Remarks on budgeting

Being a starving college student, saving money is always a priority for me. I don’t get to have a job because I play field hockey at school, and my parents aren’t the kind that just throw money at their kids, so every dollar counts for me because it could be my last for a while. All the money I get must come from somewhere; it must be earned and deserved.

Because of this, I am always weighing my options: do I really need that or will I actually use that? These questions fill my head every time I shop.

Shopping for clothes can be challenging when on a budget, but it gets easier with time. Eventually I have learned to like saving money because actually having some when I need it is a fantastic feeling. The joy of impulse buying fades but the satisfaction of getting something you really need lasts much longer.

Also, in today’s world, don’t be afraid to look on the Internet for helpful tips and tricks to make your own stuff. Whether its how to hem a skirt for spring or how to make new home decorations. I find myself saying “I can do that” or “that would look so cute in my apartment.”

Never be afraid to try something new or make something. It will keep you wallet intact and will make you home, wardrobe, and life more original and unique.

Children’s Consignment

Growing up, two of my good friends both received sisters in the same year. At the time we were all in seventh grade, so I was able to watch both grow up. One of the most obvious things that I noticed about these little girls is that they constantly had new clothes. It wasn’t that they wanted them or asked for them, but little girls are always growing and need new clothes to grow with them.

Children grow faster than older people and need new clothes, aka a whole new wardrobe, every couple months. This can be a very expensive issue for many parents. How can they constantly be buying new clothes? Granted children’s clothes are cheaper than an adult’s, but multiple pieces can add up quickly.

But don’t worry. Consignment shops are not just for the older crowd. There are specific stores that sell just kids clothing and toys. They are there for the parents looking for inexpensive clothing while still finding the quality they want.

Children's consignment shopping

Parents living in Towson are closer than they think to a store like this. On York Road, sharing a space with With Gratitude, sits The Lily Pad. The small shop is filled with racks of both girls and boys clothes. All the clothing is consignment and is in excellent condition. This particular store sells more high-end children’s clothing but the prices are still very fair.

The Lily Pad of Towson

The store also offers toys, books, and other items for small children. All these pieces are new from national companies but are still very unique and reasonably priced. All the pieces in the store change seasonly and the inventory is evolving and changing.

This store is there for the growing kids in the Towson area. Parents can find cheaper clothing right down the street and keep up with their growing kids’ needs.

Bringing New Life to an Old Piece

I know I do it. You probably do it to. It happens to many shoppers. You pass over the older piece of fashion because you think it has no real spot in your closet. You’ll never wear it, and it will just collect more dust, getting older and older.

This happens because people don’t realize the real potential in those older pieces. And everyone forgets that, with just a little bit of wit and patience, the piece can look completely different. Hems are easily lowered, seams let out, and sleeves cut off. In a matter of minutes, a dress that reminded you of your grandma now looks brand-new and part of modern fashion.

One of the easiest ways to redo clothes is to dye them. Buying white pieces then use dying kits to change the color is the simplest way to incorporate new items that match your wardrobe.

Never be afraid to cut apart your clothes. You are most likely doing it to clothes you don’t want anymore or that you got for cheap, so it’s no loss to you if the first time does not go as planned. It will get easier as you get more experienced. Also, the fact that you could say you make your own clothes will make you look crafty and unique.

The important things to remember is that never overlook that drab dress hanging in the corner of the consignment shop. Another person’s trash can be your new beauty.

Savings, Savings, Savings

Walking around the mall can be a challenge. My friends love to go shopping, as do I. Unfortunately, I don’t always get to buy something.

I have spent many nights watching friends try on outfit after outfit while I patiently sit on a chair, offering advice, saying yes, definitely or no way. It can get tiring and makes me a little bitter, but the lack of difference in the number in my bank account makes it worth it. There is nothing worse than going to check on my savings and seeing them significantly less than the day before.

Saving money can be hard to do, especially when you love to shop, shop, and then shop again. Managing money is a tricky thing, but it is possible. Don’t try to do it cold-turkey. Set some rules for yourself and learn some tricks and tips to help make it easier.

Annoy yourself. Question every purchase you consider making because then you may not buy it. But if you edit your spending, you will have more money to maybe spoil yourself later.

Never just stop spending altogether, it will not work. You, like being on a bad diet, will splurge on the first chance you get. Instead, go slowly and spend money rationally.

When trying to save, many people try to utilize more coupons because they think they will help them save money. However, coupons can be the evil side of trying to save. They can actually make you spend more because you can be tempted to buy something you never would have just because you have a coupon for it.

Saving money is a tricky business, but it gets easier with practice. Have patience and take it one day at a time. But don’t be afraid to spend every now and then, new things are always fun to have.

Surprises at The Surprise Shop

If you are looking for both consignment and thrift fun, head down Allegheny Avenue in Towson to an old rectory house. It was originally used by the Trinity Episcopal Church which is right next door. The last rector to live there was William Roberts, said shop volunteer director Erin K. Woodward. But now it serves as the home of The Surprise Shop.

Open since 1964, The Surprise Shop gives its visitors exactly that, surprises. Each corner of each room in the house is filled with everything the mind can imagine. Each room is home to a different category from books to men and boys to designer clothes. The bottom floor holds every odd and end imaginable. Full dish sets are on sale as well as books, movies and board games. This floor also has the men and boys room as well as the kids room.

Heading upstairs is the place for the fashionista women. On the top floor, there are three different rooms of women’s clothes. The first is dresses and suits. Here there are all different kinds of suits, nice dresses, and prom dresses. The second room is the casual clothing room which has every type of clothing available. From shirts to pants, everyone can find something for a very reasonable price. The third room, the designer room, is slightly more expensive, but it is full of more upscale labels of clothing.

The store takes both donations and consignments (except large furniture), but the profits made fund the Trinity Episcopal Church’s Outreach Programs. The owners sit at a desk right inside the door and are quick to welcome every visitor and offer advice on where to look inside the shop. It is a good place for the person on a budget. The prices tend to be around $10. It is the place to shop around, get the labels you want, and still learn about the value of money (the stuff your parents didn’t teach you about). The Surprise shop is more like my grandma’s attic, then a boutique, but it is still great because it never stops offering the customer a new find.

Wear the stars’ jewelry

Girls love to emulate others. From a young age, little girls watch their moms put on their make-up and try on their heels. As girls get older, they switch from imitating their moms, to following the stars. Living in a celebrity-obsessed culture, American women look to the more famous people to find out about fashion trends and new clothing designers. It applies to both clothing and shoes, as well as jewelry.

Now the women of Towson can emulate the stars after one quick shopping trip. Last week, I told you about With Gratitude, the crafts and home goods on York Road. One of their items is the jewelry of Jarretsville’s mom Lauren Hoehn. Not only does she have local ties, but she also has started making jewelry for the stars. Chosen to give jewelry for the Golden Globes gift bags, Hoehn’s creations are now being worn by the likes of Camille Grammer and Alicia Witt.

According to the owner of With Gratitude, Pamela Somerville, Hoehn is also in the process of filling an order of her product for Katie Holmes and Suri Cruise.

Women in Towson now need to look no further than down the street to be able to mimic the looks of the stars. It has never been easier.

Consignment or Thrift?

Consignment shopping can be a great thing not only for the customer, but also for the owner of the item. To consign an item means the seller takes it to a store who then puts it on sale. Once the item sells, the original seller splits the money with the store. This means that a seller must wait until their particular item has sold before making money. Most consignment items are second-hand, meaning they are used before. However, it is easy to find brand new pieces, never-worn, that people were just trying to get rid of.

Consignment shops and thrift stores make look similar, but they are fairly different.

This is slightly different from a thrift store. A thrift store is a shop that is usually run by an charity or non-profit, such as a church. All merchandise is usually donated by community members. The profits made are then kept by the charity. Thrift stores tend to take all donations, unlike consignment shops which can be a little picky about what merchandise they agree to sell.

This difference between the two is important, especially from a price standpoint. Thrift stores tend to be cheaper because the profits made are not split. However, the selection at a consignment shop may be slightly better because they can pick and choose what they want to sell.

However, both are helpful to the budget. And both are bound to offer unique finds for the customer. Originality is where both shine. Do not discount one for the other because you may miss out!