Saturday, January 09, 2010

Thrifting efficiently - or not

One of my green and frugal goals is to increase thrift store and consignment shopping for the family. I took advantage of being out and about last Saturday and stopped at Goodwill. My goals: a winter jacket for Amigo, and possibility of kitchen pieces.

Amigo has trouble handling a full zipper; engaging the zipper at the bottom remains difficult for him. With that in mind, he's worn half-zip pullover jackets for many years. That style of jacket has gotten harder and harder to find lately. It was in style for a while, especially as a team jacket, but hasn't been a "hot item" in stores since he was 10 years old. Major catalogs such as Lands' End and LL Bean have great parkas and jackets, but they don't have pullovers with the half zip that will work for my teenager. My solution? Second hand! He's worn his current jacket, a $15 investment from a consignment store, for four years now. It's still in good shape, but the zippers are wearing out a bit; they're a little stubborn when he wants to zip the main one all the way to his chin.

I entered the store and went straight for the men's jackets. Two team jackets in his size caught my eye. One was a not-a-chance item: a Chicago Bears jacket! The other was an Iowa State jacket. Well, he would wear it and enjoy it, but it was marked at $34.99. Sorry, thrifty store folk; that's too much to be a deal. I did find a bright yellow pullover at $15, but it was an XL instead of a Large. I brought it home for Amigo to try.

After my limited success in the jacket racks, I cruised the kitchen aisles. Ever since I found a steamer like new at Savers for $2.50, I've keep my eyes open for deals in this department. They had a good looking electric fry pan, but it had - no cord?! and someone with a sense of humor had hidden a pair of pink ballet flast inside. I smiled at the shoes, shook my head at the missing cord, and set it back on the shelf. I did buy a small bundt pan marked at $1.99 and blue tag, this day's 50% color. $1? Worked for me! I'll use it to bake my famous chocolate zucchini cake and my rhubarb crumble bread.

Then I entered dangerous territory: books. I caved, bought the next book by Packers receiver Donald Driver. My students love his first one, Quickie Makes the Team, so Quickie Takes a Loss will surely be a hit, too. It was $10 - a lot for a picture book, but my kiddos will get at least $10 of reading value out of it. Then another title caught my eye - Greasy Rider: Two dudes, one fry-oil car, and a cross-country search for a greener future. I couldn't resist.

My total was a little high for a thrift store trip; $31 with tax.

The good news: the books and the pan will get good use.
The bad news: the jacket was too big for Amigo.
The good news: this store allows returns.
The bad news: returns are only for store credit.
The good news: the store credit has no expiration date.

All in all, it was worth the time. I'll keep looking for a replacement jacket, but he'll be fine for now. And I'll keep thrifting, checking out the deals on things we really need.

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Blogger Flea said...

Way cool! Goodwill's always my first stop for everything. Second stop, though, for tough to find clothing like the jacket? Ebay. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. Try CraigsList, too.

1/09/2010 5:18 PM  
Blogger Earth Muffin said...

I get a large portion of my boys' and my wardrobe from our local Goodwill. And I also can never resist the book section!

1/10/2010 9:18 AM  

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