Buying used clothes can be a great way to save money, especially if you have rapidly growing children. It can get very expensive if you have to buy new clothes every six months for a child who is growing rapidly. You can defray some of your clothing costs by shopping for deals at used clothing stores or thrift stores. Even if you do not have any growing children, buying clothing at thrift stores is a great way to cut costs.
Even small thrift stores can be overwhelming, and it is best to have a plan before you go. If you are only looking for clothes, try to focus on stores that are large or stores that only sell clothing. They will generally have the best selections.
Before You Go
Before you go shopping, you will want to grab anything that you want to donate and take it with you. First, this helps you cut down on clutter, and second, it might make the employees more helpful if they know that you donate regularly.
Make a Plan
Before you leave the house, you will want to decide where you’ll go. If you are planning to hit more than one store, you want to decide which one you will visit first. It is also import that you determine what you need and make a list. Making a list will help keep you on track as it is easy to get overwhelmed when you have so many options (as many thrift stores do).
Shop with a Friend
It is important to shop with a friend, or an older child who wants to help. They can help you make decisions and carry things. It is best to leave the little ones at home as they tend to get tired and cranky after digging through clothing racks.
Grab Some Cash
One last tip before you hit the stores is to grab some cash because some thrift stores do not take cards.
At the Store
Tackling the Store
The first thing that you want to do is focus on one part of your list at a time. For example, focus on getting clothes for your daughter, then yourself, then your son, or focus on specific articles of clothing like shirts, pants, skirts, etc. This method will help you stay focused, and it will make your trip go faster. It also helps to ensure that you do not forget anything.
Tip – Don’t forget a pen to mark things off of your list.
Things to Avoid
In general, you will want to stay away from things like underwear, bathing suits, and tennis shoes because they can be difficult to properly sanitize. Many thrift stores will not carry some or all of these items.
When You Get Home
The First Step
Thrift stores are not exceptionally dirty or anything, but you will want to go ahead and wash all your purchases before wearing them. Though it is also useful to note that many of these stores wash everything before putting it out.
Before Putting Things Away
Before putting everything away, you will want to have everyone who didn’t go with you try on their new clothing things. The slightly large items can be kept until kids grow into them, and the slightly small ones can be returned, given to friends, or simply donated on your next trip.
If you follow these tips when you go shopping for clothing at thrift stores, you will have a successful trip.
Do you shop at thrift stores for clothing? If so, how do you tackle your trips and find the best deals?
To save on clothes, I tell my children it is okay to wear hand-me-down clothes from older siblings and cousins. We do not spend much on clothes and shoes because my in-laws buy them during school season and Christmas.
That’s smart. A lot of times A child will be more appreciative of hand me downs if you set that tone from the start.
These are great tips! I almost always go to the thrift store before I go to the mall to save some money. There are a lot of good second hand stores that specialize in only trendy and new clothing out there.
Nice! what was your last good find in the thrift store?
I hate shopping in general – the main thing for me is to be focussed. I can only search for one item (e.g. dresses) at a time. Picked up a great dress for 6 bucks!
Great find on the 6 dollar dress. I agree with you.. be focused and have a goal when shopping.
My wife loves going to Thrifty stores. She has picked up some really nice designer clothes for really cheap.
Who doesn’t like a bargain :-). Did she get you anything?
My wife and I do this for about half our daughtesr clothes. FAmily members like to buy them stuff which is great, and we try to do hand-me-downs (but their both so differently sized that this doesnt’ often work!), but still about half their clothes come from goodwill. And honestly, those clothes are in pretty good shape, too. Kids don’t get a lot of wear form their clothes before they already have to buy new!
I’m sure you saved a ton of money doing it this way too..
I love the idea of buying lightly used clothing, but I hate shopping in general. I get cranky after browsing through racks of clothing so I’ve just never been patient enough to actually dig through the racks at thrift stores. I’m sure I’m missing out.
To solve this.. try to have a game plan when shopping..
My wife & I really don’t shop at thrift stores…but there are several large consignment sales in our area that we take part in several times a year. With three kids under five years old we definitely look for ways to cut down on their clothing costs. The benefit of the sale is that we get to consign clothes we don’t use anymore plus buy clothes at a reduced price. Often times we’ll make back what we spent at the sale, so that is always nice.
Why do you choose consignment stores over thrift stores? I’m curious
I just got a Black Diamond fleece lined raincoat that looks unworn for $13. Plus shoes for a friend’s wedding for $7. I win at Goodwill shopping!
Wow.. .great finds! is this your best haul?
I only go to thrift stores when I need clothes that are going to be thrown away after painting my house or something, I don’t see myself buying them to go to my office everyday hehe
Hey man.. don’t sleep on thrift stores.. you can get some great finds
I love thrift store shopping! I always have and I always feel so smart when I leave with my great deals, that actually save the planet too!
Nice!.. what was your best haul?
I prefer consignment to thrift. They usually have brand name stuff at just a slightly higher price. I have done thrift before, though. Either way saves a ton of money.
Hmm.. What was your best find in a consignment store?
The thrift stores here are pretty smelly, but the consignment store is nice and we sometimes buy things there. Jeans are a good find usually. My mom had a neighbor who had a girl two years older than my daughter and they bought her insane amounts of expensive clothes. Mom was always first at her yard sale, and we got some awesome almost new clothes. Pink Nike soccer cleats for $5! Sadly, they moved out of town, so when she outgrows the last take, we will have to look for a new source. It was good while it lasted.
Sorry to hear you have smelly thrift stores :/ Did you try another side of towN?
I don’t usually shop used clothing but I do donate my old clothing to various non-profit organizations like Salvation Army and the thrift store close to where my husband works.
I’m glad you’re donating the clothes instead of throwing them away 🙂
That’s true.. kids don’t care what they wear until they are into middle school. Thrifts stores are the way to go 🙂
Excellent list. We have found some excellent buys at thrift stores. We donate regularly too, but the idea of taking in donations when shopping for items in order to help the staff know we donate is a gem of an idea.
It is a great idea. We try to donate frequently but I haven’t thought of doing it at the same time as shopping either.
I used to hit up the salvation army all the time! I got a few pretty neat items, but most of the time it was just crap. I did pick up an awesome italian linen shirt for $2 though once and everyone always asked me where I got it. I told them at a thrift store though b/c I didn’t want anyone thinking I spent a ton on a shirt! haha
I find with thrift stores you have to be willing to pick through the racks and piles. It can take a bit to find something worthwhile. It the end though it is often worth the time.
I volunteer at an MCC thrift store. We don’t have any way to wash clothes, but we are picky about putting out only clean clothes in good condition. The stuff that isn’t that good is sent to some other centers for recycling, rags, etc. As far as getting good deals, I would say to watch for the color-coded sale days, as well as special sales. Every week we have one color tag that goes on half price, and one other color that’s a dollar. You can save a bit extra that way.
I buy a few of my own clothes there, but I know another thrift store that has even better prices, so I usually check there first when I need something.
I had no idea the stores didn’t wash the clothes. I always thought they did for health and safety reasons. I have always brought in clean clothes but I know some people don’t.
Thanks for the heads up about the special sales. I will have to keep my eye open.