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Thrifty to a fault?

October 8, 2009 - Betsy Bethel
I have a confession to make. I have a thrift store addiction.

Here's how I know:

Warning Sign #1: I lie to myself about my intentions as I pull into the Goodwill parking lot. I say things like, "Emma needs more play clothes" or "Maybe I'll get lucky and find a pair of jeans for Dave -- his size is so hard to find!" When, really, I am just Jonesing for a frilly blouse fix.

Warning Sign #2: I hit the thrift store when I should be doing essential things like, oh, you know ... working! Wheeling's Goodwill store is only a few blocks from my office on Main Street. I'll be running an errand to Center Wheeling and all of a sudden I'll be drawn like a dog to its quarry. Before I know it, I find myself pawing through racks of blazers and slacks, sniffing out bargains I can't live without.

Warning Sign #3: I almost always shop alone, and I sometimes hide my purchases from my husband. I will brag to all my fellow thrifters about my fabulous finds, but shame knits my lips together when I get home. I even wait until Dave is not around before I spirit my loot inside.

Warning Sign #4: I know where every community's thrift stores or consignment shops are located, and I get irritated when I pass by one and don't have time to stop. I've actually had to grit my teeth and force myself to keep the wheel straight!

It doesn't help matters when my weight yo-yos like it has over the past five years. Every woman knows how important it is to be comfortable and look great in your clothes. I've even stopped at a consignment shop to find a new pair of pants to put on that day because the pants I'm wearing are so snug I can't concentrate. It's as if a tight waistband acts like a vice on my creativity and productivity!

And come on, you just can't beat thrift store (and garage sale and yard sale and rummage sale and consignment shop) prices. I bought myself the cutest outfit at the Y-Not Repeat Boutique last summer. Complete with a glam clutch purse (originally $45 at The Limited — price tag attached!) and a pair of sandals snagged at a yard sale, the entire outfit cost $7!

I do buy great stuff for Emma, and occasionally Dave, on my excursions. I found a pair of Gap "Long and Lean" jeans for Emma today that will be perfect for the fall!

Really, my husband should be pleased that our clothing expenses are practically nil, even with my little habit, don't you think? I'm really doing our family a favor! Today, in addition to Emma's jeans, I bought myself three jackets, a pair of boots, a pair of shoes, three shirts and two pairs of pants — which easily could have depleted our bank account by two or three hundred bucks! Total cost: $34.90!

Uh, oh.

Warning Signs #5 and 6: Rationalization and manic explanations!


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