$$$ It’s all about the money, or is it? $$$


Today’s post is probably not going to be something you usually see on my blog! I am sure by now some of you have the impression that I am a girl who spends all of her paychecks thrifting! And I can see where this can come from! I’ve been posting a lot of hauls and outfits lately! Let’s be honest, I do sometimes get carried away at a thrift store, and I need to watch my budget, but most of the time it really is not that much compared to a grand scheme of things, or let’s say a recent study by InStyle magazine that says – An average woman spends about $15,000 on makeup during her lifetime, and that’s not including skincare!

Before Sam and I got married, I lived on the East Coast nannying for some families. I wasn’t making a lot of money, in fact I was barely making anything (I never thought of myself or my family as rich or poor, I knew I had enough, and I think that attitude helped me a lot in life) through the Cultural Care Au Pair program, but I had my ways! When I moved to New York, I learned about Freecycle.org, and almost all of my clothes, books and health care products came from there! I also went to monthly swap meet ups organized by GrowNYC, where I would bring all the stuff I didn’t want, and go home with something I liked. Sam had a hard time believing I had all that clothes, without spending as much as a couple bucks on the subway ride, but I had my savings account to speak for me!

I was an Au Pair for 2 years, making under $200 a week, this is the time when Sam and I were in a long distant relationship. So even though I didn’t get to see him that often, I spent a lot of money flying to Minnesota almost every other month! But by the time we got engaged I had saved up over $12,000. Then I went to Russia for 10 months, where I was able to work from home and add on to the savings.

Now that we are looking into buying our first house, having saved enough for a downpayment, I reflect on where I came from and can’t express how thankful I am for everything I’ve been given!

I was born in a small town 3 hours east of Moscow. My mother was a civil engineer, my dad was a college drop out. My grandfather was a retired military man, a former KGB agent as I discovered later in life, my grandmother was a pediatrician, and if you ask me, the biggest workaholic I’ve ever known! We never had much! When I was in 6th or 7th grade I wore the same pair of jeans, the same turtleneck and the same sweater my mother knitted for me to school every day! And I couldn’t care less, until one of my friends, who was a year older than me came up and asked why I was wearing the same clothes everyday. To this point I am still grateful for that comment! This is when thrifting and hand-made clothing came into my life! My mom went above and beyond herself knitting and sewing outfits for me! Going to fabric stores was exciting! Going to thrift stores was an adventure!

By the time I was in 9th grade I was getting constant compliments on my outfits from peers and even teachers, even though I had the same pair of jeans as one of the guys in class! But that’s when unisex was in, so I didn’t care! I also never said no to hand-me-downs, and even though I didn’t have older siblings, I had plenty of friends and knew enough Missionaries who always left clothes behind!

College came around, and I made sure I got good grades to get a monthly stipend through the University. Yes, I got paid to go to school! This is probably going to fall into the “Only in Russia…” category. This was also the time when more and more thrift stores popped up all over our town, and they often had great sales, that I couldn’t resist!

Thrifting is what helped me continually save up money for my trips to Europe and the States, and now that I live here, it’s becoming my meal ticket! Finding a great thrift store takes time, so today I am going to share some of my favorite locations here in the Twin Cities, and the best times to shop there!

Salvation Army in the Warehouse district900 N 4th St, Minneapolis, MNย ย – every day is a 50% off a certain color, so stop by often! Plus they offer 50% off clothing during most major holidays! I am not even going to mention the Target overstock located in the basement – you have to see it for yourselves!

Steeple People on Lyndale and Franklin – 2004 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN – I blogged about it before, and I will do it again – they have great vintage selection, beautiful artwork and prints, great household section, etc., etc. The only downside is – they only take cash or check!

Goodwill in Hopkins1025 Hill St, Hopkins, MN – This was my go-to Goodwill when I used to babysit for a family in St.Louis Park! And I always referred to it as the Hopkins Goodwill, or Goodwill on Excelsior Blvd. Now why this particular Goodwill? – It’s cheaper, it has more vintage and authentic items, it’s been good to me! Generous if you want to put it this way! I can always find something that I like there! Now why am I not mentioning the Goodwill in Minnetonka, or Goodwill in Roseville, you may ask? The Minnetonka Goodwill will always be famous in my book for the Xanax pills I found in a pocket of one of the sweaters bought there! And Goodwill in Roseville is too good for me to be sharing it with you, but now I did, and now you know!

Savers – I am yet to find a Savers that I don’t like! Seriously, they need a Savers in every state and county! They never overprice vintage items, and the only pieces of clothing that can be pricey are the brand new ones, with original tags still attached. And don’t forget to sign up for a Super Savers Club Card, they will send you emails with special promotions and coupons!

So here you have it, the story of my life that revolves around thrifting! And I couldn’t be happier! After all, it’s not all about the money!

Happy Thursday everyone! And don’t forget to stop by tomorrow for a DIY friday fashion and style project and an important BeingZhenya announcement!



PS. Please keep in mind that my husband and I don’t have any student loans to pay off, our monthly expenses are limited down to rent, groceries, gas and car payments, plus the occasional going out and thrifting shopping sprees!

In the next post on money related subject, we’ll talk about freebies and the best websites where you can get them!



  1. I’m SO happy I found this post! I’ve been thinking about how I used to go to the mall and spend like $30 on a dress, when it only takes $5 to make one or find a workable thrift store one! I swear, it should be illegal to spend money on clothes and extra makeup and completely unnecessary accessories that every girl “needs”.

    Your childhood story is so inspiring, I would love so much to hear more about this! Your personality & outlook on life & the way you dress is just so cute!

    • Thank you so much for your kind words! Let me know if you want to chat more about thrifting and life and blogging, and everything in between ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. LOVE! I am originally from Minneapolis and got my start thrifting at some of those very same stores you mentioned. Have you ever been to Goodwill Outlets (or diggers) off of University and HWY 280? Everything is by the pound. So, like 1 pound of clothing is 1.29 or something. It used to be 1.00 but that was a while back. Best of luck to you! -Chance

    • I love Goodwill outlet! It’s definitely a challenge to find something there, but it’s so worth it in the end! I am so excited to hear that you are from here, even if you don’t live here anymore!

  3. Thank you for this inspiring post!

  4. Monica says:

    I like ARC Value Village stores better than Goodwill. They are cleaner, better organized and the prices are good. I have never gotten anything at the Mtka Goodwill, either and no longer stop there. Maybe I’ll run into you at Salv Arm one of these days.

    • I have mixed feelings about Arc! I think they tend to overprice! And if you ever see me at Sal Val don’t hesitate to come up and say hi! Would love to meet a fellow MN thrifter!

  5. I’ve been enjoying all of your thrifting posts recently. (That horse cardigan you got is AMAZING, by the way.) It’s so interesting how you got into thrifting, and it’s definitely inspiring me to frequent my local Goodwill & Salvation Army more often!

    • Thank you so much! I think now that I’ve been thrifting for so long I’m never going back ๐Ÿ™‚ let me know if you find anything cool!

  6. I love this post! Sometimes in the blog world people tend to sugar-coat their lives, but I’m really glad you’re honest because it’s something to relate to ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you! I know exactly what you mean when you say – sugar coating! I don’t think I could ever do that! I simply want to share who I am and what my blog is all about ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. This post just makes me love your blog even more. I also got into thrifting at a young age because we couldn’t afford name brand or department store clothing all the time. My mom introduced me to thrift shopping, frugal living, coupons, looking for deals etc. and still to this day, those are things that have benefited my household. I still have dreaded & horrible student loans that I wish would just DIE!! but overall, I’m happy with my spending habits. Thanks for the awesome post.

    P.S. to spend that much on beauty products is CRAZY!!!

    • Thank you so much! I think for me those numbers were a rude awakening! I used to buy too much makeup and skincare! Who needs 4 different foundations? I love sharing my life story though, I think a lot of people can relate to it and hopefully be inspired!

  8. What an inspiring post!

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