I GREW UP SHOPPING for clothes from the sales racks at JC Penney. Rarely, if ever, was I allowed to buy anything from the full price rack. So why bother to look.
Because I was the oldest girl in the family, I got the new clothes, which were then passed down to my ungrateful sister. I use that adjective because Lanae didn’t especially appreciate my fashion taste. She was right. My indecisiveness often led to bad choices.
By my middle school years, I learned to sew. And from then on, I stitched most of my apparel. I didn’t mind. I loved selecting patterns and fabrics and creating one-of-a-kind clothing.
Still, mostly, it was all about saving money. And money was tight in our poor farm family of six kids.
With that background, you can understand my delight in seeking out and scoring bargains. Thrift stores, yard and garage sales, and flea markets are my favorite shopping venues. Not only can I find merchandise at affordable prices, but I typically discover something few others own.
I’ve passed this love of bargain shopping onto my three offspring. My 19-year-old college intern son, attempting to furnish his first apartment on a budget, recently negotiated the purchase of a leather couch for $25 at a Goodwill store in Rochester.
Last week his sister, a Spanish medical interpreter in northeastern Wisconsin, shopped a half-price sale at an Appleton thrift store and purchased an easy chair for $24. A mint condition coffee table found next to a dumpster at her apartment complex cost her nothing.
The oldest daughter, who lives in Minneapolis, also sometimes shops at second-hand stores and even bought her bridal gown for her upcoming wedding at a vintage bridal shop.
Yes, I’m proud of my kids and their thrifty buying habits. Not only do they save money, but they recycle what others have cast off or can no longer use.
My own house is furnished with lots of second-hand furniture, lamps, art, kitchenware, etc. I don’t need new. Old works for me, my tastes and my budget. How about you?
© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling