$20.00 Retail Therapy

$20.00 Retail Therapy

Raised in the “elite” Northwest Suburbs of Chicago my moms go-to-cure for heartbreaks was retail shopping. Sure the election isn’t the same as being dumped by a high school boyfriend, but the pain, the fear, and the loneliness are oddly similar feelings.

Is it just me? In times that are so high pressure I feel like I would do anything just to make myself not think about the election.

Now, I live alone, I’m 29 and I’m poor. What can I do with $20.00? Does that even cover the cost of gas to get anywhere? I can actually get a lot of stuff for $20.00 so DONT FREAK! Not to mention this will forever make holidays non-stressful. You can make $20.00 go as far as gifting your whole family if you’re creative enough.

Imagine a store full of unimaginable products or items. Gems from the times, books of every variety, designer clothes with tags, and brand new designer shoes and purses. Whether your purchase is for monetary gain or just for yourself- you never feel ripped off when you take twenty dollars to Goodwill or Family Salvation and leave with potentially hundreds and yes thousands sometimes dollars worth on clothes.

Note: not one particular thrift store is set up the same. I always look for the ones with the best ratings, or the closest too me. I always have a couple back up ones in case I’m really on the hunt for a product. Some days are hit or miss and be sure to know the dates that certain colors are half off and twenty-five percent off. That takes your $20.00 and gives you about $50.00

1. There is NOTHING, and I truly mean NOTHING (short of intangible items like houses, etc.) that cannot be found or purchased at a thrift store brand new or in excellent condition. I’ve seen nearly everything, at a thrift store. It helps to go to a town a bit wealthier as they tend to give away more expensive items. (I.e $5.00 lazyboy couch. Yes, $5.00) Too often we arrive at a thrift store with no budget, no list, and really no clue why we’re there. That’s why it’s best to have an exact limit. You won’t feel bad if you leave with $20.00 worth of junk, you may feel bad if you leave with $100.00 worth of stuff you don’t want, and have no intention of selling it right away. If selling, a shop and marketplace plan needs to be put into action first. Know what your selling, have a brand and logo self-made and if you can get a godaddy or blue host domain. It’s a waste of money to assume you’ll sell a product if you know nothing about the market value.

If you are one of the clever people who have now figured out how to “flip” items the most profitable way is to start and set up your selling platform like an eBay store, a Facebook marketplace, Amazon sales, posh mark app for clothes, offer up app, let go app, and the next door neighborhood app.

Craigslist pro is on the list of 2020 top platforms to sell, but given some bad experiences I leave that to the last place. If you have a ton of collectors items (I.e a bin of beanie babies, a box of hot wheels, figurines) then Craigslist is good for wholesale listings. My friend made $800 off his 10 gallon bucket of rare and unrare beanie babies. You have to know your market place.

Whether you take that $20.00 and spend it on yourself or sell. Make it a point to buy items that you potentially would want or keep. This avoids piles of unwanted, unfitting clothes, and crappy toys that you misguessed on. Even when it comes to books, unless first edition, signed original copies from a famous author are available only buy books you would read. You don’t know how long they’ll sit on your shelf.

I used to buy books that I thought “other people” would read. What a waste! It turns out my interests are similar to those of my purchasers. Books are and will always be the best items to sell. Self-help books, cooking books, how-to books selling on eBay, Amazon, Etsy, and abebooks.com (for rare) are the best platforms. The amazon app barcode scanner, eBay app barcode scanner, and BookScouter app can tell you the going price of a book just by scanning the barcode while in the store. Books are generally $0.99 for soft cover, and $1.99 for hardcover. Again, if all the books you like have a yellow label. Figure out what day of the week yellow labels are half or even twenty-five percent off. No point in spending more than you need to.

Now, let’s take a step back from selling and focus on you. This election is stressful and YOU need an upgrade. This year, I took. $20.00 shopping spree on a Monday at my local Family Salvation in Niles, IL.

This trip was mainly for my own personal shopping but I always have sales on my mind. It was White is half off day. Anyone who thrifts knows that white is the most expensive color tag. It’s best to buy your expensive items when they are half off. That being said I only picked white (half off) and yellow (25% off) clothes, books, and artwork. How do I know what’s quality and what’s not?

Make a list of designers and brands. Also, measure your waist, bust, hips, and feet size. It’s important to look at your favorite jeans and see what sizes they are and what cut they are. For instance you may be a size 8 but look best in high rise jeans. Don’t go too far off your charts, and avoid cute clothes that your uncertain you’ll fit into.

Once you have an overview of expensive brands I.E Ralph Lauren, Lauren Hill, Colombia, DKNY, Under Armor, adidas, marvel, Steve Madden (and the list goes on) you can browse for those branded items and not worry about how they look, because if they are in nice enough condition (ideally tags) you can always re-sell them if you don’t like the way they fit. Posh mark searches for specific designers so it’s best to know what is popular and what isn’t. For instance last year there was a spike in Betsey Johnson purses. Know the colors of the year, trends of the year, and know your fabrics.

You may be holding back because you had one or two bad experiences at a thrift store. This happens when a store is poorly managed. A well taken care of store will have its items to the best of their abilities sorted, stacked, and priced appropriately.

Don’t be surprised if you go to a thrift store and find a mega win that costs you $15.00. I once walked into Savers with $20.00 and found a Bissell Upright Carpet Cleaner. The exact same one my dad had for $12.99 and in perfect condition. I didn’t think twice before grabbing that. Plus I spent the other $7.00 on what appeared to be a multi use Keurig machine. Sometimes a few items priced well is better than a ton priced low. Remember thrifting is designed for people like me and maybe like you, who really honestly do not have enough money to buy these items at regular price. I also find it amazing to see unique or rare items.

Tips: when buying anything, examine for missing pieces or test in electrical outlet. Many times I’ve gone to purchase a printer at a great value just to find that someone donated a broken printer in hopes goodwill would fix it.


I have done this on rare books, printers, video cameras, TVs, clothes, wood frames, artwork, pet supplies, figurines, crystal glass, popular coffee mugs etc. unless you want the item don’t get it without doing your own personal appraising.

Shop Ideas:

new and used book resale, vintage and designer purses, rare and collectible toy, rare and collectible figurines, jigsaw puzzles and board game shop, trading cards shop, cute stationary store, online thrift store, designer clothes outlet, framed artwork shop, electronics/chargers/cords shop, phone case shop, vintage glass shop, coffee mugs shop, shot glass shop, mid-century glass shop, silver shop, hair and makeup boutique, art and paint supply shop, used TVs and laptops (yes laptops) shop, jewelry bargains, vintage cameras sale shop, fabric shop, art supply shop, logo t-shirt shop, CD store, DVD store, vinyl records shop, discount furniture store. The possibilities are endless.

Lately, my shopping has been all personal… but with high retail value- I have two brand new t shirts that I got for .50 cents made by Marvel. I am starting to gather figurines which I may one day sell but for now just find unique. I always pick up different texture paper. Ive purchases 100% cotton paper, resume paper, Brite paper, brite white paper, grid paper, poster paper. Bags of cool pens and sharpies. The items such as three hole punches. Staplers, folders, etc. are always a bargain and my favorite purchases are New-Age or best selling books.

To give you and over views- my last trip to Family Salvation I spent $32.00 I spent it on books, a coffee tray, and a computer chair + MEDION music lightbulb, and barstool. Some findings in front of me now are as follows:

side note: a majority of my home is thrift store items, I plan to update the items as I come across them but these are just a random assortment

Designer 8.5 platform black heels with stickers

Dismissing History: The American Literature Book Ban

Dismissing History: The American Literature Book Ban

Since been updated. Go to ala.org/books for a comprehensive list of banned books

With book bans and limits on what American students of today’s society, our kids can’t learn and will not know how or why these active movements and depression is happening. It proves beneficial to read from people of our past and literature is designed to and will provide aid in times of trouble. Sadly the books we read in high school are almost obsolete. What does exist of great American Literature you have to search for.

The American government has been lying to you point blank about how well our education system is. They have been lying to you about a lot of national affairs in general…but that’s a topic for a different day.

After speaking with a Russian Uber driver, he explained that everyone in Russia wants to move to America for opportunities and once they get here they see first hand how weak our education system is. America is not number one in anything but amount of inmates per capita and the amount of people who believe that angels are real. So history will repeat itself as we continue to shield our children from the realities of the past and the purpose of existence. If you’re teaching your child from home, will you teach from famous artists and authors of our times and of past times? Historical Literature is almost Obsolete, and that is scary in the era of a new depression. Those works were written by talented writers and though it may be dark, it’s honesty. With all the movements going on, I urge, no I BEG you to teach yourself and teach your children American Literature from the past and from current times. We have to know where we have been and what we have done, to understand how to stop history from repeating itself, and to avoid an industrial war.

As much as I love the positive and motivational words and quotes from Instagram and they are inspiring… The true value in quotes and poems/works are generated from every era, from legitimate authors and artists and not a few too many young “Influencers”. Today’s Influencers should be tomorrow’s novels not words to live by. Today’s influencers need a slap of reality, don’t spread messages that you don’t understand. It seems innocent but the things that are “today’s literature” are people using their smartphones to say what is on their mind, this can be extremely harmful to society.

My favorite written pieces of all time are by no means motivational, empowering, or even positive words outright. They are important however, because they express the agony and pain of humans who have lived before us. They are less about the divine positivity of individuals, but more tales of hard times, war, depression, civil rights movements and woman’s right. They may be dark but they are important for personal growth! they are words that help find a common ground between our world today and the authors world when he or she wrote it

Short stories and Poems from the 1800–1900 era are very dark and honest pieces.

For a list of poems new and old and short stories go to www.poetrysoup.com

For those less keen on literature or for crafty people I find DIY art and poems to be great ways of expression and gifts. From everything to Rainbow Bridge a pet loss poem to Tell-Tale-Heart a dark story about hiding murder. Words and written pieces are a great and to develop a empathy or a way to express condolences to those suffering whom you may not have the right words for. Reading American Literature aids in even just understanding a persons thoughts, and opening your own mind to the possibilities and mindsets of others unlike yourself. They were written for a reason. Are we too dense to see this?

A few of my favorite written pieces are below. I urge you to find poems and stories from the past that have some symbolic meaning to your life. Find the connect between the past and the present.


By: Terry Kettering

*A poem about Death and Dying and why we do not seem to accept that death is going to happen to all of us because it’s inevitable. It’s also a poem about the refusal to accept and acknowledge death or express condolences in fear of insulting another. The importance of speaking about death after one has lost someone.*

WHAT IT MEANS TO ME: This piece I’ve engraved in wood and given as a mantle piece for my aunt who was grieving over my uncle. I wasn’t close with my aunt and I didn’t know what to say, as he passed from vCJD a neuro degenerative rare and terminal disease.

Elephant in the Room by Terry Kettering
There’s an elephant in the room.
It is large and squatting, so it is hard to get around it.
Yet we squeeze by with, “How are you?” and “I’m fine,” and a thousand other forms of trivial chatter. We talk about the weather. We talk about work.
We talk about everything else, except the elephant in the room.
There’s an elephant in the room.
We all know it’s there. We are thinking about the elephant as we talk together. It is constantly on our minds. For, you see, it is a very large elephant.
It has hurt us all.
But we don’t talk about the elephant in the room. Oh, please say his (her) name.
Oh, please say his (her) name again.
Oh, please, let’s talk about the elephant in the room.
For if we talk about his (her) death, perhaps we can talk about his (her) life. Can I say his (her) name to you and not have you look away?
For if I cannot, then you are leaving me….
in a room….
with an elephant.

Tell-Tale-Heart and American Classic written by Edgar Allen Poe is another piece that taught me something.

View the images below for other pieces of literature I find of value