My sweet friend, Kate, that is about to launch a beautiful and genius clothing line, asked me to write a little something for her blog even though she knows I am not a writer whatsoever. So, before we dive right in, let me say that this is my best attempt at explaining why second hand makes so much sense to me.
I have a family of five. Now a family of five, majority male, seem to go through food quickly, meaning our grocery bill tends to be high. Our Utilities bill is high. Our extracurricular fees are high. Our clothing bill continues to grow as our kids grow faster and faster. And I can discount shop here and there, Walmart groceries, Amazon Pantry, Costco bulk, tweak temperatures in our house to save on electricity, sibling discounts for sports lessons… But there is nothing like saving money by how I changed my clothing shopping routine.
Just to dive right in, a little history about me that I think has led me to how I am now will maybe help y'all understand why this direction is what's best for my family. Growing up in Germany we didn't have too much money. My grandmother with knit sweaters and hats for me. My mom knew how to make my clothes. When my mom remarried an American, we moved to Texas, but we brought along our shopping habits… minus the Lederhosen. Since I did learn how to sew and knit from the women in my family, I did continue and still do make my clothes. We would shop at discount clothing stores like Ross and TJ Maxx and Burlington, etc. Those places did not have one rack with every size in the same style, so I learned how to search through racks and racks of clothing early on. Now fast forward to my current life. When my husband and I first got married, we did not have a ton of money, so I was not just frivolous when it came to shopping. However, I could've been better. When we had our first child, I don't know what God was thinking giving me a girl first but every cute little outfit from a darling boutique or a fancy department store that I saw, I bought it for her. I wanted her to have cute outfits because of course she was my first girl. Same went for the boys, but I did use more hand me downs for them.
So now when they are all a little older, a little more set in their ways, very opinionated about their styles… this is where the problem began. I would bring home clothes I thought were great for the kids, usually on sale somewhere. And when I would show them, they would say they liked them, so I’d take the tags off wash them. Once clean and ready to wear, it would stay hanging in their closet until it wouldn’t fit anymore. It was upsetting knowing I wasted money I spent for them because they had their few staple pieces, their go-to clothing items, and stick to only those, every week. I hate wasting money especially on clothes. So, after this happened a few times, I put my foot down and said I will no longer be purchasing any items that are new. It started out with me going to places that resell kids clothes like Once Upon a Child and Plato‘s Closet. But even a good pair of skinny jeans for my daughter there were $10-$20. So, the frugal side of me says why don’t you just check Goodwill because when I donate clothes, even ones that are still in very good shape, I would take them to Goodwill.Now this is where I truly thrive. I can scan through those racks so fast when I know my kids’ sizes, certain styles they are only wearing at that time, and stay in the color range they prefer, plus I find stuff for myself and my husband. I find tons of jeans for my daughter for $3 to $6 apiece. Tops from $1 to $5. Now every time I go to thrift shops, I’ll bring three or four tops home for my daughter for under $10 where it could be close to $50 at a regular store. Same goes for my boys, boys are a little more rough on clothes so you do have to inspect those a little better, but if they cut through a pocket in their shorts with scissors, I’m not mad. If they get grass stains or holes into their jeans, it doesn’t matter because the boy’s jeans are so cheap. And as far as myself, I am happy in a pair of leggings and a top. Skinny jeans and booties. Comfy sweats and a thermal. I have my few staple items that I wear continuously, however if I have appointments or need to go out, I do now have jeans that I have found at thrift shops, shoes that I had bought secondhand online like poshmark or ebay, and my closet is completely redone in all thrift store purchases. I have purchased a lot of pairs of shoes, most brand new, all at pre-owned prices because people get rid of everything. The variety I have for the budget that I stay in… it’s pretty amazing. It makes me feel good knowing that I am recycling clothes, reusing them, and saving money at the same time. There is so much more life in so many of these items and all this gives “Digging for treasure” a whole new meaning for me.