Friday, July 29, 2011

Flea Market Steals

So, I started this blog post yesterday, but somehow it messed up and everything was underlined and blue so I deleted it and decided to try again today. Really though, it's for the better because as I was looking over my great finds, I was going to name the post 'flea market finds' then I decided to change the title to 'Flea Market Steals' because really, it was like I was stealing the items I found because I got such a great deal on them.
Just real quick, a side note. Flea market shopping is not for the faint of heart. When/If you do go, remember this: flea markets are really antique stores and antique stores are really expensive. The reason for this is because you are looking at antiques and these things are expensive. Since the economy has been down, not as many people are buying up collectibles and antiques like they once were. (That's a whole other story).
Now, I don't go looking for antiques, I go looking for a great (cheap) find. Often times flea markets give me sensory-overload. Usually the isles are small, the booths are usually small (they range in size), and are packed with items, and since it is a flea market there is usually a range of smells. So, if you go be prepared but take your time. Even if you don't buy anything, I think it is fun to look at the items from the days gone by. I see old telephones, magazines, and dishes and think about my great-grandmother using items like them. Also, some stuff is just really neat to look at. A tip as you go shopping at a flea market- have an idea of what you want in mind- it will help, trust me. I told you about getting sensory overload and if you don't have an idea of what you are looking for, you'll never find it because you'll be too busy looking at everything else.
With all that being said, I went to a few flea markets just to look around and get ideas for my house. I had an idea in my head to get red and white items for my kitchen (and possibly laundry room). Living so close to the University of Arkansas, where the school colors are (you guessed it) red and white, I figured finding these colors would be easy; but apparently, it has all already been bought up. :)
I did manage to find some great items and without further ado, here they are:

2 things about this item made it a great find. 1) The booth I found it in was a non-profit booth (not at all common in flea markets but a way for non-profit groups to make a little more money out of the items that are donated). 2) Everything in the booth was 75% off. That made this cute-as-can-be watermelon pitcher only 25 cents. I take that back 27 cents with tax.

Brace yourself for this next find.
Clutch handbags are all the rage. I haven't bought one because they all look the same- black- with or without some flair (like sparkle or a flower). This bag caught my eye because it is vintage from the 1950s (I had to explain to my husband that, yes, it was really from the 1950s, not just made to look like it). I could have spent around $20 (or more) to buy a clutch at a department store but I found this one for only $3 at a flea market.
Vintage 1950s clutch=$3
Standing out from the crowd with a handbag like no one else=priceless

It is even big enough to hold my iPhone and still snap!

I said to brace yourself for the clutch, maybe I should have saved it for this next find.
At another flea market, I found another booth having a 75% off sale. (Just to let you know- this is very uncommon. Sometimes you might see 40% off or 10% but hardly ever more than 50%). I found these white salad bowls and they are gorgeous! The picture didn't pick up all the details. They are shaped like flowers, the petals start in the middle and work their way up the outside. There are 5 small bowls and 2 large ones. A salad is going to look so pretty against the white. Ah, I love them but what I love even more is what I paid for them. Are you ready? You won't believe me. I got all 7 pieces for $4.50!!!!
The small bowls were only $2.00 to begin with, so I got all 5 for $2.50 and the bigger bowls were $4 to start, so those were only $2. Yea, I couldn't believe it either.

The white bowls are going to look great with the rest of my white dishes and can't wait to use them. I still need some red items, but those can wait. That's the thing about shopping like I do (and so many others). You have to be patient and wait for the great items to find you. Flea market finds like this are rare. Please don't be mad at me if you go to a flea market and every dish you pick up is $50. Actually that happened to me at every turn yesterday. I found the cutest bowls that were white with red polka-dots and I loved them but they were $45 each. Um, no. Couldn't do it- but maybe you can.
Just know that if you are redecorating or searching for a special gift and want great deals that you'll have to be patient and don't expect to find everything in one day. That wouldn't be fun at all- I like to stretch out my finds so the thrill lasts longer.
Well, here is hoping that you'll try out a flea market every now and then- you never know what you'll find and the items change all the time so you need to go often. Let me know about your great finds too.
Happy hunting :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Weekend finds

So, looking back over my blog posts I realized I am a talker, or I guess writer would be a better about this-, here is a short and sweet post about my great weekend finds...

I got to stop by a thrift store I love in West Branson on Friday. I found this beautiful wreath for fall for only $4. One of the pumpkins is a little messed up, but nothing some super glue can't take care of.

These shoes were only $1 at that same thrift store. What? Really? Only $1! I'm not lying.

Back home on Saturday, one of my 'regular' thrift stores the women's tops were 1/2 price. Each one of these tops was only $1.50.

At that same thrift store the ladies had already put out the fall items. (What they do is save the holiday items and only put them out once a year, then box them back up to put out next year.) This cute tablecloth (Be thankful printed) was only $2.

This next item my husband found (yes, my mad skills have rubbed off on him). We have been talking about getting a wireless keyboard and mouse for our computer because (thanks to my awesome husband) we can magically see our computer screen on our TV (I have no idea how it works- some cord- that's his field). So, he found this wireless keyboard and mouse (plus the cord that makes it all work) for only $12.50. We looked them up while we were at the store to make sure it was a good deal, and it was- they are about $30 to $45.

So, I found some great finds this weekend. Hope you all have found some equally awesome finds. As always happy hunting for some great finds of your own. :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Great find= project time

Well, I know I said before that most of my great finds aren't items that I plan to fix up or make into something else, but I didn't say never...I just said most of the time. Yesterday, my mother and I stopped by one of my favorite thrift stores really quick and I came out with 3 awesome pieces. One of them definitely needs to be fixed, but I got a great deal on it.

Here it is-this beautiful picture I found was screaming at me from the corner of the picture section. Literally, I think I heard it say 'you have to buy me!' I love these flowers (stargazer lilies); I had them at my wedding and I just think they are beautiful. Well, I found this picture for $2 (!!!) and if you look closely, you can see why. The frame is a flimsy, cheap poster frame- about half of the the back brackets are gone, the plastic 'glass' is cracked, and it looks like the picture didn't even fit in the frame to begin with. BUT the picture is still beautiful and unharmed! This is my plan- take the picture out, cut out just the picture portion (aka-cut off the white part) and put it in a new frame. Ta-da! It will be just like new when I get finished. I promise I'll post a picture of the finished product.

Another one of my finds was this punch bowl for $5. I know you are probably thinking it looks a little weird with the holes and all but here is what you do. You string ribbon through the holes to match your decorations. You can change the ribbon for whatever season/celebration/room decor. My mother-in-law gave me a cake stand that this bowl matches (the reason I bought it) so now I can use both together- with coordinating ribbon of course. :)

My last find is actually going to be a birthday present for my mom (yes, she already knows about it because she was there with me when I bought it). It is a vintage plate from the year she was born (don't look close or you'll be able to figure out her age). The plate still had the 'yard sale price' for $5 but on the back was the price for the thrift store- only $2. I looked up similar plates on ebay that were listed for as much as $45.

I know I'm not a major one for finding items to fix up or re-purpose but I think I might need to become one- I'm not that great at thinking out of the box- I have to find ideas first. Check out these articles from Better Homes and Gardens for inspiration- I'm using them. :) I plan to try to do more with items that need a little TLC- we'll see if it's my 'thing'- if not, I'll just forget out it and leave it up to the experts. Just remember when buying items to fix up- make sure it's a good deal. My picture to fix up was a great find at $2 but if it would have been, say $10, I don't think it would have been such a great find. Also, consider the amount of work that needs to be done and make sure you want to invest the time and money. It won't take me that long to cut out the picture and find a frame (I'll probably wait until they are on sale from Hobby Lobby). I'm comfortable spending that amount of time/money. Just be sure you don't get in over your head. :)
Also, don't forget that thrift stores/yard sales are great places for finding unique gifts. Like the plate I found for my mother- you can't walk into Wal-Mart and find something like that.
Well, I'm off to try to cut the straightest lines I can. Hope you found this inspiring and good luck hunting for your own great finds. :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Belk, clearance, and coupons

As much as I love a good thrift store or garage sale, I also love finding great deals at 'regular' stores too. Don't get me wrong, finding second-hand clothing is always awesome but there is a different kind of awesome reserved for getting a brand-new something at a great deal from an actual store. That is what this blog post is about.

As you know, I love coupons and they are so easy to find and get for almost every store. Especially clothing stores. I worked my fair share of years in retail and can tell you, stores like to give out coupons for percentages off or amounts off because they know it will draw in customers. You are there to use your coupon- you are going to buy stuff, plus see other stuff you want, and make a return trip. It's all sales and that kind of stuff. It works out great for the shopper- who doesn't like to save some money especially when you were going to buy something anyways. Before you go on your next shopping trip, go to the websites of your favorite stores. Often there is a tab for coupons, or if not, you can join their mailing list. This is definitely something you need to start doing. I get at least 2 or 3 emails a day from different stores with information about upcoming sales, coupons, or online deals. A lot of times the emails get deleted because I don't use them, but they sure come in handy when I do need them. Just make sure before you do sign up for mailing list that you will be ready for the stream of emails you will receive (you can always unsubscribe to them later). Some stores grant you the opportunity to say how often you want to receive emails from them (once a week, once a month, every quarter, etc). If you are really dedicated, you might want to set up a separate email address just for this use. This also is great for restaurants as well! Oh, and make sure you put in your birthday- you often get a special extra coupon for your birthday. :)

So, here is my store coupon story for the week. My mother and a friend of hers went to our local Belk store to just walk around and see what they could find. (Belk is a southern department store- I think of it like Dillard's- higher end brands). They noticed there was a great deal of clearance merchandise and a sales associate told them that the next day Belk would be accepting coupons to be used on clearance items (an extra 15% off the already marked down clearance price). Now, here is a little side note about Belk. I love the store, but it is pricey, and the coupons that they issue in the newspapers usually do not work on clearance items. (That's another tip-make sure you always read the fine-print at the bottom of coupons- clothing stores are notorious for having several stipulations for their coupons- can't be used on clearance, sale items, certain brands, even maternity wear is often excluded from coupon use). So, the fact that Belk was issuing coupons good on clearance items was a big deal.
My mother and her friend decided to wait and come back the next day-but they still weren't sure how they would get their coupon. Since I get the newspaper, I knew I would get a flyer with the coupon. But I wanted to make sure they would be have a coupon too, so I went to the Belk website and sure enough there was a tab linking me to the coupon- and get this, the online print-out for the coupon started a day earlier than the one in the newspaper! If only I would have looked at the site the day before, then we could have gotten to good deals even sooner- oh well.
So, Friday, the three of us went in with our coupons in hand. I focused on the 75% off clearance racks (there were also several 50% off racks). I couldn't believe the great deals. Of course the racks did hold lots of 'winter' type items left over (3 quarter length shirts and sweaters and jackets) but they also held the spring and early summer items. Here is another little side note about clothing stores- to them the 4th of July is the end of summer. That is when all the summer items start getting marked down and put on sale, and slowly, for the start of the new school year, the fall clothes start rolling in. But like I say, you can always buy out of season, especially when it is a good deal. Take the great finds I stumbled upon...

This is a Lucky Brand hoodie. The original retail price was $99.00 (ouch! That hurts me even to type it), it had been marked down to $48.99, then again to $23.98. I saved $75.02! Since this was a 'name brand' item my 15% coupon didn't work- but that is still a great find.

This sweater is navy with silver weaved through it and has gorgeous diamond buttons. It is Jones New York Collection and was originally priced at $109. It was marked down to $23.98 plus 15% off- I got it for $22.93. I saved $86.07.

I love this black LRL (Lauren Jeans Co, Ralph Lauren) top with the lace sleeves. It had been $58.50 marked down to $28.99, then marked down again to $13.98. Again, since this was a 'name brand' item my coupon didn't work- but still a great deal since I saved $45.52.

I love this dress and can't wait to wear it! It a Kim Rogers dress and the original price was $86.00 then it was marked down to $42.99, then again to $20.98 plus my 15% off and I bought it for only $17.83. So, I saved $68.17.

In total I saved $292.78! I say that made for an awesome trip!

Just remember when using coupons for clothing to always read the fine print, and make sure it's a true deal. Go to your favorite stores websites and look for their mailing list tab- you can always unsubscribe later if you don't like the coupons or don't use them. Who knows, your savings could be monumental!
I hope this inspires you to go look for your own great finds. Happy hunting :)