The background: I’ve been wondering if my beloved thrift shopping is kind of, maybe, somewhat undermining my budget. My plan this year is to be a bit more intentional about my purchases and a little harder on myself about the impulse buys and recreational thrift shopping. If it’s something I need, no problem, but there’s very little that I do actually need these days. In an effort to keep myself accountable, I’ll be posting here about what I buy at the thrift store and how much it cost in an attempt to dissuade myself from purchases that just aren’t necessary.
With the start of January and my no spend month challenge, my hope is that this will be the only thrift stopping report for awhile. That said, I did manage to hit up a few stores while on two weeks of break prior to deciding on the challenge, and so there are some things to report. I seem to have been driven by inclinations towards projects – well-meaning, fit-with-my-values-and-personal-goals projects. It’s not a great excuse, though, so I’m going to keep an eye on my justifications going forward.
I talked myself out of four pieces of art ($50), three notebooks ($6), a lamp ($6), two mugs ($2), a tote bag ($6), two cookbooks ($6), and two novels ($5).
Linens – tablecloth ($1), 20 napkins ($4), 4 placemats ($1)
This is a lot of linen. I’m torn about whether so much was truly necessary. Some of the napkins will be used as hankies to replace throw-away tissues. Some will be used to line the baskets that I proof bread in. Some will serve their intended purpose. The placemats and tablecloth I was hoping to use to make reusable produce, bulk, and bread bags. They’re in service of my no waste goals, but I’m not sure I needed quite this much.
Winter gear – hat ($2), mittens ($2)
The hat was in place of buying a $40 merino balaclava to run in, so I don’t feel too badly about it. It’s wool and it fits well. I’m hoping I won’t need a face covering later in the season or that I can find a secondhand balaclava between now and then, but I guess we’ll see. The mittens were wholly unnecessary. I bought them for their wooly handknit loveliness.
Books – 3 cookbook ($7), 3 novels ($3)
Not so good. I need more books like I need a hole in the head (although I’m pretty pleased with the sourdough one). As much as I think books are undervalued and I love having them around, I don’t have much space for more and, more importantly, I don’t really need any more. Time to stop and read what I already have.
Jars – 4 flip-top canning jars ($5), vintage canning jar ($2)
These jars are pretty great. I use the big ones for food storage and the small ones for spices. Since I’m now buying more bulk foods and avoiding all plastic bags, large jars are handy. I do have a lot of these, but I think a well-stocked pantry is important.
Cuisinart food processor ($10)
I’ve been looking for a food processor and this one is ugly but fantastic. It’s a 1970s Cuisinart – weighs a tonne from the metal motor, made in France, has a good bit of power, and should continue to last a long time with a bit of luck.
Not so terrible, but nowhere close to great – Linens to reduce waste, a hat that saved over $38, and jars for bulk food. The food processor has been on my list for awhile and seems solid. I think that’s $25 somewhat reasonably spent, although the fact that some of it was perhaps not strictly necessary is largely what I’m trying to combat with my January no spend challenge.
Bad news – Six unnecessary books and mittens. $12 spent that I didn’t really need to. In particular, I have to stop with the books – they’re an Achilles heel and are taking over my apartment. And yes, I have a library card. I just happen to be a slow learner with a library card. Lots of room for improvement here.