Our bus takes us to op shop heaven and back

Thrift store, charity shop, recycled clothing store – call it what you will.
Here in New Zealand we call them op shops (which comes from opportunity shops) and.. I love them!

I’m listing this under the category Budget conscious for obvious reasons and I’m blogging about op shops mainly as LOTS of people have voted on my poll for “Ways to save money while travelling”.

I definitely class shopping in charity shops as saving money and over the years we’ve acquired many pre-loved objects for the bus at a great price.

I think we’re lucky in New Zealand in that most towns have several op shops for us to browse around as we’re passing through on a trip.

Even here in our home town of Cambridge we have six op shops!

When travelling in the Kiwi Blog Bus we have many favourite op shops we always stop in at while passing through a town we know well.

A good example is Tauranga.

There are an excellent collection of op shops in Greerton, a small suburb on the way into Tauranga, plus a Savemart nearby.  Then we continue into town on Cameron Road where we always have a look in at the Red Cross and Salvation Army shops. Further along we reach Mount Maunganui where there are more op shops to browse in plus another Savemart.

Sometimes a handy op shop has literally saved our skins.

While walking around Hastings last year my favourite old jeans finally gave up the ghost: the rip that I’d been pretending was not there suddenly, and inexplicably, developed a life of its own.
A quick manoeuvre with my handbag prevented any witnesses to the event being left in need of counselling.
Fortunately we stumbled quickly upon a small charity shop where I was able to purchase, for the grand price of $2, a pair of Caroline Sills jeans that were a perfect fit.

Another day we were out near Tauranga and made an unexpected stop at McLaren falls.
The then seven-year-old was having great fun hopping from boulder to boulder and skimming stones into the deep pools of river water.
Of course she then fell in.
Jeans, long-sleeve shirt and everything.
And it was at the beginning of a day trip out – in the car.
Had we been in the bus it would not have been a problem at all as she’d have a spare set of clothes in her locker, but as it was we were just lucky enough to have a dry towel in the car.

A quick drive into town enabled our sad and soggy daughter to be dressed in what ever she choose from the Salvation Army shop – this was the happy result:

Many of our op shop buys are non-clothing related and the list would be far too extensive to compile but I will mention here just a few of the bus-related purchases.

We use our $1 chiller to keep fresh drinking water in

Our battery-powered radio is not only handy in emergencies but saves the vehicle battery from running down

Great for getting white (Pip!) dog hairs off our clothes, chairs, bodies etc!

We have a cool collection of op shop games in the bus... Boggle is our favourite

I think this is for playing dice or card games in - For us it plays that role plus holds the fruit bowl still while travelling. Jess the dog thinks it is a felt-covered tray just for her to sit in.

More games.... dominoes (actually this may be Sam's favourite)

Two here... the life jacket and the lamp in the background

I cannot begin to imagine the money we have saved by being able to buy pre-loved items instead of full price new.
Then there is the whole recycling goods and saving the environment factor.

What’s not to love about op shops when you can discover items from your childhood (and beyond), furnish the house/bus/children for at least one-tenth of the cost of new AND save the planet at the same time.

Website directory for op shops in New Zealand.

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8 responses to “Our bus takes us to op shop heaven and back”

  1. al3xsheehan says :

    i was just in Tauranga.. wish i had read this prior. would have loved to check out the op shops there! i find the ones in Auckland rather expensive.. which is strange i think

  2. Rachael says :

    The website directory for Op Shops is a handy resource, thanks.

  3. Annie says :

    Hi there,I totally agree with your comments about Greerton’s op shop abundance. I love a trip over the Kaimais spending a day browsing there and then on along Cameron Road where there’s even more great op shops.Everything is reasonably priced and the staff in all of them are so friendly…and you get limited free parking so that’s another bonus!

  4. Annie says :

    Hi again,I thought I’d let you know about some more great Op shops I found recently in TePuke. If you’re travelling from Tauranga you take a right hand turn at the ANZ bank in TePuke town centre.There is free parking and 3 Op shops within a stones throw from each other!

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