Clothes Shopping on a Budget

Today, I am excited to be helping out at St. Paul’s UMC Rummage Sale.  This annual event is HUGE.  People stand in line just to get in the door and grab some deals.  WHY?  Seasons are changing – finally.  Warmer weather is coming and we can always use something new (at least to us)

You know the saying “one woman’s junk is another woman’s treasure”, right? I will admit, clothes shopping is not something I really enjoy. Yes, I have lost most of the weight so I can shop off the racks BUT I still see the “fat” person of yester year.

Growing up, we didn’t shop in thrift stores. In fact, I am not even sure they were around in the 60’s and 70’s. I do remember donating items to those who were less fortunate but I don’t think I ever saw where they ended up.

As a single mom, thrift stores were a fun place to go – not just for me but also for my daughter. We checked out rummage sales at the local churches and scoured the thrift stores for goodies. From toys to books to kitchen stuff to clothes. We always found some treasure which would make the day a success.

There are two sides to most thrift stores – you get to help out a charity by donating and then again when buying from them. You get to make a difference in the lives of others. When donating items you no longer need or want the charity is then able to sell it to someone who needs or wants the item. The money raised helps others in need with food or other essentials. A win-win for everyone.

Let me say, I do know there are some “not so good” charities or thrift stores.  The ones who sell items to feed the pockets of their administration staff or some corporate big wig.  I am not talking about those because honestly, the best deals are not usually found at those “stores”.  I am talking about the local church rummage sales or the thrift store whose money goes directly to help those in need.

Here are some myths about thrift store shopping we are going to BUST!

Myth #1: It is shameful to go into a thrift shop.

Remember you are giving to a great cause and getting yourself a bargain at the same time. The items you are getting aren’t dirty but have been carefully sorted. Give your items a quick wash once you’ve bought them and they will be just like new. I even think for a period of time, this was the preferred way to shop.

Myth #2: Sometimes thrift shops can be considered ‘expensive’

I know, kind of crazy, right? The truth is everything is not “cheap” – a dollar or two. Things will be cheaper then buying brand new but there are those occasions when they could be a little bit more expensive than what you expected. Thrift store employees know value too. Their goal is to offer items at a reasonable price while helping raise funds for their cause. So, the designer dress may be cheaper than a brand new one but it is not going to be given away for just a few dollars.

Myth #3: You should just stick to one thrift store

The truth is frequenting the same thrift store on a regular basis is good. Don’t limit yourself to just one – find your favorites and stick with them. How else are you going to bag yourself some amazing bargains? Check in once a week to see what they have new. Every once in awhile, mom and I will spend the day exploring some new thrift stores. We meet some great people, and get some bargains.

Myth #4: You can’t try the stuff on!

Yes, you can actually try the clothes on in most. Don’t see a dressing room, ask if they have one. If they don’t, ask what their return policy is so you can try it on at home and return it if it doesn’t fit. Don’t be afraid to ask!

Just like shopping at the mall. the most important part of all this is to have fun. Thrift store shopping isn’t grimy or dirty. It’s a fun thing to do while grabbing bargains at the same time.

Remember to keep to your budget. It can be just as easy over-shopping in a thrift store as it is at the mall. The idea is to keep within a budget, when the purse strings are a little tight. Don’t go overboard otherwise you’ll defeat the objective of thrift shopping!

Heading out for a day of shopping.  Grab your Thirty One Large Utility Tote to keep all of your treasures in.  You’ll be amazed at how much this classic tote can hold. The structured metal frame keeps it open for bulky items and provides strength for durability. Use it to keep your closet in order, carry toys or groceries while you’re on the go, haul camping gear and so much more. It even collapses for easy storage!  The best part is they are on sale this month!

Let me know what you think about second hand shopping. Share some of your favorite places with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

When Discontentment Comes Knocking at Your Door

“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5 (ESV)

The movers were arriving in less than 10 days, and I still had so much to pack.

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Shipping boxes, wrapping paper and rolls of tape were everywhere. Every room in our house begged for attention, and I didn’t know which direction to go first.

Downsizing wasn’t fun, but it was necessary. With a squeezing economy and company cutbacks, our family made the difficult decision to sell our home and minimize our debt.

Deep inside I knew it was the right choice, but the process was hard. And although I tried to put on a happy face, my heart was aching.

I dragged myself from room to room, pouting every step of the way. I stared at the massive amount of accumulated stuff, and it totally overwhelmed me. Clothes, furniture, linens, accessories … and enough kitchen appliances to open a community diner.

Bulging closets and overflowing dresser drawers reminded me of past shopping sprees where I’d picked up many of the items. And now I was blaming the early-bird door busters and all those neon clearance stickers that lured me in the first place.

I had prided myself on all the money I saved buying everything on sale. Who was I kidding?

The truth was our checking account balance was shrinking, yet I wanted to buy new things. All the while, insisting these were purchases we needed.

But now, all those bargains had to be boxed up, moved and put into storage. My “treasures” had become burdens. As I looked around at all the clutter, I wondered if it was really my heart, not my home, that needed to be de‑cluttered.

It was time to make some major adjustments in my thought life and begin living out today’s verse in Hebrews 13:5, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have.”

God spoke to me that day with gentle conviction. It was time to stop making excuses for buying so much and be content with less. A lot less. Kneeling in my storage room, I prayed and asked God to forgive me and help me change. Not just for a season, but as a new way of living.

When the movers arrived, everything was boxed and ready to go. Instead of heading to a storage facility, we delivered most of those boxes to a local children’s home in desperate need of household items and clothing.

It felt freeing to give away more and keep less. To experience the Giver instead of holding on to the material gifts. To trust God’s provision and stop worrying about having enough. To simply be content.

Maybe sometimes you struggle with contentment, too. Do you ever find yourself buying something you really don’t need? I know … it was probably on sale, right?

The cure to discontentment is not found in acquiring more things. It’s found in experiencing more of God’s presence. Remember what He promises in today’s key verse, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

Perhaps God is asking you to keep less and give away more. To be content with what you already have and not feel the urge to buy more.

Friend, don’t fall for the lies I did. Trust God will provide what you need when you need it. If you have extra items, consider giving them away to someone else and experience the weightless freedom of being content with less.

Thank you LEAH DIPASCAL for today’s message.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!