A recent Your Money post written by Mikey Rox of Wisebread.com reviewed10 items to buy in thrift stores. I was not too surprised to discover that with the exception of two items -- artwork and vinyl records (well one, if you consider a picture frame artwork) -- I had hit the mark on buying all of the products on the list in -- if not a thrift shop -- at least a resale environment (i.e. thrift shop, antique store, garage sale, estate sale, etc.).
Whether as gifts for others or items of our own, here is how we stacked up against the Your Money list of secondhand items to buy in a thrift store.
Yes, I’ll admit, I get many of my shirts, shorts and pants at the thrift store. What do you want me to say? I just think it’s a financially smart move. They’re great deals, often for name brand products in lightly used condition, and at a fraction of the price that they would be found in a retail setting. Living across the street from an awesome resale shop doesn't help.
I’d estimate that I probably buy multiple shirts each year in the resale setting, and I rarely spend more than $3 a shirt. I can often get great cargo shorts for about the same price and really nice jeans for $4 or $5 a pair. And the same goes for my wife and son. The savings are literally hundreds of dollars each year on clothing related costs for our family.
We don’t do a ton of furniture shopping at resale shops or thrift stores, but I’ll admit, such venues can certainly be great spots for such finds. We have most of the furniture we need and live in a small condo, so we aren’t typically looking for more; however, we have picked up things like one of our televisions, a few chairs, bookshelves, and similar items in resale environments.
The great thing about buying books, videos and similar items in a resale setting is that they’re often super inexpensive. Sure, we get many of our book and video needs met through the local library for free, but for items that we’d prefer to own or that aren’t available at the library, we may be able to pick them up for just 50 cents or less in a thrift store or resale setting.
Better yet, when we’re finally done with them, we can often make some, if not all of our money back through resale stores, garage sales or as tax deductions by way of charitable donations.
There are all sorts of fantastic items that we’ve found at thrift and resale shops. I have kind of a drinking glass fetish (I love vintage or just plain cool glasses of all varieties), so I have to watch myself when I’m out and about in these settings. However, getting many of our glasses (often just 25 or 50 cents a piece), vases, candleholders, candles, and even stuff for our kids, such as toys and our new baby’s entertainment play center ($6), is very convenient and saves us a ton of money in the process.
Rox, Mikey. MSN.com. “10 things to buy in thrift stores.” http://finances.msn.com/saving-money-advice/250145961. August 11, 2012.
K. W. Callahan is a stay-at-home dad and work-at-home husband. He obtained a business degree from the top-ranked Indiana University Kelley School of Business and worked in the hospitality industry for nearly a decade both in operations and finance. For the last seven years, he has worked writing and creating web content for a number of publishers and websites.
This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. K. W. Callahan is not a licensed financial representative. Any actions taken by the reader due to the opinions and ramblings of K. W. Callahan are solely at the reader's discretion.