My So-Called Second-Hand Life

Sometimes I get tired of my so-called “second-hand” life. My mother taught me the joy of a bargain very early in life. In fact, I was born wearing hand-me-downs that barely fit. I didn’t get my own store-bought dress until I turned 10!

I often wince at Target prices – thinking to myself that I could probably find it for half-that at my favorite thrift shop if I just wait a half-year. And I went boot shopping at the mall recently and nearly fainted at the $300-and-some-odd price tag on the pair I loved.

Why isn’t life easier? Easier to get in shape. Easier to make money. Easier to spend money. Just look at the paragraphs above and all the dashes. That’s part of the second-hand life, too: all those dashes!

Life is one big semi-annual sale for this part-time work-at-home-mom. Yeah, I may have just launched an online Pilates and Yoga studio, but everything still gets pieced together, even my fitness attire. I rarely buy something because I need it right this moment. I buy it because it’s 75-cents at a garage sale instead of $5.99 at Target and I know it will fit my son in two years.

Yes! I’m cheap! I have to be, and I learned it from my mother who was given $500 a month to feed, clothe and buy vitamins for her family of six. We mustn’t miss taking our vitamins!

That was 30 years ago, and my budget is currently $400 for a family of four, and every penny of that comes from my sweet (although slightly annoying and quiet) husband’s hard work as a diesel mechanic. I teach and write on the side, and my online fitness studio is starting to bring in a wee bit beyond our startup costs, but I still only buy what’s crucially needed and missing from the hand-me-down bags.

I’m sure there are people out there who take pride in paying top-dollar for their boots, but I got mine on clearance at Target five years ago, and I’d rather buy my daughter new boots.

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