Thrift Stores: The Frugal Canner’s Best Friend

Thrift Store Sign Photo: Thrift Store Sign by pixeljones via Flickr

While canning can be an efficient, money-saving task if you’ve got all the equipment, the initial cost of getting what you need can seem daunting for a first-timer. However, I’m here to tell you that there is a better, cheaper way: The thrift store!

Really amazing kitchen implements end up at the thrift store all the time, and an eagle-eyed shopper can find some amazing deals. I was able to get my entire initial canning setup from the thrift store (including jars) for less than $25. Here’s a small list of some of the things I’ve found and their comparative prices at retail outlets.

Item          Thrift Store          Retail Store
Canning Rack $0.75 $7.00
Pot for canning $3.00 $30.00
24 Pint Jars w/lids $10.00 $22.00
Jar Grabber $0.50 $5.00
Food Mill $5.00 $35.00
Apple corer/peeler $3.50 $20.00
TOTAL $22.75 $119.00

That’s more than 80% off! Not too shabby. Now bear in mind that I did not find all of these things in one go. This was from a few weeks of scouting around, but you will be surprised what you can find if you are diligent. Estate sales and garage sales are also an excellent source of canning and kitchen supplies, as well as craigslist.org. And be sure to check out freecycle.org, which allows local folks to trade and give away their unwanted items for free.

So, next time you’re passing your local thrift store, drop in and have a look at the kitchen section. That all important, rather pricey item you’ve had your eye on might just be waiting for you for less than the cost of a latte.

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