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Saturday, October 8, 2016

Why Purchasing Retail is a Last Resort for Me

A great jacket at a great price!

Whenever I need something, a retail store is not the first place I turn to fill my need. For one reason, shopping retail is the most expensive way to acquire goods. Retail purchases use a significant portion of my hard earned income and don't provide a bigger enjoyment of the purchase over a similar item purchased at a thrift store, garage sale, or traded between friends. In fact, I would have to say that for me, finding what I need in a less conventional way is actually way more enjoyable and satisfying.

Here is a concrete example of my philosophy to turn to retail shopping as a last resort. My little boy needed a winter jacket this year. He is four-years-old, so it is unlikely that anything I buy him this year will be worn again next year.

I was shopping at a favorite thrift store for Halloween costumes, when I noticed a rack of very nice, good condition boys' winter jackets. I moseyed on over and began to look at the jackets. I found several in size four and examined each one carefully for condition. I chose one in a camouflage pattern that was priced at $3.99. Now I only need to add a hat and mittens to be ready for winter, if we actually have cold enough days to wear a winter jacket in central Texas this year!

 Just after I bought Liam's jacket, I had to go to Target to buy ink for my printer. This is an example of an item that I generally purchase retail (though I did have a $5.00 off storewide Target coupon to use that day). As I walked through the store I noticed boys' winter jackets on display and curious about what they cost, I moved closer to get a look at the price tag. Imagine my surprise to find that these jackets, which were not substantially different in construction or quality to the thrift store jacket I had just bought, were ten times more than what I paid at the thrift store!
Nice jacket, but not ten times nicer than my thrift store jacket!
This price is easy to absorb for
my limited budget. 
If I spend $39.99 on a winter jacket when I could spend $3.99, that removes $36.00 from my budget that I could use elsewhere. I could almost fill my gas tank twice for that amount of money. My family and I live on a small income and one of the primary reasons we can do so is that we look for the most inexpensive way to get what we need. The thrift store, clearance sales, and markdowns are my allies in my war on excess spending. Every dollar I don't spend on discretionary spending is released to my mandatory spending categories such as mortgage, electricity, water, insurance, and the like.

Can you say sticker shock? ;)
One of the reasons we live on a small budget is due to choice. My husband and I value lifestyle and time to enjoy our lives over the rat race of working a forty-hour week. We chose instead to build businesses that allow us to work for ourselves mainly from home and to spend time with our family.  We are working at earning a full-time income from our part-time efforts and are creating multiple streams of income that will allow us to work wherever we go, so long as we have our computers and a decent Internet connection.

If you have a good income and can afford to buy retail, I encourage you to give thrifting a try. The money you don't spend can go towards paying off your home or car early, saving for college, giving to charitable causes, or investing.

Buying secondhand also helps the environment by reusing and recycling items that would otherwise have ended up in the landfill. No matter what our income, we all need to be aware of how our purchases impact the world in which we all live.

Do you have a tight budget or live on a fixed income? How do you cover all your bases without exceeding your spending? Do you barter, shop garage sales, or thrift stores? Tell me all about it in the comments section!

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