Recently, I flipped back through my copy of The Tightwad Gazette. I was pleased by the number of things that I now do and what a fabulous difference they have made in reducing our costs while increasing our quality of life. Our food is better now. My wardrobe is better now. Dieting is easier now. Since she has been right about so many things, I decided it's time to delve into what she regards as her second-best money-saving tip (behind comp-shopping for groceries and having a freezer): thrift-store shopping and garage saling.
In the past, I've never been fashionable enough to actually choose good things at a thrift store. Now that I'm better at analyzing cuts and fits, I think I could do better. Since everyone else is going thrift-shopping in Seattle this weekend, I made up my own tour of Bay Area thrift stores. Believe it or not, I did not include every thrift store known to man. I only included ones people said were fabulous. I have divided them up into tours by city or region. My goal will be to see whether it is truly possible to get items of the same quality as those in my current wardrobe for pennies on the dollar. I remain dubious as to making a wardrobe completely out of thrift store and yard sale finds. Some claim there are quality designer pieces at tremendous discounts as well as funky vintage pieces at the right thrift stores. By augmenting such finds with quality basics that last, I expect one could construct a wardrobe quite affordably. Right now, I have most everything I need, so thrift store find will have to be extra tempting. I do need sundresses, so that will be my main focus. While looking at sundresses, I should be able to make a list something like the grocery price book to help me compile a list of good prices for similar items at various stores. If anyone would like to come on any particular part of this excursion, let me know.
Even better than thrift stores, she says, are garage sales. I didn't think garage sales existed anymore between Craigslist & FreeCycle, but I was wrong. What do you buy at a garage sale you ask? She says she virtually never buys things new at the store. Rather, she keeps in mind things that are likely to give out soon, items that could fill the gap till the perfect thing is found, and tools that would allow her to repair items that break or make things that would lower their cost of living/raise their standard of living. She mostly talks about how fabulous they are for kids stuff, since they usually outgrow it before it breaks. Since I don't have kids, I had sort of skipped that part. There are still supposedly fabulous yard sales in wealthy neighborhoods where you can get designer clothes and fabulous kitchen gadgets. Moving & divorce sales are supposed to be the best. Craigslist usually lists where they will be held on the weekend by mid-week. 'Tis the season!