Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My (thrifty) Clothes Shopping

            A point of pride for many of us in the frugal circles is thrift store shopping. I laugh at my previous self for even considering paying retail for things like clothes, household items and the like. Don’t tell anyone, but I once walked into an “Express” many years back and bought three dress shirts because they were “on sale” for $20 each. Man, I’m sure glad that I caught the light of frugal living before any long term financial damage could be done. Nowadays, my wife and I allocate funds every month to fill our clothing envelope. We estimate at the beginning of the year how much we expect to spend on clothes, divide by 12 and every month put in the allocated amount. For the retail shopper, if you take our envelope at the end of the year and do some personal shopping for yourself, you might end up with a sports jersey, or maybe a really nice suit, that’s about it. So we turn to thrift stores. I’m talking Goodwill (in Michigan though, the one’s in Chicago are pricey) and Salvation Army stores.
            At these places our dollars stretch so much further, and in a metropolitan city, with the number of people transitioning in and out of the area, I have found that our local Salvation Army carries a ton of great apparel in excellent shape at awesome prices. The ultimate of all trifectas! One of the best tricks that we have up our sleeves, is again, my amazingly awesome wife. Having grown up in Michigan and being in 4H (whatever that is), my wife learned from an early age to be self sufficient. One of the best benefits of this is her ability to alter clothing. So I can grab those great pair of slacks that are a tad too long on the length, and she works her magic, and suddenly it’s a perfect fit. The same for dress shirts, coats and just about anything I need. Like I’ve said before, behind every frugal man, is an even more frugally efficient wife! On a recent trip (we may go 2 or 3 times a year) we stocked up getting ready for the winter season. My wife picked up some boots, and we picked up winter coats, some jeans and dress slacks (I am proud that my wife is a member of the sisterhood of travelling pant-suits). We even splurged and each grabbed a pair of sunglasses for $2.06 each. And with receipts like this, I am never ever going back to retail.

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