Being a Thrifty Humanitarian

The other day someone complimented me on what I was wearing. When my admirer asked me where I got my jacket I took a quick inventory of my frocks and realized that everything I had on fell into the “gently-used” category. In fact, I believe my entire outfit cost less than $60 and that included my Kenneth Cole leather boots, which I found for $30 at an adorable little resale shop in Park City.


You see, I am a total freak for thrift store shopping.

I don’t think I’ve paid full price for any item of clothing, other than underwear, since people suffering from Y2K madness hoarded water, baby wipes, and nondairy creamer, right next to their guns and ammo. (Actually, here in Utah that’s still a regular practice.)

Ironically, I will pay $75 for a bra that can boldly hoist my sagging breasts (which due to nursing look like two gym socks with marbles at the bottom) up to new heights, but I WON’T pay $29.99 for a T-shirt at the Gap. I have two excellent reasons (other than my boobs) for this:

  1. It’s a T-shirt, for cryin’ out loud! It probably cost 72 cents to make, by evidence of the Haines 3-Pak colored T-shirts you can get at Target for $4.99.
  2. Me thrift store shopping with my friends in Palm Springs
  3. When it comes to my middle-aged, shifting body I will stop at nothing to find ways to wrangle it back into shape. And if that means spending big bucks on a NASA-engineered pair of panties that can make my butt defy gravity while bitch-slapping my thighs back into place, then I guess that means the kids just won’t eat this month.

You may conclude from this that I’m cheap and self-indulgent. Well, you may be right about that, but that’s not why I love thrift store shopping. I love thrift store shopping for the finds.

Going all the way back to cave mamas, it’s a known fact that women are instinctively gatherers, while men hunt, preferring to chase after something that’s wild and dangerous, and then try to conquer it (which probably explains the divorce rate). So unless guys can stalk a pair of Levi 501s and wrestle them to the ground in a fight to the death, my guess is they don’t give a rat’s ass about finding a pair of pants that makes one’s caboose look amazing—all at a killer price.

But then again that’s not surprising. After all, they are guys. Most of them still haven’t read Bridges of Madison County. Need I say more?

Probably not, but I will.

Market Price: $1,095.00
Thrift store Price: $50

Thrift store shopping is the ultimate gatherer experience. There is nothing more exciting than finding an Armani jacket (that was about $1,400 brand new) for $35. I tell you, it ranks right up there with chocolate, pedicures, hot rock massages, and sex. Unless George Clooney is involved, then I have to believe sex would be better. (And if it isn’t I don’t want to know because I cling to my fantasies like a life line in a group mud wrestling pit.)

My friends and I are such thrift store junkies that we even buy things for each other when we’re out on bargain reconnaissance missions all alone. And if the purchase doesn’t work out, no biggie. That’s secondary to finding an adorable Donna Karan chemise that costs only seven bucks. If you see that on a rack you have to buy it, otherwise you’re a disgrace to your gender.

My friends and I have even been known to give bags of thrift store finds to each other as birthday gifts. Although that does take away some of the gatherer fun for the receiver, so now we just cut to the chase and buy each other gift certificates to our favorite thrift stores. We get around any claims of being crazy by asserting that thrift-store shopping appeals to our sense of recycling. Yes, we proudly proclaim, we are humanitarians saving the Earth one used pair of Jimmy Choo sling-backs at a time.

Okay, fine, if the truth be told, we’re pretty wacked, and we know it. But hey, at least we look fabulous AND have enough money left over to buy a pair of Spanx so slimming they make Kim Kardashian look like she’s perpetually inhaling.

Now that’s a cheap look.

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Stacy Dymalski is a stand-up comic who gave up the glamorous life of coach travel, smokey comedy clubs, and heckling drunks for the glamourous life of raising kids (who happen to be bigger hecklers than the drunks). This blog is her new stage.

For more of Stacy’s comedy check out her hilarious book Confessions of a Band Geek Mom available in paperback and on Kindle on