At the risk of sounding like a Scrooge, I’m going to make a bold statement, but don’t write me off just yet. Thrift stores are not your friend.
Now before you go getting all angry with me, hear me out. I’m not saying that thrift stores are wrong because they have their benefits, but they’re not your best option when it comes to finding affordable clothes.
How Do Thrift Store Run?
Charities often run thrift stores that sell our old clothes, shoes, household goods, and misc—items we no longer need or use. The store employees are volunteers who have been given a list of things to collect from the community.
The donated items are sorted and priced according to condition and popularity. The most popular items will be moved to the front of the store, while the less popular items will be transferred to the back or put on sale.
The apparent benefit of thrift stores is finding some great deals on clothes, furniture, and other household items. However, the downside is that the selection can be a bit hit or miss. You might find something you love, or you might not find anything at all.
So, Should You Donate to Thrift Store?
Let me be clear here. I’m all for charity. And I love to help when we can but sometimes, giving those items away is not the best choice for your season in life, and you may not even realize it.
Sometimes we are helping others but hurting our family’s financial situation when we forego the money we could have earned by selling those items ourselves. Long term, this will inhibit our ability to help the charity in even greater ways.
For those families who have ANY debt, I do not recommend giving away items in a good, usable, re-saleable condition which, to be clear, are the only items you should be giving to charity.
They don’t want your “junk,” and I say that as lovely as possible! It costs them more to go through true “junk” and dispose of them than it is worth, so do them a favor and only donate items in good repair.
Every dollar you could have gotten from the sale of your items (think Craigslist, online Facebook yard sale groups, yard sales, etc.) was an unallocated dollar in your budget that could have gone towards your debt and getting out from under the bondage of living in debt. Sure, debt is manageable for some, and they don’t feel the crunch. But think of all the good they could do with no debt payments!
I am not advocating complete abstinence from all charitable giving when you have debt, but rather than donating the 100%, you should sell your items, give 10% (or your choice) to charity, and 90% apply to your debt.
If you’re anything like most of America, you have plenty of items to get rid of. Declutter the house, go through the clothes, and grab items you haven’t used in the last three months, as well as gifts that you plan to re-gift and put up for sale. Use that money to apply to your debt and free yourself up to do even better things for your favorite charity or church.
They Are Not the Best Option for Finding Affordable Clothes
The thing with thrift stores is that the clothes are usually very used and/or outdated. You’re likely to find a lot of stained, ripped, and broken items, which can be frustrating when you’re trying to put together an outfit.
Not to mention, the prices can be a bit on the high side, especially if you’re looking for something specific. I say threat deals at thrift stores, but you have to be willing to spend a lot of time searching through racks and racks of clothes to find them.
On the other hand, department stores and online retailers usually have a wider selection of more affordable clothes than what you’ll find at a thrift store. So if you’re looking for a specific style or brand of clothes, your best bet is to look elsewhere.
Thrift Stores Have Their Benefits
But all that said, there are times when thrift stores are your best option. They can be great places to find unique pieces that you won’t find anywhere else. And if you’re patient and willing to dig through the racks, you can find some good deals.
For example, if you’re on a tight budget or you’re looking for something specific and can’t find it anywhere else, then thrift stores are the way to go.
Another example is trying to build a specific style or wardrobe. Thrift stores are a great place to find vintage pieces, and you can put together some cool outfits by mixing and matching old and new pieces.
There Are Better Options Out There
In the end, whether or not thrift stores are your friend depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for affordable clothes, your best bet is to shop at department stores or online retailers. These places offer better prices and more variety than thrift stores, so you’re more likely to find what you’re looking for.
But if you’re looking for something unique and different, or if you’re on a tight budget, then thrift stores are worth checking out. Just be prepared to spend a lot of time looking through the racks, and be ready to find some things that you might not want to wear.
So Are Thrift Stores Your Friends or Not?
So, are thrift stores your friend? Well, it depends. If you’re looking for everyday clothes, then no, they’re not your best option. But if you’re looking for something special, or you don’t mind sifting through a lot of junk to find a hidden gem, then they can be a great place to shop.
Thrift stores are a great way to save money, find one-of-a-kind pieces, and help those in need.
While working on paying off your debt, frequent those thrift stores first. When you are in the market for shoes, clothes, household appliances, etc., make sure to check there first for any items they may have.
In this way, you are not only helping their charity, but you are helping your family’s financial state as well with the money you saved on those items rather than shopping new.
Take the difference and apply it to your debt. While it may not seem like much independently, these little things can add up in a big way.
If you sold just $25 of items each month and saved $25 on purchases, you could apply $47.50 (assuming you gave $2.50 to charity, as mentioned) a month to your debt. In 12 short months, you would have reduced your debt by $570.00 by this one simple task.
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