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October 18, 2016

What’s it Worth to You?

I know you. You’re smart, and you don’t spend money frivolously, but you like nice things and you want what you want, though maybe not what your neighbor wants.

She has a new car? You’re happy with your eleven-year-old Toyota that’s running like a dream. He just got a gorgeous sectional sofa, perfect for entertaining? You love it, and you’re happy to be invited to watch the finale of The Bachelor on his big screen TV, but you don’t need the TV or the sofa. She’s going on a month-long trip to Thailand? Yeah, okay. You have your limits. You want that. But you’re still happy for your friend and you’ll even host the bon voyage party. Or maybe your coworker just got a new pair of shoes she’s super pumped about (get it? shoes? PUMPed?) and you don’t even like them. But you get it. She wanted those shoes, they fit into her wardrobe, and she went out and got them. Good for her! Everyone wants different things, we all make choices, and that’s okay.

Because you’re a good person, you don’t want to care too much about material things. But can you help it if you have good taste? Maybe you like holiday decor that can’t be found in stores, or you conjure up fabulous resort wear from secondhand treasures, or maybe your beautiful sofa cost a whole lot less than anyone might guess. You do everything your own way. And that’s why people love you.

But I digress. I’m not super creative, but I know what I like, I can spot a bargain, and I think ahead. In my world, we go to church. We go to our own church on the reg, we go to other churches and synagogues for weddings, funerals, bar and bat mitzvahs, and baptisms or christenings. Whatever you want to celebrate (or whenever you need to mourn), we want to be there for you. But you know what this really means?

Our three sons need navy blue blazers and khakis, because that’s the easiest uniform boys around here can wear to show respect. Around 15 years ago when our oldest son needed his first blazer and our second son was a toddler, I scored. At Oops! in Five Points one day, I hit the motherlode. Remember Talbot’s Kids? Oops! must have bought everything when they discontinued the line. They had gorgeous, well-made navy blue blazers from 3T to 14, for around $25 each. (It’s been 15 years. I can’t exactly remember.) I bought one in each size, figuring my boys would wear them, we’d loan them to friends, and maybe eventually donate them to Goodwill, because no one would wear them often enough to wear them out.

gwblazers2

The blazers in action, on the way to my cousin’s wedding

And guess what. They’ve been worn, loaned, worn some more, and loaned again, but have yet to be donated, because we went for it and had a third son. Also? I’m now the second smallest person in my house, and I’ve worn some of those blazers. A boys’ size 14 is roughly equivalent to a women’s 4, and the 12 looks stylish when shrunken blazers are in. As the youngest son grows out of them, we may finally pass them on (permanently) to other little boys, for other funerals, bar mitzvahs, and weddings. Or I may save them for my grandchildren. But call me if you need to borrow a blazer.

So what’s my point? When you see a bargain at Goodwill or at a discount store, and you know it fits into your life, go for it. When I bought the blazers, I spent nearly $200. That’s a lot of money! And I definitely had to scrounge for groceries for a while after my big score. But I didn’t buy another blazer until the oldest son was just in between kid sizes and his father’s size, and I’ve saved a few friends some money when they needed a blazer for one event. In my case, that $200 was worth more spent on blazers than it would have been spent on fancy shoes, or an expensive night out. And it stretched my budget, but a score is a score.

What was your latest or greatest discount score? I love a story, so please tell!

4 Comments

  1. Great story. I think I’m frugal, but even I would never have thought to be that foresighted.

  2. One of my best finds at a thrift store was a really nice wing back chair! Yes, I know that upholstered furniture is iffy at best, but this was in great shape and only $20!! I took it home, used the handheld attachments from my carpet cleaning machine and went over it several times. When done, it looked great. Best of all, it perfectly coordinated with the sofa our grad student friend had. I’m sure she will keep it for years to come!

  3. A friend has a “dollar-per-wearing” rule. If it will be worn enough that it gets down to $1 per wearing, it’s worth the initial purchase. E.g., if that $25 blazer gets worn 25 times, it was worth the investment.

    It sounds like your $200-worth of blazers have been worn more than 200 times. I think they were worth the investment. 🙂

  4. I love everything about that story: planning ahead, generosity, frugality, inclusiveness, and funkiness (“shrunken” look!). It made my day!Thanks!