Too Thrifty Chicks



Mellow Yellow: A Little Touch of Sunshine

When one of my favorite people in the world let me know that her boo “Liked it and put a ring on it,” I wanted to turn cartwheels. When she told me soon after that she and said boo had no plans to wait and were getting married in Las Vegas in July, I almost fainted. Not because of the quick turnaround, but…Las Vegas…in JULY?! There was no doubt that I was going to be at the ceremony, but Jesus be a fence, a bottle of water, a kiddie pool and a sprinkler.

If you’ve never been to Las Vegas in the summer, you don’t know about the triple digit heat that cools down to 99 degrees when the sun goes down. The only thing that is remotely equivalent is if you stood in front of your oven, turned it up as high as it could go and then opened the door. It is that HOT! How were we going to keep from dying of heat stroke? Could we be sweaty and cute? But more importantly, what in the name of all that is holy was I going to wear?

Operation Do Better was already being thrown a curveball by the unexpected trip and I knew that buying a dress to wear for the ceremony was out of the question. Enter Reese and her giveaway pile of clothes. My roomie extraordinaire just happened to be chucking this adorable yellow dress that she liked, but didn’t really love. She suggested that I give it a try before I broke down and bought something new. Lo and behold it looked great. All I needed to do was take it in around the bust area.

Check out these snaps of me rocking the frock and me and the newly made missus, Tia C. Harris-Kinard!

Yellow 1Yellow 2


Me and Mrs. Tia C. Harris-Kinard. This was taken before the actual deed was done, but isn’t she lovely? ūüôā

I always thought orange and red were my favorite colors, but I think yellow is my ministry. This sunny shade pops off my skin and just makes me feel really beautiful. The light, airiness of the dress was perfect for letting me get a little ventilation without looking under dressed for the occasion.

Speaking of yellow — I bought a little something at the 1st Annual FABULOUS Second-Hand/Vintage Clothing Pop-Up Shop that we blogged about in June. I never got a chance to show you all the fabulous find I snagged from Patrice ‚ÄúPatty B‚ÄĚ Boone of The Prissy Tomboy and BTwenty3.

Well here she is in all her glory. I wore this vintage jumpsuit in NYC during Blogging While Brown for an advance screening of Fruitvale Station, a must see movie about the death of Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident, who was shot and killed by a Bay Area Rapid Transit officer on New Year’s Day 2009. It is a powerful movie and it is in theaters now. I recommend that you check it out. Me and the roomie plan to go see it again this weekend.

As for the jumpsuit, my goal is to add some straps to the top part since I’m not particularly blessed with enough bust to keep it up, but I look forward to rocking this look many times this summer! Enjoy the view! — R&R

Yellow 3 Yellow 5 Yellow 4


Doing Better: Christina’s Story, Part 2

Christina Walker is Doing Better and this week she’s sharing the part two of who she’s re-writing her financial history and changing her family tree. Missed the first part of Christina’s Story? Check it out here.


First steps to freedom

In 2007/2008 I got my head together again. ¬†Thanks to some sage advice, I moved my money from a traditional bank to a credit union and sat down with a financial adviser to talk about cleaning up my credit and becoming debt free. In 2009, I met my husband David Walker Jr. ¬†Early in our relationship, we talked about working jobs that we loved and having the financial freedom to change our family trees and travel the world. ¬†We both had a mindset of not wanting to be in debt before we met each other so there wasn’t much fighting over money.¬† We did have one struggle that led to our decision to merge our separate bank accounts. ¬†We once took a trip and it was a hassle trying to see who would pay for what and out of what bank account so shortly after we had to figure out a new and better system. ¬†Today everything comes out of one account. It’s so much easier with tracking and accounting. ¬†His money is mine and mine is his. We even have wiggle room in our budget for our own personal ‘blow’ money.

We then started reading books by Suze Orzman, Dave Ramsey, Robert Kiyosaki and other personal finance gurus to develop a strategy to become millionaires. ¬†With the help of our friends, we projected our goals for the next five years. We jotted that information down in a notebook that we called our “Goal Book” and we have worked to meet those goals every year since.¬† But the major thing we did was put ourselves on a budget for a whole year and kept track of everything we spent money on.¬† By everything, I do mean EVERYTHING! We kept receipts for all purchases, small or big, for a whole year so we could see exactly where our money was going. Each receipt was kept in its own envelope and in categories which helped a lot with our taxes and our knowing where we spent too much so we could ultimately cut back.

Mine + Yours = OURS

246589_4070503641194_1466817754_nDavid came with his own baggage but not much. He had student loans, bills and a car that just broke down on him. But he¬† lived in a family house that was paid for and didn’t use credit cards anymore. ¬†¬†So most of his overdue bills were small things like a doctor’s bill, which was¬† easily payable. ¬†But since the universe likes to make things interesting, he got laid off and my car broke down, forcing us to shop for a new/used car.¬† Now, I was strapped with a car note again.

But we were determined and we loved each other very much. We also both really wanted to see each other be successful. ¬†¬†So with the help of our credit union, lots of financial books and reading financial blogs, we devised a strategy. ¬†¬†We wrote down every debt we owned, from smallest to largest, and decided to do a debt snowball. We redoubled our efforts to cut down on unnecessary spending and put any leftover money we had each month toward bills. ¬†David worked really hard to get back in school and to find employment. ¬†I worked two jobs at one point to pay down bills. He’s now working two jobs to pay down bills while I take a break.

Real sacrifice, real reward

There have been a ton of tough moments. ¬†When we first started all of this, we stopped socializing when the events 228166_10150203044152720_5542172_nrequired us to come out of pocket. ¬†Now, we can afford to eat out and go on trips but that’s not what our goals entail. ¬†Our goals require us to be frugal and sacrifice so that we could do the things we want to do later. Once a friend of ours said when we declined yet another invite,¬† “Y’all ain’t broke. Why don’t you come hang out?” We stuck to our guns. ¬† In our minds, we were broke. ¬†Not poor. ¬†Being broke, for us, meant we had bills to pay off and life ahead of us. ¬†It mattered that we stop spending thousands of dollars on trips every year or eating out for every occasion or having a lavish wedding.

We paid cash for our wedding. ¬†We only had 20 people in attendance because that’s all we could afford. ¬†¬†People were upset, especially family, but no one offered to pay for a bigger wedding so we made due with what we had.¬†¬† It was better than we expected and it was classy. ¬† We are always complimented on our wedding photos and we’ve even had friends use some of our ideas to plan their own small, inexpensive weddings.

Paying it forward

Throughout the entire process, I have encouraged my friends and family to jump on the “freedom bandwagon” many times. Some got really excited and started their own plan and some didn’t. ¬†¬†In the end some relationships fell to the wayside because it was either their time to end, or maybe we differed on how David and I were now living our lives.¬† But we were serious when it came to being financially sound and we wanted to make sure our lives reflected the walk we were talking.

Some of the best moments so far have been paying off our new $18,000 truck — yes, it was too high but we needed a truck to carry around our two dogs and other equipment. It took us less than three years to pay it off because we paid bi-weekly and made extra payments for two years. All of that culminated in us being able to make a final $5000 cash payment to pay the sucker off. ¬†We got David’s student loans out of default and paid back my four 401(k) loans. We¬† paid off an old overdue but significantly high energy bill from David’s family house, paid off all credit card debt, increased our credit scores by 100-plus points and reduced the interest rate on my loft from 6% to 4%.

Envisioning a beautiful future

382994_10150416391337720_776731016_nSince 2009 we’ve paid off ¬†a little over $67,000¬† in consumer debt. ¬†That may not seem like much and we still have a ways to go, but¬† it’s been cash since then and we’re completely free from a lot of the burdens we use to have. Having¬† each other first and foremost as accountability partners helps a lot. Writing down our goals in our notebook and creating a vision board also keep us motivated. ¬† We know that ultimately we want to open our own business and have children, and we want to make sure we are financially ready to do those things before making those big leaps. ¬†So the beautiful future we envision keeps the fire going…

Want to know Christina’s secret to slaying debt and saving for the future? Check out the last installment of her story next week!


Tidbit Tuesday:Thrift Inspiration and Sewing with Kametra

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 ‚ÄúThrifty Nickle‚ÄĚ (free weekly paper with classifieds) and search for which ‚Äúgarage sales‚ÄĚ (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.

KMM OutfitI 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 KMM Appliancesfurniture.  I’m a platinum member which means that on Mondays and Thursdays I get 25% off and Holidays 50%off.

Right Sized

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 fianc√© (boyfriend at the time), took me seriously and gifted me a sewing KMM Curtainsmachine and gadgets. I took my 1st course in December and am currently doing a free online tutorial at¬†Once I get the hang of it I think I‚Äôll 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.

Thrifty Nuptials

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 d√©cor 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.


A Thrifty Engagement: Precious and Antoine

Two months ago today, Antoine gave Precious a gift that she’s been waiting for: an opportunity to marry her best friend.¬†Antoine proposed to Precious at his surprise birthday party in October. She thought she was pulling a fast one on him, but at the end of the night she was all smiles and tears when she realized the night would be far more special than she had thought.

Pic taken the night of their engagement.

Pic taken the night of their engagement. Precious is wearing a thrifted dress that cost $3.95. Hubby-in-training obviously knows his woman, because he selected this beautiful vintage ring for his bride-to-be. Way to go Antoine!

Instead of spending tons of money on new clothes for their engagement photo session,¬†Precious brought her love for thrifting and her personal style to her engagement photos taken by Krystal Kofie Hohrn Photography. She’s wearing dresses from Goodwill in both photos, with each dress costing $5.95. She’s even influencing the hubby-in-training. The striped button down he’s wearing is a thrifted purchase too!

Precious is all smiles in her fabulous goodwill find and Antoine has a classic, clean look in his thrifted button down.

Precious is all smiles in her fabulous Goodwill find and Antoine has a classic, clean look in his thrifted button down.

Precious took some time to tell us about thrifting and her style:

1) What inspired you to start thrifting?

I love the thrill of finding something precious or beautiful among what others have cast aside. I also love to shop yet found that I spent to much money doing so, thus this was a great alternative.

2) How would you describe your personal style?

I would describe my style as classic, vinatage, and eclectic/urban. I know thats alot (lol) but it depends on the occasion. ¬†I like to take a vintage ode to the past and pair it with a classic piece, and then spice up the outfit with an¬†urban/chic touch. (btw, Precious was named “class trender setter” in her senior superlatives in high school. Get it girl!)

3) What influences/inspires your style?

I watch a lot of fashion tv, per my fiancé, (lol) but no really I love color and funtionality. I am inspired by things that photograph well and accentuated my figure the best.


Precious shows a little leg and sass as Antoine spits his best game. Oooow!

When you take engagement photos, love is the best and most noticeable accessory (and it’s clear that there’s a lot of love adorning this couple). Pairing that with the perfect outfit can give you the confidence needed for a successful photo shoot. Think twice about spending a ton of money on a new outfit and consider recycling something for the occasion. It worked for Precious and Antoine. It could work for you too!

Happy 12-12-12, everybody. Enjoy the novelty of the day!

Until next time,