Alpha Consumer Challenge, Day 2

The bloggers from Cheapiosity share their thrift-store tip.

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I asked Larry and Sherry at Cheapiosity to participate in the Alpha Consumer Challenge by answering the question: What is your favorite money-saving technique? To play, just share your own idea by commenting below before next Wednesday at 9 a.m. I'll pick the top three, with extra points going to those that sound enjoyable, and then hold a vote to pick the best one. The winner will have his or her name featured on this blog and receive a copy of Rob Walker's Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are .

Here is what Larry and Sherry, aka Team Cheapiosity, had to say:

One of the founding members of Team Cheapiosity has been a longtime rabid collector of clothing and costume pieces for her job as freelance theatrical costumer, part-time hobbyist, and full-time cheapskate. She rarely throws anything away and has accumulated most of her impressive costume collection at thrift shops and on eBay. Few pieces cost more than $5; in fact, $2.95 is her magic price point for collecting random items. For specific garments, she's been known to spend as much as a ten-spot.

This year, Team Cheapiosity offered to clothe some high school senior friends for their Prom, for free. We made a party of it, celebrating frugality and spending nothing on Prom. Not a cent. Our fondest hope is that kids with money to burn could donate their prom-wear funds to a worthy cause instead of flushing it. Most rental places gouge graduating seniors well more than a hundred dollars for tux rental, and girls spend twice or three times that on average on dresses and shoes and the rest.

We officially challenge anyone with a formal occasion to hit the thrift stores long and hard before stepping foot in a mall. It's easy to look great for next to nothing.