How To Spend Less On Clothes – Consignment & Thrift Shopping

This post may contain affiliate links. When you use them, you help support this site. For more information, please read the Disclosure Policy

Saving your family money on clothing purchases without going over your budget can be a challenge! Simple tips to help you plan when and where to purchase clothes so you’re not busting your budget.

Consignment and Thrift stores Shopping Savings

News FLASH!!!! There is a way that you can shop to help save your family on clothing purchases. It is time to rethink those purchases.

we all know that clothing expenses can add up very quickly, especially with children quickly growing out of their outfits faster than you think.

Today, I am covering two different types of places that I frequently visit to purchase clothes for my family. I love them both and find equally good clothing. But my favorite is spotting unique items I would not find anywhere else. I encourage you to read through this article; saving your family money on clothing purchases.

Where to Shop – Getting Amazing Fashion Savings

You can find a lot of hidden deals on name-brand clothing by purchasing at thrift stores or consignment shops.

Not to mention some rare finds, like those adult-size footy pajamas you have been searching for since you turned 18 or that one-piece leopard unitard. (EEK!! you know who you are).

I have heard many reasons why you wouldn’t want to shop at a thrift store or consignment shop, from the cleanliness of the store to the quality of the clothes, to even being embarrassed. First, there is no reason to be ashamed about saving yourself or your family money.

After all, God has given us the ability to spend our/his money wisely. Let’s put this into practice.

consignment shop - inside

Image above- Inside Polkadots Consignment Shop, Guilderland, NY

The difference between a Thrift Store Vs Consignment Shop

I want to establish the difference between thrift stores and consignment shops. You may be asking; “There really is a difference. Don’t both sell second-hand clothing?” Why Yes they DO!!! There are big differences between the two. So, why choose one over the other?

Thrift stores and consignment shops are amazing resources for getting great, high-quality, unique, and inexpensive clothes and other household items. Often, the offerings are perfectly good things that somebody else has outgrown or simply grown tired of.

The Biggest Difference:

Thrift Stores get their items from donations, while consignments are hand-picked items by the store. What this means is at a thrift store expect to find possible stains, wear, and even holes in clothes.

I had the chance to interview Saydra (I LOVE this Girl) the owner of Polkadots Consignment in Guilderland, NY to get a better understanding of consignment stores. She mentions;

“I’m very picky about what I take. It’s no fun to go to a store where you have to pick through stained items. I have people come to Polkadots and say “it smells so good in here”.

Really?? People are complimenting her on the scent of her shop. The deal is that thrift stores and even some consignment shops don’t pick out or clean the clothes prior to placing them on the shelf for resale. Who wants to shop and be overwhelmed with odors from the previous owner?

No Thank You!!

It is nice to know that some shop owners are working hard to maintain fresh-smelling items. After all, who wants to have a bad shopping experience?

shirt at consignment shop

Things to Know Before Shopping

Items at Consignment shops are always individually priced, which tends to lead to slightly higher prices.

However, since the store is usually owned by an individual, not by a group, the owner will have advertised sales. Here is how consignment shops acquire items for resale.

An individual (say yourself) will bring an item in and will have a choice to consign that item or sell it to the shop. To consign means that you will share half the items cost with the shop’s owner if it sells.

If it doesn’t sell, you may be asked to pick up your item (because it may have gone out of season). If you choose to sell it to the store, then you will get a lower price for that item. It is up to you if you have the patience or not to wait it out.

Thrift stores have lots of great treasures but are usually overloaded with items and sometimes not well organized.

I have found that most thrift stores will organize their clothing by color (keeping all the red shirts together), but this can be difficult and time-consuming to search for your size.

Remember that thrift stores are usually started by a charity or non-profit group (a bonus to giving back to the community).

They usually set their prices, but you must be careful when searching for your items (again, look for any stains, holes, or defects). Generally, consignment shops are organized well and clothing is grouped by size. You can bet that the quality of the clothes found here is better.

Each item is handpicked and looked over for any wear, stains, holes, or defects (these items will not be sold). As Saydra mentioned, she is very picky.

Helpful Tips to Know Prior to Visiting a Thrift Store Consignment Shop Shopping

  • You will need time to sort through items (a little less at consignment shops)
  • Bring a list or a mental note of the things you need, not want. You may end up taking home more than you expect.
  • Bring a little money, BONUS (not a lot)

Keep in mind while shopping in consignment or thrift shops that you are helping others by purchasing GREEN, RECYCLED products!

Want to shop at a consignment store from home? Check out Threadup.

This is a wonderful way to save money and help out the environment. Check out the local consignment and thrift stores in your area. Chances are, you will find something you can’t live without.

Word-of-mouth advertising is wonderful for these types of businesses. It brings in new customers and helps support small businesses and charities! Good luck with YOUR treasure hunt!

Other Frugal Money Saving Articles

5 Tips on How to Save Big At the Grocery Store Each Week

How to Know if You Can Afford to Stay Home with the Kids

Learning How to Menu Plan: Plus Get Free Menu Printables

Similar Posts


  1. I shop at the good will on Hoosick street all the time! I’ve gotten great deals. And it’s actually fun to go digging through looking for treasures, like a clothing archeologists. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *