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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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Farm Fresh Road Trip

Six kiddlets and one mama heading up to Chicago area for Independence Day weekend.
Minute 1: tan I have a snack now?
Minute 7: it takes a wong time to det to Gigi and Opa’s.  (Repeat every 2-3 minutes) 
Minute 11: pass out multiple “pixie cups” of cheddar popcorn accompanied by threats of being tossed out the window if you spill any
Minute 20: wait for train
Minute 30: Burger King drive through
Minute 36: I’m hungry, tan I have a snack now? 
Minute 49: enter expressway with very minimal exits and much construction and no shoulder
Minute 53: air conditioning starts blasting heat. Even shutting off fans does nothing to stop it. Roll down windows, hope for the best. There is NO WHERE to pull over. 
Minute 58: three year old, red in the face and exquisitely in pain begins scream crying “top on the side of the road to doe peepee and poopoo!!”
Minute 59: thankfully see a sign declaring we are not far from the only exit for another 35 miles because there is no way to pull over in the construction and traffic 
Minutes 59-65: Hold it baby, can you hold it? 
Big brother: just pee in your seat! Hahahaha!!
Minute 60: Nine year old, red in the face and exquisitely in pain begins scream crying, because of a leg cramp
Minute 66: baby wakes up.
Minutes 66-80: Take kids into gas station by turns. Deny requests to buy fireworks, toy cars and snacks. 
Minute 85: return to tollway. 
Minute 86: I’m hungry. May I have a snack? 
Minute 87: is it my turn with the kindle yet? 
Minute 88: miraculously, shutting off Suburban has fixed the heating issue, at least temporarily, and air conditioning works once again and we can roll up the windows.
Minute 88-120: negotiations for Kindle turns, drinks of water, much conversation and laughter and “It take a wong time to det to Gigi and Opa’s house”: arm in backseat stroking baby’s head
Minute 100: Cadrian gave Denton the Kindle so he could play Math V. Zombies, but only after he used up all the bullets so poor five year old had to do too hard of math problems for him in order to get more bullets. For some reason this made me laugh hysterically. Aviana to the rescue–provided him with a well stocked arsenal.
Minute 115: finally stop laughing. Hysteria  may have other sources… 
Minute 121: let boys in third row have popcorn bag
Minute 121:30: uhoh!–the popcorn dropped all over the floor and seat
Minutes 122 continued: feverishly feed baby grapes to keep her quiet. She bites into them, eats their guts,  spits out the outsides. Don’t care. At least she’s not crying.
Minutes 123 continued: everyone gets louder and louder the heavier the traffic gets and the closer we get to our destination. 
Minutes 125 and on: Jokes like: why did the cow cross the road? To get to the other side. Why did the calf cross the road? Because he was nursing his mama
Minutes 126 and on: Brielle texts my friends with video of crying baby. And texts whomever will text her back
Minutes 127 and on: children wave exuberantly at fellow drivers and shout things they thankfully (hopefully) can’t hear like “hey lady! You’re fired!” 
Minute 140: notice phone battery (and therefore GPS directions) is getting dangerously low. Charger in a bag in the way back. Carry on bravely. 
Minute 145 and on: childish jabber noise and intermittent baby fussing accompanied by the constant pinging, baaing, and general noise of Elivette’s Todo Math game 
(Don’t forget the “it takes a Wong time to det to Gigi and Opa’s house!” Every few minutes)
Minute 183: ARRIVE AT DESTINATION 
Now it’s “how wong befowre Uncwle Torydon dets hewre?”
Clean out popcorn, grapes, at least half a pint of blueberries,  and an entire garbage bag of trash. 
Ahh. We’re here. 

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