Welcome to DC, LOC. You will have a wonderful time here. There are plenty of folks who have great ideas and will be able to share all sorts of shortcuts and helpful tips.
I also love to shop at thrift stores. Keep your eyes open because you can find many great "finds" for your kitchen at these places. I found a beautiful, nearly new, bread machine for $2. at one of my favorite thrift stores. You can also find bargains there on casserole dishes, etc. Happy hunting!