Living on a Budget

The $1 outfit and Goodwill Challenge

6 AM on a Friday. Awake.

It is not atypical for me to find myself awake at this hour, but my schedule has been helter-skelter, hour-by-hour and I found myself still awake at 1245 this morning. Yawn.

Coffee and blogging in my hotel room while my mother and my niece snore away, and my sister catches up on her shows it shall be.

I’d like to say that this “vacation” back to my hometown has been out of the ordinary, but I’m not sure that it truly has. Yes, my family is working through some things: break-ups, illness, drama; but it isn’t necessarily atypical. Maybe I have just been away for long enough that it seems that way.

For a few day stint of this trip, my sister and I held a yard sale. We had to get rid of numerous keepsakes, clothes, furniture, etc. But we HAD to get rid of it, so we were selling it for pennies and some stuff we just gave away.

It worked.
We made some cash.
We downsized.

But it got me thinking, WHY do we spend so much money on THINGS. Most of these items we purchased for $20-$30 a piece and barely used. I sold them for 50 cents. Not much a profit margin there.

We set up outside my Father’s home in a teeny tiny farming community in Illinois. When I say teeny tiny, I mean 500 people tiny. The kind of tiny where you feel like you’ve gone back in time 20 years. The kind where buildings are unkempt and somewhere along the way the town ceased to move forward.

Our first day there, an older couple showed up to our sale. They bought some odds and ends that probably didn’t go together and made me question why on earth someone would find value in them. Or why I found value in them in the first place. Somehow these thoughts segued into a nice conversation about Goodwill. And finance. And the cost of material items.

Did you know that every Wednesday at Goodwill is 25 cent day? I can not vouch for Goodwills across the United States, but it is at least true of the one in this area. Everything this couple was wearing cost 25 cents a piece. Thats an entire outfit for under $1. Talk about saving money and paying off those student loans…..

But seriously, what is our reasoning for purchasing new? To have the current trending style? To have the current name brand favorite? What is the point? We often wear items only a few times. If we wear them more often, they are probably a favorite outfit. And how many of those favorite outfits do we really have? I have been living out of a suitcase for about 3 weeks on 10 outfits….and that is probably more than I really need.

My point is, we spend an unnecessary amount of money on clothes and household items. It is a waste of our hard-earned money and materials. Goodwill stores carry some name brands. If they don’t, local resale shops probably do (although, I have been to a few that charge more for resale than some stores do on their sale items). Be careful.

So my sister says to me, “You know, some people only shop at Goodwill. There are people who have gone a year purchasing items (sans food) from Goodwill or another resale shop”.

What a neat idea??

I love to shop and buy new clothes. I am also a recent college grad (if a year is still recent) and I have a nice pile of student loans that must be repaid. So why not?

It has been roughly a week since this discussion. I haven’t purchased anything new from a store. I want to keep it up.

One of my goals for the next year: ONLY BUT CLOTHES/HOUSEHOLD ITEMS RESALE.

That includes scrubs for work….oh boy.

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