Today Show producers gave us a challenge to spend $50 each to purchase two outfits—one dressy and one casual.
Steve went over budget, but the rest of the family was so far under budget that we spent less than half of what was allotted. Get our 8 Tips for Finding Bargains at Thrift Stores and Consignment Stores and Watch the TV Interview at the bottom of this page.
Where We Shopped for The Clothing Challenge
We shopped at two of our favorite stores to find some great deals: Savers Thrift Department Store (more than 250 locations in US, Canada, and Australia) and A Second Look—one of the most beautiful consignment stores we’ve ever seen (only in Arizona).
Where to Find Thrift Stores in Your Area
If you’re looking for a thrift or consignment store in your area, check out ThriftShopper.com. Just plug in your zip code and you’ll see a list of stores near you.
Saving on Kids’ Clothes
If you’re looking for super discounts on clothing for your kids (infant through pre-teen) check out a Just Between Friends consignment sale in your area. These are huge events that attract hundreds or thousands of people, depending on the location, a couple of times each year. Watch a video of their recent Tulsa, Oklahoma event. Or find an event in your area here.
1) Review your clothes and your kids’ clothes
Make a list of what you need. We review our kids’ clothing needs twice each year — Spring and Fall.
2) Create a Storage System
This is especially helpful if you have several children and plan on passing clothes from one to the other. We store their outgrown clothes in small bankers boxes kept in the garage. We check these boxes for clothes that fit before we go shopping.
3) Shop with a List of Needed Items
After reviewing what you have, create a list of needed items. Shopping with a list will save you time, money and minimize impulse buys.
4) Have a Shopping Hierarchy
We visit a series of different types of stores depending on our clothing needs. Often we can uncover great bargains at rock-bottom prices no matter where we go. If we can’t find what we need at the first store, then we proceed to the next type of store.
- Thrift Stores: Savers, Goodwill, smaller ones benefiting other organizations like women’s shelters, animal rescues or adoption agencies and others have a wide selection and great prices
- Consignment Stores: Our favorites are A Second Look, Turnstyles and Other Mothers, but there are plenty more in Phoenix and across the nation.
- Discount Retailers: Walmart, Ross, TJ Maxx and Target.
5) Discount Policies
Many thrift and consignment stores have scheduled discounts. Talk with employees and find out what your particular store does. Some have 99¢ days others have 1/2 price days or specific colored tags discount on certain days. Our favorite consignment store has a dated tag policy where the price reduces by 25% after a specified time, then 50%, then finally 75%. Discounts are a great way to pick up bargains. Some stores even have dollar bag discounts. Fill a bag with clothes for $1—you can’t beat that one!
6) Check and Double Check
When buying used clothes, always check seams, zippers, under arms and crotches of the clothes for wear, tears and torn seams. Also hold each piece of clothing up to the lights to check for holes or other problems. If you see a stain (and think it might wash out) don’t be shy about asking for a further reduction in price.
7) Wash it Right Away
We always wash the clothes we buy from thrift stores. We aren’t paranoid about bed bugs or diseases, but just want to be careful.
8) Have your kids pay
Taking your kids to thrift and consignment stores is a great way for them to start paying for their own clothes. The prices are affordable even for kids with limited means. If your kids want to buy some more expensive items, set a dollar limit that you will give them and let them earn the money for the rest of it. Our kids start paying for their own clothes at age 11. To learn more about this system read about our MoneySmart Kids Training Program.
Watch this Video for More Tips