Whether it’s back-to-school season, the holiday rush, or nearing vacation time, we love an excuse to go shopping — especially for clothes. But going to a typical retail store or mall can add up quickly. As many savvy students and budget-conscious parents know, you can often get more for your money by going to your local thrift shop. At Goodwill, Plato’s Closet, or the Salvation Army, you may be able to score some real deals. Here are just some of the major reasons why your thrift store should always be at the top of your shopping list.
You Can Score Hidden Gems for Cheap
Of course, the fact that the thrift store is affordable is one of its major selling points. While the typical American spends around $1,652 a year on “retail therapy” — making purchases to cheer themselves up — most of us can’t afford to drop that much cash in one visit. But at the thrift store, you might find a sought-after item from a few seasons back or even some designer duds that have never been worn. You’ll never know what you can find, which really makes the whole experience more fun.
You Can Find Unique Halloween Costumes
Around 2.93 million American kids dress up as their favorite princess on Halloween. But if your little one insists on trick-or-treating in a fairytale dress, you don’t necessarily have to go to a party store. Thrift stores are a great place to go around Halloween time because they often have designated costume sections with interesting apparel. There’ll be some real costumes, of course, but other items might even be true vintage or just a bit weirder than what most customers are after. According to a survey conducted by Goodwill, 25% of respondents want a one-of-a-kind costume this year. Head to the Halloween rack if you want to find unique costumes for the whole family for about $10 a pop. You can even donate them back to the store after the holiday if you don’t have room for them in your house.
You Can Partake in the Clothes Flipping Trend
You’ve probably heard of house flipping, where real estate investors will snap up a property, fix it up, and resell it for a profit. But you might not be quite as familiar with the concept of clothes flipping. There’s not nearly as much rehab involved in this process; all you really need is a good eye, knowledge of trends, and an account on a popular platform. If you spot a designer label or an in-demand item in good condition, you could buy it and then resell it on Poshmark, Mercari, eBay, or Depop for at least a little bit of a profit. It’s time-consuming and requires some research, but if you want a fashion-related side hustle and already enjoy thrifting in your spare time, it could be a worthwhile venture. And if that’s not quite your style, you could always donate your own clothes for a tax write-off.
You’ll Be Part of a More Eco-Friendly Experience
One perk of thrifting that some people overlook is the fact that it’s a more sustainable way to shop. Instead of contributing to the carbon footprint of the fashion industry by buying low-quality items, you’ll be giving second-hand items a new chance at life. Since it eliminates waste and reuses natural resources, it’s simply more environmentally friendly. As a bonus, many thrift stores give back to their communities by donating a percentage of proceeds to charitable organizations — though those donations can vary and may not align with the causes you actually support.
It’s Not Just For Clothes
Today, the average woman owns 30 outfits in her closet — and going to the thrift shop is a good way to either donate what you don’t use or add some new garments into your regular rotation. But don’t forget that many thrift stores carry a lot more than just clothing. You may find vinyl albums, used books, decor pieces, sports equipment, wall art, and even furniture at your local second-hand store. If you’re looking to decorate your new apartment or a remodeled room on the cheap, skip the trip to Target or Homegoods and stop by the Salvo or Savers instead. You might not find something that’s quite your style every time, but at least you’ll have a good time looking. You may even find something really valuable or an item you can give as a house-warming gift.
The appeal of thrifting is about so much more than getting a great deal — though that’s an important factor, too. If you venture into your local thrift store, you could create your own rags to riches story with just a bit of ingenuity and a little patience.