Don’t Be a Mule: Alternative Shopping Outlets

by David Bakke

salvation armyIn my quest to always become more financially prudent, I have uncovered some of the more un-traditional places that you can do some of your shopping to save yourself some money.  Some of them you may have heard of, some not.  Hope you find this to be helpful.

Here is my list of some of the “off the beaten path” type places that I have picked up items from.


Goodwill/Salvation Army:  I have found these stores particularly helpful when I am buying work clothes and household appliances.  I mention work clothes because I am require to dress professionally, but I run through work clothes so fast that there is no point in me spending a lot of money on them.  I can find perfectly good button-down dress shirt for just a few dollars and also perfectly suitable ties for just a few dollars as well.

Also, whenever I need some of the smaller household appliances (blender, mixer, etc), I can usually find it for nothing at one of their stores.

Craig’s List-if you don’t need new, you can find just about anything on Craig’s List. Sometimes, it’s even new too. And it’s usually for pennies on the dollar.  They also have many items listed for free.  Check this site out for odd items as well.  And you can consider using it for selling your unwanted items too.

Freecycle-I was just recently turned onto Freecycle, and man, what a great place.  You can find lots of stuff absolutely free.  Definitely worth checking out.

Pawn Shops–  Yes, believe it or not, it is OK to shop at a pawn shop.  Of course, I’d never actually pawn anything there because you’re just throwing your money away, but there are a lot of things that you can but there at great, low prices.  Just about any kind of tool you should be able to find at a pawn shop (and for usually about half of retail).  They also usually have a great selection of jewelry (although mind you, it is used).  You can also get great prices on used DVDs and a variety of other things.  Most of their stuff is used, but for example, when you’re buying tools, is there any real need in paying full price for it?  Watch out for any guarantees (or lack thereof), and read the fine print and ask questions before you finalize your purchase.

Dollar stores-I know I know.  You walk in there and it looks like kids have terrorized the place.  Floors a mess, shelves a mess, etc.  Still, you can get great deals on items like household cleaners, greeting cards, and little children’s toys.  Word of caution though.  Do your homework. Just because everything’s a dollar, does not mean you can’t buy it at a regular outlet (your grocer, for example) for less than a dollar.  You’ve got to know what a good deal is and what isn’t.

There you go!  Just a short list of some places that are worth checking out if you haven’t already.  Your comments and feedback below are greatly appreciated, and Happy Hunting!!

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