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February 10, 2010


This Thrifted Life

Great post Selena! I'm so thankful my mom took me thrifting when I was growing up. When I went away to school we hit up garage sales for my necesities, then we supplemented with new clearance items for what we couldn't find secondhand. It's something I'm definitely excited to pass onto my own children.

And we must've had similar minds this week--I wrote today's post yesterday morning and am laughing at how similar our closing lines are.


I just LOVE this post!

Angel Funk

My oldest son loves the thrift store! He has no concept of it being any different from regular stores except that he is more likely to be allowed to buy a thrifted toy than a brand new one from Target.


Your comment about thrifting being about how I choose to spend/budget my money...Well...confession, here...I do, at times feel more compelled to buy a thrifted item, just because I recognize it's rarity/value in whatever setting I discover it! So, I do have the (small) box of cool stuff I (someday) will know how to put on eBay and sell!?

Oh! And in our house, growing up, it wasn't so much thrifting, as hand-me-downs (my sister and I would say; "We inherited it"!)

And we still do "inherit" from each other!

Rachel (Hounds in the Kitchen)

Wonderful post!

I have to admit to mostly shopping without my daughter in tow - it's just easier to avoid the "i wants". Even at a thrift store I try to teach her that we only buy what we need.


My mom always said she wished there were thrift stores around when she was raising five kids by herself....her dollar certainly would have gone a lot further back then.
I see nothing wrong with teaching your kids where you CHOOSE to spend your dollars.....buying second hand for most items allows you to enhance your life in so many other areas!
I don't have little ones anymore...but my 16 year old is completely open to thrifting....but still prefers the malls first. My little "friend-daughter" who is 7 is probably one of the best dressed kids in her class. No way could her single mama afford the name brand clothes that I dig for at yardsales and thriftstores. It gives me such joy to find good quality clothes for mere dollars for her to feel included and part of the group. There is nothing worse than a kid feeling "left out" simply by the clothes their parents do or (don't) buy. Sad but very true.
Loved this post!


Well said, Selena. I love this post!



I think you are doing SUCH a tremendous job in gifting your children a life long skill that they will cherish at every moment in their adult financial life.


Selena- Just wanted to say I enjoy your blog immensely... missed reading it while you were at Blissdom! :) But my four-year-old son knows that we only buy "new" things at garage sales or "junk shops" as he calls them, and that's only after he chooses one other thrifted item to put in the recycling or giveaway box. He also has a "wallet" (Ziploc bag) that contains "round money" and "dollar money" for his own shopping so we're both independently thrift, alongside each other. We love the thrill of finding treasures that Target doesn't sell. Our generation is definitely privileged to sort through things of generations past. I love to see your posts of thrifted items from time to time as well. Cheers!


Nice concept! I remember when my kids were little and we would be thrift shopping. "Mom, can I buy this?" "Sure!" "Mom, can I get more than one t-shirt?" "Yep!" You're right, it was like Christmas!


Great post. We love thrifting and my kids know it is so much better to get a really neat thing (nice wooden baseball bat, say) for $1 than forking out $15 at a real store. You hit the nail on the head. I'd much rather pay a few dollars for thrifted clothes and save the rest, which puts us closer to moving onto our land, than spending the same amount at Target and not getting any closer to our dream.

Account Deleted

Great post--love the cute pictures of Keiran!


Before my husband and I met, I had never been to a thrift store or a yard sale. Now thrifting is my favorite Saturday activity. When I am feeling a little low, I will stop in at my favorite thrift store for a pick-me-up, even if I don't find anything.
When we got married, I inherited 3 children for a total of 4. Eighteen months later, we added number 5! It was quite a strain on our finances; so thrifting was a way to make sure all our children had what they needed.
Of the 5 children in our blended family, all of them are thrifters. I have my husband to thank for that. Our two youngest are avid thrifters, and our three oldest are fans of the casual thrift. What I love is that my youngest son and his wife, thrift on a weekly basis (and will even call for advice on an item) and our youngest daughter will ask for money to look for what she needs at the thrift stores before she will look at the regular stores. Then sometimes, she will see if she can borrow from a friend before she will ask us to go to a regular store.
Our children's ages are 35, 27, 25, 21, and 18. Thrifting goes beyond when your children are little! An awesome feeling, to say the least!

Ms B. Thrift

A great post, i think in the culture of debt and poor financial management my generation are in I am truly hoping to install a sensible thrift and financial sense in to my child, it's not easy as you want to get them things to make them smile and make them creative etc but i am trying to do it in a more thrifty manner, he see's me sewing and fixing things, he prefers my homebaked bread to shop bought, and he already knows that Mummy likes to recycle and grow some of her own veg. I am concerned about when he gets older and the pier pressure of videogames and suchlike come in to play, but hopefully we can balance it out ok. You're definitely inspirational.


Interesting. I've thought about this myself many times, whether it's a good thing or bad the kids get something every time we go thrifting. In a way it's spoiling them because they ask and get it because it's so cheap. I must say they're good at picking something and most often my son doesn't buy anything at all. Daughter puts stuff back all the time and in the end usually chooses one small item. We talk about things we are going to look for before we go in every time. I agree that waiting for something you're surely going to find is good, it has happened to us too!
I remember reading somewhere that the daughter of the woman who wrote the Tightwad Gazette had a horrible childhood because of her mother's frugality, that thought scares me, lol


amy zimmer

My mom took me to the library as a kid--just mom and me. I thought libraries were magic, still do. My kids are the princesses of the library. My 15 year has even said while drooling over the release of a Stephanie Meyer (Twightlight) series book, "Why sould I spend my money on it, I'll just get it from the library!) I have one happy heart!


Children are enticed by marketing schemes and ads from such a early age...what a valuable lesson to show them how to look beyond the smoke and mirrors!


I have no kids, but I was raised a thrifted kid. I wouldn't have it any other way. Retail is a "necessary evil", it bores me more and more every year.

I love the excitement that comes with thrifting- not knowing what to expect.

And 23 years later, me and my mom still give each other little thrifted goods at least once per month.


Well done you for raising your kids to be more aware of the cost of things and the importance of recycling.

My earliest memory of thrifting is going to a table sale in the local church hall with my mother (we used to call them Jumble Sales). She used to let me loose at ground level amongst all the ladies legs to find things in tins and bags under stalls.

A lot of the ladies would shove and elbow and fight over clothing on the table and leave a lot of bric-a-brac stuff underneath because they had difficulties bending down (my mother once whispered "varicose veins" in explanation, not that I understood what the hell they were!)

One day I squeezed in among the nylon-clad legs and emerged with a pair of gold and ruby earrings and a Victorian silver mood brooch. I can't remember the cost of the earrings, but the brooch was 10p.

I made the connection between one person's trash being another person's treasure and had my first lightbulb moment.

Been thrifting ever since ;-))


What a wonderful post! I really enjoy reading all your posts, they leave me inspired! :) My girls birthdays are in 2 months, my goal is to buy them at least *something* used for their birthday, which i've NEVER done before. Small steps right? ;)


My children were also raised thinking along the lines of what you can get for your money. I remember when my daughters were in middle school and I came home with a game that had the magic marker last name of a classmate and they were appalled. I kindly explained to them that if he was poor enough to sell it at his yard sale that we were rich enough to buy it. I never heard another word about that. Now that they are raised and on their own they call me for "deals" ideas and we get a lot of things from Freecycle. I am glad that it is now "cool" to buy or wear used. Computer age is so fun since you can also get coupons and freebies. Congrats on raising money minded children. My grandson, who is 9, collects cans and puts the money towards his retirement. Yes, he already has a retirement fund set up - Thrift Store Granny is a lot deeper once you scratch the surface :-)


As a thrifting mom with kids in college now...I think the lesson of good value for money is a good one and I see my kids put it into practice all the time. The danger is in buying too much. Children really need only a few things. Even at thrifted prices, I wasted money on too many toys, books (yes, many books went unread), and clothes. It must be even more tempting in an affluent area like Sebastopol.

Of course, all those extras were eventually donated. Still, I feel I may have set a bad example of overconsumption.

sarah rennie

OMYGOSH! Did you purchase the grey Sharp boombox to resale? I have been looking for one! I had one in junior high!

sarah rennie

my bad, I just realized that was an old pic, after reading the blog thoroughly. Dur.


Great sentiments, beautifully expressed - as always.

I buy a lot of thrifted toys and clothes for my nephew and he seems to enjoy them just as much as the new items his mother buys him. He seems to have realised that most of what I give him is second-hand as he now asks 'did this come from a car boot sale?' And he never minds at all that the answer is usually 'yes.'

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