Gen Z and their parents are rewriting the fashion rulebook and bringing thrifting back into vogue. They’re rummaging through the racks, breathing new life into pre-loved pieces, and ditching fast fashion to ‘green-up’ their wardrobes. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 62% of Gen Z and millennial consumers look for items secondhand before buying new, and almost half consider the potential resale value of an item before purchasing it.¹
Thrifting can save you money and help you find iconic fashion pieces. If you’re ready to hop on this trend, here are some tips on how to start thrifting and saving money.
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Thrift shops near me to try
You can find thrift stores near you by performing a quick search on Google® or Yelp®. But for your convenience, here are the store locator links for some popular thrift store chains:
- Buffalo Exchange
- Habitat for Humanity ReStore
- Plato’s Closet
- Salvation Army Thrift Store
- Savers Thrift Store
- Value Village
If you can’t find a city thrift store near you, check out online secondhand shops like ThredUp®, Depop®, and Poshmark®. Like physical thrift stores, these online platforms provide a wide array of clothing options from various brands. And instead of rummaging through hundreds of hangers, you can access sustainable shopping right at your fingertips.
At ThredUp, for example, you can upcycle and discover new fashion trends online. You can find clothes from over 55 thousand brands on the website for up to 90% off their original prices. If you want to clean out your closet, you can also order a Clean Out Kit from the company to sell your clothes in exchange for shopping credit or cash.
Gen Z is charting its own course beyond thrifting. Find out how Gen-Z views and builds wealth.
Top 6 tips for successful thrifting
When thrifting, you can discover iconic clothing items and expand your wardrobe. Here are six tips to help you get the most value from your time and find pieces you’ll wear long-term.
Check the label to understand the item’s worth
Clothing labels can reveal a lot about their origins, materials, and potential value. If you’re lucky enough to come across a vintage piece with the original tag, consider using the Label Resource at the Vintage Fashion Guild to determine what brand it is and whether it’s an authentic piece.
Some vintage thrift stores may mark up the price of certain items or brands, so if you plan on reselling the piece for a higher price, check its resell value to determine whether the purchase is worth the investment.
Find out the store’s specialty beforehand
While some thrift stores sell a wide range of secondhand items, certain unique thrift stores specialize in specific niches, like vintage clothes, cameras, sporting goods, or baby clothes.
So, while one thrift shop may offer various high-quality designer-brand furniture, it may not be the best place to thrift for vintage purses.
Know when the store restocks
Shopping when the inventory is low can be frustrating since other thrifting connoisseurs may have already snapped up all the top items.
To avoid empty shelves and ensure you snag the best deals on your next thrifting trip, call your local thrift shop beforehand to confirm what day of the week they restock and shop on that day.
Tackle the store section by section
Thrift stores can be overwhelming. With potentially thousands of items to choose from, it’s easy to lose sight of what you’re looking for and end your thrifting trip early.
Instead of walking into the store without a clear mission, prepare a list of your desired items and tackle the store section by section. Combing through the clutter to find hidden gems may require effort. Don’t rush, and take your time.
Choose reliable brands
While popular fast-fashion brands offer affordable pieces that can spice up your wardrobe, they may not hold up in your closet for long. If you’re looking for clothes that can last you years to come, choose reliable brands known for their excellent quality.
For example, clothing items from higher-end traditional brands like Banana Republic®, Madewell®, and Ralph Lauren® typically last much longer than fast-fashion pieces before showing signs of wear and tear. You won’t have to pay full price if you’re thrifting, making it an even better deal.
Learn how to discern quality
Natural materials like silk, wool, and cotton are typically higher quality than synthetic materials like polyester and nylon. Of course, that doesn’t mean synthetic fibers are necessarily bad. They’re typically cheaper, durable, and stain-resistant.
Don’t forget to pay attention to the stitching when thrifting for clothes. Check that the piece is not about to fall apart and scan for signs of wear and tear or stains.
How to save money when thrifting
While thrifting can help you find unique and high-quality items that would cost an arm and a leg if purchased new, you could still blow your budget if you’re not prepared. Here are our top money-saving tips to help you score amazing finds without breaking the bank.
It’s not just retail stores that follow seasonal trends. Thrift stores also have a surplus of clothing in less demand during the off-season. If you’re looking for that perfect pair of boots or warm coat for the winter months, try shopping in the summer. And if you need a breezy sundress or sandals, check out the thrift store during the winter.
Choose discount days
Some thrift stores like The Salvation Army® and Goodwill® may discount clothing items with a specific color tag on different days of the month. For example, at Goodwill, clothes with the yellow color tag go on sale for 50% off one week, and those with the green color tag get 50% off the following week.2 Most stores have their discount days, so check with your local thrift shop first to see when their upcoming sales are.
Trade in your own clothes
Another money-saving hack when thrifting is to clean out your closet and sell your old clothes to the thrift store. Some shops will offer you store credit in exchange for the items you bring in. You can then use the store credit to purchase new items. Just be sure to contact the thrift shop beforehand to see what types of items they’ll accept.
Avoid impulse purchases
While thrifting promotes sustainable fashion, it can lead to overconsumption and impulse purchases due to the lower price points. Remind yourself that you don’t have to add an item to your shopping cart simply because it’s affordable. Only buy what you can see yourself wearing regularly.
Withdraw cash from an ATM
An effective way to avoid impulse purchases and stick to your budget is by taking a cash-only approach. For example, only take $100 in cash on your next thrifting trip and limit yourself to that amount. Money challenges like this can help keep your finances in check.
Chime® members can easily find fee-free ATMs* to withdraw cash at over 60,000 locations, including at retailers like CVS®, Target®, and Walgreens®.
However, if you don’t like carrying cash and prefer to pay with plastic, another solution is putting your purchases on your secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card. This way, you can build credit with on-time payments† after a successful thrift store treasure hunt.
Be thrifty with your other expenses, too
Being thrifty isn’t just about embracing the eco-thrift lifestyle and shopping for secondhand items. It’s also about making smart choices with your other expenses. If you’re saving hundreds of dollars by snagging deals on thrift finds but spending that money on unessential luxuries, then you’re still giving into lifestyle inflation.
To embody a thrifty lifestyle and make your dollar stretch further, you could limit unnecessary expenses by saving money on streaming services or cutting down the amount you spend on groceries and restaurants.