I relish the minimal amount spent and make no effort to hide my purchase price. I carry a classic Coach purse and brag about having it for just $12. I've worn my favorite summer skirts--bought for perhaps $8 apiece--nearly to pieces over years of use (the fabric is worn to soft comfort!). My bare-shouldered black chiffon with scattered cherries was only $10 from a rummage sale and I dress it up, down, and every which way to suit any event.
I have come to believe in what my friend Beth calls "Goodwill karma," in that one must donate good things in order to expect good things. I drop off my ill-fitting pieces (apparently I'm no longer a size 6) in the convenient drive-through lane on the side of the local store. It seems to work well, as I am seldom disappointed when I am hunting for something in particular.
I also enjoy non-clothing items and keep a perpetual list of items on my smartphone should I find myself with a few spare minutes in Goodwill's toys aisles. Ravensburger and Kodachrome ($1.49 each!) make high quality and graphically pleasing puzzles and rarely have I ended up short on the pieces. Various series of Starbucks mugs make their way to the racks and I'm keen to collect them as gifts for friends.
Gifts?! I give used goods as gifts? Indeed, I do, and I make no secret of it. The items I choose are clean and, for all appearances, new. After my washing the item is likely cleaner than it was when it was factory-new with chemicals applied for the short term assurance of luster and shine on the shelf. I model this behavior, too, when you consider that I place my used-and-laundered clothing purchases on my bare skin.
If you have never been to a thrift store I encourage you to take a look. Modern layouts mimic department stores, complete with merchandising, dressing rooms, and sales racks. Many have return policies. The stock turns over frequently and weekly sales ensure beyond-belief bargains on a regular basis.
And, because of my adherence to Goodwill karma, I'm not afraid to share these secrets as there is always plenty for us all to share.