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Birthday Thriftiness

June 29, 2011

When I turned 25, my parents gave me the best gift a daughter could ask for.  Life?  Well, yes, of course.  Food, shelter, and undying support?  Okay, okay, maybe it’s not the best gift I could ask for, but it certainly was a very thoughtful one.  My parents gave me a Visa gift card for my birthday.

Record scratch.

Yeah, they gave me a gift card.  I know gift cards get a really bad rap most of the time, but this was perfect for me.  Since getting married, I have felt as if buying myself clothing was selfish.  Now, I’m not the type to go out and buy hundreds of dollars of clothes on one shopping spree (that only happened when I was growing up for school clothes because nothing would fit at the end of the summer), but even buying a $15 sweater made me think, “Couldn’t I be spending this $15 on our grocery bill or student loans instead?”  I would never buy any clothes unless it was an absolute necessity, like a short sleeve professional shirt for the first weeks of school.  But with this birthday gift, I had specific instructions to go out and spend my gift card on myself.  I needed to go out and shop.  My mom said to spend it in Boston specifically when I went on my birthday trip, but there wasn’t anything I found.

Until a few weeks ago.  It started with a pair of earrings that were on sale at the Dress Barn.  They were originally $10 and were marked down to $4.  Nice!  I kept the gift card in my purse a few more weeks and then got inspired by this video:  I have been on a YouTube video kick lately, and this video happened to tap into my thrift shopping hobby as well. I usually passed over the clothes at Goodwill because I still had the idea of them being “dirty,” but I realized that was just plain dumb.  After watching more videos, I was jazzed (yes, trumpets were blowing and all).

Inspired to see what I could find, I went to Goodwill to see what there was.  I ended up finding two lovelies:Taking the advice of the videos I had been watching, I looked for some accessories that wouldn’t be hard to find problems with, belts being one of them.  I have noticed a lot of trendy looks with belts, and though B thinks they are only to hold up pants, I wanted to try new looks with them for cheap.  This cute belt has a faux crocodile finish in a grayish beige color.  It’s about an inch wide, so it is a great skinny belt for dresses and sweaters.  The sweater above it was a random find in the sweater section.  Deep green, three-quarter sleeves, small cable knit, pristine condition, originally from the Gap.  LOVE IT.  Now that B washed it with some fabric softener, it’s one of the softest sweaters that has ever graced my torso.

The next Saturday, my mom and I decided to go shopping at the mall.  Now, if you are anything like me, you like to drool over the pretty pieces but loathe paying retail.  I try to make it a point not to pay full price, but if I find a piece that is a must, I try to go as inexpensive as possible.  I look for discounts wherever I can.  Knowing that teachers get a discount on full price clothes at Anne Taylor Loft (seriously, teacher friends… go shopping with knowledge!), I pulled my mom in the store’s direction.  We just happened to pass Express, who just happened to be having a HUGE clearance sale.  I found these two keepers, both of which add a little dimension to my wardrobe.Both pieces can be worn in the summer and under sweaters during the school year.  How cute are they?!  What this photo doesn’t show well is the detail on the black shirt.  It has soft cotton ruffles and eyelet ruffles to create subtle layers.When we finally made it to Anne Taylor Loft, I went straight to the clearance section again.  I had been eying some pieces online, but they always said that they were no longer available.  Not surprising since ATL was offering an additional 40% all sale items.  But lo and behold, almost all of the pieces I had picked out online were available at the store!  I grabbed an armload and made a bee line for the dressing room.  I emerged with a winning dress, which I cannot show you since B reads this blog and it’s a secret dress for our anniversary.  I’ll share it after July 17, I promise!  I also found two amazing necklaces in the clearance jewelry section and snatched them up.With my gift card dwindling, I had one more conquest in my sights:  jeans.  All of my jeans have been dying slow deaths, and I wanted to use the money I had left to get a good pair of jeans.  I went to Target with B because I tend to like the fit and price better than bigger name stores.  I tried on four different pairs, almost all of them different sizes.  It turns out that even when the jeans are made by the same company, the sizing is completely different.  B was perplexed when I walked out with two pairs of jeans that fit and they were two very different sizes.  Yeah, me too, B.  Me too.Shoes were next, and I discovered that this Target had a HUGE clearance department (are you seeing a theme here?).  I needed to find a pair of black flats to replace my beloved dying pair, but I looked around at everything else.  I ended up falling in love with four pairs, but decided to buy three with a lot of help from and modeling for B.Yes, those are snake skin print and they. are. fabulous!  I got a pair of black heels too because I don’t have a pair that I would consider remotely comfortable or versatile.

Okay, so you’re thinking, “HOW MUCH MONEY DID THAT CARD HAVE?!”  Well, I’m going to be completely honest.  The card had $150.  The only two objects the card didn’t pay for were the two pairs of heels.  How does that work?  Check it out:

Earrings:  Original – $10          Sale  – $4

GAP Sweater: Original – $40     Sale – $4.99

Belt:  Original – $20           Sale – $1.99

Express Striped Shirt:  Original – $30         Sale – $15.99

Express Black Ruffle Shirt:  Original- $49.90       Sale – $23.99

ATL Dress:  Original- $69.99          Sale – $29.99

ATL Chain and Crystal Necklace:  Original – $49.90          Sale – $2.93 (YEAH!  I KNOW!)

ATL Beaded Chain and Ribbon Necklace:  Original – $34.50           Sale – $8.99

Mossimo Dark Wash Jeans:  Original – $24.99

Mossimo Distressed Wash Jeans:  Original – $19.99          Sale – $5.98

Mossimo Patent Leather Flats:  Original – $14.99

TOTAL:                        ORIGINAL – $324.26 (without tax)                       WHAT I PAID – $150.00 (with tax)

SAVINGS:  $174.26

The two pairs of high heels shown were originally $24.99 each and were on sale for $6.24 each!  How awesome is all of that?!  Not only did I get to shop for myself, I got to shop for myself MORE because of my thrifty finds.

How do you save money on clothes?  How thrifty are you?


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