Thrift shopping is a great way to save money. You can buy used clothing for a discounted price at multiple sources, including upscale second hand clothing stores (like Buffalo Exchange), vintage shops, and  Thrift stores where donations are sold as is.

If you’re interested in thrifting, be prepared to dig – yes, dig. Thrift stores aren’t as organized as department stores, and thrift shopping does require some extra patience and stamina. However, finding that one of a kind vintage shirt that nobody else has, and paying a whopping $3.50 for it, will make your archaeological efforts worth it.

Here are some things to keep in mind before you thrift shop:

Dress appropriately
You want to be comfortable, because there will be a lot of walking, digging, dressing, and undressing. Many thrift stores don’t have dressing rooms, so it would be helpful to wear something you can layer clothes on top of, so you can  try things on in front of a mirror.

Take it one section at a time
Seeing piles of clothing can be overwhelming. Sift through the thrift store section by section – if you divide and conquer, you won’t miss any great finds. In addition, keep in mind that there is more to each section than you may assume – for example, the bedding department may have cute drapes or aprons, and the kids section may have items that fit you well too.

If you don’t love it, don’t buy it
Yes, the ridiculously cheap prices are tempting – but don’t buy an item unless you absolutely know you will wear it. In addition, be honest with yourself about that item that needs “just a little fixin”. Are you really going to bring that dress to a tailor and hem it up to your size? If the answer is no, then leave it be.

-Shalyn Tharayil

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