Not too long ago, nearly all my clothing was bought at the swap meet. $1 a piece - who can beat that?? But I have to confess that I haven't been to my favorite swap meet since the YLF meetup, and my subsequent trips have been largely fruitless. It's kind of a conundrum for the the One Dollar Wonder.
The biggest thing in the way is that I started my new job just after the Shoptoberfest Meetup... that means I haven't had a free weekend, which also means I haven't been able to get to my favorite swap meet at *all.* Then there is the fact that half of my days off are now taken by my Dress for Success volunteer work. When I do get to the local swap, it is not at the best hours, and I don't have as much time to browse.
Aside from the fact that I am not able to shop for a client of mine as well as I used to, the funny thing is that I'm not really missing it. I feel like I have plenty to wear, and the odds and ends I have picked up recently for work weren't really available at the swap meet anyway - comfort-centric boots, gauze scarves, my unique jackets... all in all, I am happier having plunked down the cash for these items than I would have been reeling in bag after bag of $1 items over the past month. In a way, it almost feels like cheating... instead of putting in the time and sweat to sort through everything, I can just pay more and find the exact items I want in much less time.
I still don't think I will ever want to pay more than flea market prices for some of the things I know will always turn up at the swap meet - tee shirts, thermals, tanks, shorts, leather belts, statement rings - but logically I have to admit that buying The Perfect Item is really a better value than buying many superfluous or ill-fitting or repetitive items. A jagged little pill to swallow for me after twining my identity around bargain shopping for so long.
Don't get me wrong; DH and I still live below our means. We are still big on saving, and I cut costs elsewhere... it's just... after standing for 8 or 9 or 10 hours a day all week... I guess I have more of a vested interest in saving my time and physical energy as well as saving money.
I suppose it's always a trade-off in the end, and everyone has to decide which resources are most valuable at any given time. It's taken a bit, but I think I can truly say that I'm okay with that. :)