Thrift Store Find – Hand Carved Teak Bowls

teak bowls

I’ve always loved thrift stores, yard sales, and auctions.  Unfortunately, I had to set that passion aside over the years because of my career and other demands on my time.  I have gradually returned, and decided to share my thrifty finds with you.

When I was raising my daughter as a single mother, I had to figure how to budget and stick to it.  This included decorating my home, purchasing clothing, food, vacations and everything else that came along.   The solutions to these demands were growing my own food, second hand stores, clearance racks, and yard sales.  I truly believe that someone else’s trash is another person’s treasure.

Browsing thrift shops was a way for me to relieve stress too.  A little retail therapy goes a long way.  And I didn’t have to pay a fortune for my therapy.  I visited one of the local thrift stores recently, and found these 4 teak bowls.  They appeared to be hand carved, because their shape was irregular. They just appealed to me, and called out my name.  The price was $.99 per bowl.  They may have been priced so low because of their imperfection, but to me that uniqueness is what makes them valuable.


Thrift Shopping


As a single parent, buying things and figuring out how to use them later was not an option for me.  Everything purchased had to be a price within my budget and have a purpose.  That thought process is still in my DNA, even though I have reached a stage in my life where I can afford pretty much what I want.  For some reason, I have no desire to change that thinking.  It keeps me from overspending, and helps me stay on track with my finances.


Thrift Shopping


As I admired the teak bowls, I thought about how I would use them.  Ice cream with the grandchildren came to mind immediately.  Sold!  I could also use them for salads.

When I flipped the bowls over to check the price, I found this label on the bottom.  Teak is native to India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar and Bangladesh.  It is also used to make boats, furniture, carvings and other small wood projects.

Knowing the origin of the teak bowls increased the value for me.  It made me want to preserve the uniqueness and irregularity of the bowls.  So, they became more of a bargain from a thrift shop to me.  One of the things about thrifting is being able to see the beauty in an item that another person no longer sees. The fact that I found a set selling on Etsy for $62.00 helps too.

If you’re a thrifty shopper, I hope that you will appreciate my hand carved teak bowls too.  If you’re not, I encourage you to check out a few shops, flea markets or auctions.  You may also like: Auction Tips for Beginners.

How to Become a Flea Market Shopping Pro

flea market shoppingSummer is here, and it’s the perfect time to head to the flea market.  I love finding bargains or negotiating a good deal.  Flea markets are popular on the week-ends in most cities or towns.  There are indoor markets that are open during the week as well. Check your local listing for hours.

In addition to flea markets, there are farmer’s markets.  Farmer’s markets have a heavy emphasis on fresh produce and organic items.  However, there are other flea markets that focus on everything from tools to antiques. No matter where you live, city or country, there’s a flea market nearby.

Here’s a few tips to help you successfully score a haul on your next trip:

  1. Arrive Early – In my experience, you find the best deals when your arrive early.  Quality items are items are still available, and ready for a new home.  You can also find deals in the afternoon.  Many dealers don’t want to pack up their wares, so they are willing to lower prices.
  2. Wear Comfortable Clothing and Shoes  – In the summer, lightweight clothes is a must.  Walking shoes are suggested rather than flip flops.  However, if your feet and legs can withstand those cute flip flops go for it.  I would dress in layers during cooler weather.  You can always take off a jacket or sweater or put one on.
  3. Bring Water and Snacks – It’s important to stay hydrated during hot, summer months.  Most flea markets will have vendors, but if you want to save a few buck bring a tote and pack a few bottles of water
  4. Take Cash – Money talks.  Vendors would prefer cash rather than running a credit card.
  5. Make Quick Decision on Purchases – Delaying making a purchase could cost you that item that you have your eye on.  If you’re connecting with an it, take it home.
  6. Make Sure You Can Haul Your Goods – Make a list of items that you would like to obtain, and determine if you will need a truck to haul your goods. With most vendors, you are immediately responsible for your purchases once the transaction is made.  Some vendors will deliver for an additional fee.
  7. Don’t Be Afraid of Items That Need Repairs – If you see a piece of furniture that has good bones, but has scratches, dings, weak legs or needs the seat replaced, don’t run.  These items can be repaired.
  8. Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate – Most vendors are willing to lower their prices if your offer is within reason.
  9. Check out Vendors Who Are Packing Up
  10. Try to Bundle Items – If you find several items that you want to purchase from the same vendor ask if they will give you both items for a particular price.  Most will be willing to give a great deal to move several pieces.

So, put on a pair of comfortable shoes and get ready to grab some great deals at your local flea market.  You may also like Auction Tips for Beginners.




Auction Tips For New Bidders


Are you interested in attending upcoming auctions, but unsure what to expect?  Attending auctions can be a great way to score antiques and other household items cheap.  However, you must know the basics before you attend. You don’t want to wander around the auction house or grounds looking uninformed.  Most importantly, you don’t want to make mistakes that will cost you financially.

Check Out On-line Pictures Before the Auction – Many auctioneers will have photos of the items up for auction on their website.  Check out the photo gallery so you can get an idea of what’s going up for bid.

Wear Comfortable Shoes – Auctions can last hours, so wear comfortable shoes.

Bring a Tape Measure  – If you are bidding on items for your home,  bring a tape measure to ensure it will fit into the vacant spot in your home.  You will want to measure you space at home, and make a note so you can reference it once you arrive at the auction.

Arrive Early  – Arrive early so you can check out the items up for bidding.  Check pieces for damage and box lots to see if it’s something you want to bid on.

Register to Bid – Be sure you have your driver’s license with you and another form of identification.  You will need to register before you can bid.  The auctioneer will assign a bidding number.

Check Out Fees Before You Bid – Know the method of payment allowed and any fees before you arrive at the auction. Some auctioneers will charge bidders for using credit cards.  Most auctions will accept checks without an upfront fee. Furthermore, some auctioneers charge a buyer’s premium, additional  percentage charged, on purchases.  Know if the fee is applicable, and remember this when you are bidding.

Bring Cash or Checks – If you plan to write a check, be sure you have check blanks with you.  Also, if your purchases are small, cash is a good way to pay.  Also, many auctions sell refreshments.

Bring Blankets and or Tarps  – Have a blanket handy to cover purchases until you’re ready to load it into your car or truck.  A tarp is nice to have on hand, especially if it rains.

Bring a Folding Chair – Auctions can be an all day affair.  So, folding chairs are great when you need a break,  relax, eat or check out the scenery.

Set a Limit on Your Bid – Decide how much you want to spend on each item and stick to it.  It’s easy to get caught up in a bidding war in the excitement and overbid on an item.

Pay Attention – Be mindful of what you are doing.  Accidently rising your bidding card could cost you.  The auctioneer will see your card and assign the current bid to you.  It is rare that they remove the bid.

Be Prepared to Haul Merchandise Away – Make sure your vehicle is large enough to hold purchases.  You are responsible for transporting all items that you bid on.

Most importantly, have fun.  Mingle, ask questions and just enjoy the day.