Thrift shopping makes me very happy!

I was introduced to thrift shopping by my mother.


Yes, I have written a lot about the damage I experienced during my time with her, but I really haven’t shared the positive things I learned from her, have I?

She was a single mom who knew how to stretch a dollar very far. She was the epitome of thriftiness and unfortunately took it to plain cheapness at times, which is why I struggled with some of her methods and needed to learn to separate genuine thriftiness from what wasn’t.

When I moved out on my own at the age of 18, I learned very quickly that my income barely covered my bills, so I had to figure out what corners I could cut in order to keep more money in my pocket.

Some secrets I learned through this process:

  • I had learned to wait for sales, and then stock up on things I used frequently. This sometimes meant more money was spent out of pocket up front, but overall my household and food budget was way lower than other people I knew.
  • I learned to freeze (or can) some of the items that might spoil, so money wasn’t being thrown into the trashcan, due to the spoilage.
  • I learned to alter my recipes to use seasonal produce instead of more expensive imported items. The advantage to this was having naturally occurring variations in my recipes, which helped stave off boredom!
  • When I received a windfall of fresh produce, I cooked in bulk quantities, freezing some of what I made, and sharing a lot with friends, thus helping them out with their food budgets too.

While I was still married I was such an avid and astute thrift store shopper for clothes, that the church women made snide comments once I was separated, that I’d have to learn how to budget and not blow so much money on clothes! They were so astonished when I told them my thrifting secrets that they wanted the list of stores I shopped at because they thought I had a wealthy person’s expensive designer shopping habits.

My daughter was always well-dressed, and when it was popular for her age group, also had a huge collection of expensive Disney-branded clothes that I bought as factory seconds because of some very tiny imperfection that was difficult to find unless one was alert to look for it.

Thrifting became something environmentalists supported as clothes were reused instead of heading to the landfill. As a budding environmentalist, I loved knowing that what I was doing was great for the environment as well as my wallet.


My daughter had positive experiences with my budgeting and thrifting that she carried those habits into her own parenting, and had even managed to purchase a house as a single mom, due to her very astute money handling and saving abilities.

Now that I’m earning more money, I continue to shop the thrift stores for clothes; the grandkids are even involved!

Kids these days are very label conscious, wanting to have all the expensive labels their friends have, and thanks to thrifting, it is possible to find very gently or even brand new clothes in the styles they’re asking for. They go to a school where there are quite a number of wealthy families, and through our thrifting were able to have wardrobes that rivaled their wealthier friends’ clothes, while never looking shabby or worn out – unless it was the ripped jeans!

Last year on a family visit to a thrift store that curates the clothes that come in, they were allowed to go off by themselves to find what they liked. I trailed after the twins, while my daughter hung around the younger one, and I saw the twins holding up items they had found, and exclaiming to each other the prices online to buy them new, then saying “Look, it’s only XX dollars!” then triumphantly adding the item to their shopping cart!


What a proud moment! They were converted to thrift shopping for themselves, especially since they had birthday and Christmas money to spend on themselves, they wanted to buy as much as possible! They aren’t particularly interested in helping the environment, but we know they are helping!

If I were buying my clothes at full price or on sale, I wouldn’t be able to afford to buy them the bags and bags of goodies I’ve bought for them, further helping my daughter’s budget.

Now that my daughter is doing wedding planning, we’re also snagging some items needed to decorate the tables and venue. Even if something isn’t EXACTLY what we want, through crafting and DIY we’re able to alter the things to create the look she wants to match the Pinterest board she has created.

Not having a lot of money doesn’t mean we can’t dress well or live well! As you have seen from my own examples, unless you TELL people where you shop, most people would never know! I’m often approached in the stores by people asking for my advice if something looks good on them, fits well, or if it’s good for their home! I don’t know them, they just seem to like my style, so they ask for my advice

I pay it forward too, by donating the things which no longer fit me or I’m just tired of to women’s shelters, foster kid clothing drives, and student care closets at universities and schools. There’s a lot of life left in many clothes!

Here are a few more tips:

  • Try out different thrift shops in different areas to see what suits your style or body-type better
  • The wealthier neighborhoods have better stuff, so it is worth the drive out!
  • Learn when they have sales or when different color tags have reduced pricing
  • Sign up for their email list to get notified of sales events, especially those coveted end-of-season clearance events!
  • Become knowledgeable about different manufacturers, not just the popular ones of the moment, so you can snag some well-made items
  • Look for wardrobe basics – these will mix and match well with so many things
  • Wardrobe extenders are the items that work well with the basics but add a different look
  • Buy only what you LOVE, or at least like a lot! If you buy it just because it is a cheap price, you’ll be putting it in your giveaway pile very soon!
  • If it doesn’t fit you properly, don’t buy it! Keep looking!

Thrifting helps my anxiety!

Another bonus I got from thrifting: it helps reduce my anxiety. Okay, retail therapy is a real thing, and being able to buy a bunch of stuff without breaking the bank is always a good thing, but I found that my anxiety was reduced because of NOT needing to go into the nicer stores where those items are sold has really helped me.

I get sensory overload when I go into a new grocery store that I’m not familiar with and need to find what’s on my list; it will take me a LONG time to go through it slowly to be able to see individual items. I also get sensory overload when I go into a department store and there is just SO MUCH going on… clothes, colors, and there’s loud music playing!

My anxiety then goes up further when I find something I like in one of those stores and I look at the price tag and see the cost is WAY more than I had anticipated!

When I go to a thrift store I know the prices or the price point I will be paying, so there isn’t sticker shock.

My thrifting habits make me very happy. I save money, help my family, and we all look great with our finds, PLUS we are all doing something positive for the environment by not contributing to the landfills.

Making a jump into thrifting doesn’t mean that you can’t also shop at other stores, but it is a great way to expand a wardrobe when the seasons change, or you just need some new things to look at!

Lastly, tips if donating:

  • Donate clean, washed clothes, not dirty ones smelling of BO or full of stains, missing buttons, having broken zippers, or being unusable!
  • If clothes are ripped or stained, wash or repair them, but if you’re unable to, it may be time to just put them in the trash as thrift stores won’t wash or repair them!
  • Please don’t donate trash! This is a pet peeve of stores receiving bags or boxes of items. If items are moldy, smoke, or fire stained these are definitely better just putting in the trash!

I hope you’ll enjoy adding thrifted items to your wardrobe too! The thrill of the hunt when a great deal is found feels really great!

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29 thoughts on “Thrift shopping makes me very happy!

  1. I don’t shop, but the points you make sound like sense, and we are so lacking in that today. I also loved that line about counting calories…You are so right. Learn to count blessings. If the sheer number doesn’t impress you, their importance might.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoy thrift store shopping myself when I have a little money to spend. I actually just went to my local Goodwill yesterday and found a pair of Lee Rider Capris which I purchased. And one thing nice even at thrift stores sometimes the price is discounted even more. So what I thought I was going spend on those capris was even $3.00 cheaper. Good post Tamara.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I totally agree! I don’t shop name-brand stores to pay through the nose for clothes. That’s nuts! I much prefer to thrift shop and make alterations as necessary. This is a benefit of being poor. My mom taught me when I was little. I have taught my children, and they are great at finding free or cheap clothes. In fact, my mom commented on how we all look so nice all of the time. I said “That’s because we know where to get the best free and/or cheap clothes a s alter them! It was a happy moment!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand! We have a variety of body types to shop for too! I think it’s so cool when family members get in on it and enjoy the hunt too!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes. We even have a Methodist Church by us that does free clothing and they have a whole plus sized rack. Even Goodwill and Salvation Army have special spots for plus sized clothing.

          Liked by 2 people

  4. I really think more such things are needed.
    This blog of yours will encourage people positively.

    Not many Indians are aware of this and not many accept this.
    But I believe, second hand stuff can be useful.
    Like if someone has no utility of a certain thing, they should give it to someone. Such that, money can be saved and also it doesn’t end up in garbage. Thanks for this positive message and teaching something crucial.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree Devang! Even in North America, there’s still a certain taboo for some people to go into a thrift store and shop, but some do so in secret.

      For years I didn’t tell people what I was doing because of people’s perceptions, but even the most prideful people I have known have become converted to the idea after seeing how my family dress! No one would guess we’re thrift shoppers, and in fact, I’m not the only one “accused” of spending too much money in fancy stores, my daughter has as well!

      She works in a car dealership geared for low-income people struggling to make payments, and when her customers say “You just don’t understand what it’s like to be a single parent struggling to pay bills”, she lets them know she is a single parent but not struggling, due to her budgeting savviness, which she then teaches to them.

      This is the ripple effect of teaching people about these things.


        1. I hope so too! Are there any influencers or movers and shakers who could help make this happen? Is this an entrepreneurial opportunity waiting for a non-profit or for-profit to grab hold of?


            1. @DEVANG, this was accomplished here in Nort America by entrepreneurs creating chains of large stores, who then advertised their stores which look clean, well-lit, organized, and with well-priced goods.

              They sometimes buy job-lots of clothes to re-sell, but mostly act as a depot to sort donated items in their big back-of-the-store areas, (while the equally large front area is the sales floor where items are attractively arranged). The unsellable things then get batched and resold for rags or for other companies specializing in those types of things.

              The everyday consumers love the idea of being able to go into a nice-looking store to be able to save money, and then, people with more money started shopping there, as one can see expensive cars parked in the parking lots.

              If the large chains aren’t eyeing the potential market in India, perhaps some savvy business entrepreneurs/partners might look at starting up a line of chain stores, that offer a branded appeal.

              Here’s an example:
     is usually in the USA
     is a sister company in the USA, Canada, and Australia

              Here’s an interesting article:


  5. These are great tips, Tamara! I also love thrifting. Unfortunately, due to online “flippers” the costs of my local thrift stores have drastically increased prices and are now comparable to buying new. It’s so fun and rewarding to find a good deal! I’m glad there are still gems to be found in your area. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I’m sorry to hear that the flippers have all but ruined the fun and the savings for you! I suppose if you get to travel outside of your area you might find some deals?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I’ll need to do some exploring! However, prior to the price increases, I found some absolute gems! Designer clothing for under a dollar, vintage cookware, and–my favorite–a Christmas muffin tin my parents had when I was young. Such fun!!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Those sound like amazing finds! Kudos! Maybe make a fun trip out of thrifting in another area, do lunch, and have a good time!

          Liked by 1 person

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