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Tonight my daughter headed to the garage for twinkle lights to spark up the back yard, and returned with both arms filled with clothes to fit granddaughter #2. Back when there was only one child/grandchild to spoil and this grammy was working full time, her mother and I enjoyed hanging out at Gymboree, where the sales were FABULOUS and a savvy shopper could really score. (If you don’t shop there, you might not know that Gymboree’s clothes, although a bit pricey, are well made from fabrics that resist staining and can be handed down from child to child.) Georgia would learn the clothing lines (fabrics that coordinate beautifully, with accessories, socks, undies, etc. to match), get what she could on sale in the store, then head home to “fill in the gaps” by shopping on-line. Add to that twice-yearly consignment sales, presents at Christmas and birthdays, and these girls were stylish!

Olivia came in and tried on every outfit, then sashayed across the living room with her best runway strut to show them off. Georgia took the time to explain why certain pieces coordinated with each other, teaching the differences in shades and patterns and how this top could go with this skirt OR those pants, and why.

The end result of this wonderful “shopping at home”? The only back-to-school purchases needed for this little one are shoes. Dollars saved? Many, many!

During the fashion show, my son called to share his latest Craig’s List score: A barely used King sized mattress and box spring set that retails for $2800, picked up for a song and $100. Plus outstanding buys on a treadmill and elliptical machine. It is amazing the buys you can find courtesy of social media and on-line shopping if you are willing to make the effort.

Watching my kids and their creative shopping brings back memories of shopping at the thrift store at Norton AFB when I was young. Each item would have a base price, but that price would drop by a certain percentage every two weeks or so. So if you wanted something and were willing to wait (and risk someone else buying it), you could often get very good buys. My pride-and-joy purchase as a girl was a deep blue velvet Jonathan Logan cocktail dress (size 9) that I managed to get for fifty cents because no one bought it earlier. For years it served as my dance-hall gown when I played “Miss Kitty” for dress-up, accented by Mom’s rhinestone costume jewelry. Now it lives on in my closet, a relic from an incredible childhood.

What is your shopping style? Do you haunt eBay or Craig’s List, or head to the local department store? What about QVC on television? Is there a particularly good thrift store that is a favorite? I would love to hear your shopping stories in the comments.