$20 thrift store challenge

The very fun folks from Young House Love challenged folks to see what they could find at a thrift store for $20 or less. That kind of challenge is right up my alley– here’s where you can add your own post to the challenge if you choose to join in too.  I had a great reason to go thrifting this week. Some of the ladies in our church are putting together a formal banquet this weekend for the young ladies in our church, and a formal banquet means my two teen daughters needed formal gowns.

We set out with some trepidation.  Shopping with teens can be challenging, more so if you’re limiting yourself to thrift store items.  Then add reasonably modest formal wear into the mix.  For two different girls.  Yikes.  I don’t ask for much, do I?

We ended up going to four different thrift stores in a couple hours’ time.  (I totally forgot to take pictures of the trip– sorry!) We found a deep red dress that was an almost perfect fit for my 17 year old.  We’re going to add black ribbon straps and a couple tucks and it will be perfect. It had a $15 tag, but was a pink-tag item.  Pink tags happened to be 50% off that week.  $7.50.  Sweet.

The next two stores netted nothing. (For some reason I couldn’t interest any of my girls in a gaudy 90’s-style wedding dressing with huge puff sleeves!  🙂  )  On to the final store in town we went, and there we hit the jackpot. We found a gorgeous turquoise dress for $6 for my 15 year old.  She loves it, and paired with a camisole or maybe a lacy shrug, it’ll be perfect!  We also found a cute little-girl sweater and several little girl’s dresses.

Since the four items on the right side of the picture were all from the same store ($17), I’m counting them for my under-$20 challenge.  But I had to include the dress from the other store in the photo so you could see how successful our little mission was!  I’m very thankful we found items that answered our needs so perfectly, and made our girls feel beautiful and elegant.  And all that in two hours time!  Hooray for thrifting!

(And yes, I do still have twinkle lights on my staircase.  In the winter I’ve gotta have LIGHT!)


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  1. I visited 4 thrift stores this morning and came out with a real wood cabinet with drawers and shelves. It’s not very big and perfect – I was looking for something to put the photocopier on and a place to store stationary items since I gave my desk away this week. I was giddy over the price tag. $12.99!

  2. I love thrifting and have a few favorite stores here in town. You really did hit the jackpot! We only see formal gowns here when the stores roll out the backstock for Halloween costumes.

  3. I would be interested to see the burgundy dress when you get the straps added. That is my kind of shopping – the ‘this will be great if you can imagine it’ kind. Wonderful to pass that on to your girls. I hope they are fully on board, that sure makes it easier. I keep hoping that for my tween daughter – if it can just hold.

  4. Great finds!

    Years ago, I took one of our boys thrift shopping for a suit coat to wear to Church. We spotted a nice black one – which turned out to be a TUXEDO! We got it for 7.50, The jacket was a perfect fit, and we had the pants altered slightly (which I think was another 7 to 10 bucks, since the alterations were far above my skill level). He ended up wearing it for two proms – and his wedding! : )

    You can find GREAT deals at thrift stores!

  5. I love thrift store shopping, especially for my little girls (2 1/2 and 1). There always seem to be such great finds for the little ones. And I usually let them get a few toys or books, which are also usually so cheap and in fairly decent condition, so they definitely don’t mind. 🙂

    One of our local thrift stores tends to have kids books in amazingly good condition for about 50 cents each. Because my kids are so young and have a tendency to tear books even after seeming to be good about being gentle with them for so long, I realized it was actually cheaper for me to just buy books from the thrift store than get books from the library since I can get about 30 books for the cost to replace one library book (started that after my two year old ripped every single page out of a library book while I was in the bathroom :P).

  6. Oh and that red dress looks gorgeous! 🙂

  7. SCORE! Isn’t thrifting the best? I liken it to the guys going hunting, but instead of boasting about bagging a 10-point buck, we proudly share our tale of how we saved 10 bucks! 🙂

  8. beautiful finds=) Love the green dress- but I adore Hanna andersson.

  9. The dresses are awesome! I’m amazed at how well you did with the challenge!

    We scored quite a bit of clothes during the challenge, but in the much smaller girl sizes!

    Happy Weekend ahead!

  10. Well done, these dresses are gorgeous!! I can’t wait to see the alterations to the red one 🙂

  11. Great job! It’s amazing the deals you can find at thrift stores!

  12. What a find! Our thrift shops here are never those prices. And the Goodwill’s here don’t discount anything. Beautiful dresses.

  13. Terri M. says:

    Swiss Army rolling briefcase/computer bag (they are still carrying the exact same one at Target for $119). I paid just under $4.00 for it at Goodwill! My son and husband had to “justify” why each should get it but my son won out. My husband is a Park Ranger and he would need a “four-wheel” drive version, LOL.


  1. […] back I mentioned finding dresses at the thrift store for our daughters to wear to a banquet put on by some of the ladies in our […]

  2. […] a chance to compare prices and discover how much further money goes if you shop wisely.  (See our $20 thrift store challenge.)  Our kids love to go […]