This is the second post in our Smart Shopping series. If you missed the first one, you can check it out HERE.
There are a few different ways to save money on clothes. It is very, very rare that I pay full price for clothing. You can shop sales in stores and online, you can find clothes for free on freecycle, or you can shop at yard sales, thrift stores, Goodwill and Salvation Army. I do some of all of those but this post is going to be about shopping at Goodwill and Salvation Army.
It always surprises me when I hear people talk about buying clothes at a thrift store or Goodwill as if there’s something distasteful about it. Some people think you’ll only find old, worn out or outdated stuff there. Some people think it’s too time consuming. But actually that’s not true. You can buy clothes at thrift stores, yard sales, and Goodwill that are in very good condition, sometimes even brand new, that are pretty and stylish. And, if you go in with a strategy in place, you can find what you’re looking for without spending a ton of time doing so.
Below are some pictures of some of the clothes I’ve picked up at Goodwill and Salvation Army. (My son took the pictures so try to ignore the fact that some of them are crooked… 🙂 )
This shirt was a great find. It has several different colors in it so it can be paired with a variety of bottoms and camisoles. I put a purple camisole under it for these pictures. It can be worn with a black skirt (picture on left) for a dressier look or with a pair of shorts (right) for a more casual, but nice look.
Skirt: Free from freecycle
Teal shirt: $2.99
Skirt: Free from freecycle
Green earrings: $1.25
Teal earrings: $1.00
How’s that for a pose (picture on right)? lol! I was trying to get my son to get a picture of the earrings I was wearing. 🙂 These shirts show one of the things I look for in clothes. Notice the detail on the orange sweater and the gathering around the neckline of the teal shirt. Keep that in mind for later when I describe my strategy in looking for clothes.
Teal shirt: $2.99
Orange sweater shirt: Free
Brown skirt: $4.99 (this was new and still had the tag on it – it was originally $40.00!!)
Necklace and earring set: $5.00
Don’t think that just because you shop frugally means you can’t dress nice! I got this at an online yard sale for $7.00
The dress I wore in this picture was a black formal gown with a cascade of gathers down the back. It was free from Freecycle. The shirt I wore under it was ~ $7.00 at Kohls (from the clearance rack of course! 🙂 ).
A few tips:
At first, it can seem a little over whelming when you walk into a Goodwill or Salvation Army store and you see racks upon racks of clothes. Where do you start? You don’t have all day, after all (or at least I don’t when I go there!). I’ve come up with a few things that enable me to go through a store in 15-20 minutes and leave without feeling like I’ve left any really big bargains behind.
1) You don’t have to look at everything. Know what you need before you go in and spend most of your time in those areas. Then if you have a few minutes left, you can give the other areas a quick look before leaving.
2) When you have dozens of shirts that are the same color on a rack, you don’t want to have to look at them all one by one. Look for things that are different….ruffly sleeves, lace along the hem, gathering along the neckline, a print that catches your eye, a fabric that looks extra nice etc. and look at those. You’ll save yourself a lot of time this way and create a wardrobe that isn’t real plain looking.
3) Check out the rack where people put the clothes they tried on that don’t fit…after all, if someone liked it enough to take the time to try it on, it might just be a treasure that just wasn’t their size. I found one of my favorite pairs of capris that way.
4) Always check out the jewelry section! You can find some real treasures there for very little money. Jewelry can really pull an outfit together and give it a finished look.
5) Save yourself a few minutes to quickly try on the clothes you pick before checking out. It will save you from buying something only to realize later on that it doesn’t fit well.
6) If you have several solid colored shirts, look for a skirt that has multiple colors in it. Doing so will enable you to create several different outfits like I did in the pictures below.
7) HAVE FUN!! 🙂