Friday, June 08, 2007

When to stop

Q: Do you have a "thrifting" budget? How do you make sure that you don't go overboard with spending in that area- because I think I can overdo even at Salvation Army. I'm wondering if it's a heart issue, or just experience, or just knowing your needs and finances so well? Do you ever leave a yardsale or thrift-store with buyer's remorse?

A: I'm sorry it's taken me so long to answer your question. I do have a "fun money" envelope for shopping. However, it's hard not to blur budget categories because I buy almost everything I can secondhand: clothing, cleaning products from estate sales, furniture and home improvement supplies. Spending cash is a good shut-off valve.

I can and do overdo. A personal warning sign is when I have bags of "stuff" that I haven't yet emptied out of the car. I don't like cluttered interiors; I almost always regret buying small decorative items, unless they cost ten cents. My biggest impulse buys: smocked dresses and kitchen equipment. Thank goodness those are easily resold if necessary! You might try finding a thrift store with a return policy, if buyer's remorse is a problem.

*Thanks to Deputy Headmistress at The Common Room for reprinting her wise words on the subject of thrift shop abundance and general packrattery.

6 comments:

Birdie said...

When thrift shopping or garage saling, I find it helpful to carry a "needs list" with me to help keep me focused on the difference between what we actually need and interesting finds. ;)

Anonymous said...

I have a "list also" but have cut down on my garage saleing because of gas prices - I used to go to a very nice area but twenty mile round trip needs thinking about.
I never regret a purchase if the price was right. I am looking for a zoo with zoo animals, found one for $10 - didnt get though as the animals had seen better days - Ill keep looking !

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Meredith, I'm not sure- but is this the one?
http://heartkeepercommonroom.blogspot.com/2006/02/stuff-that-buries-us.html

One issue when you do so much second hand buying is that you really need to buy more than you 'need' at any given moment because you can't be sure it will be there later. I buy ahead in clothes (especially boy's clothing in good condition) and things like linens or disposable items I know I will use later. But it's so easy for me to buy a lot of some things I really don't need because the price is so good...
Don't ask how many baskets and wooden boxes are in totes in my garage.=)

Mama Squirrel said...

It's hard to make a list of "needs" because you just don't know what's going to come up second hand. We went to two sales last weekend and my husband ended up with a VCR (he knows how to fix them, but prefers only that one brand) and a very good timer (the kind that can turn on your lights when you're not home). Is a VCR a necessity?--no, but the odds of us finding another one like that, of that brand, anytime soon are pretty slim--so he bought it.

He doesn't have a whole basement full of that kind of stuff, if you're imagining we're breaking our necks over his finds--he tries to to keep what will be the most useful, and often passes things along to others as well.

As you said too, we don't have a "yard sale" budget; we have an overall budget, and buying some things at yard sale prices is what allows us to remain within that budget.

Mrs. G said...

oooooh...are those biscotti pans?! :)

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for answering this, Meredith! I appreciated your post & The Deputy Headmistress's.

It also never occurred to me to look for cleaning products and other items... I think that if I could get my dh to eliminate our monthly Target run (usually $50-150 per month!) and we had a list on items that are needed/wanted I would save quite a lot, actually...

We almost bought a "bed in a bag" set at Target for $100, which was nice... but I think I can be on the lookout for the next few months and find nicer linens that are better quality, cheaper elsewhere. :)