1. Can I ever relate to this. I actually wrote a post a few weeks ago about resisting the throwaway mentality, and used our 15 year old lawnmower as an example. I had paid $60 to get it repaired to try and delay the need to buy a new one for at least a couple years.

    Sure enough, a week went but and the more all but exploded, and now we have a brand new Lawn-Boy sitting in our garage. Haha.

    I still need to write the update post for that one. :).

    • Oh yes! Please write the update. I want to know more about this! I actually remember your first post and was feeling slightly guilty. Guess I can give myself a pass!

  2. We have something called Treasure Days here, where people put stuff on the curb they don’t want and you get to keep it doesn’t free. So, when this summers Treasure Day rolled around, we scored a free and super cool old bookcase/cabinet thing that we thought would look perfect in our new house.

    In fact, it needed to be cleaned (add Lysol wipes and sponges to the price). Now, Mr.TA wants to sand it down and paint it from scratch (Cha ching).

    The thing is still sitting in our shed, collecting dust.

    I will eat my hair if we ever end up finishing it. It’s not my proudest minimalist moment haha.

    • I love to go for walks the night before garbage day for this very reason. My husband usually tags along because he knows I’ve read about a million too many blog posts about flipping furniture. Just because it looks like a good idea on the curb…


  3. Every “free” dog or cat (or snake) I’ve ever had has been decidedly not frugal. Our problem is that once a pet is part of our family, they are family and get all of the consideration (and health care) required to make their lives as comfortable and as long as possible. Right now we have two dogs and 4 cats (one is a barn cat and lives outside). All are healthy and happy and we are, financially, the poorer for it, but, spiritually, the richer (or so I choose to believe).

    • Hooray for all the animals, Oldster! I wish more people had this mentality. It breaks my heart when I see neighbors posting new pets online to either give away or sell cheaply. 🙁

  4. Haha, this is great! We actually got our lawnmower from our neighbor for free and it is amazing. Its a push mower so not quite as fun as a riding one, but it also doesn’t announce when it is done or run into things so I take that as a win.

  5. Lol, the lesson might be “Beware of the $100 riding mower”. We got one on Craigslist, and have to fix it pretty much every time we use it. The beast is from 1984, and currently only has one working blade. But half the time it gets the job done! Luckily we don’t have any fences to run into, and it mostly costs time & labor.

  6. Our house also came with a bonus mower, sitting for free in the dilapidated shed. Lucky for us, it does still work and hasn’t run into anything yet. The yard is of course only like 100 yards by 150, so a push mower is fine. Its only issue is spitting walnuts all over the place in the fall. Fingers crossed it keeps trucking along for many more years.

    • Our neighbors have a gorgeous walnut tree behind their property. It’s lovely and I hate it. What a mess! (Plus, it kills all my tomato plants. ::sad face::)

  7. Ayuuuuup.

    My husband had the same mindset with our horrible used lawnmower. It has LITERALLY exuded plumes of black smoke. He just waits for it to clear and then keeps mowing. As you say, it’s truly a sight to behold.

    He did buy it for $50ish from a sketchy dude on Craigslist, so I guess we’re saving money. But still, I do miss the reliability of a new lawn mower.

  8. I wonder what that lawn mower will get up to in your neighbor’s care! It’s quite something that he wanted it even after it crashed into his fence, haha.

    And your mention of the phone calls made me think of my grandmother: she’s about 4’11” and was married at 18, had three kids by 21, and my dad says that he remembers that when there would be door-to-door salesmen, etc, and she’d answer the door (generally holding a kid) the salesperson would look at her and ask if her mother was at home, lol!

  9. Such a good story!

    I have a feeling our little automatic pool cleaner, “Ward” (short for his brand, Hayward), might fall somewhat into this camp. He’s slowly draining me via $40 dollar parts (yesterday I found a bunch of metal ball bearings in the skimmer basket) but brand new he costs $400. As your mower, we got it unexpectedly when we bought the house. With all these repairs, I’m starting to see why…

    • Right? “Oh, these people are so considerate to leave nice things behind?” AHAH! Now I see why. The previous owners also left a flat screen TV on the wall above the fireplace. My husband was so pumped until we went to move it and practically needed to call in a crane. Thanks, pals! 😉

  10. *Looks at Sera who was free, vaccinated, and even came with a free bag of food and then cost us over $1000 in vet bills 7 weeks later* No, why do you ask?

    LOL. Just kidding, we didn’t adopt her because she was free, she just needed a home where other dogs won’t beat her up.

    Back on topic I know of the potential for backfiring all too well but I need a crystal ball to tell me when a frugal win is going to become a fat stinking loser.

  11. I read this at work, and literally almost choked on my lunch laughing. OMG! I call our mower the Hobbit Mower; the thing is so short, but at least it stops.

    Our pets who have been free, or had reduced fee adoptions tend to be the most expensive. It’s almost a guarantee that they’ll have extensive/expensive medial problems, and/or some very destructive habits.

  12. I love this story!

    I have a smallish yard and was determined to mow our lawn, because it felt silly to pay someone $100/m (split four ways) to do such a small task. I spent $70 on a manual mower, and then spent two hours failing to put it together. I eventually had to call my girlfriend and get her to come tell me how to do it.

    That summer, my roommates paid me to mow and I got a workout. But I resented having to schedule my life around my lawn and thunderstorms. It was not a good look. Then, a friend got out of prison and was looking for work while he rebuilt his life. Yes, sir! I will pay you to make this task go away.

    He is on his feet again, so I finally gave in and arranged for lawn service. I specify that they only need to do enough to keep the neighbors happy.

    I still need to give away that lawnmower…

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