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There's a reason it's called a thrift store!

This blog is about personal finance, so let’s focus on the financial reasons for shopping second hand. Please know that there is another big reason: “fashion” generates a lot of the world’s waste. Here’s an opportunity to save money AND the planet!

There really aren’t many valid excuses as to why you aren’t shopping at thrift and consignment shops. I routinely hear, “I don’t want to wear clothes someone else has worn.” Have you ever bought a used car? Well, have you rented one? What about a tux? “Rented” a hotel room? If you buy used clothes, just wash them and it’ll be fine.

I’ve also heard, “I don’t have time to dig through all those clothes.” What, are you using a personal shopper at the mall?

You can easily, routinely save 80% on your clothes. One time, my fiancé and I went to the mall. I bought 2 dresses and 1 pair of jeans (on sale!) for $60. The next day, I went to the thrift store. I got 2 pairs of designer jeans, 2 dresses, 3 shirts and 2 necklaces for $60. I took the stuff back to the mall.

All that said, some things are difficult to find at the thrift store, especially in certain sizes. I have a friend who has great luck with shoes at thrift stores. I don’t, perhaps because I’m a size 10. My boyfriend is 6’4”. He has trouble finding pants long enough.

There are things even I stay away from: underwear (sorry, but ew) and socks are two examples.

Buying used furniture is another great way to save a lot of money. For example, a new dining room set at Ashley can run thousands of dollars. We paid $725 for one that was in great shape off Craig’s List (no, the guy wouldn’t come all the way down to $700!). Plenty of new furniture in stores is cheaply made and won’t hold up anyway. Consignment stores have used furniture that has already held up for years and will continue to do so. I furnished my first house (1300 square foot) for $1200. Important side note: some used wooden furniture could have termites or bed bugs. You should inspect it.

Think about the last few clothing items you’ve bought. Now add up the total and multiply by 0.8. That money could be in your bank account and similar clothes could be in your closet.

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