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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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Potty Training

Potty Training My Sixth Child

Potty Training my Sixth Kid

One would think I would be an expert in all things child, since I do have children ranging in age from 13-2. I’ve got boys and girls. I’ve got all the personalities (Ok, maybe not, since there are 16 main personalities, but it feels like it most days!)

I’ve got lots of experience in many layers of different. All five of my older children were out of diapers full time before they were three. They all currently use the potty on the regular.

potty training three year old
Three year olds sleeping without diapers can be risky

With my first five, they had a little sibling coming along around the time they turned two, so I was hyper-vigilant before the new baby arrived. We had long stints of Elimination Communication when they were wee babies. I instituted “Potty Train your Kid in Two Days” (Lies!) type policies. We used cloth diapers when we were out and about so they could feel the wetness. They were pantsless at home. They got chocolate chips when they did their business in the right place. They got it. They learned.

One would think potty training my sixth child would be a breeze.

If you think that, you would be wrong.

potty training before three
Almost two year old covered in caulk on the potty

Even with more eyes that should be watching this sixth kid, she gets away with more. Case in point: she completely flooded the bathroom the other day. There was at least an inch of water on the floor. The drawers in the vanity under the sink were two/thirds filled with water.

Kevin was home with the kids while I was on a writing retreat, and I like to think it wouldn’t have happened on my watch. (Lies.) Perhaps with more people around to keep an eye on her, everyone else thinks someone else is watching her, and no one actually is.

There’s a possibility she wasn’t being trained as closely during her readiness window because of her beloved grandma being sick and subsequently dying right around her second birthday. It could be because I stopped cloth diapering all together when she was still a baby. We could attribute it to the fact that I didn’t do Elimination Communication as long with her as I did with the other kids. It’s likely she’s just more stubborn and I’m more tired.

Maybe there isn’t a good reason.

The reason doesn’t matter as much as you knowing that whatever stage of motherhood you’re in right now, you’re not alone. Even us seasoned mothers don’t know what we’re doing, or why we’re doing it, or why it’s going wrong. If your kid won’t sleep through the night and is crawling in bed with you, it’s normal, you’re not alone. If you can’t get your kid potty trained by 3, don’t worry, you’re not alone. If road trips make you think you’re going to lose your everloving mind, and any self control you had at any point in your life, you’re not alone. If you’re afraid your kids are going to kill each other in a spatula fight turned nasty, take heart, you’re not alone. What is going on with you and your kids happens to all of us. I’m here for you. You’re not alone.

Unless your kid is using the teeter totter to catapult  dead mice into an open window. Then you might be on your own.

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