Over the course of this year we have seen everything go up in price. Gas has hit over four dollars per gallon and the price milk is up 30%. With rising energy costs, living expenses and the high rate of unemployment, we are all searching for ways to cut costs. Thrift stores can be a great relief for your pocketbook.
Most thrift stores are non-profit and do more than help the consumer. A big majority are run by your local churches. Stores like the DAV help disabled veterans and the Salvation Army covers a whole slew of projects helping the needy. Thrift stores are a win-win situation.
Every year we have spent ridiculous amounts of money for new school clothes. Even at the cheapest stores, it can get costly with trousers, shirts (long and short sleeved), undergarments, socks, shoes. One of these budget outfits can come to around 20- 30 dollars. Say we buy 5 outfits, that averages out to 150 per kid. Try to buy designer or name brand, and you can easily get to 500 per kid.
This year with the financial crunch we went frugal. We took our kids to the DAV store in the next town over to buy school clothes. Some kids will frown at the thought of getting used clothes. Our kids were reluctant but since we let our children pick out their own clothes they had a great time. We bought 7 outfits for each child (shirt and trousers) and spent around 40 dollars per child. The great thing about the DAV is the designer brands are no more than the cheaper brands. People throw out great stuff. Not only did we save money but we spent time together as a family doing this, it was great.
For us saving money has not stopped at back to school shopping. We have started some Christmas shopping there as well. We found two big stuffed animals that looked brand new for 3 bucks total. These things would easily cost 15 bucks each at a toy store. Another great find was a pair of youth Nike Shark football cleats. These are priced around 40 bucks new, we paid 7 and they even smelled new (yeah, I smelled them).
Today thrift stores are more than used clothing stores. A person can outfit their entire kitchen; buy toys, furniture, bedding, hand bags, collectibles, electronics, small appliances, holiday decorations, picture frames, music and books. Collectibles that are not in production can be found as well. I collect 8-track tapes, these are junk to most people and the thrift stores usually carry these at around 50 cents each.
Not everything can or should be bought used but the savings can be substantial and the great thing is you get a bargain and give to charity at the same time. If you do not need the savings but still want to be charitable give your stuff to the thrift stores rather than the dump, they will sort out the junk. And hey, according to the plastic trophy I got for fathers day, I’m the best dad on earth, so, that “World’s Greatest Dad” coffee mug you are throwing away belongs to me and could be my next gift.