God provides for the frugal

When you’ve shopped at thrift stores for as long as I have, the concept of saving money starts integrating into your daily choices. Soon you’re looking at the price tags on everything – not just clothes – to make sure you’re not paying too much. While being frugal has its perks, it can get to the point of absurdity if you let it. When I moved out, I became extremely cautious about spending. While I did have a steady stream of income, I didn’t want to freely spend it. This is why I searched for “free” furniture from relatives and only went grocery shopping when I absolutely had to.

My boyfriend finally called me out on how ridiculous I was being. I had over $10K in my checking account and yet I was refusing to spend money on groceries. My paranoid frugality had also affected my search for a TV and TV stand. I knew if I held out until Black Friday, I’d spend less. Having never purchased a TV, I wasn’t exactly sure what classified as a ‘good deal.’ I was told the best brands were Samsung, Sony, and Vizio, and the best size would be around 40″. So when my boyfriend called at 5 p.m. Thanksgiving Day to tell me he was at Walmart and could pick up a TV, I was ready to hear the Black Friday deals.

One of their Black Friday deals was a 43″ Vizio for $198. While this sounded like a great deal, my frugal state of mind kicked in and caused a 10-minute montage of second-guessing while my boyfriend sighed on the other end. I finally told him to grab one once the sale started, and at exactly 6 p.m. a text message stated that he’d succeeded. While I was not thrilled about $200 leaving my checking account, I knew it was worth it to FINALLY have a TV in my apartment.

The next challenge was finding the right TV stand to put the 43″ Vizio on. In my mind, I could picture my ideal stand: a moderate-sized unit with open shelving to accommodate DVDs, a PS3, etc. My strong desire to save money made me hesitant when browsing thrift stores. After seeing the grungy options at a Salvation Army on Saturday, we stopped by Blessings Abound, a Christian thrift store, to browse their section. Most pieces were dressers until my boyfriend pointed out a black TV stand with a price tag that read $19. I couldn’t believe it.

After bringing the tag to the front to pay, I was told I’d get an extra 35% off (partly because it was a Black Friday deal on furniture and partly because I was taking it with me that day). The total came out to be $14. God truly provided for the frugal part of me with my ideal TV stand that was only a couple scratches away from perfection.

 

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TurnStyles review

One of my friends recently got married. To celebrate her return from her honeymoon, we spent the day thrift shopping. Since she was new to OP, she’d been finding new places to shop. Our first stop was a place called TurnStyles. TurnStyles is run through Catholic Charities.

“As a self-identified thrift store expert and fashionista, I couldn’t believe I’d never visited TurnStyles – mostly because I’m Catholic! I give it two 👍🏼👍🏼. It’s now my new favorite store because of its lower prices, clean environment and organization.”  

I was impressed with its organization. Everything had its place: women’s, men’s, children’s, furniture, books/movies, household items, and shoes. WE spent most of our time sifting through the women’s racks. After one dressing room trip, we found some winners. For me, it was a blue-checkered flannel, a purple polka-dot sweater, and a cream tank. My total was $9.65.

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The reason it’s less expensive than other thrift stores is that each rack has one price. For example, items on the women’s racks were $3. This made it easy to calculate my total before getting to the register. Even though it’s smaller than Savers and City Thrift, it’s got a trendy vibe and a cleaner feel and smell. Normally my allergies start flaring up from the collection of dust, but that didn’t happen. It was a nice change!

Savers review

I’ve shopped at different types of thrift stores, including a couple chains. In my first post, you read about my thoughts on Plato’s Closet, a youth-oriented store with several locations in Kansas. While Plato’s Closet does an excellent job serving its target, its atmosphere is too specific. After relying on Plato’s Closet for high school, I needed a new thrift store, and that led me to Savers.

Savers has three locations in Kansas. I visit two on a semi-regular basis. The first time I visited Savers, I was blown away by the spacious design and amount of merchandise. Unlike Plato’s Closet, Savers has a bigger layout that allows them effectively categorize items. The store carries everything from clothes to home decor to electronics to toys. Savers has lower prices than Plato’s Closet because they’re not restricted to name-brand items.

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Savers is my go-to thrift store because I always find exactly what I’m looking for – even if I have to hit both locations. The reason is that Savers accepts donations on a daily basis, so the inventory is always changing. They celebrate holidays with huge sales that are tough to miss: 50% off everything around Christmas or 40% off dresses, purses, and shoes just because. I’m subscribed to their emails, so I’m always in the loop.

“If you’re like me and enjoy sales, I’d recommend becoming a Savers-card holder. As a member, you’ll gain access to exclusive member-only sales.”

Plato’s Closet has excellent merchandise, but I’m too old to shop there now. If you’re post-high school, I’d suggest Savers. If lower prices, endless inventory and constant sales aren’t enough for you, I don’t know what is.

Plato’s Closet review

To some, thrift stores are a place to find the cheapest crap. They’re unsanitary and disorganized. The only people who shop there are stringy, tacky or poor. While thrift stores are not the equivalent of a five-star hotel, they’re still relatively clean and organized. In my eyes, the one that wins the award for most stylish, contemporary items is Plato’s Closet.

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Plato’s Closet targets high school students. They understand the need for students to save money while still sporting the latest trends. Their items fit every style whether goth, preppy, chic, sporty, vintage or hipster. The strategy for updating their selection is by purchasing items from their customers. All you have to do is bring in current name brand attire, and you’ll receive cash on the spot.

“You don’t feel like you’re in a thrift store when every item you look at is from a name-brand store you recognize, like American Eagle, Loft or J. Crew.”

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In addition to receiving money for name brand clothing and accessories, you’ll enjoy Plato’s relaxing environment. From alternative music to comfy seating, you’ll shop comfortably for hours. You’ll browse endless attractive choices. I have been to Plato’s Closet dozens of times, but my greatest purchase was a $10 leather jacket. If you’re young and want to be hip, I’d recommend taking some time to check out Plato’s Closet and save some green.