Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Frugal Living - Thrift Stores and Rummage Sales

I absolutely love thrift stores.  For some things they are must shop stores.

If you have infants or smaller children, absolutely check out thrift stores for clothing!  You know how fast children grow and sometimes they only get to wear things a few times.  The clothes are new or in like new condition.

Thrift stores are also a must shop if you're going through weight loss.  Who wants to pay full price for clothing they're not going to be in that long?

There are a couple of secrets to thrift store shopping.

* Look for a store close to major stores. One of the stores I shop it is just down the road from Target.  When Target has clothes they can't sell, they donate them to the thrift store.  I often find clothes that still have the tags on.

* If you're children/teens are into name brand clothing, but you don't want to pay the price, check out Plato's Closet.  They stock name brand clothing for a fraction of the cost.  College kids will often clean out their closets before packing up at the end of the school year.  This makes it a great time to the back to school shopping for your kids!

* Look for stores that benefit smaller non-profit groups.  We've heard of Goodwill and Salvation Army, but locally we have a store that benefits a Lutheran High School as well as one that benefits a humane society.  They tend to be less expensive than the "chain stores."

* Be creative when you shop.  Look at furniture and see if it's structurally sound.  If you don't like the fabric, see if it would be easy to change it, or throw a slip cover on it.  Dressers and tables can be painted, especially when you're talking about a child's room.  It makes the furniture easier to clean!

Look at this setting of table and chairs.  Things don't have to match.  You can go funky with color and style.

I'm looking for chairs to do something like this in my kitchen.  My chairs are not in good condition, and getting close to being beyond repair.

* You can also look at consignment stores where you get a percentage of the sales.  This is what I am doing with some of my daughter's clothes.  They are higher end clothing that I got at good deals, and she grows so fast that they are in like new condition.  Some stores may be picky about what they take, so be sure to check out the criteria before you take things in.

I love rummage sales for these same reasons.  You may call them yard sales, tag sales, garage sales, or some other variation, but it's the same thing.

My daughter is entering middle school in the fall.  She is at the point where the peer pressure for name brand is really starting to kick in.  I hate this part of parenting.  I hate the peer pressure, but I remember it all too well.  I didn't have the name brands and I was picked on mercilessly.

We hit a rummage sale the other day and picked up all of her tops for school for $31. We got nearly 20 tops.  These are all Gap, American Eagle, Polo, you name it.  No one will know that we didn't pay full price, and she is thrilled.  She's also a bit funky in her style (sometimes mixing patterns that make my eyes hurt) so we talked about how she could add a belt or boots or something to make a style that's all her own.  

The other day I got a shirt for myself for 90% off.  The shirt was brand new with the tags still on.  It was from a higher end store and the price was $35. I paid $3.

If you are a book lover, these are great places to pick up books.  If you go through books like I do, you don't want to pay full price.

You can also repurpose things into completely new items.  Check out this dessert stand made from old china.

Mirrors can have the frame painted.  If you love a frame but not the print in it, see if you can take the print out.

There is one thing to be cautious of, and that is baby and children's toys.  The toys may be older and not have been tested for lead paint.  I also recommend sanitizing any toys purchased, especially stuffed animals.  A quick spin through the washing machine or dishwasher, as the case may be, is certainly worth your child's safety and health.

Check out your local thrift stores, and do it with an open mind.  You never know what you might find, and the money you save is so worth it.

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