Going Thriftin’

Have you ever wanted something for your house, maybe a new kitchen gadget or outdoor tool, but didn’t want to spend a lot of money on it? You’re in the right spot because I have just the product for you! Well, not a product but a place. It’s your local thrift store! Allyson and I love using the local thrift stores or Craigslist to buy the things we need and want at prices well below new. I mean, who doesn’t like to save money?

This is absolutely nothing new if you have ever found yourself reading a blog about financial independence/retiring early, AKA FIRE, as I certainly have. Saving money by buying something used whenever possible fits in well with our own personal goals of saving as much money as possible now in order to buy more financial freedom in the future. Buying used also goes along nicely with our goal of creating less waste and finding ways to recycle and reuse products. There are so many things that those around us throw away or donate daily that still work great and can be given a new life. With all of that in mind, I want to share a quick list of some of the items we have found at a thrift store.

A great collection of clothes, all for around $15 total.

Clothes. There will always be clothes at thrift stores as long as people live, so why not check them out and see if any match your style and size? The clothes above are from one trip that Allyson took to the local Goodwill. I have also found numerous button down shirts, nice pants, sports wear, and a sweet “smoking jacket” with padded elbows that I break out for special occasions.

Garden tools, extremely useful and extremely affordable. I believe these cost a total of $42.
A new Instant Pot is about $50, we got ours for $20.
This espresso machine goes for $200 and I got it for $13. By far my best and favorite thrift store purchase.

All of the items above are extremely useful around our house, most of them used multiple times per week. There are so many garden tools that are still in great shape, but people move or decide that gardening is too much work and so you end up with garden tools galore at thrift stores. And yes, that is an old fashioned reel mower that works fantastically. However, now that we have replaced our entire lawn with xeriscape or garden, it is time for me to post it back on Craigslist and most likely sell it for the same price that I bought it for. The instant pot is a relatively new addition to the household, but it was something I have been looking for for awhile and it is great so far. Lastly, that espresso machine is my pride and joy. I have brought that over to friend’s houses so that I could act as a barista during brunch parties. It gets use multiple times every week and I think it might be our best thrift store find to date.

Coming in a close second to the espresso machine for my favorite thrift store find, a 1939 Corona Standard. This was bought for $12 and new ribbon added for $10 more.

The items above weren’t really necessary, but we love them all the same. Allyson found that bird cage and immediately thought it could be used as an outdoor ornament. She turned it into a succulent hanging pot and it looks great by our front door. The typewriter was an absolute steal. I’ve done a bit of research and it looks like a 1939 Corona Standard, one of the last ones to be built in the USA. I have seen some wild prices out there for these, in the range of $200 to $300 depending on condition. That being said, I have no plans to ever sell it, as I love the way it looks in our house and I really enjoy sitting down and typing out a letter or a journal entry. An important note on the typewriter: I found it by following the first rule of thrifting, “Open every box”. 

I hope taking a look at some of our used goods and the reasons we search thrift stores and craigslist first, before ever buying new, has inspired you to think about what items you can find used. I recommend making a list of things you want or need, but can wait a few weeks to purchase. Then take a trip to your local thrift store and see if you can find any of those items. Inventory at these places typically turns over relatively quickly, so I tend to check weekly (it helps that there is a Goodwill right next to my work and right next to our house). Let me know what your best thrift store find is!

Coffee World Tour

As I said previously, each week for the next 17 weeks, I will post a quick review of the coffee style from around the world that I made. This week was Turkish coffee (Türk Kahvesi), and I am a bigggg fan. Once again, I’ll recommend searching to find a better recipe than the one in the original blog that inspired this journey, as Turkish coffee shouldn’t be boiled and it tends to destroy the foam, which is a key part of the drink. Regardless, the Cardamom added a delicate sweetness and flavoring to the coffee that was just fantastic. It is not too strong (a concern I think some folks have) and fun to make, although time consuming. If you aren’t interested in making it yourself, I recommend finding a coffee shop or restaurant near you with authentic Turkish coffee and giving it a go, as I certainly will be to compare to my homemade style. It is something that I will absolutely make again, especially for friends, and I am keeping an eye out for an ibrik at my local thrift store!

Making the Turkish coffee by slowly heating the coffee to just under boiling multiple times to build the foamy layer.
Despite improving on my third day of making this, I haven’t gotten the coffee as foamy as I’d like. I’ll keep trying and get an authentic Turkish coffee from a restaurant/coffee shop in the meantime.

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