black t shirt
Just because you are on a budget and are aware of your spending, does not mean that you must dress yourself or your family in rags. There are several options available to most people, some of which include:
1. Resale shops-my city has many resale shops. When I was earning minimum wage, I began shopping at a resale shop in the “rich” part of town. Another I like is just on the outskirts of another affluent section of town, but is actually in a poor section. The castoffs of the wealthy became great deals for me. Often I find viking style st louis cardinals hoodie that still has original tags on it. I have bought suits for my husband, viking hoodies for men, boys and girls; prom dresses, furniture, small appliances, dishes, jewelry, DVD’s and more. Little girls’ dresses are irresistible for me, especially ones for $2 that are $40 in the department stores.
Sometimes I’ll watch an item and wait for it to be marked down, like my oak chairs for my kitchen table. Instead of paying $100 each (way overpriced, in my opinion) I waited until they were $25 each and showed up bright and early on the day they were scheduled to be reduced in price and claimed them.
Resale shops often have specialties. One may sell only appliances. My favorite has designer clothes, furniture, household goods and jewelry. Another only deals in children’s apparel and toys. Check around to see what is available. Find out when they mark items down and when they get new items in. Do they accept checks or is it strictly cash or credit cards? Know your shop and shop often!
One shopping caveat: just because it is a great deal does not mean that it is a great deal for you. Decide if you really need it, is it truly a good deal (remember, it is a used item) and if it is clothing, does it look good on you? One lady I knew was so proud of her shopping prowess that she would boast about how she paid only $2 for a sweater that looked absolutely awful on her, as did much of her clothing.
2. Hand-Me-Downs-my second favorite source of good quality items. My sister and sister-in-law give me toys, books, and clothes for my kids that her kids have outgrown. My neighbor down the street gave me a whole bunch of dress clothes that she could no longer wear. I love hand me downs because a) they’re free, and b) I don’t have to shop for them! Saves both time and money. I give my hand-me-downs to a gal at school or Purple Heart Veterans.
One thing to remember about hand-me-downs is that you do not have to keep them. If they do not fit you, your family or your house, give them to someone else. Immediately. If you do not know someone who can use them, donate them to a resale shop, or a charity (like Purple Heart, Goodwill, etc.) Do not keep them and become a receptacle for everyone’s castoffs. You will feel depressed and your house will become a monstrosity of stuff. While you are at it, see what else you can find in your house to donate. Less is more, and uncluttered closets, drawers and rooms are the best! There is a sense of freedom in space.
3. Store Sales-some stores are known for really good sales. Look for discount coupons in the mail and maximize your dollar by choosing items that are marked down already and, combined with a hefty discount, would be a great deal. This is usually at the end of a season or after a holiday. Remember, it has to look good on you, and it must be a necessary item or you do not buy it. Go with a friend, if possible, who will help you stick to your budget. Shopping in department stores is designed to be a surreal experience, so your job is to keep to your budget and your plan.
Also, check and see what appliances and big ticket items are on sale when. If you know that you will need a new refrigerator soon, for example, shop for it in November when they’re likely to be on sale.
4. Clothing repair-sewing takes time, and sometimes fabric and patterns are more expensive than ready-made. If you can use a pattern repeatedly, or catch it and the fabric on sale, then you are definitely ahead. However, you can also save a mint just by learning how to make simple repairs. I bought a black suit that had tattered lace on the cuffs for pennies on the dollar. I ripped off the old lace and replaced it for a few bucks and about an hour’s worth of effort. My suit was beautiful! (And I liked the new lace better too!) You can learn how to install zippers, attach buttons, sew easy rips, and patch jeans, etc., in just a few minutes. You will extend the life of an outfit and save money at the tailor’s shop as well. Often department stores will mark down items that have been damaged, like a button missing or zipper ruined. If you can do these repairs yourself you can save quite a bit on the item. Do not be afraid to ask for a hefty discount to take such a “ruined” item off their hands.
5. Laundry-separate out the whites, darks, lights and delicates for different loads. Use a good stain remover or pre-wash to get out stains. If they do not come out after washing, before they hit the dryer, try soaking them in a bowl of water and concentrated stain remover for a day. Because of the heavy lint generated by towels, try to wash them by themselves or possibly with jeans, but never with T-shirts. Use cold water in almost every wash, about half a cup of detergent instead of a full cup and supplement with a cup of white vinegar to get rid of smelly body odors in sweaty workout clothes.
Hang out clothes on the clothes line whenever possible. I especially like my sheets hung out so they will smell good. This also helps to extend the life of the garments as the dryer is really hard on the fabric and shortens their lifespan. I cut my gas bill (I have a gas dryer) in half doing laundry this way.
Try to reserve trips to the dry cleaner for lined items, like suits or lined skirts or items with extremely fragile fabric or beading. If you can wear it more than one time before heading to the dry cleaner that’s even better. Use liquid starch mixed with water in a spray bottle to iron shirts or pants. You can mix it to make heavy, medium or light starch. The liquid starch is cheaper than the aerosol cans, and it is easy to mix some more when you run low.
6. Garage/Yard/Estate Sales-get to yard or garage sales early, on the first day, so you have the pick of what is offered. The “regulars” sometimes map out a course for garage sales. They know which neighborhoods have baby stuff, which ones are more affluent, and so on. Some garage sales start on Friday and continue on Saturday. If you can go on Friday, you will most likely get the best deals.
At garage sales, remember that the items will get rearranged and tossed around, so do not be afraid to sort through the stuff. Clothes are difficult to arrange in a pleasing manner because most garage sale holders do not have the display racks that stores do. Look for the diamonds in the piles of coal. They will usually be worth it.
Many folks put on garage/yard sales before the holidays to earn a little extra money. There are some people who hold them every weekend. Regardless, remember to say hello to the person, ask polite questions and thank them when you leave. If you see that others are negotiating, you might try it, but do not insult the seller by nitpicking the item. I have witnessed sellers pull an item and set it aside rather than sell it to an offensive buyer. Garage sale etiquette exists and those who follow it often make sweeter deals than those who ignore it. Remember: You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar!
Estate sales that are professionally run will price items higher than most garage sales. Understand that the family is trying to get rid of the items and still have money to pay the company for organizing, pricing and holding the sale. However, do not shy away from an “estate sale” completely. My favorite cooking pot is a canning pressure cooker that I bought at a family-run estate sale.
As with any of my ideas on saving money, please try one or two of the above ideas and see if they work for you. I just love a good deal, don’t you?
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write by Joyce