I think we can all relate – raising kids can get pricey. The clothes they grow out of in two seconds, the toys that cost $$$ and are played with for a few months, you know the drill. Added to the fact that we are on a budget tends to make things interesting. I grew up pretty poor and learned quickly how to spot a good deal and to invest money wisely. However, my husband has taught me even more than I imagined.
I showed him toys/clothes for mini-man that I think are a good price and he takes me to places where there even better! What places are these? Thrift stores. Places like this didn’t really exist for me as a kid – I’m not sure why. They are a great place to find awesome treasures at an amazing price. Yes they can take some time to dig and your not guaranteed to find what you are looking for but with an open mind and some digging, you can unearth some amazing items. And bonus – it’s the ultimate in recycling! An old toy gets a new life, you save money, and the old owner gets some cash – everybody wins!
Here are some things that I have found from Goodwill, local thrift stores, and Craigslist:
Mini-man was born at 10 pounds (naturally!). I loved my big guy but all of the clothes we had for him were too small (NB clothes fit upto 10 pounds). My first thought was to go to Walmart and get a few things. However, Damon suggested trying our local Goodwill first. OMG was I surprised – the store had a wall full of baby clothes and for $1.50! I couldn’t believe it – we left with a bag full of clothes for less than the cost of one outfit at a local retailer. I was hooked.
Children’s toy are pricey, require a lot of batteries, and maintain interested for a few minutes. Looking at the toy aisle, I couldn’t help but wonder where all these toys ended up once kids were done playing with them. Turns out that most of them end up at garage sales and local thrift stores. We found a couple of amazing stores near us in Glendale that have huge toy sections. I have found name brand electronic toys (I.e. V-tech and Leap Frog) for $3 or less! Mini-mans airplane rocker – $3.50! (Going for $100 on Amazon). And our latest find – the car above for $10!
Mini-man loves books. I started his collections with some books I found on Amazon. However, I have expanded the collection immensely from thrift stores. These books, which retail for $5-$20 are sold for $1 at thrift stores! I do take comfort in the fact that the books I bought at full retail I have never found at thrift stores, but I have found similar books that mini-man loves. The books are usually all mixed together and requires some digging, but it’s well worth the savings.
I think this is where I am the most thrilled with my thrift store findings. Furniture can be pricey but kids grow of them so fast that a lot of it ends up on Craiglist or Goodwill. We recently went back to Florida for a week and found a Step2 pic-nic table and sand table for $50! Mini-man loved the sand table so much that we found the same table in L.A. for $20. The blue chair was in the trash near our apartment – we rescued it, repaired it and now mini-man has an awesome chair for $10.
With a little imagination, determination, and patience, it is incredible how much you can save and still have fun with your kids!
Five fast tips for thrift stores:
- Go Often – Thrift stores get stuff in everyday. The more you go, the more chances you have to get something you are looking for.
- Dig, Dig, Dig – Thrift stores are notoriously unorganized. Spend a few minutes digging and you can unearth some treasures.
- Not everything is a Deal – Be sure to check online for retail prices before you buy. I have seen things at thrift stores that are more expensive than retail.
- Color of the Week – Most thrift stores color code their price tags. Each week they will put a color on sale. If you buy something with that color price tag and you can get a discount. I found mini-mans airplane rocker for $7 but it was a color of the week, so I got 50% off!
- Don’t be Afarid – I am somewhere who isn’t comfortable in crowds or in unfamiliar places. However, it is worth giving thrift stores a try for the savings.