Thursday, February 6, 2020

Thrifty Thursday ~ Buying Used Items

I get asked often how we "make it" in this area and still have a stay-at-home parent (for the past 20 years). We live in the city with the highest cost of living for our state. Stay at home parents are hard to come by and many are working two to three jobs to make ends meet.  There are a host of reasons why we are able to keep a parent at home that stem from careful lifestyle choices to some wonderful blessings. Today, I am going to talk about one of the main ways we stretch our pennies. We buy very, very few things that are new. I rely heavily on thrift stores for almost everything we want and need. In fact, I kept very careful records in January, and we only bought new (outside of food and medications) two school workbooks, a puzzle, a package of copy paper, plant-based trash bags, two panels of drywall and a can of paint. That actually seems like a lot to me, yet I know it isn't in comparison to what many folks buy.

I keep a running list of what we are looking for, and we patiently gather things as we see them. We practice patience. After all, there are very few items that are needed instantly. Most things can wait. We visit thrift stores every week. We are blessed to have about eight really nice thrift stores in the area. I have found that, in our area, thrift stores run by charities or the hospital tend to have the best finds. Church thrift stores are small or very picked over and consignment shops tend to ask bigger prices than I am generally willing to pay. This is what we found this week.
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I found a brand new Vicks vaporizer still with tags on it, a cheese dome, a can organizer for the pantry and a dish drying rack.
  • The dish drying rack cost me $1 and retails for $15 at Walmart.
  • The cheese dome was $3 and retails for $32 at Walmart. We will use it for parties.
  • The can organizer was $2 and retails for $8 on Amazon.
  • The Vicks vaporizer was $3 and retails for $15 everywhere I looked.
We did the math and determined that we paid just 13% of what these items totaled would have cost new from a retail store. All of these items would have made a serious dent in my budget if I had purchased them new.

Now, the second part of this is to only buy what you need. The thrill of the hunt can become addictive. My daughter and I love to search for new to us stuff, but we hate having tons of belongings cluttering our home. So, we only buy what will truly enhance our lives and get rid of stuff as soon as it is no longer needed or enjoyed. This revolving door of belongings is easier to stomach, because we paid very little for them in the first place. Thus, parting with them is pretty easy.

Blessings, Dawn


  1. Awesome finds!!! We are dependent on thrift stores to make ends meet. One that we really liked closed down a month or so ago. So disappointing! I admire your patience and organization.

  2. We have lived on one income for almost 17 years, it's not always easy but well worth it. Someone asked me years ago how we did it and I responded with "We don't go shopping." I wasn't being rude, I would go to the grocery store and get what we had to have and go home. It worked for us. I love a good thrift store too!