Thursday, April 30, 2009

Frugal Friday: The Art of Thrift

Life As Mom is sponsoring Frugal Friday's again and I tried to think of a good frugal hint this week when I was out on my regular weekly shopping trip. Then as I pulled up to the SECOND thrift store on our regular route, it dawned on me. I don't even realize that thrift stores are frugal because they are SO much fun! Sometimes you might go and walk through and not see anything that you need or want, and other times you will find a goldmine of items, but there are some things that you can pretty much always count on finding at least one of at thrift stores in y our town.

Lamps and lighting
There are usually many choices of lamps and lighting at your local thift store. Some of them unique choices that you won't find other places, some completely ordinary but functional pieces. You might be surprised how many times you will find new hardware and fixtures at your thrift store. People buy for home improvement projects and change their mind, or don't follow through.

Small Appliances
Don't run to Wal-Mart when your popcorn popper or can opener quits. Those are two of the things that are almost guaranteed to be at your local thrift store. Other items in this catagory that are sure finds are crockpots of various sizes, some type of dustbuster vacuum, there is usually an iron and always, ALWAYS tons of hair appliances. This hair dryer in the picture isn't necessarily a RARE find, but it's one not seen too often, so I'd pick something like that up if you or someone else would use it. For $3.00 it's a good buy. Also don't forget to look for TV's here.

Picture Frames

There are always lots of pictures to be found at thrift stores. They are worth looking through even if you don't like the art. I have found some beautiful old frames to display family pictures in.


You can always find furniture at thrift stores too.
You won't always find a beautiful piece to match your decor, or a priceless antique, but sometimes you can really find a bargain. I've seen furniture almost like new priced less than $50.00. And then sometimes it's ugly and you wonder who would buy it.

I'll tell you who buys it. A friend of mine has a husband who buys thrift store furniture every year for this cookout that they have at their house. There are usually 25-50 people, so they put out couches and tables on the grass outside their shop building. Laugh if you want...we get a chuckle out of it, but it's really not that bad an idea for extra seating!
Specialty Clothing

Everyone knows that you can find clothing at thrift stores, that's no surprise. What you might forget though is that people send their prom dresses, wedding dresses and other specialized clothing items. So don't forget just to take a look through when you go just to see what's there.

Dishes and Cookware

You will ALWAYS find dishes and cookwear at the thrift store. If you find you need something in your kitchen, why not stop in the local thrift store before you head to Wal-Mart. You might be surprised at what you find. On this trip we found a complete set, 61 pieces, of Pfaltzgraff China in pristine condition for less than $40.00. I took a picture for my blog and went on. When I got home and started writing this, I thought I'd price it. Now I'm kicking myself. There is a 21 piece of the same thing, in worse condition on Ebay for more and they just started the bidding on it. Darn it! Oh well, maybe next week! lol

In fact that's just the tip of the iceberg of all the things you can find at thrift stores. Never again will I buy a vase at a regular store. I buy almost all our craft items here, there are always truckloads of every type of crafting item. Baskets and floral items are almost always b1g1.

The trick for me is to go frequently, because you never know what you'll find. I just make a stop in once a week on my errand day a habit. Many times we walk out with nothing, or with a small token for a child, but sometimes we make great finds for our home, for gifts, and that's one way that I can spend money on myself and not have buyers remorse.

Don't forget to shop at the thrift store. It's the frugal thing to do. Besides, you can find almost everything there. Including...

The kitchen sink!

For more frugal ideas, be sure to visit Life As Mom for Frugal Friday!


  1. I too adore thrift stores. I never seem to have the luck other bloggers seem to have with finding small appliances at mine, but I always score with books and clothes.


  2. I love going to thrift stores. I have found some really great deals in the past! Thanks for this reminder that there are so many things available. I usually just go there for clothing but it is fun to see what other treasures you can find!

  3. My husband will be retiring in a few years, and we'll move into a smaller place, so I've been cutting back on 'stuff.' The best way, and the most fun, is to take bags of things I no longer want to the local Salvation Army Thrift Store. I get rid of 10 or 20 things and come back with 3 or 4. So I get to have my fun while cutting back, too. My favorite things to look for are videos (really cheap because people are getting rid of them), glass canning jars and cookbooks.

  4. Niki, You are so right. Books are best when you only pay a dime for them!!

    Sara, We have a goodwill here too, once a month they have a "dollar day" and I try to load up on kids clothes then. Thrift stores are a GREAT place for that!

    Mom2Fur, What a great point! We do that too. I make at least two trips per season with stuff to donate, and most usually it's stuff that I picked up there in the first place! I figured out the last couple of years that when I get in a mood to "change things up" in a room of my house, if I picked up the decorative items at the thrift store, it's no big deal to just donate them back and pick up something new to give the room a new feel.

    I haven't had luck finding canning jars, but I have found alot of gallon jars that I use in the pantry. The canning jars I've found usually have a knick on the lips and you can't use those for canning. The pristine canning jar is a rare find around these parts!!

  5. Wow. I'm amazed at all the finds you've come across. Next time I'm at the thrift store I'll have to look a little more closely at all the household items.


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