Remember the other day when I mentioned that if you don’t need something, it’s not a bargain at all? Well, I have needed a new winter coat for, oh, months now – but I was not willing to spend a fortune on one, so I have gone without. I have lived in Virginia and then in Los Angeles since I left college, so I have managed to avoid the coldness of a full winter season. Sure, I go back east and visit family from time to time, and I had a dressy winter coat I could wear then. But now that I live somewhere where it snows for a few months and I have to spend some time out in the wet, I really needed a warm, waterproof coat. I had been looking at my favorite store Patagonia for a coat made from recycled materials (like these fleeces that I love) that is also fully recyclable, but I could not justify the $300+ it would have cost to buy one. I have become rather frugal about new clothes as of late, as I work from home by myself and where I live a dress-up dinner consists of jeans and a sweater without holes. And it’s not like I am a professional skier or snow-man maker, nor do I care to frolic in the snow for hours. However, I did need a coat and had been looking for something affordable and well-built for about a month. And yesterday, I found it:
My wife and I went “down the hill” to Santa Fe this weekend to do our monthly visit to the “big city” for a visit Trader Joe’s, Target, and an amazing thrift store we stop in every time we are in town. They have everything from furniture to antiques to tools to tons of clothes, so we always spend a while poking around in all that square footage of goodies. I found myself standing in front of the jacket racks and leisurely working my way through all the ugly old coats that no one wanted anymore when this like-new jacket from The North Face jumped out at me and screamed “Try Me On!” so I did…and it fit perfectly. It was warm but light, had side vents, fuzzy pockets, was waterproof, and an insulated hood that could be worn up or tucked into the collar. How much could this amazing jacket be? A mere $49! Now that is a bargain that I DID need, and I am so glad I found it. I almost feel as though I stole it!
People often make the mistake of thinking that thrift stores only carry junk, but this just goes to show you that sometimes you can find very good quality goods. I always try to keep in mind all the stuff I have donated over the years, and how nice and expensive a lot of it was – and how I am sure someone was very happy to have my old clothes. So when I think about that, I realize that other people also get rid of good stuff – and this jacket is a case in point, and keeps me always on the lookout for other quality used goods. I would much rather buy used than new for two reasons – 1. Lower cost and 2. The Environment. And this purchase definitely fit the bill!
So what about you? Do you shop at thrift stores? Are you frugal enough to do so? Do you find deals on things you need? Or does buying second-hand gross you out? Let us all know in the comments!