Winter Comfort and Joy Depends on the Right Clothes

I have to admit to being somewhat agnostic when it comes to winter weather. Living in southern California, it’s something I hear about but do not experience.

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I am aware that it gets cold in some areas of the world. I’ve heard the term “polar vortex” and know the principle behind the windchill factor. But honestly, I just don’t care one way or the other. Well, I didn’t care until a couple of weeks ago.

I traveled to Colorado on business, booked into a nice hotel and settled in to get ready for a meeting the following morning. I woke to snow and temps in the low 30s F. There I was in open-toed shoes and a light sweater trying to break through some kind of frozen material disguised as ice and snow on the car’s windshield.

Normally, I would have chalked it up to poor planning and forgotten about it. But this was different. As I stood there in the snow, chipping away at the windshield feeling more foolish than cold, I kinda’ panicked. In just a matter of months, my husband and I, our business and all that we own will pack it up and move to Colorado!  Read more

If the Shoe Fits, Get it Fixed

To some people a cobbler is a lovely fruit dessert, best served warm. To others it is a shoemaker who repairs shoes—an almost forgotten trade.

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Suddenly, shoe repair is coming back. Big time. 

Sales of luxury goods are down, but it’s a flush time for people who repair them. High-end cobblers, tailors and jewelers have seen a spike in repair business from frugal customers, thanks to a trend toward fixing goods rather than replacing them. We’re quickly moving from a disposable society to one that’s learning to mend and repair.

Shoe repair shops nationwide, of which there are only about 7,500 remaining—down by half from a decade ago, are reporting a 20 to 45 percent surge in business. Things are beginning to shift as consumers are learning to make do. And for many, that means getting shoes that fit, fixed. Read more

7 Easy Ways to Slash the Cost of Clothing

 

Clothing is not optional, but spending a lot of money on it is, says author Gregory Karp in his book, Living Rich by Spending Smart: How to Get More of What You Really Want.

Some rights reserved by eflon

Some rights reserved by eflon

So, just off the top of your head, how much would you say that your family spends on clothing in a year? According to the U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey, a family of four spends on average $2,850 a year on apparel and services like dry cleaning, to keep that apparel looking good. Wow. That’s $240 a month—a major expense in any family’s budget.

Karp offers seven easy ways to cut that expense without having to take fashion risks for yourself or sending the kids off to school looking odd and frumpy. Read more

Bag a Bargain on Men’s Leather Belts in ANY Size

Today I am especially impressed if not excited by the cool and very useful money- and time-saving tips my EC readers send to me.

Not that long ago I stopped into a discount clothing store (Marshall’s to be exact) to get my husband a new belt. I enjoy the classy look of a high-quality leather belt and I know this store usually has a fairly decent selection. And they did. The problem was that not one of them was smaller than a size 52. What!? I walked out empty-handed. Then I heard from Reader Bob. Why didn’t I think of that?

Bargain belts

The discount clothing stores seem to frequently have a pretty good selection of high-quality men’s leather belts. The only problem for me is that the name-brand belts they carry are usually in sizes too big for me. I buy them anyway and take them to a shoe repairman near my home who removes the buckles, cuts off the extra inches and re-attaches the buckles. He charges me $3-$5 a belt. I spend on average $15 to $20 on a belt that retails in department stores for $50 to $80, or more. Bob W.

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Frozen rice

I cruise through the frozen food aisles at my favorite warehouse clubs (like Sam’s and Costco) to see what’s new. I figure if they can freeze it, so can I. On a recent trip I saw a long line of people waiting for samples. I sneaked over to see what it was, only to discover rice! Frozen pre-cooked plain white rice. People seemed to think that was the greatest invention ever and they were all tossing it in their carts. I went home, pulled out the rice cooker, made my own and froze it in individual portions. Rebecca M. Read more

The Art of Consignment Shopping

Everything I know about buying and selling clothes on consignment I owe to my friend Kathleen, a remarkably well-dressed woman. She shops exclusively in consignment stores, but only those that are located in upscale areas. And boy, can she dress. She’s a consignment seller, too. In fact, I’ve known Kathleen to buy an outfit from one of her favorite consignment stores for a special occasion, then turn around and sell it back into consignment the next day. See what I mean? She’s very clever.

The consignment process is simple. The store sets its criteria for accepting merchandise, and sets the price—usually 50 percent of the new retail price. Expect a consignment shop to have very high standards for what they will accept: Must be a current style, must be brought in clean and must have no visible wear, holes or stains.

If you are a seller and your items meet the store’s criteria, your items will be put on the sales floor and displayed for 30 to 60 days. Once sold, you will receive 30 to 50 percent of the purchase price depending on that store’s policy. Read more