Stretching $100 at Savers: A Sneak Peek at the Newest Store

Last week, I was invited to check out the new Hoffman Estates Savers store two days before the actual Grand Opening event, and I was given a $100 giftcard to spend.  Ok, first of all, what an awesome email to receive!  I love Savers, and was super excited to see that there was one going in just down the street from me!  But to get to go into the store before the general public, and get $100 to spend while doing it?  It was like a dream come true!  And let me tell you, thrifting with a $100 gift certificate in hand certainly changed the way I did things.

I figured I’d make a game plan.

Instead of going in totally blind, I figured I’d create some kind of plan, with some set ideas of what I was looking for.  I knew I wouldn’t stick to it, simply because, based on the selection at Savers, I wouldn’t be able to–between the vast amount of stuff they have, and the variety, I knew there’d be things that weren’t on my list that I’d find.  Of course, I also knew that there were things that I might just not be able to find.  But at least with a list, I could have certain projects or fashion ideas in mind, and I wouldn’t leave there, be browsing through Pinterest two days later, and realize I’d seen something that would have worked for that exact outfit, home decor idea, or project.  So I created a Pinterest board called “The Thrift List“, where I placed all of the things I wanted to keep an eye out for at Savers.

I was able to reference my list really quick on my Pinterest app after I’d gone through Savers and pulled what caught my eye.  It was a good thing I did too, because there were definitely things I missed from the list, but managed to find after looking at it.  I figure I’ll keep the list around, adding items as I think of them, and removing when I find them.  It’ll be a good way to keep myself on track when I don’t have all the time in the world to thrift.

When I got to Savers, where did I start?  Clothes of course!

First, I piled whatever caught my eye in the women’s section into my cart.  Normally, I’m very picky about what I even bother trying on, often not bothering with certain brands or things I know I won’t look good in or won’t wear.  Heck, usually I just grab a basket and use that.  But this time around, with $100 to burn, I figured why not?  Everything was fair game at this point.  As usual with Savers, I was impressed with the variety of brands, and even stumbled across a Laundy by Shelli Segal suit.

And when I was done in the women’s section, I did a quick browse through men’s, just stopping at the long sleeved shirts long enough to snag a couple flannels.  Men’s was on the way to shoes, where I stopped next, finding a couple pairs worth trying on.

There was a pretty long line at the fitting rooms, so I headed to the kids’ section, where I glanced at blazers and vests in boys’.  I added a couple more things to my cart.  At this point, my cart was more full than any other thrifting trip I’ve ever made.

Then I rounded the store to housewares.

In housewares, I added quite a few things to my cart, even having to do a little rearranging so that I wouldn’t make a mess when I tried clothes on.  I found a few things I was looking for, even more I wasn’t, and one awesome deal.  At this point, I headed to the fitting rooms.

Trying stuff on.

One of my favorite things about Savers is their fitting rooms.  They are well-lit, have nice sturdy hooks, and, well, they’re fitting rooms.  I’ve also never been into a Savers that has messy rooms, which is also a huge plus for me.  Oh, and you don’t need to be let into one, which is one of my big annoyances with Goodwill–I can’t stand waiting for someone (or going to find someone) just so I can try a couple things on.  Aside from that, quite a few thrift stores don’t even have fitting rooms, so yea, clean, well-lit ones that you can let yourself into?  Big plus.

There was, understandably, a fitting room attendant there making sure you followed the 6 item limit.  I, oddly enough, had exactly 30 items to try on (not including my shoes), so I quickly separated tops, dresses, skirts, and outerwear so I could try on quicker without having to get fully undressed for each and every trip.  It definitely made things go faster.  I tried on everything I brought in with me, even the things that I had second thoughts about.  I walked out of the fitting rooms with just 7 items.  There were a couple things that fit, but I knew I wouldn’t get a lot of wear out of them, so I put them back.

After the fitting rooms, I sat down and tried my shoes on.  I had a better success rate with shoes, with one of the two pairs I’d pulled fitting.  I did a quick second browse through to see if I missed anything, or if anything eye-catching had been put back, but no dice.  Like I need more shoes anyway, right?

At this point, I did some math.

I added up everything in my cart, even the couple home decor items I was on the fence about, and realized I had some more shopping to do.  I was about $20 short, so I pulled up my Pinterest board to see what I’d missed.  I made another lengthy round of the store and found a couple more items taking me to the $100 mark.  I even had to debate if I wanted to go over the $100 I had (which I did, in the end).

So, what was the haul?

Well, if you follow me on Instagram, you know full well I left the store with a cart full of goodies.  But, because that picture doesn’t do any of it justice, here’s the whole haul.

Starting where I started, here’s what I got from the women’s section at Savers.  First, I picked up two denim skirts so that I could distress one of them (or both) like this.  I’ll probably just do the dark one, but the light one fit nice and I figured I could use it for some other project.  The light one is GAP, and the dark one is Ralph Lauren, and they were both $3.99, which isn’t all that bad.

Stretching $100 to the Max at Savers: Skirts

Next, I went against one my normal thrifting ‘rules’ and bought a Merona sweater.  Brands that I can easily find at places like Target, Discovery, Kohl’s or similar places, for sometimes not too much more than thrift store prices, I usually stay away from.  Merona, a Target brand, qualifies.  However, I own nothing like this at all and it was cute on me.  If not for the $100 gift certificate though, I’d have passed this up at $7.99.

Stretching $100 to the Max at Savers: Women's Sweater

I managed to score two great GAP outerwear pieces, though.  The first is a black puffy vest that I got for $12.99.  A little steep, that price, but not when you see that GAP has a vest for sale right now for $79.99, or that you can pick a very similar one up at Old Navy for $39.99 (on sale right now for $30).  I probably would have gotten this without having the giftcard.  Same  goes for the GAP jean jacket I picked up (with this or this in mind).  At $9.99, it was a really good buy.  You pretty much can’t find a quality jean jacket at that price anywhere, and a similar one at GAP currently sells for $69.95.  $60 off?  Yea I’ll take it!

Stretching $100 to the Max at Savers: Women's Outerwear

In the men’s section, I found 3 nice pieces.  I got a baseball tee (possibly Ed Hardy, judging from the graphic, but the tag was cut out).  It was $4.99 and filled a void in my closet.  I also found a cool Aeropostale ombre tee there for $3.99.  Definitely don’t have anything like it, and it’ll be fun under a blazer for sure.  I also got an H&M flannel that fits me really nice.  At $6.99, it was a pretty good price, though it’s quite possible I could find a similar shirt at H&M on the sale rack for $5.  But, again, $100 to spend, so yea, done.

Stretching $100 to the Max at Savers: Men's Shirts

Next, from the men’s shoe department, was this like new pair of Dr. Marten oxfords.  They called my name from the edge of the smallest men’s shoe section and I gave a little “squee” as I saw them.  There’s no wear on them at all, and while they weren’t quite as good of a deal as my other pair, they were still worth the buy.  The same pair is $100 on the Dr. Martens website.  Not sure how much wear I’ll get out of them in winter, but they’ll be fun for spring!  I would have gotten these without the giftcard too, but likely would have put one or two things back in exchange.

Stretching $100 to the Max at Savers: Doc Martens

In the boy’s section I found a blazer that wasn’t plain black, which I was looking for.  This one is navy and tan tweed, with a dark teal-ish color lining.  It’s actually pretty nice… nicer than the othey boys’ blazer I have, and was $6.99.  I would have snagged this, giftcard or not.  I hope to get a fair amount of wear out of it.

Stretching $100 to the Max at Savers: Boy's Blazer

Moving onto home decor, I found quite a bit of stuff.  I got three picture frames, one of which is a smaller version of one I already own (that would be the one on the far left).  I envision putting them up in my boudoir as empty decor, though I might put some kind of cute sketch or something in the oval one.  Two of them were $2.99 and one was $1.99.  I’m not sure if I’d have bought all three without the giftcard, but I’m glad I did.

Stretching $100 to the Max at Savers: Frames

I also found three little knick-knack type things.  The first was a Fleur de Lis piece, which now has a home next to my little fox.  It was $2.99, and I’d have grabbed it without the giftcard.  The second is a brass unicorn that I think was half of a set of bookends.  The pair was tempting, but I felt like it was selfish, so I left one behind for someone else.  It $1.99 it was a good deal, and something I’d have gotten for sure.  And the last is a wood jewelry-type box (no inserts though) that has a butterfly on it.  It was $3.99 and sits a little uneven (so I might have passed normally), but that’s ok.  It’s still cute and I’ll find a home for it in my boudoir or craft room.

Stretching $100 to the Max at Savers: Decor

Surprisingly, I found something that had me loudly squeal with delight, much to the confusion of anyone who heard me.  It’s, what I affectionately call, a lemon pitcher.  See, my Nani had given me one just like this a few years ago, and it broke not to long after that.  I was pretty sad about it, since it was one of those odd things I associated with childhood (we never used it, it just always sat in the same place at their house in Michigan), and never ever saw another one like it.  Until I found it at Savers!  It was just $2.99, and I’d have gotten it if it were three times that much.  It is actually a vintage Anchor Hocking Lido Milano Round Ball Pitcher, and they came in all kinds of other (less 70’s) colors.  I still like the yellow color though, and am glad to have my lemon pitcher back.  I suppose Nani was looking down on me and laughing while I was thrifting.

Stretching $100 to the Max at Savers: Lemon Pitcher

And finally, the deal of the entire Savers trip, a Swingline saddle-stitch stapler.  I know, it’s an odd thing to buy, and it’s even odder that I plan on taking it to work.  But retail value on one of these suckers is a whopping $139.99, so when I flipped it over and saw the 99 cent price tag, into my cart it went.  I never in a million years would have thought to thrift one of these, but I found it and it works.  It’s a little old, and not in like-new condition, but it sure beats spending $139 more on a new one.

Stretching $100 to the Max at Savers: Saddle Stitch Stapler

So that’s how I stretched $100 at Savers.

Actually, I was a little over.  My final total, pre-tax, for the 18 items I got was $103.82, which brought me to $111.36 after tax.  I could have nixed one of the picture frames and stayed under “budget”, but I was totally fine spending $11 and change to get all of this.  I left Savers feeling accomplished and happy with my purchases (in fact, as I write this I’m wearing the plaid shirt and the vest–both were great additions to my wardrobe), and I don’t have any buyer’s remorse.

I’m pretty excited to have a Savers in my back yard.

If you’re in the area and would like to stop by, they are officially open now, and accepting both donations and shoppers.  They are located at 26 Golf Center in Hoffman Estates, which is at the south-west corner of Golf and Roselle roads, near Party City and TJ Maxx.  I’m glad to have a donation center so close by, since I’ve taken to regularly donating as I clear my closet out (which I try to do once a season).  If you’ve never been by a Savers, I suggest checking it out.  It might not make you a thrift store convert, if you’re not a fan, but it’ll definitely show you that not all thrift stores are dark, dirty, and full of junk!

Welcome to Hoffman Estates, Savers!

I’m sure you’ll be seeing a lot of me.  Readers, will you be visiting this Savers, or have you been to one before (if you’re not in the area)?  If you haven’t check out the Savers website to see if there’s one near you, and head on over!

I received a gift certificate as compensation for my store visit and post, but the opinions above are my own and were not influenced by compensation received.  For my full disclosure policy, go here.

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