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Thu, Nov. 14

PRACTICAL SAVER: All new items are 'used' as of day two

Here is a riddle: What is the difference between new jeans and used jeans? Many say the answer is obvious: The new jeans haven't been worn before. My Practical Saver answer to that riddle: everything is used on day two. The encouraging fact is that when items are purchased used, instead of new, the price is significantly less.

A recent shopping trip with our children provided a great illustration of how used clothes can look fabulous and save Mom and Dad an incredible amount of money. Our 15-year-old son was elated when he found high-quality American Eagle and Lucky brand jeans at the thrift store. The jeans were in great condition and were priced at $10 and $17, which is roughly 80 percent savings off of retail. That is easily a $100 savings for jeans that looked just as good as new ones.

Finding those types of thrift store treasures are possible in our area, as resale stores are abundant in and around Prescott. A few of the more popular thrift stores are Stepping Stones on 2nd Street in Prescott Valley and the Goodwill on Iron Springs Road in Prescott. To find more stores in the area, visit the national directory of thrift stores at www.TheThriftShopper.com.

The main strategy for thrift shopping is to be informed of how much a new item costs at a retail store. Many thrift stores have one-price for all similar types of clothing. For instance, all women's short-sleeve t-shirts, regardless of brand or quality, may be priced at $5.95. That's a wonderful bargain price for a higher-quality Liz Claiborne or Aeropostale shirt. Paying $5.95 at a thrift store is not as impressive on a basic t-shirt that originated from a discount store, because the new retail price and the used thrift store price are very similar.

Another option for resale clothing is a consignment store. Consignment stores are a win-win. They offer both savings for the shopper and income for the consigner. At consignment stores, items are priced 60 to 70 percent off retail. Once the clothing sells, commission is paid to the customer that is consigning their clothes. A popular consignment clothing store in Prescott Valley is Smart Girls at 6616 E 2nd St., Suite F. Smart Girls, like most consignment stores, only resales high-quality brand-named clothing. This means nice quality clothing is offered at a significant discount below retail. Another bonus with consignment stores is that the products have usually been inspected before they are made available for sale to ensure that they are in good condition.

Now let's switch gears to automobiles. Many people desire to own a new car and have the dream of one day enjoying the coveted new car smell. Let's be realistic. The new car smell only lasts a few brief months and comes at a hefty price, potentially costing $5,000 or more. It is a reality, once a new car is licensed, the value instantly drops 20 to 30 percent. This means a new $25,000 automobile loses $5,000 instantly, ending up with a value of $20,000 once it is registered to the new owner. Ouch! Don't despair, used cars can save the day! Purchase a used car and save a significant amount of money. To reiterate, a new car becomes a used car once it is registered.

Obviously, buying a car has many complicated decisions attached to it. The point that I want to drive home is that: everything is used on day two. There are numerous benefits to buying used, your budget will be easier to balance, you will look great in your newfound clothes and automobile, and with less money being spent you may even find life to be a little less stressful.

Kara Rozendaal, a financial planner, wife and homeschool mother of three, has lived in Prescott Valley for 15 years. "I love saving money and love to share my tricks with others." Learn more about coupon classes and ways to save money at her website, www.PracticalSaver.com.

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