that even an ignorant person like myself who only saw a single one tent assembled could put one together, I set it up on my lawn--successfully. It was the size, style and ease-of-assembly that I realized I could use. The drawback to my purchase: some transfer of darker color to lighter color on the fabric and an interesting aroma I will try to bake out of the tent. Even if I get only a use or two out of the tent, it will be worth spending $15 to try it out.

What do you think of my tent deal? Was I cheap or was I frugal?


  1. I think it's frugal. We have a pretty active local Freecycle group, so I would have tried there first, then followed a similar path. Why buy a new or expensive one if you don't know if you'll like it or even use it?

  2. @Heather,
    I agree buying or freecycling a used item seems ideal if its utility to your life is uncertain. I have not yet joined the local freecycle group but I know there is one in my area. It is a great option I did not think about. Thanks for the reminder!