Thrifty is Nifty

January 19, 2010 at 3:44 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

My long weekend was both fantastically fun and fantastically cheap.  I saw a hilarious comedy show on Friday night (free with my date, who performs there), I went to the Field Museum and visited the mummies and dinosaur bones on Sunday (free with my membership) and I went to the Museum of Science and Industry on Monday (free day there).  On Saturday I had coffee with a lovely friend of mine and since I was so proud of my well-budgeted weekend, I decided to splurge with a visit to a thrift shop.

My mom instilled in me a love of thrift shops at a very young age and as the years have gone by I find my appreciation for these places only deepens.  While I was in high school, I found an old house in my little hometown that had been turned into a huge thrift store and I frequented that place as much as I could.  I found such gems as a Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff CD and a wooden Nintendo trunk with Mario and the Princess adorning its sides.  I never really saw many others in that old house and I was worried about its ability to survive without me when I moved away to college.  Sure enough, on my first visit home during my freshman year I went by and the place had closed down.  I’m sure it would have closed whether or not I was still around but it made me sad nonetheless.

Since then, I’ve had to move on to other thrift stores.  I have also learned that (especially in places like Chicago) a place that is advertised as a thrift store might not actually be a fountain of cheap finds.  Many places like to use words like thrift or consignment in their names and descriptions but in reality they will charge you an arm and a leg for just about any item you find. I took this jaded attitude with me on Saturday but wound up being pleasantly surprised.  The fact that the entire store was having a half off sale all weekend didn’t hurt.

The first floor of this massive store held various pieces of furniture and electronics.  If I was looking for new kitchen table or living room set I would have been in heaven but since I’m not I simply moved on.  Upstairs was all the clothing but I had some sort of cosmic attraction to the bag section and so over there I wandered.  And I was rewarded.  I found an almost-brand new Timberland backpack that will be perfect for any trip three days or less.  I had actually told myself I needed one of these a long time ago and was going to splurge on one for my birthday, but now I can splurge on something else!  I felt so confident with my backpack that I went to the basement of the store, where I knew it would come in handy.  For the basement held the books.

To be honest, this is where I spent most of my time that day.  The entire basement was full of various volumes toppling off of dozens of bookcases and arranged in piles all over the place.  A true bibliophile’s dream.  It was quiet and light classical music wafted from hidden speakers.  Of course, I had to look at just about every shelf before my curiosity was satisfied, and again I was rewarded.  I found the Autobiography of Charles Chaplin, a humor book by Steve Martin, Les Miserables and a book discussing the role of women in today’s media.  I know this might sound awful to some of you out there, but I was (and still am) excited with my finds.

Before leaving I decided to peruse their DVD’s and I found another bargain – this hilarious Margaret Cho comedy special.  I then had a lovely conversation with the guy checking me out about female comedienne’s in general, including the raunchy Sandra Bernhard.  I was feeling pretty good about my purchases, until I saw my total for the day.  Then I felt ecstatic.  I managed to get the heavy duty backpack, DVD and four books for a combined total of TWELVE DOLLARS.  That’s right, I am awesome.

Talk about a glorious day of shopping.  And yes, this constitutes a day of shopping for me.  I was so excited I had to call my mom to share my news, and I think I made her proud.  She taught me well!

Between the comedy show, thrift store, museums and fantastic company I was lucky enough to be surrounded by, my weekend was a smashing success.  Living in this city never gets old!



  1. homemaderachel said,

    I love thrift shops too. I even stalk them for things I need sometimes. I once waited six years until last year when I found a china hutch I liked for a price I was willing to pay. I am so proud of that damn thing. SCORE! Of course there are some real stinkers from the days before I knew better. I’ve ended up with a non-working crock pot and bread maker without a paddle amongst other things. Caveat Emptor, I guess. I do tend to have better luck with nicer clothing and things at thrift shops/salvation army/goodwill in the more affluent areas of town.

  2. homemaderachel said,

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