Fashion on a budget.
Aaaactually, its fashion below a budget…for when the struggle is real.
During this….we’ll call it….a transition or phase. Phase is a good word. During this phase that my family has been going through for the past few months, it has really taught us about saving, being thankful, being grateful and it has definitely taught us about pride.
I grew up (in grade school and the first half of high school) not having the top name brands because my parents were on a modest, retirement budget. They also did not see the point of purchasing what they called over priced, cheap clothing that I was going to outgrow soon. Jason grew up pretty much the same way. I had a couple of outfits in elementary school that came from a store called Rainbow Repeats in Lehigh Acres, FL. It was what we’d call a thrift store where you could consign clothes as well. I told my mom that someone asked me where I had purchased my outfit and I told them. She said, “Laura, you don’t have to tell people where you get your clothes or how much they cost, it doesn’t matter (not that she was embarrassed, but so I would not be laughed at. Kids can be very cruel and because like she said, it just doesn’t matter)”. Later on I started buying my own clothes, but I still didn’t have a lot of money to buy Abercrombie, Ralph Lauren, etc. unless they were on clearance. For whatever reason I felt a bit embarrassed to shop on the clearance rack with a weird fear that people would know, lol. So silly I know, but hey, I was like 17-19 years old and just wanted to fit in and had the biggest fashion dream of any person on the planet.
Anyway, I got to where I didn’t mind the clearance racks, especially for my children’s clothes because they DID and DO outgrow them so incredibly fast. Mom was of course right, but I still had a fear of thrift stores or Goodwill stores. I was so embarrassed to walk into Goodwill as a child. I have always been drawn to really nice things, incredibly fancy things, but that doesn’t mean that my budget has been able to match my taste. My parents always talked about my taste being over the top.
So, back to the phase. About a month ago, I received a voucher to get clothing. I was told to treat myself to some clothes; not to get the kids clothes, but just me. Once you have kids (and I have had mine for 8-10 years now), it is really hard to do this- get something for only the adults. I said, sure, I guess it can’t hurt since I never go shopping for myself anymore. For the past 12+ years, I have picked up pieces at Marshalls, Ross and some other less expensive stores or hit up some amazing clearance racks at my favorite stores here and there. I was handed a voucher to Goodwill and was told to go get some nice clothes. I looked at my husband, Jason with what I hope was a blank look and not a twisted face. I wear some pretty crazy facial expressions but I tried to do my best to look normal while speaking with this woman.
Goodwill. Seriously??? I have always hated this store. I itch when I go in there and I just don’t feel like spending time sifting through such a mess of sizes and colors and oddly shaped clothing. Oh my goodness.
My husband and I decided to go in and just browse around and see because according to this woman, she had sent us to “the nice Goodwill”. The Goodwill where “rich” people drop off what they don’t want. This made me laugh and I said c’mon, lets make the most of it.
I found a very small section that had some……Juniors clothing I guess I can say because I’m still a size that does not fall into petites, misses or woman’s sizes. I found a couple of things that weren’t too bad and then I found a skirt that still had the tags on it. What?! This is still here? On my arm. I found a couple of other pieces that I figured I would try on. Then, I went to the small section of pants that were in my size range. I found a pair of maroon skinny pants. Hmm…not bad. Express. Looked new. Really?! On the arm. I went back around to the shirts and found a couple that could do. One was Arizona brand (JC Penney)…with the tags! Omg, I’m starting to get a bit excited here. The idea that I had to have this voucher sent over and then have the employees get it out of an email and hold it at the front counter had left my mind. I was in the zone now. This shirt just so happened to go with the skinny pants. I tried them on, and kept a nice amount. Score.
I wondered over to the kids section (I am not so sure it could have even been a section) and got Alexis, my daughter a pair of shorts from Justice (her favorite store) and a purple tank with bows on it that still had the tags on. I broke the rule.
During this “shopping spree”, I was talking with my husband about how I had been such a snob toward these places when I literally had no right to be. At this point, we had gone from having everything to having nothing and though it may seem silly, it really opened our eyes to certain ideas and judgments.
Mom was right. No one has to know. If they do ask, you know what, Ill tell them because cliques and groups don’t matter. I got a great deal and by golly, I’m going to be proud of it. If you don’t like me because of how I save money, then you are more than free to find someone else with a different mindset. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with having amazing name brands and top designer tags, because if anyone knows me, they know I LOVE them, but sometimes it just isn’t the best way to spend those hard earned dollars.
Here are a couple of things that I got and the prices for each. My apologies if it’s hard to see the detail of the items, but you get the idea that they just weren’t that bad :). Also, some were taken on the spur of the moment and I was not prepared, hence the lack of makeup. Please excuse any typos found since my kids are dying to leave!
Bold words are my recent thrift finds.
Shirt: Arizona- Goodwill- NWT- 3.99
Skinny pants: Express- Goodwill- 5.99
Sandals: Roxy- Old- Ross- 7.99
Fitted T-shirt: Random brand- Old- Ross- 4.99
Skirt: Random brand- Goodwill- NWT- 3.99
Leather sandals- Clarks- Old- Ross- 27.99 (the most expensive sandals I have left and they still look new)
I go once a week now so I have a few more to post when I can catch a decent photo of the pieces, but this is to show that we don’t need to be snobs about these things. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it and no reason to be ashamed. Just because someone shops in these places does not mean they are scum, or poor or any less of a human being than you or anyone else next to them. It is all about how you carry yourself. No one knows where I get my clothes, well, didn’t, and now, I don’t care. I have told a few that have asked and they are stunned, especially when they see the skirt. It is a super cute skirt and I am proud of this find. It got me to go back again without the bribe of a voucher and each time, I have found some awesome pieces!! I’ll post photos of the kids pieces that I find as well. I found a pair of brand new DC shorts for my son, DuGrei on my last trip. There was also a -like new- Aeropostale jacket with a fur trimmed hood for 5.99, but it was a large (one or two sizes too big, bummer!).
I pray that no one turns their noses up to those that find themselves in tough situations and do what they have to do to keep their families heads up while saving money. One day these decisions will pay off and the lessons they learned will lead to rewards.
Happy shopping, no matter where you go, what rack it is hanging on or what the price tag says. Each week Goodwill has a new color that is half off. Better believe that I look for those colors. It is a big game for us now, and we’re getting pretty good at it :). Jason also finds clothes with tags so it makes it such a great competition between the two of us!
Love my family. Love my life.
Love, The Family Coleition ❤
Feel free to post photos of your amazing finds!!!