Saturday, January 9, 2010

Shopping in Thrift and Consignment Stores

For years, I have been obsessed with saving money. I've desired to get out of debt and stay that way. I can't stand the feeling of owing money for cars, credit cards, furniture and things like that. It literally drives me C*R*A*Z*Y!! A short trip at best. ;o)

For this reason, every year I select a book or resource for the first of the year to read and study through. I also select additional books throughout the year to read and study to keep me focused and on track. I have to admit that it's easy to get off track.

So, because this is one of my passions, I wanted to share with my readers some online resources to help you learn to save money, get out of debt, give more, and live financial free. I will do this regularly, until I run out of resources. That could take a really long time!!! So, read on, and learn along with me this year - more ways to be free!

For the first 15 years of our marriage (we've been married almost 20), I shopped in Thrift and Consignment stores/sales exclusively for our clothing. We rarely bought shoes, except for the kids - as they outgrew them - and I mostly bought second hand shoes for myself. But over the years as our income has increased, I found it easy to slip into the patterns of shopping at the mall, specialty shops, or Wal-Mart and Target for our clothing and shoes. In the beginning we relied on hand-me-down, used, gifted or really saved up for furniture and household items (many of which we are still using today). I highly recommend teaching this habit to your children while they are young! As they get older (and pickier) they may become resistant to this practice. If so, give them a budget - say $30.00 - and tell them to put together two or three complete outfits with that amount. They will quickly find that their money goes a lot further in some stores than others!

I don't know at what point I began shopping differently, but I do remember one day feeling like I had "arrived" somehow, able to purchase *new* items - as if that really mattered!!! It sickens me to admit. The only thing we have truly restrained ourselves with has been upgrading our home. For some time we've really desired a slightly larger home, a little more space. With all that we do here - live, run a business, homeschool, etc... things get a little crowded! But, I ran across a scripture some time ago, totally providential, and it helped me to remember to keep first things first. I can't remember the version I read it in, but loosely translated it said, Build your business, before building your house. I think it was Proverbs 24:27. That restraint has been one of the things that has kept us afloat in this economic downturn.

Anyway, this article caught my eye today so I thought I'd share it first:
How To Shop In Thrift/Second Hand Stores is brought to you from
How to shop in thrift/second hand stores is posted below exactly as it is on their site... at this link
Sun, 12/13/2009 - 23:08
mgonamission -->

Thrifting has become trendy and it is a great way to save a lot of money. However, to make it worth your shopping dollars it helps to understand how to shop a thrift store.
1. The first rule of thrifting - Condition, condition, condition! Unless you are someone who lives to fix stuff, avoid the impulse of buying something that has obvious defects. Ask yourself, when would I have time to fix this, do I have the materials I need to fix it today, and have I ever fixed this kind of problem before. If you cannot answer yes to all of these questions leave it in the store.
2. Have an idea about what you are trying to find - you can throw away a lot of money in thrift stores if you browse the way you would at the mall. If you are looking for a pair of jeans, look for jeans. Have some tunnel vision. There may be other great things to tempt you with their low prices, but if you didn't need it before you entered the store you don't need it now.
3. Know your brands - do some research. All things are not created equal. We love name brands for a reason, we can predict their quality. Especially in thrift shopping the better the quality of the item, the better the bargain. It helps to be aware of the retail cost of the item you are looking for. Take the retail cost cut it in half, any price under that is a great bargain as long as the condition is good.
4. Be patient - thrift shopping is rewarding in part because it can be work to sort through items to find what you are looking for. When you do it is like finding buried treasure. That first trip to a thrift store can be daunting, it's not glitzy. They have not spent money on advertising displays to lure you into the store. All of that saving is passed on to you.
Thrifting can save thousands of dollars a year on clothing and household items. Especially if you have kids. With a little effort and some patience you can look good, feel good and keep most of your money in your pocket!

So, this year, save money, and give the rest through a credible Christian organization like World Vision, Compassion International, or Samaritan's Purse. Join me and post your money saving ideas by leaving a comment.

Trying to save along with you all, and give more for the cause of spreading the gospel throughout the world,

1 comment:

JunkerJorge said...

everything my father in law owns was bought at yard sales. Some of it is mindblowing considering the deals he runs across.