Dirt Cheap and Goodwill Hauls
Last week I had an out-of-town friend stay with us. While he was here, we hit up a couple of thrift stores. At the end of the week, we road tripped back to his house, and stopped by a couple more thrift stores in various towns along the way. I stayed with him over the weekend, and on one of the days, we went out to visit a trio of Dirt Cheap stores for some crazy bargain shopping.
For those that have never visited a Dirt Cheap store, they are located mostly in the southeastern United States. These stores appear to buy liquidated items from WalMart, Target, Sam's Club, various home improvement stores and clothing stores. The majority of the items are either overstock, returned items or items that made it to clearance at their respective stores and still didn't sell. This is the store where things come to die... I mean, find a loving new home!
I am going to break this trip down into multiple articles with multiple categories of interest. We found home improvement items, toys and games, kitchen items and more.
I try to find some excuse to travel to this area every few months, just so I can shop at Dirt Cheap. There are two areas with three stores each. The Columbus/Phoenix City/Auburn area and the Dothan/Enterprise/Ozark area. There are three stores in each of these two areas that are all within 20-30 minutes apart from each other, making it a good solid day of shopping. Thankfully, I have friends and family that live in both areas, which is about 6-7 hours away from where I live.
My friend had never been to a Dirt Cheap, so I was ready to blow his mind with bargains.
Since I can't remember what all I got at which stores, this will be a mix of everything broken down into categories from all of the stores combined. We visited four Goodwill and three Dirt Cheap stores over three days.
Here's a camera phone shot of our total haul when we got back to his house after Day 3. This is everything from the multiple Goodwill and Dirt Cheap stores from both myself and my buddy.
Let's start with the kitchen items.
Teavana Perfectea Maker
Got this at Goodwill. My wife loves hot tea and I remembered seeing these in use before all of the Teavana stores closed down. I thought I remembered these selling for $25 at the time in stores, but the only price point I can find now is new on Amazon for about $20, depending on the color. This was an especially great score, since my wife loves hot pink.
These tea makers allow you to put in your water and loose leaf tea to steep. When it's ready, you simply set the tea maker on top of your cup. The rim of your cup will press up into the tea maker and allow it to release all of the tea down into your cup. You then just wash the tea maker out as you would any other type of cup. It's easy to clean and simple to use.
This is the third one we've seen at Goodwill, and the second one we purchased. I would encourage picking these up any time you see them. They make excellent gifts, too!
Retail Price (Pink): $16.95 (Amazon)
My Price: $2.99
Retail Price (Black): $21.99 (Amazon)
My Price: $.99
Total Savings: $34.96
Silicone Utensils and Sauce Containers
I am always on the hunt for high-end silicone utensils. I am trying to replace all of my worn-out cheap plastic and pan-scratching metal utensils. The utensils are all nic and stiff in the center with soft edges. Some utensils are very floppy and cheaply made, but not these. The red ladle is an expensive brand and will be perfect for all of my soups and sauces. The yellow "spoonula" is made by Wilton, one of the better baking brands. The blue spatula has no brand on it, but has the same shape and hole cutout as Wilton. It looks exactly like the Wilton one that I found on Joann's site, so we're going to go with Wilton, or a very good knockoff, for pricing purposes.
The ketchup and mustard bottles I am planning to use for some of the custom sauces I am experimenting with. It's also easier to drizzle sauces with this type of container when creating plated food art. I make homemade BBQ sauce from time to time that I would like to have a container for, instead of just leaving it in a jar. These are perfect for that. Now that I am thinking about it, I should have picked up another pair. These are unbranded, so when looking for price comparisons, I just went with the cheapest generic ones I could find on Amazon.
These were all found at Dirt Cheap.
Ketchup and Mustard containers
Retail Price: $3.58
My Price: $.54
Get It Right Ultimate Ladle (red)
Retail Price: $15.99 (Amazon)
My Price: $5.40
Wilton Silicone Spoonula (yellow)
Retail Price: $5.49 (Joann's)
My Price: $2.69
Wilton? Silicone Spatula (blue)
Retail Price: $5.49 (Joann's)
My Price: $1.35
Total Savings: $20.57
Ball Mason Jars
I have been needing more mason jars, but didn't want to pay full price for them. I've been looking for mason jars at Goodwill, but often they are worn and priced too high. I ended up finding this bargain at Dirt Cheap.
These are nice because they are brand new and they are the special aqua blue color, which I happen to love. I use these mainly for homemade salsa and marinara sauce. But we also use them for other storage as well, such as large batches of marinade or dry rubs for my BBQ.
The used ones in Goodwill have been about $2-3/ea. These came out to $1.34/ea brand new.
Retail Price: $11.92 (Amazon)
My Price: $5.39
KitchenAid 4.5QT Mixing Bowl
I needed a second mixing bowl for my KitchenAid stand mixer. I double a lot of recipes, or have multi-part mixing needs in single recipes. I usually just grab another mixing bowl and try to figure out what to put in each one so that I can keep the main one free to be attached to the stand mixer. With a second stand mixer bowl, I don't need to worry about that anymore.
This is the upgraded version of the bowl that came with my mixer. Mine doesn't have a handle on it. I'm not sure how useful I will find the handle, or if it will just get in the way. After all, mixing bowls in general don't have handles.
I found this at Dirt Cheap.
Retail Price: $39.99 (Amazon)
My Price: $17.64
Home Brew Kit
Ok, before all the home brewers out there laugh at me, as my home brewing buddy that was with me did, I only bought this for the tools within. Yes, I will be brewing the batch of beer that came with it, just to try it, but this was all purchased for a different reason.
In the past couple months I started making my own ginger beer. I am using the ginger bug method before transferring to a ginger tea. The whole process takes a week or longer and I am just using glass cylinders and plastic 2-liter soda bottles. I have been interested in a small carboy like this. My brew buddy told me I should also invest in an airlock and wand to make the process easier. When we opened up the box, I was surprised to find all the parts inside, including the exact three items I was looking for! It also has a thermometer included, too.
I will have future articles around making this batch of beer, as well as all the ginger beer I will make afterwards using these parts. This was one of the items I was most excited about finding at Dirt Cheap.
This appears to be a Target exclusive item, as I can't seem to find it anywhere else. The box shows it's from "Refinery and Co." and it's just called "Beer Making Kit." I found it on Target's website, but with a different box and name. It's the exact same contents and is no longer sold. As a bonus, the grains and packaging inside are all still within date for another six months.
Retail Price: $29.99 (Target)
My Price: $6.75
KitchenAid Pasta Roller Attachment (KSMPSA)
After rolling out my first pasta dough by hand, I realized I never wanted to do it again. A friend had a hand-crank pasta roller that she let me borrow to try out, and I absolutely loved using it. At that point I realized I must have a pasta roller.
I wanted the KitchenAid attachment, but it was way too expensive for my budget. I started looking for used units, but people were still asking too much for them. I finally found a winner on eBay! There was a seller that had this broken unit for $16, plus $11 for shipping. I inquired about what was broken. It turned out it was just the shear-shaft. While these shafts are not replaceable from KitchenAid, there was someone online that was making his own for these units for a reasonable price.
I purchased the replacement part for $10. Once I received it, I realized it was for an older model. Being new to these attachments, I didn't know there were different models, and I thought I had the right one. I found the right part from the same guy for $20. So all-in, I have $56 invested into this $90 attachment.
I ended up finding a brand new one someone was selling on Amazon for $60 shipped. A few weeks later knock-off models started showing up for $45 shipped. Oh well, I still saved something on an item I wanted and needed. You can't win them all.
It was really easy to repair, and only took two minutes to swap the broken shaft out with the new one. If you can find a broken one cheap on eBay/CraigsList/etc., or know someone that has one, I would highly recommend getting it. But do factor in shipping, repair part, etc. vs. a knockoff or new unit.
Retail Price at the time: $89.99
Retail Price Now: $59.95
Knock Off Price: $45.99
My Total Price: $56
Savings: $4-$34, or -$11 compared to the knock off
Replacement Shafts found here: KPSA Repair
Stuff I didn't buy
I had one item I picked up at one of the Dirt Cheap stores that I carried around in my cart for an hour, deliberating on getting it or not. I didn't need it, but it would have been a nice upgrade, or could have easily been flipped.
I found a Kitchenaid Professional 5 Plus Stand Mixer. They had a $550 tag on it with 60% off, bringing it to $220. This is $20 more than the price of the cheapest Classic series! After a short debate with the wife, I decided to leave it behind. I didn't really have the money since I couldn't guarantee I could flip it, nor would I make a ton off flipping it anyway. It would have just been a nice upgrade for the price, then I could sell mine. The model I have is the Walmart exclusive Deluxe model, that is basically the Artisan with the upgraded motor that I got for $199 around Christmas time when it went on sale, which was a bargain in itself! Mine is also the cobalt blue model, which I absolutely love. The Pro 5 I found was the standard silver color. Had the Pro 5 been any other color, I probably would have bought it to upgrade mine.
The main differences are:
Deluxe: 325W motor, 4.5QT bowl, Tilt Head
Pro 5: 525W motor, 5QT bowl, Lift Stand
Basically I could mix heavier dough, or be able to make double batches of certain recipes with the Pro 5 model.
Well, I hope you all enjoyed checking out my latest kitchen upgrades. The next article will continue with the other categories of items I purchased on this trip.