Op Shop Shopping (How to shop frugally in Australia.)

I, am a penny pincher. In other words, “Ek is vrek suinig.” Especially when it comes to buying clothes for myself. Simple reason. The garments are usually tighter after the first wash. Like, what is up with that?

No, but seriously. I have difficulty seeing why I have to pay so much for clothes. I am at home most of the time, with the boys, and they are happy whether I am dressed in haute couture or jeans and T’s. Barefoot in the kitchen, that is me.

I have heard of people going with empty suitcases to South Africa to buy clothes, although I have also heard that the clothes are getting more and more expensive there as well. I must however say that Woolies’ men shirts are really good quality. My husband wears one that my dad wore before he passed away, and that is thirteen years ago. It still looks great.

Here on the shores of Terra Australis, I was introduced to Op Shop shopping. It is right in line with my very frugal nature. (My frugality however is not applicable to my coffee shop addiction! How I wish it was.) I love Op Shop shopping. The other day I walked out of there with three brand new T-shirts for the boys and a virtually brand new Pashmina, made in Nepal, all for $10.

Let me introduce you to a favourite way of shopping in the Aussie way of life – The Red Cross, Salvation Army and Vinnies shops. These are the shops that people take their clothes that are not in season, fitting, have never been worn, still in good nick, whatever. If you have a keen eye you can dress yourself for $50. Not one item, but easily five to ten items. I have been able to buy brand new Levi Jeans for $1! Yes, $1! I bought a formal evening gown for $30. If you have nimble fingers you will be able to transform an everyday garment into something spectacular for next to nothing.

It is however not always a pretty shopping experience. Remember that it is someone’s hand me downs, and not always ‘packaged’ as neatly as you would find in the shops. But after a washing and ironing session, you would not know the difference. (Shhh… please do not let my mum know, but she has a couple of beautiful wraps that I bought from a lady whose sister passed away. Yes, the wraps were the deceased’s.)

Shopping here is an art. Especially if you are of the frugal minded type. Every town has a ‘buy and sell’ page. In the same manner I picked up a 6 seater dining room suite a week ago for $70 only. I wanted the top only, but Bunnings quoted me $800 for the measured top. Now I have a table top to suite the base and legs that I brought over from South Africa. At last, I have the table I wanted for the past ten years. (You see, it is true, a man will eventually get to doing what he has promised to do, you do not need to remind him every six months.)

You also get a group of ladies getting together with all their, ‘don’t want it no more’s’ and swop clothes. I have been able to get a variety of clothing pieces in this way. Mums also stock their kids’ toy boxes in this way. A bag of toys costs less than $10 in one of these shops.

Dear Migrant to the Great South Land,

when in Rome… make sure you visit your nearest Op Shop. You are supporting those in need (your good deed for the day) you are looking after your purse strings (because things are expensive) and you can pick up yesteryear’s fashion if you want to.

There are many, many ways to take your dollar further. You just need to keep your ear on the ground and listen to how the locals do it.

Enjoy your bargain hunting.




Please post some of the bargains you have been able to pick up, just to let the people know what they can expect.

5 thoughts on “Op Shop Shopping (How to shop frugally in Australia.)

  1. Last year I also went on a trip to visit these Op Shops around here. Very interesting. I only buy my clothes at these shops now


  2. Pingback: The Four Swivel Wheel Shopping Trolley Experience | Marlize Venter

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