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.
- I can’t afford most things retail price. Yup, that is my reality.
- 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.
- 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.
- I am trying to teach my child that there is always alternatives.
- I love vintage items.
- 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.
And 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!
And Linda at A La Carte showed us just how pretty and cheerful a thrifted brunch tablescape can be!
And Linda at Coastal Charm shared her beautiful Rustic/Shabby Christmas mantel!