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Smart Shopping – Clothes (Part 1)

This is the second post in our Smart Shopping series.  If you missed the first one, you can check it out HERE.

There are a few different ways to save money on clothes.  It is very, very rare that I pay full price for clothing.  You can shop sales in stores and online, you can find clothes for free on freecycle, or you can shop at yard sales, thrift stores, Goodwill and Salvation Army.  I do some of all of those but this post is going to be about shopping at Goodwill and Salvation Army.

It always surprises me when I hear people talk about buying clothes at a thrift store or Goodwill as if there’s something distasteful about it.  Some people think you’ll only find old, worn out or outdated stuff there.  Some people think it’s too time consuming.  But actually that’s not true.  You can buy clothes at thrift stores, yard sales, and Goodwill that are in very good condition, sometimes even brand new, that are pretty and stylish.  And, if you go in with a strategy in place, you can find what you’re looking for without spending a ton of time doing so.

Below are some pictures of some of the clothes I’ve picked up at Goodwill and Salvation Army.  (My son took the pictures so try to ignore the fact that some of them are crooked… 🙂 )

This shirt was a great find.  It has several different colors in it so it can be paired with a variety of bottoms and camisoles.  I put a purple camisole under it for these pictures.  It can be worn with a black skirt (picture on left) for a dressier look or with a pair of shorts (right) for a more casual, but nice look.

Shirt: $2.99

Camisole: $1.99

Skirt: Free from freecycle

Shorts: $1.99

Green shirt: $1.99

Teal shirt: $2.99

Shorts: $2.99

Skirt: Free from freecycle

Green earrings: $1.25

Teal earrings: $1.00

How’s that for a pose (picture on right)?  lol!  I was trying to get my son to get a picture of the earrings I was wearing. 🙂  These shirts show one of the things I look for in clothes.  Notice the detail on the orange sweater and the gathering around the neckline of the teal shirt.  Keep that in mind for later when I describe my strategy in looking for clothes.

Teal shirt: $2.99

Skirt: homemade

Orange sweater shirt: Free

Brown skirt: $4.99 (this was new and still had the tag on it – it was originally $40.00!!)

Necklace and earring set: $5.00

Don’t think that just because you shop frugally means you can’t dress nice!  I got this at an online yard sale for $7.00

The dress I wore in this picture was a black formal gown with a cascade of gathers down the back.  It was free from Freecycle.  The shirt I wore under it was ~ $7.00 at Kohls (from the clearance rack of course! 🙂 ).

A few tips:

At first, it can seem a little over whelming when you walk into a Goodwill or Salvation Army store and you see racks upon racks of clothes.  Where do you start?  You don’t have all day, after all (or at least I don’t when I go there!).  I’ve come up with a few things that enable me to go through a store in 15-20 minutes and leave without feeling like I’ve left any really big bargains behind.

1) You don’t have to look at everything.  Know what you need before you go in and spend most of your time in those areas.  Then if you have a few minutes left, you can give the other areas a quick look before leaving.

2) When you have dozens of shirts that are the same color on a rack, you don’t want to have to look at them all one by one.  Look for things that are different….ruffly sleeves, lace along the hem, gathering along the neckline, a print that catches your eye, a fabric that looks extra nice etc. and look at those.  You’ll save yourself a lot of time this way and create a wardrobe that isn’t real plain looking.

3) Check out the rack where people put the clothes they tried on that don’t fit…after all, if someone liked it enough to take the time to try it on, it might just be a treasure that just wasn’t their size.  I found one of my favorite pairs of capris that way.

4) Always check out the jewelry section!  You can find some real treasures there for very little money.  Jewelry can really pull an outfit together and give it a finished look.

5) Save yourself a few minutes to quickly try on the clothes you pick before checking out.  It will save you from buying something only to realize later on that it doesn’t fit well.

6) If you have several solid colored shirts, look for a skirt that has multiple colors in it.  Doing so will enable you to create several different outfits like I did in the pictures below.

7) HAVE FUN!! 🙂

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5 Steps to Smart Shopping

There are a few things you need to keep in mind if you are going to succeed at smart shopping.

1)  Patience in required.  There’s really no way around it.  Just because you want something, doesn’t mean that you should buy it now…even if you can afford it.  Buying a shirt now for $30 isn’t smart when you can buy it a month from now for $5.  It’s as simple as that.

2)  It takes time.  You may need to research whatever it is you want to buy, look for coupon codes, check out several different sites to compare prices, look through racks of clothes at Goodwill, etc.  This is one of the biggest reasons people don’t do it.  The good news is that the more you do it, the faster you get.  You figure out which sites are likely to have the best prices, which stores to go to and when, what to look for, etc.  I might spent 15 minutes searching for something, but if I save $30 in the process, to me it’s well worth it.

3)  Shop out of season whenever possible.  Buying sandals in the summer time is a complete waste of money to me when I can buy them out of season for a fraction of the price.  I bought two pairs of sandals in March for $6.55 each (they were originally $40!).   It requires thinking outside the box and planning ahead.  Buy your summer clothes in the fall when the stores are trying to make room for their winter clothes, and buy your winter clothes in the spring as the summer clothes are coming out.

4)  Plan ahead.  You don’t want a ton of stuff to store, but you do want to be thinking and planning ahead.  We have 5 children and I spend *very* little money on clothes for them.  I keep bins of clothes in my basements marked by size.  I’m always looking for clothes 1-2 sizes ahead of where my children are at so that by the time they are ready for the next size, I have just about everything they need.  The same goes for projects around the house.  I set stuff aside so that when I’m ready to tackle the next project, I have everything I need to do it and don’t have to go out and pay top dollar for stuff.

5)  Just because it’s a bargain doesn’t mean you should buy it!  Yes, you heard me right. 🙂  There are a lot of bargains out there and it can be tempting to purchase everything just because it’s “such a great deal”.  Too many of those “great deals” and you have not only not saved the money but you’ll be drowning in too much stuff/clutter, creating chaos in your life and home.  Know what you’re looking for and stick with it.

So, are you ready for some fun?  The next post will be about shopping for clothes.  That’s always fun! 🙂

My Seven Dollar Wreath

Ever since we took the lean-to off of the front door and gave it a fresh coat of paint I’ve been wanting something colorful to hang on it.  Something warm and welcoming.  I checked Micheal’s when their fall stuff started going on sale but at 40% off they were still $30!  I knew I didn’t want to pay that much for a wreath so I looked around the rest of the store to see what else I could find.  In found this one clearanced for $7!!  I was thrilled.  It is, in my opinion, nicer than the other wreaths.  I love the colors, the “welcome”, and the fact that there are sparkles in the paint. 🙂  It’s SO pretty!  Doesn’t it make my front door look so much nicer?

Kids Bowl FREE!

Are you looking thinking about summer and planning activities that you can do as a family? I am, and my children love to bowl, so I was thrilled when I hard about this offer!

Bowling centers from around the country are giving away 2 free games of bowling each day as an opportunity for kids and families to enjoy bowling during the summer months. The “Kids Bowl Free” program is only available at the centers listed.

Bowling centers around the country are giving away 2 free games of bowling each day through the summer as an opportunity for children and families to enjoy bowling together!

They also offer a family pass that will allow up to 4 adults to join in the fun as well. :-D

In order to accomodate parents and older children in your family that may like to bowl, the participating bowling centers are offering a Family Pass. The Family Pass provides the same great “2 games a day” package for up to 4 adult family members for a one-time payment from $24.95.

Go here to see the rest of the details and here to see if there is a participation location near you.

Have fun bowling!