If you don’t want to pay top dollar while you’re shopping, and you enjoy being kind to the planet, secondhand shopping is the way to go. Why pay over twenty dollars for a piece of clothing, furniture or trinkets when you can get the same thing for under twelve?
If you’ve never heard of resale shopping, then you’re missing out. Resale shops sell everything from clothing, toys, electronics, furniture and more for a fraction of retail store prices — and depending on the store there are even extra discounts depending on the day you come in. Some resale stores even devote profits to charitable missions like curing AIDS and helping women get out of domestic abuse situations, so you can get quality items for cheap while also helping out those in need.
While there are resale shops that lean more towards pricy boutiques, and small designer stores that will sell brand names for a decent price, for the sake of this list I’ll be showing you the top three most affordable and diverse resale shops found around Houston that sell more basic items. All of them have multiple locations, so all you have to do is Google the one nearest to you and treasure hunt:
Family Thrift Outlets
Affordability is the name of the game at Family Thrift. While Goodwill can sell nicer things for a higher cost, Family Thrift will sell similar quality items for shockingly low prices. With their casual and semi-casual clothes usually going from three to 10 dollars or jackets and dresses going from six to maybe 20 depending on brand and quality, students on a dime can really stretch out their budget. Instead of spending 20 dollars on a new t-shirt, you could spread the money out by buying a few four-dollar shirts, a pair of seven-dollar jeans and maybe splurge on a few ten-dollar shoes.
Pro tip: One thing to know is that Family Thrift’s stock is very much influenced by the area it sells in, so some locations could have a huge stock of books while others have more furniture or clothes than anything. I’d suggest going to a location close to areas that are likely to have the nice versions of what you need since that’s where it’s most likely to be. Location location location! Also, pro tip: on Thursdays, all items at Family Thrift Outlet stores are priced at $2. The prices drop a quarter each day until all items are only $0.25 on Wednesdays.
The mighty Goodwill is the flagship of the resale world with stores scattered all over Houston. Goodwill sells good items for good prices — shirts for around six to 10 bucks with tax, jackets around 10 to 30, dresses ranging from seven to 40 depending on whether or not it’s in the boutique section, etc. — although most Goodwill’s differ slightly in pricing. I’d suggest looking for dresses and dress shirts here since they are pickier about what they sell — only taking the nicest items from donations, but they do price their items higher than other resellers like Value Village or Family Thrift. Think of it this way: Goodwill is the Macy’s of the resale world. You get what you pay for.
Pro tip: If you ever need to get rid of old stuff, take it to Goodwill then ask for a receipt of your donation. At the end of the year, you can claim a tax deduction for clothing and household items that are in good condition. Win-win.
If you’re really on a budget and need to save as many pennies as possible then Value Village is the place for you. The stock is still good quality, and they often have absolute steals like bomber jackets and brand new shoes. I’d suggest either going here or to Goodwill to find furniture, but like Family Thrift, Value Village stock and prices depend on the location, so keep that in mind when you set off on your shopping spree.
A cool thing about Value Village is that when you donate to Value Village, a good portion of the revenue gets distributed to many nonprofit partners across Canada, the U.S. and Australia. Additionally, they’ll give you a coupon for a specified amount to take off your purchase if you spend 10 dollars or more at their store — so you get the good stuff for a fraction of the price while still helping out those in need.
Pro tip: The tags on their items are color-coded to reflect when they came in and what items are on sale, so if you pay attention or ask an attendant you can find out how long an item has been there and how much of a discount it’s going for. Just listen for the loudspeaker that goes off every once in a while to announce what color means what sale, or ask an employee what color means what that week. Now get out there and save!
Photo: Cooglife File Photo