When you are on a budget, using a thrift store is one way to really cut costs. There are some items that I don’t buy secondhand, but many things can be purchased from a thrift store with no problem.
One of my personal favorite things to buy is dishes. Dishes can be placed in the dishwasher to be sanitized, and they are so much cheaper than new!A few weeks ago I found a beautiful Corningware casserole dish for $4.00 in our local Goodwill store. I went to Walmart later and saw the exact dish priced at $14.00! Wow. I love finding good deals.
Need another bed? A shelf for the extra books? Changing table? I have found some nice things at a thrift store. If the idea of buying fabric-covered couches secondhand makes you gag – that’s ok! No need! But there are many other pieces of furniture that you can wipe down, and will save you hundreds of dollars.
I don’t know how I would have clothed our growing family for all these years, if it wasn’t for secondhand stores. I’ve found everything from brand-new Wrangler shirts to like-new dresses and little boy jeans. All for a steal! Several dollars at most. It is probably the single biggest way I’ve been able to save money over the years. We don’t have a clothing budget – we have Goodwill. I’ve probably spent around $20-$30 per child per year on clothes.
No, they do not look like catalog models. They have simple, ordinary clothes. We homeschool, so they don’t have to be ‘dressed up’. They have a few nice sets of clothes for church and town, etc, but nothing fancy. Why spend hundreds of dollars per year when they just grow out of their clothes quickly?
With the exception of winter gear: we buy new, good quality boots, coats and gloves for the older kids. You just can’t live in the mountains of Wyoming and ask your kids to do outside chores and not clothe them warmly.
Ok, I have pretty much stopped browsing the book section, because I am a MOM, you know?! My bookshelves are full and I need 100 other things so much more than I need books. But – I have found many good deals on books! There are often really nice kids books, which is about all I look at now, in the book section.
I was at a flea market last week with my (single) sister, and she went straight for the books. I realized in that moment that I have turned into a middle-aged mom who needs casserole dishes and bunkbeds more than books. Hehe!
Oh, and one other thing: you can find Bibles of all sorts at a Goodwill. Buy a few copies, and keep them in your car or in your home to pass out freely to anyone who wants one! You never know.
5. Gift Wrap
Weird, huh? Well you can actually find brand new, never-opened gift wrap at Goodwill! Sure, it may be 5 years old – who cares? If it’s pretty, go for it. It will be ripped and discarded within moments anyways.
We have found so many fun games! Or just replacement games. Our kids love to play board games and I don’t have the heart to refuse them, even when they are too young to properly care for the games. (stepping on boxes, losing pieces)
My strategy is to buy a replacement game at the thrift store for 3-4 dollars. I would ‘way rather have my little kids making good memories of playing with board games, than to be fussing over the pieces all the time. I have replaced Chess several times, and found cute versions of Memory, and more.
The great thing is, kids (if deprived of screens) will spend hours playing board games if you let them make up their own games and don’t micromanage. I’m sure there’s some scientific child development involved, but hey, I am just a normal mom who needs her kids to play! Haha!
7. Sports equipment
We aren’t real big into sports, but there are a few things I have seen or bought from this category. Baseball mitts, balls, and bats. Rollerblades and ice skates. Hockey sticks. Croquet sets and basketballs. Skateboards. Bike helmets. Spray the inside with a little disinfectant and you’re good to go!
You think the germs are too gross? But you probably rent skates, go bowling, etc. This is no worse than that.
Oh man. We have went through bikes! One year, we had a nice Christmas bonus, and we decided to buy each of our kids a brand-new bike. I never had a new bike when I was a kid, and thought it would be great.
Those bikes started having fits within a year. I was so disgusted! So back to the Goodwill we went! I can buy a bicycle for 5-10 dollars at the Goodwill. That is cheaper than new tires! Suffice it to say that our kids have found many hours of enjoyment riding secondhand bikes.
9. Garden tools
Rakes, shovels, hoes, fertilizer carts, garden hoses, sprinklers… anything you can think of! Terra cotta pots, trowels, and more. You’d be surprised what nifty gardening treasures you can find in a thrift store.
They might now be the latest and greatest, but you can definitely find good quality blankets at a thrift store. Maybe you just need some extra to stick the closet for when family comes. Or extra for camping in the mountains, or for protecting your furniture when you move. Grab a few from Goodwill.
All sizes, shapes, and colors! They are inexpensive, so experiment a bit and spray paint one if you like the shape.
I don’t wear a lot of jewelry, so I haven’t actually bought any here. But I was thinking; how inexpensive and fun it would be, to grab a bunch of jewelry for your kids’ dress-up costumes?
Too gross? Try this jewelry cleaner on amazon.
So there are 12 things you can buy at a thrift store! Don’t just assume that everything is grody
— go in, walk around, check it out. It feels so good to get a great bargain, much better than to rack up more credit card debt.