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We Tried…Goodwill Hunting


Yesterday was our last full day in Chicago. Gymnast got to miss a day of school to hang out with us, but went home on a commuter train last night

Princess wanted to use her money to purchase a Chicago sweatshirt. We each have a ‘novelty of choice’ when it comes to memorializing trips and adventures:

  • Mine is magnets everywhere we go, our refrigerator is covered
  • History Buff purchases glasses (like beer mugs,) not the kind you wear
  • Gymnast has a collection of snow globes
  • Princess likes sweatshirts
  • Sea Cadet does stickers or iron on patches
Chicago magnets

My magnets from this trip – The Windy City to represent how cold it is, the Willis Tower for the Sky Deck we visited and the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel – wonderful memories

But all the stores we visited…well, the sweatshirts were really expensive to the tune of $40-80 dollars. Yikes! After we visited the Willis Tower Skydeck, Princess suggested we visit a local Goodwill. (That’s my frugal daughter for you!)

But unfortunately, no Chicago anything there. I was shocked. I was sure we would find something there. So we are still out of luck with the sweatshirt she wants. If we don’t get snowed in tonight (4′ of snow expected, I imagine we will continue the hunt.)

Speaking of snowed in…I’m so grateful for a healthy emergency fund. Because being snowed in for more than a day will tip us over my budget for the trip. But we are all crossing our fingers we get out of here tonight.


  • Reply Tebble Stearns |

    Check the Walgreen or CVS’s for cheaper Sweatshirts! That’s where we find all of our best deals for souvenirs.

    Tebble (Midwest Girl 😉 )

    • Reply jj |

      She outlined budget stuff a while back, as well as mentioning what she has spent yesterday I believe. Each kiddo got $30 to spend as they please however.

      • Reply Meghan1227 |

        We have been hearing all the ways that she is making this a frugal trip. She has said what she spent and what she gave the kids. My question is, going into this trip what was her cap on how much she was hoping to spend? $500 $1000? $5000?

        At the bottom of this post she says that if they get snowed in, she could end up going over her budget. What is that number?

      • Reply Klm |

        Hopes budget was a bit sketchy (guessing at dinner out, no total for Panera), and I’d be curious as to what is actually cost.

        • Reply Laura |

          Exactly. How much were other activities? Did she have to pay a pet sitter? What did she plan to spend, save to spend, and what did she actually spend?

      • Reply Meghan1227 |

        There has not been a specific number. My question is: What is the specific dollar amount budgeted for this trip?

        Hope states that if they get snowed in and have to stay an extra night they will go over her trip budget.

          • Jessica |

            The question was the budget..so “no extra money spent!” doesn’t say what the budget was or how much was spent. You had free plane vouchers but how much was the hotel? The food? The trains? The tourist attractions you visited?

  • Reply Ellen |

    I wouldn’t worry about the snow. In the last 24 hours the weather has gone from snow from Tuesday morning through Wednesday night; up to 11 inches expected, to snow tonight into tomorrow with less than an inch expected. That’s nothing. We laugh at that here. Chicago weather can suck at times but this winter has been very mild; especially compared to last year’s -50 degrees. That sucked! I kept asking myself why the heck I decided to moved back here?
    Either way, have a safe flight.

    As Tebble said, try Walgreens, CVS, or even Walmart for her sweatshirt.

  • Reply Hope |

    Thanks for the feedback. We ended up stopping by a Walgreens on our way to the airport and she found a sweatshirt she loved for right at $20.

  • Reply Lauren |

    Here’s the thing, though, Hope – this is classic thinking-like-a-poor-person-thinks. People with money / savings stay that way because they don’t waste their money on schlock like refrigerator magnets as souvenirs of a trip. It’s pure money down the drain. You don’t HAVE to have a schlock souvenir of a nice place; you have photos and memories. BTW, did you go to the Field Museum? It’s been free to the public all of February.

    • Reply Hope |

      I can understand your perspective. But I love my refrigerator full of magnets. Everytime I open it, I am reminded of some other adventure we have been on. So what may be a waste to you is a memory reminder to me.

      And no, we didn’t go to the Field Museum, we have been there SO MANY times! And I actually used to work there in their special events department so we are trying so other places now.

    • Reply Jen |

      The museum free days only apply to Illinois residents. You have to present a valid photo ID. If it’s not an Illinois-issued ID, you have to show proof of residency like a utility bill, lease, paycheck stub, etc. She would not have been eligible.

So, what do you think ?