November….. A Month of Thanks…..Bargain Hunter

I absolutely LOVE a good bargain. My motto basically sounds something like this: If it’s not on sale, and I mean 50% or more, I don’t buy it. Obviously, certain things like food and baby products don’t fall into this category. Although I do try to use coupons and club store’s weekly sales as much as possible. When it comes to clothes, shoes, or any sort of household item; I stand firm in my beliefs. And just so you know, I am still wearing designer clothes and shoes, and my home DOES NOT look like a collection of everyone’s discarded hand me downs.

Some of you may be asking, “How can that be possible?”. My answer is simple. Thrift Shops, Salvage Stores, and Clearance Racks. I try my best to stay away from anything hanging in a regular priced section of a store.

It must be a gene I inherited at birth. I cannot remember a time in my life when I wasn’t searching for the best “bang for my buck”. And that is what I am thankful for today; my ability & desire to get the best deal no matter what.

Let me go into detail a little more by starting with thrift shops. Everyday, in every city in America, people are getting rid of stuff. And a large percentage of those things are in perfectly usable condition. Those items typically wind up in a thrift store somewhere.

I walked into a thrift store not long ago. My daughter was about 4 months old, I had lost a good bit of weight, and I was looking for some nursing friendly clothes to wear until I got back to my pre-pregnancy size. I walked over to the dress rack, and walked out with two maxi dresses, totaling less than $7. When I got home I noticed that one of the dresses still had the original store tags attached. After some inspection, I realized I had paid $3 for a brand new, 100% pure silk Nicole Miller maxi dress with a retail value of $475. $475 for someone else = $3 for me This wasn’t just a one time luck kind of thing. I find very expensive, name brand items, just about every time I go.

Joovy Scooter x2, double stroller: $275
My price: $60 at a second hand kids store

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Tag of the Nicole Miller dress I paid $3.00 for

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Next, are salvage stores. There should be more of these. I didn’t even know what a salvage store was until after my husband brought me to his home town of Picayune, MS for the first time. It was called Hudson’s Treasure Hunt. One trip and I was addicted. We recently moved there and it has been awesome. I redecorated almost our whole house with “treasures” from Hudson’s, now known as Dirt Cheap.

•••salvages stores basically buy goods in bulk from other stores that have gone out of business, have been damaged in someway (ex. fire, flood), or overstocked in stores. They in turn stock their shelves and sell these items for fractions of retail value. While some of the things you find there are simply unusable, most of them are in brand new, non-damaged condition.•••••

Since our move, at least 95% of all clothing purchased came from there. I happened to have an entire maternity wardrobe, not one item cost me over $5. Not to mention all the other things I’ve found. When I make my weekly shopping list, I always stop by Dirt Cheap first. I never walk out without being able to cross out two or three items on my list.

Here are some of my most boastful steals, and their retail value compared to what I actually paid.

Charlie Banana Cloth Baby Diapers, a 6 pack of one size = $115, and a 6 pack of xsmall = $95. I paid $12 total.

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An entire sock monkey themed bedroom for my son was purchased there. I got everything for $30. The comforter came from Kohl’s and it alone had a price tag of $198

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And last but not least, clearance racks. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen something on a full priced rack and lusted after it. After swatting my own hand and telling myself no, I usually wind up finding that exact item 2 or 3 months later ON CLEARANCE. It pays to wait. How many times would you have worn that item in a couple if months? Once? Twice maybe? You can’t beat saving 50-75% just by not wearing something one time.

When we moved we decided to retire our old trusty sofa. Clay and I both agreed a sectional was the route we wanted to take. And it had to be leather, but I still wanted it to be funky and young feeling. What we came a across was a cherry red leather sectional…..price tag = $2,500. There was NO WAY I could ever pay that much for sofa. There is a Rooms To Go Outlet only 20 min from my house. And as luck would have it, they were unloading that exact red leather sofa as I was walking in the door. The only thing wrong with it was a tiny unnoticeable scuff on the backside of the sofa. I got my $2,500 sofa for only $600.

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Whole outfit off clearance rack, shoes & necklace included for less than $15.

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I am so thankful that there are and always will be bargains waiting to be discovered as long as I’m willing to make the effort. I’m also blessed to have a natural desire to always get the best deal.

“Buying something on sale is a very special feeling. In fact, the less I pay for something, the more it is worth to me. I have a dress that I paid so little for that I am afraid to wear it. I could spill something on it, and then how would I replace it for that amount of money?” ~Rita Rudner

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November….. a Month of Thanks…. Creativity

Today I am thankful for being blessed with creativity. I have always been artsy, if I can make it myself, I will. My creativity is such a large part of who I am. What would I be without it?

I think I owe a lot of thanks to my mother, who always encouraged my creative side. In fact, her laundry room became the craft storage room when I was a child. We were always painting, gluing, coloring, or making jewelry. And I truly believe that because of her I am able to express this part of me so well.

My mind is constantly looking for projects; things I can make and design. I have been blessed with the ability to not only look at something for what it is, but look at and see what it can become. I call it vision.

When I am stressed or upset about something I am able to throw myself into a project and take out those frustrations on it. Usually ending in some pretty cool thing.

A few days ago, while thrifting, I came across this huge rack of really funky neck ties for CHEAP!!!!! And they were pretty much all awesome prints and colors. You know, the ties us women pick out. The ones that we think are really pretty & stylish, but most members of the male species wouldn’t be caught dead in. So, we buy them for our men, and they wind up at a thrift shop somewhere just waiting to be created into something new. I went ahead and decided to buy a few (ok , a bunch) of them and got to thinking as soon as I got home. I couldn’t wait to get started. I could feel the creative juices pumping through my veins just dying to be released.

What I came up with, was nothing short of what I consider to be pretty freakin awesome!

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I just can’t get enough of it! How cool would it be to take two ties that belonged to someone special to you: grandpa, dad, husband; and turn it into someone beautiful that you can actually wear and keep close to your heart.

Talk about a conversation piece. I’ve only worn it out the house once, but I’ve had at least 10 people stop to ask me about it. It really makes you feel good in your soul when you receive complements on something you created yourself.

“Creativity is not the funding of a thing, but the making of something after it is found.” – James Russell Lowell

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.” – Steve Jobs

I will never be able to be thankful enough, for the gift I was created with. It is who I am, burned into my soul, without it I would be lost.

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