Attorney Suzanne ShinnAnother school year fast approaching! It’s been a few years since I’ve had a child in primary or secondary school…heck fire (that’s a very proper and old southern term) it’s been a few years since I was sending a child off to college (I like to tell people that I had my son when I was 12-it’s my dream world, right?). And, although many things have changed in recent years, I have been seeing the signs in stores for this weekend….”TAX FREE SHOPPING” in order to lure buyers into the store to purchase clothing, shoes, and a myriad of other items which may or may not be required for the school year. I, myself, fell victim to this very lure back in the day……before I learned to Refocus, Repurpose and Reuse!

An Explanation of Refocus

Even as a child, I can remember facing a new school year the same way some people face each New Year. It was a time of great excitement and a wonderful time to make changes in routine and purpose. With working parents and my siblings and I playing outside, riding bikes, swimming at the neighborhood pool (and, of course, having our share of sibling fits and fights), the summers in our family seemed a bit disjointed. We didn’t eat together very much and we didn’t focus on any family time. However, not only in my youth but also when I was a single mom and later, once I remarried, the beginning of a school year marked a time to make adjustments and make time to sit down as a family (whether it was just me and my son or us together as a new family) and we would discuss the day, problems and so on. We seemed to focus on each other more which drew us closer. We all know what statistics say….the more involved the parent, the more well rounded the student. The new school year brought about an opportunity for us to Refocus as a family, each other and the new school year ahead.

Repurpose and Reuse

Secondly, when I mention Re-Purpose and Re-Use it’s to encourage all of us to review and take stock of the things we already have before going out and purchasing more. Please bear in mind that I (most unfortunately) am not a big recycling buff. However, one thing I did learn with each new school year (and being the child of a single, working mom) I realized early on the importance of “carry-overs”, re-purposing and re-using. Not only did I learn this at a young age, I tried to instill this principle with my child so that he understood that sometimes the best “finds” are not necessarily brand new, the latest, the brightest and the best. We always took stock of what we already had that had not been used from the year before (the “carry-overs”). And, I found out that thrift stores and second hand stores can benefit all of us in at least two ways.

Thrift Stores Have Everything

You can find awesome school uniforms and clothing, supplies and even furniture (for those students that are going to college) at hugely discounted prices. Children grow so fast that clothing from a thrift store can literally save you hundreds of dollars. Also, some of the merchandise in thrift stores is BRAND NEW (such as mattresses, some clothing that has never been worn and other miscellaneous items) and still greatly discounted.

When my son was going to rent an apartment in college we purchased a great deal of the apartment furniture from thrift stores and second hand furniture consignment stores. A particular couch I found at Salvation Army was marked $88.00 and I received a 10% discount for paying cash so it ended up costing $80; I found a slip cover-the couch was flowered-for guys-naaaaa for $39.00 so total investment in the couch was $119.00. At the end of three years with no telling how many college guys eating, watching football, and sleeping on the couch, when college was over, my son’s roommate begged him for the couch. The coffee table was $5.00 and spray painted black, the furniture and other necessities (dishes, utensils and so forth also from the thrift store) for the apartment maybe totaled a couple of hundred dollars at best-this included the couch.

Help Others By Saving Money

By purchasing from a thrift store, you are often helping others in desperate need of shelter, food and even a job. We don’t realize how fortunate we are and local thrift stores are often times the “front” side of a ministry where every dollar you spend there is re-used for a wonderful purpose or need such as food and shelter for someone else.

Some might label me as a thrift store junkie but it thrills my heart when I can find a bargain, help others and know all the while that, in the end, I might have saved a few dollars. And, the best part of all, it causes me to re-focus on how extraordinarily blessed I am to live in this wonderful country and have the freedom to shop, spend, and save.

If you are in any kind of financial trouble or need help with financial matters, please call a Bond and Botes office for help from an attorney.

Best wishes for a healthy, safe, and prosperous new school year!!!

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