Thrifting: You've Been Sleeping on a Goldmine Gal

It’s not a secret that college students struggle with budgeting. We buy ramen because so we don’t drain our checking accounts. That’s just how it is when you’re paying an arm and a leg for an education. It is kind of hard to get cute clothes when you’re on a budget like that. I know the clearance rack at Forever 21 is probably your best friend at this point, but I’m telling you that thrifting is a goldmine and you have been sleeping on it!

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I’ll admit that it’s normal to be skeptical of thrift shopping. You don’t know where the clothes have been and a lot of the stuff in thrift stores can be tacky and sketchy and even just smells weird.

But, as suspicious as thrifting can sometimes be, it’s a good way to save money. Since many thrift stores are non-profit/charity-related, you can also help support those in need. You can find a lot of amazing stuff there: I’ve been thrifting since I was a kid and honestly I have found vintage overalls that can sell on Depop for over $50, vintage denim that would’ve been $98 at Urban Outfitters, Kappa tear-away pants and authentic designer pieces from brands like Louis Vuitton and Chanel. I’m not saying you’re going to necessarily find these things, but it is possible. Usually, I just find some sneakers, unique sweaters, or room décor. No matter what you buy, you can get so much out of thrifting and pay practically nothing–as long as you do it right.

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So, how do we maximize the benefits of thrifting? 

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First of all, where you thrift makes a difference. If you’re thrifting in an affluent suburban area, (For Boston that’d be something like Brookline or Newton), then you’re probably going to newer and fancier items. It’s at thrift stores in these kinds of places where rich soccer moms dump out their lightly used Tory Burch or their new-with-tags Banana Republic sweater that they never got a chance to wear before it went out of season. But, if you’re thrifting in an urban area, for example, Allston, you’re more likely to find band shirts, windbreakers, and unique items.

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Additionally, you need to know what to look for. Before you go, try and have an idea of what you’d like to find. You want to keep an eye out specifically for barely worn or brand-new items, brands that would be expensive at retail price, and authentic vintage pieces. Thrift stores are especially awesome if you like really eclectic and quirky pieces. I once found a t-shirt with a picture of a man holding a plastic Barbie toy phone to his ear on the silk pocket, with no context. To this day I still have no idea who that man in the picture is, but I wear that shirt all the time.

My favorite place to buy second-hand clothing in the Boston area is for sure Garment District, in Cambridge. They sell vintage and costumes, but what’s really cool is their by-the-pound section. It's this big room where they dump a bunch of clothes on the ground of all sizes and categories, and people just go in and pick out what they want and pay for it BY THE POUND. It’s $2 a pound (expect on Friday, when it’s $1 a pound) and its truly just a gem. I’ve never spent more than $5 there at a time, but always walk away with a full bag.

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As weird and unfamiliar as it seems, thrifting is a great way to make your college student dollars go just a little bit further.

 

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