MoneySmart: Value Thrift Store Shopping

I used to think that thrift stores were full of worn-out, smelly, and outdated clothes that nobody wanted. That was until one rainy Saturday a few years ago when my Mom dragged me out shopping with her. She took me to a second-hand store and pulled out a long blue Bench coat from one of the racks. It looked like it had never even been worn and was only $40!

I couldn’t believe it. I kept on flipping through the rack of clothing, keeping my eyes peeled for brand names. I walked out of the store that day with some other great finds. I have been a loyal thrift store shopper ever since and have saved a lot of money over the years because of it.

It turns out I am a part of a wave of Canadians who are doing the same. According to the second annual Kijiji second-hand economy index, last year Canadians saved an average of $480 each from buying used goods. Clothing, along with shoes and accessories, topped the list of the most popular second-hand items bought.

According to the report, the number one reason why people are buying used items is to save money. But savings aside, there are other reasons why I shop at thrift stores. I get bored of my clothes and I enjoy shopping for new ones. What’s amazing, though, is because I buy the majority of my clothes second-hand, I can afford to buy “new clothes” every six months or so.

It also doesn’t make sense to shell out more money for an item than you have to. For me, the idea of walking into a store and paying $40 for a sweater hurts to think about. Heck, with that money I can buy a whole outfit at a thrift store.

Another great thing is that nobody will know you bought your clothes second-hand unless you tell them. It can be your little secret. Or you can be like me and brag to everyone about how much you paid for your outfit.

Clothes also aren’t the only items you can find at secondhand stores. I have also stumbled upon CDs, designer bags, and kitchenware.You just need to take your time and keep a look out for name brands. One person’s trash is another person’s gold.

Looking to save even more money? You can host a clothing exchange with your friends, where everyone brings clothes that they are tired of wearing and leaves with something new. This is something I have talked about doing but have never gotten around to. Try it out and let me know how it goes. Hurry up and jump on the thrift store wagon — you might have to run. As the Kijiji report shows, it has already left the station.

Featured image by Evelyn Thompson