September 2, 2010

Retail Therapy- and, Being Thrifty is Nifty

I'll admit it- I love shopping. Sometimes a little mindless browsing is exactly what the Doctor ordered, and it comes with far less side effects than Valium or Prozac. But the thing that thrills me isn't just walking into a store and buying something. The real excitement lies in the finds- the steals. My name is Not Blessed Mama and I am a Bargain Shopper. 
My frugal shopping tendencies began with getting excited about the clearance racks at Target and the mall. My eyes were constantly scanning for the "50% Off" signs, and I could spot an orange clearance price sticker a mile away. This was all well and good, and very enjoyable for many years. UNTIL I discovered thrifting- oh, the sweet joys of thrift store shopping. If you have not stepped foot in a thrift store, I am strongly encouraging you to promptly enter the one closest to you and have a good look around. 
Generally I categorize thrift stores into two different categories- dirty or clean. Don't run away! Give me a chance to explain. "Clean" thrift stores are generally big, well organized stores (possibly chains, like Goodwill or Salvation Army) that are neat and tidy. They're a good introduction to thrifting. I recently visited a thrift store that not only had employees on wireless headsets, but also a security guard. Fancy schmancy! There are many great deals to be found at clean thrift stores (especially on sale days, when certain items- or the whole store- can be marked down), but those niceties come at a price. "Dirty" thrift stores are where you are going to find the awesome steals- and yes, unfortunately, they are dirty. Bring wipes and hand sanitizer. My very favorite dirty thrift store recently went out of business and I was devestated. I cannot even tell you how many things I bought there- sometimes I'd make a weekly trip simply for the 50% off sale day. A few buys that stick in my head were brand new crystal making and volcano sets for $3 (homeschoolers, thrift stores rock for schooling supplies) and Spawn#2's beloved black knee high boots for $2. You can really find any and everything in a thrift store- name brand clothing of all sizes, gifts, items new in boxes and with tags, holiday decorations, furniture and household items- you never know!
If I have not yet sold you on the idea of thrifting (and I didn't even mention the amazing environmental impact we're creating by shopping at and donating to thrift stores), I'd like to share some of my finds with you. 

This is probably what I'm most proud of- my $.99 desk, which was also on sale for %30  off. Total cost on this desk came out to a little under $10. I tried to talk myself out of buying that 70 cent desk (which also came with a few cents inside of it), but it kept calling my name. I felt like an idiot cramming it in the trunk. But I absolutely love how it turned out, and it only took my sister and I a few hours for the marvelous transformation. 
This is Spawn#3's Halloween costume. $3 plus 50% off- how can you beat that?

Dresses for Spawn#2- Floral no-name brand $1.50, Gymboree striped $4,
 blue shiny Hanna Andersson $3- all with an additional 50% off!
This really cool Harry Potter umbrella- $4 plus 50% off. 
And check out these awesome H&M swim shorts for Spawn#3, $2 plus 50% off. 

On my most recent shopping trip I also got a bunch of books for the kids (including Captain Underpants) which were all under 30 cents. If you are not already a thrift shopper, I really hope this post has inspired you to see what treasures your local thrift store may hold. And if you are a seasoned thrifter- anyone feel like shopping?


  1. You and I have GOT to go for coffee and a shopping spree some 50% off day! ;0)

  2. I love thrift stores! Haven't been to one in a while b/c it takes time to look and my 3 boys don't have the patience. But, maybe now that 2 of them are in school, I can go again- and bribe my youngest with snacks while I shop!

  3. Yes, I will admit that thrifting with children in tow does require some finesse.... but at least it's not Nordstrom's (or something!) where noisy children are frowned upon. Not like I remember the last time I was in Nordstrom's...

  4. Heyy Thanks for the follow! I am totally following you back now! I hope you get a chance to enter the Trim Treads giveaway ending tomarrow with low entries! @
    Stash Mama


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