Friday, March 22, 2013

Eight Tips on Thrifting

by Heather

Can thrift shopping be taught or is it an innate skill for which I didn't receive the gene? I posed the question to fellow blogger, Sheila, and asked her to take me on a guided day trip to her favorite places to hunt for frugal finds while teaching me the basics of thrifting.
Our first stop was the Goodwill Store in Tempe, AZ.
Tip #1: Don't leave home without printing out the coupon for 20% off your purchases.
Tip #2: Check out the daily deals. 
Anything with a pink price ticket was an additional 50% off today! One of my Advanced Early Education high school students, Cassie, told me that every other Saturday is 50% off everything in the store. Ahhh, the teacher learns from the students once again.
I was pleasantly surprised by how neatly the merchandise was presented. We weren't shopping for clothing but all items were organized by color and the overall look was more impressive than many  discount stores.
Mmm...I don't need a new table but if I did, I could see that this one had possibilities...
Tip #3: Always travel with a tape measure and a list of the items you need and their dimensions
Measure the item that is a possibility. Much easier than dragging it home only to find it's too big or too small.
Tip #4: Find the unusual places in your community for thrifting.
Second stop was the ReStore, which is a Habitat for Humanity enterprise. The ReStore sells new and gently used building materials, household items, furniture and fixtures from contractors, individuals and partner retail stores. The donated materials are sold at 20-70% off retail prices with the proceeds helping to support the mission of Habitat for Humanity. Everybody wins -- we get necessary items at greatly reduced prices which then helps volunteers build homes for the needy!
Lots of merchandise for sale from bathroom fixtures to lighting to...well, you name it, they seem to have it!

Stardust Building Supplies has recycling and reinvesting in the community at the core of its mission. It's a non-profit community service organization that operates warehouses that offer new and gently used building materials and supplies at 50-80% off retail prices. The profits then are invested back into the community by helping with home improvement projects for those in need. As they say, "Stardust provides an environmentally responsible way to keep usable building materials out of the landfill and putting them back into the hands of people who can use them."
This granite-topped cabinet, sink and faucet is just one example of the numerous items for sale.
Tip #5: Think of how to repurpose your finds.
This type of display helps people like me who can't imagine what some of these items could be used for, other than the obvious. Here they have taken cupboard doors and repurposed them into trays. Very cool.
Here's another idea: take that door and make it into a desk... 
Or turn those shutters into a bookcase!
Tip #6: Shop these places on a fairly regular basis as the merchandise can change by the hour. 
While we were there, a builder dropped off several truckloads of brand new kitchen cabinets. What a steal those will be for someone!

Tip #7: Ask them if they'll hold the merchandise for an hour or two while you make up your mind.
I was on the hunt for two mirrors to hang on either side of the master bed. These two mirrors almost came home with me. Each one was only $30, but the color wasn't right and I would need to repaint them. Also, they were quite heavy and would have required some work to hang.
I put them on hold for a couple of hours but decided against them in the end.
 The next stop was Deseret Industries, a Mormon-based thrift store that uses the sales revenues to pay for vocational training for those in need as well as provide humanitarian assistance worldwide.
Clothing, furniture, and household items are available at very reasonable prices.
Tip #8: Any kind of shopping is more fun with a break for food and drink.
 A much-needed stop to refresh with a little authentic Mexican food!
Check out the size of the door. Everything here is over-sized including the 16 oz margaritas.
Chimichanga - I'm sure we'll wear this off with all of our shopping!
Our last stop was the Goodwill Store in south Scottsdale. We found several small treasures: books and baskets for both of us. The $.99 baskets will be perfect for Easter baskets for the grandchildren.

This bunny pitcher is a thrifty find from Home Goods!

I approached the day as a way to help myself save a few dollars, but ended the day seeing that it would also be a way to help my community. 
Not a bad way to spend some time now, is it?
Fun, food, furnishings, finds, frugality, and friendship -- thanks, Sheila!



  1. The goodwill here is just bad. There are several. I looked at the plus sizes and they were mostly large and extra large. Not well staged and nothing you'd really want to take home. Also no sales. I wish I could move.

    1. Come to AZ! The one in Tempe was quite lovely; the south Scottsdale store was not as good but still had quite a selection.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. You have such great places to shop! It looks like you had a fun day. My mom is visiting me today and we're going to hit as many thrift shops as we can. I'm hoping to come home with a treasure or two.

    I'm visiting from Richella's Grace at Home party.

    1. Hi Paula,
      You'll have to let us know what treasures you find today. It's always fun to shop vicariously!

  6. we go thrifting about once a month and always have great fun like you did and yes always stop for something good to eat

    come see us at

    1. You sound like you're an experienced thrift shopper! Let us know what tips you can offer on thrifting, okay? Thanks for stopping by.

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