March 27, 2014

Thrifting as a Lifestyle

May23

It’s always fun to show you the thrifty treasures that I snatch up on my yard sale days, and thrift store outings. Finding so many amazing things that I definitely don’t “need,” but really want is such a blessing. Home Decor and American Girl finds are treasures, for sure, but often, my purpose isn’t just about seeking out those fun finds, but also searching for day to day necessities. (I just don’t always show them, since they aren’t very exciting.)

For so many years, our shoe string budget expanded dramatically and stretched in ways you wouldn’t believe because there were very few things that I needed to buy at a “real” store, outside of groceries.  Over the last ten years, we have had two crisis type of financial situations where we went long periods without income.

During our last time of unemployment, I went into a “No Spend” mode when it came to stores. I literally chose not to go to any kind of store besides drug stores, grocery stores and thrift stores. I had already been a frugalista before our unemployment, but it was truly eye opening to see how I could virtually supply all of my “needs” and many of my wants by buying solely through thrifting. For a future post, I’ll have to walk around my home and make a list to share just how many practical items I have bought. Some times it’s helpful just to see what others look for when developing a lifestyle like this.

When thrifting is a lifestyle, you have to put aside the “need it now” mentality. Our toaster broke, and I gave myself two weeks to find a ‘new to me’ one.  I found one at a yard sale brand new (someone’s extra wedding present toaster) the next weekend. We had an interesting bedlam type “accident” on a Friday evening with my lamp shade. Since I know lamps are in huge supply at yard sales, I wasn’t devastated. I replaced the entire lamp the very next day for $4, and it was even nicer than the one I had.  If I could only find a junky brass one, I knew spray paint would give it new life immediately.

I typically set a time limit on how long I will look for an item. If it’s something I use frequently, it’s a shorter time frame. If it’s an fun items that I just want, I’ll go an entire yard sale season looking for it, and if I don’t find it, then I will consider buying it. That is the situation I am in right now for redoing our deck. Remember my Harried Hospitality post when we were in the process of adding our gazebo? That was an entire year ago now, and I still haven’t added deck furniture. My goal is to find something during yard sale season, but if I don’t, then I will buy a set at the end of the season when they slash retail prices. I have waited long enough, and it’s time to finish it.

I look around and nearly everything I see in this room is second hand. When I think of how I thrift on practical items, today’s specific need came to mind. After my hubby and sons came home from golf, the rubber on my husband’s golf cleat had started separating from the sole. Did we go and buy a new pair right away? No, this brand new pro Glue gun(pictured below) did the trick just fine, and we hot glued it together. (Yes, the pro glue gun was bought new at a yard sale, for $6…negotiated down from $10.)

I’ve had some practical purchases over the last few weeks. I bought some tools, some brand new gift items that will be for birthday parties, a rake for our garden, storage organizers, and some long burning utility candles. Many of my soaps are free through couponing, but when I came across all natural oatmeal soap (pictured above) – entire boxes of them for only $2, I stocked up. Some one had a previous business, and there were all natural dish detergents, laundry detergents, soaps, and antibacterials soap – a gallon for only $2.

So, do I have fun finds to show this week? Not in terms of “Wow, I have to have that for my home,” but definitely items that cut the budget over the long term.

Have you ever considered thrifting as a lifestyle?


Comments

  1. I definitely consider it as a lifestyle. As I look around my living room. I realize that all but our TV was thrifted. gifted or made. And that is just the living room. The only new furniture we have bought for our house was a mixed group of chairs to be used in the kitchen and dinning room.

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  2. I love your posts on thrifting and garage sales! I have decorated our new-to-us home with garage sales! It is a lifestyle and I wouldn’t have it any other way- especially with 3 children! I now have my husband hooked when he spent a Saturday with me at a community garage sale. Though I won’t take him often, my money seemed to disappear much more quickly!

    Was wondering your thoughts about Christmas/gift shopping at garage sales? Maybe a future post idea?? Would love to hear your thoughts!

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    Memory Mom Melissa Reply:

    @Memory Mom Melissa, One more thought, if we have a need that I am looking for at a garage sale (ie your toaster) I often pray before I head out. I look at my finds as blessings from the Lord and answer to prayer. If I find something I LOVE that is a want (ie clothing or cute shoes) at a garage sale or thrift store, I say that God is romancing me and loving on me through that blessing!

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    Cindy Reply:

    @Memory Mom Melissa, Gifting secondhand items can be tricky especially if you know the person will be offended. Otherwise it is a great opportunity to buy gifts that you would not be able to afford. Last Christmas we gave our granddaughter a set of baby doll furniture we found at a garage sale. It had a stroller, bed, carrier and highchair for $5. I covered a piece of foam to make a mattress for the bed and crocheted a blanket to go with it. She loved it and still plays with the set.

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  3. Thrifting has long been a lifestyle for our family. My mother got me started at an early age. She would find amazing furniture and refinish and recover it. Our home is filled with thrifted and gifted items including some valuable antique furniture, china, kitchen appliances and my favorite find lately…our free hot tub! This weekend I was able to score brand new children’s books at a library book sale (they had been donated to the library) for .50 each. I am known as the “book Auntie” in our family and my nephews will be getting some really nice books to enjoy for Christmas.

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  4. Loved this post… thrifting is my lifestyle… more because it is fun….
    Wish that I had done this when the boys were young…. BUT when folks say…”love your shoes”
    I can say, “Thanks, Goodwill…$3.00″ And blogging has certainly helped with all the good ideas out there. I am sure I will never go back to retail… : )

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  5. You might want to check Costco for furniture We waited too long last year Costco beat all the sale prices for the quality (thick cushions and a three seat sofa) By waiting till this season we saved over last season! I priced a similar set at Sams for 700 more than we paid at Costco plus we saved 100 over the price last year Hurray!!

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  6. That’s pretty much what I’m doing right now. I avoid retail shops and malls like the plague, but do go to my favorite thrift store at least twice a month to see what treasures I can find! It has made a world of difference with our budget!

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  7. My fiance and I had definitely taken on the thrifting lifestyle. About 90% of our clothes come from thrift stores and yard sales, our kitchen wares are almost all second hand, and our home decor are all scores from yard sales and thrifting. This weekend we bought a beautiful rug for our living room for $50 (is still selling at Target for $200), and then the woman gave us the two small matching rugs for free, and then offered us three matching end tables, a matching coffee table, and a TV cabinet for free. It was all stuff we needed, but couldn’t quite afford yet, and because we waited we got gorgeous stuff (cannot believe she did not want it!) for nearly nothing. It can be a frustrating lifestyle, but when you find what you are looking for it feels so much better than if you just went out and bought it.

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  8. I would like to see more on this topic as we are going to be cutting out all our extras to pay for college for my son this fall. I LOVE to go to yard sales and to thrift stores, but evidently I am not as sharp as you guys are at finding ways to fill our “needs”. We will not be needing clothing or furniture or appliances, but will need to find ways to make our monthly income stretch. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!! I love the soap, Jen, that is a great find!!!

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    Kerry D. Reply:

    @Patti, I often check Craigslist or Freecyle, and post a wanted ad on Freecycle if there is something specific I need. I have been given several lovely items (a push mower for my young teen son to use, a photocopy machine for my startup nonprofit) by people who are happy to find them a new home. We’ve sold on Craigslist as well as bought, and have had very positive experiences.

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  9. Mary Ann says:

    Could you give suggestions on how to find good neighborhoods for garage sales?

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  10. I haven’t, until recently, considered thrifting as a lifestyle. I have never had much success with garage sales, etc., but posts like this inspire me to try again!

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  11. Most of my thrifting is usually a want not a need. But last year I did find an almost new Columbia winter coat for my 12 year old son for $7 at thrift store. This coat retails for almost $100 if not more. This was def. a need because he had outgrown his old one and I couldn’t afford brand new for him.

    My favorite place to go thrifting is at church rummage sales. The stuff is usually dirt cheap. I usually get great vintage or new brand name jewelry there for under $1. Plus, books are very cheap at church rummage sales. This past weekend I bought four of the “Eat This, Not That” book series for $.25 a piece. The week before I bought several hardcover Taste of Home cookbooks for $1 each that are only a couple of years old.

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  12. Bridgette says:

    Why would I pay full price for an item when I’m having so much fun getting it for FREE or marked down. A few years ago I was looking for a dresser for my son’s room. I waited and waited to find one that was on sale. All that waiting finally paid off! A friend of mine was having a garage sale and I helped her plan it. To my surprise she gifted me with not only one but a total of four dressers, one for each bedroom!

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  13. Thrifting is definitely my lifestyle, and I’m enjoying it very much. I’m amazed at the specificity of what I can find. For instance, I wanted to decorate my craft room with European decor/souvenirs. I found framed pictures of the Eiffel Tower and the Tower of London, a French ornamental plate, then a plate stand with fleur de lis, and my list goes on. I have bought new toys and used them as gifts. Now I need to find a free Saturday for yard sales because I think even Goodwill clothes prices are too high.

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  14. I do consider myself a thrifter and love it! Most of my clothing comes from Goodwill and alot of my kitchen wear and decor too. I have always been very thrifty when it comes to groceries but did not dive into thrift stores until the last few years… that’s when Goodwill came to my town. :) I hope to continue to grow further into thrifting by learning how to navigate the garage sale scene… seems like a skill to me! I don’t think that I will ever stop thrifting – it is too much fun!!

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  15. Hi Jen, I’m sitting at a Christopher Lowell computer armoire that sells for $600. I looked for a long time and found the same one on Craigslist for $150. I had sold two old desks and a hutch and had the money for the one I really wanted. My dining room table and 6 chairs was about $125 and the hutch is on loan from a friend who moved into a house with a built in hutch, since her grandfather made it she will want it back someday. I’m sure when she does I’ll find another one at a good price. My couch was free and so was the recliner from people moving or getting new furniture and giving it to us. I’m always amazed at how God connects me with those who have what I need for a price I can afford.

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  16. I would consider starting that lifestyle. I would like to read more on your blog on how and where to get started on yard sales. I have tried b4 but just seemed like stuff that no one wanted. and I didnt want to buy. So how do you know what yard sales are even worth going to and check it out?

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  17. Yes, thrifting is our lifestyle. It’s also my home based business. After I developed some health issues that prevent me from having a job in a traditional sense, and since I went back to school and need flexible work hours for the last 3 years I’ve been selling vintage online. I started with a friend that has been thrifting for many, many years. She taught me what to look for and where to find it. When I discovered the bargains to be had, and the fun in finding them, we quickly changed our lifestyle to frugality and we haven’t looked back. I’d say 90% of our clothing and 85% of our home decor and housewares are thrifted items. We save a bunch on Christmas gifting by buying throughout the year from non-retail sources. Estate sales are our favorite and we go almost weekly!

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  18. Chris Martin says:

    My wife and I live the thrifter lifestyle, but most people wouldn’t know it. We’ve been doing it for quite awhile, and also have been working on our reality show concept called Continental Thrifters. We’ve spoken with Mike Wolfe of American Pickers, and he thought it was a cool concept. We have furnished our home with great furniture and great art, clothed our family in the lastest designer styles, and have made a very successful living from it as well. However, we want to show that being a thrifter is not about just getting by. We gross well over $100,000 a year working from home doing what we love to do. Our show idea is a travel and style based program that will take this concept further. We will highlight travel destinations around the country and the world, but also show the great thrift stores we find along the way. We meet some very interesting people, and give some background on that particular thrift store’s cause. This show will be both entertaining and informative. Our goal is to take away the stigma of being a thrift shopper. Keep an eye out for Continental Thrifters. We’ll be coming to your town soon.

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    Jen Reply:

    I’ll definitely keep an eye out because you are describing my lifestyle as well, and it will be a wonderful message to share. Congrats!

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