Friday, March 6, 2009

What Can You Buy With A Dime?

You know how little kids are so cute when they have a handful of change, and they ask you, "What can I buy with this much money?" And, usually you have to break it to them that there's basically nothing you can but these days with 37 cents. That's not necessarily true. Have you ever taken your children to a yard sale, where cast-off toys can sometimes be had for a quarter?

How about a thrift store? It's true that they're not always the most child-friendly places. (There's probably not going to be a play area, and unfortunately, they can sometimes be, well, less than pristine.) But, bargains, they can certainly be found at your local thrift store. Okay, I'm sure your probably thinking "A dime? Really, does anything actually cost only 10 cents?" Yup. I recently bought something that I think is pretty great for just a dime. Read on for more details...

This week I spent a couple hours treasure hunting at my local Salvation Army Thrift Store. The kids were in school, I was in the mood to shop, and, most importantly, it was Wednesday - half-price day for clothing!

I first hit the women's pants and skirts section, which is oddly organized not by size, or even season, but by color. This means you have a whole lot more stuff to wade through just to find something that's in your size range. I'm sure that some people would be too frustrated to bother, but not me. I love the thrill of the hunt.

I tried on lots of pants, several skirts, and a couple of dresses. I ended up purchasing a pair of Calvin Klein jeans (love the fit!)[$2], pink Gap cords [$2], and gray Banana Republic fully-lined light wool pants[$3.]

Next, I found a Gap jean skirt [$2], tan Gap A-line skirt [$2], black, pin-stripe Hot Kissstretchy jean skirt [$1.50], as well as a beige H & Msundress[$3.50.] I intend to embellish (or rather, Anthropologize) the dress.

Shirts can be a bit more trouble to find due to the following reasons: 1) the ridiculous organization by color only, so that it takes forever to go through all the racks, and 2) the fact that many of the tops are stretched out, shrunken, stained, pilling, or just appear very 'used'. For that reason, I usually only buy shirts that are or look like they're new. Luckily, I found a brand-new, with tags on, brown, striped Gap top [$2.]

I've been purchasing 100% wool sweaters and putting them away for a later project for which I plan to felt them. For more info on felting, please see my previous post. Although, I bought 2 wool sweaters with this in mind, they are quite possibly too nice to cut up, and I may just end up wearing them. One is a light blue Abercrombie and Fitch crewneck [$2.50]; the other is a striped crewneck from the Gap [$2.] One of my better finds just may be the dark brown 100% cashmere shrug by designer Trina Turk[$2.] It is super-soft.

Oh, and for $1 and $2 respectively, I picked up a long slinky silver scarf and a 100%long silk floral scarf.

Even though only the clothing is half-off on Wednesdays, I cannot leave the thrift store without checking out what they have in the book section. And, boy did I hit pay dirt. I bought 9 books, and the combined total came to $7.35. My favorite book finds that day include The Shakespeare Reader, A Little Book of Manners for Boys, and paperbacks by Nora Ephron, and Anita Shreve. The book, Do Penguins Have Knees? has given this family lots of fun information for stimulating dinner conversation. And, yes, my 10 cent find was a book with piano music of Christmas Carols published in 1957. It includes the lyrics and the sweetest illustrations. Did I mention it was only 10 cents?

Lastly, as I was coming out of the fitting room, I noticed the most adorable lamp high up on a shelf. (Can a lamp be adorable?) It didn't have a price on it, so I brought it to the attention of a man working there. He went into the back, and came out with a price tag of $5.99. I plugged it into a wall socket to make sure it was in working order (Everything is final sale.) It worked fine. So, I thought, $6 isn't bad for a lamp with a shade and a lightbulb.

So, even though my total sounded like quite a lot of money to me [$40.84], I got a whole lot of good and useful stuff. What do you think? I'd love to hear from others who like to shop at thrift stores. Or if you've never been to a thrift store, and have questions about how it works, I'd be glad to try to answer them.

(If anyone's wondering: Yes, penguins do indeed have knees.)


  1. Sounds like a fun trip to me!

    I love that when candy at the convenience store costs more than a quarter, I can still buy something useful and beautiful at thrift stores for that price!

  2. I love thrift stores. Over here in the UK they call them charity shops and I'm always going to have a good look round for a bargain. I got some gorgeous bed linen yesterday for what I guess would be about $5.00 dollars (£6 GB Pounds) and it was brand new, a quilt cover, valance and pillow slips, 3 books for about 40 cents (60 GB pence) and a lovely Next shirt and jumper. I love your finds. Pam x

  3. My daughter is learning about money in school right now--she's a 1st grader, so the lesson is about how much dimes are worth, etc. Great idea to take her someplace like a yard sale or thrift store where she might be able to use some coins and practice with them. That would be fun!

    Thanks for joining my party. Better late than never! :-)

  4. Great post! We alwyas say that we'd rather get something from the junk store from our birthdays than anywhere else.....lucky you for all of those great finds!
    Karla & Karrie

  5. Michelle it amazes me you find deals like that! I have never been in a thrift store... there is one near me Michelle, you may want to check out... I've driven by it, but haven't been in.... Talk soon! Tammy

  6. I have that book of manners for boys (for which I paid RETAIL, thank you very much) and it is PURE GOLD.

    You did good.

  7. I'm all about thrift stores! I have found so many things that cost me so little!

    Sometimes I even find treasures to sell on ebay!

    You did great!

  8. Wow, I can tell, just by seeing the edge of your Christmas Carol book, that it is the same one I've had since I was a little girl. Sweet - that was a great deal for a dime!!

    Our Goodwill Store is also doing this organizing clothes by color thing. All of their sweaters are grouped by color. I was looking for sweaters to felt, so it didn't make a difference, but I kept thinking what a pain that would be if I were searching for a certain size to wear!

  9. Yes, that's my Christmas Carol book!! Thanks for adding the pictures. Isn't it sweet. Lots of happy holiday memories there. My parents got that for me when I was in 1st or 2nd grade and they bought me one of those little electric organs. Years later we got a piano, so those songs have been played and sung! What fun that you found that!!

  10. With the economy the way it is Thrift stores should be doing quite nicely. My twin boys have holes in the knees of almost every pair of jeans they now own. I told my husband that if I can find their size at a thrift store I'd buy them new ones. With Spring and short season almost here I refuse to go buy their size and pay retail for them. They will be in a new size come back to school anyway. You must be a small size. When I was a smaller size (pre-babies) I use to find the cutest and best clothes.

  11. Uhhh, thrift stores are my LIFE. Well, not really, but I do heart them very much. You found some great stuff! I usually don't look at the clothes, but I have thought about looking for wool sweaters to felt. Love the lamp!
    I just found your blog from Beverly "Sand"hills. So glad I did! Come visit me sometime!

  12. Thanks SO much for the comment on my blog earlier! After reading this post, I think you're right and we do have a lot in common! I have that exact same Christmas Carol book that I just adore AND I'm on my way to my Salvation Army store tomorrow for 1/2 price Wed.! Great deals and I only hope I can come close to that tomorrow!

  13. Looks like you got some awesome stuff! I've never bought anything from a thrift shop though, I'm not one of those people who seems to have a knack for finding things worth buying, sadly. :(

  14. I love shopping at thrift stores. We have one called Wonderland that I love. Our goodwill organizes by color also...very strange, but, I too, love the thrill of the hunt.

  15. Hi!! I love your great finds. I wonder if our goodwill has half-off Wednesday's? I hope you are feeling better. I haven't had the urge to blog much at all lately...I can't seem to post eats up a lot of time just figureing it out and then I end up deleting it because I don't like it. I like your blog background!

  16. WOW!! What a haul! I'm a thrift store addict too!!!

  17. Thanks for the tip on the Little Book of Manners for Boys. I'm thinking Christmas presents. I'm not going to try to hunt them down at a thrift store, but Amazon has some good deals for used copies!


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