Those of you who know me, know I am not snobby when it comes to where our clothing comes from, be it the trendy store at the mall, the clearance rack at KMart, a second hand store, a yard sale, or hand me downs. I am choosy about what I grab, but cheap is my price.
With 3 growing kids, we could certainly go out and spend $15-30 on a single outfit for each of them, and easily blow $100 over the course of 20 minutes. Or, I could be practical, and dig around to get the best deals. I balk at spending money on items that add up- especially when I know that whether the jeans cost $100 or $1.50, Raegan's going to come home with them drawn on, and a ripped knee. I could spend $10 on a sweatshirt, or find it for $.29 at Goodwill, and Gilly will still come home with dirt, paint, markers, and lunch staining the front. I could spend $25 or $2.50 on a pair of tennis shoes for Chris, and they'll still be worn out in a month.
Don't get me wrong- I would LOVE to send them to school in trendy clothing, but my wallet cries at the thought of buying a single pair of jeans for $30 at Limited Too, or $15 for a t-shirt at Abercrombie. I just can't justify it, so I don't.
When we moved to the town we're in now, I found a treasure trove- the Goodwill As-Is center. It's a local thing- these are not found all over. This As-Is center is the last stop for items that are donated to Goodwill, items ranging from $200 jeans, to dollar store trinkets. The As-Is center gets the un-sold, and un-sellable items from 12-15 area Goodwill stores.
There is a big difference between the As-Is center, and your typical Goodwill store. First off, there are no clothing racks. Instead, there are tables with a raised edge set up through out the floor space. They are mostly organized by what it is: kids clothing, mens shirts, mens pants, womens shirts, womens pants, womens jeans, bedding, tshirts, etc. But, of course, while walking around, things get misplaced. It's not uncommon to pull a kids shirt out of a women's jean pile.
I love going there. I rarely stop at yard sales anymore, because I get my yard sale fix any time I want, Tuesday through Saturday. And the prices are better than at a yard sale.
The scale is different depending on what type of item it is. For instance, in clothing, anything $1.99 or less is marked to $.29. Anything $2.00-3.99 is $.79. Anything 4.00-5.99 is $.99, and so on. But, with housewares, anything $.99 or less is $.29. Anything $1.00-2.99 is $.59, anything $3.00-4.99 is $.79. So, there is some change depending on the type of item.
For the most part, all kids clothing is going to ring up $.29. All adult shirts, $.79. Adult jeans, and some pants, some dresses, are mostly going to ring up $.99.
My kind of prices, and I have found some nice gems in there. For instance, I found a pair of nice, almost new, 7 for all Mankind designer jeans. These are the jeans you see celebrities wearing, and yes, new, they can run up or even slightly over $200 a pair. I paid $.99, and I gladly paid it, knowing the gem I had, even though they won't fit Raegan just yet.
Today was check deposit day- I had to get our paycheck deposited, and the bank has the very fortunate location that is right next to Goodwill. In fact, if you go out the read drive, it pushes you into the Goodwill driveway. I can rarely resist the urge to check the store out for something new, so today, I didn't.
I've been picking up cute things here and there as I see them for the kids all summer, but today was really a hard "Must buy school clothes" trip. I have only 1 problem with this- Chris, being 10, is hard to find clothing for. In fact, it's almost impossible. For every 20 items I find for the girls, I might find a single, more often than not ratty, t-shirt for Chris. He is my challenge. He's just at that size where boys wear clothing out. Even on the main side of Goodwill, I rarely find clothing for him.
With my goal in mind, I was disappointed to see that both kids tables were mostly bare, and most of what was left was for babies. I did find a few things, but not much. By the time I was over at the adults shirt table, I saw them come up, sweep the clothing from the first table, and take it in back- that means it's being bundled to be sold by the pound to China. Honestly, if I could just digress for a moment, I think the clothing would go to MUCH better use being sent to homeless shelters, and group homes. THEY could use it, and can't afford it.
Now, to get back on point. Soon after the table was emptied, they brought a huge, overflowing bin up front, and unloaded it with new kids clothing- then a second one. The table was TOWERING with clothes! I went for another pass through, and found 2 pairs of pants for Chris, an adorable brand new Limited Too jean skirt for Gilly, and more!
All in all, I spent $15.35 today, which includes 6% tax. I got two huge bags filled with clothing, including some shirts for me.
Here's some pictures of what all I found today.
The bunny & vase are for a White Elephant auction at the family reunion. The shoes are mine, and fit just right, and are SO cute! The hat.. well, I'm not sure yet, but it was too adorable to say no to!
A raincoat for Gilly, as well as the jean jacket, jean skirt, and black short sleeved sweatshirt. The maroon and tan shirts are both for Raegan. I thought the maroon one was a dress for Gilly's size. Oops!
Paired with a cute pink shirt, I think the jean jacket & skirt will look great together! The skirt is Limited Too.
Two pairs of pants, two pairs of shorts, a long sleeved thermal shirt, and a short sleeved shirt all for Chris. This is easily the BEST shopping trip over the past YEAR for Chris. I -never- find this much stuff for him all at once!
Some shirts for Raegan- she wears a lot of sweatshirts, and loves layering tank tops. In this batch is 1 sweatshirt, 2 tank tops, 2 long sleeved tops (the black one requires a shirt under it), and a short sleeved cute black top.
The sweatshirt is American Eagle, and her favorite color!
Two more sweatshirts, and a long sleeved purple shirt for her to wear. The brown sweat shirt has the word LOVE added to the hood with t-shirt material.
And now, my shirts! I love clothing, love, love, love it. Having plenty of choices is fun for me, but only if they're frugal choices. I got myself 1 sweater, 4 long sleeved shirts, and the Reese's T-shirt. I couldn't resist it! The long sleeves will be handy as fall arrives. Most of my shirts are short sleeved.
All in all, I got the following:
1 Rain Coat
1 Jean Jacket
1 Jean Skirt
3 Sweat Shirts
4 Long Sleeve Shirts
1 Pair of Shoes
1 Halloween Treat Bowl
1 Glazed Porcelain Bunny
1 Glazed Porcelain Vase
All for the grand total of $15.35. I thought for CERTAIN I had spent at least $25 today when I was getting ready to check out, but I came in nice and cheap! I did put a few things back right before checking out, but they were things we didn't really need.