We were visiting one of our friends yesterday after our exam.  I played chauffeur for the ladies.  Our friend is one of the best bargain hunters I know.  In our family, when you get a smokin’ hot deal we call it an “Auntie Jane” deal in her honour.  Our first stop was one of the local thrift stores.  It has been a while since I was in one.

The store was very busy.  I had several revelations during our time in the store.  First, I was struck by the shear variety of things they had.  Everything from jewelry to Halloween costumes.  They even had a quite extensive section for books.  I love to read, and try and read at least 1 book a month.  Books are expensive, especially in Canada.  $20.00 US $28.00 Cdn.  Yes, there are “e” books, but I still like the paper version.  They had even gone to the trouble of sorting the books into sections.

Needless to say, my first stop in any book store, is the business and finance section.  Getting a million dollar idea from a $20.00 investment is a great return.  They had a far better selection of books than the local Chapters store.  Including a bunch of titles I had never seen before.  I found a bunch of books that seemed worth while.  Looking at the stack, I figured I better put some back, because, knowledge may be your best investment, but there is monthly Cash Flow to be considered.  I started to look at the price of the books.

Revelation number 2.  I could buy the whole stack for less money, than just one of the books had sold for originally.  Knowledge at a discount!  What a concept.  I began to look at the store in a new light.  Instinctively, I had a bit of a hesitation to go to the thrift store.  I don’t think I am alone in that.  There is a stigma attached to buying used stuff.  But why??  Only one of the books I bought, even looked like may have been opened more than once.

It brought back a memory of a situation that happened 30 years ago.  I had to do a 4 day trade show at the other end of the province.  When I got to the hotel, I realized I had left all my suits, shirts, and ties hanging on the back of the front door at home.  Driving back 7 hours was not an option.  Solution, go to the local thrift store and get some clothes.  I came out of there with good clothes, for the next 4 days, for less than $60.00.  It even occurred to me that one of the suit jackets was still in my closet today.

Clothes are expensive.  Especially if you have growing kids.  Spending some time at the local Thrift store, looking at labels, can save a bunch of money.  I believe in the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle idea.  Why didn’t I apply it more??  When someone compliments you on your new jacket, do you have to tell them it came from the thrift store??  A designer label, is a designer label, even if it comes from the thrift store.

I have applied the “used” principle to other things I buy.  My wife loves baubles (jewelry).  The shinier the better.  But jewelry in a store is very expensive.  We like to attend auctions.  Estate auctions often include jewelry.  Depending on the day, you can get very expensive items, at a bargain price.  Buy a jeweler’s loupe.  The magnifying glass you look at jewels through.  Use it at the auction.  Even if you don’t know what you are looking at, everybody else at the auction thinks you’re a pro.  You seldom get out bid.  By the way, read up on gems, and you will actually have an idea of what you are looking at.

Truly wealthy people don’t buy brand new cars.  You can get the same “new car” smell in a can, for a lot less than buying a new car.  I recommend buying a resale home, rather than a new one.  If I know all this stuff, why do I not go to the thrift store more often??  That was revelation number 3.  I need to go to the thrift store more often.  If I can have, and use, something that I like, that I buy for less than half the price, does anybody have to know where it came from?  No.

Keeping up with the Jones may seem like a good idea.  But first you better find out whether the Jones are going broke.  The person with the most toys when they die, does not win.  (They still died.)  They just have more stuff for relatives to take to the thrift store.