Thursday, October 7, 2010

Goodwill Hunting: Why I Thrift

I haven't always been thrifty, but I have always loved clothes and fashion.  In fact, I would go as far as to say I am a recovering shopaholic.  There were many times when I was in college that I would blow an entire babysitting paycheck at Express so I'd have something new to wear out on Thursday night.  No lie.  I even opened an Express credit card my sophomore year so I could buy things I couldn't afford/start my "credit." 

Unfortunately, one credit card led to the next, and by the time B and I were engaged in 2005 (a mere 3 years later) I had not one store credit card but ELEVEN, plus a major credit card.  Thankfully, I never got into outrageous debt, but still, ELEVEN cards?!  After completing a three month course in financial planning/management (hello, Dave Ramsey), I triumphantly cut up ALL of the cards before we tied the knot.  It was a big moment. 

Then there were the financial challenges that come with college, marriage, homeownership, and a baby.  Even though I shopped mainly sale and at Target, a $19.99 shirt was still $19.99 - and, inevitably, if I shop for clothes at Target, I'm usually picking up random other things and tossing them into the basket too, that I never had any intention of buying until I walked past them at the Dollar Spot.  You totally know what I'm saying. 

After I had Beckham I went through a major fashion slump.  From transitioning out of maternity clothes and into "baggywear" to hide the leftover baby fat, to missing an entire season's worth of trends due to pregnancy, my closet was lacking in style and consisted of lots of plain jane tops and black pants.  {I lived and died by black pants in college, btw.  I still own 2 pairs of Express Editor pants that I'm pretty sure were bought with babysitting money sometime in the early 2000s.}

And then Abby got her groove back.

It happened last fall/winter season, when the scarves, leggings, boots, and sweaterdresses were all the rage.  And, because that was a trend my post baby body could completely agree with on sooooooo many levels (have you seen my WIWW posts?  love.me.some.leggings.), I embraced the fact that it was okay to be a fashionable mommy. 

But...and there's always a but...I just truly couldn't afford to go out and buy the latest trends at full retail.  I have a lot of difficulty justifying a $100 sweater or pair of jeans when there are heinies to diaper and family vacations to save for and home upgrades to be made.  So what's a girl to do?

In late December I made an intentional trip to Plato's Closet (trendy thrift store, if you're not familiar) with Christmas money and my sister in tow.  I took her along for 2 reasons: a) she knows what I like and could easily help me weed through the massive racks full of clothes and b) I would have moral support if I were to run into someone I knew.  Because, like it or not, there is a stigma attached to shopping for used clothes, and Heaven forbid anyone know that I wear thift.  And there's primarily one way to avoid that stigma: get over it and embrace it. So, I did. 

After having great success at Plato's Closet ($5-7 for a top, $8-12 dresses), I finally moved onto my current favorite place to shop for clothes: Goodwill.  Besides buying amazing clothes for a steal of a deal (50% off days are my fav!), I love the thrill of the hunt.  I have had great success shopping there and have encouraged my sister's to jump on the thrift train too.  We could, quite possibly, be having a thrifty family Christmas too...

In the end, everyone's happy.  I fulfill my need to shop and look fashionable, my checking account balance stays in the black, and B really can't argue when I come home with 5 new shirts of under $25.  It's a win-win situation :)

{PS.  I have been accumulating many thrift related questions that I plan to answer in an upcoming post.  If you have one to ask, let me know!}

20 comments:

mel @ the larson lingo said...

Great post! And, don't even get me started on Target...LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. I go in for a pack of diapers & suddenly I've spent $150. Yikes. This has inspired me to try out thrift shopping again. I went to Plato's Closet a few years ago, but I was totally overwhelmed. Maybe I will give it another shot, with my sisters of course!

Lea Liz said...

I completely understand girl!!! Thrifting is so much fun, I usually never find to much for myself but usually do for Brody! I need to make a trip down and let Tisha babysit while we go thrifting:)

According to Ashley said...

Happy to report that you inspired me to stop by Plato's Closet recently. I found an ADORABLE cropped khaki jacket from Old Navy that is just perfect for fall. I think it's literally still brand new. :) Can't wait to go back!

Jenny said...

I have those editor pants from express too! Still wear them. I think a lot of people go through this same thing when they realize there is so much more to life than where your clothes come from. Good post!!

Morgan said...

I just came across your blog on Wednesday and was inspired that I went thrifting that afternoon. I got three sweaters and two pair of work pants for $15...All brand name!! My husband was thrilled!

Samma said...

I'm such a thrifter! I love consignment stores and thrift stores- hahaha when I was a senior in high school I was on the cover of the paper for my thrifty finds! Hee.

Jennjilla said...

I just found your blog and am so inspired by your ability to look super cute on a budget! I, too, am a reformed Express-aholic (hello - was there anything else to wear BUT black pants in the early 2000s???) but after marriage, a 3 yr old and a baby on the way....I need to rethink my clothing and the amount of money I spend on them. My job requires me to dress somewhat professionally (no leggings - damn them), but I have a feeling after this butterbean gets here I'm gonna need a whole new wardrobe to cover up the damage. I'm a little nervous as to what I'll end up looking like. Looking forward to your thrifting tips - if you have any for finding cute little boys stuff, add that in the mix, too! All I can ever find is girls stuff...everywhere...

Lauren said...

Abby! Can we go this week? I'm so jealous of your finds. Let's chat on Sunday about it. PS look at the deck next door. We will chat about that update too!

B said...

Thank you so much for posting this! I think we could all use a few of your tips. Who doesn't like a good sale?

Cammy@ClassroomConfessions said...

You have actually inspired me to visit my local Goodwill (which is amazingly walking distance from my house) but I haven't really had much luck yet. I am not giving up though!

Gina said...

On my last trip to Goodwill, I got a Gap sweater, a Calvin Klein sweater, and a Banana Republic top. Three bucks a piece. Can't beat it.

Michelle said...

I get so overwhelmed when I go into Goodwill, Plato's Closet...shoot, even Marshall's, Ross & TJ Maxx.

I guess I need to give Goodwill & Plato's another whirl...and next time I'll go sans children & with plenty of spare time on my hands. ;)

Jamie said...

You inspire me to want to go to Goodwill! My hubby loves going there to look for t-shirts...he says they are the comfiest :)

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Whitney said...

I probably should go to at least see what I can find. I know someone in Lexington, KY that found a pair of Christian Louboutin's for $5 at Goodwill. I was so jealous!

Rachel said...

I think it's awesome you have so many (cute!) used clothes. I just wish I had the luck you have! Everytime I go I find one thing I like. I come home and try it on and it fits horribly. I need to be more persistent and keep trying!

A friend of mine from college has a blog called "Your Trash my Treasure" and her new year's resolution was to buy NO new clothes all year (except for times she got gift cards!). Her blog is really interesting! http://yourtrash-mytreasure.blogspot.com/

Sarah said...

I'm addicted to shopping at thrift stores... like you said, the thrill of the hunt! I've found some amazingly CUTE and TRENDY clothes at places like Goodwill for a steal!

Mrs. Bill said...

I just wanted to let you know that you have really inspired me to check out my local Goodwill. I LOVE to shop, but my husband and I trying to figure out ways to save for our (eventual) family but still enjoy the things we want to do. I think this is an excellent way to do so, so thank you!

Lyr said...

I always tell my self I'm going to do this! Always, but end up not doing it. I think you need to give me one-on-one lessons. So glad you got what you got!

Becca said...

Oh my heavens, I could have written this post. Scary. Seriously though, my very first credit card was also Express, in college, and then proceeded to open up 10 more and by the time I was married and had my 1st child, I too had 11, plus one major one. Are we the same person?! Anyway, I'm fascinated by your thrifting and am trying my hardest to do the same. Target and I have a love/hate relationship and I have to ban myself from there at times -- it's hard though! We are doing Dave Ramsey right now and it's genius, GENIUS! I'm so thankful that we don't use credit cards anymore (haven't for over 2 years) but I still struggle with dressing trendy yet not being able to afford the $400 pairs of boots that I'd love to buy. Thanks for the inspiration and sorry for typing a novel in your comments section :)

Mommy Moreno said...

I love it!!! This is exactly where I am (baggywear, missed a whole season, etc etc)
Youve inspired me!!! yayyyyy