I dreamt for a pair of beautiful Tory Burch patent leather chunky heels with the famous emblem in gold. I craved a sophisticated and chic Alice + Oliva dress to call my own. I longed for a Kate Spade wallet to match my favorite purse. All were easily attainable with my thiftiness when it comes to budget shopping for designer brands.
My fashion wish list can be extensive and expensive. If I didn’t have much sense, I’d probably be the real life Carrie Bradshaw buying clothes instead of food. The only thing that has stopped me from total destruction (besides my husband’s positive influence when it comes to money management) is my wits when it comes to shopping.
Search for websites that sell pre-loved clothing
Many people don’t realize it, but there are plenty of websites where you can find new-with-tags or gently used brand name clothing. These online shops use various methods of gaining their inventory, but you always end up getting the deal you want. Here are three of my favorites:
- thredUp: thredUp is a company that gets their inventory from people like you who sell their clothing to them for cash or store credit. There are options to search for clothing new with tags, gently used, or with just a few flaws. As a first time customer, you receive 40% off of your entire purchase (maximum $50 discount). Another great incentive is their referral program. You refer friends through your referral link who have not previously signed up to thredUp. Each friend that uses your referral link gets $10 to spend. Once they spend the $10, you get $10 to spend as well.
- shopgoodwill.com: ShopGoodwill gets their clothing much like the way a traditional Goodwill get theirs: through donation of the public. They use an auction strategy like eBay when it comes to selling their inventory. You place a bid on an item or your highest bid for an item. There’s a set time and date the auction ends. If you win, you get the item. The only incentive to this is that you basically get to name your own price for what you want to buy.
- Tradesy: Tradesy uses more of a marketplace approach when it comes to selling. A seller lists the items they want to sell at the price they want to sell them for in hopes to find a buyer. A really great thing about Tradesy is if you want to purchase something, but it’s too pricy for a one lump sum payment, you can split your purchase into monthly payments.
Use apps to search for pre-loved clothing
Much like the internet being helpful when it comes to finding designer pieces for less, there are plenty of apps that work the same way. Ones that I frequent include:
- Poshmark: Poshmark works the same way as Tradesy; A seller lists her item at the price she is willing to sell it and a customer can purchase said item. Poshmark allows the buyer to make an offer if they believe the item is priced too high or if they want to try their luck with the seller. The seller has the right to reject or accept the offer.
- Vinted: Vinted works the same way as Poshmark and Tradesy as well, but instead of having the capability for the buyer to make an offer, the buyer can offer to swap a piece from their own closet for the item they want to purchase.
- Instagram: Instagram shopping can get tricky if you’re not accustomed to it. There really are no written rules, but there is etiquette to purchasing from someone’s shop. First, you search known hashtags for what sellers are selling such as #shopmycloset. You can find shops through this hashtag as well. Once you see an item you want to purchase, you check the shop rules which are listed somewhere on the shop’s page or you can direct message the owner to ask for the policies. From my experience, I have left the email linked to my PayPal as a comment on a photo of the item I want to purchase and the seller sends an invoice directly to my PayPal. I pay for the item and the seller ships it to me.
One tip: always proceed the websites and apps that use the marketplace approach with caution. Ask for authenticity when buying something truly expensive. Do your research to make sure you are not purchasing something from a scammer.
It’s time to get out there! Use TheThriftShopper.com to find your local thrift shops. You’ll be surprised at the gems you find by just taking your time and truly looking through the racks. Make sure you do your research: many thrift stores offer even more discounts on items depending on the day of the week, color of the tag, etc. Consignment shops are even more of a gold mine, although you’ll definitely pay more for your items and most don’t have extra discounts on top of their low prices.
How do you shop for brand pieces on a budget?