Friday, November 7, 2008

A Sign of the Times

The increase in prices lately has really begun to hit home.

Sure, gas prices are (temporarily) way down from their highs earlier this year. But food prices have crept up slowly but surely. The store-brand frozen toaster waffles I got hooked on when they were $1 per box are now running at $1.23. Yes, that still seems cheap but it's nearly a 25 percent increase in price in a matter of months. And it seems like most of our staples are also creeping up in prices nearly every time we stock up.

I'm fairly frugal and since I don't really care about fashion, I buy most of my clothes at thrift stores. If you're careful, you can buy practically new clothes (and occasionally even with original tags) for a fraction of their retail price.

I noticed this week that the fabric of one of my favorite pairs of yoga pants that I've been wearing often had gotten very thin in the seat. So thin, I could see my hand through them.

Shopping is not easy for me these days, and one of the downsides to shopping at thrift stores is clothes often have either been shrunk smaller than their original size, or stretched out bigger, so you really have to try on every item. Totally exhausting -- by the time I was done (about 40 minutes later), I was practically a zombie.

But even so, I noticed that prices at Value Village were up dramatically from the last time I'd been there (before I got sick). Most of the non-designer jeans, for example, were $10, up from the $6-7 I used to pay. I even found a pair of Tommy Hilfiger jeans that were priced at $16, the highest I've ever seen for basic

I used to be able to go there, spend $40-50 and come away loaded down with three or four bags of clothes. Essentially, I could get almost an entire wardrobe -- and a large one -- for $50. Less if I shopped the crowded sales.

I spent $61 today and got just two pairs of jeans, a pair of yoga pants and five shirts. I hadn't paid a lot of attention to prices when picking out what to try on, so it was a bit of a surprise when the cashier totaled them up. It was easily 30 percent -- or more -- higher than I would have paid 18 months ago.

Just another sign of our failing economy, I guess.

Meanwhile, I'm wondering when I'm going to have the energy to tackle washing my "new" clothes so I can wear them. Hard to believe how much I got worn out just trying to find some clothes that fit.

And with that note, I'm going to get some sleep. Happy Friday.

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