It's true. I'm reigning in my thifting. Trying to get it under control. In reality, I spend way more money thrifting that I likely would if I just bought things new--that's how much stuff I buy that I don't need. And it's not sustainable, or admirable, or financially wise. So I've made some new rules for myself when it comes to hitting the thrift stores.
1. Only buy things for yourself/your household if you see an immediate use for them. Picture where they are going to go and what they're going to be used for, and if you come up blank, but it back.
2. Only buy gifts if you have a specific idea of who it will be for and for what occasion. No "that'll make a good gift for somebody."
3. Only buy things for other people if they have been specifically requested. No "I bet X would love this!"
4. Do not thrift to re-sell.
Obviously, these rules wouldn't work for everyone. A lot of people come out ahead when thrifting for re-sale. Those people are for more disciplined and knowledgeable than I am.
Yesterday, on my birthday, I set out to Unique with my new rules in mind, but no budget. The first thing I picked up was something that I originally would have thought I was buying for re-sale. Knowing that was against my rules now, I picked it up thinking, "hey, I know X would love this." And she would. But was it something I would actually get together and send at an appropriate time for a gift? I wasn't sure. I put it down. A few minutes, I returned and picked it up again, having realized that I actually wanted to keep it for myself, and could see where it would sit in my house quite clearly. As a bonus I knew Mark would love it. So I put it in the cart.
The mystery object? This perfect condition, vintage-with-original-tags dark green faux croc ice bucket. I paid $5.49 for it and really, how could I possibly have left it there?
As I browsed through the rest of the housewares, I picked things up and then returned them to the shelves several times, realizing each time that the item was not one I needed or really even wanted to have in my house. Then, in the toy section, I spotted another interesting object, this one a clear gift. It met my rules easily--I knew exactly who it would be for, and when. For $1.91, there was no need for much argument and it went into the cart. (And won't be revealed here, in case the intended recipient is a reader.)
After I'd been through all of the housewares and books, I hit clothes. I usually start with skirts and dresses, since those are what I'd most like to find. I found a gorgeous 100% silk dress with the Macy's tag advertising the $109 price tag still on it, but it fit me like a nightshirt, so it was a no-go. Great find for someone else. The skirts all seemed to be bum-length. Undeterred, I decided to have a gander at the jeans, since fall is on its way and I could really use some new ones. I was rewarded--a pair of Eddie Bauer curvy fit trouser jeans, dark wash, barely worn (if worn at all), in a size 14L. These are jeans I was 95% sure would fit, I loved the style and the wash, and they aren't a duplicate of something else I already have. Easy peasy. $6.49, and I was right, they fit perfectly.
Lastly, as always, I looked at the jewelry case. I've been really into thrifted jewelry lately. I've been really into jewelry in general, actually, and thrifting is my favorite way to get it--less expensive and more interesting stuff. Still, I was trying to be prudent, so I knew I'd have to be a bit picky. With a bit of birthday luck, though, I spotted something I'd had my eye out for--a multi-strand seed bead necklace. I've been admiring these for a bit, and had decided I really wanted a vintage one. The one I got? In perfect condition, from the late 70s or early 80s (I think), and baby pink. Perfect. At $9.99 it was a bit more than I usually pay for thrifted jewelry, but totally worth it.
I left the store having spent only about $26, which is, I am embarrassed to tell you, quite a bit lower than my usual thrift store bill. I bought only things I am 100% sure I like and have a use for, and I feel great about my purchases. Hopefully every trip under the new rules will be as great as this one!