Five thrifty gift ideas you can pick up second-hand

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There does seem to be something sleazy about the idea of buying someone a "thrift gift." How cheap can you be? Here's a different spin and all it takes is a bit of thought and creativity.

Like any kind of gift buying, gift shopping at thrift stores is easier and more fun for people you know well. This is particularly true for people who have passions of their own - the friend who loves sailing, dogs, cooking or art, for example - is the person to have at the back of your mind as you travel the thrift shop circuit. There are also occasions that readily lend themselves to thrifty gift shopping.

Here are a smattering of ideas:

  • If you are visiting a friend in the hospital, you don't need to drop $20 at the hospital gift shop. You can find a great vase for $1 or less and fill it with twice as many beautiful flowers for half the price you'll otherwise pay.
  • Look for small covered boxes. You can frequently find nice ones for $1 or $2. Add a piece of jewelry and give it to your favorite teenager.
  • Buy a pretty basket - watch especially for the ones designed to hold letters. Decorate it with ribbon, fill it with stationary and add a nice pen.
  • For a friend starting a new job or opening an office: art, a dictionary, thesaurus or desk encyclopedia, a covered glass candy jar (which you'll sanitize in the dishwasher and fill).
  • For the new mother: books on babies and children. These can often be picked up mint - either because the mother already had it, received three copies, or didn't have time to read.

Come back tomorrow for five more thrifty gift ideas!

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