A frugal shopper’s thoughts

This is going to sound crazy, but I never clothes shop when I need something specific.  It too often forces you to compromise in both taste and money. The time crunch forces you to settle.  So, I shop under the “it’s a good deal and I’ll use it one day” motto.  Don’t be fooled, this is probably also the reason why Americans find themselves in debt, but it’s all about balance and self control. Easier said then done, I know.

So, I make it my job to scan the stores whenever I have time.  And by stores, I mean my stores. TjMaxx, Marshalls, Loehmanns, and the occasional mall host. I walk in with no restraints, and no expectations.  That’s usually when the magic happens.

Stores like TjMaxx can be tricky. It has a lot of bad mixed in with the good, and I do mean mixed. My first job in highschool was working for a TjMaxx and I know just how hard it is to un-mix all that chaos.  For  women’s apparel, your major sections are basically teen, adult, career, women (plus size), and dresses.  I, however, just go straight to the clearance.

Since I don’t need anything in particular, the clearance has a broad range of given items within a few rows.  And the more remote a TjMaxx (aka nestled in a small town in the middle of kansas v. boston), the better the buys.  Tj’s clearances based on time, and if no one recognizes the sheer brilliancy of a Ellie Tahari, midnight blue, silk tank with lace and velvet detailing (bought for 7$ about 3 years ago), then by golly- it was just meant for you.

I have now worn that shirt to death, for both major occasions and small.  This tank personifies many items bought under 10$ from Ralph Lauren dresses to Diane Von Furstenberg tops and Seven jeans. My favorite pair of shorts were  3.99$  DKNY’s from Ross, (close second being a recent purchase of theory checkered shorts from Tjs for 15$), and my favorite jeans (that I wish I could still fit in) 2.99$, also from Ross. When I bought these items, I had no need for another shirt or bottom, but eventually the old got old, and the new was already there.

I should note that this is a dangerous method.  It harvests the bad logic of buying things simply because they are a good deal (and boy have I been there, and you KNOW you have too) but if you can gain the upper hand, and really look at an item critically, then you can have the best for less.  Just because it was once 500$ down to 20$, doesn’t make it pretty or the right fit for you. Another negative is that you’re buying a trend that may become outdated earlier, but I strongly disagree with trends and think that if something truly looks good, then it will always look good. (Good) trends only brings things to light, and the fact that classic vintage always comes full circle is proof enough.

These thoughts spring from a little ‘christmas’ shopping that I started today.  I knew I wanted to get a funny graphic tee from Urban outfitters for a friend, and checked them out online.  Average price was 28$ per.  There’s an Urban in town so I thought I would check it for sales before proceeding. Results?  Found the exact t-shirt I wanted for 5$- turns out their having an inventory blow out.  Also didn’t hurt that their woman’s clearance was an additional 50% off for savings that would bring you under 10$ per item, and I love that 10$ line.

Christmas is over a month away and I’m definitely in the early bird special line, but that is the way towards savings. Here’s another bloggers thoughts on the off price retailers.  See their list of facts about the industry.

http://www.wellheeledblog.com/2009/09/03/interesting-facts-offprice-retailers-tj-maxx-marshalls-ross/

Happy frequent, (but not always purchasing) shopping!

-Teresa Marie

Other thoughts from the day:  Large purses should have either one strap, or magnets to connect the two while it’s perched- or should I say falling- off your shoulder!

Coming soon:  repurposing thrift store finds and thrift stores themselves!

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