Five Things to Look For When Buying Used Clothes

Are you thred up with your kids going through closes too fast? Kids go through clothes fast. This is particularly troubling when you have multiple children needing garb all at the same time. If this year’s hand-me-downs won’t do the trick, what’s a family to do? Go into debt buying school clothes? No, because that’s a temporary fix to a permanent problem. You stop putting value in new and start buying the best used garments you can afford, that’s what you do!

Thrift stores, consignment shops, and yard sales are all great places to buy gently worn clothing and accessories. If you’re really fortunate, you will find your fair share of brand new items with the tags still on them. There are some things that you should be aware of when shopping for used clothing for you and your children. In fact, here are five things to look for when making your purchases:

  1. Inventory you and your children’s current wardrobe. Determine what items are an absolute necessity, which items need repair, and which items can benefit someone else. Write out a list of sizes for each person in the family. Don’t forget to include shoe sizes because that is often what children grow out of the quickest.
  2. Set a budget for each person in the family and stick to it. Based on clothing needs, determine how much you will spend on each person. Carry a calculator with you so you can have a running total of how much you have spent prior to getting to the register. This will allow you to put stuff back that you thought you had a use for but really don’t need.
  3. Examine each article of clothing carefully. Look for loose threads, stains, and holes. If an items has any of these flaws, reconsider buying it. Although some secondhand clothing gets revived after a good wash in the washing machine, that isn’t always the case. If building a new wardrobe is imperative because your children have nothing else to wear, don’t take a chance.
  4. Try everything on before leaving the store. Sizes and brands vary and fit differently. To avoid going home with something that you or your kids cannot wear, make sure that everything gets tried on beforehand. This is extremely important when buying used clothing because many places won’t let you return them.
  5. Take your time. If you don’t find what you’re looking for right away, be patient. Return to the store the following week. Try to buy one season ahead of time so that you’re never in dire straits when it comes to clothing yourself or your children. Watch for sales. Even thrift stores and consignment shops have clearance racks and advertised bargains.

By taking the time to determine exactly what articles of clothing each member of the family could use , you reduce overspending and you give yourself more time to search for secondhand clothes. Knowing what to look for in terms of quality and price can help you make the best decision and one that fits your needs and budget.

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Filed Under: Frugal Living

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About the Author: Charissa Arsaoui is a freelance writer with a love for thrift. She contributes to many different personal finance blogs.

1 comments
MargaretJHodges
MargaretJHodges

Go to the selection thoroughly. Yes, you might find some clothes that still have its price tag on. Just be patient about it.

jaycedaniels
jaycedaniels

There's nothing wrong with buying used clothes. I do this as well. We are all tightening our belt with this economy. It is called being practical. But I also agree with Laura. You have to be careful before you but purchase anything. Think it through first and take your time to know what you really need.

Laura Vanderkam
Laura Vanderkam

You just have to be careful about buying ahead of time because kids grow at unpredictable rates. There's nothing to thwart the frugal shopper like thinking you're so smart buying a summer's worth of 4T clothing at end-of-summer markdowns, only to have your 3-year-old be wearing 5T the next summer.

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