Half Price Day At the Thrift Store

Today was half price day for seniors at the Hillcrest Thrift Shop. I went looking for T-shirts for myself and my grand kids. They will become ‘Grandma Rie’s Money Camp’ T-shirts once I apply the iron on transfer. Since I love a bargain, I also shopped for and found some books about jobs and money to use for the camp as well.

Rich Lady Shopping At Thrift Store
As I was leaving, I noticed a beautiful new cream colored Lincoln Towncar also pulling out of the lot. Peeking in, I saw that the driver was silver haired and most likely over 55.

My first reaction surprised me – I was a little bit angry. Why would someone driving an expensive car like that need or want to shop at a second hand thrift store? After all, this is used JUNK, that STINKS and probably has a gazillion germs. But then, I reflected, was I not also there shopping – driving away in my Toyota convertible with my bargain T-shirts and books?

I Hated Thrift Store Shopping
Back in the day, I HAD to shop at thrift stores to get clothes for my kids to wear to school each year. I hated it. It felt sleazy. It felt degrading. It was embarrassing. I swore to myself that when we finally pulled it together and got out of poverty, that I would NEVER shop at thrift stores again!

And I didn’t, for quite a few years. Hubby and I both worked, we pulled in good salaries, we finally had enough put away to send both boys to college and we were out of debt. I shopped at regular department stores and bought new (not extravagant, just new) clothes for all of us when we needed them.

Why I Started Shopping At Trift Stores Again
But then, I opened a booth in an antique mall. To make an antique mall booth turn a profit, you have to buy really, really low. So, I again started frequenting garage sales, estate sales, auctions and yes, thrift stores. As I saw the goods offered and compared the prices to what the stuff costs new, and further realized that hey, I don’t have to pay taxes on this stuff, my excitement about hunting for bargains was re-ignited.

As I shopped for merchandise for my booth, I started occasionally picking up items for myself or the house, or my spouse. I was hooked, on a bargain hunting adrenalin high!

I Went Full Circle 
The antique booth went by the wayside when I realized it was just sucking time and money, yet I continued to frequent garage sales and thrift stores. Now I had grand kids. Garage sales often have a wide selection of near new baby and toddler clothing at give away prices. I found toys to re-stock our house so they have something to play with when they come here and bargains to use to help furnish our newly acquired lake condo.

That is how I came full circle, from needing to frequent the thrift stores when we were very poor, to wanting to find the bargains they offer, now that we are not. I doubt I will ever again volunteer to pay full price plus tax for items I can buy at garage sales and thrift stores.

Shopping at thrift stores and garage sales takes time, but consider the advantages:

  • Pay no taxes
  • Lets you sharpen your negotiation skills
  • Provides the entertainment of hunting for bargains
  • Neighborhood sales provide walking exercise, if you park your car and shop the block
  • Saves a bunch of money
  • Lets you encourage all of those kids with lemonaide stands to be entrepreneurs
  • Provides excellant chances to chat with folks in your area
  • Gives you an excuse to walk around other people’s neighborhoods and rubberneck their houses
  • Satisfys your urge to go buy something without busting your budget

I wonder if the silver haired lady in the cream colored Lincoln Towncar has a similar story to tell?

Do you hate thrift stores?

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