Thrift shopping has become the trendy activity of every social media star’s dreams. And rightfully so. I mean, why not buy more unique clothes at a much lower price? Seems like the right decision to me!
When it comes to thrifting there are a variety of ways to go about it. And despite what you might think, it doesn’t always mean seeking out vintage finds in specialty stores. In fact, the most successful thrift shop trips I’ve ever had have been sifting through shirts my grandma would wear or making my way through the men’s section at Value Village.
I wanted to share the 3 tips I keep in mind every time I thrift! When I keep these tactics in mind my thrifting experience is always fun, successful, and most importantly, budget friendly.
Choose the right thrift shops
With the popularity of thrift shops reaching fashion gurus and growing in recent years, choosing where to do your shopping is incredibly important. I’ve been in shops where clothing costs the same price as it does in retail stores and since thrifting is infamously an activity for those of us with tight budgets, these are probably not the places you should be shopping!
Avoid expensive shops
Gentrification has not forgotten about clothing! It’s actually the reason why there are so many thrift shops emerging that have higher prices.
When you’re shopping, consider the neighborhood. Is it likely you’ll find something in your price range there?
I typically stick to local thrift shops and chains like Value Village! It’s also a good idea to avoid online thrift shops as sellers tend to up the price.
Expand your thrifting horizons when you’re out of town!
Sometimes, an unplanned thrift shop trip can be an unexpected gold mine. If you’re out of town, stop into some new shops you’ve never been to before. Wherever you go, there’ll be different styles to choose from. And you never know where your dream outfit is waiting.
Keep a few outfit staples in mind
Of course it’s fun to find surprises that you never knew you wanted, but often without some staple ideas in mind, thrifting can be a stressful and time-consuming task.
I like to keep an idea of shirts, shoes, and pants that I want. Obviously you can’t be too specific, but you can have an idea of the particular styles you’re looking for so you know which section to start with.
From top to bottom
This is how I thrift! Well, not always in that order. Firstly I decide what I want to center my outfit around. If the most important piece is going to be the bottoms, then I’ll start there.
I want high-waist jeans. So I’ll start by sifting through the jeans in my size and if there’s nothing there, I’ll move up a size and see if I can find anything that I like that can be altered.
My staple shirt is almost always a button up, of any kind (I am a lesbian after all). I’ll go through the women’s shirts section and if I come up short, off to the men’s!
BOOTS! Boots are my absolute favourite footwear. I mean, the laces, the zippers, everything about them is too cute! And footwear is one of the hardest things I’ve ever thrifted for. I head into my size section and hope for the best. But I also won’t hesitate to check out other size sections and see if any women’s size 9’s are laying around.
Don’t hesitate to try new things. There are so many different styles, brands, fabrics, and materials to find on the racks of thrift shops. You truly never know what you might stumble upon!
Don’t be afraid to gender-bend
You never know what you might find in any of the sections at thrift stores. This is the perfect shopping opportunity to explore experimental styles that you may not be able to spend money on at full price. As I’ve mentioned, I often check out the men’s sections when I am at thrift shops. This is no revolution, but sometimes I think we have to give ourselves permission to expand those societal expectations.
Remember: you can always customize pieces
If something isn’t in your size or is just close to perfect, you can always customize pieces. Whether by bringing them to a tailor or getting crafty and working on them yourself!
Thrifting makes for a great opportunity to truly explore your creativity and style.
It’s not just clothes
Though I’ve focused on fashion, of course there is so much more you can thrift for! Buying second hand is a great, budget-friendly option for purchasing things like furniture, dishes, books, decor, and more.
Bonus tip: use a cash back credit card
If you’re going to be doing lots of spending at thrift shops it’s worth it to use a cash back credit card. I mean what’s better than earning while you spend?
The Tangerine Money Back Credit Card is an awesome option for this! A lot of cash-back credit cards cap your spending, but the Tangerine Money Back Card will pay you all the cash back you earn.
This card gives you 2% cash back in your top 3 spending categories, and 0.5% in all other categories. Plus, if you sign up by January 31, 2020 you can get 4% money back rewards in 3 chosen categories for the first 90 days.
So, why should you thrift?
Clearly we all know that thrifting is budget-friendly. And this makes it a viable option for anyone. But, it’s especially meant for poor people who often are not able to consider shopping retail as an option. Like I said, anyone can thrift, but it is important to do so wisely and with your financial privilege in mind.
If you need a hand checking your financial privilege, Meagan wrote an article that includes some questions you can ask yourself to do so: Check Your Financial Privilege.
The best part about thrifting to me is that it’s good for the environment! Fast fashion causes a ton of waste and shopping recycled clothing is a great way to make your life a little more environmentally friendly. Especially for those of us who feel helpless making positive environmental change at a personal level.
Thrifting and good luck are a great pair
Using these tips is sure to guide you on a successful thrifting journey! So in addition to that, I wish you the best of luck.
May you find the right size in your dream pair of heels, a brand-name bag at less than half of the original price, and outfits that make you feel unstoppable!