Thrifting: A Guide


As most of you may know, your girl is currently not working (if this statement confuses you, click here or here). This leaves me with a whole lot of free time. And not a whole lot of money. It’s a sad story, really. Anyways, during this time, I’ve gotten really into what the kids refer to as “ballin on a budget.” Yeah, I hate myself for saying that, too. Moving on. Whenever I find some cool stuff thrifting, I’ll usually post an Instagram story of what I bought (you can follow me here). In response to this, I always get direct messages asking me a number of questions, the most frequent of which being where did you get that? where do you shop? how can I find cool stuff like this? Well, keep reading and your questions will be answered!

Step Before the First Step: Check Your Ego at the Door

If you think you’re ‘too good’ to be thrift shopping, then not only should you stop reading, but you should also check yourself. The richest people in life are the frugal people. People who see the value in saving their money. Some of you may be confused by this statement if you know me personally, because I sometimes do spend a large amount of money on material items that one may define as unnecessary. You’re not wrong. However, those purchases involve a lot of thought and saving, and they don’t happen everyday. I’ll give you a fun little fashion tip: if you have a few nice items, and you pair them with basic/cheap/affordable items, your whole outfit will look expensive. And when you’re not spending a lot on every single item of clothing you wear, you’ll have more money to spend on other things, like giant margaritas the size of your head. You’re welcome. You bet your ass I’m walking around with a $2 graphic tee, $7 jeans, $10 shoes, and a Louis Vuitton purse. Now let’s get down to our thrifty business.

First Step: Stay Away From “Boutique” Consignment Stores

One of the most common misconceptions about thrift shopping is that you have to go to small vintage/consignment stores in order to find cool/trendy items. Now, I’m all for supporting local businesses, but you are not going to find any deals in those stores. All you’re going to find is your grandma’s old Vera Bradley, fur coats, studded brooches, and a weird, lingering smell. And none of it will be on sale. To find the types of things you’re looking for, you don’t have to go anywhere glamorous… you have to head down to your local Good Will. If you just scrunched up your nose and rolled your eyes, thrift shopping is not for you. Stores like the Good Will have fixed prices (while boutiques can end up charging not much less than regular retail stores), thousands of items, and exactly the kinds of things you are hoping to find at a thrift store.

Second Step: Know What You’re Looking For

In the previous paragraph, I mentioned the “types of things you’re looking for.” I’m sure that varies per your personal preference, so for the purpose of this post, I’ll tell you what I look for when I go. What I’m about to say won’t come as a surprise to my friends. I get ideas from watching haul videos on YouTube, like this one, or this one. (I’m literally obsessed with watching YouTube like it’s TV. One day I’ll take my own advice and stop caring that people would think I’m weird, and I’ll become a YouTuber. But for now I’ll just write about thrift shopping and Jesus and advice and places I go and hope I win the lottery). Other places I find ideas are Urban Outfitters and Pacsun online. At stores like this, you may have noticed, brands that have been around for a long time are coming back into style. For example: Adidas, Champion, Calvin Klein, Levi, Tommy Hilfiger, and so on. At Urban, a plain sweatshirt with the small Champion “C” logo is literally $65. Simple graphic tees cost anywhere from $29-$59. That’s ridiculous. And that’s why I’m gonna get it at Good Will, and no one’s gonna know unless they read this post.

When I go to the thrift store, I go in search of any items by those aforementioned brands that resemble the types of things they sell in stores like Urban. The best places to look for these things are in the mens’ t-shirt and sweatshirt section. All t-shirts at Good Will are $1.99, and all sweatshirts are $5.49. If you’re hoping to find jeans (they always have brands like Levi and Lucky), you’ll want to look in the womens’ pants section (I’m assuming you’re a girl reading this, but if you’re not, sorry, hi, look in mens’), where jeans are $7.49.

Last time I went to the Good Will, I purchased this Dodgers t-shirt, this Boston College sweatshirt, this Brown University t-shirt, this Champion sweatshirt, and these Levi jeans for $23. If I had purchased all of these items at the prices I linked, I would have spent more than $220 in total.

Third Step: You’re Gonna Have to Dig

I’m not gonna lie to you, you’re walking into a seriously crowded and far from aesthetically pleasing area. It’s not pretty in there. It’s barely organized. And you’re gonna have to dig. You have to be patient and thorough if you want to find anything good. I literally walk over to the men’s t-shirt section, which is organized by color, and look at every single t-shirt until I find one that I like. I would say I usually spend at least half an hour in the store.

Fourth Step: Give Yourself A Budget

This may sound a little hard to believe, but it’s easy to get carried away in a thrift store. But come on, t-shirts for $1.99?! Sweatshirts for $5.49?! Like I said before, that same stuff goes for upwards of $65 at Urban! So, yeah, sometimes I find myself with so many things that I have to get a cart… and no one needs that many t-shirts… which is why you need a budget. I usually go in with a $25 allowance for myself at the absolute max. And let me tell you, you can get a LOT of stuff for $25. Also, confession: I would have set my personal allowance at $20, but since I’m a really extreme thrift shopper over here, I have a loyalty card that they stamp every time you spend more than twenty dollars, and when it’s full, you get 50% off your purchase. Good stuff.

Fifth and Final Step: Would You Actually Wear It?

This is a question I struggle with when I’m busy getting caught up in the deals. While looking for specific things, it is easy to get excited when you finally find them (because like I said, it’s quite the search mission), but they aren’t always going to be something you would actually want to wear. I sometimes have to remind myself that even though this XXXL Adidas shirt fits my search criteria, it isn’t gonna fit me. I often look for things that I can modify, like t-shirts that I can cut into crop tops, jeans that I can rip myself/cut into shorts, or sweatshirts I can cut the hood off of. When I ask myself will I actually wear this? I end up putting a lot of things back.

To see more of my thrift store finds, be sure to follow me on Instagram here!


As always, thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this post! If you’d like to read more like this, let me know in the comments! XO






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