The Go-Getter’s Quick Guide to Thrift Shopping

Hey, Mama, I figured I would drop in here today and talk with you for a few minutes about shopping. Not just hop in your car and run to Wal-Mart credit cards waving sort of shopping but something a bit more frugal, more fun a challenge if you will. Thrift shopping.  Personally, thrift shopping for me is a game, a personal high, my way to be and rule to live by. I mean when all those other people are out there paying full price I am waving around my thrifty finds like I can buy five of those for what you just paid and guess what? I am going to let you in on a few of my personal secrets so you can do it too!

Personally, thrift shopping for me is a game, a personal high, my way to be and rule to live by. I mean when all those other people are out there paying full price I am waving around my thrifty finds and I am all like I can buy five of those for what you just paid and guess what? I am going to let you in on a few of my personal secrets so you can do it too!


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Thrift shopping secret tips www.simplymoms.net

Be so nosey about their sales.

Knowing about sales is key knowledge about the thrift stores you frequent. Ask them when are your sales? Is an end of season bag sale held at any point? Are there times of the month or week certain Items are price dropped? Stores like Goodwill and Salvation army tend to have scheduled sales. Small shops often do as well but they are not always as well planned.

Remember seasonal things in many stores are higher so they do not run out of those items and they can make the most money on them. For example, Halloween is around the corner.  All their Halloween things are at their high price point from now until Halloween. Yet when you plan to walk in there the day after and you can score dress up items for a small fraction of what they were asking the day before and even buy next years costume bigger for your little one to grow into you are saving even more. Knowing the sales is going to help you maximize your savings.

Girl, what are you even looking for?

Be a man with a plan…err a woman with a plan.  Every few months I go through the kid’s clothes. You do that too right? I keep an inventory of what is going to be needed, what is wanted, Ideas I have to decorate my home. So when I have my little list and I am dragging around those millions…Okay, yeah, my ten measly bucks; I know if Little Miss needs pants because she is out growing them or has ruined them in one of the million ways she finds to ruin clothing… That her pants are a high priority on my list. So go in there with an idea of where to start first.

How to send you kids to school in trendy clothing with out breaking the bank. A guide to Thrift Shopping www.simplymoms.net

The hunt is half the fun, right?

I am going, to be honest. When you walk in and see a mixture of this and that it can be over whelming. I tend to stick with thrift stores where things are categorized by size and item. Other wise for me personally it all just blends in together.

When looking for clothing for your self or anyone I want you to start at one end of the rack of let’s say pants and item by item work your way through. Pull any thing you think you might like off the rack, shelf, bin and put it in your cart and continue to look and pull. You are NOT making choices you are simply selecting what you might like.

When you are looking for hard items be prepared to shift through and move things around. In, under, tucked in dark corners and again any thing you find to place it in your cart to inspect and make a final choice. If you leave it sitting, it is likely someone else may need it too. You’ll blink and it will be gone.

Be your own quality control.

Once you have found a stack of possibilities you are going to go through each item putting back anything that is too worn, ripped, stained, don’t work, missing parts and so forth.Don’t be afraid to look for or ask about a plug. For some things, I even carry commonly sized batteries and a small screwdriver. I hate to get home and find out a toy does not work.

They say not to handle items because it creates a sense of ownership. I will tell you, in this case, it really helps to weed out the bad from the good. You do not want to get home and discover those designer jeans have a broken zipper and a nasty hole right where your women parts are. Or the game you picked for the family game night is missing so many parts it is never going to be played unless you count throwing each part in the trash as game night basket ball. Take your time to look things over. Many thrift stores have pretty strict return rules.

Too dirty, popped seam? Can YOU fix it? Yes, you can! Ask them for a deal!

Let me tell you if you’ve got some skills like sewing and can simply fix a popped seam, or have an awesome stain remover that you are sure will work on that tiny stain or perhaps you don’t mind the small chip in that beautiful vase that will sit on your mantle untouched. Could be that doll with the horrible hair can be brushed down and braided to make her beautiful and loved again. Walk right on up, point out what they missed and ask if they are willing to mark the item down. Some places will practically give you the item. I will tell you it does not hurt to ask and you should by all means ask.

Thrift shopping means you can be a brand name snob.

I can tell you certain brand names we are talking about clothing mostly here out last the cheaper brands. When thrift shopping I am sifting through items of clothing  I am not looking for something I can purchase at that big discount store off their ten-dollar rack and personally you shouldn’t be either. You will mostly end up with clothing that pills, falls apart, or once stained will hold that stain in until it sad little death in the trash bin. Think of all those brands you love to shop for or wish you could. Those right there are your target items.

Know what it is worth.

Once you have shopped around it is important to know the thrift shop values of items in your area and also what you feel is a fair second-hand deal. ladies I’m going to tell you my husband likes to tell me that these numbers are clearly made up, but I assure you for me in my area and for my personal,  budget they are not. Your price point may be different. It is a learned skill over time. I fully expect to hit my price point or under no matter how much I love an item I know I can put it down because I will find a better deal later. I can assure you, you will too.

  • Children’s clothing $1-$2
  • Children’s Winter Coats $2-$3
  • Children’s shoes $1-$2
  • Toys $1 – $4  the higher end for larger or highly coveted toys
  • Adult clothing  $2 – $6 the lower being for T-shirts and the higher for brand names
  • Small kitchen appliances $2- $7
  • Decors such as wall hangings, curtains, and knick-knacks $1-$4
  • DVDs $1-$2
  • Books $1 and under
  • Purses $5 and under
  • Belts, ties, hats, gloves, new socks, gently used bras $2 and under.
  • Small electronics such as alarm clocks & radios $2-$3
  • End tables and small furniture $5 and under unless the piece is special such as mahogany
  • Couches, chairs, and table set $10 – $35 my price point is low here because often you can get these things free on giving away sites.

***Many time larger toys like the ride on toys and out door toys will be marked low due to lack of storage space at the store those things they want to move quickly.

Let me tell you, there is nothing like the feeling you get walking out of a thrift store knowing you just ripped them off. Oh, My Gosh! KIDDING. Sometimes though, I really feel that way. So walk in there with an open mind armed with these tips and thrift shop like the pro you now are.

Are you a thrift shopping Mama?  Tell me your own tips in the comments below or shoot me your questions I would be happy to answer them.

Small Thrift Store haul (Decor and Toys)

Thrift store shopping is a passion of mine. I just love a great deal!

One thing I had been noticing that my home sorely lacks is decorative type items. I am not a fussy person and I want my home to look, well, homey. I guess my style is frugal, Early American Yard Sale. Classy huh?

I love stopping in at the thrift stores to see what I can come up with. This time it was a stop at the Goodwill. Yes, I know all the stories about the CEOs being over paid and so forth. I shop there to save money. If it helps someone else even better. If it does not I was not going there for a charity any how. Just being honest.

So here is what I found.

Thrift store deal 1: Hanging Plant (fake) in a terracotta pot. $3.00

Hanging plant

A bit of dusting and shortening the hanging strings because of my tall guys and I think it looks great. I kill plants so this one is perfect.

Thrift store deal 2: A Little Sign for my Kitchen $1.00

I serve 3 meals frozen, microwave and takeout.

The little ribbon tucked behind it I am going to clip off it was a bit worn so I will replace it. But for cheap it was cute and slightly funny.

Now onto those toys. I did not have much luck this time it looks like they are down on their donations.

Thrift store deal 3: Lalaloopsy Cat $1.00

Lalaloopsy Pink cat with button on parts.

I do not even know if the Lalaloopsy brand is even very popular anymore but Little Miss is practicing her buttoning skills on this cat with it’s large buttons and large button holes. It can with extra ears, a couple different tails, a bow and crown. Pretty cute for just a dollar.

Thrift store deal 4: Discovery Kids Toy Laptop $1.00

Discovery Kids laptop toy thrift store find.

I happened to notice this and seeing it was a dollar decided to grab it because Little Miss has been taking more and more interest in my lap top. This one looks more real than another one she has.  I bought it untested  and came home to give it fresh batteries and it works like a charm. It’s from 2005, but it is metallic pink(The back side) , looks real and she thinks it is awesome!

 

So my grand total was $6.00

I also have a passion for shopping clearance like I did in this post Walmart Clearance Small Haul Clothes and Shoes

Have you been thrift shopping? What good deals have you found?

I Created an Area Rug On a Budget

I love projects that I can build upon a bit at a time such as this area rug made from Dollar Tree carpet tiles.

How we created an area rug for a childs play space on a tight budget. www.simplymoms.net

We are apartment dwellers and the home we live in is older and has hard wood floors. Hard wood is wonderful but not very forgiving to a child who spends a lot of time playing on them or my feet.

Carpet Tiles

While browsing the Dollar Tree I came across these “rug remnants” they caught my eye because of the thick rubber backing. I originally purchased just one for a door mat in from of my entryway door. I also looked them up online and found out they are carpet tiles. You can do wall to wall with them or area rugs like I have. They do not need padding because it is built in. Some say you can use adhesive to hold them down. But I find on a clean floor they do not move unless little miss moves them intentionally. The rubber holds them still. So I decided that they would make a great area rug for Little Miss’s bed room.

Create and area rug with carpet tile on a budget www.simplymoms.net

Creating The Area Rug

If like myself you grab these from the Dollar Tree have an open mind. They do not carry all one pattern sometimes there is one of this and six of that. Mix and match. I was more than okay with that as I figured for a child’s play space the mix and match would look fun. Creating the rug is as simple as buying your tiles and plopping them down on a clean floor edge to edge in a way that looks pleasing to you.

With carpet tile you can add to your area rug as you like.

We started out smaller just to see if they would slide around. Each tile is 19′ x 19″ So the rug we started out with would have been a good bit over 4X4 feet. 4.75 X 4.75 to be exact. As you can see with little Miss standing there it is a nice size to sit and play on. The original cost us  $12.00.

We ended up because of her large amount of toys and her need for a bigger bed moving her in the largest room in the place. So we expanded her rug area. With my plan to add around it until most of the room is covered in carpet.

Frugal, easy to change and move area rug from carpet tiles.

What was your latest frugal do it your self project? Please share in the comments below.

Walmart Clearance Small Haul Clothes and Shoes

Okay,

I admit to three things.

One) Shopping is a huge love of mine.

Two) A money tree I do not have.

Three) Bargains are something I adore!

How she saved money on clothing and shoes!

My Guess is a few of you are in the same boat right along with me.  I still buy stuff, but I shop clearance, thrift shops, discount stores like the Dollar Tree and so forth. I almost never pay full price.

Every time I walk into Walmart the first thing I check is shoes.  Much of the time I can find the cutest toddler shoes for three dollars and under. Sometimes even just for a dollar like the other day.

The other day when I was in Wal-mart I looked at shoes and also quickly through the womens clothing. I found some awesome deals!

Everything I purchased was just a dollar each!

Silver glitter baby shoes Garanimals brand

The original price was $9.98 they were on clearance at $1.00

The photo does not show but they are sparkly glitter like silver. They are a size two, purchased for my newest grandchild to grow into.

faded Glory Mint colored canvas Mary Janes shoes with white polka dots.

This style shoe has been Little Miss’s summer go to. They are perfect for shorts and even fancier dresses. Originally priced at $5.96 I paid $1.00.  She has two other pairs I paid $3.00 for earlier in the season.

Capri Length Leggings

I also found my adult daughter these capri length leggings. She takes an extra-small and yesterday that is all they had. The best news is they were also all $1.00 each. So while they were not for me, it was still nice to be able to gift her with something she could use. They were regular  $3.98.

 

Clearance Deals From Walmart

So without tax, my total would have been  $27.88 my total was $5.00.

A savings of $22.88 !!!

So tell me, have you shopped any recent Wal-mart clearance? What did you find? Please share in the comments below.

 

Love Jennifer

My Frugal .69 Cent Closet Makeover

Not every little update in your home has to break your bank account. Nor does it have to be perfect. Just functional. Like this frugal closet makeover.

The one thing when we moved into this house that I never cared for was this horrible “linen closet” It may have even have been used as a pantry at one time prior to us living here. Personally, I Use it for towels and so forth because it is right out side the bathroom. The place we live in is a rental and to be truthful I am not investing too much into it time or money. So I sort of fixed it up quick and on the extreme cheap. I didn’t do any thing fancy, or impressive I am simply sharing so the next person can get ideas and yeah maybe even do better than I did so if you did a more impressive closet makeover be sure to share it in the comments below.

Closet makeover needed

As you can see it is a mess! I’m not trying to hide that.

The plastic shopping bags were out of control. I bagged them all in one big bag and put them on a shelf in the barn. I discovered dog food had been spilled, not that I can say I am surprised in this horrific mess. This also I am sure gives you a pretty good idea of why something needed to be done with this closet. Yuck! My towels are not pictured because they were all in the washer. My little closet makeover is way overdue.

I swept it out and quickly wiped it down. Not that it helped much but, that didn’t really matter because I just wanted it to be clean for painting.

I slapped a couple of layers of paint on that we had. So that cost to me was pretty much nothing.  You can still see it is not perfect but, that is really ok by me. It no longer looks like the Chokey on Matilda. I even painted the floor.  I may just but some stick on tiles since I would not need too many and they not too costly.

Not bad for quick and what was already laying around.

Tonight while I was at Kmart I saw that Christmas wrapping paper was 90% off. So I grabbed a roll that was screaming Merry Christmas! It was a whole .69 cents. Nice thick good quality paper. Yes, I could have gone to the Dollar Tree but, I was at Kmart when the idea hit me LOL. My idea was to do every shelf but, surprise… The upper two shelves do not remove. So I just painted those it was easier.

Yes, I know the pictures are not great quality but here is where the rest of the wrapping paper went with a bit left over for some more fun. She has a blast drawing on her huge paper. So, for .69 cents a couple of shelves got covered and Miss Toddler had fun and my closet looks way better.

Nothing overly extreme or fancy but, it certainly looks much fresher and all the clutter is gone and it is nice and tidy.

To be honest it looks nicer in person. Time to get a camera that is not on my cell phone. 🙂

Update: I even have enough paper left to do my drawers. This mom is getting things done.

Before… how utterly embarrassing.

And after.

Thanks for reading.

If you enjoyed my closet makeover please show us some love… Like, comment or share below.

 

Things We Purchase at the Dollar Tree

My husband has generally never liked this store. He referred to things there as trinkets or bad quality. However, over time their items have vastly improved.

Below is a list of things we do buy and have tested ourselves.

  1. Mylar balloons: They have a bunch of popular characters as well as many other picks. You are saving upwards of at least $2 per balloon. They will even blow up a fresh one for you so it will last even longer!
  2. Shaving Cream: They sell a large non-name brand red and white can. My husband used it and swear by it. It smells nice and he hasn’t cut himself while using it to shave with.
  3. Kitchen hand Towels: I skip the microfiber I can not stand how that material feels but, the ones with printed on designed wash and wear well. They are cotton. I bleach mine and the designs seem to stay put.
  4. Windshield Wash Fluid: This is a great deal when they have the gallons. Not a great deal when it is a half gallon. Works as good as anything else.
  5. Party Stuff: All of the cups, plates, streamers, plastic ware, banners, tablecloths, wrapping paper and so on. Super cheap and good quality. If we do a character party they do not carry we do a pack of plates OR a banner from another store with that particular character then we match up our other needs with matching colors for the “theme” at the Dollar Tree.
  6. Kids Socks: They carry cute prints for children and they hold up well. I always buy the three packs because they are the very best value. I also purchase the woman’s three packs for myself. However, I find once those are stained they seem to stay that way.
  7. Cards: My husband has been a purchase the most expensive card you can guy for years. To me it is pointless. These are nice,  good quality, and at two for a dollar are easy on the budget. However, I would avoid the boxed Christmas cards. We bought a box of twenty and of course the quality was off. (Weird folds and so on) My husband is slowly getting on board 😉
  8. Betty Crocker cooking Utensils: I can only speak for the red ones the quality is nice and they hold up really well.
  9. Glass Cleaner: Works just as well as any name brand.
  10. Dog leashes and Collars for our miniature poodles: I only know that these work well for small breeds of dogs because that is what we have for pets. Be careful if you purchase for a larger stronger breed because I do not know how well they would hold up. We had one leash last close to three years so they are made pretty well.
  11. Pet Bowls: Same basic things you can get at a pet store but at a fraction of the cost. They often even have cute little stoneware ones.
  12. Tape and Tape Dispenser: I buy the cheap six pack of tape rolls and purchased their tape dispenser. Both the tape and dispenser work well. My husband is a Scotch fan however with kids wasting it often times I refuse to spend extra on such things. So he just keeps a roll of Scotch for himself in his briefcase to seal up his top secret mailings he he he.
  13. Seaseme Street Lavender Scented Baby Shampoo: We use this for the grandchild and it leaves her hair soft, manageable and smelling quite nice.
  14. Six Pack of Scrubber Sponges: They are only good for washing dishes or anything you intend to get wet and stay very wet as they are synthetic sponges. I love the way they glide over the dishes you are washing and have the scrubber side for tougher jobs. They are cheap enough to toss and change out often.
  15. Brooms: Maybe it is just person preference but everyone in my family owns one.  I was the last to buy one. They are light but hold up really well and sweep in hard to get in areas with a larger broom. Frankly, I tossed my more expensive one after I got this just because I love the way it sweeps. However, avoid their mop.
  16. Plates and Bowls: I was convinced I wanted Corelle dishes. You know the very thin unbreakable ones? Guess what? If you eat hot foods anywhere other than the table and we often do those thin plates burn you! I gave mine away and purchased a set from the Dollar Tree. They are stoneware and are holding up quite nicely other than I have chipped one. They have a great color selection too! They are thick and keep the heat at bay. They are also easier to wash foods don’t seem to stick to them like the other set.
  17. Coloring Books: They have tons of licensed ones and even some really great adult coloring books.
  18. Children’s books: We often purchase board books and books for older children. They often have a really nice selection.
  19. Work Books: They have a great selection for younger children and once in a while a handful for older children. They are a great saving when you can find what you need.
  20. Gift bags: Every size, color, occasion for way less than anywhere. Though my daughter once time did buy one with a horrendous chemical smell. But, I have only ever seen that once.
  21. Hand Soap: Their big bottle. It works fine and smells nice.
  22. Batteries: They are not good for anything that is a huge power drain. But, work fine for things such as wall clocks, non-remote control toys, flashlights. So just don’t throw them into your digital camera and expect to take more than a picture.
  23. Makeup: Sometimes they stock Elf, Cover Girl or other name brands. If they are a color you need it is a great buy.
  24. Hair Dye: I will ONLY say the dark brown works well because that is the only color I use.  I have longer hair and use three packages. It was easy to use. It covered my grays well. It did not fade fast. It has gloves. It does NOT contain conditioner . So you will need to condition your hair after at least that is what I did. My hair seemed MORE healthy after using that dye for a long time. No idea why. Just know there is not a lot of product so plan to need extra.
  25. Tooth brushes: We generally purchase name brand for family and a pack of multi toothbrushes for anyone staying over who forgot to pack theirs.
  26. Barbie branded Detangler Spray for little girls: We use this daily with no build up for a toddler with curly hair. It leaves her hair shiny, and removes any snarls.
  27. Hair Decorations: Clips, bows, head band and so on. We buy all this sort of stuff right here.
  28. Ouchless Hair Ties: I pull them a bit to check for the stretch and hold I need. I always manage to find what will work. They get lost fast so this is the best way to go for us.
  29. Body Wash: We purchase this for or teen boys add they can be a bit wasteful. They seem to like the way it smells and they always smell fine so I assume it works well.
  30. Plastic Organizing Bins: These hold up well. You can get them in current popular colors. A great buy for getting all your stuff all pulled together.
  31. Bread: A great buy. It’s always soft and fresh.

 

 

Moms do your Children Have the McDonald’s STEP-iT Activity Bands? RECALL ALERT!

http://news.mcdonalds.com/US/releases/McDonald-s-USA-and-Canada-Voluntarily-Recall-STEP

Moms if your Child has a Step-It Activity Band from McDonald’s They have been recalled! Read the article at the above link for more information!

***Skin Irritation and BURN risk! **

bands

Homemade Laundry Stain Remover – Look at This Moms!

Homemade Stain Remover

I have this big thing about putting my grandbaby in cute little dresses. She has a big thing for chocolate ice-cream and other wonderful foods that stain. I also am the mom to a wonderful stain making fourteen year old boy. Grass and ground in dirt are his favorite stains to make. As a Mom and Grandma my go to stain remover was just to simply put a bit of my laundry soap on the stain rub it a bit and wash. It resulted in a lot of clothes with stains.

If you look online there are lots of ideas for removing stains and making stain remover sprays. I like simple because as mom my life is complex enough at times. I also like using what I have on hand. So this caught my eye all over the internet.

 

You need:

1/2 cup of BLUE DAWN

1 cup peroxide

A dark spray bottle or prepare to keep the clear spray bottle in a dark cabinet because the light will break down the peroxide. Also I did not test this with any other dish soap than the blue dawn. I would use the Dawn called for or your results may be less than awesome.

Simply pour the Dawn and Peroxide into the spray bottle, cover and shake gently to mix.

To use spray on stain and wash as normal.

***Hey Moms I personally have used this on colors, whites, and darks with no issues… How ever I would spot test if you are worried about damage to any particular article of clothing****