Thrift Shopping Your Way to Wealth

By Barb Tobias
NABBW’s Thrifting Expert

People often question why I continue to thrift shop … after all, I have more than everything I need.

I guess it boils down to my love of the hunt.   I love to scour the thrift shops and garage sales for items that can be made into something else. I enjoy creating new things out of old or used items.

After all, I am a Diva and I love to change my environment … often.

I’m past worrying about whether I’ve made a purchasing mistake because I hold a Diva Sale at least once a year where I sell my “mistakes” and items I’ve simply grown tired of.

Another defining reason I shop thrift is knowing that I am saving so much money. In addition, recycling everything I own keeps my stuff out of our landfills.

On a recent “sale” shopping week I recorded my purchases and calculated the difference between what I paid during the 50% off sale, what I would have paid at normal thrift store prices and what retail would have cost me.

I was astonished…

Item Retail Thrift 1/2 price Sale
Cousances Cast Iron Vintage Blue Deep Skillet $109.99 $   9.99 $   4.99
Cousances Cast Iron Vintage Blue Omelet Fry Pan $    9.99 $   6.99 $   3.49
Pfaltzgraff Gravy Boat $    7.99 $   3.99 $     .99
Smoothie Freeze juicer $  29.99 $ 12.99 $   6.49
CX-CD241 Portable CD with AM/FM Stereo Tuner $  29.99 $   6.99 $   3.49
Audio phase CD and Cassette player/2 speakers $  59.95 $ 24.99 $ 12.49
Video tape rewind component $  15.99 $   3.99 $   1.99
Glass Storage Jar $    9.99 $   3.99 $   1.99
Drawer Divider $    5.99 $   1.99 $   0.99
Men’s Red Handkerchief $    4.99 $   0.99 $   0.49
Auto Flashlight . $    4.99 $     .99 $   0.49
6 – Faux Leather placemats (Bed, Bath & Beyond) $  35.94 $11.94 $   5.94
Ceramic Box $    9.00 $   2.99 $   1.49
Long black scarf $    9.99 $   1.99 $   0.99
3 – Dinosaur Eggs $    9.99 $   2.97 $   1.47
2 – Decorative throw pillows $  32.00 $   8.00 $   4.00
7 – (Tag-on new) pairs underwear $  41.93 $ 13.93 $   6.93
5 – Variety Cooking Utensils $    9.99 $   2.45 $   1.20
2-Books $  49.90 $   6.00 $   3.00
7 – CD\’s $  90.30 $ 14.00 $   7.00
Crazy Horse Ski Sweater $  24.99 $   4.99 $   2.49
2 piece silk PJ set by Cerie $  15.99 $   4.99 $   2.49
Wise World sweatshirt $  32.99 $   4.99 $   2.49
Pair (NEW) Diane Gillman jeans $  46.00 $   8.99 $     .99
Pair Liz Claiborne jeans $  28.99 $   5.99 $     .99
Pair ETHYL Vintage jeans $  32.00 $   5.99 $     .99
Pair Faded Glory Black Denim jeans $  14.99 $   5.99 $     .99
Totals
$824.84 $184.09
$ 79.17


I call this type of smart shopping “investing”!  Not only am I investing in my home and wardrobe, I am making wise purchases that can be sold at my “Diva Sales” after I’m finished with them or have found something better.

This way my merchandise is almost always recycled and I often recoup my investment.

I have started to put the difference between what I pay thrift and what my items would have cost retail into a savings account.  To hell with retirement! I am dying to take a trip; Africa is calling me, Victoria Island is my spring fantasy and Australia is beckoning me . . .

Barb Tobias is a professional speaker and inspiring coach who renovates lives, homes and wardrobes by sticking her curious little nose into other people’s “thrifty business.” After a lifetime of transforming trash into treasure, this savvy mistress of thrift shares her secrets to finding deals, repurposing before tossing, reconstructing the tattered and renewing things others view as passé in her recent release…Tossed & Found; Where Frugal is Chic. Her “tell all” book is not simply a journey of personal transformation, but teaches a newly frugal nation how to purchase, purge and profit from thrift.