Living Frugally: Savvy Shopping

Taz Bright helms this series. Taz is a father, speaker, long-time business owner and graduate of the school of hard-knocks. Taz uses his past business and personal finance experience to help steer others in a positive financial direction while, hopefully, avoiding the mistakes he’s made along the way. As a former 6-year victim of Identity Theft, Taz shares unique lessons learned while trying to regain his financial footing. Taz is a member of Toastmasters International, a martial artist, former bodyguard and a CrossFit athlete. As the owner of Bright Balance Ministries, Taz’s goal is to help as many people as possible reach long-term, solid financial stability.

Living Frugally Piggy BankIf you are determined to live a frugal lifestyle it is essential that you learn the art of purchasing items at the lowest possible prices.

Doing so allows you to keep a higher percentage of your paycheck; therefore, allowing more for paying off debt, saving, and investing. How do you accomplish frugal spending?

First, pawn shops. These stores are very underrated. My wife and I frequently shop at a pawn shop next to our apartment. Since we both love buying movies we were thrilled that this shop sells DVDs & blu-rays for less than $5. We can buy three movies for the price of one brand new movie at popular store chains.

The movies haven’t been shortened, altered, or otherwise made any less great just because they are priced lower than their brand-new counterparts.  Also, we love knowing we are getting the most bang for our hard-earned bucks.

Second, thrift stores. Along with pawn shops, these stores are a great resource for clothing, furniture, electronics, and power tools. There is a thrift store in my neighborhood where I can buy a jacket, tie, slacks, and dress shirt for less than $5. Yes, all those items for less than $5!

You may be thinking these items may be off brand, unimpressive rags that I would not wear in public. You would be wrong. I’m talking about brands like Perry Ellis, Liz Claiborne, and many others. Of course, off brands are also available. However, if you are dedicated to living frugally, the brand’s name should not matter at all.

Thrift: noun \’thrift\ prudent use of money and good: the sensible and cautious management of money and good in order to waste as little as possible and obtain maximum value.

Imagine that you have $50 set aside for clothes. You can go to a famous chain store and purchase one, maybe two outfits. Conversely, you can go to a thrift store and spend $10 for similar items. That is the art of Frugal Shopping! And of course you cannot get any more frugal than free.

I like to browse the free section of Craigslist every now and then. Over the years I have acquired things like glass shelves, vases, a mattress, indoor plants, clothes, shoes, couches, a TV, and many more. It would be difficult to add up the monetary savings I have achieved over the years. Also, the barter section of craigslist is very helpful. Why not exchange something you are willing to get rid of something you want or need? Bartering allows you to acquire items without taking away from your bank account to do so.

If you want to keep more of your paycheck and become a frugal shopper, the first step is to search for thrift stores and pawn shops in your area; and pay them a visit.  Happy, frugal shopping!

Blogger-in-Chief here at RetirementSavvy and author of Sin City Greed, Cream City Hustle and RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit.


  1. I appreciate the insight. I love pawn shops, but sometimes they can be creepy. I wish they would become more mainstream so that single women can go in without feeling nervous about it. Is it just me?

    Love the thrift tips!

    • Some can definitely be a little shady. Always good to use discretion when considering visiting one in search of bargains. Thanks for stopping by, my friend.

  2. I do not have a problem shopping in a thrift store or a pawn shop. Why would I pay 60.00 dollars for one pair of jeans when I probably buy 5 at that same price?

    New clothes start looking like used clothes real quick. Thrift stores are my mall because you never know what they will have. The best part is they do not care who buys as long as it sold.

    I love pawn shops. You can find some real good bargains there. If the shelf life goes too long the item is reduced further.

    • “New clothes start looking like used clothes real quick.” So very true. I’m generally a jeans and t-shirt person and I have never seen the value in spending a significant amount of money on clothing.

  3. Personally I love Pawn shops. The idea that I can get five DVDs for the price of one is a huge motivator. I’ve never negotiated price except for when purchasing a vehicle. I’ll have to try that when I’m shipping this weekend. Thanks for stopping in Karen & Kyle!

  4. Great tips! While I haven’t done any shopping at a pawn shop, I have found some great deals at some local thrift stores. For groceries, I make sure I always use my loyalty card and coupons, though I could do a better job of using coupons more.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Karen. Like you, I have never shopped at a pawn shop. However, no doubt that there are some specific items (e.g. DVDs, CDs, etc.) that you can probably get at great prices.

  5. Good tips! I am a frugal shopper by nature and only buy when I know I’m getting the best deal possible. I’d add the tip of negotiating at all big box stores. I use to work at the Home Depot and we were encouraged to negotiate with customers on scratch and dents as well as open box stuff. Always look for those first.

    • Kyle, Negotiating is a great tip. Unfortunately, a lot of people believe that it is unseemly and not appropriate at more traditional retail stores. However, as you note, items that are scratched or dented should be targeted by savvy shoppers. While I don’t do it all the time, I have been known to score some pretty good deals simply by willing to ask for a better price. Thanks for stopping by and kicking off the conversation.

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