Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A Lesson Before Buying

I hate shopping.

Find a parking space.

Go through rack after rack trying to find something you like.

Figure out if it is worth the arm and a leg donation I will have to make in order to take it home.

I usually don’t have enough money to make it worth my while to enter the stores. And I figure that if I avoid window shopping, then I won’t know what I am missing.

Sometimes ignorance is bliss, even if it isn’t helping my fashion style.

Being a frugal sort of gal out of necessity, I have discovered a few places I don’t mind going because it is easier on my non-existent pocketbook. It may take a few more minutes to find what I want at these places, but it is worth the price when I find it.

I am a big fan of
TJ Maxx and Marshalls (I think they are owned by the same company). I usually head straight to the clearance area; since I am a small woman, I usually can find good items left on the rack at a deep discount. I walked out with a gorgeous evening dress for a Valentine’s Day date that cost all of $3. I’ve found dress pants for $4 a piece and shirts at a variety of low prices. Bonus! And if I need a gift, they have a huge selection of house wares from which to choose and the prices are really good.

Tuesday Morning is another gift place that is wonderful. You can find all sorts of items at big discounts. I mostly go for house wares at this store, but there are a plethora of items from which to choose. Sometimes the hunt involved makes the effort of finding things more thrilling because the store can be chaotic, especially around Christmas. If you haven’t been to a Tuesday Morning in your area, you should try to find one. They are not housed in expensive store fronts, but you are paying for a discounted item, not atmosphere.

BTW, by discounted, I don’t mean damaged. I mean overstocked merchandise from many other retailers. Get the same thing at some fancy-schmancy place for a lot less. That’s just smart thinking as far as I’m concerned.

Before I tell of the last place I have discovered, I need to give you a bit of background about myself. I grew up on hand-me-downs. I was so small as a child that everyone would filter their things to me. I loved it because I had tons of things from which to pick and choose to keep. It was like Christmas all throughout the year when I would come home and find a new stack of clothes that someone thought I might like.

Hmmm…This might explain why I don’t care to shop. I got use to having everything delivered to me. I think I need to charge myself a session for that bit of discovery.

Anyway, my friend Debbie introduced me to the
Junior League Resale Boutique. (Big kudos to Debbie!) It is my new favorite “store”. Yep, just like hand-me-downs, but cooler than things I ever got!

First of all, to “join” the elite JL, a woman pays a good amount in membership dues. Plus a member must donate volunteer hours to various associations and at least $150 worth of clothing to the boutique. (I said that all a member had to do was give a sweater and that should take care of it. But I would be wrong… A member has to give $150 worth of clothing at the prices at which they will sell it. I saw their prices. Someone would have to give a lot of clothes to reach that amount.)

Secondly, there were many things there that still had the tags on it. Not even secondhand. So you get to buy a new suit with the original tags still on it for $20 bucks, rather than the $200 tag price. And because mostly wealthy individuals participate in the organization, there are some really nice items available for purchase. Not that I have to have a name brand, but they were there all the same.

Lastly, I like that the entire purpose of this organization is to put money back into the community. The JL supports numerous programs, many involving literacy improvement. However, they also sponsor other organizations such as the Ronald McDonald House, Hope Lodge, Safehome, Junior Achievement, and others. The JL has charters all over the states, so most likely, if you live near a big city, you will find one.

There’s my lesson on good stewardship/being pennywise. Take it or leave it.

Oh, and if something doesn't fit, you can always send it to me.

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