I have a confession to make. I hate thrift stores. I hate yard sales too. I have total admiration for those incredible ladies that can hit a thrift store or yard sale and come out with treasures like this, and this, and this. But I have zero patience and I lack the creative vision to see the treasures under the junk. Plus I am a bit of a retail junkie. I love new products- fancy packaging and pretty bags. I rarely shop but when I do I tend to prefer quality over quantity. I would rather have 2 pairs of great shoes for my toddler than 10 pairs of cheap ones that fall apart and give her blisters.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love a great deal too- and if I can score an amazing deal on items like this or this– I am first in line. But I have found that when I spend a little more on a quality items I tend to spend less in the long run. For example, years ago when my husband and I bought our first home we had a lovely mix of eclectic college furnishings (can you say futon?) I wanted to decorate our home with classic furniture that we would be able to keep for years.
I went to work at Pottery Barn for a few hours a week and used my paychecks and the incredible discount to furnish our entire home. We have a ton of basic pieces- like our sectional sofa and leather club chairs- that we still love and that look great several years later.
Some pieces- like the dining table pictured above- haven’t lasted as our lives have changed. When we relocated from Washington to California we decided a 300 lb mahogany dining table was not an item we wanted to bring with us. We loved that table and it still looked gorgeous after a year of regular use, but with a toddler it just wasn’t going to be practical. With my employee discount I paid about $1300 for the table and eight Parsons chairs. I sold it on Craigslist a year later for $1500- so we actually made a profit at resale. Granted I got the table at a spectacular discount to begin with, but with smart and careful shopping anyone can score a great deal on a quality item.
This was my daughter’s nursery. I fell in love with the Lambie collection from Pottery Barn Kids and wanted all the pieces. The prices were out of our budget so I waited and waited and finally got the rug and bumper brand new for a great price on E-Bay. I recently sold several of the pieces from her nursery as she is moving into a big girl’s room. And guess what? I was able to sell the items- after 2 years of use- for exactly the price I originally paid.
So for me, frugality isn’t always about what is cheap or free. Frugality to me is about maximizing the resources you have carefully and consciously to get the best overall value.