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52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year: Buy Used Clothing {Week 29}

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Every week in 2013, I’ll be sharing a different way you can save $100 this year. If you do all of these things, you’ll be able to save over $5,000 this year alone! Many of these things will likely be things you’re already doing, but hopefully all of you will pick up at least a few new ideas or some inspiration from this series.

Over the years, many of the clothes we’ve worn were purchased used. And no one has been the wiser. 🙂

I know that some of you might be turned off by the thought of wearing used clothes. While it doesn’t bother me at all — just wash them well before wearing! — I also find many new-with-tags clothes from used clothing stores and garage sales.

Here are some of my favorite places to get great buys on clothes:

1. Thrift Stores

Thrift stores are a treasure trove of bargains on used clothing. You have to dig, but if you are patient, you can find incredible deals.

One of my favorite ways to find good deals at thrift stores is to go on the dollar days. Not all thrift stores have them, but it’s definitely worth checking into to see if your local thrift stores offer fill a bag for $5 or $1 days.

Also, sign up for your thrift store’s email list to be notified of when they are having special offers and sales.

2. Garage Sales

Some areas have amazing garage sales where you can get nice clothing for $0.25 to $1 each. If you can find some of these sales and shop strategically, you can hit the deal gold mine!

I’d highly recommend reading this article on how to stockpile clothes by shopping at yard sales. If you want to be even more strategic, check out this article on How to Shop Yard Sales for Free.

3. Consignment Sales

We’ve gotten amazing deals at consignment sales over the years, especially on kid’s clothing. If you have extra time and energy, you can volunteer or sell at a consignment sale and you’ll usually be able to get first dibs on the deals — and possibly better pricing, too.

For more suggestions on how to maximize your consignment sale shopping experience, check out this article on Saving and Making Money With Consignment Sales and this article on How Selling on Consignment Works For Me.

4. Clothing Swaps

Our church regularly has what we call “Giveaways”. These are a one-day event where we all clean out our homes and bring the extra items to church for everyone to go through and take home whatever they want. Then, we donate the extra items to a local shelter.

Not only is this a fun way to share from our abundance (and clean out our homes!) but it also has been a great way to find some kid’s clothes that we need — for free! If you want to put on your own swap meet, check out this article on How to Organize a Clothes Swap Meet.

5. ThredUp & Like Twice

I’ve been very impressed with the clothing from ThredUp and Like Twice. It’s gently used and it’s a little more expensive than what you’d pay at the thrift store, but you can shop at home and you don’t have to go dig through clothing racks! Best of all, they have a lot of clothes that are new with tags.

Do you buy used clothing? If so, where do you typically buy it from?

photo source

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  • Bethany M says:

    I love to get on Craigslist, hit the tab, for garage sales, and then type in and search for the size of clothing I’m looking for. Like heading out to a sale when I think they might have something we actually want rather than driving all around and getting squat.

  • Tina says:

    I buy from my favorite thrift stores on 50% off day. We go first thing in the morning for the best selection and we get a decent amount of new items. I have lucked up on a thrift store that allowed us to fill a bag for $3. When I was pregnant I found a great moving sale where all baby and children’s clothing (some new) was $1. I haven’t had as much luck at children’s consignment sales because people are placing too much value on their items. My mom likes flea markets (and sometimes we stop at yard sales we pass on the way to flea markets). If someone has a clothing table with rock bottom prices and items in great condition I’ll buy there too.

  • I have a running list of clothing needs organized by person as part of my garage sale list. For the children, it is for the next two sizes up. The list includes how many I need of each item (6 long-sleeved shirts, 6 short-sleeved shirts, etc.)

    Almost all of my boys’ clothing is used. We also have been blessed with hand-me-downs from friends.

    I have participated in a clothing swap before and it has been a great blessing to us.

    I have also remade clothing to fit my girls and I have repurposed old sheets for clothing as well (especially for pajamas).

    If I still can’t find what I need or make what I need, I’ll try the thrift store, but their prices are not real low (around $5 an item).

    I used to go to children’s resale shops, but they have become too high-priced for me.

    I find the best prices at garage sales.

    • I have an index card in my wallet with what each of us need so if I find a random sale, I’m prepared. My local, very small, thrift store will do $5 Fill a Bag day once a month. I don’t find a lot of things that I like but usually end up finding enough that I pay about $0.50-1 per item. Usually I get plain T-shirts and such. Just basics. I’ve missed the past 4 months though as they didn’t advertise it early enough or I wasn’t available that day. I usually end up at Goodwill or the consignment shop though that involves a special trip to the “big” city. Not as cheap but better than a clothing store for sure.

      One of these years I’m actually going to be available and have cash during garage sale season. lol. Garage sale season is also lumberjack competition season for us so we never get to go to the sales.

    • Jennifer says:

      I keep a “mental” list which is not working well for me. I should try to make an actual list on paper. It may help me keep from buying things we don’t “need” even though they are a great deal. How many church dresses does a 18 month old need anyway:) I doubt it is the 15 hanging in the closet right now!!!! Most only cost a $1 , but I could have used those $1’s somewhere else.

  • Kimberly says:

    For me it’s consignment sales. In fact, I just shopped at a children’s sale this weekend. Got several name brand items (Ralph Lauren jeans, osh kosh, children’s place) for a great price. I love for my boys to look nice, but it seems ridiculous to me to buy brand new expensive items that will be outgrown before its worn out. Another way I’ve saved is that I kept all my older son’s clothes. My younger son has been wearing them and as he outgrows them, I either consign them or donate to goodwill.

  • Mary Ann says:

    We buy a good share of our clothes at yard sales and thrift stores. We supplement with clearance/sale clothing from Kohl’s when they have a good sale which includes Kohl’s cash back (if there are things we need, like athletic shoes which we rarely buy used.)

    I’m picky about yard sale clothing since I can’t try things on before buying. So I won’t pay as much for an item at a yard sale as I would at a thrift store with dressing rooms. I still don’t want to pay a lot but find the extra couple dollars worth it for a pair of jeans that fits perfectly and I can take home confident that I will wear them again and again!

    Other than the price, I like that when buying used clothing, I have more options with colors and styles than in the department stores.

    Most of my favorite clothing items have been purchased used and no one knows unless I tell them since they look almost new!

  • Siné says:

    I shop at thrift stores and consignment sales frequently (I have the toddlers so sizes change rapidly right now). One source of used clothing that has been great for my kids is paying attention to when friends talk about cleaning out their baby/toddler clothes . My daughter has acquired a large amount of clothing from a friend who was getting rid of all of the clothes that no longer fit her daughters. I also pay attention to the email list for the birth center where I have birthed my children. Often times another birthcenter mom will be selling clothes that her children have grown out of. I have found amazing clothing for my children this way for exceedingly reasonable prices.

  • Kristy K says:

    I recently went back to work part time and realized my stay at home mom wardrobe wasn’t professional enough. I decided to only buy work clothes second-hand and I’ve been so happy with the results. I know my sizes in the brands I love (Loft, NY&CO and Express) and I am trying to build up staples (black pants, khakis pants, trouser jeans, white shirts) and a few trendier tops. It’s been so fun to see how little I can spend!

  • Jessica says:

    Yes! I enjoy going to church rummage sales because of the volume. There’s more likely to be the size/season/style I need as opposed to a single family garage sale. I also like the Mothers of Twins Club sales for kids’ clothes. I do visit thrift stores on sale days. Some thrift stores have a better selection and better prices than others. I do on occasion visit a garage sale but I won’t go out of my way to do it. There’s also Freecycle and Facebook swapping sites. I just swapped my baby’s outgrown summer clothes for some cuts of pork, canned and frozen produce.

  • Tammy says:

    Salvation Army routinely has days where all their clothing is $1 each. My husband and I go and he stocks up on clothes! He gets button up shirts for work, sweat shirts and exercise clothes, even jeans if he’s lucky! Since discovering these sales, we have saved a lot on clothes for my husband! I find it harder to get things on these sale days because the women’s section is more crowded and they don’t sort their clothes by size.

  • I enjoy thrift stores. We used to have one in particular in my town that was to benefit the Junior League, and the Junior League in my town is supported by many wealthy families. I would go to this thrift store and find top name brands (like Liz Claiborne) for dirt cheap – $1, $2, $3. I bought an entire new wardrobe there once for about $70. It was awesome! That store is gone now, but I still find good deals at other thrift stores, even though I have to look a little harder.

    • Erin says:

      I shop at our local thrift store regularly, especially when they have dollar days or have coupons out. I keep a list of everyone’s sizes/needs on my phone, so I know what to look for. This past weekend I was thrilled to find a pair of perfectly fitting dress pants for myself. They were brand new with the $89 Talbots tag still attached. I got them for only $3.00. Definitely one of my greater finds!

  • annie says:

    i always try to keep a 50% off coupon for goodwill in my purse by redeeming my recyclebank points. they are so easy to earn. so an $8 item will be $4. last fall i bought an almost new, latest trend shiny puffy winter jacket from a very high end label. compliments all season. jaw dropping when i told them i bought it for $4 at goodwill.

    another goodwill favorite for me is to check out their auction items. goodwill puts their best items in a showcase, true silent auction kind of thing. I’m talking Prada and Coach purses, LV shoes, that kind of thing.

  • Kim M says:

    On the opposite end of this topic, I sell my kids clothes when I can. I first start on the local facebook virtual swapsites then try ebay. If it doesnt sell within one or two relists, I’ll put it aside for the next consignment sale. If it doesn’t sell at the sale, I’ll put it out at a garage sale, then if its still there, I’ll see if anyone I know can use it.. last option is the clothing bins found in most parking lots (not much ends up going there).
    Along with volunteering or consigning to get first dibs on items, I also volunteer to work at our consignment sale because they offer an additional incentive: gift certificates to the next sale!! For every 3 hour shift you work, you get a $10 gift certificate that’s good at the next sale. During the spring sale, I worked 3 3-hour shifts ($20) then a special offer that was working a 3 hour shift but if you stay until everyone’s out, you get an extra $5 on top of that.. I made $150 consigning, got first dibs (as volunteers get in before consigners do), and $35 to shop at this weekend’s sale. Well worth the time and effort 🙂

  • Jennifer says:

    We love secondhand clothing! One problem I have is buying too much just because it is so cheap. We are blessed to have very inexpensive clothing options all over here in Ohio. Our childrens resale shops all have fill a bag sales and $1 sales several times a year. All the thrift and goodwills have 1/2 off sales and you can get children’s clothes for .99 a piece. I know I buy way more than they need and it is something I plan on working on! It is not a deal if you don’t need it even if it is super cheap….

  • Kara says:

    I love buying clothes at thrift stores, but another great place to buy clothes is on a facebook garage sale site! I love my local sites and I’ve had success both buying and selling things. You can usually get pretty good deals, and the stuff is usually really nice. I also follow blogs that post deals at Target because they sometimes have jeans/shirts on sale cheaper than at thrift stores if you have the coupons for it! I’ve snagged jeans for as low as $6 and they are brand new, so hopefully they last longer 😉

  • Sarah says:

    I’ve done great at thrift shops. I went a year and a half ago and stocked up for my eldest daughter and haven’t had to shop for her since! They had a 50% off day, and I got over 30 items for $50 or so. Some Facebook groups have started up too for buying/selling kids clothes, toys, etc. I got some great deals there! You’d have to ask around for one in your area though.

  • This is why I absolutely love Money Saving Mom! These are great ways to save money. We have a local thrift store that has really nice clothes in great condition. A lot of them still have tags on them!

  • Kelly Hess says:

    There are a lot of local Facebook Garage Sale sites. I have been making money selling kids toys and clothes to locals.

  • Sue says:

    Honestly.. this used to be a good thing… BUT now the thrift stores in my area are more expensive than finding new at the department stores on sale with coupons and like ( kohls cash for example). You used to be able to find great deals but now it is like 5.00 for a shirt and it pretty worn out.

    sue in NJ

    • Lois says:

      Big problem with Goodwill now! When my older two kids were teens, we ended up living near Gainesville FL, where the University kids would just dump their stuff at Goodwill rather than hauling everything home. I’d just lost nearly 30 pounds and had it not been for those $3 jeans (some still with tags), I’d have been naked! I also went back to work after many years, and the consignment shops took care of my office clothes as well. I bought tassle loafers and penny loafers for my son that looked brand new. (I hate shopping and “name brands” don’t do a thing for me but I do recognize quality when see it!) A kid at school asked how his parents could afford $150 shoes for him if they were so “poor”? Quick as he was, he just said his mom was a really good shopper! 25 years later and I still remind him of that, especially since now he has a wife who shops pretty well herself!

  • Shea says:

    Moxie Jean is a great one too. It’s like ThredUP & Like Twice.
    I’ve had great experiences with ThredUP and they has great customer service. I’ve not had to contact customer service with the other two yet.

  • Jenna says:

    I have had good luck with garage sales–I won’t pay more than 50¢/piece (toddler clothing). I know this post is about used clothes, but I am able to usually find new stuff at kohls, target, and Walmart for around $1/piece if I look hard enough. Have even gotten toddler PJ sets and other clothes at old navy for under $2. I’m sure the new clothing deals will fade as kiddos grow into bigger sizes though!

    • ShoppingFool says:

      My son is in an 8/10 to 10/12(bottoms versus tops, etc) and I can tell you I scored so many awesome deals at Sears, Kohl’s and Target for his winter stuff this year! I spent $2 or less on everything I bought from Jeans to shirts, so I would say keep on trucking, cause unless it changes I’ve been doing what you do since he was little 😀

  • Hannah says:

    I have transitioned into buying nearly all my clothes used. My first stop is always Goodwill or my local thrift shop when things are on sale for 99 cents of 50% off. It’s hit or miss, but I’ve managed to get some great finds that way.

    I also like to shop at Plato’s Closet (consignment store for teen/young adults). They are a bit more expensive than thrift stores but have some really cute stuff. If I need a specific item (such as dress for a wedding, which I recently found there) I am usually more likely to find it there than a thrift store.

  • sarah says:

    I LOVE saving money and have definitely bought my share of yard sale clothing for my two little boys. Having said that, I look back and sometimes regret it; they look so darn cute when I spring for new clothes and clothing is so cheap now compared to when I was growing up, with clearance sales and such, that I don’t spend much. I find the thrift store prices for worn out looking goods high, and find I can do pretty much the same price-wise by getting good clearance deals.

  • Lauren says:

    I love shopping at garage sales and my kids enjoy it too. I can give my 6 year old daughter a dollar and she has learned to really make it stretch. It cheap entertainment for our family. There are quite a few neighborhoods within a couple miles of my house so we will usually drive down the main road looking for signs. I don’t want to spend a lot in gas driving all over town and we usually find great sales near our house. I don’t always find clothes in my kids sizes, especially now that my daughter is getting older, but if I find a good enough deal I will buy kids clothes and set them aside for a consignment sale. Our area has three major kids consignment sales twice a year, and it has become a great side job for me. I can make money from garage sales while getting items for my family. A lot of people have told me they would love to sell at consignment sales, but they don’t have time. I work full time, have two small children, and my husband is away with the military. Trust me, if I can do it anyone can. 🙂

  • ShoppingFool says:

    Unless I can get a piece of new clothing clearanced to my used clothing prices, everything my kids wear(with exception of shoes and underwear) is used! I normally buy from Church Consignment sales(they’re huge in my area of NC). I spend about $200 a year on my two kids(for everything minus the above exceptions) and they have nice name brand items in great shape.
    Both my kiddos are very narrow waisted and tall, so they have to have adjustable jeans in order for them to stay up at the waist, and anything $2 or under a pair is a steal for me! We resell everything that stays in good shape the next season and it helps us recoup what we spend. I’d say after I sell my items(and donate the leftovers) we actually spend about $50 or less per year.
    Lately I’ve been scouring the local facebook yardsale pages also, not with a lot of success in my kids sizes though. My friend has kids who are smaller and she’s had great success in getting nice bulk lots for not a lot of money, so I am still holding out hope.
    There’s a ministry run thrift shop not far from us(which is where we take all our local donations, they are THE food bank here and help pay light bills for the elderly and needy!), and they do a big clear out sale every year where things are 0.50 each and then a few fill a bag days each month too. We try hard to make it to these and look for things like pants and coats in the next sizes and put them away.

    I would love to do used for myself and my husband but honestly in my size, by the time things are going out the door, they seem to be very very worn out, so I just wear my stuff until repairing it isn’t an option anymore(which helps so so much). Basically the same for the hubs. I watch Target for coupons and sales like a hawk and do the OldNavy Snap Appy which has really helped us add a few new pieces for almost nothing to free this summer.

    I will say I don’t used shoes for any of us, ever. My daughter is special needs(not severely) and her doctors(two separate practices) have told us one of the worst things you can give them used is shoes because they conform to your feet within two weeks of wear. Which means you’re basically trying to walk in someone else’s foot pattern and leads to problems with your own feet, and can cause foot pain, etc. I won’t say it’s 100% true, but I figured they must have had a good reason to mention it, so we just buy new on sale and put up as many super cheap deals as we can!

  • I find so many great things at resale shops! It really is a great way to update your wardrobe without breaking the bank. Last week I saw an authentic Coach purse for $3.99 at Goodwill! Kicking myself now for not getting it, but it wasn’t my style. It’s amazing the stuff that people donate!

  • Rachael Clark says:

    In March or April each year and in August or September the local thrift stores have clearance bag sales to clear out the old merchandise and bring in the new merchandise I wait all year long, my husband takes the day off to watch the kids and I buy three sizes up from where my kids are to cover any growing they may do before the next sale or any lack of clothing the next sale may have. This year the bags were $1.00 a bag and I spent $5.00 for all my kids clothes for the next year minus coats, which I bought for $5.00 at a yard sale and shoes which I buy for less than $2.00 a pair and I often find them for .50 a pair on clearance at a local thrift store. I prefer to buy socks and underwear new but all together I managed to clothe my family of five for under $50.00 a year.

  • Jen says:

    I know this is an old post. I love buying at thrift stores…. I never thought about the washing well part until I have a baby due (for myself I would just throw it in the washer using my normal free and clear laundry soap). I’m a first time mom so I’m probably over thinking this!
    Any tips on washing used clothing? Especially for an infant.

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