Note: This post is not sponsored, I just use this website religiously for both my 5 year old and I, and wanted to tell you how to look great on a small budget! Just to show you how serious I am, I included real screenshots of my past orders with the prices that I paid per order.
There are two major expenses in a household that are within our control; groceries, and clothing. I’ve always been all about the deal when it comes to clothes, but over the years I’ve had to learn that not all deals are good. Then I started to learn more about the “fast fashion” industry and just how much pollution they put out. As if that wasn’t bad enough to learn, I started to see major statistics about just how much clothing ends up in a landfill.
A big believer in sustainability and frugality, I was happy to see YouTubers taking outdating clothing and totally redesigning them. Only…I can’t sew. Redesigning was out. Fast fashion purchases were out. And I couldn’t bring myself to spend $400 on a blazer. What is a frugal girl to do?
With time and maturity, I went through a natural refining of my taste and knew that placing my money in great basics was a must for a near 40 professional women. Yet that still left me with the problem of “investing” $700 for one outfit. I knew that there had to be a better way, and one that doesn’t entail time walking around a million thrift and consignment shops. That’s when I found ThredUp !
I’m not one for consignment shops because I actually dislike clothes shopping. There was a time in my life where I would be in a mall once per week credit card in hand, but quite frankly the thought of it now makes me feel queasy. It’s time and money that I want to spend doing other things.
The same can be said for shopping at those kids consignment sales that are so popular now. Great concept, long lines. I will say that $80 got my little one a whole entire winter wardrobe that one time, but I also paid an extra $10 to get in early. That’s something that I won’t do again because now I have this handy site. It allows me to shop via web or app, and there is always a coupon code of some sort. I have 7 days to return anything that doesn’t fit, and the return shipping is free. However, since the measurements are posted in the description, I’ve only ever had to return one blouse.
So far, I’ve scored Anne Taylor, Evan Picone, Anne Klein, Talbots, Kasper, Brooks Brothers, Jones New York Suits, Ralph Lauren and Polo…for both Dylan and I, and Calvin Klein. Calvin Klein everywhere. Many, many of the items were brand new with tags, but previously loved doesn’t bother me anyway.
Below is the order that got me hooked. For $40, check out the Ann Taylor silk lined dress pants and The Sack cross body bag for $12:
Yes soon after this purchase, I ended up doing 3 orders for Dylan, and one large one for myself. I feel like I’m set for quite sometime, where as I will use this seasonally for Dylan. I would urge ThredUp shoppers to have a plan and set a strict budget. Sometimes when things are inexpensive we tend to buy more. Hence the fast fashion industry’s unethical ways of mass production. It can be difficult to stop the pattern of over consumption and even when we are doing some good by purchasing on consignment, we can still go overboard.
Pants under $10? Let’s by 7 pairs!
Spending money on things that are not going to be used or on things that we don’t need because we have duplicates in our closet serves no purpose. It’s just the same over consumption model in a different way. Knowing this, it is always my goal to purchase an entire year’s wardrobe for Dylan for under $150.00 a year, not including coats – except for that one time I scored him that Kenneth Cole for $9.99.
Dressing yourself and your kid well is possible using this resource. Dylan’s tab for 2017 is $138.00, and many things were purchased a little larger so they still fit. For myself I have to spend a bit more, but my major haul this past spring will more than likely be it for the next few years unless I change sizes. I was able to purchase nearly an entirely new wardrobe for under $291.00. Since I had not been shopping for over 3 years, that’s $100 per year on clothes!
Money in the bank baby.
Below are my tried and true tips for helping you to shop well on ThredUp.
Know your style
For work I strive to dress like Katharine Hepburn. On the weekends I strive to dress like Katharine Hepburn. I love structured clothing so you will find a ton of blazers in my wardrobe. I also adore well made button down shirts from Brooks Brothers, but have recently found them restricting to wear at a desk all day so I’ve been phasing them out of my everyday wardrobe to use with my riding pants instead and won’t repurchase them.
Alas, you must be committed to purging regularly. With knowing your style you can feel justified in making the purchase because you know that you love it. That is until you end up with so much of one thing that it’s ridiculous. Not unlike the time that I ended up with 40 blazers (!) Love them I did, but I never wore half of them. Purging keeps you honest with yourself.
Don’t categorize your clothing
I do not have a “work” wardrobe and a “casual” wardrobe, nor do I have a “seasonal” wardrobe. I use everything together year round. My blazers work with jeans, and my work pants paired with flats keep me polished while running errands. This saves me time and money as I don’t have to seasonally shop, and my weekends are free as I’m not committed to sales circulars or store discount days.
Spend money on the basics…
This is the real reason why I love ThredUp. I can purchase designer, read: well made pieces from the likes of Brooks Brothers at a fraction of the store price. While scrolling to get an example for this post, I found a cashmere sweater for $104.99. There was also a 15% off promotion today, which would make a $300 cashmere sweater in excellent condition by Brooks Brothers a whopping $89.00! If it had been my size I would have purchased it!
NEVER pay retail folks.
This site will let you search for a specific piece, like black pants, and then narrow your search by designer and/ or price. Stocking your wardrobe with staples means that you can build your wardrobe on top of them for years to come. You may decide that you don’t like boat neck blouses anymore, but those black suiting pants by Kasper will be ready to pair with anything for years to come.
…but also have some inexpensive fun!
If you’re really not sure how a trend or a certain cut will look on you, this is a perfect way to experiment. I once got a pair of Ellen Tracy wide leg silk blend pants for $4.99. I wasn’t sure if that cut would be flattering on me, but for $5 and the ability to return for free, I gave it a shot. It’s now one of my favorite go to pieces for a professional look.
Great for kids
This summer I was able to purchase a BNWT Brooks Brothers polo shirt for Dylan. I would normally think 7 times about buying him a $50 polo that he’ll grow out of or wreck with ice cream stains, but brand new with tags for 14.40!? YES PLEASE! I also scored him navy blue Ralph Lauren Polo chap type shorts, also BNWT, for only $14.35.
Be sure to take a good inventory of what you already have and can keep using, then take your laptop into the room and shop right in front of the closet for accuracy.
While all of my orders have arrived quickly, using this site requires a bit of time. It wouldn’t be a good idea to shop it you needed an outfit in a few days. Also, the inventory changes near daily so if they don’t have what you are looking for, check again tomorrow. Start planning any additional needs that you may have coming up and taking a look about a month before you know that you’ll need it. If you find something that you adore but need to think about it, you can hold items in your cart overnight. The app will message you when your cart is going to expire.
Reigning in the budget to keep more of what you make is much easier than you think. Sites like this and other resources to help us to live well on less are so easily accessed that if we are coming up broke a the end of a pay period, we have to ask ourselves why and take a look at our spending patterns.
Pre Dylan, I spent way more than I should have on clothing. Even if I could walk up to the register with an arm load of clothes and use enough rewards to make my total $80.00, doing that weekly equals $320 a month. Or $1,920 in 6 months.
After Dylan, I was so nervous about expenses that I didn’t shop at all and I realized that I had moved to the other extreme. Now, thanks to ThredUp, I’m happily in the middle. It’s important to look polished and trustworthy, but it’s also important to keep your money in your bank and help save the planet through responsible consumerism. Until next time…
Happy (frugal) shopping,
Want to have some fun!? For every registered account, ThreadUP graciously gives you a referral link. If you use my link to purchase your first order, you will get $10 off your purchase, and I’ll get $10 credit towards a future order!