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Day 99: Adventures in thrift shopping

Such a fun day, you guys! So, my friend and frugal advisor Gwen - thrift shopper extraordinaire - agreed to take me on an afternoon of thrift shopping. We didn't go to any of the big-box thrift stores, but went to smaller (and less overwhelming, and more cozy) consignment and thrift stores.

And I'd like to point out that it's not like I've never gone thrift shopping. When I was a teenager, with no credit cards, minimal spending money (from weekly allowance and the proceeds from ongoing sales of used books and CDs), I still had a total preoccupation with wanting to experiment with outfits, and so I shopped almost exclusively at thrift stores and vintage clothing shops. Come to think of it, I should try and live like I did as a teenager. I think I got off the rails, spending-wise, once I started making more money and could finally buy the things I wanted to.

My teenaged thrift-shopping hero. In 1996, I may have dyed my hair this colour.
ANYWAY, so how did it go?


The thing about thrift store shopping, like so many of the things I am discovering about the frugal lifestyle, is that it takes a bit more time and a bit more planning. Buying, for instance, a teapot takes 5 seconds if you go to Canadian Tire or the Superstore. But if you go to a thrift store, it depends on whether or not they have a teapot that day, or if they have one that works, so you have to go to another thrift store or go back to the same one another day... in some cases (like if your teapot broke and you need to drink tea ASAP) the convenience of buying one new may override the savings of going to a thrift store.

BUT it turns out that thrift stores sell EVERYTHING! When I was a teen, I went to thrift stores looking for retro clothes and maybe accessories and never noticed all of the kitchen appliances and craft supplies they sell. Thrift stores have knitting needles, yarn, anything you could possibly need for your kitchen (appliances, cutlery, dishes, BUTTER DISH, SOAP DISH), everything!

So. The only thing is that you can't be looking for a specific thing. Sometimes this may work out, but in general, I think it's probably best to go into a thrift store looking for, say, juice glasses, rather than looking for green juice glasses with pictures of flowers on them.

Anyway, I gave myself a rather arbitrary budget of $60 for today's adventure, and I wound up spending $46.10 of it. OK, I kind of spent $51.10 because I spent $5 on a coffee from a new fair-trade coffeeshop that's opened near one of the coffeeshops. Note to self: bring along snacks for energy the next time I go thrifting.

- Hardcover book for my ebook reader cover project ($0.10)
- Egg timer ($0.50)
- Necktie ($1) by GIVENCHY!!
- Picture frame ($1.50)
- Short dress/long shirt (with my torso, it's more shirt than dress) for $8
- Esprit sweater for $11

The most expensive item of the day was a like-new Esprit dress, for $24.

I would like to point out that the sweater I got for $11 is actually the EXACT SAME SWEATER that I wanted to buy in 2004 (it's green argyle; all the stores had lots of cute argyle sweaters around the time that Desperate Housewives premiered because of how Bree dressed in the first season).

I may have also dyed my hair this colour in 2004.

So anyway. It was a lovely trip, and now I know lots of good places (all walking distance from home) to go for little practical things. It's all about the hunt, of course, to sort through the junk to find the treasures. For instance, a Givenchy tie for $1! But what the treasure is, will vary from person to person.

I also picked up an application form to volunteer at one of the stores, because I figure that working there will allow me to get first pick of all the awesome new items. Oh, and also giving back to the community, blah blah.


Lisa @Cents To Save said...

I love going to thrift stores! It is always fun to dig for treasures!

Niki said...

Angela Chase is my life hero!

fabulouslyfrugirl said...

I can't wait to go thrift shopping and I'll keep your tips in mind!

And what a great idea to volunteer there - it seems like a win-win situation!

Annabelle said...

Lisa - the hunting is definitely part of the fun! I think you can't just go in to quickly pick something up, as you could from a hardware store, but if you go in with a small list of things you could use, it would be great!!

Niki - totally agree.

Frugirl - I'm really excited to start volunteering too! Once I remember that it's all about the hunt, I found it thrilling to spot a gem amid a sea of junk. Let me know how your thrifting goes!

Lindsey A. Turner said...

I love thrift shopping too! I am always amazed at the great stuff I find! Sounds like you had a good time!

Lindsey Turner

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