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Are you Cheap, Frugal or Thrifty?

Updated on February 10, 2016

Top Thrift Stores in Houston

You might be downright cheap if you water down hydrogen peroxide. Webster’ says: “Cheap = stingy or miserly.” For most uses, it is best to keep peroxide at full strength. You might be frugal if you save leftover bars of soap in a jar with water to make your own soft soap. (OK. I’ll confess to trying this one, but with dismal success.) “Frugal = not wasteful and careful.” The word “thrifty” sounds even better than “frugal” and has a tremendously positive definition. Noted at Websters’ as Thrifty = “Successful, wisely economical”. As you hunt and experience the thrill of shopping at a resale/thrift stores, think to yourself “I am thrifty! I am successful! I am wisely economical” and laugh all the way to the bank. At times in my life, I have been all three.

The perception of thrift stores several years ago was that many smelled like old socks and Fritos. What you can expect to find in most of today’s shops are cheerful, eager volunteers or staff, a daily change of inventory, clean fitting rooms, thrifty pricing, lots of used coffee mugs, and stores offering sales.

In Northwest Houston, we are blessed with many stores all within five to twenty-five minutes of each other, and all gems. Goodwill Stores, Northwest Assistance Ministries, and Angel’s Attic Resale are just a few thrift and charitable stores that are true gems.

Do you prefer online shopping? No problem. Goodwill Industries has an extremely popular online auction site that has been ranked by as one of the top 50 websites for 2009. Try viewing their Top 50 Hot Items every few days.

Some of the items I have found at local stores are. New Prada scarf~~$1.00 Salvation Army. Fossil Leather purse new with tag~~$3.00 NAM Thrift Store, New Suede Pants with bead embellishments ~~$7.99 at Goodwill, and they sported a $230 tag. Gently used Brighton purses have been spotted at Angels Attic.

I have been shopping thrift for years and have developed the following:
Ten Successful and Wisely Economical Thrift Store Tips to save time AND money:

  • Always take donations to drop off if you are planning to bring some things home. Simultaneously bring out and bring in and always clean up your clutter.
  • Find a thrift store by your home, visit frequently and check out store websites for sale calendars. Inventory changes daily.
  • Have a list when you go in to the store. The clothing in most thrift stores is sorted by color not size.
  • Don’t buy clothing if it doesn’t fit. This is a frugal thing to do. Are you really going to lose 5-10 pounds?
  • Wear bike shorts and slip on shoes for quick changes.
  • Look outside the box. You’ll need to shop when people are cleaning out their closets and not when retail stores would typically have sales. Shop June through September for long underwear and seek out Hawaiian Shirts in November. Housewares, baby items, toys and furniture are good finds at any month. I feel the best time to shop is second or third week of June, and second or third week of January when de-cluttering typically occurs.
  • Buy essential wardrobe pieces
  • Black turtle neck sweater
  • Hawaiian shirt
  • Purses
  • Jackets, Tons of women’s dress and denium jackets are $9.99 at Goodwill.
  • Pants that fit. Seek moderate sportswear labels if you are a label snob. Chicos, Liz Claiborne, Banana Republic can be found at $7.99 vs $60.00.
  • Silk Black Tank Top~~easy to find after Christmas.
  • Western Shirt. We ARE in Texas. Someone is always having a party or Go Western Day in February/March Look for shirts in April- Summer.
  • Ties. Find a good funeral tie or ripe, ugly tie for about $2.00 instead of $20++.
  • Try to find someone in the aisle to brag about what you have found.
  • Play right. Don’t take more than the recommended items in the dressing rooms and put back what you don’t want.
  • Take everything to a $1.75 cleaners on the same day. This feels like you have been shopping retail. Be “frugal” and buy many clothes that are machine washable, but find yourself a “good, but cheap” dry cleaners.

There is even a National Thrift Shop Day. Yes, it even has its own “day”, but I think everyday is a great thrift store day~~Good luck.


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