Guest Contributor: Kametra Matthews
When I was a little girl, I would go thrift shopping with my grandma every Saturday morning. We would get the “Thrifty Nickle” (free weekly paper with classifieds) and search for which “garage sales” (what we called them down south) before heading out on Saturday mornings. Sometimes during our trips we would see posters on utility poles with posters pointing to sales and we would just follow directions. My grandma would give me 5 bucks to buy what I wanted. This is how I was introduced to thrift shopping.
I still love, love, love thrift stores and yard sales. I must admit, though, I have become a bit of a bougie thrifter. When I worked in a lab for 10 years, common dress was jeans, t-shirt, sneakers, and a white lab coat. Now that I have to dress more professionally, I rely on Unique Thrift Store in Falls Church, VA. I always walk out of this store with great labels such as Anne Taylor, Nine West and Kenneth Cole. Shopping here works out perfectly, because buying professional clothes for work is very expensive. I am able to buy shoes, clothes, and accessories, such as handbags, belts, and scarves without breaking the bank. I’ve also bought pots, paintings, small appliances, and furniture. I’m a platinum member which means that on Mondays and Thursdays I get 25% off and Holidays 50%off.
Thrift store shopping has inspired me to learn how to sew. Many of the slacks I buy are often too long and the jeans need to be taken in at the waist. When my seamstress broke her foot and was out for 2 months, I said, “I need to learn how to sew!” My mother and fiancé (boyfriend at the time), took me seriously and gifted me a sewing machine and gadgets. I took my 1st course in December and am currently doing a free online tutorial at www.mimigstyle.com. Once I get the hang of it I think I’ll love it, but its like going back to school. I am amazed at how many people sew. I had no idea before I was interested. There is a huge support system for people who sew and there are often free and inexpensive classes where they can learn or improve their skills.
Last month, I got engaged! Planning a wedding on a small budget in the DC metro area is going to call on all of the thrifting expertise I have been acquiring since my $5 garage sale trips with my grandmother. From waiting until the dress goes on sale, finding locations that are big enough and that will allow my personal caterer to bring in food, to bargaining for services and finding décor for resale, I’ll have to arrange it all. Being economical takes work in every sense of the word and I’m excited to do the work.