Has recession swept you into the thrift/simplicity movement?

The recession has spawned a thrift/simplicity movement that has been in the news a lot lately and also is something I have been feeling at home. There are three parts to this discussion so I am going to number them.

  1. A few weeks back The New York Times ran an article asking people if they could reduce their belongings to only 100 personal items. The gist of the story is about how people are moving away from conspicuous consumption (or buying without regard) to calculated consumption. They are saving their money, savoring the anticipation of buying and spending more money on experiences than objects. Researchers believe that ultimately spending more carefully (especially on experiences instead of on objects) will bring more happiness.

From The New York Times:

“Amid weak job and housing markets, consumers are saving more and spending less than they have in decades, and industry professionals expect that trend to continue. Consumers saved 6.4 percent of their after-tax income in June, according to a new government report. Before the recession, the rate was 1 to 2 percent for many years. In June, consumer spending and personal incomes were essentially flat compared with May, suggesting that the American economy, as dependent as it is on shoppers opening their wallets and purses, isn’t likely to rebound anytime soon.”

“On the bright side, the practices that consumers have adopted in response to the economic crisis ultimately could — as a raft of new research suggests — make them happier. New studies of consumption and happiness show, for instance, that people are happier when they spend money on experiences instead of material objects, when they relish what they plan to buy long before they buy it, and when they stop trying to outdo the Joneses. …”

“Current research suggests that, unlike consumption of material goods, spending on leisure and services typically strengthens social bonds, which in turn helps amplify happiness. (Academics are already in broad agreement that there is a strong correlation between the quality of people’s relationships and their happiness; hence, anything that promotes stronger social bonds has a good chance of making us feel all warm and fuzzy.)”

2. On Tuesday, the host of Whole Living on Martha Steward radio was discussing a movement asking people to throw out 50 things (or I guess donate where appropriate).

3. Both of these discussions struck a chord with me. We are definitely worried about money and have cut back tremendously. We have also been purging and simplifying, but there seems to be some contradiction though in the thrift and simplicity movements.

People are buying less because they have less money (or are wary to spend the money they have) and are reusing what they have. Yet we are encouraging people to reduce possessions as well. Here’s an example:

On the home front, I have been going through kids’ rooms gathering up clothes too small to hand down to Lilina. (We’ve also been giving away almost all the baby stuff and boxes full of toys.)

I posted on Facebook that I was overwhelmed working on Lilina’s room because she had hand-me downs from her older brother and sister for like 4 sizes worth of clothes that she will eventually wear.

A friend wrote back that she completely understood that feeling as she had hand-me downs from about five cousins. She knew her sons would wear the things (it would save them money in the long run and reuse the clothes) but she felt like it was a lot to sort and store.

Another friend wrote back – purge, purge, purge. Even if you were giving away stuff your child could use at some point in the future. And that just seems contradictory to me. If you give clothes away that you could use in a year or three then you will just have to buy again. (I guess it depends on your storage capability and your patience to sort the clothes.)

OK so here are my questions:

Are you finding that you are spending much more consciously? Are you saving and anticipating? Are you spending more on experience and less on things? Do you think, as the article says, that experiences together increase the family bond and make you happier?

Could you only have 100 possessions? Would it be hard for you to give up 50 things? Could you go home and do it right now? (If you do, send me a photo to ajcmomania@gmail.com. I would love to post photos of people giving stuff away.)

Is there value to only having 100 (or a limited number) of possessions? How many do you think you have now? How about your family over all?

Do you see the contradiction I see between thrift (saving and reusing) and simplifying – getting rid of stuff? Are you holding onto bunches of old clothes for the next one down? How/where are you storing? How are you keeping organized? Is it worth saving them?

57 comments Add your comment

catlady

September 9th, 2010
7:06 am

T- You are “wary” to spend the money. “Weary” means tired. (You may be weary, too.)

Nothing wrong with thrift and simplifying. Do what you can with what you’ve got. Then, get rid of it. Spend less to acquire what you need. Many folks have been doing this for quite a while. Not everyone bought into the conspicuous consumption rage.

I’m pretty good at thrift, but not so good at getting rid of. Everyone dumps their “want to keep it, don’t have the room” or “This has been in the family for years” on me–including people long dead. My goal for the next year is to DO SOMETHING with this stuff! It’s going to be tough–I am wary AND weary already!

Ladilovely

September 9th, 2010
7:16 am

I say purge. Keep the items that are in excellent condition and will still be in style.

motherjanegoose

September 9th, 2010
7:57 am

My sister and I were talking about this the other day. Two of us live in metro Atlanta. Our other sister does not. What folks think they need, to be happy here, is incredible. Other areas of the country live simpler and are just as happy. We sometimes get caught up in what we think we need.
I am reminded of this when I am in rural areas.

Yes, I purge every summer. I give away boxes and bags of things and I still have way more than I need. Frankly, it is ridiculous. This is not an excuse but I have usually done my research and make a thrifty purchases. I have never ever purchased a pair of shoes at the MOG for example. I do not even look there. Too much time for me to worry about their sales when I know which places already have shoes that are a good brand and buy.

LOL my rules with shoes is that I have to get rid of a pair if I ring a pair into the house. keeps me in check. I am price conscious but still, I have more than I need.

We are no longer saving clothes as there will be no one else to wear them. I get rid of them.

Many of you know that I work with young children. I am in Preschools, Child Care Centers and Kindergartens all over the state and even the country. Yesterday, I visited with a center that is one of my favorites. They have been there for a long time and have an excellent reputation. Their enrollment is diminished. The owner told me that 1100 child care centers have closed in GA alone. SCARY stuff, as this is usually the result of the parents not having a job. A lot of parents, of young children who are not employed and all the staff of the closed centers too. This is a drop in the bucket of the broad spectrum.

I, for one, am frustrated with this economy. Those who want to work and stimulate it are not exactly appreciated. If all of us buckle down and spend less, this will affect someone else whose revenue will also take a turn. Restaurants, retail, travel, auto sales etc. Not sure what the answer is here.
Maybe someone with an economic background can tell us.

Even though I do not spend money at high end places, those stores depend on the clients who do.

motherjanegoose

September 9th, 2010
7:58 am

T…comment gone…no time to repost…maybe you can find it?

Rick

September 9th, 2010
8:05 am

Ladilovely September 9th, 2010 7:16 am
I say purge. Keep the items that are in excellent condition and will still be in style.
==============================
I hope you are talking about yourself…I don’t think 3-5 year olds have to be in “style”!

catlady

September 9th, 2010
8:05 am

My comment from about 7 is also gone.

Lady Strange

September 9th, 2010
8:13 am

I am about to do a big purge on my stuff. I have way too much stuff (I’m a pack rat) and since I have to move and sell my home I don’t need to keep carting stuff around that I have not touched in 5 years or more. And I just have way too much stuff. I always try to get a good deal on items by shopping at thrift stores and I have tried to cut out on buying things unless they are really needed. My son has way too many toys and I have been holding on to some things cause I would like to have another baby someday. But I think I will have to let most of them go and just re-buy if/when they are needed. Just not enough space to keep things I don’t actually have a current use for.

deidre_NC

September 9th, 2010
8:17 am

i say purge. i am trying to get the time to do that myself. i have so much stuff!!! when my kids were younger i did store clothes according to size for the younger ones…but you have to have the space to do that….i have tons of books and i plan to sort through them and donate them to the county jail. i used to take them to a used book store that i love and keep a credit running there to get more books. i never go to that town any longer and gave my last credit to a friend of mine who does. i now get 99% of my books from the library. the only books iwill keep are some oldie goldies and ones i have the whole series of. maybe not even them. my problem is finding time between fulltime job and fulltime college classes to do this sorting. i would like to get rid of about 2/4 of my ’stuff’. when i ever get it sorted i will box it and if i havent had time to flea market it in 2 months or so i will get rid of it through friends or ‘free cycle’. i j ust hope i can do it soon. i have gotten rid of tons of magazines-just loaded them up and took them to the library for others to read.

im not sure of only having 100 things. if you think of books as 1 thing…cookware as one…etc..maybe.

i spend a lot less now because i make a lot less…gone are the once or twice a month nice restaurants with friends…not to mention most other frivalties…i really go to work…come home. do school work…the only time i eat out is if i dont have time to make my lunch and thats something really cheap from the deli. :( i miss eating out occasionally at nice restauarnts..thats my pleasure. my income decreased by about 8K a year after i lost my job and was out of work for almost 9 months. thats a lot of no job and less money…not sure i will ever get back to where i was financially.

to get rid of stuff you will use for younger kids..and then have to re-buy it seems counter-productive to me.

deidre_NC

September 9th, 2010
8:19 am

meant 3/4 not 2/4 lol

Photius

September 9th, 2010
8:19 am

Want to know what experience would increase our family bond and make us happier? Having the old man finally get a job paying what I was making 3 years ago; there is nothing out there. We live inside the Perimeter in a smaller, older home so there has never been room to have a lot of “stuff” – we purge. Unlike most Americans, our family has never fallen victim to corporations via their marketing trying to turn everyone into large consumers of their junk, stuff we really don’t need. No TV in every room in our house, no cell phone for the kid or Pop, no iPad/iPod, no new car – it has been and always will be about function, not consumption. I point out to my boy idiot behavior from neighbors who have all the gadgets and gizmos and cars and cynically tell my son “I wonder how much money they have in the bank or do they live paycheck to paycheck?”. But we are Americans – the more crap I have and purchase equivilates into who we are as a family. Look! Junior has a new ring tone, Awwww….. Mom’s phone can download TMZ while driving 65 mph with a mini van/GPS/DVD combo… Awww…..

Tyler Durden from the movie fight club said it best: “You’re not your job…. You’re not how much money you have in the bank…. You’re not the car you drive… You’re not the contents of your wallet…. You’re not your bloody khakis…. You are the all singing all dancing crap of the world”.

jct

September 9th, 2010
8:22 am

My family has lived by many of these thrift values for years.

We have lived by if you buy a new piece of clothing you must give one piece away. It works. You don’t need 10 pairs of jeans, 12 sweaters and 6 pairs of black pants. You can only wear one at a time and anyone who asks if you wore those black pants last week doesn’t have a life.

Three times per year we give to the American Kidney Foundation; we consign some of the suits/dresses we wear. This way I can get a ‘new’ suit from the store where I consign.

I feel the value in having less in my house is that my mind is not cluttered. I hate clutter. So what if a room looks empty. You also have less to lose. I worry less about losing stuff. We could easily move into a smaller space if necessary.

I say give away toys and most clothes. You can buy more from a consignment shop later.

JJ

September 9th, 2010
8:57 am

Photius – I agree 100%.
I drive a 12 year old car with over 169,000 miles on it. I cook at home every night. I just bought a new lawnmower, a whopping $150 at Home depot. Nothing fancy, but it mows very nice, my 7 year old mower died two weeks ago. I don’t have an edger, but two flat shovels I use about once every two months to trim up the driveway and gutter area. I do have a leaf blower, and it’s about 10 years old, and was a hand me down from my brother.

I have lived thrifty for YEARS now and it’s really paying off now. Especially in these economic times, I’m doing just fine….

thrifty mom

September 9th, 2010
9:10 am

We had a short period where we could relax a little about our budget but we lost a good bit of income this year. We have always tried to save and anticipate and to mainly spend on experiences and not so much things but it is not always easy. We haven’t had too many hand-me-downs or ones that are really usable (stains, stretched etc.). The thrift stores and consignment stores have plenty of that quality clothing without me having to store too much. Jeans, skirts, shorts, PJs and some shirts are things that are pretty much the same all the time so I save them and buy ahead at end of season sales. Kids don’t get smaller only bigger.
I also do sneakers this way when we find a good pair I often get the next size up when on sale. I keep the items in the closet or in the storage area. In a way this is a combo of thrift and simplicity.

Buying new is usually more expensive than buying used for many things if you walk in and buy off the shelf. Being thrifty to me means thinking ahead and keeping things you know will need and planning ahead with sales. The simplicity part is being honest with yourself about whether you really need the thing or if you can do without it to be able to do something else.

Ex. We have found that we really only tend to watch movies once or twice so it is more expensive to own most movies than to rent so we don’t buy many movies. I have been purging and selling the collection in an effort towards simplicity. No need to keep on the off chance we might watch. Less money on one movie equals more movies seen total.

I can live without movies and be happy with books but while my hubby likes books he also likes movies. To him a worthwhile expense is some family time or date night out to see a movie, get ice cream or something after and then talk and laugh about the movie. We don’t do it often so the kids also enjoy it. So no DVD buying leads to experience spending.

TechMom

September 9th, 2010
9:27 am

I’m not a hoarder by any means but definitely a packrat. I think it comes from growing up military and moving so much that I never got to keep anything from childhood (I do have my 2 Cabbage Patch Dolls- that’s about it). I have a hard time throwing stuff away (What if we need it later?) but I finally signed up for a FreeCycle account… now I just have to go through stuff and post items. I think it would almost be easier if someone could just come into my house while I was gone and get rid of the stuff I don’t need! Cleaning Fairy- where are you when I need you?

TechMom

September 9th, 2010
9:36 am

Also regarding experiences versus things- we try to live by this. I would much rather take a cool family trip for a week than buy a new sofa (probably why mine is 11 years old) or invite friends over for dinner and a card game rather than going somewhere to eat. Cooking isn’t so bad when you have company and get to catch up while preparing a meal. The key to remember is that kids are going to remember the time they spend with you and the places they’ve been more than any toy or piece of clothing you buy them (except for my aforementioned Cabbage Patch dolls – I did grow up in the 80s, give me a little slack!)

Denise

September 9th, 2010
9:41 am

What constitues “50 things”? Is it books, VHS tapes, clothes, etc. or just clothes? I know I have plenty books that I plan to go thru and give away. (And YES I re-read them so that’s why I haven’t given them all away by now.)

JJ

September 9th, 2010
9:51 am

Techmom – you are correct – making memories with my daughter is one of my favorite things to do.

DB

September 9th, 2010
9:57 am

@Photius: I understand your thinking, but I can’t help but call you out just a tad on your speculation as to your neighbor’s spending. Telling your son that the neighbors are overspending (how do you know their income?) and living beyond their means (Really? Have you seen their tax returns?) comes across as a bit covetous, holier-than-thou and “sour grapes.” I was always taught that other people’s money and how they spent it was none of my business, so I’m always a little taken aback by the judgments that people make on other people’s spending when they have no clue except speculation.

@TWG: Why not just go through the hand-me-down clothes and pull out your favorite outfits, and sell the rest in a yard sale, consignment shop or just donate them? Just because someone gives you something, that doesn’t obligate you to keep it forever, y’know? THEY were able to get rid of them — you can, too! And as Liliana demonstrated so eloquently a few weeks ago — she’s developing her own sense of what she wants to wear, so there’s a very good chance she’s going to turn her nose up at the “Hannah Montana” t-shirts or the purple pants in favor of the pink pants, etc. :-)

I do like the idea of creating memories for a family out of events rather than items — my husband, especially, was adamant that no matter how much we might be struggling, we needed to take the opportunity to create a body of memories for the kids as part of the family in the form of travel all over the country (and the world) and in the celebration of holidays and signature events. The kids have been to many National parks, mountains, beaches, deserts, biked along Big Sur, hiked in Yosemite, hiked down into the Grand Canyon, scuba dived in Grand Cayman, been to amazing theatre performances at Shakespeare festivals in Oregon, Canada, New York and London — etc. We know how to use Priceline to maximize our vacation dollars on hotels, we love Groupon and Half-Off Depot for discounts on whitewater rafting, etc., and the kids now have the habit of checking for a coupon on-line whenever they decide they want to go do something. :-)

“Things” can be nice — but too many things oppress, and begin to own you, instead of you owning them.

RH

September 9th, 2010
9:58 am

Unfortunately, once the economy turns around so will alot of the spending. Many economists agree this is only temporary for most – we have more time than money right now. Never been a big spender which still enables me to spend whatever I wish. The current movement to purge has been a boon for folks like me, getting great deals on big ticket items. It is hard to believe that folks are getting rid of things they paid lots of money for only to get practically nothing for it. I think alot of people are just throwing away money still by purging, which defeats the purpose entirely. Thank you for all steals and deals!

RH

September 9th, 2010
10:04 am

“but I finally signed up for a FreeCycle account”

Beware. I have heard many scary stories regarding some of the people that show up at your door. Even neutral locations for pickups have their drawbacks. I heard of a business owner calling the cops regarding these kind of transactions taking place in their parking lots. Please be cautious, I personally would not do it.

JATL

September 9th, 2010
10:16 am

Purge most things! I feel lucky in the fact that I got on the simplifying and economizing bandwagon a little before the recession hit because I decided not to go back to work after my first was born 4.5 years ago. We paid off all credit cards and got rid of them (I was horrified at the time) and it was the BEST money move I’ve ever made! Once in awhile, I’ll feel the tug of wanting one -and it’s never for a good reason. There’s no mountain of credit card debt hanging over us or knowledge that the bills are always coming. We have plenty and get plenty, but we put most of our extra, non-savings dollars toward experiences with each other (vacations, music festivals, camping, day outings, etc.). The money I spend is on some splurges for my kids (things they don’t really realize, but that mean a lot to me -photography, a special outfit here and there), framing and decor for our house -not overdoing it, but I do like for it to look put together, holidays/birthdays, and entertaining(another experience we enjoy). Of course I like to buy the occasional book or great pair of shoes, but it’s amazing at how much I’ve brought my spending down without credit cards! As far as keeping stuff -I am in that boat with hand-me-downs from one boy to the youngest, but if I know the season/size is off -it’s automatically gone, and we’ve purged a lot of toys. As soon as the little guy sees his brother playing with something -that’s what he wants, so a lot of the baby and toddler toys were no longer seeing attention at our house and have been passed on to a different kid.

@Photius -I agree with DB -I think it’s great to make sure your kids know the importance of savings and frugality and that THINGS don’t make a person, but your post sounds like it’s stemming more from jealousy. Your neighbors may make lots of money and have tons of expendable income. Plus, it’s no one else’s business how they spend it. I have one of those mini vans you speak of -I didn’t even want the GPS, but it came with it. It’s 4 years old, and I bought it used from CarMax, but it’s still one sweet ride! Would I be a better person if I had gotten an even older one with no bells and whistles? No. Just as things don’t make a person good -they don’t necessarily make them bad either.

Photius

September 9th, 2010
10:54 am

Jealously is a young person’s emotion and I’m too old for it. What I do know are facts from the Wall Street Journal in that the average life savings of people over the age of 50 is around $40,000 and the vast majority of American’s have very little socked away. I point out idiot financial behavior from the neighbors and masses to my boy as lessons in life. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts; the vast majority of Americans at all income levels blow money and have very little saved for the rainy day. American society I instruct my son is fantastic but also warped in our obsession for materialism, gadgets, gizmos, clothes and appearances. Our drive as a people to accumulate and acquire more “stuff” is disturbing. After all, why should we have discipline, save for a long period of time, go without, abstain….. Not in America, baby! Just tap into that home equity line! Fire up the credit card, buy now and pay later, hit the 401k – my child deserves the best and I want him to have it all now! I want Mommy and Daddy to have it all now too! Eat drink and be merry for tomorrow may not come. Well, tomorrow is here and this whole economic system of highly leveraged consumption for decades on end is coming down. Cheers~

JJ

September 9th, 2010
11:15 am

I still agree with Photius and I do the exact same thing with my child.

Still one of my favorite sayings “I buy things I don’t need, with money I don’t have, to impress people I don’t know.”

DB

September 9th, 2010
11:29 am

@Photius: Teaching your son responsible financial management is one thing, and something that I endorse and embrace wholeheartedly. My son just spent two months researching and looking for the best deal possible for a “new” used car that he paid cash for, and both of my kids know that it will be a cold day in hell before I co-sign for them to have a credit card in college, so don’t even ask! Teaching him to make judgements on the neighbor’s spending, however, is something else entirely.

My kids, going to a private school, were on the low end of the spending curve due to our family income. They got to see a LOT of conspicuous consumption, visited a lot of very beautiful, luxurious homes, and watched with envy as classmates drove new BMWs and sportscars and didn’t work at part-time jobs over the summer, opting instead to spend their summers at family lake houses or abroad. I’m sure they got very tired of hearing my mantra: “We have everything we need and most of what we want, and you’ve never gone to bed hungry or had to wear the same clothes a week at a time because you had nothing else.” However, now that they are young adults — they know how to work, they know how to budget and they know how to save. Will they make financial mistakes? Sure they will — we all did, at some point, which is how we learned. But hopefully the mistakes will be minimal.

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motherjanegoose

September 9th, 2010
11:47 am

My post is still missing.

We have stuff we do not need, just like everyone else. The only difference, so me, is that our stuff is paid for…with the exception of 8 years left on our mortgage. I constantly remind my children that others, who have nicer things than we do, may be on the payment plan. THAT IS THEIR CHOICE! We try to spend money we have.

There was a recent article about Costco not being a good value for most families. Could be true.
I have an executive membership with them that costs me $100 per year. I got a rebate of $78 last year for my purchases. I just bought TWO leather couches at an OUTTA HERE price of $299 each….yes it was amazing. They were still in the box. They are Italian leather. For the price…I could not beat it and they match my new paint scheme.

If you came to my house you might think I am living high on the hog but I am actually quite thrifty.
You cannot judge a book by it’s cover.

TechMom

September 9th, 2010
11:53 am

You guys were so inspiring that I just went through my closet and pulled out a bunch of clothes I cannot or will not wear again. Been meaning to do it for a while and I’ve got a pretty slow day for work so I decided to go do it while it was on my mind.

@RH I think it’s an urban legend that wackos are showing up at houses from FreeCycle posts. I know the personal ads from Craigslist have brought forth a few but I’ve never heard anything bad from FreeCycle. I’ve actually been on FreeCycle for a few months and given away several items that people were looking for that I knew I had and didn’t use (can someone say bread machine that’s been used 3 times in 10 years???) I just haven’t gotten around to posting offers for all of “my junk” that I know is sitting in the basement. For the clothes, I’ll let one of the charitable clothing pick-ups come by and get that stuff but if someone is looking for something I don’t need- I’m happy to get rid of it.

gpkbsin

September 9th, 2010
12:04 pm

TechMom donate to U-Clothing Pick up .. or its called nspire. they pick it up from your house. its great.
http://www.clothingpickupatl.com/happensDonate.htm

JATL

September 9th, 2010
12:19 pm

@MJG -love a great bargain! Costco has worked to our benefit so far as well. And yes, you cannot ever judge a book by its cover. I am incredibly thrifty now and love a great bargain. Due to being diligent and doing extra research, I’ve scored quite a few high quality and normally very expensive items for my home and myself & family below what the Walmart versions would have cost. People may see them and think I spent hundreds or thousands, but they’re wrong! The leather sofas sound amazing.

Warrior Woman

September 9th, 2010
12:20 pm

Avoiding conspicuous consumption and purging your belongings to 100 items or less are not the same thing and only tangentially related. If your 100 items include a yacht and a private jet, that’s pretty conspicuous consumption. If you own 200 items because you’re saving items to reuse in the future, that is a good, thrifty practice.

I have no interest in arbitrarily reducing my possessions just for the sake of saying I’ve reduced my possessions. What interests me is continuing to live within my means and donating possessions we don’t need or won’t reuse to charities.

DB

September 9th, 2010
12:31 pm

Theresa, I’ve got a post that’s gone missing . . .

RH

September 9th, 2010
12:58 pm

@Techmom Regarding Free Cycle, we have had several breakins in our neighborhood over the summer and had a law enforcement office come talk to our group about home security and safety. I live in a neighborhood that rarely saw crime over the past several years. This economy is making criminals more brazen in their actions, and the one thing he mentioned and could not stress enough was about keeping solictors or those that don’t belong out of your neighborhood. Don’t invite potential crime into your area. Neighborhood yard sales are also being used for criminals to survey possible targets. Frankley I was shocked by some of the advice that was given. Criminals network, I did not know that! Nosey neighbors are good. Make eye contact with everyone and be overly friendly to outsiders so you know they are watching.

I would go with the tried and true clothingpickup, Goodwill Salvation Army, etc. I also recently heard about a Habitat for Humanity home goods resale store that I have been meaning to look up. They are selective at what they will take, and they may have some great deals. Thought Habitat was a great cause!

Anyway, I would rather do a little more leg work and not invite trouble.

TechMom

September 9th, 2010
1:00 pm

@gpkbsin – thanks, just filled out the pick-up form. I usually wait until they call but it will be great to get stuff out of here quickly!

I wish we had a Costco closer to us. I used to be a member of the one across the street from my office but now that I work from home, we have a BJ’s membership. We have a BJ’s and a Sam’s Club almost across the street from each other but the added benefit of BJ’s is that they take coupons.

Jenny Lee

September 9th, 2010
1:02 pm

I sell my girls clothes at church cosignor sales, and donate the ones that are stained, torn, etc. I buy on sale and at the thrift store, when necessary. I did some baby items, their fav. toy,etc. I stored the clothes in bins, and kept toys the same way until the youngest outgrow them. I still wear the same size clothes, so I don’t buy much new. JCPenny’s sends $10 coupons, and so does Kohl’s. I buy something that costs just $5 or less w/ coupon. I am now debt free and it took me 18 months to do it.

Becky

September 9th, 2010
1:29 pm

I have always shopped at the thrift stores and yard sales..I guess this comes from growing up #9 of 10..I always give the clothes that my 2 ougrow to their younger cousins..

As others have said, I would rather spend the money on making memories for them, than for them to have the lastest and greatest..Not that I don’t want them to look good, I’m just (like Rick @ 8.05) don’t know that kids have from 3-5 or 6 have to be in style..Heck, I’m 48 and I’ve never been in (current) style..

JATL

September 9th, 2010
1:34 pm

@RH -there’s a Habitat Resale store on Memorial Drive near the intersection of Memorial and Boulevard -across from Oakland cemetery. It’s between a condo building w/ a Doc Chey’s Noodle House in the bottom of it and Six Feet Under restaurant. They DO have great buys and finds! Furniture, baby gear, tools -lots of interesting stuff.

JATL

September 9th, 2010
1:38 pm

For those of you intown or willing to drive here -there’s a good kids’ consignment sale this weekend at Candler Park Methodist called Five and Dime. Another one that may have already happened but is HUGE every spring and early fall is The Glenn School sale over by Emory. TONS of baby and kids gear, toys, shoes, clothes, books -and most in really good shape. Lots of really nice name brands too for just a few dollars. I got a Graco black watch plaid double stroller there two years ago for $9! They were selling it cheaply because the fabric had torn on the side of one of the seats (not badly) and the black watch plaid was evidently a “really old” pattern for them. Looked great and worked great!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

September 9th, 2010
2:05 pm

OK I think I have rescued all the ones that were missing — sorry I was out and couldn’t grab them sooner — why does it do that — they weren’t even particularly long hmmm

Kat

September 9th, 2010
2:06 pm

You can find a lot of the church-sponsored consignment sales at thebargainwatcher.com. Just go to the “Sales” tab, and then put in the state and county. It will pull up all applicable sales in your area. Pretty neat.

@Photius: I think what you are doing is great. The message will get across that you don’t need a bunch of high-class “things” (paid for outright or on credit). It doesn’t matter if the debt is still being paid; what matters is the materialistic aspect of things. Good points made!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

September 9th, 2010
2:08 pm

This is on the front page about Tennessee’s football team needing to be taught how to bathe!!! to stop staph infections on the team — oh my goodness. from a mothering perspective, how could they not know this?? I know it’s very common in prisons, hospitals wherever you have large amounts of people but Dooley is saying it’s because of bad hygiene —

http://www.ajc.com/sports/vols-coach-tells-players-609750.html?cxntlid=sldr

PhotoMomof4

September 9th, 2010
2:23 pm

@ JJ – Your comment made me laugh – “I buy things I don’t need, with money I don’t have, to impress people I don’t know.”

I like the variation to this one: “I buy things I don’t need, with money I don’t have, to impress people I don’t even like.”

I have to agree with Photius using the neighbors as a learning tool for the kids. We do that also. I am amazed when I see people making purchases that they really can’t afford just to impress others. Although sometimes we don’t know what others can afford, we have a few neighbors where we actually do know what their income and expenses are and they are too far leveraged to ever quit working…

gpkbsin

September 9th, 2010
2:27 pm

@TechMom — get rid of other things while you are at it. I gave away plates (sets), cannisters and whatnot from kitchen. Prefer BJs over anything else.. its good enough collection even though Costco is the best.

I’m a big believer in getting rid of stuff. If I haven’t used it in 2-3 years, it needs to go. Now that kids are growing up, i’m giving away all the stuff they don’t need to parents who have infants. All goes except for books. I was dreaming of this clean up after I started collecting stuff for the first child.

dixie pixie

September 9th, 2010
2:30 pm

@TechMom My husband and I often visit people who need a “cleaning fairy” to help them out. We don’t charge the homeowner anything to work, and we deliver the items to three different venues that are constantly in need: Domestic Violence shelters, nursing homes, and children’s homes. We clean the toys and clothes and I often refurbish furniture before we deliver it. If you ever need us, ask TWG for my email address, and I will be happy to do what I can to help. I also provide documentation for tax credit purposes to those who ask for it when we pick up items.

JJ

September 9th, 2010
2:58 pm

PhotoMom – I saw that on a bumper sticker YEARS ago, and it has always stuck with me…..

dixie pixie

September 9th, 2010
3:18 pm

My grandmother has a sampler on her wall that read “Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without!”

Assume Nothing

September 9th, 2010
3:19 pm

“Although sometimes we don’t know what others can afford, we have a few neighbors where we actually do know what their income and expenses are and they are too far leveraged to ever quit working…”

Really? If I was one of your neighbors, I would teach you a lesson on assumptions. I had a neighbor like you once, loved to talk trash about everyone’s finances to make herself feel better about her economic situation. One day I invited her over for coffee and a complete review of my fianancial portfolio – tax records, banking and investment statements, debts/bills – the whole enchilada! Can you believe she declined my gracious invitaion?

Have your neighbors have filed bankruptcy, are not paying their bills, or abandoning their home to foreclosure?

What kind of parent falsely criticizes and accuses other adults to a child?

catlady

September 9th, 2010
3:42 pm

My 7 am is still missing at 3:45

SRH

September 9th, 2010
3:51 pm

Jenny Lee – how extremely generous of you to give away stained and torn clothes.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

September 9th, 2010
3:52 pm

i’ll dig again — i didn’t see anything else in there –

Becky

September 9th, 2010
4:13 pm

Like MJG and some others, yes, I have junk and stuff that I could stand to get rid of..As for only having 100 personal items, what are they talking about? I probably have that many books..

As for clothes, I buy 95% of the kids clothes at the thrift store..I do buy from Kolh’s and other stores at the end of the season..I buy a size (or 2) bigger and if my two don’t wear it, someone else in my family will..Trust me, clothes in my family get well used..