4 Things I Think You Should Always Buy Used


Guest post from Liz

There are some things I will spend good money on, and then there are other things I refuse to pay any more than $50 for.

In my opinion, shoes are important. They can make an outfit pop and you have to walk in them all day, so they have to be comfortable and durable. For those reasons, I will pay a good $50-$100 on shoes. T-shirts, on the other hand, I will refuse to pay $60 for a t-shirt just because of the trendy name brand. You can always find a new treasure at thrift stores.

Below are four things you should always (at least in my opinion) buy at thrift stores:

1. Jean shorts

Every year there are new trends that come out, but the cut-off jean shorts look seems to never get old. The way I see it,why pay anywhere from $35 to $50 on a pair of shorts that looks like you hacked them yourself?

I would much rather buy a pair of $7 jeans and actually do the hacking myself! This way you can cut them as short or as long as you want since not everyone has the same length legs!

2. T-Shirts

People are really into the “vintage” look now a day. What better place to get “vintage” then a thrift shop. Paying $30 for a “vintage” looking or inspired tee is not a smart move.

3. Costumes

Spending a load of money for something you will wear for only 1 or 2 days is unnecessary. Thrift shops often have brand new costumes for sale in October. Their new costumes are generally cheaper than costumes you’d find at national chain stores.

Aside from having new costumes for less, you can also put together a costume with items you find at a thrift store. For instance, finding pieces for a hippie or flapper costume.

4. Children’s Clothing

Children grow so fast — and I don’t like spending good money on clothes that might only be worn a few times before they are too small.

If you do go to the thrift store and find that the clothes are too worn out, there are stores such as Once Upon a Child that buy gently used children’s clothing, shoes, and toys.

What do you always shop the thrift stores for? 

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  1. says

    I love to buy some nice comfortable”broken in” t-shirts! I love big ol t-shirts! It’s funny because my stepdaughter heard a song about shopping at a thrift shop.Although inappropriate for her to have listened to, but interesting. The song is being noted as being against high brand name pricing. It’s called Thrift Shop. Anyway, the kids poked fun that it’s my song. I guess my frugal efforts are paying off!

  2. Amy says

    I saw that one other person mentioned it, but I’ve gotten some GREAT deals at thredUP.com. I have also found that with kids’ clothes, if I know what I want, I can find it on ebay. Through both ebay and thredUP, I’ve gotten brands like Gymboree and Hanna Andersson, new with tags, for less than some of the much lower quality items I’ve seen at thrift stores. Not to dis the thrift stores, because you can sometimes find great things, but often the quality of children’s clothing is lacking, especially once you get into the elementary years.

  3. says

    Great post! I love thrift shopping, especially at Goodwill where I know my money is putting people to work. My favorite items are clothes, shoes, housewares, and lately all the new merchandise form Target. Check out my new website http://www.GotItAtGoodwill.com which also has a link to last year’s 52 Weeks of Goodwill series.

  4. says

    My favorite pairs of maternity pants (and a sweater) cost $3 each at one of our local thrift stores! One pair of pants and the sweater are Motherhood and the jeans are Gap. Such a steal!

  5. Kirbee says

    Mens dress shirts! Our consignment stores are always chock full of shirts in completely new condition, and even quite a few in my husband’s size (large tall). I’ve never spent more than $5 on his dress shirts, and since I often shop their clearence week, usually it’s more like $2-$3 a shirt. He loves it, because he hates shopping and spending much money on his clothing. I love it because we get high-quality brands on a Wal-Mart clothing budget 😀

    If only I could find him used jeans, but alas, with a size 33×36, that just doesn’t ever happen.

  6. says

    I love thrift shopping! I go every single week, and many times I go more than once a week.
    I’m a huge vintage Pyrex collector, so I’m always scooping up pieces for my collection. I also look at their yarns because I’ve gotten awesome deals on 100% wools and handspun that retail for $20+!
    I have a whole section on my blog dedicated to my “Thrifty Finds”. It’s my favorite :)

    Just be careful though, not everything at the thrift store is a good price! I’ve seen many occasions where the thrift store price tag is HIGHER than the clearance price (tag still on!) that Target was selling it for. Also, used jeans are $7 and up at Value Village, but I’ve gotten brand new jeans for $5 on clearance at Target.

  7. Penny T. says

    I think if you are a careful shopper (shop clearance sales, buy ahead and use coupons) you can get great deals on new clothing and costumes. It takes less time, too (shopping consignment stores and garage sales can take more time since you may not find what you need after several trips). Another great thing for kids clothing is linking up with another family who has kids between your kids sizes and just exchanging clothing back and forth (for free). If you donate items or purchase items from charity stores, please consider local charities (if you have them) before considering Goodwill. The Goodwill CEO makes 6 times more money than a Salvation Army CEO (or a local non profit organization’s director) – you can verify this on charity navigator website.

    • Kerry says

      Penny T. — I agree completely!!! I have found some amazing deals on brand new clothing, far less what our local Goodwill sells things for. There are many parents who just do not have the time to run into consignment shops/thrift shops, etc several times a week to find good deals. Our Goodwill is filled with cheaper brands of clothing that do not hold up well at all….and they still want $5+ for most things. I shop the sales and clearance racks and find amazing things for everyone….with far less effort!

  8. says

    I buy almost all my kids clothes at thrift stores and nice neighborhood community garage sales – all are very good brands for only a dollar or two (sometimes less than a dollar!) – I wouldn’t even buy a $5 tshirt at walmart – too expensive IMO 😉 If the clothing survives and is a nice brand I will often take it to a consignment or resale shop – I’ll generally get the $1 – $2 back I put into it and I can either take cash (to use at the thrift shops again) or use it for credit at the store =)

    • Jessica says

      I buy most of my kids clothes (3 yod dd and son expected in a few weeks) used- 90 percent from once upon a child during their $1sale. I agree that sometimes I can buy new on clearance for the same as used though!

  9. Stacey says

    I also disagree about buying used kids clothing. I have two boys and the used clothing selections at our local Kid to Kid is slim pickings. What is there is usually faded and the same price as what you can buy new at Target. I do, however, try to hit our local consignment sales. Those clothes are usually much better quality than at the used kids store. One sale in particular is very picky about the items they consign. They limit the number of items per seller so people are encouraged to only sell their best items. I also try to find things at garage sales, but there’s such a limited amount of clothes for boys that what they have they wear out. I’m finding that now that I have a girl, I’m able to find tons of bargains and the hand-me-downs are in good shape too!

    I also buy ahead and take advantage of clearance racks. Right now I’m scouring the clearance racks for next year. I took advantage of the MLK sale at The Children’s Place and got my son jeans in a size they only carry on-line for about half retail price…20% off the sale price, free shipping, and 5% off with my Place Card. And, I can return them to the store if they don’t fit. He’s grown into the next size virtually overnight. I was able to get long sleeved shirts for next winter for less than $5 each. I hang dry them so they don’t shrink or fade and that way both my sons get good use out of them.

    eBay is another good resource if you’re familiar with how a certain brand fits, a great resource for new/slightly used shoes, costumes, and winter coats. I also try to hit outlet malls when we’re traveling. We don’t live close to any, but our out-of-state family members have them nearby so I try to make a trip and build the wardrobe in the next size or choose outfits for our annual Christmas pictures.

    • Kim says

      I’ve never shopped at a thrift store, but my husband and I both work for kohls, so with our employee discount days, plus we’re able to use coupons on top of that, even on clearance, we rarely pay more than a couple of dollars for any of our kids items and his clothing.
      There are three or four semi-annual consignment sales in our area in the spring and fall. If you volunteer or consign clothes, you are able to shop before the public, so the pickings are pretty good. At another of the sales, for every three hour shift you work, you earn a $10 gift certificate toward the next sale, so just be working a few shifts, we easily walk out with a ton of clothing for very cheap!
      I’m also fortunate that my sister’s 2 children and my 2 children are close in age and gender, so I’ll buy clothes for her kids, then when they’re done I pack them away and save them for mine. When mine have outgrown them (depending on shape they’re in) I’ll either sell them at the consignment sales or we have a couple of friends with kids a size smaller than mine that I give them to for play clothes.

    • says

      Stacey that’s true sometimes there isn’t much to pick from. I’m not sure where you live, but where I live there are stores called Recycled Rugrats and One Upon a Child. These stores buy your gently used clothes and sell them. Not only can you make some extra money selling your child’s clothes, but you can also save tons shopping there. They are particular on what they sell it has to be very gently used! So maybe this would be a better option for you to save on your children’s clothing. Check in your area for similar stores.

  10. Betsy says

    I will add to that: kitchen items and linens, primarily those that are handmade. I have an old quilt from a local estate sale that I treasure, and just bought some crochet dishcloths. Also, Christmas decorations.

  11. says

    My favorite thrift store find is dishes for ministry meals. I seek out nice casserole dishes or platters for $1-2 (almost as cheap as disposables) and then write ‘No need to return’ on the bottom. It makes it easier on the family when not having to worry about who to return them too and you don’t have to worry about them bending, breaking or getting holes in them during cooking and transport like disposables sometimes can.

  12. says

    I get silverware. You can usually get a whole bundle for a couple of bucks. I just buy a simple style, and I’m not fussy since I’m usually replacing spoons that have been taken outside for digging or gotten caught in the garbage disposal!

  13. erin w says

    isn’t it funny how much things vary by region? we just moved back to PA from VA. I lived here as a child but i was married and had children in VA and that’s where my husband is from.

    in VA, i almost never shopped thrift, the ones that had good items were just too long of a drive. i would hit the clearance racks with coupons at Kohls, Target, etc for my kids things and i almost never bought new things for myself. we also had 2 big j crew outlet stores and an old navy outlet, and i would hit their clearance. sometimes i would shop at once upon a child, although it was a little pricey at the one near us. now that we’ve moved, there are a dozen great consignment stops and right down the street is an amazing goodwill outlet that i’ve been able to purchase many nice things for myself and my children, although not as much for my husband as he needs uncommon big and tall sizes. it has everything thrown crazily in bins with no sorting and is sold by the pound, something i’ve never seen before. so i’m trying to stock up on next seasons clothes while i can because when we move again, we could be in a skint thrift area again! : )

  14. Colleen says

    I like to buy children’s books at thrift stores.They are usually $0.75 or $0.99 each, which is a great deal. My kids love using their spending money on books. I also love finding special occasion dresses for my 2 girls at thrift shops. I have found American Girl dresses and other name brand items there. I also like to find wall decor, dishes and glasses at second hand stores. No one will ever know that you didn’t pay full price for any of those items.

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