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WV, thanks for the compliments; I'm looking into a career change as a writer, and your words are most encouraging! This is an idea I'd like to turn into an article for a blog. Forums like this are a way for me to 'test the water'.
I think I inherited the 'Thrift-store gene' from my Mom, she's been 'slumming', as she calls it, for years. I've long since decided my decorating style will be called 'thrift-store chic'! When I move, I can just call the Salvation Army truck to come get the big stuff and start over! I agree with you that going to the thrift stores is invigorating and empowering; I don't always buy something, either, but it's a great feeling to make a major 'score'.
In hindsight, I forgot to mention libraries! All the books, CDs, DVDs and VHS tapes you could ever hope to check out, all for free, of course. And let's not forget the book sales; $1 for paperbacks, $2 for hardcover, all in good shape. When I'm finished with the book, I donate it back to the library. I think I inherited the love for reading from my Dad; he has dozens that he still hasn't read (as do I), so he tells me he's 'taking them with me', so he can read them all in the afterlife!