Friday, October 19, 2007

Frugal Friday: Souvenirs

Souvenirs are meant to remind you of the great places you have visited on vacations you have taken with family and friends. Pictures are the very best souvenirs of course. But sometimes you just want a little something to remind you of a vacation . Even so, the fact is that many souvenirs end up in garage sales and thrift stores instead of being displayed with pride in our homes. One way I have found to prevent this and end up with souvenirs that I display for years is to bypass the tourist shops and head for the thrift stores and antique stores in the area I am vacationing in. I also tell my kids when they travel that if they want to bring something as a gift I would rather have something for one of my collections than a typical tourist souvenir.

Rather than drive around looking for thrift stores in an unfamiliar town. I have a few ways to make the process simple.

Before I ever leave home I consult the web site Thrift to look up thrift stores in areas we will be visiting. It only takes a few moments to find and print out a list. The list of stores even come with a rating system, which makes, if you are on a tight schedule, choosing which store to hit even easier. Second, I like to ask people at the hotel we stay in if they can recommend a store. I've found some great little shops this way. Last, I check out the phonebook in the room, most have a listing of stores along with maps of the larger cities or I can call for directions.

To make my shopping easier I have specific things I collect. One is Christmas ornaments, or items that can be used as ornaments. It is great fun to reminisce about trips as we hang the ornaments. I like china, and green glassware. But mostly I like different, truly unique items that fit in with my decor and that I won't be able to find just anywhere.

On one trip we took across 7 states we found shirts that other people had bought on vacation from some of the states we were traveling through. Most were practically brand new and my kids didn't care, we ran them through the laundry that night and they wearing them before we got home. We got souvenir tee shirts for as little as 25 cents.

At one great thrift store in New Hampshire my daughter found designer clothes from stores in NYC, with price tags still on. She got a dress with the original price of $260.00 for only 69 cents!

So next time you go on vacation and want a souvenir, check out the thrift stores. You might find the perfect souvenir.

Check out Crystal's Site for more great tips

Pics: Examples of items I have bought. #1 The little candle holder that the pumpkin is on, I bought along with the painted oil can ring holder in Lancaster, PA. The frog trinket box came from our trip to Virginia. The other items came from trips to Ky.

*2 I got the plate in Lancaster and the frame in Missouri.


Mom2fur said...

This is an amazing idea! I'll definitely have to remember it. You are right...a lot of what attracts us on vacation ends up collecting dust before being sold or given to charity. I don't travel much, but when I do I try to keep my souvenirs practical--an apron or a local cookbook, or even a candle. But going to a thrift shop would mean finding things that are unique and special!

Mom2fur said...

Hi, again! That sure is funny about the way your kids wore pajamas. I'm glad to hear you cut off the feet. Makes me feel better about cutting them off the ones I'm making!