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By Nancy Clement


August 18, 2011 (La Mesa) - Marli is about to start a new life adventure, pre-school, and she wanted some pretty, new clothes to wear. I was looking for a model for this column so we decided to team up. Since Marli is only 3½ years old, she needed some help to select clothes so we invited her Mom, Laura, to join us.


We met at the Disabled American Veterans Thrift store in Spring Valley as they have a large selection of children’s clothing. Marli loves dresses so she and her mom, Laura scanned the girls’ clothing rack and quickly found three sundresses for Marli to try on. Not only did the dresses fit, she looked adorable in them and wanted to take all of them home. The price for all of them was around $10 plus tax, so that was an easy decision, and Marli now has the beginning of a new wardrobe, for very little money.

The Disabled American Veterans thrift store that Marli, Laura and I shopped at is one of the biggest thrift shops in East County with lots of kids clothes, denim jeans and women’s’ clothing. The store sells furniture, books, some medical supplies and many other items.


Located in Spring Valley at 1049 Elkelton Blvd., it is also freeway convenient. Take the I- 125 freeway, get off at the Jamacha Blvd. exit, turn to the west, and then make a left turn into the shopping center. There is a giant red letter “T” on top of the building that acts as an unmistakable landmark to let you know you are at the store. They can be reached at (619) 337-9244, and are open from 8 AM - 6:45 PM Mon - Sat., their website is


So if you want to buy new school clothes for your children without spending much money, try shopping at a thrift store. It can save you money and by shopping carefully, you can pick up some good bargains.



Here are seven tips to help you shop for clothes:


1. Look for quality construction – good fabrics, double seams + good design.
2. Check items carefully. Are all the seams in place, do all the zippers work, are there any stains, are buttons missing? If so, pass on those items.
3. If things can be easily altered, like sewing the straps back on, it might be worth it to buy. If the clothing requires a lot of work, you might want to skip it and select another item. Never buy anything too small; too big can work because it can be altered. Too small is simply too small.
4. Look for name brand and new items, sometimes clothing has been purchased and never worn, and then donated to the thrift store.
5. Find out what are the “Bargain Days” at your favorite thrift store and plan to shop on those days. Be prepared to be there at the store opening to get the best deals.
6. Check the cleaning instructions. If it needs to be hand washed or dry cleaned, don’t buy it. It will be too much work or too expensive in the long run.
7. Know the school dress codes for your children’s school as clothing guidelines vary from school to school in their rules.

Nancy Clement writes money saving tips to encourage mindful spending so you have more dollars available for housing, travel, retirement and investment plans. She is a Realtor® and Mortgage Consultant; e-mail her at or call 619-589-6139 with column suggestions or comments.

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