Leah Elizabeth Photography

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Welcome to Value Minded Mama. This is my creative space where I document motherhood moments, cool kiddo and family finds, my super simple casual mommy style, saving time and money tips, our travels/adventures and being a stay at home mom. I love that you're here! Please stop by one of my posts (or fill out the contact form) and let me know how you found me. I love making friends and connecting with new people. Feel free to check out my social media channels below for more from Value Minded Mama.

The Best Thrifting Haul (and Tips)

The Best Thrifting Haul (and Tips)

So, I haven’t done a Thrifty Thursday post in a long while. Part of this is because I have just been trying to stop needlessly shopping in general (much to my husband’s relief I’m sure). And another reason is because I haven’t been shopping for clothes for myself or Silas, but for a baby girl who is not even born yet.

Although, I will admit I have still been looking for decor/toys, because we are remaking our guest bedroom into Silas’ toddler bedroom. So, I have been on the hunt for really good deals regarding anything “transportation” related, as that is the theme I have chosen for his room. I have been really really impressed with all of the items I have been able to find at consignment and thrift stores, mainly at Goodwill.

I originally started at Once Upon a Child (OUAC) for toys because I thought they would have the best selection and newer items. However, they almost have TOO many options, and it gets overwhelming. Their prices are also not nearly as competitive and affordable as Goodwill’s.

So, that’s where I venture to almost once a week, just to see what they might have. I’m going to share with you my most recent finds. Warning: you may get a tad jealous because of all these awesome good deals, but keep in mind - EVERY city has a Goodwill, most have multiple. YOU too can find these prices. Just follow along, and keep in mind my tips for a successful shopping trip!

I always look for expensive/tech toys at Goodwill. One trip I found a guitar for only $1.79. At OUAC there were over 20 to choose from, and they ranged from $5-$10. Not my idea of a good time. You better believe I snatched that guitar! I also found a LeapFrog Fridge Farm Magnetic Animal Set for a mere $2.79. I had looked for this a year ago on eBay, and they ranged from $20-$40, plus shipping.

TIP: KNOW what items are worth and when you’re getting a steal!

Yesterday, I found a REAL kid’s digital camera ($2.79, retails for $45) excellent condition with games, fun photo frames and stickers, plus a 2G memory card. The batteries weren’t working when I tried to turn it on, but I thought, hey - if this doesn’t work it’s only $3 wasted. When I got home, I replaced the batteries and it works perfectly. I also found a LeapFrog Phonics Radio ($1.79, retails for $30) that WAS working, and knew I had to take that home with me too.

There is a Goodwill that is only about a year old, on the road to our house (HWY 378 across from Toyota). They have a great selection of assorted toy bags called “Bag o’ Fun”, which are my new obsession. These bags are only $2.25 and are full of similar toy items like plastic animals, cars, tracks, balls and gender related toys. *At Once Upon A Child, this bag could be anywhere from $4-$7.*

TIP: If you get home and don’t like everything in the Bag o’ Fun, save your unwanted items, and sell them online or to OUAC to recoup some of your loss.

As I was checking out yesterday, the cashier told me that the next day, the ENTIRE store (Goodwill) would be 50% off. I was a little peeved that she waited till AFTER I had checked out to inform me of this, but I was already fully committed to buying those few items anyway, so it really didn’t matter. When the ENTIRE store goes on sale, you make it a priority to be there. And you better believe I showed up first thing, before they even opened, and waited outside for 10 min so I could be one of the first customers in that store. I ended up scoring some major deals for only $50. I can’t even believe it would have cost $100 regularly!! Everything I got was already really affordable, but I’ve never even come close to spending over $50 at a thrift store ever. So it was a bit of a shock, but I was so happy I went. See below some of the items I found! :)

I’ve never seen this at a Goodwill before, but at mine, they have these “back to school” bags for only $2.79. ALL the products are completely new and unused. Some bags have several coloring books, some have a few coloring books & various school supplies (highlighters, markers, glue, scissors). They also have some that include the fun travel activity packs that require special markers and are “no mess”. I got all of the ones with those. We travel quite a bit, and Silas has a short attention span/tolerance. I was going to go to the Dollar Tree and pick up a few coloring books for him, but these were a way better deal.

TIP: Stock up when you can. It’s a thrift store, if you don’t buy it - someone else will.

As I was patrolling the aisles, I found a selection of games/puzzles. Usually, I just skip right over this section because we don’t have any kids that are age appropriate enough to play games, and they will almost always be missing pieces. BUT when you find BRAND NEW games, still in the packaging, and the store is 50% off, you don’t hesitate. Plus, the kids will eventually be old enough to play them, and we can always use them for game nights.

TIP: Any new item you find at the thrift store can be saved and used as a last minute gift later, if you cannot think of an immediate/future use for it for yourself.

This was by far my FAVORITE find. I have been looking online in “for sale” groups, eBay and OUAC for the VTech Smart Wheels Track PlaySet with cars (any one would do), for about a year now. My friend had one that she got at OUAC in Charleston, and that’s where I got introduced to this set. I have not been able to find a decent set with accompanying cars at a reasonable (to me) price. When I looked on eBay, they range from $25-$77, which is out of the question. When I stepped into Goodwill today, they had a plastic bin full of this very track, with random parts, for only $7.79. The bin was a part of the deal too, which was another bonus. BUT, that wasn’t even the best part. The icing on the cake, was that one of the Bag o’ Fun’s that I found was FULL of those little accompanying VTech cars that go with this exact track set!!! So, for only $5 I was able to score my track set, cars AND a plastic bin. TOTALLY WORTH IT.

And finally, I had to do some baby girl shopping, since everything was ½ off. Baby clothes are already only $1-$2.50, but when they are and additional 50% off, you don’t even need to think about being selective. This girl is going to be a major thrifty fashionista if I have anything to say about it ;)

Here are some extra helpful tips for thrifting that I’ve learned along the way. Some thrift stores (any, not just Goodwill) have really great kids items. Usually, that thrift store is in an area where there are a lot of kids. Think, places with schools and suburban neighborhoods. Some thrift stores have really great selections and brands when it comes to apparel. Think of the nicer, higher income, more expensive areas of town. And some thrift stores have really great furniture. I have found this to be more prevalent in small/local thrift stores (His House) and Habitat for Humanity.

Make sure you’re going to the right store for what your needs are. No one wants to waste time sifting through a bunch of stuff you’re not even interested in. What’s been your favorite “score” or thrift store find? Would love to hear your comments below! <3 Amanda

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