Deal of the week: Better than the thrift store? 50% off at the thrift store!

On Monday, I went to Goodwill hoping to find an electric kettle and a flannel sheet. Didn’t happen.

But I spent $9 and change on a few other things that caught my eye:

  • $0.99 for a kids school-year scrapbook, unused except for two class pictures inside (from exclusive private schools in the area — the snooty location is why my Goodwill store rules). As the school memorabilia mounts up, I’ve been planning to dream up a way to corral some of it.
  • $2.99 for an unopened “organize your life” binder (that was priced at $59.95 in its original 1995 printing – wow!). I don’t necessarily need all the author’s pages and sections, but I’ve been planning to put together an essential information binder and this is a great start.
  • $2.99 $1.50 for a pair of yoga pants in the size Little Cheap ought to be this fall – and they’re green, her favorite color! 50% off because they had a yellow tag and it was yellow tag day.
  • $1.99 $0.99 for a video of Ever After for Little Cheap. Sale on all videos.
  • $1.99 $0.99 for a video of Shakespeare in Love for me. Sale on all videos.
  • $3.99 $0.99 for a two-video set of morning & evening yoga, for my dream of dragging my family into a yoga practice. Sale on all videos, and I saved 75% on this one.

The videos were frivolous. The rest were things I’d be getting around to anyway. I guess we got lucky as one of the few families that still has a VCR rather than a TiVo (in fact, I even have a backup VCR in the storage closet for when this one dies — my mom gave them up when she last moved).

Getting the most from the thrift store:

  1. Hit the sales. My Goodwill store has a 50% off Saturday about once a month. It usually goes like Monday did — don’t find what I intended, but find some good extras for a great price. Next week, Savers stores are having a 50% off day on Monday. Their Web site lets you sign up for sale announcements to stay informed.
  2. Stock up when it’s a bargain. Most thrift stores have 50% off a certain color tag at all times. If you find something you’ll need in the future with the right color tag, buy it if you can.
  3. Get carded. Most stores also have senior days. If you qualify, shop on those days for a super deal.
  4. Know your stuff. Little Cheap wanted a pair of $10 inline skates, but I know we can get new ones for $14. On the plus side, the thrift-store version is recycled. But I’m not sure she has the commitment to learn to skate right now. At that price, the used goods aren’t a good enough deal for me to be willing to invest in them.
  5. Control yourself. As with any shopping, don’t buy what you don’t need. If it’s questionable, leave it. You’ll find it again some other time if you really need it.

The Goodwill gospel must be spreading. This week, it was as busy as a Target store — and attracted a crowd that looked like a Target crowd.

Oh, except for the announcement that shoppers should control their kids and not let them go potty in the dressing rooms. But that was a one-time thing. I hope.

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