Consider buying USED, which is definitely the new chic of shopping smart. When visiting your area consignment retail shops, put these additional helpful tips to use:
Set a budget. Even when thrift shopping, set a limit on how much you’re planning to spend. Even when an item is 85% or more off the original retail price, over spending can happen!
Discard your prejudices. Some people consider thrift stores and used clothing shops nasty dirty places. Some are. Most aren’t. Explore your neighborhood. Find a shop or two that you like, and you’ll be hooked.
Go with a friend. It’s good to have a second opinion. Your friend may have an eye for what looks good on you – and vice versa.
Try things on. Sizes vary widely between manufacturers and even by eras. (Today’s clothes have looser fits.) But go in knowing your general size and measurements. Note that some places don’t have dressing rooms, so it’s smart to wear a modest thin layer in case you need to strip down in the aisle.
Examine each item thoroughly. It’s no fun to get home to find your new shirt has a hole in the pocket. Or that the pants you thought were a steal actually have a broken zipper.
Check washing instructions. You don’t want to pay $3 for a new silk top if you’ll never dry-clean it. Use the tags as a guide to find quality brands you like, but don’t limit yourself. Sometimes a brand you’ve never heard of can yield a favorite piece of clothing.
Use thrift stores as a way to diversify your wardrobe. Buy colors and styles on which you normally wouldn’t spend much. Wear the new clothes a few times to see how you like them, and to gauge the reaction of others.
Used clothing stores are great for certain accessories. Why pay $30 for a new belt in a department store when you can get a better belt in your size for just $2? I like to shop at second-hand stores for hats. (Nice hats.)
Look for clothes new with tags. Sometimes unsold department store inventory finds its way to used clothing stores and thrift shops. You’ll generally pay more for these items, but not much.
If you won’t wear it, don’t buy it. You don’t save money buying a $3 shirt if it just sits in your closet for two years.
Wash clothes when you get them home. It just makes sense to wash your new find, but another benefit here is that since most likely already washed by its former owner, your item is already shrunk down (again, make sure to try on at the store)
Watch for sales. Even used clothing stores and thrift stores run periodic specials. Just think of how great it feels to buy second hand ﾅ and then on sale!
If you go to the same store often, ask when they rotate stock. Stores get new shipments regularly. Most also have extra stock in storage. If you become familiar with the owners, you might even ask them to keep an eye out for particular items.
Take your time. At normal clothing shops, everything is neatly organized. Not so at most thrift stores. When thrifting, it’s more important to be patient, to browse the racks methodically.
If buying used clothes becomes a habit, institute a “one in-one out policy”. Every time you bring home something new, get rid of something old. (Give it away, take it to a thrift store, or save it for a garage sale.)
Have fun! Buying used clothing can save you money. It’s also a fun way to kill a Saturday afternoon. At $3 an item, you can afford to be adventurous sometimes.
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