Not So Thrifty

I have to admit, I am not one for thrift shop shopping. I do go into Good Will occasionally when I need to look for a Halloween costume. I’m more of a thrift shop giver than a thrift shop buyer. There’s a box in the family room right now, filling up with donations as we clean my kids’ rooms to get them ready for a new school year.

My mom, on the other hand, was an excellent bargain hunter. She dragged me and my sister all over the place looking for good deals. Thrift stores weren’t quite as abundant in the rural community where we lived, but we went to yard sales and farm auctions, looking for good deals. At one auction, I remember snow flurries flying around in the crisp autumn air while the auctioneer barked bids out into the crowd. Mom splurged that day and bought us some hot chocolate.

It wasn’t just that Mom wanted a good deal; it was also that we didn’t have much money. She was very thrifty and it seemed like nothing we owned was new. My sister always got the raw end of the deal, because when I did get new clothes and shoes, she always got my hand-me-downs. That’s just the way it was.

And then there was my grandma. She practically brought the thrift store to us. When we were in high school, we had moved up to the suburbs and there were now four children in our family. Grandma would scour the church rummage sale for clothes for us, and since she volunteered at the church, would also bring us all the clothes that didn’t get sold. She would bring garbage bags full of clothes for us to try on. Mom, Grandma, my sister and I would go to the basement to sort though the piles of clothes. They smelled musty and made me sneeze. When I tried on something she thought was nice but I didn’t like it, she would shake her head and lay on the guilt trip. How could I turn up my nose at these perfectly good clothes? It was a question I could answer easily; the kids at school were wearing Guess jeans, and wearing someone else’s castaways was not going to make me popular. Not that I would have been popular any way!

When I turned 16, Mom drove me around to various stores in our suburb to apply for jobs. It was time for me to make money from more than babysitting. A new Pizza Hut was opening up in a strip mall close by, and I became a waitress there. It was ideal job because I could walk to work, and the cooks would make me personal pan pizzas for my break. And now I had money–mostly to save for college–but some money to buy clothes! From the mall! I still couldn’t afford Guess jeans, but my jeans were now not preworn!

What about you? Do you shop at thrift shops or garage sales? Have you found any bargains lately? Share with us in the comments or link up your blog post below!



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7 Replies to “Not So Thrifty”

  1. Your mom and grandmother sounded similar to my own and still yet, I just can’t do what they did no matter how hard I could try, because I do like to get new versus hand me downs. I know my grandmother, for one, would kill me for saying or thinking this way, but just is who I am I suppose. But yes can so relate to what you wrote, because again both these women in my life were most definitely similar to yours when I was growing up, as well.
    Janine Huldie recently posted…Innocent Questions Lead to Snow Cone MemoriesMy Profile

  2. Oh, I remember hand-me-downs! I had to cousins above me in age (and size), so it would be third-hand by the time it got to me! And when I had finished with it, it would most likely go to another cousin or my sister!

    I have never bought second hand clothes, although I do have a friend who will give me some of her old clothes on occasion.

    I will buy other stuff though. The big dresser still residing with me (albeit in the hallway being used as junk-table) I bought at a second-hand shop, as well as a footstool. In fact, most of the furniture I own now, I bought or was given second-hand. I will also buy books and dvd’s second-hand.
    Mara recently posted…Brom’s adventures in Scotland VIMy Profile

  3. When our girls were growing up we didnt’ have much money. Thankfully I was in clothing swap with a bunch of friends from our church. At the change of every season the girls would put on a fashion show with the clothes we had gotten, looking for things that would fit them. It was fun. As the girls got older, we began buying them more and more clothes because hand-me-downs just weren’t cutting it anymore. They too became self concious and needed a couple of brand name items to add to their wardrobe.
    This Busy Life recently posted…My Thrift Store QuiltsMy Profile

  4. I’m proud of my last Goodwill haul:

    A new, tags on Portland Timbers soccer jersey ($3.99);
    A like-new University of Buffalo hoodie ($3.99);
    A new, tags on Dr. Who T-shirt for Elise’s birthday ($2.99).

  5. I do not like to shop. Shop as in going from store to store and just checking for bargains. I make a list, either on paper or in my head, go to the store and buy what I need. I have shopped in thrift stores, but not lately.
    Ila East recently posted…A message from RockyMy Profile

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