One of the best skills a shopper can have is patience. Yet I imagine, if more of us had patience our economy would not be in the pickle that it is today. Overall we are a buy it now society or maybe I should change that to want it now. 1 in 7 Americans carries 10 or more credit cards. It feels easier to spend money when it goes on a bit of plastic. It's not like they take a chunk out of your credit card so that you can see when your credit limit is nearing the end or when your debt is over $10,000. We just whip them out, the cashier slides them through the machine and we get to go home with our new item without always thinking about the money we just spent.
Thrifter's are not immune to this need to buy either. One of our greatest weaknesses is knowing that we might never find the exact item again. At least at Macy's you might have good odds that a Martha Stewart decorating kit will be available for a few more weeks. Or a set of dishes is available for a year if not longer. But when you set your eyes on something at a yard sale, you might have to move quick to buy it before someone beats you to it. This makes patience a needed skill.
Do you remember when I found this bed on Craigslist? We didn't have a frame for it or a headboard so we stuck it on the carpet and reminisced back to our college days where having a mattress on the floor was cool. The bed was still comfortable so it worked for the time being. Since January though I had been looking for a bed frame and headboard. I looked at yard sales, thrift stores and on Craigslist. I could easily have gone out to a retail shop, used my credit card and be sleeping in my new bed by now. But I didn't want a new bed. I wanted a perfect bed and most likely that would be thrifted.
Last week I found a bed on Craigslist. I emailed back and forth with the seller and Sunday, I went to pick it up for $65.
It's an Ikea Malm bed, very simple but has nice clean lines. It sells for $200 plus tax and once was on sale for $99. I still felt the value was good at $65 because it moved our mattress off the floor and it was 2nd hand.
I'm not always patient and sometimes I do buy compulsively but I tend to always pay for it in guilt later. At least when you thrift there is a small chance that you can sell it for a similar price if you decide that you later dislike it passionately. Retail wise some shops take returns but others are making it more challenging. I'd prefer to buy something I aim to keep.
When you are out and about shopping this week whether it is retail or thrifted, take a second and ask yourself if you are shopping patiently. I feel that the 5 months that I have waited for the bed made it even more satisfying when I put the bed together. And I adore waking up each morning in a fully thrifted bed.