Petty Thrift

stellar jay on christmas tree

I am not a pet person. We grew up living in an apartment and so we were limited with the kinds of pets we could have. My sister and I had budgies. When we moved into a rental house it came with a cat because the owner couldn’t take it to her new place. My sister chose this time to get a hamster, which the cat was quite excited about.


When Aaron was little we went through a series of goldfish. Thank goodness Walmart does returns. (Yes, you can return a dead goldfish. I know it’s not nearly as romantic as a funeral service next to the toilet but hey, I am thrifty, after all.)

this is not Larry, but it looks a lot like him. they sure are cute...

this is not Larry, but it looks a lot like him. they sure are cute…

Aaron also had a hamster named Larry who should have been named Houdini. He filled his check pouches with food and then made nightly excursions all around our house leaving stashes everywhere. When he was done and realized he couldn’t get back into his cage, he’d come to my side of the bed and rustle around the newspaper or books until I’d wake up and then sit there waiting for me to pick him up and put him back. He was smart enough to know that I was the only one who would actually wake up. I was kinda sad when he died.

chickadee at feeder

Now, I just have a backyard bird feeder, which I love. All I have to do is fill it regularly and enjoy the show. I get sparrows, finches, juncos, chickadees, nuthatches, towhees and in winter I get the occasional thrush. I also get stellar jays and their annoying, too-smart cousins: crows. This year I had a red-tailed hawk sitting in my maple. That was something.

So what does all this have to do with being a thrift shopper? Well there’s the obvious: if you want pet supplies of any kind, thrift shops are the place to go. Fish tanks, hamster cages, bird cages and bird feeders all abound at thrift shops because people like me thank God when their children out-grow pets and donate all their stuff. Occasionally you’ll see dog baskets and cat jungles. So if you’re a pet lover, thrift shops are great places to get supplies.

right out of a beatrix potter book...

right out of a beatrix potter book…

I have considered buying bird feeders at thrift shops but because I have über-determined squirrels in my yard, I’ve had to invest in a squirrel-proof feeder, which was not cheap but worth the money (which in the end, is thrifty if you think about it.) I purchase my seed at a dedicated birding place and they always have sales. After Christmas this year, they had all kinds of Christmas-themed bird stuff on sale – like seed wreaths and ornaments – at 60% off. I purchased a few to put on my Christmas tree, which we put on our back deck for the birds each winter (that’s what you see in the photo at the top of this post.) I love it because it’s right outside my kitchen window so I can enjoy their antics up close.

bird's nest feeder

Another cheap and environmentally friendly idea for birds is to create a nest feeder. I used some old wire to create a pocket and I fill this with dryer lint and bits of thread or wool. Can you imagine how lovely and soft a lint-lined nest would be? The birds sure seem to love it.

Are you a pet person?

About thriftshopperforpeace

i live a thrift lifestyle
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5 Responses to Petty Thrift

  1. readysetpack says:

    I love this post! Emma and I both love birds. We must have several hundred pictures of birds just from our Australia trip 😉 I never thought of recycling our dryer lint for them to use for nesting. It’s such brilliant idea. Today is laundry day and I think this is the first time I’m actually looking forward to getting it started so I go hunting for lint.

    • it’s so true that when you start doing stuff with dryer lint, you look at your lint differently. another post i’m going to do is one in which you make jewelry from dryer lint. not even kidding. watch for it!

  2. Heather says:

    Lovely post. Thanks Kate.

  3. Heather says:

    Thanks to Kate for sharing on her FB page that is.

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