Family Thrift Center – Oltorf

Now the Thrifty Snicker is willing to bet that right up there with knowing where to score the best thrift bargains her readers often long to know nuggets of arcane Austin history. In that regard, your bargain blogger does not disappoint!

After the South Congress bridge was completed in 1910, southern tracts of land were accessible and ripe for development. Mr. John La Prelle stepped right up to the plate and developed much of the area around south Congress Avenue but not before assuring that his own neighborhood would meet his exacting standards and those of other affluent Austinites. In a book touting “Austin’s Restricted Resident’s District” readers are assured that La Prelle Place is the right choice for those who want a “City Man’s Home that is closely associated with every phase of city life and located as to benefit from every forward civic movement.” Perhaps unsure of what constituted a City Woman’s Home, Mr. La Prelle invited his lovely bride to name a major thoroughfare in the area. The missus promptly and fondly recalled a beloved relative and Oltorf Street was thus christened.

With what is likely the city’s most, ahem, “colorful” grocery store anchoring the Oltorf and Congress intersection, it’s unsurprising that the Family Thrift Center in the strip on the northeast corner should be equally wild and wooly. And indeed, thrifters should bring elbow pads, a keen eye and plenty of patience to this mecca of used merchandise. Chaos, disarray, noise and incomprehensible pricing are the order of the day but for the true bargain shopper, such is of little concern on the path to pecuniary greatness.

Let’s get the worst out of the way, shall we? You will not be able to read the prices. Is that a two? Or a four? Or the equation for a parabola? No one knows. A monkey with a red grease pencil prices everything at Family Thrift Town and you simply will not be able to read the numbers…or even be sure they ARE numbers. So just know that going in and maintain a good sense of humor. If you think you might want it, grab it and let the cashier sort it all out. Although there are other stores by the same name in Austin, this Family Thrift is part of a corporation with locations across the US.

The Thriftstress was easily amused on a recent visit by the hodgepodge of goods that end up together, probably due to the excess of little screaming people that often fill the store. On one shelf a lacy black bra was draped seductively over an air filter, on top of a serving platter. Where is Dr. Freud when you need him? Staffers, albeit friendly, are simply unable to keep up with the hoards of shoppers ranging from harried moms with a cartful of kiddos to Goth teens to aromatic street people looking for a clean, inexpensive shirt.

Clothes are mostly divided by type, some effort at keeping like colors together and absolutely no size distinctions. Overhead signs must be leftover from a completely different store configuration so don’t bother looking up for directions. In fact, if you don’t watch where you’re going you’ll likely trip over the bedding slung across the floor. Wide aisles and plentiful shopping carts make it easier to work your way down the racks and there are a lot of ‘em! This is a big store that buys merchandise from local non-profits. On a recent visit The Snicker was quite taken by the long rack of unworn Chinese-style black jackets, the type worn by busboys in sushi bars everywhere. But more conventional clothes abound and while it’s not likely you’ll trip over haute couture (you’re more likely to trip over a tricycle) recent finds include a two-piece linen Sag Harbor pantsuit, a gorgeous watercolor print Dress Barn frock and a 100% silk Victoria Secret nightgown. Given the warmer temps this would be an excellent time to stock up on shorts and shirts for the whole family for minimal dinero – much of the casual stock appeared to be marked for under $5.

Other summer related goods abound right now including sporting equipment and a 48 quart Coleman cooler for $5.99 (maybe $6.99…couldn’t quite tell but definitely well below retail). On her last visit your Mistress of Thrift was pleasantly surprised by a very large selection of glassware and the huge selection of handbags, some of them name brand and in excellent condition. The piece de’ resistance, however, had to have been the signed and framed Dilbert cartoon for $9.99 (or was it $8.99?). And if you are in need of crutches, enough plastic flowers to open your own funeral home, or a spare computer keyboard, this is the place.

Family Thrift Center is located at 208 East Oltorf Street and is open for craziness 9 to 9 every day except Sunday when it’s open 12 to 7. All major credit cards are accepted and afterwards you can revive yourself at Lucy’s Fried Chicken or New India Cuisine just a block away on Congress.

Stay brave, thrifty friend! The AC is spotty, there are only three dressing rooms, the weird parking lot configuration practically guarantees you’ll be headed the wrong way, and the cashier will not be able to answer any question beyond, “how’s your day going?” But when has such ever stopped you?

As much as it pains the Discount Diva to admit it, she doesn’t know everything thrift. What are your favorite places and best bargains?

Until the next find!
The Thrifty Snicker


Grand Opening – Style Encore

Oh Spring of ’14, we hunger for you
We’ve had sleet around here and low temperatures too
We’re tired of our sweaters and want to clean out
Were it not for the bluebonnets we’d really have doubt

That warmer spring temps are truly here to stay
That we can pull on the shorts and go out to play
So clean, sort and donate; you have a good reason
Spring really is here – our favorite thrift season!

Hello darling readers…no review this time but want you to have the head’s up on Thursday’s Grand Opening at Style Encore. It’s April 3 from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and our friends are planning lots of fun things like special drawings and prizes (and free pizza). For details take a look at their website:  Address is 2929 West Anderson Lane.

Thrift hugs to all of you! Look for the next thrift store review on April 10 and look for me on Thursday.

As much as it pains the Discount Diva to admit it, she doesn’t know everything thrift. What are your favorite places and best bargains?
Until the next find!
The Thrifty Snicker

Savers – South Lamar

Our eyes spoke volumes to one another and I felt electricity when our fingers touched…                                                                                                                                                                                                                         his name trembled on my lips as he tenderly relieved me of my box…                                                                                                                                                                                                                    then Paul spoke the five little words every girl wants to hear:                                                                                                                                                                                                             Thanks For Donating To Savers!

Oh my! The Thrifty Snicker has been reading entirely too many bodice rippers these last few chilly weeks but thankfully temperatures have started to rise outside just as they have between the pages her favorite romances. Indeed, on one chilly night the Diva of Discount dropped off a box of donatables at one of her very favorite local thrift stores and was delighted when a friendly employee rushed out to help with the box and then proceeded to thank her most sincerely for her support! Makes a girl just want to clean out her closet – especially when that donation nets her a nice tax receipt AND a coupon for a future thrifty purchase! And this blog post contains yet another incentive to get to your spring cleaning…keep reading!

If you’ve ever hit the resale trail in Austin you’ve undoubtedly shopped at the Savers south location on south Lamar just north of Ben White. Unless, that is, you’re like the Thriftstress who lived nearby for over a year before learning that the big bright store she passed every day was actually a thrift store supporting the Easter Seals Society! To think of the missed bargains is nearly unbearable but how was she to know just by driving past? However, she’s making up for lost time and given that some 30,000 items are added to store inventory each week, it’s easy to find something wonderful and wonderfully priced on every visit.

This place has a LOT of clothes! If you can’t find the perfect outfit then you’ve apparently got your nose in a book, which is understandable given their “buy four, get one free” pricing policy, or you’ve been sidetracked by bedding and towels in the soft goods section of this clean and well-organized store. Clothes are hung by size (but not color) and excellent signage makes finding what you’re looking for a breeze. Savers is aptly named what with most clothing items under, if not well under, the $10 cap. Women’s tops, for example, run $2.99 to $5.99. A retro faux chinchilla coat could be had on a recent visit for just $29.99. On the same visit the Thriftstress snapped up a new-with-tags nightshirt for just $5.99. One happy shopping spree a few months ago resulted in the purchase of ten items for a total of less than a Ulysses S. Grant, tax included!

This edifice of economy employees 42 thriftologists, more than half of whom work in the back sorting and pricing. Believe it or not, only about 20% of the donations make it to the floor – the rest is recycled, goes overseas, or is sold to vendors. The store itself is a for-profit venture; part of a company with over 300 locations in the US, Canada and Australia. But even if you donate directly to the store, Easter Seals of Central Texas is paid for your donation. According to the Savers website, $180 million was raised for its charity partners in 2013 alone!

Extremely reasonable pricing isn’t the only thing this thrift does well. The Snicker just loves Savers’ practice of hanging pants at an angle, enabling shoppers to see the waistband tag at a glance. And while it’s not the only store that does this, Savers is also one of just a few that bags up little random items for $1.99. You might find a couple of salt and pepper shakers, a package of post-a-notes and some pencils, or a bag of craft items nicely combined at a steal of a price.

The repetitive advertising over the store’s loudspeaker system gets a bit tiring and there’s entirely too much junior wear mixed in among women’s clothing, especially for a store with a professional sorting staff. Another small, but noticeable, hiccup is the absence of sales staff anywhere but at check-out stations. But overall these are very minor flaws in an otherwise impeccable thrift experience. Not surprising they’ve got this thrift thing down considering Savers is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year! You’re invited to the anniversary party on March 16 but there’s one catch – to snag a coveted invite you have to drop off a donation on the 14th, 15th or 16th and in addition to your receipt you’ll get an invitation. Forget SXSW…this party will have 30% off house-wares, jewelry and furniture and 60% off clothes and most everything else!

Want to shop? You can save on Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. the other six days at 4001 South Lamar. There’s tons of parking and all major credit cards are accepted. They even have a reasonable return policy. General information can be had, including additional store locations in north Austin and Cedar Park. Store manager Faith promises a Facebook page very soon to help locals stay in the loop. You can also call the store at 512.442.8011.

As much as it pains the Discount Diva to admit it, she doesn’t know everything thrift. What are your favorite places and best bargains?

Until the next find!

 The Thrifty Snicker

St. Michael’s Academy Thrift Shoppe

Just as spring flowers are popping up all over our fair city, so are new thrift stores! The Thrifty Snicker seems to be noticing a new one every time she gets into the thriftmobile and takes a drive. Your bargain blogger will most certainly be getting the scoop on the new shops on Stassney, east 7th Street, and Montoplis Drive and will report back in future blog posts.

In the meantime, Recycled Reads (reviewed August, 2013) will be celebrating its 5th anniversary on March 1st and 2nd at 5335 Burnet Road from noon to 6:00 p.m both days. Most fittingly, paper is the 5th anniversary gift so enjoy paper craft workshops while listening to the music of Jesse Sublett and Joe Blanda & Two-Day Suitcase.

While new stores are always exciting, the Thriftstress is happy to review one of Austin’s old timers – St. Michael’s Academy Thrift Shoppe at 5907 Burnet Road, on the northeast corner of Burnet and East Koenig.

This little sweet spotte of a shoppe opened in September, 1989 at the request of Monsignor McCabe who was director of St. Michael’s Academy at the time. Although styles have changed in the ensuing 25 years, the store’s mission to raise scholarship money for the nearby Catholic school has not and the Academy continues to serve boys and girls from grades 9 through 12.

Although small, the store’s clothing selection is up-to-date and the Diva of Discount seldom notes the same garments she admired on a previous visit. The thrift rule rules here: if you see an item of clothing you like, grab it. And that is especially true this very moment as all clothes are 50% off at least through the weekend!

You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much merchandise is packed neatly in this relatively small shop. On her last visit the Snicker found plenty of Liz and Talbots and a lovely Liz Baker pantsuit ($14.95) that she passed on with the greatest of reluctance. There’s a nice selection of larger sizes and lots of cute sleepwear. Of particular note is an especially large selection of first quality wedding dresses making St. Michael’s a sensible stop for the budget-minded bride. And for those a bit more on the assertive side, this place may be the only thrift store with a selection of martial arts belts in every hue. The Thrifty Snicker awarded herself a black belt in budget right there in the store!

Much of the merchandise likely comes from families with kiddos in St. Michael’s so lots of sports equipment, shoes with cleats, golf clubs, ski gear and as of this moment, a like-new punching bag with gloves for $39.95. Men’s clothing is on the casual side leaning toward sportswear and dress down Friday. You’ll find a limited selection for the little ones but all the categories are covered here albeit in somewhat limited fashion – toys, books, shoes, holiday merchandise, electronics, house-wares, soft goods and decorative items (and new gerbil cage with all the bells and whistles). A couple of darling Valentine-themed plates were just 95¢ each and as it was post-V-day, half price of that. Overall, prices are reasonable, the store itself unusually clean and well organized, and the staff very friendly. Wait a minute….did the Thrifty Snicker say “staff?” Au contraire! There’s no staff here my thrift friend; this pleasant place is run entirely by volunteers and they would love for you to be a part of the team!

The St. Michael’s Board President, Toni, isn’t the only world leader the Thrifty Snicker has on speed dial but she’s the queen bee of this particular establishment and was happy to share about the Thrift Shoppe. In particular they are looking for marketing and communication outreach volunteers so if you know your way around WordPress or can manage a marketing campaign, give Toni a call at the store – 512.323.2001.

You can shop OR donate gently used goods (no computers or printers, please) six days a week from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. All credit cards are accepted but be a good thrift shopper and bring plenty of cash so these good Samaritans don’t have to pay a credit card fee. There’s ample parking in this strip center with its tidy line of blue awnings. The store doesn’t have a website (can you help with that?) but is on FB so show some love and give ‘em a like.

As much as it pains the Discount Diva to admit it, she doesn’t know everything thrift.  What are your favorite places and best bargains?  

Until the next find!
The Thrifty Snicker

Flashback Vintage

In addition to this post’s review, the Thrifty Snicker has bad news and good news. First the bad….practically ripped from the headlines the Thriftstress was dismayed to see that our friends at Next-to-New on Burnet (reviewed May, 2013) have been the victim of vandals here recently. It’s a proven fact that the surest way to screw up your karma is to mess with the thrift fairy but some people simply haven’t received the memo. So warm wishes and thrift power to the good folks at St. David’s Episcopal Church who run the store, and to those good-looking guys and gals in blue who are working to find the people responsible for kicking in the door, graffiti, and siphoning gas out of the donation truck. May the Force be with you!

On a much happier note, theThriftstress wants to report on the imminent opening of a brand new thrift store! More on that in just a moment but meanwhile, on to the latest thrift store review.

If you’ve always wanted enough closets to dedicate one to each fashion decade then you’re probably already a fanatic for Flashback – a vintage clothing hotspot on South 1st Street.

As if you needed another reason to hang out in the fabulously eccentric, historic and gastric Bouldin Creek area, my goodness, Sugar Mama’s alone is worth the trip, there’s the enticement of dresses and gowns fluttering in the breeze in front of the cheerful house that houses Flashback Vintage. Originally located on Lamar, an unpleasant little contretemps with a landlord precipitated owner Marsha Laine to move her empire of attire to 1906 South 1st. But Lamar’s loss is your gain what with six rooms jam-packed with fabulous representations of every fashion era since the Charleston was all the rage!

In the interest of full disclosure, the Countess of Discount knows little about vintage – she doesn’t know her cocoa from her Chanel. But she does know this: there’s many a store that claims the vintage title based solely on bell bottoms and love beads. Not so with Flashback…June Cleaver, Rosie the Riveter and Janis Joplin would feel equally at home among the racks sporting everything from vintage undergarments to office attire, formal ware, and sports clothes. Even the guys get their own room with vintage guy fashions.

Flashback’s own Ruler of Retro is Marsha Laine – a vintage aficionada since her teens. She and a friend originally considered opening a restaurant but to the everlasting gratitude of Austinites, costumers, moviemakers, artists, and the late, great Leslie Cochran, she decided to indulge her passion for fashion instead. Marsha’s expertise is evident in every nook and cranny and she’s in-house every Saturday if you want to stop by with something you’re interested in selling or trading. On other days she’s likely scouting around for fashion finds or hobnobbing with wholesalers to keep stock fresh and exciting. A recent purchase is a glamorous Italian swimsuit found in France.

Prices at Flashback are reasonable for the fine vintage pieces that have been assembled. You might pay $80 or more for a frock and $40 to $50 for a great skirt. Your Thriftstress must have had brocade on the brain as both a full-length brocade gown in canary yellow and a brocade pencil skirt in shades of burgundy and grey made her twirl in front of a mirror. Unfortunately, much of the stock is on the small side making shopping more challenging for those bigger than a size 10 or without alterations skills. However, one of the shop’s many strengths is its sales staff who are helpful without being obtrusive and who will absolutely outfit you for any occasion in something absolutely perfect! Go ahead…put ‘em to the test. You’ll end up in something terrific that looks terrific on you – and you can be sure you won’t see anyone else in the same style. If there’s something special you want but can’t find – either a size or fashion – Marsha will gladly tap into her prodigious sources to accommodate you. Don’t be afraid to ask as Flashback prides itself on its accessible and non-pretentious vibe. A small collection of jewelry, accessories, and vintage knickknacks help reinforce the store’s charm and the sale rack on the front porch is a must-see. On her most recent visit the deal of the day was the winter white, wool coatdress from Neiman Marcus that would have made Jackie O swoon. A mere $10!

Now you might think that Her Thriftiness is the only celebrity that browses at Flashback but its national reputation makes it a fav for many an actor and artist. Drew Barrymore, Mary Kay Place, Winona Ryder, Lyle Lovett, Johnny Depp, Bob Dylan, and Kate Moss have all dropped in as do those looking to costume plays, commercials and even movies. Not surprising, Flashback is also a popular destination for the burlesque crowd. The Thrifty Snicker is now ready for her close up!

Flashback Vintage has watched 1st Street remake itself from a quiet retail area to the uber-desirable hiptown south of downtown it is today and happily is geographically secure for at least the next several years. Marsha is quick to point out that shops in the area help one another out – a shout-out to next-door-neighbor Mercedes Flowers as well as Bouldin Creek Café. In fact, Flashback now opens early on Sundays just to handle the overflow crowd from Bouldin as it seems that waiting for a table is a lot easier while browsing vintage fashions…and the pagers work even inside the store!

To stay up-to-date in the world of yesteryear fashions, like them on FB or visit their website at Parking’s a breeze, all major credit cards are accepted and a ramp makes those vintage fashions accessible to everyone. Store hours are a bit of a mystery – Marsha dear, could you get those posted on your website? But give them a quick call at 512.445.6906 if you’re not sure of the times.

Now for New News…Style Encore, an upscale resale shop for working women is planning on its grand opening in March! Located in north Austin at 2929 West Anderson Lane, the store is buying “like crazy” and would welcome your upscale castoffs – think Chico’s, Coldwater Creek, Michael Kor and Donney & Burke. It’s also hiring so if you want more information give them a buzz at 512.592.0886 and keep an eye on The Thrifty Snicker for updates.

As much as it pains the Discount Diva to admit it, she doesn’t know everything thrift. What are your favorite places and best bargains?

Until the next find!
The Thrifty Snicker

Thrifty Chicks Vintage

Before she gets to this review the Thrifty Snicker would like to address a few of the questions that have come in midst an avalanche of fan mail. The burden of fame rests as lightly upon her shoulders as her latest thrifty acquisition: an Anne Klein cashmere sweater!

Q: When are you going to review one of Austin’s many Salvation Armys and Goodwills?

A: Indeed, there are many of these fine and thrifty institutions but your Diva of Discount will not review them. She shops them on occasion and her peace-loving heart wishes them no ill will as they support many marvelous programs. But generally their stock is over-priced and of low quality and there are so many other excellent stores that clamor for a shout-out. Similarly, she won’t review Austin’s City-Wide Garage Sale or any other event that charges an admission. Nope, nope, nope.

Q: Can I email you about my thrift store adventures or charity garage sale event?
A: Of course you can, darling, and The Thriftstress welcomes your messages sent through the blog. Just remember she needs about a month’s notice to mention a special event.

Q: Is it true that you are often mistaken for Sandra Bullock’s younger sister?
A: Oh stop! Pretty is as pretty does and while Austin’s favorite Academy nominated sweetheart appears to be someone who would be as comfortable in a Saver’s dressing room as on the red carpet, the Thrifty Snicker has not had the pleasure of making her acquaintance and comparing countenances.

Now for the review…

It’s not hard to pick out fellow thriftologists and you may well have noticed Melanie Wassell at one of Austin’s thrift emporiums stalking a vintage purse or snatching up a particularly delectable bargain. Perfectly understandable given that she’s leveraged her love for history and its accoutrements into Thrifty Chicks Vintage on North Lamar – a two story mecca to clothes and home furnishings from bygone eras.

Melanie confesses that when she started out with a single booth at a local antique mall she never suspected it would grow to eleven booths…then her garage…then several storage units…making opening a store practically essential to saving her sanity, not to mention her real estate. In business less than a year, this savvy as well as thrifty chick is already eyeing a 2,000 square foot expansion in order to clear out some of those aforementioned storage units more quickly. But Melanie’s bargain fetish is your thrifty fortune with rooms full of interesting house-wares, vintage clothes, and period furniture nicely displayed and, glory be!, reasonably priced.

Thrifty Chicks Vintage stands out with its blue awning and mod exterior décor – a blessed contrast to several blocks of insurance storefronts and warehouses. More rustic pieces are placed outside when weather allows and upon entering, shoppers are immediately drawn to the furniture, much of it set up in comfy clusters. On a recent visit a groovy velvet end table tickled the Snicker’s home fashion funny bone and a compelling wood and metal sculpture in the shape of the US of A came very close to being purchased. Whether or not your nose needs to be powdered, be sure to visit the powder room in the corner of the first floor for a whole ‘nuther design vignette!

The second floor features half dozen delightful rooms with an emphasis on vintage and formal ware. You’ll find lots of lovely wedding gowns, many priced at $50, evening gowns of all sizes and cocktail wear. On her last visit an especially nice Aracadia Italian purse could be had for $48. An unusually nice selection of fashionable and couture handbags reflects one of Melanie’s indulgences although the vintage Gucci she just picked up last week won’t be showing up in the store anytime soon! But Thrifty Chick really does focus on thrift so there’s absolutely no reason to pay retail for your next party frock.

The men folk aren’t forgotten and have their own “men’s room” with vintage fashions and boys’ toys. House-wares lean toward the Betty Crocker kitchens of the ‘60s and ‘70s and daughter Tara brings in the ‘80s with toys, games and LPs. The Thrifty Chicks themselves acquire all the fast-moving merchandise; no consignments or vendor booths here.

The Thrifty Chicks provide a fun shopping experience without the sticker shock. The Thriftstress was pleasantly surprised again and again by reasonable prices, a theme echoed by shoppers who have left Yelp and Yahoo reviews. In fact, the only hiccup is the parking – you’ll have to back into traffic on north Lamar if you don’t park in such a way as to work yourself around to a front forward exit.

Like ‘em on FB and check out their website at Happily they’re open seven days a week from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. so you can visit the chicks in their thrifty coop (6701 North Lamar) almost anytime the mood strikes. All major credit cards (and soon PayPal) are accepted.

As much as it pains the Discount Diva to admit it, she doesn’t know everything thrift. What are your favorite places and best bargains?

Until the next find!
The Thrifty Snicker

St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store

Whiskey river take my mind….

Oh my fellow thrifters – Happy New Year to you! A thousand pardons for the inexcusable delay in this most recent posting but The Snicker promises she’ll take good care of you this year. May 2014 bring you a bounty of bargains!

Now for you Willie fans, ditch the ditch weed and hang on to your Stetsons, you’re going to be able to indulge your inner cowgirl this month thanks to St. Vincent de Paul Thrift on South Congress Avenue in the oh-so-hip SoCo strip. More on that in a moment.

This two-story icon to doing good and doing good on the cheap has been an Austin staple for decades now. The (few) dollars you spend here go right to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and the Ladies of Charity of Austin, which in turn, provide money and material goods to Austinites in need. And we’re not talking a handful here; more than 800 clients were served just in December. Folks may have needed utility assistance, a prescription filled, or, as in the case of the folks in the flooded Onion Creek area, clothes and household goods right out of the shop.

But the only things you need to shop here is a love for bargains and adequate time to meander around two stories of donated goodies. Don’t let your phobia about back-in parking deter you; St. P’s has a small parking lot just south of the store for your convenience.

The Thriftstress has been a regular visitor here for the last couple of months and almost always finds something wonderful. The main floor is primarily clothes and they’ve got the goods for men, women and children. For you vintage enthusiasts, this is definitely the place to peruse as entire estates, closets included, are frequently donated by Austin residents. And since those clothes come in with no more fuss and bother than last season’s Sag Harbor, collectible clothes aren’t priced much higher than other merchandise. J’aime beaucoup!

Clothes are displayed by type and color but not by size, a thrift glitch in the Snicker’s learned opinion but not a fatal flaw. Tops are reasonably priced in the $2.50 to $5.00 range and nice skirts and shoes can be had for around $10 including the oh-so-sassy cork wedges looking fine under the pearl-draped chandeliers. In fact, everything looks good under pearl-draped chandeliers including your Diva of Discount. But she was a tiny bit taken aback by the price of jeans – $11 – $15 seems steep for anything short of true designer duds.

Now…for you Willie Nelson fans, St. Vincent de Paul is getting in a load of Willie-themed clothes from his distributer…like NOW! Don’t miss out but you might want to double-check with the store before going in. Any of the helpful clerks can give you the Willie low down, unless they’re killing bugs as was the case on my last visit – but the store’s effervescent manager, Paul, gave Your Thriftstress the head’s up just for you! And as the red-headed stranger himself said, “If you can’t sing, you better have style!”

The back of the first floor has the arts and crafts area – lots of fabric remnants – and household goods like sheets and towels. Your Thriftstress scored a queen-size Ralph Lauren cotton blanket for a happy dance $4 and very nice cotton sheets could be had ranging from $4 for twin to $7 for king. Do you know how much new sheets are going for??

House-wares are at the top of the stairs and major kudos to SVDP for not following the “at least a dollar” trend. Plates could be had for 59¢ and The Snicker picked up a little ceramic for a craft project for a mere quarter. Don’t even get her started on a recent trip to ANOTHER thrift store where the store’s 99¢ tag was right there next to the item’s original $1 price tag. That is NOT thrifty!
House-wares are nicely displayed on clean shelves and up here on the second floor you’ll find electronics, tons of LPs, office supplies, a few items of furniture and other household goods. Nice pieces and collectibles are displayed near the upstairs cash register and friendly folk are on hand to let you peek at whatever you want.

Now in case you think St. Vincent is just another pretty face on the Austin thrift scene, think again frugal fan! During SXSW this Catholic charity shimmies out of its plaid skirt and into its leather jacket and turns into…Vinnie’s Lounge! Yep, St. Vincent de Paul has its own SXSW stage featuring some 25 bands.

SVDP doesn’t have a website, but you can Like them on Facebook: and get the early word on special events and cool happenings. Besides shopping you’ll want to donate and that’s easy with the drive-through location right there in the adjacent parking lot to the store at 1327 South Congress or the north donation location at 818 W. Yaeger. Store hours (and donation hours) are Monday through Saturday from 9:30 to 5:00 except on First Thursdays when they’re open until 10:00 for the party! All major credit cards are accepted.

As much as it pains the Discount Diva to admit it, she doesn’t know everything thrift. What are your favorite places and best bargains?

Until the next find!
The Thrifty Snicker