How to Save HUGE Money on Clothes When You're Too Busy and Stylish for Thrift Stores

We may earn a commission on purchases made after clicking links on this page.

by Robin

You already know you can save tonnes of cash by buying second-hand clothes.  But did you know you can wear second-hand AND have great style AND save time AND be sure of the quality, too? 

Many of us have preconceived notions about second-hand clothes:

  • Does the memory of that thrift shop smell turn you off before you even set foot in the store?  

  • Have you ever bought something second hand, only to find a wonky zipper or torn seam?  

  • Or, does weeding through long, stuffed racks of f'ugly clothing to find something you actually like, seem like a huge waste of time?

There is a way to enjoy the savings of second-hand clothes, without these major drawbacks.  This is how I do it - and I save hundreds of dollars every year - which we spend instead on family fun, like travel! 

Consignment stores work by selling gently used, clothing on behalf of customers that are looking for cash. And often folks are even looking to unload brand new things. 

Just last night I snagged a brand new pair of jeans - with tags - for myself for $8!

There are amazing deals to be found. Here's what you could find:

Great Style.
Most consignment shops have strict policies of what they will accept.  It’s common to find they will only accept clothes less than 2 years old, unless they specialize in vintage clothing.  

You can find some really special pieces that you otherwise couldn’t afford.  It’s not unusual for my favourite shop to carry Coach bags and Diane von Furstenberg dresses for a tiny fraction of the original price.

Also, you will find pieces that you just can’t source at the mall.  By shopping consignment, it's highly unlikely you'll walk into a party wearing the same outfit as another guest.  There’s usually only one of each piece in the store, so your look is destined to be more original.

Time Savings.

A good consignment store will carefully screen clothing for quality.  You won’t find any stained t-shirts with chickadees and birdhouses on them here.  

What you will find are clothes that have been checked carefully for working zippers, intact seams and current styles. This saves you oodles of time compared to thrift stores because you can have confidence in the quality. This means you can just spend your time finding the perfect style and fit. (I’ve always appreciated this, but never more so than when I had a hungry infant and roaming toddler in tow.)

Speciality Shops.

Depending on your community, many consignment shops specialize.  I’ve seen specialities as varied as vintage, plus-size, formal wear, shoes, and of course, children’s.  

Consignment is always my first choice for children’s clothes.  My favourite kids’ shop has a massive collection and I always find what we need.  Always.  

Children grow so fast, why pay more than you need to for brand new clothes they won’t wear next year?

You can find deals from home.

There are online consignment stores who will ship the clothes to you.   Plus, many consignment shops have websites, Instagram and Facebook pages.  My favourite shops regularly post photos of “new” clothes and accessories.  Just message them if you like something, and they’ll hold it for you.   I love that!

They are often run by really lovely people.

The owners of consignment stores are usually your neighbours. And often they want to give back to their community.

The consignment store I frequent is a few blocks from home. The owner, Holly, is absolutely lovely. She is friendly and genuine with all her customers. She always remembers me and - honestly! - I am not in there that often. Year-round she has community building activities - for example, Tampon Tuesday - where customers can bring in feminine hygiene supplies and get a discount - and then those much-needed items are donated to local aid agencies. That is such thoughtful, kindness - and only one example of the giving projects Holly does!

 Holly is the owner of Smitten in Guelph, Ontario, Canada - check her store out if you're local!

Maybe your local consignment store has a similar spirit of giving?

The last reason to give them a try:  The thrill of the hunt.

I can feel my heart rate pick up when I discover that great piece that's the perfect size and just a few dollars. My favourite purse, that I get compliments on constantly, gave me just this feeling!

I don't get that same excitement at a new clothes store. It doesn't feel special when there's 13 of the exact same thing hanging together in a row.

Have you ever checked out your local consignment stores?  


  1. Great tips! I just sent off my first batch of clothes to ThreadUP and I really enjoy shopping on there. Definitely a step up from a thrift store.

    1. ThreadUp sounds great, Sarah! I don't think we have it in Canada yet though. :( thanks for your comment!

  2. Hey Robin, I have scored many great items in our local consignments stores and I'm a firm believer! I find that they are very picky as to what they accept, so I've never run across and clothes that smell smokey or look worn. This is a great suggestion and a great article! Thanks.

    1. Thanks, Lynn! I think people should be proud of their second-hand scores - glad you shared your solidarity! :)

  3. I love local consignment shops! It's such a great way to save money!


We love hearing from you! If you have a moment, leaving a comment would make our day.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

© Frugal Family Times. Design by FCD.