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My Favorite Places to Shop as a Broke College Student

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

I’m a strong believer in the power of retail therapy. However, as a college student on a budget, I have had to find ways to keep both myself and my bank account positive. Between finding cute clothes for class, game days, and nights out with my friends, here are some of my favorite places to shop at to keep my closet fresh without breaking the bank.  

Plato’s Closet

Plato’s Closet is a consignment shop chain that is used by many college students. They have so many name-brand items for half their original price. Most of the items are in good condition. They often have specific racks that are dedicated to brands and trends. For example, they’ll often have a rack with high-end athleisure filled with Lululemon, Gymshark, and Nike. The two locations in Tallahassee often have a rack specifically for FSU game day attire. You may have to do some digging for jeans or cute tops for a night out, but it’s worth it when you can find those hidden gems for a low price. I’m a huge sneakerhead and have been able to find some of my favorite shoe brands in unique styles. If you have a bag of clothes you don’t wear anymore, you can also easily sell items to Plato’s Closet and make some money.  

Depop

Next up is my favorite online thrifting app, Depop. If you’re too impatient to dig or are looking for something specific, this app is for you. Like any other online shopping platform, you can search specific sizes, colors, styles, price ranges, and pieces to narrow down your search. Some items can be pricey, but you can discuss bargains with the seller. You are also able to like and save items you like and will be notified if the price drops. The app’s algorithm will create folders of items they think you will like and in the price ranges you’ve previously interacted with. If you receive an item that doesn’t fit or is not what you were expecting, the app has a feature called “Repop” where you can repost the item and sell it again. It’s also easy to sell clothes you don’t wear anymore on Depop, and you can even trade your items with other sellers on the app.

Goodwill outlet, aka “The Bins”

If you’re willing to get down and dirty and really dig, Tallahassee has a Goodwill Outlet. Better known on TikTok as “The Bins,” the Goodwill Outlet has a warehouse of several large bins of random items ranging from clothes to home decorations. This is more of a treasure hunt than a shopping experience, but you can likely walk away feeling content with the items you find. My roommate found her favorite pair of pajama pants here. You pay for your items by the pound, so this is pretty helpful if you’re able to find name-brand items. I suggest going earlier when the bins are freshly stocked to get those good finds.  

T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and Ross

Lastly, T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and Ross have given me some of my greatest finds for cheap. They’re known as off-price retailers, which means they buy overproduced or unsold merchandise from bigger companies and sell them for a lower price. T.J. Maxx and Marshalls have a lot of high-end clothing and cosmetic brands. If you need clothes for a snazzy internship or job interview that won’t break the bank, I would hit up Marshalls before you try Dillard’s. Ross is good for shoes; I have been able to find Adidas, Nike, and Vans shoes for under 30 bucks. They all have a wide selection of home décor, kitchen wear, and nice purses too.  

The two shopping rules I live by are: I should never feel guilty about a purchase, and I should never pay full price when I don’t have to. Even if these shopping experiences seem way out of your comfort zone, I encourage you to explore them.  

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I’m a communications major at Florida State. Class of 2026!