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Thrift or Grift: Michelle Obama’s Questionable Taste

Posted on December 20 2010 10:00 am
Megan Fox is a stay-at-home mom, blogger, radio-talk show host and conservative folk-singer. Visit her at

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I shop at thrift stores. I’ve rediscovered them in the last few years because when you live on one salary (so one of you can be home with the kids) it’s not exactly a plush life. Thrift stores offer a great way to find very inexpensive things that you would otherwise have to pay big bucks for. Some of my most prized finds are a set of Christmas mugs and plates that were brand new in the box for $9.00, a 1950’s thermos (for my husband’s hunting trips) for .50, and beautiful 100% silk striped curtains for my girls’ room for a whopping $10. (They’re designer too!)

These days, you’re lucky if you have food on the table, let alone extra money for clothes. I heard on the news the other night that people are spending money for the first time in two years on replenishing their wardrobes. My family can relate, although we’re not replenishing our wardrobes. We haven’t had new clothes in several years. And that’s okay, I have a uniform. Jeans and one of 5 sweaters that I rotate for winter. My winter boots are about 8 years old and while the leather is coming off, they’re very warm and waterproof which is all you really need here in the frozen prairies of Illinois. I work diligently to keep my husband’s shirts from looking worn since he has to look presentable in an office. (Recently, a horrifying incident with a defective iron ruined two of them. He was not happy.) My kids, of course, have to have clothes when they grow (which is constantly) but there is never a shortage of hand-me-downs to go around from friends and neighbors and family.

The point is, these are tough times. We do what we have to do. I haven’t seen the inside of a mall for anything but a walk in a long time. Christmas gifts this year are homemade for everyone but the kids. Luckily, I had a very plentiful garden over the summer and was able to can lots of goodies for friends and family over the fall.

I don’t remember years this hard. My childhood and early adulthood was pretty plentiful. It’s a weird feeling to go into a Dominick’s or a Jewel (or any food store other than Aldi) and think, “Wow, this is a rich people store.”

To clarify, this is not complaining, just a statement of fact. Life is different now. Most people I know are cutting back, not sending Christmas cards and having to do with less. They’re eating less meat, not because of some moral struggle but because they honestly cannot afford it.  They’re shopping at discount and generic grocery stores and finding their needs can be met at thrift stores instead of the mall.

Next: Michelle Obama’s $2,500 idea of “thrift”

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