Why I’m obsessed with thrift stores

It’s no secret that I love a good deal. My mom and I will try to outdo each other for the greatest deal/steal of the week and I’ll always count it a point of pride if I manage to outdo the Queen of Deals (as she is fondly known). And while I love markdowns and clearance, I really try to avoid buying something just because it’s on sale, another valuable tip I learned from my mom. It may only be 25 cents, but if it’s not something you actually want or need, you might as well have thrown that quarter in the trash. So, I’ll put that oh-so-cute knick-knack back on the shelf and walk away, for which my jingling coins thank me. 

For me, the philosophy is that I save to splurge. Meaning, I like being able to save where I can, even if it’s only a few pennies here and there. Those pennies will eventually add up and then I can splurge on something special. For example, I keep our weekly grocery budget to less than $100. If I’m extra savvy and manage to snag some great deals then I can keep it to under $50 for the week, which I think is rather impressive for a family of four when my 7-year-old eats like a starving teenager. That extra $50 can be spent on treating ourselves to a pizza night or adding to our house projects fund. 

Speaking of kids, as we all know babies are expensive. Really expensive. Sure, there’s a lot that you can do without. We never even touched the diaper warmer we had been gifted and made do without the $700 rocker or matching crib sets. Figuring out what you actually need and legitimately want vs. the “it would be nice” goes a long way towards trimming down that budget. Even so, the basic needs still add up. Walking through Target’s aisles the other day made me realize just how much we could spend on this baby- especially when everything is so stinkin’ adorable. But we’re working towards our goal of getting debt free by the end of the year, which means gorgeous muslin blankets that are $38/each are simply not an option. 

Knowing this, I’ve spent the last several months stalking every thrift store in a 20-mile radius. And boy, has it paid off! My favorite store of the bunch, Thrifter’s Rock, has something called Wacky Wednesday where all kids items are 50% off. Every other Wednesday I head down that way about thirty minutes after they open and painstakingly search through every rack and bin they have. Why every other Wednesday? To give them a chance to refresh stock. I found that every week was a bit on the excessive side and I ended up with less variety to chose from. Every other week has proven to be the golden period, allowing them to get in new merchandise and keeping me from spending just because it’s a good deal. One of my best finds was a Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play sleeper: list price $58, my price $4.50. That kind of savings is just beyond amazing!


Today’s haul was one for the record books, I must admit. It included:

  • 11 newborn onesies
  • 6 zero-three month onesies
  • 4 six month sleepers
  • 7 twelve-eighteen month outfits
  • 1 baby blanket
  • 1 jack-in-the-box
  • 2 baby toys
  • 2 bags of baby blocks
  • 1 bassinet sheet

All for $17

According to my rough calculations the haul was about $150-$200+ worth of baby things. Name brands like Gymboree and Baby Gap, and some adorable Cat & Jack things from Target’s new line. Everything I bought is clean, stain-free, and ready to be loved all over again. All in all, I nearly cleared out their entire section of baby girl things (so anyone local expecting a girl may want to give it a few days before going shopping there.)

The way I look at it, babies are not only expensive, but messy. And they like to be messy on your expensive things! By picking up the everyday outfits and more mundane items at thrifts stores, consignment shops, and yard sales I’m able to justify splurging on a new crib (that I still got on super sale!) or a better quality carseat. Instead of spending hundreds on clothing that’s just going to get covered in all manner of bodily fluids, including probably some of my tears, I’m getting them for $2 or less apiece. Those savings do add up, believe me. 

Altogether we’re about 98% ready for this baby (still need a few minor things like a changing pad) and have spent less than $300 total, which includes the crib, carseat, new closet organizers, nursing clothes, delivery gown, hospital bag (one of my splurges that still was just $12!), diaper backpack, toys for when she gets older, baby toys for now, play mats, rockers, bassinet, and all manner of onesies, mittens, hats, burp cloths, and blankets. Etc. 

Those numbers are very enticing but it does require some patience and mental preparation. If expecting, realize that you have nine months to prepare for this baby, plenty of time to stalk those clearance aisles and find the best thrift stores in the area. Take your time, hold out for the good price and be honest about what you’re wanting to splurge on and what’s okay second-hand or discounted. 

In the end, babies can be as expensive as you let them be. Or they can be an excuse to visit the thrift store a couple of times a month and not get in trouble! Happy thrifting, ya’ll!

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