Monday, July 19, 2010

Money-Saving Tip 1: Don't Shop Again

A few years ago I was invited to an interesting afternoon party at a friend's condo. They called it a clothing swap and let me tell you it was a fucking GOLDMINE! Seriously, my friends have expensive and great taste and I have totally scored! The one I went to recently included several pairs of designer (and I mean $400) shoes. Since then, a couple of other groups have popped up and I've, fortunately, secured invitations to those as well.

I love, LOVE the clothing swap concept, especially because I can get rid of my stuff. They say, one woman's trash is another's treasure. Over the last two years, I've landed some amazing things, especially dresses with the tags still on. It's amazing what we women will buy and decide you'll never wear it after it's too late to return, so why not allow another fabulous woman the chance to have it? And, let's be honest, we all keep clothing one size smaller and bigger, for the "ups and downs", but some things you'll just never get into again. Time to say adios!

The trick about the clothing swap is not just to take anything you like, you've got to try it on, allow the other women to say "Yes! that fits you perfectly. You should definitely take that" and some of them will whimper with some jealousy that they didn't find it first. It's all about strategy.

1. Get to the party a little early
2. While you set out your stuff, scope what's already present - some times, the host will let you pick things up early since you were nice enough to come early and help set up
3. Grab a glass of wine and stay nearby to watch what other's lay out - this can include trying on shoes to see if they fit
4. Make a mental note of what you want and need most to fill out your closet
5. When they say "Go!" head directly for what you want, do not pass Go, just grab
6. The second time through begin looking through everything more carefully - is it in your size, is it your style, is it something you really need
7. Try on - make sure it fits before you walk out with two trashbags of clothing you might end up dumping off at the Salvation Army any way
8. While trying on, scope out what others are trying on. If it doesn't fit them, politely ask if you can try it on. If it fits, it's yours.
9. Be sociable and complimentary. While you're on a serious mission, it's important to connect with the other women. Besides, there's nothing better than the honest opinion of these gals. They are the LEAST likely to tell you something looks good if it doesn't and then you hand it over to them.
10. Place your treasures in your bag and go back for additional rounds until you feel you've gotten everything worthwhile. This is also a great time to think of other women in your life. Is there something here that a friend would like, a sister? Gift shopping made easy and FREE!
11. Don't leave immediately. Stay and mingle. Tell the gals how great they look in their new findings and....make some friends.
12. Help the host pack up the remaining items to be sent to a charity. We typically drop off at Dress for Success or a women's shelter. Good for you, good for the community.

In the last two years, I've scored 12 dresses, 14 tops, 10 pairs of pants/jeans, 3 skirts, five pairs of shoes, five handbags, and tons of jewelry. The only money I've spent shopping this year was at Old Navy for white T's and some tank tops. That's not even $40!

If you can't find one, start one. It's the best afternoon with your girlfriends you will ever spend. And, if there's a man in your life, often women will bring things from their guy's closet. I've also heard, gasp, that some men are getting in on the swap. Suits are expensive and who doesn't want to save some dough in this recession?

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