Monday, 31 August 2015

Op Shopping

Once upon a time,   op shops were small,  dingy ,  musty smelling and dirty. When I was young and my family were on holidays,  my parents loved to look in the local op shop.  But you wouldn't see me in there.  I was the one standing out the front waiting patiently ( not ) for my parents to finish looking.

Oh how times have changed and yes,  you'll see me in an op shop quite often.  I discovered op shops back in 2005 when a friend told me about Savers.  Curiosity got the better of me and one morning after church Darren,  our girls and myself made a trip into Frankston to have a look at Savers ( no longer there ).  I was stunned at the size of the store.  Two levels of treasures to look through and racks and racks of clothes.  I guess you could call it a super sized op shop.

Ever since then my family makes regular trips to op shops with Savers being our favourite.  We like Savers because it supports the Diabetes Foundation and SIDS for Kids through buying clothing and goods from them to help stock their stores.  We also love the neat layout of the store,  it's cleanliness and the variety to choose from. Donations of goods are gratefully received during working hours and with each donation you can get a stamp on a discount card.  This entitles you to a 5 - 20% discount on your next purchase no matter how big or small any day of the week.  It's a wonderful incentive to give and bless others.  Sunday is student day and if you have a student card you can get 20% off your total purchase.  Monday is Senior day.  Just show your Senior's card for a 20% discount.

When my family appeared on A Current Affair back in June 2014,  we had the opportunity to film part of the story at the Narre Warren  / Fountain Gate Savers.  I was in heaven as I know the store and staff well,.  During the story I explained how each of my family members receives $150 twice a year as a clothing allowance from our budget.  This is given in Spring and Autumn so that we can start looking for clothes for Summer and Winter.   Now you might be wondering how we can clothe ourselves for $300 each a year ( not including underwears,  bathers and pjs ).  Savers and other local op shops are our first port of call.  We go in with a list of clothes needed and start hunting.  If we can't find what we want,  THEN we look in the major department stores.

Op shops are great for picking up kitchenwares at bargain prices.  Taking a walk through the kitchenware department is like going on a journey back in time.  I quite often spot things that my Mum or Grandma had in their kitchens.  It always brings a smile to my face.  I've bought Tupperware,  vintage platters for my Mum,  pasta bowls,  biscuit jars,  icypole moulds,  toasters for $3.99,  George Foreman grill and hotplate for $20 ( worth $129 ),  Breville iron for $14 ( worth $69 ),  electric knife for $7 ( brand new ),  teapots,  craft supplies,  bedside tables ( to go in the wardrobe ) cook books,  clothing,  handbags and many many other bargains in new or near new condition.   You just never know what you'll find

I would have to say that my greatest find and what gets me excited the most is when I pick up vintage china.  I've been able to collect Royal Albert,  Royal Doulton,  Royal Anne and a few other well known brands at $1.99 and $2.99 for a bread and butter plate. I now have a lovely collection that gets used on occasion.   I've bought cup,  saucer and plate sets for my girls as Christmas presents for $15.  I always make sure I have a discount stamp to use for those purchases.

Supporting op shops is a wonderful way to furnish a home,  save lots of money,  support charities and reduce landfill.

Here are some handy hints for successful op shopping -

*  Have a list of items you are looking for in your purse / wallet.  You never know when you'll find it.

*  Sign up to newsletters or club cards for future notifications of sales.

*  Support op shops with your good / clean  unwanted items.  This is how they keep running.

*  Know your prices.  If the item seems a little dear,  politely ask for a better deal.

*  Check  kitchen items over for chips,  scratches and stains.

*  Check clothing for holes,  stains, wear and tear and missing buttons etc.

*  Try the clothing on before you buy.

*  When buying hand bags,  check the inside for cleanliness and wear and tear.  Make sure the zipper / fastener works.

*  Check DVDs and records for scratches.

*   Always keep your receipt to return faulty items.

*    When buying men's shirts,  check the collar for wear and tear.  This is a good indication of how often it's been worn.

*  Carry a plastic bag or folding shopping bag in your hand bag.  Some op shops do not supply shopping bags or you may need to purchase one.

*  On 50% off days, shop early for the best items.  Although op shops try to bring out more stock during the day,  they do get really busy and may not have time.

*  If possible,  avoid shopping the day after a 50% off sale.  Stocks can be low.

*  Carry a water bottle / snack with you.   A quick trip to the local op shop can turn into a couple of hours of shopping.

*  Carry hand sanitiser in your hand bag or car glove box to clean your hands after a visit.  I find my hands feel a little dusty.  . 

Here are some photos ( taken with permission ) of my local Savers op shop.

The clothes are sorted into like items.
Easy to find the label on the jeans
A variety of magazines
Books galore.
Hang sell kitchenware,  craft and homewares.

Here are some of my favourite op shop purchases -

A cupboard for extra baking bits and pieces.
My girls love the cookie jar and the basket is for egg collecting.
Some of my vintage plate collection.

This is not a paid advertisement for any particular op shop.  I support many op shops through donating and buying.


  1. I love op shopping and Savers is wonderful. The things I've found! A couple of times a year my daughter and I have a whole op shopping day. We have a routine and it is about 20 op shops. It is the best day! Some of the best things I have ever owned have come from op shops. My Jamie Oliver saucepan set was in its box, never used and $15. Chloe has a designer coat that she could sell on eBay for over $1000 that she got for $10. This is one of the biggest money savers ever. Xxx

    1. You've had some great finds Annabel. Bet your daughter was happy.

  2. Hi Wendy, I loved reading this post! Op shops are my favourite place to shop. I love your vintage plate collection! One other hint I would add is to go regularly. People often say to me "How do you always find such great stuff at op shops?" I tell them that most times I walk out empty handed, but by popping in often, I am more likely to spot that precious item that is exactly what I was looking for.
    Regards, Stephanie. Xx

    1. Yes, I try to pop into my local Savers a couple of times a week. Even just looking is fun.

  3. I spent many a hour as a tween and teen following my mum and sister round op shops. I used to hate it (clothes shopping wasn't my thing) but these days I LOVE them! Savers are great! Your plate collection is gorgeous, and what bargains! :)

    1. Thankyou Larissa Jade. Funny how we vhange over the years. My parents think it's funny that I now love op shops.

  4. Childrens books $2.49 each, ouch. Think I'll stick to my local Church opshop staffed by volunteers and not paid employees and pay 50c. and know my money goes fully to support the meals service run next door

    1. Please post your name next time. I don't like people hiding behind anonymous. Each to their own when it comes to op shops but not everyone has the chance to shop in a church op shop. I have none in my area.

      Some books are far cheaper so please don't judge an op shop based on one photo. There's nothing wrong with people being paid to work. Even if it is in an op shop. They greatly support other charities just like church ops shops do.

  5. Hi Wendy,

    I love op shops. I have also found some amazing bargains. Brand name tops, jeans, pants etc in
    amazing condition. I have also bought some amazing paintings of australian landscapes, the
    picture frame alone would be worth at least $100. I am in Brisbane now (ex Melbourne), and I
    miss Savers, but there are some really good op-shops like the Salvos here.

    DH was made redundant last week . We saw it coming (company downsizing office here), but
    at least were are living the frugal live and are prepared.


    1. I'm sorry to hear that Tricia. Let me know if I can help We've been there ourselves. xoxo

  6. I love Savers, I went there the other day and picked up the Shopping with Aldi Cook book which was in perfect condition, definatly worth the $2.50, esspecially when it was $30 new. All Op shops have different prices I love supporting both the small ones as well as the big ones as long as I get a bargin.

    1. Exactly Nicole. A bargain is a bargain and much better than retail.

  7. I remember seeing you on television - we all sat around and watched you and your family in dead silence - it really stuck a chord at our family. I love when I fond brand new items my size with the label still attached.

    1. I was so excited that Savers gave us permission to film in my local store. Head Office told the store it was a regular customer coming in to film. All the staff were trying to guess who it was.

      Ohhh, I love finding new items too

  8. I love op shops too. My girls needed dress ups for Book week and I managed to get all I needed to make their costumes for a 1/3 of what it would have cost me to either hire or buy all ready made. Not happy with our local Salvos though as some of their clothing items are dearer than the local discount clothing stores. They are becoming more commercial these days. Hubby still has his Leather jacket we got from Savers in Footscray years ago. So sad that Frankston doesn't have savers anymore.

    1. Yes, I've found some op shops to be quite dear especially for plastic containers.

      Janine, I was sad to hear the Frankston store closed but I was VERY VERY excited when Savers opened up about 2 minutes away from my home.

  9. When I went to Savers recently I was is awe at the size of the store. I walked the aisles and came away without purchasing anything. I couldn't make up my mind as there was so much choice and I needed more time. I liked what I saw and will definitely go back when my schedule allows more time for looking.

    I love the little op shops in country towns. You can pick up a bargain for sure. Items ranging from .50 cents(maybe less) to $2. My mum volunteers in the one in her home town and I have picked up many a name brand bargain there for dirt cheap.

    I am definitely an op shop lover too.

    Great post Wendy!


    1. Whenever we go on holidays we check out the little op shops too, Megan picked up heaps of Babysitter Club books at bargain prices.

  10. Hi Wendy, Love op shops also. We have two near us an they often have sale days where they have coupons in the local paper for 20 - 50% off, I have one for 50% I still have to use.
    This is a great post to dispel the myth that op shops are old and smelly. They have become trendy and you are recycling and helping people less fortunate.

    Love the baking cabinet, reminds me of our medicine cabinet when I was a child.
    Your plates are beautiful, I also collect vintage china, will have to swap photos sometime.


  11. Wendy we adore our local op shops. So many treasures for so little money! The Five Star Frugal linkup is back up and running if you'd like to share this post there? I'd love to have you and there's so many good Five Star Frugal tips here. Love, Mimi xxx

    1. I post this on the five start line up. Thanks. xoxo

  12. Hi Wendy
    I always check out the op shops first for anything I might need. Yesterday I got three work shirts for Hubby and a cardigan for me for $4. The cardigan is the one I have been looking for to go with a dress I have. I have been looking for months and refused to purchase the heavier cardigans in a similar style from a major store. I knew I could find what I wanted eventually. I am glad I waited.
    Op shops are so much fun. I have gotten things from clothes through to bulbs for the garden at our local ones.
    We allocate $10 per fortnight for the two of us for clothes. If we op shop that $10 goes a long way.


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