Swap With Friends

Have you caught it yet?  Spring cleaning?  You know it will get you as the weather starts to get a little warmer.  I think we all go through times, maybe not even in the spring, when we just have to get rid of the stuff we don’t use anymore.  We have the urge to purge clutter and get something newer and fresher in.  Maybe it’s from staring at it too long during the winter.  Maybe you have changed weight over the winter and need something new.  Maybe you’re moving.  Maybe you are just incredibly bored.  Maybe your students have made your clothing choices into a game to see how many times you wear the same type of pants in a month… oh… that’s just me?

Getting a whole new wardrobe seems out of the question, though.  I mean, with everything I just had to pay for with taxes, there is no way I could ever afford to buy a bunch of new clothing, even at Goodwill and thrift store prices.  A few pieces here or there would be cool, but a full new wardrobe?  My husband would have my head.  So what is a bored girl to do?  Clothing swap!

For those of you who are new to swaps, they are when you bring a bunch of clothing you wish to be rid of and have others do the same.  You then swap your old clothing for new-to-you pieces that others have brought with them.  It’s pretty simple in concept and pretty awesome in execution.  I went to the SwapMaine event last October (can’t wait for their spring event!), and it ROCKED.  I was hooked on swaps from there.

Then, when I was still on that misguided adventure of only spending $10 a month on clothing, my friend Amy sent me a giant box of clothing she didn’t wear anymore.  Amy lives in Texas, and I guess their thrift shops down there just aren’t as great as here, so she thought her clothing would do more good with me here in Maine.  And when I say it was a giant box, I mean giant.  Look, I fit into it!Within that box was a treasure trove of clothing, some of which I have made good use of and some of which will be going to the SwapMaine event for the spring.

New York and Company Streetwear Gray Linen Skirt:  Paid: $0 / Retail: $29.95, on sale right now for $8.98

Verdict?  Keep for now.  I think I can rock this when it gets warmer at work because of its length.  The waistline is a little on the big side, though, so I might pass it on if I reach my lower weight goal.

Gap Tan Bermuda Shorts: Paid: $0 / Retail: $39.95

Gap Black Bermuda Shorts: Paid $0 / Retail: $39.95

Verdict?  Both are keepers.  Again, these are pieces that fit and I can wear to work when it gets warmer.  They are also incredibly soft and in great shape.

Gap Tan Shorts: Paid: $0 / Retail: $39.95

Gap Brown Shorts: Paid: $0 / Retail: $39.95

Gap Teal Shorts: Paid: $0 / Retail: $39.95

Verdict?  Keep, keep, keep!  I am always in need of different shorts that fit, and these fit the bill.  The teal is also super on trend for the summer, which will add some lovely color to my wardrobe.

Gap Tan Pants: Paid: $0 / Retail: $49.95

Verdict?  Well, originally, it was keep, but now that I have worn them once, they need to go.  I could button them all the way up and then pull them off without undoing anything.  I don’t think that means they fit.  They are great pants, but they could be great pants on someone else.

H&M Gray Wide-Leg Pants: Paid: $0 / Retail: $34.95

Verdict?  These will be leaving me as well, only because the legs are way too wide for my taste.  I like pants with slimmer profiles, and these don’t fit into that category.  They fit okay, but if I don’t like the style, I am sure someone else will get better use of them.

Old Navy Black Side-Zip Trousers: Paid: $0 / Retail: $29.94

Verdict?  Super cute, and they will be staying.  They fill a niche that my other black pants don’t fill, so they add a little bit of variety to my black pants menagerie.  Well… as much as black pants possibly can…

Old Navy Red Terry Cloth Skirt: Paid: $0 / Retail: $26.94

Yuva Wide-Leg Trouser Jeans: Paid: $0 / Retail: $35.00

Verdict?  They’re going.  Both of them are waaayyy too big for me, and with my weight goals, I don’t want to keep any clothes in my wardrobe “in case” I get larger.  No thanks.  I was really hoping that they would both fit, but sadly, they didn’t.  Someone else can rock them!

WWF “Green Chic” T-shirt: Paid: $0 / Retail: $31.00

Verdict?  It’s pretty cute, but the fit isn’t totally what I want.  I’m keeping it for now, but it may end up in the swap pile last minute.  We’ll see.

Iz Black Dress with Studded Belt: Paid: $0 / Retail: $48.00

Verdict?  Keeper!  I know how many black dresses I have, but this (yet again) is a different style.  I like it, and the belt is awesome!  Worst case scenario, I keep the belt and get rid of the dress at some point.

So I got some great pieces for spring and summer just by encouraging people to donate clothing.  Sounds pretty awesome, right?  Well, you can do it too!  Get some friends together and swap!  You can start small with accessories or you can just go for it all at once.  Try it out!  It’s totally worth the effort.

If you would like tips for hosting your own swap party, check out this post on Goodwill New England’s blog (nope, I didn’t write this one!).

So, thanks Amy!  I love the clothes, and the ones I’m not keeping will be loved by someone else as soon as SwapMaine hosts their spring event.

Have you ever gone to a swap event?  What do you do when you get tired of your clothing?

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Salivating Over Salvation Army Finds

Once my goal of only spending $10 a month on clothing was over, I kind of went a little nuts at Salvation Army.  I mean, when the typical person thinks of going nuts while shopping, he or she might think about spending hundreds of dollars.  I think of spending $20.  Yeah… there is a little bit of a difference…

I ended up finding some great pieces for my wardrobe and a couple of pieces to try some Pinterest clothing projects I had tagged for some DIY posts.

Brown faux-snake skin belt:  PRICE ON TAG: $0.99 / PAID: $0.50 / RETAIL: ~$15

Liz Claiborne navy linen button-up:  PRICE ON TAG: $3.99 / PAID: $2 / RETAIL: $74.25

Banana Republic plum button-up: PRICE ON TAG: $4.99 / PAID: $0.99 / RETAIL: $59.50

Faded Glory gray and blue polo for Pinterest project: PRICE ON TAG: $1.99 / PAID: $0.99 / RETAIL: $8.87

Vintage San Moire pink pleated skirt: PRICE ON TAG: $3.49 / PAID: $0.99 / RETAIL: ~$30.00

Old Navy men’s red t-shirt for t-shirt scarf necklace for my cousin Jess:  PRICE ON TAG: $1.99 / PAID: $0.99 / RETAIL: $9.94

Jos A. Bank red with blue pinstripes silk tie for B:  PRICE ON TAG: $0.99 / PAID: $0.99 / RETAIL: $69.50

OTHER COOL ITEMS FROM THE SALVATION ARMY

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot for my classroom library: PAID: $0.50 / RETAIL: $13.85

Imitation cut glass vase (not heavy enough to be real):  PRICE ON TAG: $3.99 / PAID: $0.99 / RETAIL: ~$20.00

TOTAL:  PRICE ON TAG:  $22.92 / PAID: $8.94 / RETAIL:  $300.91

Savings?  $291.97 without taxes on anything.  You know what?  I’ll take it!  Most of these items have already been worn and loved quite a few times!

Location, Location, Location: Salvation Army

Next to Goodwill, the Salvation Army is my second favorite thrift store chain in my area, one that I wouldn’t have found if it hadn’t been for my zero dollar budget to dress my drama club kids.  You see, my school isn’t very well funded to begin with, so coming up with money to fund the drama club isn’t always of the highest priority.  Thankfully, I am creative (otherwise, why would I direct drama?).

Salvation Army is a wonderful place to be creative on the cheap.  Their pricing is quite different than Goodwill’s set-up, and there are differences in policies.  Different, however, can be good.

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The Mission

The Salvation Army is a religious, socially driven institution that provides help to those who have fallen victim to disasters, be they personal or weather-related.  They receive funding to support those in need through their seasonal kettle drives (you know you have seen – and hopefully donated to – those people ringing bells with the red kettles during the holiday season), through sponsorship, and through their retail stores.  It’s very similar to Goodwill’s mission, but seems to have more to do with the church.

One point of controversy that can come up when you research the Salvation Army online is their stance on the gay community.  I’m not 100% sure of what their specific stance is, but because of their religious affiliation, I think I can safely assume that while they do not openly support gay rights (which is dumb, and if I lose readers because of this, so be it), they don’t ask people what their sexuality is before trying to assist them.  I could be wrong though.  If you know for sure, please let me know.  As much as I love their retail stores for thrifting, I don’t want to support an organization who does not support the ones I love.  Plain and simple.

The Money

Salvation Army’s pricing structure is different from Goodwill’s, and it took me a little bit to get it.  In all honesty, I still don’t completely understand their schedule, but I will explain it as best as I can.  The basic price structure is pretty simple.  All prices end in .99, and the overall price is typically based on its assumed worth.  For example, a shirt that is in great condition from a big name brand is going to cost more than a shirt that is from a cheaper brand.  While not always true, it is more common than not.  Every price is marked on a colored tag attached to the item for sale.  Unlike Goodwill, there are no common base prices; everything is priced individually.  On the other hand, the price of each item reflects the tax bracket of the area, just as it does at Goodwill.  If you are in a richer area, you can expect to find fewer items marked at $0.99 before sales.

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To go along with the individual prices goes colored tags.  While everything may have a different price, the prices are written on colors that correspond to when the clothing, etc. came into the store.  The tags can be yellow, pink, green, blue, or white.  These tags will help you figure out what clothing is on sale.

Tricks of the Trade

Organization

This is one of the toughest adjustments to make if you are only used to Goodwill.  There is no organization of size at the Salvation Army.  You have to dig to find the size you want.  Think of it as more of an adventure (but make sure you plan to spend more time here).  The organization structure is based on what type of garment it is (shirt, sweater, jacket, jeans, skirt, trouser, etc.) and color.  When they can, the workers organize each clothing type into a rainbow-like assortment.  If you want an orange shirt, there is a section for that.  Want some purple pants?  If they have some, they will be lumped together.  It is very helpful that way.

Sales

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a discount card that SA.  They do, however, have two types of sales:  50% off a color and the $0.99 sale.  They also host family night where families can get a certain deal if they bring in a bag of clothing to donate before shopping that day.  The main two sales, though, are what drew me in.  And when they overlap?  Look out!

The 50% off sale is what it sounds like.  Each week, a certain color tag goes on sale for 50% off.  They have what color it is each week posted somewhere near the front door so you know before you get elbow-deep in browsing.  If it isn’t posted, just ask.  The employees will definitely be able to tell you.

The $0.99 sale is the best thing ever.  Who doesn’t like getting awesome clothing and accessories for $0.99 or lower?  Every week, a separate color from the 50% off sale goes on sale for $0.99.  Everything, no matter how high it is marked, goes on sale for $0.99.  You could score a jacket that was originally marked at $15.99 for $0.99.  Um, yes please!  So what if something is already marked at $0.99 before the sale?  Well, it jumps down to $0.79.  Awwweeesssoommmmeee.  I have gone $0.99 color tag shopping before, and I walked away with ten items for $10. 

Sometimes these two sales happen at the same time.  I usually find that this happens at my local store on Saturdays.  This is completely up to the individual store, though, so I would check the schedule at your local retail shop.  Take advantage of being able to get 50% off and $0.99 pieces.  It’s great and cheaper than Goodwill.

Know the Goods

I like to know what I can find at each thrift store.  In my local area, I know that if I want to buy home goods, I need to skip Salvation Army and go to Goodwill.  The Salvation Army near me doesn’t carry very many home goods, and what they do carry is pretty mundane.  If I’m looking for a better selection of purses or ties, though, I will probably go to Salvation Army.  Take the time to get to know what types of merchandise your local stores carry the most.  This will save you time and frustration in the future.

Have you tried the Salvation Army lately?  What have you found?

The Clothes that Broke My Goal

You all are bad influences!  Look what happens with a little peer encouragement pressure!  Remember how I had this grand plan on only spending $10 a month for the year on clothing?  Yeah, well, I’ve kissed that goodbye.  Because of the responses I got on Twitter and Facebook, I decided to have a little more freedom in what I find thrifting (well, I did, but now I am completely cut off for a little bit… but that’s for another post).  So these are the purchases that started out so innocently, but they were the budget plan killers.  Granted, these shopping trips were rather spaced out throughout the month, but still!  Look!  (Oh, and enjoy!)

TARGET

Merona tan faux-fur boots with tassel:  ORIGINAL PRICE: $35 / PAID: $14.38 (no longer available online)

The first piece (or pieces) were from Target.  Now, I was fully willing to let these eat up my monthly budget until April because I really did need new winter fashion boots (sorry, L.L. Bean, your boots just don’t look good with anything but snow pants).  These babies were totally worth it.  I call them my “grown-up Uggs.”  The tops are faux fur with a suede boot body.  The lining is quite thick and the shafts of the boots stay up on their own.  And how cute are those tassels?  I found them on clearance, so they were quite a bit off from what they originally were.  I snatched them up and resigned myself to no more purchases until my birthday in April.

But then.  Then there was…

GOODWILL

Ralph Lauren black wool coat with faux-fur collar:  PRICE ON TAG: $9.99 / PAID: $9.00 / RETAIL: ~$130

It’s always Goodwill, isn’t it?  I should have seen it coming.  Well, I guess I kind of did.  When I found this jacket, though, uggghhhh.  I knew it was a great steal.  I KNEW IT.  I put it back the first time I saw it and tried to stay strong.  That didn’t work.  It was Ralph freakin’ Lauren!  Hi, my name is Erin and I am a label snob.  (Hi, Erin.)  If I kept going with my budget plans, this would have thrown me into no purchases until May.  May.  And it was January.  No bueno.  So I decided to give it up.  I wanted that jacket.  Yes, it’s gluttony.  I fully admit my problem.  But the fur collar sold me.  It’s in pristine condition and looks so great on.  Sold and sold.  Sorry, budget plans.  Check you later.

So thus my budget died.  Oh well.  It just makes way for a more interesting closet and some excellent hauls!  You know you love it more now that I could spend more… you know it.

Good-Ness

When I was little, I can remember wanting the writing portion of our day to last forever.  My third grade teacher threatened the class that if someone spoke during silent writing time, we would have to write longer.  I used to wish someone would talk through the whole time so I could have that much longer to craft my stories.  They probably weren’t any good, but I loved that writing time.

That’s probably why I like blogging so much.  It’s my chance to write about something I love (fashion, home decor, Goodwill hauls, etc.) and I get the chance to be the writer I want to be.  Thanks, blog creators!  My third-grade self rejoices in your creation (and maybe some of my readers like it, too… maybe).

So why all of this romancing over the art of writing?  Well, it’s because I have been honored through my writing.  I have been posting my blog posts on Twitter to expand my readership (hey, a girl can dream), and it turns out that someone did read it.  That someone turned out to be the communications manager for Goodwill Northern New England.  Goodwill.  The place I love shopping at.  Great!  I have some official readership!  Hooray!

Wait!  It gets better!  It turns out that Michelle, the lovely communications manager, liked the post I wrote on visiting the Buy the Pound Goodwill warehouse and emailed me about writing for the Goodwill blog!  I am now going to be writing pieces here and there, probably once a month, on how to redecorate, find great clothing, anything using Goodwill items.  I am so excited!  I will be posting little sneak peeks here on this blog so you can pop over and see what I’m writing for Goodwill, if you like.

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What are you proud of lately?

Ring in the Spring!

Spring trends have totally hit the runway and YouTube, and there are definitely a few I would love to get my hands on.  I can understand everyone’s desire to start wearing the trends now; I would love some spring myself!  And with these weirdo temperatures we’re having in February (hello, 50 degrees!), who could blame a girl for trying out the latest clothing trends to freshen up her wardrobe?  What I don’t understand, though, is how the beauty gurus on YouTube keep calling $19 and up for a t-shirt affordable.  Sure, maybe I was in that camp one too, but no more, I say!  No more!  I decided to find some of the trends I am currently excited about in my local Salvation Army and give them an affordable spin.

TREND:  Little Gray Dresses
Little gray dresses are becoming great pieces that most girls want to have because of their versatility.  While little black dresses can be dressed up and down for the occasion, little gray dresses can do that same AND be unexpected.  Little black dresses are pretty mainstream, so the gray sister can be a new splash at the party.  Dress the up with some great colorful accessories and you will instantly look chic.  I found this amazing gray dress from J. Crew at Goodwill:

J. Crew gray wrap top dress:  PRICE ON TAG: $4.99 / PAID: $4.50 / RETAIL: $198 (Similar to this one, only no bow)

TREND:  Stripes

Stripes certainly don’t plan on dropping off from the trend wagon for a while.  You can go nautical with them by going for white and blue or white and red, classic with black and white, or colorful with any color combination (trust me, there are a lot out there).  I love the classic boatneck look with stripes.  I found this one at Goodwill and had to have it:

H&M boatneck gray and white striped shirt: PRICE ON TAG: $4.99 / PAID: $4.50 / RETAIL: $17.99

TREND:  Pink! (and Other Bright Colors)

I am so so so glad that color is popular.  It has felt like dull and blah have been on the docket for far too long, you know?  I have fully embraced the color trend by finding lots of pieces in pink, another separate but equally hot trend.  You can find jeans, skirts, shorts, t-shirts, bras, nail polish, etc.  I love neon, I love richer shades, I love it all!  You may be able to see that in what I picked up from Goodwill:

Loft hot pink t-shirt:  PRICE ON TAG: $4.99 / PAID: $4.50 / RETAIL: $29.50The neckline detail is pretty adorable, too.Isaac Mizrahi pink pinstripe blazer: PRICE ON TAG: $7.99 / PAID: $3.99 / RETAIL: ~$40

H&M Divided pink jeans: PRICE ON TAG: $4.99 / PAID: $4.50 / RETAIL: $19.95

TREND:  Floral Print

Flowers are almost always super popular during the spring and summer, but I love it when they are combined with some of the color trends, like brighter colors or unexpected stripes.  Yes, as long as it is proportional, you can wear florals and stripes together!  I promise!  Have some fashion guts!  This Express silk skirt is a great option for getting some color, a funky shape and the floral pattern.

Express floral box pleat silk skirt: PRICE ON TAG: $4.99 / PAID: $4.50 / RETAIL: $49.50

TREND:  Color Blocking

Color blocking has also been popular for a while now, but it took me some time to realize just what it was.  Yes, that seems a little dumb of me, but I always thought pairing colored jeans and a different colored t-shirt was just how my husband dressed.  Turns out it’s a trend!  I’m pretty sure he had no idea, though.  Color blocking can be done in a very flashy way (think combining different neon shades if you really want to make a statement) or in a very subdued but classic way.  It’s all about your comfort level.  This Ann Taylor skirt goes along with the subdued yet classic line of color blocking for quite a steal!

Ann Taylor navy and gray box pleat A-line skirt: PRICE ON TAG: $4.99 / PAID: $2.50 / RETAIL: $98So what did I spend to hit all of these spring trends?  Check it out:

TOTALS:  Prices on Tags: $37.93 (without tax) / Paid: $28.99 (without tax) / Retail: $453.94

Savings?  $424.95!  Check and mate! Go check out your local thrift shops for some of your favorite spring trends for a fraction of what you could spend in retail.

What are your favorite spring trends?

What’s Up Wife? Wednesdays: Getting to Know You

Some of you who read this blog may have followed me over from my other blogs (Here Comes the Blog {our wedding blog} and Living in Holy Blogimony {my newlywed blog}), but that may not be many of you.  And like I tell my kiddos in the classroom, you are much more likely to like an author if you get to know him/her and his/her work.  Sooo… why not start some posts so you get to know me?  Thanks to Recipe for a Beautiful Life, I found these great prompts for a “Listable Life” from Moments that Define Life.  I know I missed the first few weeks, but you’ll forgive me, right?

10 Things I Would Rather Do Besides Chores (Besides Hang Out with B, My Family, and My Friends)

1. Thrift shop –Well, yeah, you should have seen this one coming.  I love love love thrift shopping, even if I am only stuck with two stores in my area.  I love the hunt.  It’s such a thrill when I find something that looks almost brand new in a name brand label that fits well.  I also love finding pieces that are unique but wearable, pieces that will make me stand out in a good way when I walk around at school or when we go out.  Isn’t feeling special the point of putting together outfits?

2. Read – I am a total bookworm, which is great because I can get away with reading a lot with my job.  I go through books like water, and B and I are serious when we say that our future house has to have a library.  We don’t have anymore room in our apartment for more bookcases!  Reading has always been my escape from life.  I teach a class specifically on Literacy for high school freshmen, and part of our curriculum is reading silently for 30 minutes.  When I don’t have a stack of papers to correct for other classes, I get to enjoy 30 minutes of personal reading.  Score!  My favorite genres are mystery, young adult, and realistic fiction.  I got a ton of books from B for Christmas, and I am working my way through those.  Right now I’m on The Help, which will be followed by The Geeks will Inherit the Earth, Ship Breaker, and Ash

3. Watch YouTube videos – This has been a development over the past year, and I have quite a few people I love watching on YouTube.  I’m a big fan of putting on YouTube videos as I paint my nails, do the dishes, cook, etc.  Sometimes I just play them to listen, not even watch.  Some of my favorite YouTubers are Aleexandraaxo, PhillyDiva19145 (great haul videos!), MsPinkFabulous (she does some amazing thrifting), j1mmyb0bba (great for style tips and great accent!), and Panacea81 (Lauren does fantastic makeup tutorials, and she is hilarious!).

4. Workout – Sometimes it takes a lot of motivation, but I really do like working out.  Feeling good about myself, the endorphins, and just getting a good sweat going make my day.  I tend to do at least three days of elliptical/Stairmaster workouts at school each week and the rest are either “Ripped in 30,” “30 Day Shred,” or “Six Week Six Pack.”  Every once in a while I’ll let myself wimp out and do a Windsor Pilates DVD.  Oh, and I run races in the summer.5. Hike – B and I love hiking in the summer.  We will take off on weekends (or days when B is off) and go hike some of the local mountains around us.  If we move away from Maine, I hope there are still mountains and trails around us that we can enjoy. 6. Play with my cats – True story: My students think I have 19 cats that I come home and snuggle with all in a XXXXL t-shirt.  Apparently we all like to watch “16 and Pregnant” together.  How cozy!  While I don’t have 19 cats, I do love the two I have.  Unfortunately, they live with my parents and I miss them like crazy.  My cat’s name is Italics, and my sister’s cat’s name is Abercrombie.  She really wanted me to name my cat Fitch, but I thought I would say it wrong too many time for the cat’s self esteem.  Plus, their names fit.  I’m a writer and she’s a shopper.  Both of them were adopted from a local animal shelter as kittens.  I didn’t pick Italics; he picked me.  He fell asleep in my arms when I held him in the shelter, and it was love from then on.  Italics likes to harass B for my attention.  Abbers loves to be pampered and loves loves loves to be brushed.  You would never guess he was a feral kitty.  I love my cats!7. Plan vacations – Planning our engagement trip (which was the only spring break we ended up taking) to Williamsburg, Virginia, was my first taste of planning vacations, and I loved it.  Planning our honeymoon to Italy and Ireland was a bit more stressful since I didn’t know that it’s not called “roundtrip” in Europe.  Huh.  Okay.  Right now, I am lusting over our future trip to Paris, the possibility of traveling around the U.S., and visiting Bestie Al again on the west coast.  So much fun!8. Photography – With my photography business, it should be pretty clear that photography is a passion of mine.  I could wander around and take pictures all day and be one happy camper.  It is so much fun to look at the world through the lens of a camera.  9. Craft – I have been known to craft for days upon days when I get going on a project.  I craft when I’m happy, I craft when I am excited, I craft when I am inspired, and I craft when I’m sad.  When I lost one of my students, I crafted for the rest of the weekend.  It’s cathartic.  It’s inspiring.  It’s creative.  Projects keep coming in, and I keep coming up with new ideas.10. Ski – My parents taught me to ski when I was five.  I was blessed enough to grow up in an area with a small-ish ski mountain that was relatively affordable (at the time).  Not only has it taught me how to be active in the winter, but it gave me a hobby to keep me busy and happy during the colder months.  I tried teaching one of my friends last month, and it only reminded me how lucky I was to grow up being able to practice when my muscles and brain could get it a lot faster.  I cannot wait to go again in March!

I really like being able to describe myself in a list form, so look for more of these lists on Wednesdays!  Link up to share more about you!

Pound It

Excellent news on the thrifting front!  Goodwill is opening a new location here in Maine, and it’s going to be a little different than their other retail stores.  This time, they are opening a “pay per pound” store!  Check it out!No more paying for each shirt; it’s all about how much it weighs.  This is how the pricing will play out:

Clothing, Accessories, Shoes, Housewares and Toys

1/2 to 10 pounds –> $1.49 per pound

10 1/2 to 25 pounds –> $1.29 per pound

25 1/2 to 50 pounds –> $0.99 per pound

Over 50 pounds –> $0.79 per pound

Paperback Books –> $0.25 per pound

Hardcover Books, Videos and Cassettes –> $0.50 per pound

CDs and Record Albums –> $1.00 per pound

DVDs –> $2.00 per pound

Furniture, Exercise Equipment, and Appliances –> All individually priced

Pretty snazzy prices, huh?  Even B wants to go now that he saw the books were $0.25 per pound!

I have heard of other places having a “pay per pound” setup, but the closest place I knew of was in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the clothing district.  Bestie Al and I had made a plan to go when she comes to visit in July, but I guess now we don’t have travel quite as far to get our poundage on!  Wait… we don’t want to gain weight… you know what I mean…

Per pound is a great way to score some great items at a severe discount.  If you think about how much a typical shirt weighs, it will take about four shirts to make a pound.  Three or four shirts for $1.79?  Awesome sauce.  Even if it’s two shirts for that price, how can you beat it?

B and I are checking it out during the weekend it opens.  I cannot wait!  I will definitely take pictures and let you know how it goes!

Have any of you checked out a “pay per pound” thrift store?  Any tips to share?

Pricey Pricey

I’m cheap.  I always look for the least expensive meal on the menu.  One time, that was beans and rice, and you better believe that’s what I got.  I believe in generic brands for food in the grocery store.  Coupons are phenomenal!  I think the price hike Redbox went through is ridiculous.  $1.20?!  That’s way too much compared to the $1.05 it used to be!  Come on now.  And don’t even get me started on how the Hannaford brownie mix has gone from $0.99 to $1.18.  How is a public school teacher supposed to save money while still making her students reward brownies? 

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It’s amazing how shopping Goodwill and Salvation Army has changed my perspective on what constitutes an “affordable” outfit.  Before I got hooked on thrift shopping, I thought a good deal on a t-shirt was $12.  Pants for $20?  Awesome!  Dresses were a steal for anything under $40.  And shoes?  Oh man, if it’s under $40, I died and went to shoe heaven.

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Now?  Well, now my standards are changed.  It feels too expensive to pay anything over $6 for a shirt or blazer.  If that price tag says $7.99, that color sticker better be on sale.  Jackets are too expensive if they got anywhere over $14, and that’s only for winter-type coats.  Something lighter needs to be lower in price.  I don’t really look at the shoe section because, well, it doesn’t gross me out, but I have size 10 feet.  Those of us with those sized planks wear our shoes into dust because cute shoes are hard to find.  Do you hear me, shoe companies?  MAKE CUTE SHOES FOR BIG-FOOTED WOMEN!  And make reasonable heels, too.  Not all of us need to add five inches to our height.  Thanks.

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Sigh, please make these in my size and affordable!

In reality, I know this won’t always work (but the shoe request should totally work.  Really!).  There are going to be times when I legitimately need to by a specific item (like maybe, someday, maternity clothing… wait!  Don’t get any ideas!  It’s just an example!), and I won’t be able to search thrift stores to my heart’s content.  Right now, I would love love love some great black tall boots, and those aren’t exactly shoes you can just walk into Goodwill and find in your size and style.  There will be times when I will have to play the retail game like a champ.  But right now, I like that I have super high standards for really low prices, not only because I get to save money, but I get to figure out exactly what I want without compromising much.  If I don’t like the striped shirt that’s available, that’s okay.  I can wait for new clothes to be donated.  It’s teaching me patience.  If my wants can survive the hunt week to week, they must be worth it.  If it’s fleeting, I didn’t need those clothes anyway.

What is your clothing price range?  What ranges do you find “too high”?  Come on, I know you can’t all be penny-pinchers like me (or maybe you are, which is SUPER AWESOME!)

Stay Strong!

December through mid-March is One Act season around here.  Being a high school theater director (yeah, I don’t think that one was on my ten-year plan I filled out in high school, but I’ll take it! [And oh my God… ten years?!  What?!]) means doing all of the dirty work to make theater productions go up, and at our school, we compete.  We compete with other schools around the state in One Act competitions.  Last year was my first year as a director and as a One Act competitor, and let me just tell you now, oh baby it’s on this year.  None of the doe-eyed “oh I’m new to the process” business like last year.  Bring it, other same class schools!  Bring it!

This year, I need to outfit my kiddos in some fancy duds.  We’re putting on a one act play that has the girls and guys donning the clothing of princesses and princes, almost a la Disney.  Almost.  I want the dresses to be poofy and the suits to look military-esque.  However, with all of these drama dress-up dreams comes the reality of not having much dinero.  (See all of that alliteration there?)  We have a very small costume budget – scratch that, an ANYTHING budget – and compared to our competition, we need to be very creative.  We need to be inventive.  We need to be thrifty!

That, of course, means multiple trips to Goodwill.  Cue the dramatic music.  Goodwill, my love and time-suck extraordinaire.  Do you know how hard it is to go into Goodwill and not look for insanely good deals on clothing for myself?  Yes, that is the reason I started the whole $10 a month quest, but come on.  Let’s be serious.  How can you stick to a budget like that when I keep finding deals like this:

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A Ralph Lauren blazer with a fur collar.  For $10.  Ralph freakin’ Lauren!  For $10!  Seriously, shopping Gods?  Seriously?  It would normally cost at least $90.

So let me open this up to all of you.  Should I go back and see if this beauty is still there, breaking my $10 a month project?  Or should I stick to it and ignore the jacket?  Help!