Thrifty Mama: Cheap as Free

OK, so normally I don't like to write posts about "what I wore." One, I am so not that fashionable.Two, usually, as you can see, you will find me in just a pair of jeans, T-shirt, and sweater (because it's always chilly in the SF Bay Area!). Nothing too special. But, the outfit above cost me nearly nothing.

Here's the Cost breakdown of my Outfit: 
T-shirt (Rhapsody)- $0 (a left-over from a garage sale I assisted with a few weekends ago)
Jeans (ARDEN B)- $0 (free from a friend who I often swap and exchange clothing with.)
Belt (Vintage)- $5 (Cross Roads Trading Company)
Sweater (GAP)- $2 (Thrifted)
Shoes (Indigo)-$3 (Thrifted, sorry not pictured. That's what happens when a toddler grabs hold of the tri-pod mid picture taking)
Earrings- (Sterling Silver) $0 (Lifted from my Mom...sorry mom. Do you want these back?)

Why do I strive to not pay for my clothing?  Well, once we became a single income family the first year my son was born (I now work too much...but still hold tight to my thrifting ways) I had literally $0 for personal expense, and living in the SF Bay Area is not cheap. I didn't even pay to get my hair cut (not recommended).

So, I started asking around for certain items I was looking for, which led me to discover the brilliant world of swaps, exchanges, consignment stores, and Buy, Sell, Trade Stores. And, of course, my usual haunts such as Good Will and my worldly mother's closet. There are so many options for finding high quality clothing for nearly no money, and I hope to share my methods with you throughout the fall and winter months as part of my Thrifty Mama series.

Have any of you started using any of the above said methods for outfitting your wardrobes lately? I would love to hear your tips on how you find your clothing.

Here are just a few of the thrift stores and consignment stores int he Bay Area and Nationwide I have found to be great sources of fabulous clothing :

Cross Roads Trading Company (Nationwide)

Buffalo Exchange (Nationwide)

Labels (Walnut Creek & Berkeley)

Leftovers Trhift Shop (Walnut Creek)

Main Street Rags (Walnut Creek)

Out of the Closet (SF Bay & Nation)

Sola Lucy (Oakland & Berkeley)


  1. I've done a "clothes trading party" with friends and they are always so much fun! Plus I've gotten some great free clothes! I'm going to try and organize one at my work this year, I think it will be cool to recognize an old sweater on one of your co-workers in the staff room!

  2. I get the vast majority of my clothes and accessories from garage sales and thrift stores. I like the prices and I like that they've already been laundered, which means that the way they fit in the store will be the way they fit after I wash them at home.

    I will buy pre-owned shoes, especially dress shoes or sandals, but because I wear athletic shoes so much of the time, I usually just buy those on a good sale and wear them until they wear out.

  3. I love to buy thrifted clothes! I always feel so pleased with myself if I've picked up a bargain. I've made a few mistakes, but at least these have only cost me a few pounds here and there.

  4. @ Sarah, oh I love the idea of swapping at work. That could be lot's of fun and spark some fun conversations.
    @ Annie Jones, that is so why I love dressing in thrifted/second hand clothing. What you try on is what you are getting. And shoes, don't get me wrong. I love shoes and that is one place I will spend money...oh and socks too. I have a thing for nice high quality socks.
    @ Annaboo, thrifting is so the best and I always love reading about your thrifted finds!

  5. OK, now that I'm a full time artist, I have no money for clothes. To top it off, I had a really bad accident in early June and am just started to get back to the studio. I can't do much yet. Anyway, I hope to get some good ideas from you. :)

  6. Hey so that's where my earrings went! You sure you don't have that silver platter I'm looking for? (Which I bought at Goodwill for about $10!)

    Actually enjoy those earrings. You can always make me something new to replace them!

    Love, Mom

  7. Ha, ha Mom. Thanks for letting me keep them (: I am positive I don't have the platter, although you never know. I would be happy to make you anything you would like. Just let me know. Love to you!

  8. Super cute! There's a new-ish thrift store by me called Savers, and they have stuff that's nice enough for work. Yay!



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