Frugality – Part Two


There are any number of ways to exercise second-hand frugality in San Antonio; one of our very favorite and every-day resources for second-hand books and movies is Half Price Books, which has several locations in San Antonio, although I’ve always been very fond of the location on Huebner. For extreme book frugality, though, nothing beats the regular library book sales, or the huge North East Independent School District PTA book sale, which is usually held in the spring, at the Blossom Athletic Center: acres of books, at 50 cents for paperback, $1 for hardbound.

San Antonio Neighborhood garage sales are a sometime thing – but a venue like Bussey’s Flea Market in Schertz is open every weekend: basically, Bussey’s is a three acre yard sale on steroids. Given unlimited funds and the use of a pickup truck, I could probably fit out an entire household with every necessity of comfortable, if not gracious living: furniture, linens, pots and pans, household décor – the lot, in a single weekend from combing the various regular and irregular vendors at Bussey’s.

In between weekends, there is always and of course the various Goodwill stores – especially the Goodwill off of IH-10 in the Medical Center area. Thrift stores located in well-to-do locations can on occasion be gold mines for the budget-minded but discriminating shopper. One of our very favorite thrift stores is the honestly-named Thrifttown, in the shopping center at Thousand Oaks and Perrin-Beitel. Quite often Thrifttown has new merchandise on the clothing racks – I presume from stores disposing of unwanted items or from the store closing entirely. Now and again, we have found top designer labels, all mixed in. For pure up-scale second-hand, though, nothing beats Too Good to Be Threw: I used to check regularly when they had a shop in Alamo Heights. Now they have four locations for clothing and furniture – all of them scattered the length of Blanco Road.

For those who simply cannot bear second-hand, there are other options to exercise frugality. These can basically be divided into two groups: one of them is the massive outlet mall in San Marcos, which seems to have quadrupled in the last fifteen years. They even added a canal with a gondola in it, in an attempt to look like Venice, I think. (It doesn’t much: I’ve been to Venice. But on the up-side, at least it doesn’t smell like Venice.) The other non-second-hand choice for frugality is the Tuesday Morning chain, of which there now seem to be ten in San Antonio alone: very, very upscale merchandise, generally. If I want to give a very posh-appearing and high-quality wedding present and not spend a bundle on it, Tuesday Morning is the very first place that I would head towards.

And finally – for the every-day frugality: the grocery store. Our local HEB has a marked-down rack, tucked away in the back of the dairy and cold-juice corner, for out-of-season seasonal items – like the Topsy-Turvy hangers that we planted tomatoes in – and for bottled sauces, spices, herb teas and other items approaching their best-if-sold-by date. One never knows what is going to be there, but it is certainly worth checking it out. We have been able to sample a great many gourmet sauces and salsas that we otherwise would never have purchased at the regular price.