Friday, March 18, 2011

Frugal Friday

Tip of the week- Consignment clothing stores

"If you can, you will quickly find that the greatest rate of return you will earn is on your own personal spending. Being a smart shopper is the first step to getting rich. "~ Mark Cuban

 I know!  Who the heck is Mark Cuban?  I liked the quote, but didn't recognize the name, so I looked it up.  He's the owner of the Dallas Mavericks,  President of one of the HDTV cable networks, and a billionaire.  He's only 3 years older than me.  (sigh)
ANYWAY, I like his way of thinking, and it's something I am constantly applying here at the Johnson household.  There are so many ways of cutting costs on how we shop, and any money NOT spent is money earned, right?  (Or so sayeth Benjamin Franklin, but in a more poetic way.)
One area that I can honestly say we ROCK on not over spending is clothing.  We just dont.  buy.  new.  clothes.  It is such a bad return for your money, because once you wear it, it's used, and unless it's a Power Suit that you're wearing into a major life-changing meeting, the return on your investment is just not there. 
 We do go hog wild and buy new underwear, socks, and occasionally new shoes, but then when we do, it's such a big deal and the kids appreciate it so much that it's become a treat for them to get new socks! ( Not sure how I pulled that off, and it's one of the perks that I hadn't expected.....!)
So, we shop used clothing stores like Once Upon a Ch*ld, Kids and K*boodles, and we also cruise the rummage sales in the spring. Hey, if it's good enough for the neighbors, it's good enough for us.  I can get very well made name brand clothes for a fraction of the cost, and it fits into my budget.  Because we do fostercare and are always needing clothes of various sizes, it also allows me to dress our little ones in nice clothes and I can then send more clothes with them when they leave because I didn't have to spend as much. 
Some of the other ladies at our church and I have worked out a trading system of sorts- we bring bags of clothes that our children have outgrown and give them to families who have kids approximately that next size down.  This has been a wonderful way to pass nice winter coats and dress clothing around, so that we don't have Christmas dresses hanging in the closet that only gets worn once. 
Because I track all of our expenses, I went back to check out last year's clothing expenses.  I spent less than $1600 on clothing ALL YEAR.  For 8 people, that works out to about $188 per person for the year.  Not too shabby.  Of course, we are fortunate that Loren gets a clothing allowance for work clothes, so that definitely helps us out. (disclaimer- one of our foster children was only here for 6 months, so maybe I should divide it by 7.5 instead of 8?)
I have to confess- this past month I just about blew my yearly clothing allowance on a new Columbia jacket!  The one I had was almost 13 years old and I had lost the outer shell to it, and with South Dakota winters, a warm jacket is a necessity.  So, I waited until the end of February, and purchased a $200 coat for $59.95.  Now, if it lasts me over 10 years like the last one did, that's about $6.00/year- not a bad return for my money. :-)

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