Thrifty Things Friday #37

Hi everyone!

Setting boundaries for thrifting! That is what today’s Thrifty Things Friday party post is about.

You all know that I am a major thrifter. About 75% of the things I buy, are thrifted 2nd hand items or deeply discounted. I do this for several reasons.

  1. I can’t afford most things retail price. Yup, that is my reality.
  2. If  I can’t fix something that is broke and I can find a perfectly good replacement 2nd hand, I don’t hesitate to buy it. As long as it does what I need it to do, I don’t understand why I would even think of buying a brand new one at retail price. In my brain, that doesn’t make sense.
  3. I would rather buy something 2nd hand and not add to more waste. Not adding more to our landfills. If nothing else, all the insane packaging is such a waste.
  4. I am trying to teach my child that there is always alternatives.
  5. I love vintage items.
  6. They really did make things to last in the past for the most part. Many older items are much better quality.

That is just a few of my reasoning behind thrifting 2nd hand. Don’t get me wrong, if I see something that, for whatever reason, I want/need that is only available at retail, I will either wait until the price is lower, negotiate a lower price or save up and hope I can still get it when I have the money.

I don’t use credit cards. I haven’t used a credit card (with the exception of making a reservation) in about 3 years. Everything we buy is paid in cash.

When it comes to fun things, I have a budget. $25.00 a week is my “thrifting allowance”. Some weeks I don’t even go out thrifting so I can “rollover” my thrifting allowance. I also have a budget amount for needed household items or clothing.

Generally, I only show you my “fun” finds. I figure most of you don’t want to see the recently thrifted pans, sheets, iron or whatever that I just bought to replace something.

Okay, now with all that said, here are some rules/standards I usually follow.

  • My first, most important rule is: Be prepared to walk away from something if you can’t get the price you want or need.
  • If something is priced too high for your budget and you really want it, ask someone in charge if you can get a better price. It never hurts to ask. Don’t be shy. Be nice and polite. Don’t demand or say something like “This price is insane! Way too high!”
  • Think outside of the box when you see items. Old clothes, sheets, pillow cases etc. are “fabric” in my mind. What can I make from this item that I want or need?
  • Get to know your thrift stores! When do they have sales? How long do they keep merchandise until they mark it down to get rid of it? This also applies to retail clearance prices. Most retail stores have a “markdown schedule”. You often can tell when the next markdown will happen if you learn the number codes on the clearance sticker. Target is a great example of this.
  • Do they offer any kind of “Customer Loyalty” cards discounts?
  • Get to know the staff/manager/owner that works at the store. Just being nice can yield discounted prices. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times this has happened to me in the past. One small 2nd hand store I frequent, the owner always works with me on prices. I am a regular customer and I NEVER demand a lower price. He knows I buy certain things and if an item has been in his store for a long time, he offers me  a very low price on that item because he knows what I shop for. The other day I stopped by his shop to check out a bag of silverware that he had for a very long time that I have had my eye on. Well, the bag had been purchased a couple of days earlier. When he and I were talking about it, he said “Do you want these? I have had them for awhile now and I need them gone”. I told him I would give him something for them and he told me no.

11-11 bargains 015-tileAnd when I was walking out of the store, he called to me and said, “You have a little girl don’t you?” I said yes and then he said, “Here is a bag of unopened Barbie McDonald toys. Do you want them for stocking stuffers for her?” I knew the princess would love them. So, I left with the bag of toys as well as the china and not a dime was spent.

  • Make regular rounds at your favorite thrifting spots.
  • Always test electrical items before you buy them. Double check your items and make sure you are comfortable with the condition they are in.
  • 9 times out of 10, if I can’t try an item of clothing on, I go with the next size up especially when it comes to kids clothes. You have to keep in mind that these are second hand and have been washed a few times so there is a good chance of shrinkage.
  • Know your merchandise. We have all seen a lot of the “chain charity thrift stores” price dollar store items at $1.99. And these same stores are doing the same thing that many retail stores are doing. They are marking their items higher with the anticipation of “50% off” days. This is a major pet peeve of mine and I could (and have) gone off on huge rants about this. I will spare you all that today.

Those are just a few of the things I keep in mind when I go thrifting. I realize that everyone has a different idea of thrifty. And that is just fine. We all have different priorities and disposable income. I am on the uber low end of prices. I try to purchase most of my fun things at $2.50 and under. When I see an item for $5.00 or more, I REALLY have to think about it. Of course, it depends on the item. But, if it is something that I generally buy at a lower price, I have to decide if this item has more value to me in order to pay a higher price.

Never go into any kind of debt for a fun thrift find. That is never worth the price. Make sure you have a budget and stick with it.

A large portion of my fun thrift finds are my toys. I enjoy playing with them. And as with children, I get bored with things at some point. Or it is something I can’t justify any longer in keeping and taking up room in my life. And I always know I will find more thrifted treasures in the future to play with. So, I resell, repurpose or donate things on a regular basis. Don’t get caught up in the thrill of the hunt or finding such amazing bargains that it interferes with your life in one way or another. Whether it is time, space, money or creating a friction in your life, these are signs of going overboard.  Nothing is worth that. It is no longer a bargain.

Well, that is my take on thrifting.

Now, let’s check out some fun posts from last week!

Mary at Redo 101 painted this adorable wagon and created a pretty Christmas display with it!

manteld  And Linda at A La Carte showed us just how pretty and cheerful a thrifted brunch tablescape can be!

elves & brunch 025bAnd Linda at Coastal Charm shared her beautiful Rustic/Shabby Christmas mantel!

IMG_6870Thank you ladies! If you don’t already have it, here is the “I was featured” button!

happythumb_thumb[1]Now, on with the show!


  1. Thank you so much for the mad my day:) I'm linking up my dining room, but I think I didn't write in my post that 80% of it was a THRIFTY deal...hope that's okay.


  2. This week has flown by!
    Great post about thrifting boundaries.
    We all need to set some, although I admit sometimes my boundaries flex a little.

    I have learned the hard way that if I am on the fence about an item, carry it around for a bit. If I leave it on the shelf, 90% of the time when I look for it again, it is gone.
    Still, you have to give your head more power than your heart. Sometimes you must learn to walk away and not regret.

  3. You and I thrift so much the same way! I took some photos today of thrifted Christmas gifts. I will do a post about them after Christmas. It is amazing what we can find and all my friends and family know I buy thrift for them and don't mind at all...they get awesome items I could otherwise not afford. Thanks for featuring my brunch tablescape~ I'll be back with my post soon!
    hugs, Linda

  4. Same here I don't buy expensive dishes because I often times find it somewhere. And beside if I go to buy expensive stuff that is only one time and I can't do that, lol!

    Thrifted & Layered

  5. Great post! We sound similiar with our rules. Now that myincome is just about nil, I'm digging through my piles and getting around to all those things I meant to do long ago.....if I can remember what I thought of when I bought it!
    The hunt isn't as fun but I do find things I'd forgot all about. I miss going thrifting so much, ocassionaly I'll splurge and stop at one....but my budget is $1-$2 per item. So I really need too hunt and be sure I can repurpose/remodel/etc to get more out of it.
    Frugalality is the new neccessity!

  6. Great post, Diann! I have had to learn to make boundaries for myself also. Thanks for hosting! Happy weekend!...hugs...Debbie

  7. Thanks for sharing all these great tips about thrifting, Diann. And thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures. My favorite is the wagon....Christine

  8. Great post! I am so with you! My girlfriend called the other day and she was at an upscale store looking for a clear vase... WHAT! We could never shop there for a vase, I said go to a thrift store you can probably get one for $1 She never thought of that. This is why I like blogging so many like minded people who don't think I'm cheap...Just thrifty!

  9. Noritake "M" is the good OLD stuff!!

    I'm super sorry my link came thru twice... will you forgive me??

  10. Thanks for much for the feature, I have really enjoyed that little white wagon - so glad I spray painted it. Thanks, too, for hostessing another great party!


  11. Such great features! Thanks so much for hosting.
    We'd love to have you share with us at"What's It Wednesday" some time. You are always welcome!

  12. You've given us some really good tips and great advice! I love to thrift at this time of year! They seem to be bringing out all of the Christmas now and I'm finding some fun things! Happy holidays to you, my friend! ♥

  13. Great post, Diann! You always share the best information.

  14. Very insightful tips, Diann. I couldn't agree more. I love thrifting. It's becomming addictive. Can't buy anything retail anymore. Thanks for hosting and have a nice weekend.

  15. Such great tips and thoughts about thrifting! I too am puzzled about the dollar store items marked up! Thanks for hosting the linky and happy holidays!

  16. Great tips as usual. I agree with you about setting boundaries for yourself at $2.50 and under. That is where you'll find the greatest stuff. I found a great little retro Christmas Tree the other day in perfect shape. I haven't stopped smiling everytime I see it. Now if I could only find some dishes. Take care.

  17. I enjoyed this and thanks for the tips. I also set boundaries for myself in this day and age one has to.

  18. We don't have many Thrifts around here, and the few we have are very pricey. I saw something in one more than what I paid new!

    I totally agree with getting to know the sales people. As soon as I walk in to the WSonoma Outlet, they tell me what the good deals are! :)
    Have a great Sunday!

  19. Thank you for hosting! And thanks for the fantastic tips on thrifting! Come join our link up too if you get a chance!


Thank you for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your ideas. If you ask a question, I will answer it here in a comment back to you. Please check back! Thank you for visiting and have a wonderful day! Diann :)