Treasure in Thrift Books

Ever since I was a kid my must haves for my future house are a grand piano and a mini library. Although I haven’t saved for the piano yet, I was able to get my mini library before 2018 ended. It was a torture before I got it though. A whole different story that involves stress and headaches with contractors, which I just want to forget. An it was also really expensive.

So having a big bookshelf with floor to ceiling height will take a lot of books to fill. And as much as I would’ve want a full library. It wouldn’t be cheap to buy books all at once just to fill it up. And what makes it even harder is my idea to buy mostly hard bound books to make it look more elegant.

So rather than buying brand new books, I went to thrift stores to save a lot of money. But I don’t only want to save but also to find good quality, almost good as new books. And books that wouldn’t give me any problems like termites.

So I went to a few Goodwill stores and found a lot of hard bound quality books for only $1.99. Such a pretty awesome deal from the usual $20 and up price of brand new books. But to my surprise, I didn’t only find good deals, I also found treasures inside these thrift books.

Treasure of MONEY

A lot of times people will use whatever is in their arms reach as bookmarks. And yes that can also include money. Or if you’re like me, I sometimes use books as a secret place to stash money. Which I’ll totally forget until I open the book again. I’m not very particular with the kind of books I read. For as long as I think I’ll like the story, or I can learn something from it. So when I saw this book in good condition, it was no question that I’ll take it home with me.

As I was scanning the pages, I saw these Iraqi dinars. Money for free? You might think that I hit the jackpot, but these aren’t really worth anything. Even if they are thousands of Iraqi dinars they might only be worth a few USD. And worse is there might not even be any way to convert it to USD. This I know because my husband has some of them from way back and he tried to convert it. But no bank or currency exchange that he tried to have it changed has accepted it.

So okay, I might not be able to buy anything with this money. But I still find it very awesome to find it in a thrift purchase. Also having an Iraqi money itself is quite exciting, just the thought of having a currency from a country you and a lot of people are not allowed to go to. Who knows how much it might eventually cost in the future. And you wouldn’t have any chance of finding this in a brand new book, right?

Treasure of MYSTERY

One thing that scare most people from buying thrift stuff is the thought that it might’ve belong to a dead person. Although that thought have stopped me from buying thrift clothes a lot of times, when it comes to books, it actually gives it more value for me. Just the thought that someone spent time to read it gives me the thought that it is worth the read.

It also says a lot of what kind of person the previous owner might be. With this book being about politics and the military and then the Iraqi dinars in it. I’m guessing that the previous owner is either in the military or a military contractor / civilian who was stationed in the Middle East. Every time I see the book, it ignites my curiosity of why the money was there. When and where is the geography when the previous owner read it? Was he fighting in the war when he had the book? Do we have the same thoughts about the book?

Treasure of Knowledge

Aside from the stuff that might be secretly hiding in those books, the real treasure is what you’ll read in those pages. Whether they be facts or work of the imagination. There is always something to learn in any kind of book, whether it be new or thrift, whether it is a best selling or a crappy book. The knowledge you get from reading is not dependent on how much money you spend for the book. But on how much time you spend reading it, and the willingness to learn something from it.


(Information of the ticket owner has been blurred for privacy )
  • Plane Ticket -You might say it’s just a normal plane ticket, so what’s so special about it? But for me seeing the condition of the book and also with the book receipt showing it was bought in the airport (I think I threw the receipt already). Tells me that the person who bought it might’ve read it for the length of that plane ride and just donated it after.  With the thought that it was still an almost brand new book and hard bound, it’s definitely a steal paying only $1.99 for it.
  • Newspaper Cutout –I saw the movie about the author of Winnie the Pooh, and I liked the story so much that after I watched it (in a plane ride) I did additional research about it online. So when I saw this book, with this cutout of Newspaper from 2001 and this Winnie the Pooh postcard, it gave me the goosebumps, reminding me of the curiosity that I felt while watching the movie. Could it be that’s how the previous owner felt too when he saw the cutout, that it made him want to buy the book?

See how interesting some thrift finds can be? It’s like going there and searching for the great books are already a journey in itself.

*With all the thrift books that I bring home, I make sure to scan the pages first, and I also clean them before I put them in the bookshelf.*

The Gift of Giving – Charitable Gifts

A new year has finally started. But as always, before a start of a new year is a memorable Christmas holiday month. During the years, gift giving during Christmas has upgraded. From DIYs, to beautiful wrappings, to themed gifts. And what a better theme to have on the day of giving other than Giving the Gift of Giving.  This year, me and my husband gave our Christmas dinner guests charitable gifts (gifts/purchases that benefits charities).


Christmas Ornament

UNICEF Holiday 2018 Glass Ornament ‘Chasing Dreams’
PRICE: $14 (shipping not included)

I think that the best gift for people you are not close with will be a souvenir that will remind them of the occasion. Some of our guests I’ve only met once or twice. So I chose this Christmas ornament ball, which is also their 2018 edition. It also comes with a very nice box which makes it more presentable and easy to wrap. So rather than buying specific gifts (except for the children), I gave one to each family. I also bought one for my Christmas tree. And as per their website one purchase “…can provide 5 packets of life saving nourishment to children suffering from acute malnutrition”.

Soccer Balls

UNICEF Sports Soccer Ball with Logo Size 5,
‘Goal Time in Blue’
$15.95 (shipping not included)

The ornament balls were perfect for the family in general. But as Christmas gifts are really for the kids, I decided to buy separate gifts for our young guests. The UNICEF marketplace made it easy for me to choose a gift for the boys. They have soccer balls in 2 sizes. As per their site, one soccer ball purchase “can provide, enough polio vaccine to vaccinate 10 children against polio”.

The blue ones are size 5 but they also have size 3 (prize:$11.95) which is in color white. As there was no comparison from their website photo and didn’t find any reviews in the internet. I decided to just search soccer ball sizes in general. From my search I found out that size 5 are for adults while size 3 are for children.

I almost bought all the balls I needed in size 3, but my husband recommended to just buy the size 5 so that the boys can play with their fathers. Since I was still very nervous that it would be too big, I bought one in size 3 for our 2 year old guest. But I should’ve just followed my husbands advise, because when the size 3 ball came, it was so small it was just like doubled the size of a stress ball.


One more issue with the balls is they arrived deflated, which was a surprise to me because I didn’t see anything on their site that indicates that it needs to be inflated. And since it wouldn’t look good to give it deflated, I bought a small pump for soccer balls (pins included) that is worth almost $9 at Target. Wrapping a round gift was also a challenge.

Warm Hearts Expandable Wire Bangle in Shiny Rose Gold
$38 (shipping not included)

For the teenager, there are a lot of jewelry at UNICEF Marketplace. The only problem is on the details listed, there’s no assurance that it would fit our teenager guest. I continued searching the web for charitable gifts and stumble upon Alex and Ani through other blog posts. One of the good things about their bracelets are they’re adjustable. Not all their products benefit charities, you would have to go to the ‘Charity by design’ choices.

Although they had a special Christmas bracelet, I decided to buy a different design that can be worn all year round. It also comes with a box which made it easier to wrap. When it arrived I was so pleased because the quality was really good, I might even buy one for myself in the future. I also found out that they aren’t only available online, they also have actual stores, I saw one that was just beside a Pandora store which I am more familiar with.

As per their site they will donate “20% of the purchase price… to SOS children’s village whose mission is to build families for children in need, helping to shape their futures and share in the development of their communities”.


Animal Pals – The Jungle Bundle (elephant, monkey, tiger)
Prize: costs $56.25 with $75 value (shipping not included)

For our very young guests, I was planning to buy the stuffed toy from UNICEF Marketplace, but since it was out of stock, I looked for stuffed toys from other charitable shopping sites. Bears for Humanity was not just a perfect alternative but they offer even better products as all their stuffed toys are organic which I bet the parents would love. For each purchase, they donate a stuffed bear to a child from your chosen foundation. You get to choose from their charity partners, and for my purchase I chose ‘Save the Children’.

These are only 3 of the many more companies that offer charitable gifts. So for your next occasions, try gifting the gift of giving. And you won’t only bring smile to your loved ones but also to those people who will be helped with your purchase.