Recent Salvation Army Thrift Store Finds

Every Wednesday the Salvation Army Family Store near my house has a 50% off clothing sale. I think most Salvation Army stores across the country do this. When I was living in Florida the stores participated in this sale too. Ive been trying to go every Wednesday since one of my goals this year was to only buy my clothes from thrift stores. Here are a few of my finds. Some for me and some will go up on eBay!

 

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Victoria’s Secret Yoga Pants $2

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A Gap T-shirt Dress $1.50

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Romeo & Juliet Couture Shirt $2. This brand can be found at Nordstrom. It is one of the new to me items I have bought to wear to my new job!

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A sleep dress by Maidenform $1.50

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A cardigan from The Limited $2. This is for my new job also. As you can see the back is almost transparent.

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An As u Wish dress $2. This dress is from Dillards.

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Kenneth Cole Reaction Flats $5.99. Also for my new job!

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$2 Massimo dress for my sister. I actually own the same dress just in a different size. It is the perfect go to summer dress!

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.99 Cent Wide Mouth Ball Mason Jar. I’m not sure if this is a good deal of not, but I am trying to redo my pantry and use glass jars instead of plastic.

 

The next few items are things I found I am planning on selling on eBay!

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A PJ Salvage pajama top.

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I bought a grab bag full of stamps for $2.99. There were 17 total. Here are a few.

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Blanket Binding found in the grab bag.

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I didn’t buy this couch, but I thought it was a really nice couch in great condition. They were selling it for $400.

What have you found thrifting lately?

The 2016 Best Chemical Free Household Products- What Chemical Free Household Products Do We Use?

As some of you know, I have been on a journey to make my household as chemical free as possible! This change was spurred by health problems and a greater understand of the harm caused by the chemicals filling our homes and products. For those interested in finding out more I highly recommend Toxic Free by Debra Lynn Dadd and you can buy it used on Amazon for $4 including shipping (link right below) or the documentary The Human Experiment (also linked on Amazon below) but free on Netflix. 

 

It took us several years to convert to an almost entirely harmful chemical free household, mostly because we started before the products were widely available. However, now you can walk into most stores and find a selection of excellent chemical free products.

I will warn you that I do find some chemical free products work better than others. I have tried MANY of them to find products that work just as well as their chemical filled equivalents. While we can’t guarantee that ever item on this list is perfect, they are better for your household than chemical filled products. Here are our 2016 Best Chemical Free Household Products.

Hand Soap- Dr. Bronner’s Almond Scented Castile soap – This soap is made from olive oil and highly concentrated. We only have to buy a bottle a few times a year and we fill up all of our hand soaps (foaming works best) and body washes.

Shampoo- Renpure Originals Argan Oil – This shampoo works great for my thin hair and the matching conditioner isn’t bad either just not as moisturizing as the one below.

Conditioner- Loreal Oleo therapy Conditioner- This is a deep conditioner treatment but I have been using it as a daily conditioner for over a year and it is the best conditioner I have ever used on my thin, dry hair.

Bar Soap- Shugar Soap- I found this soap at Dollar Tree for $1 a bar and it’s so much more expensive online. It’s made entirely of vegetables and smells amazing.

Face Wash- Alba Botanicals- This face wash is great and works really well. You can also find it at Target.

Face Wash- Baking Soda– As you know, baking soda is cheap anywhere but I use it as an exfoliating face wash a few times a week.

Kitchen and Bathroom Cleaner- Rubbing Alcohol- A neighbor once told me that rubbing alcohol used to be used to clean hospitals. I use it for sanitizing and cleaning.

Toothpaste- Trader Joe’s or Tom’s of Maine- I suffer from horrible canker sores but I have realized that I almost never get them when I use Tom’s of Maine toothpaste. It’s about $5 a tube but I have read that Trader Joe’s brand is the same thing and it’s about $2 a tube and it works the same for me.

Body Wash- Trader Joe’s or Dr. Bronners- This is much cheaper from the actual store but I like the scent.

Dish Soap- Honest Dish Soap- Although the one in the picture isn’t the one that we buy we found it at Target for $3.99.

Dishwasher Detergent- Seventh Generation Automatic Dishwashing Gel Lemon Scent– This 7th Generation dishwasher detergent works great and you won’t be eating chemicals.

Hand Cream- Esos or Coconut Oil

Bathroom Cleaner- Ology Bathroom Spray

Perfume- Hugo Organics

Deodorant- Tom’s of Maine Natural Deodorant Stick, Apricot

CheapFourIngredientChemicalFreeLaundryDetergent

Laundry Detergent- We make this 4 Ingredient, Dirt Cheap, No Cooking, Chemical Free, Laundry Detergent. No cooking required.Seriously you throw the ingredients in a container, mix and you are done.

 

Below are a few items we rarely buy but if we still bought these items these are what we would buy. 

Cleaning Wipes

Shave Cream

 

Frugal Review

1.My husband has a month free membership to high intensity work our class. He has been going about twice a week and comes back drenched in sweat!!
2.Last weekend my husband and I went to the discount movie theatre to see Krampus. Although it lacked most of the frills of the new movie theatre in our area, you can’t beat $2.50 for a movie ticket and the movie was actually really good!
3.I baby sat this morning for a friend and made some extra money.
4.I sold my first three items on eBay this week and have listed a few more!
5.Although it is around 45-50 degrees everyday here in Austin, TX I have yet to put on my heat. So far I’ve gone the past three months without using my A/C or heat! It has also been fun exploring my new town in nice weather!

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A local park near my house! Texas is much more beautiful than I thought it would be!

-Candy

 

16-01-26 Thrift Finds Goodwill Shopping Trip- Ugly Christmas Sweaters!

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I had a really fun trip to Goodwill today after I stopped at the post office. I found the above ugly Christmas sweaters for a few dollars each. I plan on A) wearing them to a Christmas Party or B) selling them on eBay next year. Apparently this is the time of year to buy them.

 

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I also had some great luck in the shoe department! I bought-

  1. Pair of Blue Sperrys Boat Shoes
  2. A Pair of decorated black heels
  3. A pair of herringbone shoes
  4. A pair of blue heels

The last three pairs I will wear to teach and the first pair I will either wear or sell on eBay.

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In this picture I got a White House Black Market Skirt (also in the photo below), a teaching skirt with hot air balloons on it, a white knit sweater, a thermal men’s shirt for B and a flannel shirt for B.

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I found the above black motorcycle style jacket but it’s all cotton and really soft and comfortable, I also bought a Gators shirt for a friend, a blue flowered infinity scarf, books and a candle holder.

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I also found this Dooney & Bourke Duck Purse like the clutch we found here for $6.99 but I didn’t end up buying it. I wasn’t sure how well it would sell on eBay so $7 seemed like too much to pay.

Orlando SkyView Goodwill Outlet Finds and Shopping Trip

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At the beginning of January, before the semester started we were lucky enough to get to visit the Goodwill outlet in Orlando at the below address. Anyone who is familiar with Orange Blossom Trail aka OBT knows that it’s not a great area to be in and it wasn’t. However, the plaza that the outlet was in wasn’t that bad and even had a Publix in it. We were very excited to find out that this place existed half an hour from where we live after our great success at the Austin Goodwill Outlet!

Skyview Goodwill Outlet Center Florida

7915 S. Orange Blossom Trail
Orlando, Florida 32809

Click HERE to read some tips for getting ready to go to a Goodwill Outlet Center.

The price was actually cheaper at the Orlando outlet at only .99 cents per pound! We were disappointed to find that it was almost entirely clothing and textiles where the Austin Goodwill Outlet had an equally large section of housewares which we actually were more interested in than the clothes. However we still had fun and above and below are pictures of our finds.

In the first picture above we found

  • A Lucky Brand Men’s Shirt
  • An Express sweater
  • A converse designer jacket
  • Some other really nice clothes
  • All of the nice flannel shirts I could find in a variety of sizes that I want to use for a sewing project.

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The above rug was so thick and nice I had to buy it even though it doesn’t entirely go with our decor. However, the cat seems to love it.

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We found the above embroidered quilt. I weighed it and at about 6 lbs it cost about 6 dollars which I thought was a steal. That isn’t the best picture of it draped over my drying rack but you can really see the beautiful embroidered flowers.

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The above two double sided towels looked brand new and spotless. I’m very picky about buying used bedding and towels and they have to look brand new. Goodwill does receive new items from Target and I believe that these are one of Target’s higher end brands.

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B actually found the above vintage Dooney & Bourke purse and expensive garment bag.

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B also had excellent luck with the shoes. He desperately needed running shoes because we go running at a local park and he has been running in flat, clunky Vans. He found-

  • A pair of work boots for when he works remodeling houses with his father
  • A brand new looking pair of light jeans shoes
  • Blue running shoes that fit him perfectly
  • Suede NewBalance shoes

Overall, we had a blast looking for bargains and all together we spent about $30. Next time we are planning a trip to another semi-close outlet that reportedly has 48 bins of clothing and 48 bins of housewares. Check back next month to see what we find there!

 

How to Get Ready for the Goodwill Outlet

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I think it’s safe to say that my sister Candy and I LOVE the Goodwill Outlet in Austin Texas as proof by our hours long shopping trips two days in a row! We got so many amazing bargains! We literally found designer purses for $1.39 a pound!

Click HERE to read about our Austin Goodwill trips and see our finds! 

I don’t want to downplay the fact that Goodwill Outlets are intense places. It is probably only the most hard core, pirate level thrift shoppers that go there. You literally have to be willing to get a little dirty but with some persistence it’s totally worth it. I makes me not want to shop anywhere else because everywhere else is literally 100s of times more expensive!

However, there are a few things that can make your shopping trip even better. A little preparation can help you make sure you are getting the best bargains.

Here is the list of what I like to bring to the outlet:

  1. Gloves– They don’t have to be heavy duty gloves but it is nice to have your hands covered when going through mountains of stuff.
  2. Hand Sanitizer– If you pick up something and you wish you hadn’t, it’s a quick way to wash your hands.
  3. A luggage scale– I’ll post the link below but they sell on Amazon Prime for $7 and mine works great for my 50lb suitcase and smaller items too
  4. A large reusable bag– You want to have your hands free and reusable bags are the way to go. IKEA Bags were the bag of choice at the Austin Goodwill.
  5. A tape measure– One problem we were having at the Austin Goodwill was guessing if something would 1. Fit in the car, 2. Fit on a plane.
  6. Small Purse/Pockets- If you are going to bring a purse make sure it is over the shoulder and small so that you have your hands free
  7. A phone– So that you can take pictures and look up the value of times you might want to sell.
  8. Comfortable, close toed shoes– You will be on your feet the whole time so you want to be comfortable and you also want to protect your feet.

Other Items You Might Want- 

  1. A phone band– If you don’t have a pocket to put your phone
  2. A stain stick– like the tide togo pens in case you see a mark on a piece of clothing that you really want but don’t know if a spot will come out.
  3. SaniWipes– again in case you see a mark on something that you really want but don’t know if you can clean it.
  4. A Small Over the Shoulder Purse– like the one above if you don’t have pockets to put your stuff in so that your hands will be free

Check back soon to see what we bought on our most recent trip!

Setting Myself Up For Success- This Spring I will be teaching 9 classes at 3 colleges at 4 campuses

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By Ney 

The new semester started last Monday and I am teaching 9 classes at 3 colleges at 4 campuses. Yes, that is the life of an Adjunct Professor. I will be well compensated for it and none of the classes are classes that I haven’t taught before (Setting up a new class takes a lot more time than reteaching it).

Don’t get me wrong that is a LOT of classes! However, I am a planner and I am literally OCD organized. And part of that is getting ready for the semester. I am working on streamlining my life and a process I am calling setting myself up for success.

Here are some of the things I have been doing-

  1. Stocking up on groceries for at least the first couple of weeks of the semester so that we have easy to grab breakfasts so that I can get out the door quickly in the morning and other food for dinners so that we don’t end up wasting money on take out
  2. Filling everything that needs to be filled so that I don’t run out of anything for a few weeks
  3. Doing as much as possible before the semester starts so that I have less to worry about in the middle of craziness
  4. Cleaning and Organizing the house
  5. Getting rid of junk so that I’m not trying to clean a house full of stuff I don’t want/need
  6. Organizing my clothes especially my dress clothes to make it easier to pick out professional dress outfits 5 days a week. I have plenty of clothes and accessories to get through the semester so I’m trying to buy as little brand new clothing as possible and instead continue to buy 2nd hand.
  7. Putting a set of everything I need to get ready in each bathroom
  8. Setting up a better office area so I’m not always working at the coffee table and dining room table and also so that everything I need when I’m working from home is within arms reach so that I’m not always having to get up and grab things I need
  9. Putting away the Christmas Tree and Christmas stuff
  10. Stocking up on Pet supplies
  11. Getting as much set up for my job as I had time to do ahead of time
  12. Trying to be as efficient as possible with my time
  13. Buying products such as Dry Shampoo, fantastic conditioner and 4 in one makeup that makes it much faster for me to get ready in the morning
  14. I have been setting up the best possible online class sites for all of my classes because having those set up from the beginning of the semester can really help your semester go much more smoothly as a college instructor. Students can find all the materials they need, take quizzes, turn in assignments and generally be a huge help to instructors and students alike.
  15. I’m really setting myself up for a successful and also frugal semester; however, I also know that there will be occasions where I will have to spend money on extras just to get myself through some difficult weeks because I get paid a lot more to work than I do to do some money saving activities. However, I’m still going to try to be as frugal as possible while earning as much money as possible.

So far things are going very well. I have some great class and I’m sure this is going to be a great semester. One huge advantage of teaching at the college level is that I can take the summer off if I decide I want to!

Check Your Mailbox- Free Item Coupons from RaceTrac

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If you live near a RaceTrac, check your mailbox for these free item coupons from RaceTrac. I like to keep these in the car for days I want an extra snack when I’m traveling for work.

Goals for 2016!

Goals for 2016!

1.I am only going to buy my clothes from thrift stores. The only exclusion ,of course, will be undergarments.
2.Only buy items that bring me joy! I will not buy stuff just because it is on sale!
3.Research products before I buy them especially makeup!
4.Buy items that will last a lifetime that I will not have to throw away in a few months.
5.Work out at least 30 minutes a day! Lately I have been doing my own version of yoga/ pilates in my living room!
6.Read more and not just articles on the internet!
7.Become more inventive/ willing to experiment with food!
8.Research alternative living spaces/ tiny houses and if possible start to save $$!
9.Sell more stuff on eBay! I recently sold my first item. It was only listed for 1 day!
10.Go caving!!! I live about an hour and a half from San Antonio which has beautiful caves!

Posted by: Candy

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Two of my recent thrift store Vision cookware finds. I intend to use theses until they fall apart!

As you can see below they can be quite expensive!

1-8-16 Recent Frugal Review

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By Ney

This has been a crazy year and an even crazier Christmas. The colleges I teach at didn’t end their semesters until about a week before Christmas and finals and final grade submissions are so all consuming that very little else gets done during that time. However, we had a wonderful Christmas and New Years! This winter break I visited my sister Candy in Austin, Tx then we visited B’s family in South Florida and right now we are glad to be back in Central Florida getting ready for the next semester! I can’t believe Spring semester starts on Monday!

Frugal Successes

– I am so thankful that I got to visit my sister! We has sooooooo, soooooo much fun at the Goodwill Outlet and got so many amazing deals and bargains and designed purses! We also got to visit and play with a Zebra for free which is what the above picture is of!

– Thank goodness that I bought a stash of nice Christmas gifts throughout the year when I found items on sale or for good prices

– I am also soooooooo thankful for Amazon Prime and its two day shipping! We were able to have most of our purchases delivered right to our door. Not only did we save money on shipping but the items are usually cheaper anyways and it kept us out of the crazy stores where we might have wanted to spend more money.

– We rarely ate out the entire time I visited Texas, thanks to Candy’s fantastic cooking, which was a huge savings

– I was determined to teach myself to use my sewing machine this winter break and I did! I also taught myself to hem pants because I have a stash of 4 or 5 pairs of really nice dress pants that I bought at thrift shops and never got hemmed. The first pair I did turned out amazing and it was really fun for me (I should probably be careful saying that before I get flooded with family members needing pants hemmed lol). Honestly, I’m surprised at how well they turned out! Watch out family, I just might be making your Christmas gifts next year!

– I just found out that there is a Goodwill outlet in Orlando and we went and looked for stuff to sell on eBay, fabric for sewing projects now that I know how to use my sewing machine and other things we want/need. Future post on that soon!

– Our entire family has made it clear that we not only enjoy but encourage practical gifts! Among those that I am really enjoying are a new shower head, a new watch, a new can opener, makeup, and thread for my sewing machine!

– I lost my parking permit hang tag for one of the schools I work at. Fortunately they gave me a free sticker replacement that I’m certainly not going to lose or have to worry about forgetting it’s on the car.

– I went to faculty meeting where they fed me a free meal of expensive meats, cheeses and breads.

– We got a free desert from outback when we went out for a free meal with Christmas gift cards but we always tip well! I supported myself through school by waiting tables.

– I used a 40% off coupon on my phone to buy a new seam ripper from JoAnn Fabrics.

– We have been going running at a park around the corner from our house that has a nice track. Free and healthy!

– B went to ALDI and we stocked up on TONS of groceries before the semester starts and we are running around like chickens with our heads cut off. I have realized that one area where I still spend a lot of money is work lunches, snacks and coffee while I’m on the go. It’s really difficult to plan out all of the meals, snacks and drinks I will need when I’m working on multiple college campuses in one day. Now that it’s not 100 degrees outside ever day I’m going to try to stock up my car and take things with me more often.

– I’ve set up a little office in our guest bedroom where I will *hopefully* have everything I need for my job teaching at 4 different colleges within arm’s reach. I wish I had my own office but we don’t have the space here and the best I can do is make the most of the space I do have. I felt like I was wasting too much time getting set up different places around the house to work and distracted by other things going on. Instead of going out and buying office furniture I’m using what I already had in different ways and it’s also forcing me to get better about my use of the space we do have. I’m getting rid of stuff and trying to store things more efficiently.

– On the same note as the bullet above, the theme for the second part of my winter break (after traveling but before school starts) has been setting myself up for success next semester. I’ve been getting the house stocked up on everything I can possibly need for at least the first few weeks if not more. I consider this frugal because having to run out to buy things the fastest way possible when I’m super busy usually means I end up paying more.

Mixed Frugality

– Because of the dates I needed to travel it was more expensive than I had hoped to visit my sister (flying from Florida to Texas) right before Christmas. I ended up flying out on Southwest Airlines which was great because I was able to check two bags free and bring their Christmas presents. I had to fly back on Allegiant which was inexpensive but you don’t get to bring anything besides a personal item without paying. I wasn’t sure if I would need more than that on the way home so I didn’t pay for one in advance. However, with all of the fun we had at the Goodwill Outlet I ended up paying for two checked bags for $20 each. It was cheaper than mailing the items and even with having to pay for the bags we got amazing deals worth a lot, a lot more than what we paid.

– I usually try to go without or make things streatch for as long as possible before buying new. However, with a crazy busy semester coming I went ahead and bought a few things

Frugal Flops

– A few of the things I wanted to buy as gifts on Amazon prime became very expensive right before Christmas so I didn’t end up buying them but I did end up buying other things that were more expensive. Note to self- Amazon prices get more expensive before Christmas so I should just buy inexpensive items when I see them and set them aside.

– I have been carrying a smaller purse because I hurt my shoulder trying to haul around too much stuff at work and in life so I was forced to downsize. Unfortunately this means I don’t have everything under the sun with me at all times in case I might possibly need it. I didn’t have my student ID with me for a discount at Goodwill and I didn’t have my target debit card with me for a discount at target. Not a huge loss but everything adds up.

Chemical Free Living

– My new favorite Chemical Free way of cleaning is my Steamer Mop! I got it at the goodwill outlet for .99 cents and it sells on Amazon for almost $70!

– I bought Honest brand dish soap (we have been using Chemical Free bar soap for months). It wasn’t expensive and it smells great!

What have you done recently to save money? 

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