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A Few New Things — Choose Used First.™ — Thrift & Thrive, Chicago, IL.

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New Year.

New purchases.

New Blog format.

Choose Used First™.

How can a blog about choosing used over new contain so many “new” components, you say? Well, it’s a slippery slope indeed, but, please…allow me to retort.

I’m certain that since January 1st, 2014, we have heard the words “So, what have you bought so far?” almost as much as “So, did you guys get a new dishwasher, yet?!” In my last post, I gave a brief wrap-up of 2013′s resolution to “Buy Nothing New For a Year!” The lessons we learned last year have certainly ingrained themselves in our DNA (no pun intended, Heather Charone), and absolutely for the better. We’re embarking in the second month of a new year already, and we can still count our new purchases on one hand, with fingers to spare (and no, a dishwasher isn’t one of them!)

images-1Time or money; money or time? Why can’t you have both? When gearing up for this years ability to buy new things, we had a short list of things in mind. OK, I had a short list of things in mind, though Melissa insists the only thing holding her back from using the gift card she got from her Mom for Christmas is time. I have two nice winter coats that have served me well for a couple of years, but the pocket and buttons on one were shot, and there were no buttons on the other one. I could have searched for hours to find a used set of buttons that not only matched the style of my jacket, but also each other, however, I decided to spend the $1.47 at the fabric store because it just seemed like the more economical thing to do (not to mention last year’s solution, wearing the coat without buttons, just was NOT going to work through this Polar Vortex.) Taking both coats to my favorite lady with the golden hands down the block, Grace worked her magic and in two days rebuilt the pocket and buttoned up my problems for less than I would have spent on a used coat. Not bad! She’s currently changing the number 13 on the back of my Yankees jersey to a number 2 that I purchased. No further comments on that one! We also replaced the broken soap dispenser on our sink with a new factory look alike for 1/4 the cost of the factory original replacement by doing a bit of digging on the internet. Hey, if you’re going to live sans dishwasher, you deserve a functioning soap dispenser at an affordable price, right? Additionally, the kids were allowed to use some of their Christmas money to purchase a new remote control charger for their video games, which with shipping was still cheaper than purchasing rechargeable batteries from the store.

We could still use a new pair of pants for Melissa and some work shoes for myself, both of which we could buy with those gift cards…and we will most likely get around to doing that this week! While living 3 months without a dishwasher is the worst of our first world problems, I will say that it hasn’t been bad enough for us to run right out and correct it. There are occasional ads for free, or very affordable used ones on Craigslist, but I haven’t been able to find one that quite matches our criteria. I’ve also heard horror stories about used dishwashers (though we have bought a couple used appliances quite successfully in the past) so the verdict isn’t 100% in favor of going either way. For now, we wait, hand wash, and dry. It really doesn’t take extra time to live a thrifty lifestyle, just patience.

In the coming weeks, look out for big changes and growth, both online and as well in our storefront. For DSC_3033starters, as I’m sure you have figured out, “Choose Used First” has become our new battle cry and will be seen on everything from our blog to our buttons and our windows. It’s a simple way of reminding ourselves and those we know to always consider whether or not each purchase can be made used instead of new. We hope those words will ring in your ears every time you reach for your wallets. Choosing used first not only means shopping at resale shops, garage/estate sales, auctions, classifieds, or online, it also means a commitment towards repairing or rebuilding existing possessions whenever it is economically and environmentally the best choice to make (even if it means doing so with some new components.) Through a continuing series of DIY workshops, both in store and online, we hope to be a major resource in helping you to do so. We are also looking at ways of expanding our presence in Chicago, and will of course be keeping you posted during that journey.

Wishing you a warm and thrifty February!

Thrift & Thrive