Sunday, August 16, 2015

How I spent a ridiculously low amount on new clothes

Guess how much money I spent on 13 new items of clothing the other weekend?

I'll give you a hint: It's lower than you think.

And that's because I'm frugal (and I wouldn't have it any other way).

I generally don't like to spend money or buy new things in the first place (stamps and stationery are fine, though!), so it won't come as a surprise that when I do shop, I buy my clothes secondhand. In Wisconsin, Goodwill and St. Vinnies are my go-to's. While living in Madrid, I shopped at Humana, and in Korea I had good luck at the outdoor flea markets. In addition to the low cost, I love that I don't have to worry about shrinking, and it feels good to find real steals and treasures.

I know I'm this way because of how I was raised and our financial situation growing up. As a child, I'd get my older sister's hand-me-downs, and remember trips to the big Goodwill just off the Beltline in Madison with dad and all of us kids.

There were two times a year that we got new clothes, courtesy of Aunt Kayse. My aunt would take each of us kids clothes shopping on our birthday and again for back-to-school every fall. She says that she'll still never forget the time she and I went to Mayfair in Milwaukee (probably for my birthday shopping) and I got so many new clothes compared to what my siblings had gotten on the same budget, since I only looked at clearance racks.

Because I'm so accustomed to shopping secondhand, full-price clothing at stores seems ridiculously expensive to me (even when they're normal prices). Take last weekend in Minnetonka, MN, for example. While visiting my aunt, uncle, and cousin with my sister, us ladies spent Saturday afternoon thrift shopping at Turn Style and Goodwill.

Once you see how much I spent (or rather didn't spend), that'll give you a small taste of my perception of clothes shopping.

The following ten items of clothing were on sale for $2 each. I've listed their price before the sale at the secondhand store, as well as the brand (in case it means something to you). In the cases where I could find the price online of a comparable item (same brand) new, I included the new price in parenthesis for comparison. (And shout out to Jacki for taking all of these pictures!)

$9 / Beau Bois

Black dress
$10 / Rampage

$13.50 / Mine

Pencil skirt
$15.50 / Ann Taylor ($80)

Black pants
$11 / Christopher & Banks ($44)

Top: $8 / Love Notes
Pants: $15.50 / London Jean

$11 / Banana Republic ($90)

Top: $9 / Merona
Shorts: $11 / BCBG ($100+)

(Those are really cute sailboats on the top, by the way.)

And these last three were my Goodwill finds, which were $5.24 each (that's with a 25% off coupon; original $6.99/each).

So now let's look at some totals:

Total # of items: 13 (10 Turn Style + 3 Goodwill)

Total cost (original secondhand prices): $134.47 ($113.50 Turn Style + $20.97 Goodwill)

Total spent (sale prices): $35.72 ($20 Turn Style + $15.72 Goodwill)

Total saved: $98.75

But keep in mind, that's the amount I saved only considering secondhand prices. If you look at what I saved from buying secondhand in the first place, this all would have cost well over $350 brand new (and that's probably way lowballed).

Now can you see why I can't imagine spending $20 on a single item of clothing? The dollar just goes so far when you're thrift shopping!

What do you think about buying secondhand clothes? Love it? Couldn't be paid to do it? 

I'm curious in the clothes shopping habits of others. How much do you think you spend in a year on clothes? How often do you shop?
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