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I used to spend tons of money on clothes, but then I lost 148 pounds and dropped 11 dress sizes in a year. I had to figure out how to purchase "new" clothes for less or I was going to go broke. Follow these tips and, like me, you will never buy full-priced retail again, whether it's for adults or your children headed back to school.


consignment-storesThrift stores. Macklemore isn't the only one hanging out at the thrift shop. They have tons of great deals. Last winter, I bought a sweater from Coldwater Creek at a thrift store in Woodbridge – tags still on. Retail: $69. My price: $7. Brand new Cabi jacket: $129. My price: $8. Check out the local Goodwill stores (including the Goodwill outlets), Salvation Army and the Village in Woodbridge, to name a few. Many of these stores have days when certain colors are further reduced. In addition, if you donate something to Goodwill, you get a coupon for 20 percent off an item.

Consignment shops. While not as inexpensive as thrift shops, consignment shops have some great deals for typically better quality clothing. There are tons of great consignment shops in our area, including Forage, the Boutique, the Re-Run Shoppe in downtown Fredericksburg, Sequels, the Clothes Mentor, and Plato's Closet off of Route 3. For children, try Happily Ever After and Once Upon A Child.

Consignment and yard sales. When it comes to kids, nothing beats Weecycled Wardrobe, which is holding its next Fredericksburg sale from August 23-26. Volunteer to work a shift and you will get advanced access to the sale and walk away with the very best deals. Other great consignment sales include Classy Kids Consignment and Kids Kloset. Additionally, check out the paper for big yard sales, particularly neighborhood yard sales. I went to a sale this weekend and scored four pairs of practically brand new shoes for $2.

Virtual sales. Sometimes you can find a great deal on Craigslist or eBay, but perhaps the best virtual shopping is on Mommy Traders. Over 2,000 local moms (and a few dads) sell their unwanted items in a private group on Facebook.

Coupons and other discounts. Look for coupons on retailer websites and in the paper. Download an app called RetailMeNot to find coupons and other deals at various stores. Check into free rewards programs for retail stores, and look for AAA, military and teacher discounts.


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Pouches' Community Corner

Trains, Planes and Automobiles Kids' Race Series


From a small beginning, Cathy Weise of the Ron Rosner YMCA has developed an ambitious three-race series for kids for this summer, with the help of The Great Train Race, Shannon Airport, Dominion Raceway & Entertainment, the Fredericksburg Area Service League and Race Timing Unlimited.

Great Train Race Director Jennifer Taylor was one of the first on board.