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.
- 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:
- 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.
- Know when your thrift store has sales or promotions, and only purchase on those days to maximize your savings.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!