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10 Thrift Store Shopping Tips And Tricks You Need To Look Cute On A Budget

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September 26, 2022

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If you are looking to spend just a little money (not a lot), and a little time to give your confidence a boost that actually lasts, then this is where you need to start. Shopping at thrift stores is not where poor people shop, its where brilliantly savvy women shop and I want you to be one of them. My mom taught me how to endure the endless amounts of clothing that had been thrown out by department stores and people alike to find incredibly cute outfits and I can teach you to do the very same thing.

Listen below for the entire episode on The Systemize Your Life Podcast

Why Shop at Thrift Stores

You are absolutely going to find designer clothes for a fraction of the cost, and full blown wardrobes in one weekend for under $200. I promise the pot of gold is there and you will have the most incredible satisfaction once you learn how to get what you want. The steps are all here, and so very simple. Take look at the tips and tricks I’ve compiled for you and have fun making the most of your next trip to your local thrift store. Cheers to looking cute on a budget momma.

The other real reason shopping second hand is important is because of the negative global impact ‘Fast Fashion’ has year after year. In this article it states that Over the past few years, research has quantified exactly how bad the problem is. The fashion sector accounts for more than 8%of all global climate impacts—more than all international airline flights and shipping trips combined—and consumes 104 million tonsof nonrenewable resources every year. Between 2000 and 2015, the fashion industrydoubledits production, from 50 billion items manufactured annually to 100 billion items. Consider that there are only 7 billion humans on the planet. And yet we cycle through clothes so quickly that atruckload of textilesis either dumped in a landfill or incinerated every single second.”

If that doesn’t make you want to change your shopping habits, I’m not sure what will!

Thrift Store Shopping Hacks

You are absolutely going to find designer clothes for a fraction of the cost, and full blown wardrobes in one weekend for under $200. I promise the pot of gold is there and you will have the most incredible satisfaction once you learn how to get what you want. The steps are all here, and so very simple. Take look at the tips and tricks I’ve compiled for you and have fun making the most of your next trip to your local thrift store. Cheers to looking cute on a budget momma.

Before any shopping trip you should know what you are planning to buy, and that is even more important when going in to a second hands store. There is A LOT to comb through, and you want to make sure you get what you want. Here is an example of my business casual – business formal work attire (which I also use for date nights) mood board. I have an entire episode dedicated to building a mood board and setting up your wardrobe here.

Go with a Friend

This is kind of a no brainer but it is so important. Go alone and you’ll either come home empty handed or with a Santa sack full of outfits only your college self was meant to wear. Trust me on this one, grab a friend, or in my case my momma, and let them validate any questionable options you find.

Have a List

You cannot have a list without a mood-board, so do that first. Then take your list with you to make sure you don’t buy those super cute jeans you find when you already have 5 pairs.

Get a Babysitter

I have taken my girls with me to Goodwill many many times, but I also have been thrift shopping since I was knee high to a grass hopper and can nearly do it with one eye closed. I bring tons of snacks and only get through one section of the store, still with all that ammo. Now, I just get a sitter or leave the home with my husband and make a Saturday of it. You will be happy you did.

Bring Snacks and Water

It will take you a solid 4 hours to get through pants, blouses, tops, dresses, skirts, and the occasional walk through the aisle with kids books and pretty coffee mugs. So, bring snacks, and water. The last thing you need is a hangry shopper in the middle of the best thrift store shopping spree you’ve ever had.

Be Patient

There will be people, and clothes with holes, stains and odd smells. That’s ok. Think about how much you are helping our planet by slowing the progression of fast fashion. Think about how many hundreds of dollars you will save. There are HUGE treasures inside these donation stores that you WILL find if you are patient.

Try Everything On

Touch everything in your size, and one size below, and one size above. You have to try everything on. I mean everything you think you like has to be tried on. This is not your cookie cutter Old Navy haul where everything is cut from the same cloth. The last thing you want to do is spend $5 on a dress you cannot wear because you get home and realize is sewn crooked. Take the time, try everything on.
 

I promise the pot of gold is there and you will have the most incredible satisfaction once you learn how to get what you want.”

Dress the Part

Wear your hair up. Wear slip on shoes. Wear jean pants or shorts, and a cotton loose fitting top. This is going to save you loads of time and make getting in and out of multiple outfits much more simple.

Look for Reduced Sales Days

Most thrift stores will have days when they offer sales. The Goodwill stores in my area offer 50% off every other Saturday. They also have dollar days when specific color tags will go on sale. These are the days to go. For me, the extra crowd for the extra sale is a no brainer. Why would I pay $10 for a used dress today when in two days I could get it for $5. This is the true ticket for getting $400 dollars worth of items for $200. If you are looking to do a complete over haul of your wardrobe, do your homework and find the days that offer sales.

What Do You Do When You Get There?

These stores can overwhelm people. I totally get it. Follow these steps and you’re going to be successful.
 
  1. Grab a cart.
  2. Start with the one item on your list you are most excited about.
  3. Touch every black shirt you see if you are looking for a black shirt.
  4. Put every black shirt in the cart that appeals to you.
  5. Move through your list in the same way.
  6. Grab a dressing room.
  7. Try on every item.
  8. Do not keep ANY pieces that you don’t absolutely love.
  9. ONLY KEEP the items that make you fee amazing.
  10. Scan all keep items for holes, snags, stains, and not working zippers/missing buttons.

Pro Tip

If you are starting from scratch at putting together a new capsule wardrobe do NOT miss this episode on the podcast.
 
It is so important to have a foundation of what a capsule wardrobe is before running out to go shopping. Don’t be afraid to mix and match your thrift store finds with a few killer pieces you snag off line or Target (or my favorite….Walmart).
 
Go look amazing while you run your ship mom friend!
thrift store

Frequently Asked Questions

Once I have all the clothes I love how do I find the time to get ready in the morning?

In short, the answer are time blocks and fundamental needs. Download my free resources starting with the fundamental needs workbook and then my time blocking workbook. These two things are foundational to get out of the place of overwhelm you find yourself in. If you’re ready for the Systemize Your Life Academy I will walk you through all this and more step by step to go from overwhelmed to confidence in four short weeks.

thrift store shopping tricks
how to look cute while shopping on a budget

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