Around the time I turned 30, I decided I needed to overhaul my finances. Though I was never reckless with money, I was certainly guilty of being thoughtless, and I was beginning to realize that I needed to make changes in my spending habits. Around this time, I decided to ditch the mall and thrift exclusively for my clothes. That was several years ago….and I’m still ditching the mall in favor of thrift stores! The benefits have been numerous: I’ve saved thousands of dollars, but more importantly, it’s changed my very core and character in the following three ways:
1) I have more self-discipline.
Committing myself to my financial overhaul required me to say “no” to myself. With very few exceptions, I only bought clothes if I could find them at rock bottom thrift store prices. I no longer indulged on whatever I thought was “cute” at the mall. The more I exercised my “no” muscle, the easier it became. And interestingly, I began to carry over more frugal habits into other categories of spending as well–and these habits are alive and well today!
“Children do what feels good. Adults devise a plan.” -Dave Ramsey
2) I’m more grateful for the clothes I have.
The hours I’ve spent shopping in thrift stores have illuminated the sheer amount of excess and over-consumption that characterizes our society. We live in a culture of fast fashion, materialism, and around-the-clock internet shopping. Given that much of the world’s population struggles with food scarcity and clean water, it’s safe to say that fashion is a first world problem. With that in mind, I’ve relegated fashion and clothing to their proper places in life’s priorities. Beautiful and stylish outfits are wonderful, but there are far more important (and genuinely fulfilling) aims in the grand scheme of life.
3). I’m Free to be Me!
Shop the mall and the implicit message is, “Here is what you need to wear to be in style.” But when you shop thrift stores, you can create your own style–which often results in a more interesting and original wardrobe at a fraction of the price. (Because who wants to look like everyone else anyway?) Thrifting has largely liberated me from being overly concerned about others’ perceptions of my outfits because I wear what I like and I like what I wear!
“Fashion is anything which is you and reflects your personality, and if you are comfortable with what you’re wearing, you’ll look trendy and fashionable for sure.” ~Yami Gautam