Tag Archives: Red Racks thrift store

How I Save Money on Clothing, Makeup, and Jewelry

My first rule of shopping: never enter a store or start browsing online until you have a list in hand of all the things you need, a maximum price for each one, and a firm resistance to impulse buying. The last thing you want to do is explain to your significant other why you spent $80 on a cute set of lamps that was “on sale” but has no actual destination in your home.

  1. Buy Thrift.

I’m no enemy to a good thrift store. I’ve been buying thrift since long before I was married. In fact, it wasn’t until I started dating my husband that I began to buy new clothes when he kindly suggested that I wasn’t making the most of my natural beauty it was a nice way of telling me I had no sense of style. But I soon realized he was right-army cargo pants and crewneck tops don’t exactly shout “chic, modern woman.”

For a while, I started buying new clothes, feeling out my style, and learning to feel comfortable spending $60 on 2 or 3 items. I also began to buy shoes that weren’t sneakers, jewelry that wasn’t made from woven hemp, and getting my hair cut in a salon instead of doing it myself.

Having kids is what turned that back around. I couldn’t justify spending $400 for clothes that would only last 6 months. And this time around, armed with an improved sense of fashion, I knew I could make it work for myself, as well.

Here are the two Thrift stores in Kansas City that have made my husbands “approved” list: Savers on 95th St. and Red Racks in Lee’s Summit.

Savers may be the “Macy’s of thrift stores” (they are a tad pricier than Goodwill), but they carry quality items. Thrift stores in the heart of the wealthiest county in Kansas have perks. The Johnson county clientele tend to change their wardrobes frequently, which means that my style can more or less keep up with with current trends without costing me a small fortune. I have items from Maurices, Style&CO, BCX, Charter Club, XOXO, and Vera Wang, to name a few.

But if you are going to get the most from buying thrift, there are a few things to know. First, be aware of sale days, promotions, and “club cards” if they are available. For example, there are three ways to get the most out of Savers. First, through their 30% off the total price of your purchase through their has a savers club card (only valid on Tuesdays). Second, through their seasonally available stamped discount cards (for every $5 you spend, you get a stamp). Once all 20 spots (or every $100) have been stamped, the used cards are worth another 30% on your next total purchase.

However, the best time to go to Savers, hands down, is during their holiday promotions. During holidays, they reduce all inventory by 50%. I am usually able to go on Presidents day, Memorial day, Labor day, and Veterans day. And its totally worth it. I almost exclusively go on those 4 days.

Red Racks thrift store is my second favorite go-to. I found out in December that Red Racks has a “50 cent sunday” promotion. I have no idea how long it’s been going on or how long it will last, but my last two purchases were $2 for 4 items (pajamas for dragon boy, 2 shirts for tiger boy, and a top for me), and $3 for 6 items (3 pregnancy tops for me, a jacket for tiger boy, and 2 pairs of pants for dragon boy). That beats Savers hands down! But it only covers a certain color sticker, and I am not a fan of the way they staple the tags on-I usually rip at least one item trying to get the tag off.

2. Buy Clearance

This is also when I purchase underwear, socks, and intimates. What I am still feeling out (mostly because I don’t frequent department stores very much), is when the out of season clearance occurs for each store. In the fall, it seems to be the first week of October. Im not sure when it happens in the spring, but I imagine its either April or May. At any rate, I resist the impulse to buy anything at retail prices. If I am feeling splurgy that day, I don’t go shopping.

3. Try homemade

When I was younger, I used to sew my own pants, skirts, and dresses I was blessed to have a Grandmother who believed this was an necessary skill. If you know what you want, you can go to a craft store like Joanne’s, Hancocks, or Hobby Lobby and find a very nice pattern for less than $5. The cost of supplies depends on the material you want.

Anymore, though, this is only worth it if you are unable to find that specific item on clearance or at a thrift store, you cannot afford to buy brand new, and you absolutely have to have it. I can still make skirts fairly cheap not that I wear them, and a handful of dresses, but everything else? Not so much. I wear a lot of cotton stretch tops. It is not my favorite material to sew, and I’d rather spend the money than make it myself.

I also make my own jewelry. I’ve kept this hobby going since I was a child, and have given my creations away as gifts with no one the wiser (especially anyone in my husbands family-they really turn their noses on home-made items). I have several bead boxes going, so I don’t need to look for more beads to add to my collection. But every now and then I will look up the clearance Aisles at walmart and craft stores. I only avoid beads that look and feel plastic.

4. Go online

Online, I have been very successful purchasing new, clearance, summer items in January and February. My greatest success was a tank top for $1.08 at JCPenny. But I have to justify the shipping costs, or get free shipping, so I either find myself buying things I don’t need, or looking for clearance items in boys clothing that my sons will wear a few years from now. Clearance is very hit or miss.

5. Buy in Bulk

I purchase my makeup from E.L.F. cosmetics (eyes, lips, face). That is one of my biggest money saving tips. I buy up to whatever gets me free shipping (usually something like $35), and I buy enough to last me 2 years. I am in earnest. I buy their cheapest products, mascara, lip gloss, eyeliner, and eyeshadow (nothing else), so far spending less than $50, and it lasts me 2 years though I did have to purchase one tube of massacra last year because I had run out.

When I purchase my Asics, I also buy them online, in bulk. I try to get 4 pairs at a time, following the “change every 6 months” rule (that is roughly true for me). Once I receive my new shoes, my old shoes become the gardening/work shoes when I remember, and the previous gardening shoes finally get tossed.

So here is a run down of my tips:

  1. Buy thrift: choose a shop on the “wealthier” side of town and you will find quality, practically new, name brand clothing for a fraction of its original price.
  2. Know when your thrift store has sales or promotions, and only purchase on those days to maximize your savings.
  3. You don’t need name brand makeup to look good, and makeup does last a little longer than the so-called shelf life, so don’t feel you have to throw it away after a year unless it’s obviously gone past its expiration date.
  4. If you must buy new, wait for the items to go on clearance (like socks, shoes, and underwear), and then buy as much as you can in bulk.
  5. And, finally, make sure you need the item you are purchasing. Always have a list ahead of time before you go out shopping. Impulse buying will kill a tight budget faster than salt on a slug. You will feel better if you can use that extra money to pay off your credit card than if you blew it on an item that seemed like a necessity, but 5 years later you still haven’t been able to use.

How about you? Any tips for shopping thrift? Any ideas on purchasing products for less? Any new places to get great deals on makeup? I’d love to hear from you!

Fifty Cent Sunday!

I went to Red Racks Thrift Store for Mother’s Day, taking dragon boy with me while Tiger boy went grocery shopping with the hubby. Red Racks has a “50 cent sunday” event, in which they take one sticker color and sell everything with that color for 50 cents. They also choose two other colors, one for 50% off, and the other for 25% off. It’s a great way to get rid of excess merchandise so they can provide new stock every week.


This weeks sticker color was Orange. The white stickers were 50% off, and the blue ones were 25% off. In light of my promise to get the best deal, I only looked at the orange sticker items, with the exception of a pair of size 3 baby sneakers, which were marked with a white sticker (and, therefore, half off).

My first goal was to find some size 6 jeans for Tiger boy. I have 7 other pairs of pants, most of which were twill or khaki. I estimate I need at least three pairs of actual jeans to make it through the winter.

I also wanted to get started on the pajama collection-I have enough for tiger boy to finish out this year (if he doesn’t have a massive growth spurt), but I have virtually nothing for next year. I was able to find one pair of pajama shorts and one pair of pajama pants. Its a start!


My third goal was to purchase another pair of size 4t pants for Dragon boy-Tiger boy wore his for two years in a row, so most of my hand-me-down pants in that size are severely worn out, sporting a trendy hole in the knee. I am trying to slowly replenish that supply, and 50 cent sunday is the perfect way of doing so on a tight budget.


The only size 4t jeans that I could find turned out to be girls jeans. No biggie, I can remove those stitched in hearts easily enough, and cover any remnants with a low-key iron on decal of some kind.  I still have iron-on transfer paper and a lot of material. Maybe a nice pair of dinosaurs, or maybe a snake? I may let him dictate what he wants. I haven’t decided yet. We do have a ways to go before he will transition from 3t to 4t.

I seem to be on a role with the wrong kind of pants, because the size 6 pants I found were also girls jeans-they have a flare at the bottom that i missed out on until my husband pointed them out. However, I don’t consider them to have been a total loss-we are having a girl, and there is never a bad time to start preparing a “futures” bin for her, as well.

So now that I had found two pairs of jeans, it was time to see what was available in the newborn baby girl section. I found three pairs of pants (3-6 months), a brand new Babies R Us shirt with the tag still attached, and a pair of white, size 3 sneakers.


You can’t really see them very well, but have you noticed the glaring lack of pink and purple? Yup, that was my intention! I think pale yellow, pale lavender, and rich navy tones are classier, more elegant colors for a baby girl than the extremely overdone pinks and purples. And since I’ve been given a lot of “girly” stuff, I wanted something a lot less frilly for Baby Monkey.

So now I was up to 9 items, or $6.24. I wanted to see if I could find any maternity clothes without breaking my $10 budget. But there weren’t any orange stickers in maternity, so I decided to look elsewhere.


I found an XL top with Rouching on the sides, and a crop top I can wear over a few spagehetti strap tank tops. Although the crop top does make me look like something from a jazzercise video, it is actually quite comfortable!


So what did I save by exclusively buying 50 cent merchandise? My total for 11 items was a whopping $7.24, all items costing me only 50 cents, with the exception of the shoes (a white tag item), which cost me $2.24.


The total original sticker price was $34.96. I saved $27.72 by choosing to purchase only those items marked down to $0.50 during their 50 cent sunday promotion. And even though the place wasn’t all that crowded, it still took me two hours to go through everything (mainly because some of the maternity clothes are mixed in with regular clothes, and I don’t want to miss a good deal because I wasn’t in the right place).

Overall, I think my trip today was a success! This is definitely my new obsession. Most of the items I really want have a tan sticker. I wonder when that one will join the ranks of 50 cent sunday?

How about you? Any luck at the thrift store lately? What about department stores? Or do you have additional tips or suggestions on purchasing quality clothes fore mere pennies? I would love to hear from you!