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Thrift Budget Challenge: Only Spending What I Make

I am such a procrastinator when it comes to decluttering my house. I'm great at filling up little boxes to donate to the thrift store, but when it comes to the big stuff like furniture I no longer need, it usually takes months for me to actually do anything about getting it out of my house.

There are several items on a mental list I'm keeping to post on Facebook Marketplace, but I kept putting it off and putting it off. I needed to give myself some kind of motivation so I did something a little extreme... I cut myself off from thrifting.

I told myself that for the next month, I could only thrift with money I made from those Marketplace sales.

Beginning Big

Right off the bat, I listed some bigger items to get myself going. I sold a stroller, a coffee table, and a really nice dog bed making myself $160. It helped that I started this challenge over the holidays so I was a little too busy to thrift. I actually didn't go thrifting at all starting just before Thanksgiving all the way until January! But I was also too busy to list anything else and build up my stash of cash further.

Current Balance: $160

My first thrifty purchase after the holiday break was a little iron doorstopper that looked like a row of townhomes. I found it on Marketplace for $10.

A little later I went thrifting twice in one day and spent just under $35 at one shop and just under $28 at the next.

Current Balance: $87

My next trip to the thrift shop was a little bigger. I spent $49 and found some really great Halloween decorations and a couple cozy sweaters.

Current Balance: $38


I'd listed a few more items, but hadn't made any sales when an opportunity to thrift came up. I knew I was taking a risk going to one of my favorite shops with less than $40 to spend, but I couldn't say no.

Right away I found several of my favorite brands, beautiful vintage jackets and blazers, an amazing market bag, I hadn't even made it to the dressing room yet and I knew I was going to go over budget. In that moment, I decided I didn't care. There was nothing in my cart I wanted to part with and I knew I was finding things I loved and would really regret not getting later.

I was writing this article in my head while shopping, thinking how I would tell you all that I failed when my phone dinged with a notification from Marketplace. A woman was interested in three of my listings and by the time I finished trying things on, we had solidified the details of the sale and she would be at my house in an hour!

This put me in the positive by $6 just in the nick of time! I really needed to make some more thrift money so the next day I posted more listings.

You can see what I was willing to go over budget for here

Current Balance: $6

Decisions Decisions

The following week, I did go over budget. I found a little $25 bookcase on Marketplace that would be absolutely perfect in either of the kids' rooms and I jumped on it. A lot of times when shopping on Marketplace you don't have the luxury of time to debate or wait on a purchase. I knew if I waited even an hour to message on this piece, it would be gone. When I picked it up the next morning, the seller told me I was lucky I got it when I did because she had been flooded with messages about it! Here it is styled in Emmitt's room.

Current Balance: -$19

While I was picking up the bookcase, someone was supposed to pick up a chair from my house, but they were a no-show. I thought I might get lucky just in time like with my previous sale so I took a chance but ended up in the hole. However, the following week I sold an old dollhouse for $20!

Current Balance: $1

Living on the Edge

I found myself at a thrift shop again that week with only a dollar to my name. I walked out with a set of curtains for $5 because I'd been searching for a specific blue fabric for a project.

Current Balance: -$4

I knew I really needed to list more stuff on Marketplace which was the whole point of this challenge, but I just did not have the time that week. Lucky for me, I got offers on a couple of my older listings making $55 in a day!

Current Balance: $51

Let's Just Blow It

At the end of my challenge, I took one final trip to the thrift store to blow my $51. I hit it big with the clothes, found a set of cute mugs, and had a great time thrifting freely for the first time in months. My total came to $59.

Final Thoughts

While this challenge felt restricting and, at times, very stressful, I actually kind of liked it. It helped me be a bit more critical about what is worth putting in my cart and got me away from my habit of buying everything in case I regret not getting it later.

I think I might keep it up for a bit longer unofficially. I still have a lot of stuff to post on Facebook Marketplace and I appreciated having to shop more critically.


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