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Wednesday, December 5, 2001

Thrift Stores Are The New Black!  

I am a stay at home Mom and John
got laid off last January and the way the
Michigan economy is right now who
knows when he will be back to work.
This is a terrible cross to bear for a
fashion Diva like I am. Even Dots and
other cheaper stores are out of my price
range right now and I was going out
of my mind with the need to shop
for I am used to getting at least one
new outfit a month. I have three
closets at my house, clothes in storage
boxes and about a 20 foot beam in the
laundry room where I also hang clothes.
John has a drawer I bought for under the
bed and about 12 hangers in one of
my closets. I am very generous!

TO make matters even more dire
for me after 16 years of dressing
a boy I finally got a little girl to dress
and no money to "Diva" her out with.
I would go jump off the Ambassador
Bridge but in truth the Detroit River
water sorta creeps me out.I needed ideas
and I needed them fast. I discovered
Thrift Stores. As a Feisty, Frugal middle
aged Mom I also learned to navigate
them and here are the tips I picked up!

1. Don't shop at chain Thrift stores unless
they are having their "Big Sale!" Places
like the Salvation Army or Value world have
sales a few times a year where they give you
50% off your total bill. These places are
cheaper then buying new by 40 t 60 % to
start with but some items can still be pretty
costly and when I look for Jeans for my son
I end up paying between 8 and 10 dollars for
a good pair. At K-Mart I can get a new
pair for $15.00 dollars if I wait for a sale so
the savings are not all that on a normal day.
BUT: when you add in the extra 50% discount
you are paying 4-5 dollars for an almost new pair
of name brand jeans. That I can live with! For
$100.00 I am getting like $600.00 or more
worth of clothes! ( insert happy dance here)

2. Avoid the Trendy Semi Chains! Okay, they are
not as big as Value World or Salvation Army or
St Vincent De Paul but there are more then a few
of them. The label themselves as a boutique shop
or Chic and advertise like crazy. I am not sure of
the ones in your location but an example of one
here would be Plato's Closit. When you take in
your clothes for resale they are very picky about
what they accept and only take high end name
brand items in mint shape. I have no problem with
their stock, it is good and you can find some nice
items. What I do have an issue with is that you bring
in a pair of Jeans you paid $70.00 for and they will
offer to give you 2 or 3 dollars then turn around and
res-ell them for $50.00 or more. To me that is a bit
shady but hey, to each their own. What remains is
the cold hard facts  that at Value World or other
mega chains you save 40-60% but at places like
Plato's Closit you only save 10-20 percent at
best! That isn't worth it for me.

3. Look at local, small corner shops that
are independantly owned. The higher priced
the local home value the better.People who
can afford to drop 500 bucks on a purse or
pair of shoes or pants seldom shop at thrift
stores and lots of the little ones are owned
by upper class housewives with an eye for
fashion and the need to share it with people.
They are not out to get rich with their store
instead they do it because they love clothes.
I have found $300.00 dollar purses for 5 bucks
and $200.00 jeans for just as little. They also
have a lot of clearance sales for the upper
class shopping world fashion styles always
changing so new stock is brought in often.
So if you don't pay attention to Fads you
can find some really good deals on some
high class fashions!

4. Don't forget Garage sales! Unless a person
is a professional Garage Sale Host ( has
3 or more per season) people tend to undervalue
their own property. You can score some clothes
with the tags on still (I know you too have bought
an item once or twice you swore you would fit
someday and never did) for a few bucks or less.
I bought a stack of Levi's once for a quarter each.
This is also the best THE BEST! place to buy
baby's and young childrens clothes for at that
age they outgrow them so fast they seldom show
the signs of wear adult clothes can. Here is
another place where you should pay attention
the the neighborhood and home value for the
bigger the home the better the deals!

5. Last on my list is a resource I am sure you
never thought of. Self storage Unit auctions!
People rent a box and quiet often abandon
them for numerous reasons. It could have been
clothes they outgrew and never got around to
sorting through, or they inherited them or
could have just been a compulsive shopper
like I am and had way to many for home and
stored them there. It doesn't matter how they
ended up there only that they are there!
For a few bucks you can buy a whole garbage
bag of clothes. The drawback is you can't
pick and choose what you want from the bag so
you may get items you don't want but you can
always donate them to charity. Then you do good,
save good, look good and feel good!

All of these are great ways to save some
cash and update your wardrobe at the same
time. You can also pick up other household
items at a deep discount and use the money
you save by buying those items at thrift
stores to fund an occasional trip to

Happy hunting!

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