The thrift store meditations are mine; the financial adventures belong to Frugal Son.
I've often thought that I go to thrift stores for the opportunity to philosophize as much as for the sense of community, fun, and, of course, the stuff. So what is a fancy label if no one recognizes it?
Today I stopped by the Food Bank Thrift ostensibly to donate a few items, but really to look around. They have started to price items individually, so the pace of putting new things out has slowed considerably. Not much of interest, but I did spot a top and capris by the label Per Se. It was an outfit, but the parts were not together.
I would never have heard of this label had I not read a piece last fall in the Wall Street Journal. The writer talked about how she spent big bucks on a St. John set and discovered that this non-trendy outfit garnered her R-E-S-P-E-C-T in upscale restaurants and shops. I, of course, was motivated to test this out and within the week found a St. John jacket at Goodwill for $3.50. I wrote a post about this. (Note to devoted readers: No, I have not had the zipper fixed yet. I will have it done this summer.)
I even added a comment to the WSJ article. Others wrote extolling the similar effects of Carlisle clothing, sold by socially connected women in their homes. Motivated once more, I have been collecting these too at the thrifts and, indeed, two of the jackets elicit compliments.
Per Se is an offshoot of Carlisle. As it happened, the two pieces were a bit small for me (size 6). The pricers marked each piece at $3.00, so obviously they come off as nice, but nothing meriting a higher price. Yet knowing that together the pieces sold for at least $400.00 was a temptation, especially since the pants did sort of fit me. But I resisted. I haven't visited that thrift for a week or so (yes, I am an addict), and I bet the outfit has been passed by more than once. So the set had value to me in large part because I recognized the label.
I wonder if my Carlisle jackets, which are both Chanel-style, elicit the compliments because I know that they were super-expensive. An instructor in fact asked me if one was a Chanel! Is it the jacket that gives off the aura or is it me?
So...if an expensive item is at a thrift store and no one recognizes the label is it still expensive?
On to the financial adventures of Frugal Son. Frugal Son has a lot of freedom financially because, as I have written before, he selected the state university, which handed him a tuition, room, and board scholarship. Last summer, he went to Korea for a month with some friends who had family there. He also worked for 3 weeks in a summer academic program at his beloved residential high school.
He only earned $1000.00, and he just put that into a Roth IRA. He avoided the fees levied on low balance accounts, because he is under our family umbrella at Vanguard. Because he had so little to put away, he was limited to the STAR fund, which, coincidentally, is the fund my own first IRA is in.
His second financial adventure. He wants to buy GE stock! I have never bought an individual stock myself. I am proud of his spirit. It turns out that you can buy GE stock directly without a broker. I said, "Go for it." He has little to lose and much to gain, including knowledge.
Any thrift store philosophy, Dear Readers? Any advice for Frugal Son?