Button, button. Where’s the button?

Buttons are not indestructible. They fall off. The clothing gremlins visit and break them in them  half. They need replacing.

My husband and I go to garage sales and thrift shops quite frequently.  He’s very tall and slender and a hard fit for clothing, especially dress shirts. He’s a 16 X 37 shirt. Custom shirts are expensive and lend themselves only to an annual or semi-annual treat. In the meantime, we find great designer shirts on our GS and thrift shop excursions. I’m always amazed at how many great, designer shirts that are missing a button make it to a donation pile somewhere. Lucky us!

As a long time sewer, I’ve noticed that buttons have gotten expensive – especially if you need just one. In addition, matching buttons to a ready-made shirt or pair of pants is a challenge. I can’t seem to find a good dress shirt button that even comes close to the original. Basic white or opaque buttons don’t have the same shape or curvature. Tortoise-types are the wrong color and would definitely stand out.

This may sound a bit Depression-era, but I find it best just to remove buttons from an older shirt or go to a thrift shop, buy a not so fabulous shirt, take off the buttons and put them on the better shirt.

Personal Investment:

Assuming you love the shirt, are committed to managing your expenses, and have basic white or beige thread, a needle and scissors, your investment is:

Time to go to the thrift shop but that can be scheduled with other errands.

Time to sew the shirt buttons on. This depends on how many you are replacing. It takes me 3 minutes per button to remove old and replace with new. I can do this while watching White Collar, Dancing with the Stars or Modern Family. A bit hard while watching the Olympics or the Tour de France…

OK, A bit of extra time if your mind has to process through putting non-Daniel Cremieux buttons on a  real Daniel Creimeux shirt. (I love his shirts!). Some people just can’t shake that off for some reason. The math helps me get over that quickly.

Money: Could be free if you are using an old shirt. Could be $5-$7 for the thrift shop shirt vs $35 – $50 or more for a better man’s dress shirt.

Yes, ready-made clothes are plentiful.

Yes, you can just donate the shirt and get the donation deduction and move on with a brand new replacement shirt.

Yes, you can say buying a new shirt is worth the time you save in working through this process.

Or, you can take a moment, think through what you can and cannot do, and perhaps choose to repair and save $25 or more through some simple steps and different decision making processes.

Don’t know how to sew on a button?  Visit: http://www.wikihow.com/Sew-a-Button

Happy sewing!

Found Money

I love to find “money drops”  in our household processes.  “Money drops” are those processes that, if not reviewed at least annually, results in you insidiously dropping money throughout the year that could add up to hundreds of dollars that you can invest or use for other purchases. I earned $70 in Found Money last week. Here’s how:

“Money Drops”

Something jarred our brains to evaluate the homeowner’s insurance to verify if we receive a discount for the security alarm system. Sure enough, our homeowner’s insurance does have a 5% discount for a security alarm system. One may self-talk “5% is not worth the trouble to submit a certificate.” I guess it depends on what 5% is of what total amount. 5% of our homeowner’s insurance was $70. They sent us a check. I liked that. $70 pays for 1.25 months of the monthly alarm system fee. That’s OK. Moving forward, we will save money on the premium.

Here’s my thinking and probably many others out there. 5% on a restaurant bill doesn’t even take care of tax. But 5% of total purchases throughout the year could be hundreds of dollars if not more. We wouldn’t just drop $500 in a barrel and burn it.

Let’s say you have a household income of $40k. You have $30k in purchases/expenses capability. If you save 5% on everything for a year that is $1500/year. Now, in reality, that is not feasible because your mortgage or rent may be 50% of your buying power. But, if you strive to save 5% on half of those purchases, that is $750. Hmmm, that’s 75 bottles of wine… ok, let’s not be wine hoarders.

What would you do with $750? Invest? Go on vaca? Add to your kid’s college fund?

Have fun with your 5% action plan!

Next post: Money Opportunities