“Will we see Pork Chop (Toy Story character) today when we go in?!!” My youngest asks while she tugs on my arm as we walk hand in hand into the thrift store. “We sure will!” I reply. This is one indication that we are regulars to this particular store – she has their advertising signs memorized. We go once a week and make it a part of our routine. This day in particular, I see a dresser across the store… We pick up the pace and head straight for the piece. I do a quick run over to check the condition. It's sturdy, has little damage and even better is the price! I had been saving a coupon for this kind of treasure and knew that I would be getting a deal when I combined it with the 29.99 price tag. We nearly ran to the cashier saying that we were ready to buy the piece (good finds go quickly when shopping in a thrift store). I stood over the piece guarding it, excited, taking and sending pictures to Ty showing him what a score I had found. He may not have seen the beauty in it at first, but it has quickly become one of our favorite furniture pieces (pictured above) in our home.
If you have read my stories before you are familiar with the fact that we live on very tight incomes and have learned to get creative within our means. To make it even more tricky, I love decorating and having a fun wardrobe. I knew quitting my job would mean cutting back on what we could spend on both home decor and clothing. What I didn't know was that I would have so much fun learning to make it work by shopping at thrift stores, yard sales and finding free items off the side of the road. This new way of shopping has become my favorite!
Here are some tips and tricks I have discovered along the way. While I have learned quite a bit, I still have a long way to go. My hope is that this will you encourage those of you on a budget to give it a try.
• Visit often. Go to the stores on a regular basis.
• Find your favorites. Figure out which stores you like best and which ones will take coupons/have regular sales.
• Shop the sales. This is when you will find something marked at 9.99 but lowered to 1.50 for the day.
• Have a list (with measurements if it is furniture). This one has been a big help to me. It keeps you accountable and focussed. Shopping in these stores can seem overwhelming and when you know what you are looking for you have direction. There will be times when something is not on my list but in order to buy it it has to be a treasure.
• Be Patient. Do not get something because it is close to what you are looking for. I waited months for that dresser and a couple times I almost bought a different one that wasn't everything I hoped for. I am so glad I didn't! You will typically find what you are looking for – it may just take some time.
• Think outside the box. Many times I will have found something fantastic and it needed a little TLC, whether it be painting, cleaning or some stitching.
• Make sure it fits. Be willing to try something on if it is clothing.
• Look for quality. You can find some great brand names and pieces.
• Keep a budget. You can get sucked into so many deals and end up spending more, ultimately defeating the purpose of discount shopping.
• Don't wait. Be prepared that if you are going to think about it – it will likely be gone the next time you are back. There have been a few times that I have tried waiting on something and then regretted not buying it. Try and get it when it is of value and in your budget.
• Practice. Learn to look through things and take your time. Things get moved around. You will begin to train your eye for your list and it does get easier.
That is all for now and I hope to share some more with you soon! Don't get discouraged by your first few visits – just keep trying. You don't have to stop doing the things you enjoy or are passionate about because life changes. While it isn't always easy, there is joy to be found in the little things…even if that entails find a transforming a 70’s mug rack and turning it into a ribbon holder!
You might also like: