First, I take you to this helpful reminder, brought to us by a thrifty street artist:
New life motto.
My mom turned 50 yesterday. And I didn’t break the bank getting her a gift she absolutely loved. She’s pretty big into gardening, decorating the house, and bamboo plants. So I thought: why not get her a teacup garden! This an idea I picked up online. I went to the thrift store (Village Discount Outlet on Roscoe near Damen – my favorite!) and picked up 4 teacups and a pretty teapot.
All of this was just $6.95! I think I happened to stop in on a day when certain items were half price – but even still, $12 for all of this wouldn’t have been bad.
I then went to CVS and picked up some tissue paper, a bag, a card (I got her a “With Sympathy” card – we have a crazy sense of humor in my family) and a daisy grow-kit to get her garden started.
All of this was $7.93! (with a helpful 25% off coupon CVS emailed me earlier in the week – ALWAYS sign up for email lists for the places you shop most. Unless you seriously loathe an inbox flooded with emails, you’ll get some really awesome discounts.)
So right now we’re up to $14.88 total, including the wrapping (which to me is an expense I forget about until the very end).
When we were at Navy Pier Saturday night celebrating her birthday, I also bought her some bamboo to add to the garden. $10.98 for 5 pieces of bamboo.
Oh…and I DID go to CVS late night when I decided I wanted to make a CD for her (all Fiona Apple – the woman is going through menopause and needs some angry chick music). My parents are old school and aren’t savvy enough to use something like Spotify or other music-sharing sites. $5.46 for a 5-pack of CDs with jewel cases (or $1.09 roughly for the one CD I used for her – I’ll likely use the others to make more CDs for my parents later on).
So that brings the grand total spent on my mom’s 50th birthday gift to: $26.95 – INCLUDING wrapping! I was unbelievably impressed.
And my mom absolutely loved the idea. Its something unique. It gives her something to do, a new experience. She can look at it and be reminded of how awesome I am. Which is not something many other gifts offer.
I totally recommend getting unique, thoughtful gifts at thrift stores, as long as the occasion allows. Obviously don’t get picky people gifts they won’t like, but your less uptight friends will likely appreciate thrift store gifts more than other gifts. There is plenty of awesome stuff hiding at thrift stores, things that would make awesome “real” gifts or hilarious “gag” gifts: crazy old records, ugly sweaters, beautiful and interesting vintage jewelry, housewares, decorations. I likely wouldn’t recommend getting someone a gift of clothes or shoes from a thrift store (unless you know they’d be cool with it – ugly sweater gag gifts aside), but I might be tempted to get a cute purse or belt or other accessories, especially if they’re vintage or something you couldn’t find anywhere else. Like all the awesome vintage jewelry. Seriously. So much crazy-awesome vintage jewelry. And I love it. And I have a birthday coming up. Just saying…
In short, if you have the time and the know-how (a.k.a. The Internets), you can come up with a great, thoughtful gift that someone will love WAY more than something cookie-cutter from Target. There’s tons to uncover. Have at it, everyone! And let me know if you think of a great gift idea.
AND – a Thriftstyle fashion tip for the day for the ladies: if you haven’t checked out the fashion blog Refinery29, get over there immediately. (Unless you don’t care about fashion, in which case you’re way ahead of the rest of us.) They have great hints on how to freshen up what’s already in your closet, great discounts on expensive clothing (I, personally, would never think about buying), great makeup and hair tips (TONS of awesome top-knots that have gotten me and my long, frizz-prone hair through this insanely hot summer without too many arguments), and more.
Hope you had a great weekend, Thriftstylers. More to come in the week ahead – and don’t forget about 50% off days at the Village Discount Outlets this coming Saturday and Sunday! Mark it in your calendars!