Thirft Shopping Works so get Inspired!

Submitted by Barbara on Fri, 05/25/2012 - 17:27

I decided to put together this information for those of you dont believe thrifting can fulfill your needs.  Here is an inventory of everything purchased on May 24th, 2012.  I have to admit that it isnt always this bountiful . . . but then going to Target can also be very disappointing. Back when I still went to Target now and again, I would find half the things on my list and come out with a $100 in stuff I hadnt planned to buy.  Thats quick way to be poor and really not very helpful when you think about it.

What I have done here is given approximate new prices by going to and finding similar items.  Thing marked with a Y were recent additions to my thrifting list or given a number of years I had been looking for a long time.  N means they werent on my list so they were either an impulse purchase or they were included with something else I bought.

DescriptionValueYears on List
Stainless steel colander$20  Y
Theraband (came with heart rate monitor)$5N
Widger & Dibber (gardening tools)$5Y
Set of Queen Sheets$35Y
2 Shirts$10 eachY
Outdoor electrical timer$10Y
3 New Hand/Kitchen Towels$20N
Fabric chair cover (matches ours!)$15N
1 belt (came with pants)$15N
Set of 5 cosmetic brushes$15Y
Polar Heart Rate Monitor$60~5 years
6 Sweaters$25 eachY
2 Bras$20 eachN
2 Women's Graphic Tank Tops$15 eachY
2 Boys sweat pants$7.50 eachY
1 Worm Farm$15Y
2 Pair Women's Pants$25 eachY
1 skein of yarn$3Y
32 Items   $523 @ Target 

Total spent:  $76.  Thats roughly $447 that I was able to keep in the bank.

The Polar heart rate monitor I have been looking for years.  Normally they cost around $50-$100.  Mine was priced $2.99.  Where there times in the intervening years that I thought about buying a new one?  Sure, but I didnt.  I just kept putting it off and I was rewarded eventually.  Some times procrastination is a good thing.  Now, when I look back on it, I was no worse off because I waited.  Instant gratification has a powerful pull, but then so does cocaine but most of us are able to say no to cocaine. . .

You will also notice that everything else has a Y which indicates it was a recent addition to our list.  With thrifting just as any other shopping experience, you wont find everything you wanted in one trip.  What this list does show, is that most things can be found quickly enough to meet our basic needs.

Different research comes up with different numbers, but the general figure I hear most often is that 1/2 to 2/3 of cost are externalized, meaning that if all pollution was averted, all resources were paid a sustainable price for and only fair labor was used, the cost of the new goods from Target might be $1000 to $1500.  One the other side, by buying second hand, instead of consuming resources, you are reducing landfill.

Thrifting also puts money back into your local community in the form of charitable programs.