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

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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, MN  – 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!

XO,

Z

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!

 

Nothing New: Furniture

Hey everyone, I hope you all had an amazing week and a Happy Easter 🙂 I know a lot of my friends and readers in Europe will be celebrating later this spring, so get ready for the Easter Bunny to hop overseas!

Today’s blog post is about furniture, and since some of you know my minor (*COUGH* yeah, right) obsession with Freecycle.org, the post is going to be about “not so new”, but beautiful, vintage and FREE furniture!

I finally got tired of not having a coffee table in our living room, and wrote a Wanted post on Freecycle, and here is what I got:

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The lady who gave it to me was so nice, she even delivered it to my apartment building! I am serious! I was shocked too! Trust me! Most of the time it’s your responsibility to go and pick something up off of freecycle, but this time I guess I got lucky! It’s a wooden table, definitely vintage! I looked under it, and it said Massachusets! I am such a sucker for vintage furniture! It’s so beautiful and elegant, that Ikea and Target simply become a blasphemy!

I’ve acquired another piece of furniture this week – a night stand/end table, thanks to my mother-in-law! Since our bed is so high, very few nightstands work with it! I have been looking for a tall nightstand for months, because that corner between the bed and wall started to feel more and more empty with every day that went by. So Sandra, dropped off this beauty last Tuesday, and it fit right in!

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I love it, don’t you? I immediately took Sam’s old green lamp out of storage, and placed it on the table:

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Now it reminds me of a short story by a Russian writer Alexander Green, called the Green Lamp, which I am planning on translating and posting on here this week! I love Russian literature, makes me feel nostalgic, but at the same time appreciate my background and culture!

An oldie, but a definitely goodie is my console table, which has been recently featured in my “Early Stages of Hoarding” post, and is another great freecycle find, that I got from a woman, who said her husband was a hoarder (Oh-oh!)

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Some other items that I have freecycled include (but are not limited to 😉 )

– books

– clothes

– vintage

– kitchen appliances

– arts and crafts supplies,

and the list goes on!

It really is a great source, but don’t forget that it’s not all about getting, it’s all about GIVING!

Xo,

Z

The Beauty of Thrifting

Most of you probably know about my love for thrifting and freecycling, having lived in NYC, I believe I got the best of the best, the so called cream of the crop. These are my favorite outfits of all times.

1. This one was thrifted at the Housing Works, probably my most favorite store on the UWS! I also always shopped on discount days, sale days, or Tuesdays, because students got 20% off!

2. This outfit also came from Housing Works on the UWS (Columbus Ave and 73rd, well it’s more like between 73rd and 74th). I loved those blazer jackets, and always admired other girls wearing them, and boom I finally found the ones that fit me!

3. This jacket also came from Housing Works, the same day as the Black one in the picture above.

 

4. I love the boyfriend jeans, and yes, you have to be skinny to wear them, but they are so worth losing the weight for, because they are so comfy!

So you can have a great outfit, the money in your wallet, and less waste on our planet!