When I was in college, thrift store shopping was designated to “finding costumes” for our upcoming sorority socials or for Halloween. Occasionally a fun shirt would be found, like my sweet Kiss concert t-shirt or my little league baseball t-shirt (the latter, I still own).
Never would you have found me buying my actual clothes at a thrift store.
After college, I had a good paying job and no responsibilities. I had a car payment and lived with my parents. So, “the world was my oyster”…
For me, that meant spending all my money on clothes and shoes and going out with my friends.
This shopping bliss lasted until about the point when I had to become an actual adult. One day I was married, owned a home and had a child. Suddenly, I found myself recycling through my old GAP outfits that I had purchased when I worked there in college. No longer was I spending my money at J. Crew or The Limited.
Once I quit my job to stay at home with my kids and we moved to one of the most expensive states, I found myself not buying much for myself at all. The guilt would be suffocating if I did.
I did however, find no issues with buying items for my kids. Any excuse to buy them a new outfit would find me shopping online or picking up anything cute while at Target.
I began thrift shopping years ago when I became obsessed with decorating my home. Anything from kitchenware to pictures to furniture. I never once stepped into the clothing department. It was too unorganized and I could not imagine clothing my children in the second hand items… (although, I never had any issues with taking hand me downs from friends).
Then one day, it just clicked when I happened to see a pair of Banana Republic shorts in the Women’s section as I was walking by. As I stopped to look, I came across a ton of cute shorts and shirts that were actually nice, stylish and a great price.
Then I walked into the children’s section and the rest is history.
My family and I have decided to buckle down on our spending and really focus on buying items we need not items that end up being clutter. So, this is also something I have learned to put into practice while thrift store shopping. (I don’t need anymore cute tea cups, I don’t drink tea.)
Last year I stumbled on some really good quality winter coats for my kids. I realized, I don’t need to buy my children expensive coats when I can get the same quality brand at the Salvation Army for $3.99. When you have 3 growing children, this type of thinking and shopping becomes a financial life saver.
Don’t get me wrong, I still like to go to the Salvation Army for Halloween and parties. My daughters birthday party was a Luau. So of course the shirts we found to wear to the party were on point and will be great for any future Hawaiian parties.
I do have to admit, I have a really hard time concentrating when all my kids are with me. To really get the good stuff, you have to be prepared to dig. Having kids playing hide and seek and running around is a bit hard.
I also, sadly have found that I can’t go crazy. I found an awesome vintage, leather bomber jacket in the men’s section that fit me. I didn’t buy it because it was $30.00. That decision will haunt me for a long time.
But, I did find a Natalie Merchant CD that I had in the 90s. I literally giggled when I found it!
Anyway, moral of the story, if you are looking to save money for you or your family. Don’t be afraid to move out of your comfort zone. There are many second hand sites online or groups in Facebook. Look around, you will find some good stuff.
My favorite is ebay. Have you ever really wanted to get an old Disney Movie for your kids but its in the “vault” and Amazon is selling it for $80.00. Well, I found, still in the packages, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin last year on ebay for $9.99 each.
Look around, don’t settle. You will feel so proud of yourself after you find that great buy for a price. You don’t have to break the bank!
By the way, here is a picture of my son after an intense day at the thrift store. Apparently, it was such hard work he had to take his shirt off. 🙂