Frugal Tips For Shopping Antique Malls And Thrift Stores

Lately I've been getting out almost every day, despite the heat. My ankle has been doing well and I'm not wearing the boot. Haven't been for about 3-4 weeks now. 

So yesterday I was drawn back to my favorite antique mall in Jenks, just a few miles down the road. 

And look what a handsome fella I brought home. 

There's a method to my antique mall madness. 

I go quite a bit, but rarely bring much home. Because by now, I know a good buy as soon as I lay eyes on it. 

These roosters at the open garden center in front of River City Trading Center, where I purchased my first rooster a few years ago, run about $60. Yeah.

This one was $15 and quite a bit bigger. Sold!

How To Spot Deals

When I go by myself and can manage to walk awhile is when I find my best deals. Because you've got to stoop down and look in every nook and cranny to find those precious deals tucked away where you probably wouldn't see them otherwise. And that takes time.

For instance, I've had a desire for small vintage bottles of late. I had one (which is in the grouping below). I found a few more yesterday. 

I will not pay more than $2-$3 per bottle, no matter its size. I go for shapes that interest me.

I really have enough for a collection/vignette now. So I won't buy another one unless I can get it for $1 or under.

Try not to be intimidated by a full booth that looks overwhelming. Just take it a section and a row at a time.

Know When To Grab Now Or Come Back Later

Well, folks, there isn't much chance you can go back later and still find that treasure waiting for you. Not if it was a decent price. It has most likely already gone home with someone else. 

So if it's something you're really attached to, better get it when you spot it. 

I find that I put things in my basket, then at the end go through everything and put a lot back. 

I've learned that it's really hard to go back down the aisles and look in every booth till I find something I just know I saw. And now can't find. 

So it's better to grab it when you see it, and mull over your decision to buy while you already have it with you.

When To Go Shopping

I typically go early in the morning when they're just about to open. And I go early in the week most of the time. 

First of all, it's too hot in there in the summer. Their air conditioning is real spotty.

I find that going early in the week usually means there's less shoppers.

Now did I need that blue rooster? No. Would I ever come across one that big for that price in the near future? Unlikely. Unless you haunt these places every single day. And maybe not then.

My first rooster, smaller and much more expensive.

Did I need those bottles? No. But they were cheap and I just loved the look of them. I'd seen some very similar before and passed them up. And yep, next time I went back there was nary a one to be found. 

Your home, no matter its size or construction, is your castle. So buy things you truly love to decorate it

There's no need to collect dozens of things. So focus on a few collections and then they will really stand out. 

If you have more than a few collections and have the room to store them, simply rotate them. 

I remember when I was a child and would go into older women's homes. Oftentimes there would be dozens of glass figurines scattered around. It was kind of overwhelming. 

If you have too many, it looks like one huge mass and nothing stands out as being special. 

So if you're going to fork over the money, make sure it's very special to you.

Have fun junkin' and thrifting!


  1. I love the blue rooster and that is a very good price. I too hunt the bargains at my Antique Malls. You do have to take your time and really look. It's a fun way to get out of the house at times and I usually don't spend much money at all, but I get excited about those bargains.

  2. Love your rooster, great find. Also, so glad you are doing better and can get out and about more.

  3. I love your new rooster! Looks perfect outside in your lovely garden area.

  4. Once again we are on the same wavelength. My post earlier this morning was about rotating my vintage found items in seasonal vignettes. That rooster is awesome. I am looking for the scrap metal goats that are very popular here now but run about $60. Won't pay that so looking for a steal. Great tips for shopping. I am bad about trying to go back and find something which is almost impossible. I like your method of putting it in the basket while making a final decision.

  5. Your Rooster is adorable. I wish I could find more yard art for my tiny backyard. The roosters I find are out of my price range. I will just have to keep looking. Hopefully I will lucky like you and find one I can afford that is as adorable as yours. Karie

  6. I love the rooster! That's my favorite color too. Quite a deal...good for you!

  7. I would have had to buy the blue rooster too as hes so lovely. I also have collected a few old glass bottles, one was dug up by my OH and the others given to me and they look nice grouped together on my mantle.

  8. I agree. It's best to stick with just a few collections to keep your home from looking too cluttered. Love your new rooster! Sounds like shopping was good therapy.

  9. I'm overdue for an antique mall visit. Not that I need anything, but it's fun to look and you never know when you might see something you can't resist.

  10. Love that Rooster! AND glad to hear you are able to be out and about more. I was just on the weather channel online and saw headlines that Tulsa got clobbered / hope all is well with you. ( They are a bit dramatic sometimes...every time they make it sound as if St. Louis was wiped off the map in a storm I worriedly text my oldest son and it seems that it all passed him by :)

  11. I really like your advice about putting things in your cart to "protect" them as you continue shopping ~

    Happy thrifting!

  12. I am thrilled that you are out of the boot and able to go.....shoppin'.....woo hoo
    So, do you use your rooster outside, in among your flowers.? I have a really big one that's metal and I hadn't thought to put it cute...I will stick him out there tomorrow and see how he likes it...:)

  13. One more hint .... remember that the price of everything is negotiable. ��

  14. Your shopping and decorating advice is on target. Our own style with what we love always looks most pleasing. The two roosters are so different but each so interesting.

  15. Great advice Brenda. Love your new blue rooster. So sweet.

  16. Hi Brenda, love your rooster. Glad you're able to junk! I've been itching to go to a local antique/craft store lately and your post has headed me in that direction! Also love your bottles in the vignette! Thanks for the inspiration! Lynn

  17. I'm giving myself the next year to "edit" my belongings. I truly do enjoy things, and have accumulated way too much. I've always been an all or nothing sort of person, but now I see that that approach to decorating isn't the best for me. So, editing it is! So far, I'm struggling, but I know I need to do it.

  18. That is so cute, Brenda! I find great places in Indiana and Michigan...well rural places. Then its fun!


  19. Love your rooster and bottles... hey we only live once right? I love picking up inexpensive treasures on my journeys. Lisa@ Sweet Tea N' Salty Air

  20. great to hear that you are walking better!! Makes life so much easier, says one who knows that struggle!


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