Byline: Courtney Gavitt
Depending on the thrift store, they might buy some of your old clothes off of you. Some give store credit, and some will give you a percentage of the money they get for selling your clothes. (elise.y/Flickr Creative Commons)
For a generation of poor college students doing everything in their power to stand out from one another, it's not surprising that we've picked up thrifting as a hobby. It saves money, leads to some unique finds and is honestly a whole lot of fun.
If you've never been thrifting before, the Storrs area is a great place to start. Manchester has a Goodwill, Consignment Originals and a Savers. There's a Plato's Closet in South Windsor and a Salvation Army in Vernon. Not to mention the variety of small, local thrift shops in between with hidden gems just waiting to be found.
I have so many sweaters I've purchased for under $10, some for less than $5. Considering a lot of the pieces originally sold for $30 or more, it's definitely a welcome way to save money. Styles come back around, so you can find unique clothing items that no one else will have.
If you're new to thrifting, here is my comprehensive list of tips.
First, bring some friends! Thrifting is more fun when you aren't alone. Not only do you get to scout out deals with your friends, but you can have a blast trying on the most ridiculous outfits you can find with them.
Don't limit yourself to one section. This tip is primarily directed at girls. Stop looking at just the girls' or youth section! The biggest thing I've learned when shopping is that clothing made for girls is generally low quality, thin and uncomfortable. The men's section has sweaters, flannels and sweatshirts that are a lot better quality and warmer. They can also be cheaper.
Learn to sew! This is my biggest piece of advice. Sewing is easy, and you don't need a full-on sewing machine for it. A lot of simple tailoring jobs can be done by hand-sewing, and you can pick up a sewing kit at your local dollar store. A lot of cute items you see at Urban Outfitters or similar stores can easily be recreated for much less. I've bought knee-length skirts for $5, cut them shorter and hemmed them, which took all of 15 minutes to do. Any shirt can easily become a crop top with a pair of scissors, and pockets are pretty easy to add to anything. One of my favorite tips is ripping the knees out of cheap jeans and sewing strings across the gap to make it look like the worn-out tears of expensive ripped jeans.
Case in point: If you want a piece of clothing and don't want to dish out the money for it, try to see if you can make it yourself!
You'll have better luck buying clothes off-season, so look for sweaters now instead of spring and summer clothing. You'll also have better luck shopping mid-week than on the weekends.
Depending on the thrift store, they might buy some of your old clothes off of you. Some give store credit, and some will give you a percentage of the money they get for selling your clothes. It might take some time to get the money back, but getting the extra $5 or $10 dollars every once and awhile is definitely welcome.
But honestly, don't limit yourself to just clothes! I've gotten stacks of books and old records from thrift stores, and one of my friends found a working typewriter. Don't be afraid to wander and look around a bit.
Now is a perfect time to start thrifting because people are starting their spring cleaning rounds and are donating anything they no longer want. So grab a group of friends, put a few hours aside and get thrifting!