While some may scoff at the idea of purchasing a stranger’s used belongings, smart mamas know that thrifting is a fun way to find items you love while being fiscally responsible. Whether you are looking for a costume for your child’s fifth grade play or picture frames to spruce up your home, thrifting may be a good option for you. However, if you’re new to the world of thrifting, it may seem intimidating at first. By following a few simple guidelines, you can easily dive into the world of thrift stores and consignment shops.
Utilize all available resources.
It’s 2017, and that means there are endless online thrifting tools at your fingertips. Websites like Poshmark and ThredUp offer brand name clothing and accessories at a cheap price. Purchase Michael Kors purses for a fraction of the cost or browse your favorite skirts and sandals all from the comfort of your home. Another option is Facebook. The social media platform now offers a “marketplace,” which lets you peruse items for sale near you. You can sort by distance, price, and category to find the things you need.
Do it yourself.
Ah, the infamous DIY. You’re probably imagining unfinished home projects and crafts you started but for some reason could never get right. But when it comes to thrifting, DIY can be a huge money saver. For example, let’s say you are rummaging through a local consignment shop and find the perfect winter sweater, but it’s missing a button. Many stores will offer a discount for damaged items, which means if you know how to sew a button, you can score a deal. Learning basic skills like sewing buttons, fixing zippers, or hemming pants can be helpful in the long run. So don’t be afraid of the term DIY–embrace it!
Instead of immediately thinking Goodwill or Salvation Army when you hear the term “thrift store,” search locally. Baton Rouge is home to some thrifting gems, such as Time Warp and The Purple Cow. These places have trendy, cheap clothes and home goods that are calling your name. Plus, many local shops support a charity, so you can feel good about where your money is going. The Purple Cow supports the Christian Outreach Center of Baton Rouge, and Here Today Gone Tomorrow lets you choose from a list of organizations where your money will go.
Sales, sales, sales.
There is no shame in couponing. I often strut into stores like Hobby Lobby with a wallet full of coupons, ready to save. Embrace the sales because they are your best friend when it comes to thrifting. When you need new decorations for your home or a new appliance for your kitchen, thrift stores won’t always have what you want or the new quality you want. However, if you spend some time online, you can almost always either find what you need on sale or a coupon for it. And to make couponing even easier, Chrome offers a browser extension called Honey that compiles all possible coupons for the item in your online shopping cart, tests each coupon, and then lets you know which ones work.
Don't buy things just because they are cheap.
I cannot tell you the number of times I have purchased something, saying to myself, “It only costs 10 dollars!” Then, it sits in my closet for months before I give it away or even throw it away. Before you impulsively run to the checkout counter, think about the quality of the item you are buying. Will it require alterations that you can’t do yourself? Is this something you or your child will get a lot of use out of? Remember that just because something is cheap doesn’t mean you should spend your money on it. Keep looking, and if you keep thinking about that one item, then go back and buy it!
Sometimes i better to buy new.
Thrifting is exciting, and sometimes it can get the best of us, but there are some things that should just be purchased new. Walk right past that bin of gently-used bras or swimsuits. Don’t even think about that CD player that looks like it strutted right out of 90s (it probably did). There is a line when it comes to bargain hunting, and undergarments and most electronics cross right over it. Being smart while thrifting is just as important as finding great deals.
Make some cash.
Don’t forget that you can also become the seller! Use Poshmark and local consignment shops to declutter your home, getting rid of items you no longer use while also making a little money on the side. It could even help fund your next shopping adventure.
Thrifting is definitely an art, so it’s important to understand the ins and outs before you jump right in. Thinking before buying and utilizing these small but impactful hacks can make a huge difference in your shopping experience. Don’t worry, you will become a fashionista on a budget in no time, but remember that thrifting is all about balance. ■