money oakland

We’re all broke, right?

It’s a bad economy and we have student loan debt and being a freelancer means sometimes you make a lot of money one month and then no money the next month and spend all the savings from the good month on the slow month. Or maybe that’s just me. Maybe you have a good, steady job and tons of disposable income. But whatever your financial situation, we all like to get awesomeness for cheap, right? Right. Out of the Closet is my favorite thrift store, specifically the Oakland one on E. 18th near Lake Merritt. When I’m really broke, I can still get my retail therapy fix here. I give myself a $5 budget and see what I can come up with. Hint: $5 goes far at this awesome place. Here’s what a five-spot can getcha.


$1, Arden B Corset Top

Out of the Closet uses different-colored price tags and every week, one color is selected for a $1 sale. Sometimes I just rifle through the racks looking for the red,blue or whatever color tag that means saving hella money. This Arden B corset top was part of the $1 sale one week, and it still had the original $68 price tag attached. It’s beautiful and brand-new and $67 cheaper than retail. Ah, the satisfaction of getting something so badass for a buck.


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$1, Free People Lace Miniskirt

I don’t usually care about labels, but Free People is the glaring exception. Their stuff is whimsical and hippie-esque and romantic and amazing. It’s also very expensive. The miniskirts on their website currently range from $48-298. I got this Free People miniskirt for $1, because as I’m sure you’re figuring out, I am a master of the $1 tags. There must be Free People fairies who donate their clothes to Out of the Closet a lot, because I’ve amassed a nice little collection. Thank you to whoever pays full-price for these awesome duds and eventually lets me purchase them for a fraction of what you paid.


$1.50, Earrings

You know from my  previous Minimum Wage Life article about adorning your ears that wearing earrings is a fairly new obsession for me. Luckily, the earrings at Out of the Closet are $1.50-2.50 and they’re badass. I have amassed quite the collection from my favorite thrift store, all for about $30 total. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even let myself look at the earring selection here, because I don’t have enough ears to wear all the earrings I already have.



$1.50, Wallet

I recently upgraded from a small change-purse thingy with keychain to a grown-up wallet. It’s nice to have room to put all my receipts and business cards and maybe even cash one day. Out of the Closet has a basket full of wallets, they’re cheap and there’s an ever-changing selection. I lost my first grownup wallet from Out of the Closet in a cab in New York six weeks ago. Luckily, I got this new one for $1.50. And if I lose my wallet again, I’ll just get another cheap, funky one. And possibly attach it to myself with a string, like kids have on their mittens.



Bonus $1.50 find: A mermaid on a string that once belonged to a woman named Danielle.

In May, I went to a BBQ at my friends’ house while wearing this mermaid necklace that I purchased for $1.50 from Out of the Closet. At this BBQ, I met a lovely woman named Danielle.

Danielle: I used to have that same necklace.

Me: Really? Where’d you get it? I got mine at Out of the Closet on 18th.

Danielle: I donated it to Out of the Closet on 18th.

I love you, Oakland. I love that I met a friend of a friend while wearing a necklace that used to belong to her. It’s the circle of life and stuff, or something. One day, I look forward to paying the mermaid forward to someone else’s neck.