Retail prices are soaring on everything from clothing and food to vehicles and gas. The inflation rate is at its highest level in three decades. Shipping delays and limited inventory are frustrating consumers from coast to coast.
Savvy shoppers, however, are rediscovering a money-saving alternative – thrift store shopping. Prior to the pandemic, the thrift store industry was growing by 7% annually, according to The Association of Resale Professionals. However, the online resale platform ThredUp estimates the secondhand market will double from $36 billion in 2021 to $77 billion in 2025.
Thrift store shopping, affectionately called “thrifting” by the trend’s devotees, can be entertaining and enlightening, as well as challenging. Below are five tips to make thrifting worth your time in 2022:
Shop with a purpose: When customers enter a grocery store, they have a general idea of what they need to buy – milk, eggs, bread, etc. You don’t need a specific list to shop at a thrift store, though, just a general idea, goal or plan of action. If you’re looking to spruce up a living room with new artwork, for instance, decide in advance on the theme, like tropical, floral or wildlife. Then begin your search.
Pay attention to labels: Resale shops are full of like-new and brand-new items. Shoppers often stumble across designer brands with the original price tags attached. If you’re looking for shoes, dresses, jackets or ties, know which manufacturers have the best reputation for producing high-quality products. Name-brand items can be discounted 50% or more from their original prices.
Know the cause: Many thrift stores support nonprofit organizations and rely on volunteers to run operations rather than paid employees. That means a higher portion of revenue can support charitable causes like education, the environment, health care or the arts. It’s human nature to evaluate whether you really need to purchase an item, but that decision is easier when you know the money will support a cause that’s near and dear to your heart.
Consider alternate uses: The best finds at a thrift store can come from repurposing items. A porcelain vase, for example, might have once held flowers, but someone with artistic abilities could transform it into a one-of-a-kind statement piece with a little paint. It’s similar to when fashionistas accessorize their outfits by wearing items that weren’t necessarily intended to go together, like a scarf or hat, but still look good.
Shop at the right time: Resale shops typically receive the most donations on weekends and Mondays. That’s because people use their free time to clean. Although inventory is replenished on a daily basis, weekend donations can make their way onto the shelves early in the week. Also, many seasonal residents in Southwest Florida donate items before heading north for the summer, so inventory and selection is usually strong in March, April and May.
The concept of thrifting is not new. However, economic factors have made thrifting popular once again. Shoppers certainly can capitalize on the trend in 2022 if they map out an appropriate plan of action before beginning their next shopping adventure.