Fashion on a Dime: 6 Tips for Shopping at Thrift Stores

Did you know that the resale industry in the United States makes about $13 billion a year? Goodwill Industries, one of the most popular thrift store chains, generates about $2.69 billion in retail sales every year from its over 2,500 stores!

You can probably guess that thrift shopping has become more popular as the economy has gotten tougher. And the great part is that with some smart shopping strategies, people are saving money on clothing, home essentials, and more – all without looking like they shopped secondhand at all!

Sure, thrift shopping can take more time than picking up the latest styles at your local Target, but the time could be well worth your while, since you can get thrift store finds for next to nothing! But before you go, read these six tips for getting trendy and affordable clothing from your local thrift store:

1. Know what you need
One of the biggest mistakes many people make with thrift store shopping is buying things that seem like a good deal – just because they’re a good deal! But constantly buying stuff you don’t need, even if it’s only a couple bucks here or there, will only clutter up your closet and result in your spending money you shouldn’t have spent. Before you go thrift shopping, have a list in mind of things that you or your family needs (black pants for work, jeans, winter jackets, etc.) If you already have three swimsuits for the summer but happen to see a cute one at a great price, you should probably let someone else have it!

2. Shop often
Unlike retail stores whose inventories change at set times of year, thrift store inventories change constantly. This means that you really have to stop by often to get the best items that you’re really looking for. Make a habit of stopping by your favorite one or two thrift stores a couple of times a month, and you’ll be more likely to pick up a big portion of your wardrobe at thrift store prices.

3. Look for high-quality items
Thrift stores are a completely mixed bag as far as brand names go, but it’s worth your time to stick with brand names that really work for you. There’s no sense in buying low-quality, ill-fitting brands just because they’re cheap if you’ll never wear them. Take the extra time to look for brands you truly love, and you’ll be able to craft a thrifted wardrobe that really works for you.

4. Check pieces carefully before you buy
Before you even go to try a piece of clothing on, check it carefully for stains, holes, rips, and even thin spots that might quickly become rips or holes. Some minor problems can be mended or covered over with embellishments and basic sewing skills, but unless you have the time or inclination for this, don’t buy those clothes. They’ll just sit at the bottom of your closet waiting to get “fixed” until you finally return them to the thrift store as a donation! There are plenty of perfectly good items in thrift stores, so there’s no need to buy something that’s in less than good condition.

5. Try it on first
It goes without saying that you should try on anything you’re considering buying from a thrift store – especially if it doesn’t have tags. You might be able to walk into your favorite retail store and know that jeans of a certain size and style will fit, but this may not be the case with a thrift store. Even if the clothes are a brand that you wear often, they might be old enough to fit differently. It’s just best to try things on before making a purchase, ensuring that you only take home clothes you’re really happy with!

6. Think long-term
When you’re thrift shopping for yourself, buy clothes that you may need in a few months but don’t need right now if you happen to come across them. For instance, go ahead and pick up a sundress for next summer even in December – if you find one you just can’t pass up! When shopping for your kids, it’s way easy to think over the long-term, since their sizes and fits are pretty predictable. Just keep kids’ clothing organized as you shop ahead so that you know what you’ve got in any given size!

Guest Author Bio: Daniela Baker blogs about credit card deals at CreditDonkey.  When it comes to saving money, there’s no better option for your wardrobe than thrift shopping. If you put a good amount of time into it, you can create a unique, beautiful wardrobe without spending a fortune.

 

Image Credit: Wylio 

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