Saturday, September 12, 2009

Designer New or Designer Used. Whatever.

I was always the kid that slid way down in my seat when my mom would pull up to a thrift store. In fact, all three of us girls did. We would hide on the floor in case another kid from school saw us. We would mock and laugh. What we didn't know was that my mom was just being smart with her money. Why buy brand new when you can be ultra picky and find something that looks as good as new?

The first years of our marriage, make that the first decade, we only shopped at malls. Well, a year ago, some things changed for us and when the economy slowed down, our pocketbook wasn't as fat. It's okay. As long as we can pay our bills, I feel immensely blessed. I think we Americans are fat and happy and all the wining about how our recession is like the 1930's makes me want to throw up. I've seen the pictures of The Depression and I still don't see the comparison. Our restaurants are still full, malls are still being shopped at, Jenny Craig is still in business, and kids are still battling obesity in America. I'm mean, sheesh. Us Americans are so spoiled.

With that said, we've gone thrifty. I don't mean thrifty where we get a hunger to spend money so we browse around a thrift store buying stuff for no reason. We go with a purpose in mind. If one kid needs a pair of shoes then we'll pull up to a used place and I'll go straight back to that aisle and not divert. If there are no shoes there, I don't browse around at other stuff. I just leave. So the past couple of weeks, we've been looking for dress shirts for the boys, dress shoes for Ashley, and a pair of dress shoes for me since my only black pair broke. I haven't found any of those three things we're looking for yet but I can promise you I haven't diverted and bought a coffeepot. Ha ha. Another thing we've been thinking about is a car seat for our newest one. We don't have one since our last (new) one was donated and so we headed to Toys R Us last month to look for one. A new one. I about fell over when I saw how expensive they were. $120??? I walked out and said "no way". Before, with lots of cash I was always able to spend, I would've done it. I wasn't worried about money so I got kind of spoiled. So yesterday I headed to an exchange place for moms and bought a beautiful and new looking one for $40. I got my awesome bassinet for Caleb from Craigslist that's still in the original box and never opened. On and on. So if anything, having finances change for us, I think changed something for the better in me and made me realize how wasteful I was. I walked into a new shoe store yesterday just to see if they had dress shoes for Ashley at a decent price. These tiny ones were $20. Um no, not getting it so I walked out.

I know sometimes people get turned off by what they see people wear that's used. My husband said it's like they are on a mission to find the most used and faded looking item in the store. You have to be picky guys! For me it can't be faded or worn looking and pretty much new looking. I've walked in many of used places and walked right back out because there were five racks of overly worn looking clothes. It's like finding that needle in the haystack.

I'm also wondering why the heck some places have raised their prices so high I could pay a couple dollars more brand new at a store. Then you have to wait for their half off days every other week just to get that item back to a normal used price. Last night, my husband and I followed the Duggars advice and found a thrift shop that is not popular and we checked it out. Once again, I only looked for the things on my list. Heads up! Two rows of brand new (never used) costumes for Halloween at only $3 a piece. We normally buy our kid's costumes at Costco for $25 a piece. That adds up per kid. I showed the boys the costumes and they fell in love with them because it was exactly what they were wanting to be for Halloween. I took it to the register and didn't know it was half off day. So I bought 4 kids costumes for $7. Sheesh la weezers. We are returning our kids costumes at Costco today and getting almost a $100 back. $93 savings.
So many times when I pray, I would pray that God would bless us and help us. Then I started thinking, I feel kind of stupid praying that when I am not a good steward of what He gives us. "Oh God, help us make our water bill this month. I pray for a miracle." Yet, I just bought some designer jeans in the mall for a pretty penny. I used to drop $100 on one dress for any occasion. Now I'm realizing, I really am a fat and happy American. I have it so good. Whether I buy used or not, we really don't have much to complain about. Whether we live in an apartment, house, or a mansion. Whether we wear designer clothes new, or designer clothes from a used store. Whether we're on the best insurance plan, or using government healthcare for the poor. America is truly, truly blessed.
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