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Tips for Finding the Best Thrifting Deals

I am always looking for a bargain and for quicker, easier ways of doing things. If you are too, this thrifting haul example and tips for finding the best deals fast is for you!

Thrift store tips goodwill savings cheap chic style fashion frugal Salvation Army

Hoodies for my 11 year old

I asked her how many she thought she needed, and she vehemently responded, “ALL of them!”

Thrift store tips goodwill savings cheap chic style fashion frugal Salvation Army

Tees for her to wear and also with which to make Pinterest crafts.

Ah! The freedom to use my sewing scissors and cut things with abandon!

Thrift store tips goodwill savings cheap chic style fashion frugal Salvation Army justice old Navy

Pants and leggings. The black ones are to cut off and wear under her skirts. Sometimes the staffers catch a brand which resells well, such as Justice or Pink, and mark it up quite a bit, but often you can find them for the standard price, like I did today.

Thrift store tips goodwill savings cheap chic style fashion frugal Salvation Army

Summer skirts. On Poshmark and ThredUp, all of these go for at least $10. Know the brands you want, and whether or not you’ve found a good deal. If you’re unsure, look it up in store.

Dress for almost 3 year old. It’s actually a 24 month size-don’t be afraid to try things on. And once we tried it on, I couldn’t talk her into taking it off again.

Pro tip: just roll with it. I only bought her this because sometimes it’s easier to fork over $2.88 than listen to the incessant whining.

A few items for me. I’m thinking of making the capris into Bermudas. Only buy things to alter if you’re actually going to do it! The top is actually Motherhood maternity, but for $.44, I don’t really care!

Wear a skirt while you shop and it’s easy to just try something on in right there in the aisle.

A couple of skirts for 13 year old.

I also got a pair of Keens for 9 year old. They were the most expensive item at $8.88.

The total cost: $89 and change!

Total time spent: Under an hour.

Kids along: Three

I discovered thrifting in my 20s, when I went into a store I didn’t realize was consignment, and found my favorite Express sweater for less than 1/3 of what I had paid for it. That was lightbulb moment for me.

Why pay mall prices when you can get the exact same thing second hand and way cheaper?

With some experience under my belt buying for my own wardrobe and some house wares, I found thrifting to be a freeing way of life, especially once I quit teaching and more and more kids came along.

Now, homeschooling six kids on one income, I have to be frugal and fast. Here are some more of my best tips:

Go with as few of kids as possible

The more kids you have along the less able you are to think.

Try to take the kids who you are shopping for with you.

I bought some Keens for Cadrian today which he doesn’t really love because he’d prefer to wear socks and tennis shoes!

Really kid? Are you sure you’re mine?!

If I would have had him with me, I would have known he didn’t like them–and wouldn’t you know, shoes aren’t returnable. I can resell them or save them for Denton.

Keep a running list of needs

On the side of my fridge, I write down the things I’m on the lookout for. This includes when I realize someone has outgrown shoes and what size they need, or that they need a white shirt for this event. Or if I saw a cute DIY on YouTube, I’ll write down the items I want to watch for.

Set a time limit.

I usually go thrifting when my boys are in tutoring. That gives me about 50 minutes to choose items and pay. The time limit makes me make quick decisions and I’m less likely to buy something I only like (versus love) unless it’s $.44.

Go often.

I go to the same Goodwill a couple times a month. Sometimes I buy very little, sometimes I find a lot that will work. The inventory is always changing and different colored items are on sale or clearance.

Know the return policy.

I buy things too for my kids who might not be with me that I can return just in case they don’t love it. (I didn’t realize that shoes weren’t returnable until today! See how important that tip is!!)

It’s sometimes easier to not have them with me, have them try stuff on at home, and return it if it doesn’t work. I’m usually ok with donating it back too if I miss the return deadline, since most kid’s clothes are only $2.88.

Know the deals.

At Goodwill, they have a color of tag that is cheaper that day. Today for instance, anything with pink or yellow tags were 2 for $.88. Sometimes it’s “only” half off, but you still want to pay attention to the signage.

Go early.

I can never do this because of homeschool, but the color of the day is pretty picked over by 2 pm when I can go.

What are some of your favorite tips for getting the best deals?

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What I Wore Weekly- Spring Mom Outfits

You’re a busy real life mom. I am too. I share with you relatable   outfits and wearable, stylish fashion so you can feel put together while you’re wiping noses and tables and feeling wiped out. It’s a challenge to be fashionable on a budget, but I can help you with that!

This post contains affiliate links, which help me keep my kids stocked with books and food, clicking through is good for me, at no cost to you!

style mama SAHM fashion outfit of the day what to wear mom cheap chic frugal gold sneakers farm cardigan lace vest

Sweater: hand me down

Crochet Vest: Goodwill

Support your local farmers shirt: Zulily You can find one like it HERE

Jeans: Zulily

Gold Skechers: Purchased at Ross and you can get yours here

This outfit is perfect for hanging out with your 13 year old all day in Des Moines and finding out she was an alternate for qualifying for Nationals at the state level of National History Day!

style mama SAHM fashion outfit of the day what to wear mom cheap chic summer hat spring skirt flipflops

Hat: Dollar Tree similar HERE

Shirt: Goodwill

Skirt: Land’s End via Goodwill (I cut five inches off the bottom as it was an awkward length. I just left the hem raw. If you like an item but it has something wrong with it, see if you can alter it easily.)

Shoes: FitFlops available HERE

This is the perfect outfit in which to wake up with another headache and try to do your best and get the basics done and with a pretty good attitude even though you’re seriously not feeling it. It’s also good for standing in some weeds at the side of the road because it makes a cool photo.

style mama SAHM fashion outfit of the day what to wear mom cheap chic frugal

Dress: actually a nightgown a friend gave me because her more abundant boobage kept escaping–I don’t have that problem, unfortunately. And who can tell it’s meant to be a nightgown anyway? This is another way to save money. (Also it was literally because I just didn’t bother to get dressed)

lace vest: Goodwill

Hat: Goodwill

Shoes: NEW Old Navy via Goodwill

Necklace: Target

This is the perfect outfit in which to have a migraine and not want to get up but you have to get up and sit very still until you’re forced to do something and then just throw on some accessories because you have to take people places and people are coming over but thankfully by then you feel better and can enjoy your friend and kids’ friends and the first party of the year and dancing in the rain. But seriously, people, I wore a nightgown all day.

second hand thrifty fashion mom life outfit of the day style

Cardigan: Wish

Shirt: hand-me-down

Skirt: Old Navy via Goodwill

Shoes: Like, 15 year old Skechers, seriously, these have lasted for freeking ever

Necklace: hand-me-down

Earrings: Shortline Design

This is the perfect outfit in which to get a bit of business done, have some friends over and run here and there, and go to the chiro and acupuncturist finally and fall asleep and for sure drool, and then realize you don’t have enough time to run home and change at least your shoes and fix your hair (which is left over from the day before!) because you get to help host the Bloom! Event with the Quad City Mom’s Blog, but you just smile and act like you meant to do it all along. And when you get home, it’s perfect for hiding in the car in the garage because you just don’t want to talk to your people but of course they are waiting up for you, and hug them but you can’t sleep and feel sad.

 

Silk Vintage Scarf: Thrifted from Life’s Little Treasures

Sweater: Hand-me-down

Sloth dress: Amazon

Jeggings: Sam’s Club

Converse: eBay

Earrings: Iowa hand made by Shortline Design

You can see another way I styled this dress here.

This is the perfect outfit in which to wake up with ANOTHER headache and not even want to face the day but you do it anyway and you are glad because you get to serve with your family and your CC (other) community and move a lot of rocks and hang out with your kids who are your favorite people and have lunch at a park and sit in the van ALONE while the boys are in tutoring because the two year old fell asleep and take them to Walmart because even though you did the pick up thing, you forgot several things and buy a new amazing mop that you’re in love with, but also that the kids want to use all the time, so that’s a win, and an incredible carpet cleaning gadget that is way less than the ridiculous heavy Kirby you spent a lot of money on a long time ago but works way better and actually gets all the stains out in the worst of the carpet (which you hate but that’s another story) and to think you’re going to sit and relax at the end of a long day, one in which your husband is not only working late, but he’s in another state and then when you take the dog outside, you see that the COWS ARE OUT so then you spend the rest of the evening chasing stupid bovines and you fall asleep on the couch and sleep there all night because it was a hard day; but at least you got your steps in.

This is also the perfect outfit to wear for most of the next day until the mail comes and you get your new tee shirt, so you change so you can put it on.

style mama SAHM fashion outfit of the day what to wear mom cheap chic frugal

Five year old took this picture.

Shirt: IOWA by the Iowa City Mom’s Blog  I hate when clothes are too small so I ordered it a little big, but this particular style was WAY too big, but I got to put four tiny rubber bands on the inside and kind of blouse it and it looked awesome.

Shorts: Levi’s via Goodwill (I bought these last spring, but ended up gaining a lot of grief/stress weight, and they were too small and I could never wear them, however, I actually took the tags off today!)

Sandals: American Eagle via Goodwill

Necklace: Etsy, gift from a friend/doula client

Earrings: Shortline Design

I bought both these shorts and sandals last spring when I was putting together a summer capsule wardrobe on a tight budget: you can read about that here.

This is the perfect outfit in which to build chain reactions with your boy and spruce up the kitchen a bit and give baths to horribly dirty people, and clean all the things over and over because seriously as soon as you put away those towels somehow they’re out again when you walk back into that room, and really want to see your friends but decide you need a quiet night in even more and that’s hard and it’s perfect in which to be sad and cry because a year ago today was when your beloved mother-in-law went into intensive care for a couple of weeks and then got better and then suddenly we lost her. Life is hard without her. Spring is always hard for me, but it’s especially hard without her, her experience, her understanding, her having been through so many spring plantings and farm crises and survived, her help and assurance.  It’s hard without her.

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Stay-at-Home Mom

Stay-at-Home Mom Style – Spring

Sweatshirt: Iowa State

Pants: these are so old I have no ide

Shoes: KSwiss from COLLEGE era y’all!

I’m not one to quit on a garment just because it has a little age to it.

This is the perfect outfit in which to spend all day in the rain and in the garage doing an amazing DIY patio update and painting all the things.

Tunic: Zulily

Necklaces : Target and Noonday

Velvet leggings:Target

Boots: Target

This is the perfect outfit in which to premiere as a greeter and usher. I’m a terrific greeter but my ushing was rather clumsy. It’s also perfect in which to take your daughters and friends out to eat and endure the snow and freezing April temperatures, take the girls to A Wrinkle In Time, and write all evening while watching Murder on the Orient Express, while the oldests wrap your hair around 89 straws.

Dress: Goodwill in DC!

leggings: Ross

Shoes: Younkers

Pup: Snuggles and Cuddles

This is the perfect outfit in which to start off optimistic that it’s going to be as lovely as the day before but quickly realize that you’re going to freeze, and supervise the cleaning of the patio and deck and balance bank accounts (well, try to) and babysit three more kids and hope they don’t die and have a bonfire and go out with friends and drink and talk and talk and talk.

Top: Old Navy via Goodwill

pants: PINK via Goodwill

Shoes: Converse via Ross

This is the perfect outfit to wear to babysit and end up with 10 kids including a baby who you get to wear and whose head you get to smell and kiss and know that you know that you know you are done with babies but you are so happy you get to love on friendbabies and to make an actual lunch that almost every body eats, and to buy new chairs at Theisen’s which don’t fit in the car and be late for picking up your Wal-mart grocery order and they have to page people to unlock it but you don’t even care because you just want your Kix!

dress: Garage Sale

Hairbow: chosen and loaned by five year old

practical shoes: Danskos

This is the perfect outfit to wear for Classical Conversations Costume Day and just generally enjoy yourself immensely and not even get irritated when your daughter loses her shoe in the creek and your son wades in over his ankles to retrieve it, or when the two year old refuses to come to the van and you have to chase her across the park but you catch her because you wear the practical shoes.

Sweater: New York and Company via Goodwill

Puffer Vest: Goodwill

pants: Sam’s Club

Boots: Goodwill

This is the perfect outfit in which to stalk and photograph ducks and coots aaaaaaand do some other stuff.

Top: New York and Company cia Goodwill

Puffer Vest: Goodwill

Blanket Scarf: Amazon

Joggers: Zulily

Converse: Ross

This is the perfect outfit in which to get a lot of house work done and school work done and be the best Monday-er in the history of Monday, and also get carried away at the library book sale and also get a manicure and ALSO even make a proper farm wife supper.

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Stay-at-Home Mom

Outfits of the Week: Stay-at-Home Mom Style

What a crazy week! I wore more than these few outfits, I just didn’t get a lot of pictures taken. I didn’t even get a photo of my Easter style.  Although, I have been known to wear the same thing for several days in a row (#SAHMlife), so I guess my wearing the same outfit for an entire week is not out of the realm of possibility.

Base Top: Goodwill

Asymmetrical Jacket: StitchFix

Leggings: Aldi

Boots: Goodwill

This is the perfect outfit to wear to a local coffee shop and work on your blog and then for some reason get a blistering headache and then go home and straight to bed and feel better when you wake up and then get a weird, incredibly painful attack of heartburn which lasted almost all night (although I wasn’t wearing the boots by that point and my hair was pretty tangled).

Top: Ross

Jeans: Four Seasons

Boots: Goodwill

This is the perfect outfit to wear for all the homeschooling and laundry doing and slip on the kitchen floor and nearly kill yourself a few times because of the ridiculous slick bottomed boots, and do a quick tutorial for a friend, settle sibling spats (all day, every day) and stop by and pick up the purse you left at a restaurant on date night, and do a Director Proof for a Memory Master for Classical Conversations, hold an Informational Meeting and be told “I just LOVE stylish people!! (and have the internal reaction of WHAT?! ME?! and look around because she must be talking about someone else, and go to your friend-daughters’ plays, and out for raspberry lemon ice.

Jacket: My MIL’s closet

Sweater: Goodwill

Necklace: Noonday

Pants: Sam’s Club

Boots: Younkers

This is the perfect outfit in which to completely go off the cuff while leading an orchestra unit for your Classical Conversations community because there must have been some sort of miscommunication with the people you had lined up, to talk with many many people all day long and get asked repetitively for play dates and sleepovers and field many complaints about why do we have so many friends who only have girls and cancel your chiropractor appointment which you really need because you can’t figure out how to make it work with the things the kids have going on and realize even though you kind of resent it, you actually are putting other people first, which isn’t easy, but nevertheless, you’re proud of yourself.

Shirt: Goodwill (I cut small holes and laced up a ribbon, and sewed it at the bottom)

Basic leggings

Shoes: Ross

This is the perfect outfit in which to assist with all the music (piano lessons for two kids, orchestra, cello for one), spend some one on one time with my sweet Baby A, try a new coffee shop with your Handsome Husband, and go out to eat for delicious food you didn’t have to cook.

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