Fabulous Frugal Finds — Glamour Edition

by Katy on October 15, 2010 · 17 comments

The following is part of an occasional series where readers send in stories and photos of their Fabulous Frugal Finds. It’s really fun to see other people’s great scores, and it’s great to share them with The Non-Consumer Advocate community. Click HERE to read the rest of of F.F.F’s., and please send me your stories and photos for future columns.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

My Fabulous Frugal Find

It’s Homecoming season.  You know what that means.  Expensive dresses for our teenage girls, right?  Not necessarily!

My fabulous frugal find is a Homecoming dress for my daughter, a junior in high school.  Look at the first picture, which girl do you think is wearing an $8 dress found on sale at Goodwill?

Click on photo for better detail.

While some of my daughter’s friends drive BMWs and brand new Jeep Cherokees (handed down or bought by parents), she drives a 2001 VW Passat that she helped pay for herself.  The same range occurs in this group of girls’ dresses.  Some girls paid $150.00 or more for theirs and some girls got them on the clearance rack for $25.00.

Last year, I was able to find my daughter a homecoming dress for free.  It was on clearance at JC Penney for $9.99 and I had a $10.00 off anything coupon.  While the dress was cute, it wasn’t near the quality of the dress we found at Goodwill.  And that’s part of the point here.  The picture below is of my daughter in her $8.00 dress.  It looks like it was made for her.  The fit and quality of the fabrics is so much nicer than the majority of the dresses that her friends wore.  And, it fits so nicely with Katy’s “buy nothing new” philosophy.

And we have our first Non-Consumer Advocate homecoming queen!

We actually found this dress in June, along with another dress that she’ll wear to Winter Formal.  And that’s another point.  You can’t go to Goodwill looking for something specific exactly when you need it.  Chances are, you’re not going to find it.  We had heard about a “boutique” Goodwill store in a nice part of town and decided to check it out.

We weren’t looking for semi-formal dresses, we just went to see what it was like.  It was a much easier store to shop, simply because there was less merchandise.  Because we found two beautiful dresses that had tag colors that were 40% off that day, we decided to buy both of them.  So come February, when the rest of her friends are running around trying to find their Winter Formal dresses, she’ll already be set.

Now, if we can just find a Fabulously Frugal Prom dress!

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Shari October 15, 2010 at 5:22 am

I would have picked her…as the best dressed! She not only shopped wisely but she purchased a dress style that enhanced her beauty. Her sophistication and style stick out like a sore thumb to me…and the fact that she spent $8 for the dress says she’s smart as well.


Linda H. October 15, 2010 at 5:41 am

What a gorgeous dress! Salvation Army/Rescue Mission Thrift shops are hands down the best places to buy formal/party wear. Chances are the donater only wore the item once or twice so most of the dresses and such are in good condition. Also, you can get them super cheap!


Annie Jones October 15, 2010 at 6:05 am

I couldn’t have guessed just from the photo which was the thrift store dress. But I agree with Shari; I picked your daughter’s dress as the classiest and most attractive.

Can’t wait to see the Winter Formal dress!


ellen October 15, 2010 at 6:38 am

what a beautiful dress! And what a great find for $8.00! what happen to the “free” dress from pennys?
Get returned?


Katy October 15, 2010 at 6:43 am


The JCPenny dress was from last year.



Jennifer October 15, 2010 at 7:15 am

She is beautiful!


Cindy October 15, 2010 at 7:51 am

Simply gorgeous – your daughter is beautiful!


Kathy M October 15, 2010 at 8:11 am

Made it 100 on networked blogs. I read you every day so I guess this makes it official?


Katy October 15, 2010 at 8:20 am

Thanks. This was an example of my using Gretchen Rubin’s “ask for what you want” from “The Happiness Project.” It’s amazing how often this helps me get past my natural instincts.



Emily October 15, 2010 at 9:31 am

All the girls’ dresses are adorable (and age appropriate!). Congratulations on rearing a daughter who has sense and self-confidence!


Practical Parsimony October 15, 2010 at 12:36 pm

Great find! I am glad you reminded people to look for the item before they need it at thrift stores or sales. Often, everyone else in town is looking just before the event happens. When I get my daughter to take pictures of her daughter in her thrift and yardsale velvet dresses, I will send them along. Okay, I cannot wait–one cost $1.50 and the other was free! Winter/holiday dresses are covered for this year.


Kristen@TheFrugalGirl October 15, 2010 at 3:34 pm

I looked at the photo before I read the rest of the post, and I had picked out your daughter’s dress as my favorite…it has such a flattering cut!


Kristen@TheFrugalGirl October 15, 2010 at 3:52 pm

Know what else is great about the dress? It’s super-classy looking but it also provides a nice degree of coverage. I bet your daughter enjoying not having to constantly tug her dress back up all night long!


Bellen October 16, 2010 at 4:22 am

Absolutely gorgeous!! Went to my favorite thrift store yesterday – wish I had a daughter going to a formal, or a wedding where I’d be the mother of the bride. All dressy clothes and coats are $5 and other clothes like jeans, pants and tops are $1. I’m losing weight and go there to buy clothes while my size changes. It’s the best place in town for clothes – lots of high end stuff because it’s the resale shop for the local Rape & Abuse Center and is supported by many of the wealthier people in town.

All purses are $1 and I picked up a Dooney & Bourke bag – I make donations of cash when I pick up something that great – otherwise I’d feel embarrassed at taking advantage.


Dmarie October 16, 2010 at 7:17 am

wow, what a knockout! and she is learning the great lesson that frugal doesn’t mean “less than.”


Molly On Money October 18, 2010 at 3:39 pm

It’s been a while since I’ve been in high school but I happy to hear it’s still acceptable to shop second hand even at a formal. I don’t know if your daughter feels this way but my group of girlfriends in high school use to love to scout out great deals.
She looks fantastic!


Alison October 25, 2010 at 4:37 pm

Before scrolling down, I picked my 3 favorites. Hers was number one!


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