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Part 1 – The Joneses and Clothing

Posted by idawrites on March 28, 2008 in Articles by Request, Family, Frugal Tips, Shopping |
Get a cup of coffee and something to nibble, pull up a chair and get comfy. My friend asked for the impossible and I do love a challenge. I recently posted a request for article ideas on my Journal. The first suggestion was “Can you explain how to save money while still raising a family and trying to keep up with what society seems to think a family needs to have?” Well, sure! Why didn’t I think of that? After all, I am trying to save money and raise a family too.

First of all, just who is Society and why should we be keeping up with them? If, by Society, you mean the people who would have you believe you need the latest item to hit the shelves and receive a full media onslaught of advertising, the easy answer is you DON’T need to keep up with them.

— My children don’t need the latest marshmallow/sugarfest box of cereal to hit the shelves. – Oatmeal and whole wheat versions of no-name cereals work just fine.
— My husband doesn’t need the newest version of the Blackberry or iPhone. – The phone he has still works, receives his emails, allows him to text and make calls and performs all the functions he needs to for work.
— I don’t need that new workout suit because I go to the gym now. – My sweats and t-shirts may not be glamorous, but they do the job.

We don’t need to succumb to the peer pressure of keeping up appearances. Another personal finance blogger wrote an article that really resonated with me. In it, she said “There is no shame in not being able to afford it.” What a concept! How do we let people shame us into feeling like our self-worth is tied to our stuff? As My Two Dollars so succinctly put it, “You are not your stuff.” Do THEY really shame us, or do we do it to ourselves? Do THEY really care?

That said, living well on less money is still possible. Just because you don’t want to “Keep up With the Joneses” doesn’t mean that you can’t live a comfortable life.

Clothing:
It’s possible to dress nicely and in name brand clothes for extremely reasonable prices by just changing the way you look at your shopping. There are three ways to do this, in my opinion.

— If you absolutely must have new clothes, the First Tier, and often most expensive, option is to shop at discount stores. There are great clothes for exceptional prices at Ross, Marshall’s, or Burlington Coat Factory’s clearance racks. I’ve shopped at all of them with mixed success.

— The Second Tier option is to try consignment shops. Plato’s Closet has locations in 37 states and is widely known for name brand clothing for a fraction of the price. Many of their clothes still have the tags on them and have never been worn. Another great consignment chain, for children, is Children’s Orchard, and they have locations in 22 states.

— If the Internet is more of your shopping preference, the Third Tier is your option! You can often find fabulous deals at Ebay, Gently Used, or Penelopepup’s Vintage Clothing, to name a few. For even cheaper options, you can get clothes, in current styles, for next to nothing at Swango’s awesome clothing swap!

I’m an advocate for Tier Two and Tier Three options for clothing, because ReUse is far more effective than Recycle. Keeping things out of landfills should be part of anyone’s frugal living plan.

In the next post, I’ll be focusing on other areas of (more) frugal living while raising a healthy family. Hang tight, I’ve got more babbling to do!

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