Thrift store shopping online

I’ll admit it:  I get annoyed when shopping thrift stores.  Occasionally, you can find great deals, but often, when I need jeans for the kids, of course, there are no jeans to be found, as every other parent is shopping for the same thing at the same time.

I guess I value my time more than the potential steal;  I want to know that an item is going to be AVAILABLE if I go shopping for it.  I will go to several different stores if need be, but only if I DON’T have the kids with me.  Every time I unload five kids from the truck, it’s a MINIMUM of 30 minutes in and out, and usually a lot longer than that.  That gets tedious.

Every time I go to Target, I check the clearance racks.  Most often, of course, it’s off-season stuff, and sometimes I stock up for next year…  And Ross.  I like going to Ross for new clothing for the kids, and I usually buy their shoes there, too.  I also like Ross in that the kids’ stuff is close by the toys, so usually the kids can look at the toys and still be within eyesight as I check on clothes or shoes.

We also live on hand-me-downs.  I love hand-me-downs.  And, the occasional Freecycle bag o’ clothing, which is usually about half-usable.

I'm not a huge fan of animal prints, but Audrey is!

Especially for my girls, though, I get most of their clothing from eBay.  I set myself a limit of $2 per item, including shipping.  This almost always means that I have to purchase things in lots.  When I need to buy something, I just do a search in the size I need, usually including the word “lot” in the search, find what fits the bill, and place my max bid.  I get out-bid a lot.  I stick to my guns and almost never go back and up my bid.  The only time I do is if I’ve already won something from that seller, and the seller will combine shipping, so I can afford to pay a bit more.

This past weekend, I bought some clothes for Audrey — 15 pieces for $27 and change, five from one seller, and 10 from another.  Two sweaters, five long-sleeved shirts, one short-sleeved shirt, two skirts, a pair of tights, and four pairs of pants.  Everything in “excellent used condition” except for one pair of jeans that are a bit worn (no holes) at the knees.  Most of the stuff is from The Children’s Place.  (I like TCP, because their clothing is usually trendy/up-to-date, but higher quality than Target clothing, and not nearly as pricey as Gymboree.  I’m not necessarily into name-brand stuff, but there are a few brands I like because I know it’s going to mean that the item is well-made.)

So, mission accomplished:  Less than $2/item spent, and now Audrey is just about set for this winter (with those items combined with the hand-me-downs, Freecycle clothes, and a few new things she already had).  Woo hoo!

I know there are a lot of thrift store adherents out there, and eBay isn’t quite the deal that it used to be, but there are still bargains to be had for moms like me, whose taste (and the clothing needs of seven people!) exceeds her budget.  🙂


About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on November 2, 2009, in Budget, Clothes, Shoes, Shopping, The Kids. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Do you have a size chart of the kinds of things you are looking for. Do you need sweaters and jackets? With the Moose lodge we have lots of swap stuff we do and if I have a list I can keep an eye out for you if you would like. Email me if you want

  2. My friend swears by Ebay for clothes. I have never used Ebay for clothes. I garage sale though all the time. I have a running list of things that we need and I hunt all year for them. I just bought a pair of Nike Shox for about 10 cents. She had wal-mart bags that you could fill for a dollar and that included the shoes. I bought 5 shirts for BB and some sweaters just for the buttons. Also some odds and ends stuff. It was so awesome. Unfortunately the shoes didn’t fit me just Monkey.

    It is always nice when we can get nice stuff for our kids without spending too much $$. BTW I like TCP too. When they have their Monster sale I will sometimes go buy the girls matching shirts.

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