I've all but given up on the idea of having a hb here in Italy. The closest birth center is too far and very expensive.
As far as thrifty, there are not too many places around here. There is a consignment chain called mercatopoli that we frequent, but even it is pretty expensive compared to Goodwill etc. I've yet to see an Italian garage sale. The local markets usually have decent prices also. There is another chain discount store I've found called Mercato Uno, it's kinda like Kmart.
My next door neighbor who is here for the summer lives in Genoa in the winter, maybe I can ask her, if I can figure out how to say it in French.