Totally shocking right? A plastic surgeons wife who (gasp) is thrifty. Well it comes out in certain areas of our lives…in others I have no issues paying for quality and convenience. This is the first blog of a series about thriftiness. It’s something people value but seem to rarely talk about. I on the other hand am never afraid to say I bought something at consignment or scored it at a Goodwill years ago. Trust me I’m a big believer in supporting retail businesses and investing in quality pieces. But I’m very thrifty as well, particularly in three specific areas of our lives…more on that later.
So what is my definition of thrift? I’m glad you asked. Thrift to me means buying something that may have had a previous life with someone else. But in this buy-happy society that can mean an items still is new with tags or barely used! I’ll go into some of my top resources in a future blog. Thrifty to me doesn’t mean keeping a coupon book and spending hours in the grocery store buying things I don’t need just because they are on sale. I don’t have time for that nor the patience to coupon.
The top 7 reasons why I’m thrifty:
- I always find something original and unique. Some of my favorite dresses have been thrifted finds. The black and blue cocktail dress I recently wore for a photo shoot was $12. And my kids cry when they’ve grown out of their favorite outfit, which was often found at consignment. I certainly don’t look for boring basics…that can be found anywhere. I do have tricks for finding the really good items and I can’t wait to share them in a future post.
- The value per wear can’t be beat, especially for special events. When I attend a special function I fear going to Nordstrom for a dress…I mean I love a trip to that gorgeous store but what if someone else buys the same exact dress? So whenever I’m shopping for a special occasion I head to a higher end consignment shop. And they never fail! Last year I found a new with tags Balenciaga dress for $40 and wore it to a black tie gala. I spent more on a blow out and style for my hair then the dress!
- Shopping thrift is a form of recycling and reducing waste. If I’m able to find an awesome table on Craigslist or a pair of rain boots for the kids at a children’s consignment store that just means those items are not going to a landfill. I also try to ‘recycle’ things we’ve outgrown or aren’t using by donating or reselling rather then just throwing them away.
- Thrifted furniture already has a ‘patina’. Some of our most treasured furniture items have been found in antique stores or on Craigslist. They might not perfect but the wood items have a great patina already. We’ve scored everything from a huge Crate & Barrel sectional to the crib my kids have slept in. After all it survived one family it can survive ours.
- The Young Family Factor. Truth: kids are hard on things…even well behaved kids. So the three areas that I tend to be thrifty are clothing for myself, for the kids and items for our home. Those are the items that are most likely to be stained, grown out of, lost and just worn out quickly. Does that mean I don’t buy new items for myself, the kids or my house? Heck, no…but I DO spend on new items carefully because the reality is somebody at sometime will spill juice (or in my case wine) on everything we own.
- Can I just mention for a moment the dreaded word no one really ever says…budget. Maybe it dates back to those early days in residency when we managed to live off a $60 a week grocery budget and our rent was $600. And when going out on a date was a true luxury because it meant A. Dr. Hubs wasn’t on-call and B. we had some money left in our bank account after paying bills and school loans. To this day every large or extra purchase in our household and business is something we talk about and make sure we can afford. Holidays, birthdays, vacations and ‘extras’ are all budgeted. Shopping for elements of our lives in a thrifty way just helps with that budget.
- I’m teaching our children important lessons on money and buying consciousness. I find it harder and harder to say no to my kids…maybe it’s because they are getting older and smarter about asking for things…or maybe it’s because they gang up on me now. But when it comes to toys and clothing they know there are limits. It’s never too early to start teaching them that money and things don’t just come out of thin air. If I say ‘sorry we aren’t buying that today’ to our 6 year old, she understands and respects that. I’m also proud that they aren’t phased by wearing what some people consider ‘hand me downs’….to them its the same as new. I hope their future spouses appreciate that someday!