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Feeling Thrifty? Tips for Shopping Thrift Stores

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Clothing the kids, especially when it seems they have a growth spurt every other week, can create a challenge for the family finances.  Thankfully, I discovered a secret a few years ago that has not only saved us money, but has become a fun activity for me and my 10 year old daughter to share.

We love to hit the thrift stores!  It’s the only place where my budding fashionista can find the one-of-a-kind treasures she likes to have in her wardrobe while learning the value of a dollar.  She realizes money goes much farther at the thrift store than retail shops.  I think she is even starting to appreciate the idea of how being “green” by recycling clothing and other items lessens our impact on the planet.

If the phrase “Thrift Store” conjures images of overstuffed racks of threadbare clothing in a dark, dingy place then think again.  The stores I frequent are bright, clean, well organized, and full of beautiful name brand clothing at rock-bottom prices.

On a recent trip to Thrift City in Richardson, my daughter and I purchased 3 t-shirts, a skirt, a sweater, a hooded jacket, a heavy-weight denim shirt, 3 long sleeve t-shirts, a pair of jeans, and an adorable toddler coat for under $40.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when shopping at thrift stores:

photoNot all thrift stores are created equal.  Ask around, read reviews, and find a shop with a reputation for having good merchandise for a great price.

The hunt is part of the fun.  Some days it’s like the store was designed with my family in mind, and other days I can’t find much at all.  Expect to spend some time pushing through racks of “wrongs” to find the “rights.”

Try it on.  Most shops have dressing rooms, so utilize them.  Sizes can be misleading, and it’s often best to try an item on to see how well it really fits.  Which brings me to my next point…

If it isn’t just right, don’t buy it!  When thrift shopping, one often comes across clothing that would be perfect if only– if only the button was an inch lower, it didn’t gap in that one spot across the chest, it was two inches longer, etc.  Because the items are cheap, it’s tempting to buy things that are almost right.  But paying $3 for a shirt that is only going to hang in the closet because it doesn’t really fit isn’t a bargain.

Examine items carefully.  Check all the buttons and zippers to make sure they are functioning.  Look for stains or holes.  Most thrift stores have a minimal to non-existent return policy.

Go with a friend! I enjoy shopping with my daughter, but I also like taking friends to the thrift shop.  We often hold up items from across the room that we think would be perfect for the other person’s kids.  Shopping with a friend maximizes browsing potential and is fun.

My favorite thrift stores are Thrift City in Richardson and St. Vincent de Paul in Dallas (where all clothing is an additional 40% off on Tuesdays.)

What other great thrift shops are out there?


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4 Responses to Feeling Thrifty? Tips for Shopping Thrift Stores

  1. Nicole August 22, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

    Are there any consignment sales in Dallas?

    • Becky
      Becky August 22, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

      Hi Nicole…Yes! There are lots of consignment sales in the Dallas area. One of them is spotlighted in this Dallas Moms Blog post. Another consignment site is posted about here. That’s another great option for finding good deals on clothes. In my opinion, thrift stores are usually cheaper, but consignment sales might have a better or more age-specific selection.

      • Nicole August 22, 2013 at 5:29 pm #

        Thanks! Any savings helps especially if your kiddos are active and like to get dirty!

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