Thrift stores, consignment shops, or otherwise know as second-hand shopping hold hidden treasures that you can comb through. Everything from limited editions to designer brands or that one item that reminds you of visiting your grandparents’ house. When your kids are growing out of clothes every time you turn around thrift stores can be an excellent resource. If you are a collector of any kind, the second-hand stores can be a treasure trove of items. Finding those items that you may only need for a limited time and don’t want to invest a lot of money into is where the resale store really helps out. 

Frugal Fashion 

Many resale shops carry a variety of clothing, shoes, and accessories that can clothe everyone no matter what age or size. If you have a person in your family who prefers name brands and gently used items, many consignment stores will have options for them. You can find today’s fashions in not only clothing but footwear, wallets, belts, and purses. Think about not only shopping but taking your gently used items and cosign them for either cash or store credit. Store credit you can use to make your dollar stretch even further.

Collecting Treasure on a Dime

As a hobby collecting can be a costly pastime. When you shop in resale stores, your dollar can go further. Places like pawn shops can inventory some high-quality collectibles for a bargain. Investing the time to go into a second-hand location and work your way through the sometimes-disorganized store can pay off in found treasures. You could parlay this type of treasure hunting into an online second-hand store for yourself. 

Keep the Start-Up Costs Down

Using the thrift store as an affordable entry point for purchasing equipment to try a new activity. For example, your kid comes home and announces a new-found interest in learning to snow ski. You can fully equip them without breaking the bank with a little research and a good second-hand store. Whether they take a shining to the sport you or change their mind the next month, you are set. What about taking up a new instrument? Often you can buy from a second-hand store and have the item tuned or repaired for less than a new one. 

Finally, should you live in a climate that doesn’t get too cold during the winter but need to have a one or two items on hand just in case, you can get snow boots and winter gear for a bargain. The local thrift store is an excellent resource for almost anything you need or want.

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Do you live in a house that has hard water? You know, where you get those white rings on the counters and the faucets have this grungy, crusty build up. While you’re at the DIY store, you see this free water testing kit and decide its time to learn what is going on. You get the results, and the company asks to come out and give you a further evaluation as well as introduce you to a solution. The time this takes is well worth the process because it gives you valuable information about your water and how to fix it. Unfortunately, the typical solution is a $6,000 to $8,000 fix. Now maybe that is in your budget, and that is great, but most of the time that solution still involves the use of salt.

There is another way 

Alternatives exist where the installation cost may be way less—although it might be the same depending on how large of a system you get. But more importantly, it is a solution that doesn’t involve the constant purchase of salt. 

A recent addition to the water treatment lineup includes many different brands on salt-free water conditioners or de-scalers. Typically, a non-salt system consists of a large particle filter and a multiple-part canister. The system works by neutralizing minerals such as magnesium and calcium by changing their ionic makeup so that these minerals do not stick to pipes and other surfaces. They do remain in the water, though, so if you allow a pool of water to dry, the minerals will form a powdery residue that easily brushes off.

DIY Installation?

Installation is not complicated, but if you have little to no experience plumbing, you should hire a local plumber or certified installer to do the project. It is essential to put it in-line with the water going the correct direction (into the water heater, for example), so you’ll need to know which way the pipe is flowing where you add the joint.

Does it work?

The results are different from a water softener. You’ll see a reduction of the calcium in the water. Your skin will feel less dried out, and dish soap will create larger amounts of suds. You will not have that slippery feel of salt-softened water though. Most importantly, you can drink the water and water your plants with the water directly from the tap. 

Is it green?

The environment gains because there is no back-washing of the system like with traditional salt-based softeners, so you are not dumping salt water into the drainage system, and you are not using a bunch of extra water. 

What does it cost to maintain?

The cost to operate it once it after installation is very low. There is no salt to purchase every month. You only have to change the large particle filter every 6 to 12 months, depending on your water source. You may even receive extra filters with your installation, so check with the dealer.

The cost to DIY the project includes the purchase of the system and a few fittings to make the connection into your water pipes. Check with your real estate professional to see if adding a water conditioner system will increase the value of your home for resale.

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