Cheap and Cheerful
I calculate that I must have saved myself a whole stack of money, simply because I am the original cheapskate shopper. I honestly enjoy the whole rigmarole of bargain hunting and yet, I realise that there are many people who don't and personally I think for reasons which are superficial. Some people seem to enjoy the process of buying something new from a big name store, with big name brands, but let me just say that you can find these same brands and articles at second-hand markets, op shops and garage sales, for a fraction of the price!
My mother for example, likes to shop at a certain prestigious department store and generally buys all her clothes there. A few months ago she bought a pair of black trousers, which cost £80, strangely enough I had just bought the same pair, same colour and size from the op shop for £1.50. But would this inspire my mother to go op shopping? No, because essentially she enjoys the whole experience and fantasy of shopping in the department store and let's just be honest, ego trip when handing over the store approved credit card; its like a club and you have to pay for the experience.
Other people will cite reasons of disgust are behind their objection to cheapskate shopping, but really 99% of the stuff is clean and once you wash things, there is really nothing to worry about. I mean many people I know who express their disgust about wearing a washed shirt worn by someone else, do many much more intimate things involving swapping bodily fluids, with complete strangers! So I also dismiss this objection.
As far as I am concerned, there is much to gain from being a cheapskate, like having fun, saving money, resources and the environment and just seeing what interesting things you can find. So let's have a look at some of my bargains.
Plenty of people may think it strange, but I generally look for my winter clothes in the summer and visa versa. Also I like quality: real wool and soft cottons, not petro-chemical based clothing, which seem to be overtaking the shopping malls these days. I remember one hot and dusty day at the second-hand market I often go to, finding a brand new 100% woolen jacket for £1, I love this jacket and have received many compliments when wearing it. The woman who sold it to me grumbled that it was too small for her, but it had cost £100 and yet no one else was looking at it. The lesson here is, that to be an effective cheapskate shopper you have to think about the future, not just how you feel that day.
My husband has a huge collection of jeans and many are very expensive brands like Versace and Gucci, however I paid peanuts for them, again mostly at markets. Many brand name clothes are just waiting to be snapped up cheaply, because many people buy clothing items too small, or they have put on weight and the clothes don't fit. When you think about it, buying second-hand is an excellent way to recycle.
I have a huge book collection, because I read a lot and because I want to have plenty of books waiting in the wings ready to read. Also I don't want to pay big bucks for books and there are plenty of great books out there, without adding any more to the world (sorry all you writers). If there is a new book I particularly want to read, generally I just keep my eyes open for it and it will turn up at a thrift shop, garage sale or second-hand market. The amazing thing to me is, that many of the books I buy still have the original price on the back, like £15 and often they haven't even been opened!
One problem that I have with my book collection is my cat, who enjoys to throw them of the shelf when she is bored. This is not good and can cause nervous breakdowns in the middle of the night.
I see so many great furniture bargains, that I could easily fill five houses; alas I have but one house. One of my favourite pieces of furniture is my dining table, which was......free!. Some rich people, (who do own 5 houses) who are friends with the parents in law, wanted to give away an imported carved dining table, which seats 12. I of course was happy to oblige, the only problem is that the thing weighs a ton and is hard to move!
Another favourite piece of furniture is my IKEA modular lounge, which I bought from a garage sale for £50.When I checked on the internet the retail price was huge, as it was top of the line. The lounge itself is in perfect condition, although my cat has taken a fancy to it as a scratching pole when I am not looking.
I could go on and on about my bargains, but I am sure that I have got the general idea across, that cheapskate shopping is fun, you can save heaps of money, resources and the planet; so what are you waiting for?