Frugal Friday: My Favorite Thrift Store Finds and Why You’re Spending Too Much Money on Them

Thankfully for our budget, I became quite the frugal shopper long before we had six kids. I just can’t imagine spending more money than I have to on things that I could easily get for less just by buying used; plus, I can use all that money I save for things that are far more fun!

thrift store

We have some pretty great thrift stores in our area: Goodwill, ValueVillage, and the base thrift store are just a few of my favorites! While my pregnant nose doesn’t love that musty “none of this has been washed in ten years” smell (come on, you guys know it’s true), I do love the savings! I also LOVE to shop garage sales. It’s the only good reason I can think of for getting up early on a Saturday morning. Well, that and brunch at The Gypsy Kit. Seriously. If you haven’t been yet, I just feel so sorry for you.

You know what else makes me feel sorry for you? When you don’t thrift shop and miss out amazing, fantastic deals, like this “reproving raccoon, Reginald” that my husband DEMANDED we bring home from AlleyCat Vintage Mercantile. It’s a JJ Cale vinyl cover, and it hangs in our playroom staring disapprovingly at my children as they argue.



And sometimes, even when you do thrift shop, you second guess yourself and miss out on amazing fantastic deals, like this golden unicorn statue that I didn’t buy my brother for Christmas three years ago. He still hasn’t forgiven me.
golden unicorn


Pinterest has rekindled a love of repurposing for lots of mamas (and single ladies…did you sing that? Because I did. Thanks, Beyonce.), but there still seems to be a stigma about thrifting/buying used items. If you’re needing to buy new underwear, please, for the love of God, go to Target. But there are plenty of things you can buy used that won’t trigger your gag reflex. Plus, you can be like me and call it “treasure hunting”, and then your kids will be excited and think you’re going to do something way more fun than shopping! At least for the first five minutes…

*Side note: The older ones do eventually catch on. Bribe them with candy.
**Side note to the side note: I don’t really condone bribing children, but I will buy their silence with candy. It’s not the same. Just trust me.

Let’s take a look at a few things my family regularly buys used (and things Pinterest says you should buy used too!)!

1. Picture Frames

This is probably the number one thing I search for the most when thrifting. A used frame and a can of spray paint can really transform a hideous frame into something gorgeous! Pop out that ugly ’90s blue bonnet goose print and fill it with something from your adult coloring book! (Don’t act like you don’t have one. You have one. We all have one.)

2. Books

I can’t say no to books. It’s probably the teacher in me, but I feel like a house full of books is a necessity. I have always loved to read, but I have never been able to fathom the prices chain stores expect you to pay for new books. Especially kids books! Some of them have less than 20 words! $12.99?! I’m all about price per ounce, and in this case, price per word, and that is just ridiculous. We have found some of our favorite books at garage sales and the local “little libraries” where you can trade out books for free! There’s one on 9th Street that we often pass on the way home, and my kids ask to stop almost every time.

3. Costumes

Every year we scour Target and WalMart a few days after Halloween to hit up their 90% off costumes. It’s a necessity when you have five super hero/Star Wars loving boys and a husband who wears full-body Chewbacca pajamas. But did you know that you can find costumes at thrift stores almost all year round? We have gotten at least 1/3 of our costumes used, and some were BRAND NEW. Take advantage of the fact that some poor mother’s five year old changed his mind 23, 359 times right before Halloween about what he wanted to be, then she lost the receipt, let it sit in the bag in her trunk until December swearing she was going to try and take it back, and eventually gave up and donated it. You’re paying $3.99 for that $35 Boba Fett costume. Don’t feel guilty. It wasn’t your fault. Five year olds are fickle.

4. Furniture you plan to repurpose

This seems like an obvious addition to the list, but I have seen so many gals buy a new-to-them dark cherry sleigh bed off a trading post for $400 only to sand it down, paint it turquoise and distress it. Honey, you could have bought that old door you saw at Goodwill and made a gorgeous headboard for $24.99 using that same technique.

And chairs. I am so happy that mismatched chairs seem to be a thing right now. It’s always been my thing, so for once I am feeling totally hip. I love a good set of mismatched chairs painted in fun colors. But don’t buy a whole set when you can make them even more fun and funky by buying six different ones for $10 a piece and making them your own! I might have an obsession with chairs. And antique desks. My husband has threatened to send me a support group.

So, what are some of your favorite thrift store/garage sale finds? Do you have a favorite local shop? Share in the comments below!

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