School is back in session and I'm sure I'm not the only one walking around with an somewhat empty wallet. Not only does returning to school require a ridiculously long list of school supplies, but with growing kids and the change in seasons, new clothes are needed too. It's this time of year that I'm thankful I have only one child to manage with back-to-school season!
We're homeschooling this year, but I've said it before and I'll say it again. Homeschooling does not mean parents get off cheaper when it comes to back-to-school shopping. In fact, the expenses may be more when considering the cost of curriculum materials, a few new clothing items (they still grow out clothes!), educational outings, and tutoring programs like we have Buddy enrolled in. It adds up QUICK! Finding ways to save money is a necessity to help stretch every dollar.
Disclosure: I received gift certificates for review purposes as part of the Savers Back-To-School Ambassador Program. All opinions are 100% my own.
About a year ago I discovered how fun thrift store shopping really is. Thrifting is a frugal way to get necessities at great prices, it's a green way to shop, and the thrill of scoring a fantastic find at an incredible deal is almost as fun as Saturday garage sales! About four months ago, a new Savers Thrift Store opened in Vacaville, California. Although this new store is about an hour away from me, last week I was able to make a special trip as a Savers Back-To-School Ambassador to see what I could score.
Savers is a thrift store chain that was founded in 1954. When it comes to back-to-school shopping, at Savers you can save 70-90% on back-to-school basics compared to other retailers. And check this out, a full wardrobe (10 T-shirts, 3 sweatshirts, 3 pairs of jeans, 1 skirt or dress, 2 pairs of shoes, 1 pair of boots and 3 jackets) can be found at Savers for $90 or less. Considering what I found on our shopping trip, this is absolutely doable!
One of the first things I noticed about Savers is the spacious, clean aisles, and the uncluttered shelving. You can actually see what they have unlike other thrift stores I normally frequent. The racks of clothing are full though, as they should be. Small items and toys are in bags, priced clearly, and hanging in appropriate sections on the wall to see. It's all so organized, and easy to find the section you're looking for. And this store is huge. Not even kidding, it's like the size of a large grocery store, and then some!
I walked into Savers with a rough list of items I was hoping to score. Rule number one of thrifting, know what you need before you go. For one, I really, really wanted to find a nice globe for our schoolroom. Some sort of cork board, educational games, books and science materials would also be great. For Buddy's Fall clothes, I hoped to find a pair of jeans or two, a few casual long-sleeve tops, some button-down shirts, and cold-weather clothing. Let me show you the best items we found on our trip to Savers.
The book selection is what you could describe as off the hook. The children's book section is particularly large with a wonderful selection of very good to like-new quality books. I was in book heaven for sure! All the children's books are just a whopping .69 cents, and on top of that they are buy five, get one free at the Vacaville location.
I found a few classics including Stone Soup, plenty of DK Eyewitness Books, and lots of well-known series like The Berenstain Bears, Clifford, and the Step Into Reading books by Random House. I think we ended up with over 40 books by the end of our trip. Talk about a great way to build up a book collection for a young reader!
In the framed art section I found this neat cork board with a black wood frame that I'm planning on painting and hanging in the school room. The toy bag section had a ton to look through, but since we were looking for toys with educational value we opted for this ocean-themed puzzle ($1.99), a Brain Quest set ($2.99), and a brand new marbles set ($1.99). In the games and puzzles area we found this awesome United States floor puzzle ($2.99), a brand new wooden chess set ($2.99), and a brand new chess/checkers set ($1.99). The used items are seriously barely used, and an incredible value.
Buddy's favorite find was this air guitar that plays rock music. It needed new batteries but that's to be expected. At just $2.99, this has been an excellent way for Buddy to take a school break and let out some energy. He's even put on a couple shows for hubby and me which is great practice for the weekly presentations he's supposed to give each week when he has his homeschool program.
My favorite part of thrifting is going through clothes. I go through every single piece because I'm on a serious mission to save! I went through all size 5 clothes which is Buddy's current size, and up to size 6 for growing room. The result was a pile of clothes at the register. I found some really hot deals from brands like GAP, OshKosh, Levi's, Quicksilver, and Ralph Lauren! You simply cannot beat the $1.99 prices on high-quality clothing that's barely worn! The Levi's Jeans were a bit more expensive at $7.99, but they look brand new. The Quicksilver jacket was $6.99 with tons of wear left. I also found a few sweaters, a cute vest jacket, three pairs of denim shorts, and plenty of long-sleeve and short-sleeve tops too that all ranged from $1.49 to $3.99.
Look at my handsome boy!! Would you ever guess that he's wearing second-hand clothing? NOPE! These are both GAP tops, the Arizona jeans and my favorite Quicksilver jacket.
By the time we went to the register, we had spent two hours turning over every item in the store. It was too awesome to not take the extra time to search through everything! After realizing we were way under budget, we actually back through a couple sections to pick up a few more tops, books, and a medieval knight Halloween costume that is correlating perfectly with our study of that time period right now! Buying second-hand never felt so good! I'm a bargain hunter at heart, and loved my time searching the racks and shelves at Savers. So, I didn't find a globe that I was hoping to score, but I did cross off everything else on my list and them some.
Since I'm familiar with shopping second-hand, I knew if would be totally hit or miss at Savers. Not expecting much, I was shocked to find so many high quality second-hand items, and some incredible prices. We definitely got a lot of back-to-school goodies on our special trip to Savers! When you need to stretch your budget, I suggest you go thrifting at Savers first.
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