Should Only Poor People Shop at Thrift Stores?

The Salvation Army sign“You can’t be shopping there, dude!! Those stores are for POOR PEOPLE ONLY!!!” That’s what I freakin’ hear every time I walk into a Salvation Army or Goodwill now, ever since a friend yelled at me a good 10 years ago. Which, let me tell you SUCKS – do you know how many times I go into those stores?? ;)

I get mad at her every time I think about it, but in her weird twisted logic I can kinda see her point. Which is simply this: If you buy something out of a thrift store, you’re taking it away from someone who needs it MORE than you. And not only that, but someone else who can afford it way less than you can. You’re pretty much snatching up the bargains beneath their nose. Okay, makes sense.

Now, I like to think of it a different way: EVERY time I buy something from these stores the money I give goes BACK IN to these places and helps keep the lights on every day. Which in turn continues to provide a cheap alternative to big box shops, all the while helping the associates to get paid and making sure everyone involved is pretty happy. Plus, a deal is a deal, and should be up for anyone who happens to find it (and want it).

After reading both sides, though, I’m curious to see what YOU think. Usually I’m pretty adamant about being right in cases like these, but it occurred to me on my way into one of these stores yesterday that the only reason I THINK I’m right is because of my background. I’ve been going to yard sales and thrift stores my whole entire life, so of course I’m gonna think there’s nothing wrong with it! :)

My friend, on the other hand, comes from a VERY different culture. To put it bluntly, her family’s filthy rich. Add that to a little racism in her blood, and the idea of walking INTO a thrift store, nonetheless BUYING something from one, comes with a pretty hefty stigma. Hence, her idea that “only poor people go shopping there.” (Mix this with her impression that whites don’t belong there, and you can see where she’s going with this whole thing. And why we’re no longer friends.) I do, however, give her credit for continuously dropping off donations every year. At least she’s good at giving back.

Now that you know our different backgrounds though, I wanna hear what YOU think about shopping at these places. IS it wrong to search for bargains, when we can easily afford it from other stores? SHOULD we leave these cheaper items for the less fortunate?

Let me know what you think, and what kinda background you come from. My head is screaming No, No, No! right now, but I promise to keep an open mind ;) It’s very possible I’m not a perfect man.

(Photo by Ryan McFarland)

(Visited 608 times, 1 visits today)

Get blog posts automatically emailed to you!


  1. Nicole April 18, 2011 at 7:22 AM

    I thought the point of these stores was that they take the money they make and put that towards charitable programs. Remember how the Salvation Army was the first group into New Orleans to provide supplies after Katrina?

    1. myrna January 22, 2014 at 7:10 PM

      Myself< I preferto donate to the Salvation Army than to goodwill? only because I heard that where the Salvation Army uses ALL the money they make to help the people in need? where the Top heads of Goodwill? keep about 85% of the money made{which I'm sure is ALOT?" for themselves? "perks?raises?" and THEN<donate the leftover 15% to "help" those who need help? so really,they're not taking these donations to help as many people they would like people to believe they do? where the Salvation Army,gives EVERYTHING they make..for those in need….

  2. CityFlips April 18, 2011 at 7:57 AM

    I’m pretty sure they’re for anyone! Besides, the Goodwill has gotten so expensive it’s hardly for poor people anymore. Not sure about your Goodwill, but ours gets stuff from Target. Often the Goodwill price is higher than the Target price was. I’ve actually stopped shopping there for the most part because I get frustrated by the prices. I think they’ve raised the prices because they know the general audience isn’t actually all that poor. Or maybe inflation just hit them like the rest of us!

  3. Damsel April 18, 2011 at 8:08 AM

    This thought process smacks of socialism to me. Ugh. Just because I have more money (though not much more) than some people doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try to make it stretch as far as I can for my family. I earned it and I can do what I please with it, spend it where I want to spend it. It drives me crazy when people try to tell me where to spend the money that I worked for. Capitalism works… and it’s not about greed. Plus, regardless of where I’m spending my money, it’s stimulating the economy.

    1. brett June 19, 2014 at 12:40 PM

      It’s not socialism. Sometimes certain programs are set up for people struggling. I assume you don’t eat at soup kitchens because free soup is a great deal.

      1. Nick July 14, 2014 at 1:46 PM

        Brett, Goodwill stores are not a program. Goodwill is a company and it is not just for poor people. Anyone can shop at those stores. For example, my son was signed up for airsoft camp one summer and we needed to get camo clothing for him. I found exactly what I needed for him at Goodwill in pants, shirt and boots and spent maybe 10$ for all of it. I wasn’t about to spend 50 for all that at Walmart when he would out grow it in just a few months. I am not struggling but I’m smart enough to not throw my money away. Also, those clothes will be donated back to Goodwill when my son outgrows them.

    2. Clint April 27, 2017 at 11:15 AM

      Yeah, social programs suck and capitalism works!

      That’s why in America, with the decline in unionization and funding for social program’s, poverty has increased, and more than 40% of the American workforce now makes less than $15 an hour. All the while, the top 2% have managed ti hoard more than the lower 98%.

      Yeah, capitalism works great!

  4. Curt April 18, 2011 at 8:20 AM

    We have a six-figure household income and we shop at the Salvation Army and Goodwill. Most of the clothes our son wears that were not given to us were purchased at a thrift store. We figure that if we only need it for a short while, it doesn’t make sense for us to pay full price for something, especially when we can find things that look like they’ve never been worn. I also go on days when my student ID gets me an additional 25% off. As soon as it’s left the store, you are the only one who knows where your clothes came from anyways.

  5. Steph April 18, 2011 at 9:00 AM

    In my experience, the “poor” get vouchers to go in and get, say… 2 shirts, 2 pair of pants, a pair of shoes and so on… at least that is the way it used to work.
    There is an endless supply of stuff coming into those stores and you aren’t taking anything from the poor. You are paying what the store considers to be the value of the used item and that money goes back into the organization just as you stated. As a matter of fact, I doubt the poor would have enough money to sink into the clothes, furniture and other items at the stores to keep them going. As far as I’m concerned, thrift store shopping is not only a frugal choice, but it’s also environmentally friendly because you are reducing your need for newly manufactured items and reusing someone else’s old stuff.

  6. tom April 18, 2011 at 9:07 AM

    The people who say that have no clue what they are talking about. The more shoppers the Salvation Army and Goodwill have, the more money they bring in and the more they can provide back to the community.

    They are not in business to sell old stuff to the poor at a cheap price! They are in business to sell stuff!

  7. Hunter April 18, 2011 at 9:17 AM

    You are not taking from the poor by purchasing from the Salvo’s. You are investing in the organization. Everything in there was donated, so the price you pay goes directly to funding their philanthropic organization.

    I posted a piece today profiling thos in poverty in America. They own homes, cars, have food 89% of the time, have jobs (low paying), and enjoy air conditioning. They’re not all homeless.

  8. Emily April 18, 2011 at 9:22 AM

    I see both sides of the story, and I think you need to have a balance.

    I tend to not shop in thrift stores, although it’s probably a good idea! From a girly/fashion stand point, you can get some really awesome looks from thrift stores. However, I am TERRIBLE at finding stuff that I like there. So… I tend to not shop at thrift stores for clothing that often. However, I am there ALL THE TIME when I need costumes and props for plays and musicals that I’m either in or helping with. Also, I don’t want to take away all of the good things for people who actually need it more than I do. I can afford to spend the extra couple bucks on a shirt at another store.

    However, there are times when I also need to realize that I AM one of the people who NEED the thrift stores. For example, last year I really needed a couch for my apartment. I’m a recent college grad who works at a church – you don’t get paid a whole lot. Then my futon broke. A couch was desperately needed. It took me awhile, but I realized that I simply could not afford a nice couch. So I got one at Good Will for $18. (AND I LOVE IT! Needs some new upholstery, but that’s what slip covers are for.) So… there are times when we just need to realize that HEY, I am the poor.

    But I have no problems with people shopping there, regardless of economic status. Yeah, if you can afford expensive furniture and such you should buy elsewhere because there are some people who actually need that stuff… but beyond that, I say go for it!

  9. Jeremy Streich April 18, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    I agree with your take, and would like to add that:
    The more you shop at places like the Salvation Army the more likely you are to donate to them when you get rid of stuff. Most people I know who have that opinion, and don’t shop there, also don’t contribute to them. I do know someone who is not doing well financially and holds that opinion: “That those suburban rich people are taking all the good stuff. It’s always so picked over.” My thought is, “How do you think they got rich?” (if they even are “rich”).

  10. MJ April 18, 2011 at 10:31 AM

    I think thrift stores are good in theory, but can admit I’m not a huge fan of them. I love a bargain, but it’s a pain to search through, they often have crap that I don’t want just as much as the person who donated it didn’t want and there’s a dirty feel. That being said, last week I went to Goodwill in search of a local college t-shirt to turn into a tank top for a race with a tie to that college. I have no clue how to make a tank top, so I didn’t want to spend any kind of money on a shirt I was most likely going to ruin. Going in, I kid you not, I saw a girl going in carrying a rat. This did not help me get over the dirty feel. But, I moved away from her, found a perfect shirt marked $2.99 and there was some kind of sale, so I walked out paying $1.49 for it. It actually had an awesome broken in feel and again, cost just $1.49! I’m not sure I’ll be doing regular shopping there anytime soon, but buying just one thing helped me get over the stigma a bit.

    I don’t think thrift store should be avoided just for the stigma. I agree with you that Goodwill and Salvation Army help those in need. I also think saving money on clothing or whatever else you might buy at a thrift store will only improve your financial situation, whether you’re poor and HAVE to shop there or rich and just like a good bargain.

  11. Jennifer R April 18, 2011 at 10:34 AM

    I think shopping at thrift stores is not only financially responsible, but environmentally responsible as well. Probably 75%+ of my closet has come from Goodwill, Salvation Army and yard sales. Most of it is name brand stuff, and most of it cost me next to nothing. I don’t think that people who are financially better off should feel bad about shopping at thrift stores. I really don’t think you are taking anything away from those who are less fortunate.

    My mom was the HR Manager for Goodwill when I was in college, so I got a behind-the-scenes look at how they operate (in FL, at least.) They honestly have more donations come in than they have room to sell. The Goodwills in FL would pack the clothes that did not sell into pallets and ship them out to third-world countries. I was able to see some of the warehouses once, and the amount of clothes being shipped out each week was crazy! And even given the amount of clothing they were shipping out, there was STILL a bunch of clothing that they just ended up throwing away. So trust me, they have more clothes than they know what to do with. So the awesome deals you got on your clothes should make you proud, not feel bad. You are saving something from being thrown away! And there is plenty to go around for everyone!

  12. michelle April 18, 2011 at 10:47 AM

    psh i’m on your side. i donate clothes when i can, and i have shopped at the goodwill in the past. granted, i was a poor college kid looking for random finds for themed parties (hello, jackie brown flight attendant outfit!). but business is business. i’m not gonna go in there sporting expensive clothes and accessories, but i wouldn’t avoid it simply because it’s “beneath me”. that’s like saying middle class people shouldn’t shop at the dollar store. people of all types shop at all stores, doesn’t matter the SES, race, etc :p

  13. Jon | Free Money Wisdom April 18, 2011 at 10:48 AM

    I see ablutely nothing wrong with shopping at discount stores. I’m a white collar worker who is pretty well off and this is typical for my friends and I. Scoring deals and shopping for bargains is what put me in my great financial situation. It’s weird to think about it sometimes, but those people shopping at Nordstroms might actually be poorer than you. It’s the illusion of wealth kind of like BMW and Mercedez ownership. I bet most people don’t realize that 80% of luxury vehicles are leased not owned. What this means is that the so-called rich people don’t own their assets. Kind of ironic huh? Why would I pay $200 for jeans when I can get descent jeans for $15 at discount sores?!

  14. LB April 18, 2011 at 11:13 AM

    Shopping at thrift stores is not for “the poor” it is for everyone who wants to shop there. The store helps the economy and charities. If people stopped shopping there it would actually hurt everyone.

    I personally feel bad if I pay too much for something I know I could have gotten cheaper somewhere else. Of course you can’t find everything you need or want at a thrift store, but is usually the first place I look.

  15. SMB April 18, 2011 at 11:15 AM

    I had a somewhat related experience just this weekend. I went in looking for an 80s costume for my boyfriend and I had this huge sense of guilt because people around us were shopping for clothes they actually needed and we were just there because we felt like they’d probably have ridiculous stuff we’d never actually wear day-to-day.

    I definitely support shopping there if you can find stuff you like though. All about the reuse, reduce and recycle :)

    1. Lisa O May 28, 2015 at 11:05 AM

      I so agree with you on the reduce, reuse and recycle :)

  16. Hannah April 18, 2011 at 11:27 AM

    My husband and I make close to six figures and nearly all of our clothes are from thrift and consignment stores. We are debt free and have substantial savings partially because we shop secondhand instead of new all the time.
    Our local goodwill store is packed to the gills with clothes and stuff, it’s actually hard to sort through the racks. If only the “poor” or homeless people shopped there, there would waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much stuff there.
    And as others have mentioned, it’s better for the environment to get things that would have otherwise been thrown out.

  17. L.G. April 18, 2011 at 11:28 AM

    Yeah, it’s very clear your friend just didn’t understand what goodwill, and the salvation army are for. If people who can shop there don’t then they don’t give any money or goods away to the truely poor. Go shop there if you want, you’re giving money to a good cause by doing so, and you should remember THAT the next time you walk into one of those shops!

  18. Brent April 18, 2011 at 11:29 AM

    does anyone remember the goodwill commercial where the guy is on the truck speaking the greatness of goodwill and everything it does for the community and that they need people to do one thing and that was to shop!

    it’s for everyone, the money you pay for the item is what helps keep the business running and without shoppers goodwill wouldn’t exist.

    wish i had a youtube link to that commercial but i couldnt find it straight away and i dont have time to look forever

  19. Cassie April 18, 2011 at 11:37 AM

    I started out in a lower class household as a kid, and our family has worked its way up to upper middle class. I’ve been donating clothes to the Salvation Army and other similar organizations for years (mom taught us to).

    I don’t usually buy clothes from the Salvation Army, but at the same time I don’t have a problem with doing it either. Every time I’ve gone in they’ve had STACKS of clothes, so it’s not like there is a supply issue. If a person is coming in who is absolutely in need of clothing, and only has $5 to spend on a pair of pants and a shirt, I doubt he/she is going to be giving people crap for buying up those $200 jeans before he could. At that point he probably just wants some warm clothes. In all honestly, those $200 jeans probably have the thinnest material in the bunch, which offer the least value to him/her.

    I’m not saying that the poor don’t care about fashion, it’s just that designer clothing has always been a away for the upper class to distinguish themselves from the lower class. Fashion is fickle, and the only reason it fetches as much money as it does in stores is because people are willing to pay to distinguish themselves from one another. The fact that the wealthy then donate this clothing to charities undermines the whole process, which is kinda funny in itself.

    When you get down to it, clothing is clothing. As long as there is enough to go around, who cares if you can afford better and choose to spend less?

  20. Tim Raines April 18, 2011 at 11:46 AM

    Steph has hit the nail on the head. Shopping at The Salvation Army Family Stores is a great way to support programs that help people right in your community. People who are in need of our assistance are encouraged to call 800-SAL-ARMY for the nearest Salvation Army office that can provide vouchers for the nearest Salvation Army Family Store.

    Your donated new and gently-used clothing, furniture and other household goods are recycled when someone else–of any income bracket–purchases those donated goods at your local Salvation Army Family Store.

    In short, whether you are rich or poor, buying or donating, your support is needed–and greatly appreciated.

    Tim Raines

  21. Mary Collins April 18, 2011 at 11:48 AM

    Thrift Stores ROCK!!! I earn in the low 6 figures, but started thrifting when my husband and I were young and still in college. I have never stopped. My best find ever……….a pottery back sectional. Down cushions, custom denim slipcovers, is brand new condition. $24.99. Oh ya baby. It went straight to my daughter’s family who use it everyday.
    PS……..I coupon too.

  22. Ashley @ Money Talks April 18, 2011 at 12:41 PM

    Donate a dirty shirt, they will wash it and put it on a hanger, then you can go back and buy it for 25 cents. It’s cheaper than dry cleaning. hahaha. I heard that somewhere.

    Anyways, you are right, the profits the make go back to the community. More shoppers, more profits.

  23. F April 18, 2011 at 1:09 PM

    Does this mean I can’t shop at a garage sale because I’m not poor and black? .. She has some terrible flawed logic and I can see why you two are not friends

  24. aj April 18, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    In our small town local Salvation Army I hardly ever see any “poor” people…most of them shop at Walmart instead. At the thrift store I get brand name clothing that is much better quality for $1 to $3 where they pay atleast 5x as much for very little selection and not very good quality. You can get cheaper better clothing on sale at some of the stores in the mall than at Wally world. I don’t know why everyone is brainwashed into thinking that they are the best deal always!!!???!!!

    I love our thrift store & consignment shop as you truly have a lot more variety to choose from. Plus the thrill of the hunt of a great deal…and saving all that dough.
    Definitely the way to go!

  25. aj April 18, 2011 at 1:18 PM

    Ooh! Just thought of another aspect to this…

    What about a “non-poor” but industrious person who goes to thrift stores to buy cheap stuff to resell at a profit? I know people who resell on eBay or at their own yard sales.

    Do you all think that it is right to do this?

  26. Kristin April 18, 2011 at 1:29 PM

    A few thoughts: I remember being incredibly poor in college and I could not afford Goodwill! Goodwill uses the money from your purchases to help those who are probably too poor to buy much of anything at a Goodwill.

    Plus, after college, I was concerned about how I spent my money. Specifically, I wanted to buy something “Fair Trade” where possible. I had had to work a lot of horrible jobs for a number of years and I knew people around the world have it far worse… But I couldn’t afford $200 jeans! So, I shopped at Goodwill — where the money I spend goes to charity, and instead of new items that were made with slave labor, I am getting more use out of used items before they end up in the landfill (so it’s green!)

  27. Sassy April 18, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    I AGREE WITH “F”. I shop thrift stores, yard sales, garage sales, etc to score great deals. Do I think it is wrong to shop at thrift stores if you aren’t poor? Heck no. Purchasing items at thrift stores provide financial help in other areas. The thrift store helps others by providing affordable clothing, households, etc. It also provides programs to help the community. I worked at a thrift store when I was 17. We didn’t get paid very well at all, but it gave me a job. There are employment training programs set forth that helps the employees (computer courses if you choose to sign up, one on one assistance with job placement, and other programs), they assist in providing for the truly “poor” with giving them clothes and items, and they send loads of clothes to other parts of the world.

    Also as one commented, you are helping environmentally. I know people who used to just throw out the clothes they grew out of. I remember a friend telling me how he had thrown out two trash bags of baby clothes because he didn’t know anyone who needed them. (I must mention that this specific family purchased them all brand new at Babies-R-Us and the baby didn’t wear them very often as they had so much.)

    I personally would much rather see people shopping there and stretching their dollars than seeing them purchasing brand new items at other stores.

  28. Andrew April 18, 2011 at 2:17 PM

    You’re both kind of right, though I lean more towards you being “more” right. Those stores are for everyone. Sure, they’re main intent is more for poor people who can barely afford clothes or necessities at regular stores. But it’s not like you’re buying 100% of the store’s inventory, leaving NOTHING for the poor. And like you said, you’re helping them stay in business and raise money for some people in need. So you shouldn’t feel guilty one bit.

    Also, do you ever donate anything to these stores yourself? If you do, then you can shove that right back in your friend’s face. Yes, you’re buying things from the store, but you’re supporting their cause AND you’re also donating your own things. That’s double help for the poor!

  29. Brad Chaffee April 18, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    It’s simple. Goodwill is providing a service to anyone who finds it useful, whether it be a wealthy but frugal person, a middle class person trying to stretch a dollar, or a poor person who needs cheaper goods. It’s completely ridiculous to think only poor people should shop there. We shop there very frequently, both for personal use and resale and we’ve never seen a sign on the door that said closed because white people bought all the good stuff. There is usually plenty to choose from and if there is not, we try again a week later. My wife recently bought me a pair of Columbia running shoes for $6 that were brand new. I love them and couldn’t imagine paying $70 just because some bitter person thinks I should. I saved $64 and was able to put more money in savings. Besides, I wonder if “only poor people” could keep the doors open. I doubt it. Look at what people in the poor sections of town are wearing. I bet most of it is not bought from a thrift store anyway.

  30. Ericaatgobankingrates April 18, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    I started thrift shopping in college and haven’t stopped. Well, I’ve slowed down, but Im still a huge advocate of them. Besides finding great deals (especially on things like books) its good for the environment. For example, textile production is notoriously “dirty”. I like knowing that what I buy has a second life and doesn’t need to be recreated.


  31. Dawn April 18, 2011 at 3:47 PM

    I am the General Chair of my church’s thrift shop which donates, on average, $50,000 per year to charitable organizations in our county. Our customers run the gamut from the homeless (we give a local organization gift certificates for this purpose) to the well-to-do looking for vintage and designer items. We love that we have customers who buy bags of suff to give it away to their neighbors who are in need. We also appreciate the customers who come in and spend $100s and think they got a bargain. We need all the support we can get because, without it, we cannot help the organizations we support. Many of them are grass roots, small charities that are struggling to make a differece in our community and receive no government or large corporate sponsorship. Add in the environmental factor and you have a win-win situation. I think those who think it is shameful to shop secondhand are becomig an extinct breed and I would hope your readers will help spread the word about the good work thrift stores (particularly charitable thrift stores) do every day in communities across the country.

  32. Grace April 18, 2011 at 3:48 PM

    Your “friend’s” logic assumes there is a dearth of secondhand stuff, and there’s not. That stuff is still filling up landfills. When there aren’t enough used clothes to go around, then I’ll start worrying about who gets to them first.

  33. Kathryn C April 18, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    I’m questioning your choice in friends J. Money! Are you kidding me??? Uh, yeah, when the salvation army runs out of clothes, she might have an argument. As Grace suggests, talk to her about supply/demand and then see what her reason is. Off to target…..

  34. Yana April 18, 2011 at 4:12 PM

    Your post reminds me of a woman who lost a $30,000 ring at the local Goodwill store – and one commenter initially criticized her for shopping there. – – My background as a child was that I rarely got any clothes, but when I did, they were overpriced. My mother believed in buying high-priced stuff from places like I. Magnin, but very little of it. I longed to go shop at K-Mart and have a wardrobe, but I had no choices. I also went to a private school where we wore uniforms. I did not own a pair of pants until I was 12 years old, when I bought them myself with babysitting money at a place called Value Giant :) My mother didn’t believe in pants on females at the time. She progressed, but not for herself.

    Shopping for value is for financially conscious people. I love thrift and value for the dollar, but was never much for Goodwill or Salvation Army. The latter I found overpriced, and there was nothing at either place locally that I would wear. At the end of last year, though, I found a fabulous local thrift store where items are mostly $3-$6 apiece. These are originally expensive clothes in my style, and I am thrilled with the find. I go every couple of months and spend just under $20. It’s cool that I don’t have to obsess about size, because I don’t care if a thing is a little big, and at the price, it doesn’t have to be perfect. The clothes I’ve gotten at this store are the best clothes I’ve ever owned.

    Thrift stores are for anyone who wants to shop at them. Whatever money a person has to buy clothes should be managed as the person sees fit.

  35. Brandi April 18, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    I spent my whole Saturday morning and early afternoon combing through garage sales and thrift stores…so I think you know how I feel about it! :)

    I LOVE me a good deal!!

  36. Carol April 18, 2011 at 4:33 PM

    I grew up in a college town, and the faculty women’s club sponsored a thrift shop, where my mother volunteered. It was widely used, particularly by the foreign students, new to this country, living in the middle of Iowa, never having known winter.

    I also donate to my local thrift shop, and kind of like seeing my stuff back in the store, waiting for someone else to take it home. Moving my stuff along is the reward for me, not the tax credit I really won’t get. I do like to shop there once in a while, usually for household things, like picture frames, mason jars, Xmas stuff, dress up stuff & costumes, etc. Recently, due to the high gas prices, they’ve had to cut out their pickup service, and the trucks just sit in the parking lot.

  37. 20 and Engaged April 18, 2011 at 5:45 PM

    They’re not just for poor people. I like to think my family is middle class, and my mom and grandmother have found a new “hobby” shopping at these stores. Sure, we have the money to buy things in Nordstroms or other big department stores, but many of the things in thrift stores are gently used. Why not spend less money on them, right? :)

  38. J. Money April 18, 2011 at 7:28 PM

    You guys like this topic? :)

    LOVED that a Salvation Army rep chimed in. Check it: “In short, whether you are rich or poor, buying or donating, your support is needed–and greatly appreciated.”

    I like that. Here are a few other things enjoyed hearing from y’all that I didn’t think about originally:

    1) It’s good for the environment – so true! Recycling clothes/furniture/etc is most def. a great perk of thrift stores. Good one!
    2) Many of these places are overflowing with stuff. I’m noticing that too. The two places around me haul donations away by the TRUCKLOAD. And literally just saw a piece in this month’s Smart Money mag saying the amount being donated this last year or two is CRAZY. Huge % more, so there’s always stuff waiting to go on the floor room after us richie rich’s buy them ;)
    3) Does it change if you DONATE to them?? That’s an intesting question, but obviously doesn’t change my opinion that it’s okay no matter who shops there. But yeah, I donate there every other month. Which is why I’m always tempted to then pick up even more stuff cuz I’m THERE looking at it all! haha…. gets me every time ;)
    4) Stuff also gets shipped overseas. Did NOT know that! So cool!!!

    Some responses (I’d love to respond to each and every one of you today, but it’s my mission to take the evening off (for once). Let’s see if I can do it! Haha…):

    @CityFlips – Really? Higher prices than Target?? Interesting… real interesting actually, that’s a first!
    @ – I don’t like to be told where to spend my money too — good point :)
    @Jeremy Streich – “The more you shop at places like the Salvation Army the more likely you are to donate to them when you get rid of stuff.” I like that man, a lot.
    @Jon | Free Money Wisdom – Amen, brotha! Lots of trickery in the “higher class” as far as looks vs reality. Fancy car doesn’t always equal lots of money ;) Good thoughts.
    @LB – I feel bad spending more for something too, that I know I could have gotten cheaper elsewhere.
    @“F” and Sassy, – I had thought about that too. Wonder what my ex-friend thought about yard sales?
    @aj – Haha, I can’t stand Wal-mart. Great for deals, I’m sure, but that place is always so messy! I prefer the look & feel of Target, even if I spend a few pennies extra.
    @Dawn – Amen, sister!!!
    @Yana – Wowwwww… that commenter is JACKED up man. Just, wow.

  39. Jess April 18, 2011 at 9:01 PM

    This is a great post and it really gets you thinking! I’m not poor but I shop at thrift stores sometimes. You get great deals and you get something “unique.” I notice that the items I choose from the thrift store are radically different from the poor that shop there. If they’re looking for clothes to wear, they would pick practical, functional, and low maintenance items that would last for a long time. For me, I tend to buy items that require special attention, like dry clean only. Would a poor person pay for dry cleaning?

    But aside from that, I think anyone from any socioeconomic class can shop at thrift stores. There’s no rule that says you can’t and you’re not taking away clothes from the poor because they probably wouldn’t pick it out anyway. In the end, the store is still a business and it still needs to make money. Nobody’s money is better or worse, so why would it matter who buys the clothes as long as it’s being purchased?

  40. Bryan April 18, 2011 at 9:33 PM

    It probably sounds funny, but all of the shirts that I wear to work are from the thrift store. I work for a farming operation and from time to time I’ll put holes in my shirts (on accident of course). It’s so awesome to buy gently worn button up shirts for $2 that I don’t mind messing up.

    The thing is, once you get used to buying shirts for $2, you start to realize how much money you were wasting paying full price. . .I mean, think about it, if a regularly priced shirt that I’d wear to work would cost me $40-$50. . .then that means at the thrift store I can get 20-25 shirts for the same price as 1 regular priced shirt.

  41. Greg McFarlane April 18, 2011 at 9:36 PM

    Your friend (ex-friend, whatever) is a mental patient. Her logic seems to be that if you’re getting too good of a deal, you should shop somewhere expensive just to prove to someone – I’m not sure who – that you’re rich enough not to shop at a thrift store.

    The world could stand people being less meddlesome. If you want Salvation Army clothes in exchange for your money, and the clerk at the Salvation Army is happy to take your money, what business is it of anyone else’s?

    Let’s flip that on its head: would your friend tell a poor person shopping at Saks not to do so, because that store’s only for rich people?

    Also, Tim Raines should be in the Hall of Fame. Just sayin’.

  42. Stephanie April 18, 2011 at 10:40 PM

    I guess I might also feel a bit guilty “buying up the deals” from the less fortunate. But I think you’ve convinced me that spending money at the Thrift Shops (from charities like the Salvation Army) will still do good for the organization.
    Plus, I also donate slightly used clothes that don’t fit me anymore, so that’s also helping out.
    Besides, you’re also helping the environment by reusing previously owned items, rather than buying new. And there are some pretty great deals, plus items you might only find used!

  43. bcsmithereens April 18, 2011 at 10:43 PM

    I work at a Salvation Army Thrift Store and we are there for everyone! Before I worked here I wouldn’t shop in it either, thinking I was too good for it. Boy have my eyes been open. If we can help anyone feel good about themselves, whether it allows them to purchase brand-name items they couldn’t normally afford or just knowing they got a good deal, it makes me feel good. For our store, once our cost of running the business are met, the remaining of the income goes towards our Food Bank, which is next door. We also have a soup kitchen/drop-in center which, again, is for anyone.
    Another thing… we rely on our volunteers to keep our costs down and to enable us to run. If you want to help out anywhere, it’s a great place to make new friends and to open your eyes too!

  44. Sarah April 19, 2011 at 12:31 AM

    If people think it’s bad to buy at Goodwill, like your friend (or ex-friend?), they’re gonna hate my side hustle series…

  45. Sarah April 19, 2011 at 12:33 AM

    And can I just say, it’s the trendy hipster thing to do to buy all their clothes from thrift stores. I went to a private high school, and even though there were girls that came from VERY well-off families, they would make a point to tell everyone that they went thrifting for their beanies and plaid shirts.

    Somehow it just gives indie-street cred.

  46. Practical Parsimony April 19, 2011 at 2:28 AM

    When clothing is shipped overseas, it ruins the local economy. That clothing is sold! So, local people who sew on their own home machines to make money are put out of business. Also, any small, local factory cannot thrive with the cheap prices the donated clothing brings. When you donate and the donation is sent overseas, a business not dedicated to helping the poor makes all the money…just something to be aware of.

  47. Elizabeth C. April 19, 2011 at 10:23 AM

    Why is no one picking up on your racism comment? While I shop at thrift stores for economic and environmental reasons, and would otherwise agree with your argument, that comment struck me as a red flag. It’s an ad hominem attack; she’s wrong because she’s rich and racist. If I agreed with her, then I’m a racist too (though not necessarily rich). There are better ways to make your point.

  48. J. Money April 19, 2011 at 1:43 PM

    @Jess – “Nobody’s money is better or worse” I like that!!
    @Bryan – Oh for sure, def. not doubting the awesomeness of
    @Greg McFarlane – haha…. no doubt brotha, no doubt :) if I were still friends w/ the girl, I’d forward this along, haha…
    @Stephanie – Yup! The environmentally better aspect def. adds more value to the whole thing. Glad people started bringing that up :)
    @bcsmithereens – Hey! Very cool! Thanks so much for sharing this with us :) Love getting an “insider’s” point of view. Man… one of the best parts of blogging. Thanks!!
    @Sarah – Haha… they’ll get over it ;) and yes, the street-cred thing is popular over here too!
    @Practical Parsimony – Hmmm… kinda confused. So you’re saying thrift stores are GOOD or BAD due to shipping stuff overseas? And if it goes to helping the poor? Instead of stores overseas?
    @Elizabeth C. – I added that part in because it was actually part of her reasoning – not to make a point (there really isn’t a point here other than to get us to think about it a little more). I had written out a lot more but took out since it wasn’t all necessary, but since it was a big piece to her view on this whole thing I felt it needed to be said. I don’t think it means you’re racist too if you agree with her point as long as it’s due to the “poor” and not “race,” but we’re all entitled to our own opinions. I wanted to capture her total viewpoint on the issue.

  49. aj April 19, 2011 at 2:59 PM

    You need to read today’s post at

    It reminds me of one older woman at our Salvation Army. They would have things that had no price on them, and then she would set the price when she saw WHO was interested in buying! One day my young daughter had found a pretty comforter & asked the woman how much it was…I agreed that it was a good deal and was going to buy it…until she marked it up another $15 at the register because she saw that I was the one interested in buying it.

    I didn’t shop there for a long time because of it. Eventually I started going back (can’t stand staying away that long…might miss out on something really good) and we get along much better. She finally quit trying to rip me off, lol.

    It is the whole “Judging the book by the cover” principle that I can’t stand.
    Discrimination again. I understand lowering the price for someone who might not have enough money, but don’t jack it up on someone because you think they “can afford it.”

  50. diane April 19, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    I love my local Salvation Army store! Saturdays they have 1.00 days on certain color tags. Paying a dollar for a work shirt, or work pants helps my budget in other areas! Saving $ on clothing leaves me more $ to use on the fun stuff with my son. I have a tight budget and the more I save, the more times we can visit a zoo, see a movie, etc. Plus I love to know that I am keeping some clothing out of the landfills.
    Another store I love is Savers, one just opened here last year. The store is bright, clean, and always well stocked. Plus they had a coupon filled calendar at the beginning of the year. More savings for me!

  51. Practical Parsimony April 19, 2011 at 8:12 PM

    I am just saying that charitable acts can ultimately lead to detrimental consequences. I just wanted people to be aware that this was another aspect of our giving. Yes, it is good to give to thrift stores. But, when the local economy overseas is rifled by whomever takes the clothing and sells it, that cannot be a good thing. The money collected from the sale of our thrift shop clothing in a shop in a foreign country does not go to help poor people. The enterprising person who takes the clothing then sells it keeps the money for his own personal profit. It is all aboveboard. Local seamstresses who often do piece work in their homes for a local employer suffer. So does their employer. Ask me again if I did not answer all your questions, or if you want more information.

  52. Practical Parsimony April 19, 2011 at 8:15 PM

    @Elizabeth C, I did not think she made a racist comment. I thought she was expressing the views of someone else. Then, she was using those views to make a statement to make a good point.

  53. Practical Parsimony April 19, 2011 at 8:30 PM

    AJ, I think it is perfectly alright to buy from a thrift store and resell. Why would anyone care? If you buy vintage and resell at ten times what you paid, you are not ripping off the thrift store, the people who shop there, or the people to whom the clothes are sold. People who want vintage clothing, for instance, sometimes want it all in one place. They don’t have time to shop all over.

  54. J. Money April 19, 2011 at 11:50 PM

    @aj – What? Really??? Man, now THAT is crazy. I guess that’s why some places have a “no tag, no purchase” policy. Which sucks when you *really* want something but you can’t get it cuz someone forgot to add a price to it (or it got ripped off)!
    @diane – Cool! :) Never heard of “Savers” but would probably check it out myself if I saw one.
    @Practical Parsimony – Ahhh, yeah I gotcha. True that people take advantage of good intentions, just not sure what you can do differently there. It wouldn’t stop me from still giving donations or money to good organizations ;) Smart to be a bit leery though.

  55. Serendipity April 20, 2011 at 2:34 PM

    That reminds me of my mothers mentality regarding the organization I ended up working for ( and still currently do). I used to beg my mom to let me go play with the other kids at *************** and she would always say, Your not poor, you don’t need to go there. And now that I actually work at this place, I would let my children come here, no matter if we were rich or poor because I think it’s great for kids.
    I think if anyone wants to shop at Goodwill let them. I don’t necessarily find bargains all of the time or things that fit my taste, but perhaps I’m just not looking good enough. I do want to go thrifting though one day a bit better and see what I can find.

  56. Stephanie April 20, 2011 at 5:16 PM

    What?!? I can see how her views of thrift stores are stemming from her ideas that she is superior to people who “have to” shop there.There is plenty to go around at thrift stores. In fact I think they would turn people away from donating more if they only let people of a certain income bracket purchase there. If we didn’t have thrift stores and people who shopped at them I imagine A LOT more stuff would just be dumped into landfills. Not everything needs to be bought new– how wasteful! Keep on shoppin’ those thrift stores man– you’re doing the right thing!

  57. Jen April 20, 2011 at 11:34 PM

    grew up with plenty of money, never needed a thing. my husband and i make plenty of money. the thought of thrift stores were “gross” to me. i couldn’t get past the smell. then something changed. now i love them. our st. vinny’s is an excellent place to find vintage glassware, great cheap crafts for kids, furniture to peek my interesting in sanding, staining & redoing & a great place for kids toys. i also donate all of my things to them – so as i may take things out that someone else may “need” – i give all the things that i no longer do. it’s all about the hunt for me. it satisfies a primal need :).

    1. Pamela@ Free Financial Help November 22, 2015 at 6:39 PM

      Jen, glad to see you have come over from the dark side. I don’t need to shop at thrift stores, but I love to find a bargain. I usually shop at a higher end thrifts store. I just hate paying full price for anything. The American League is very nice in my area and I find great deals on drapes, designer clothes, and would you believe it china! My family was not poor enough to get assistance, but not well off either. My Mom always looked for the best deals whether shopping at a department store or the thrift store. I guess I got this from her. I had to go to a funeral recently and was forced to go to Macy’s to purchase a black suit. I hated spending almost $200 for a suit, when I could have gotten it for about $30 at,”my store” if I could have found my size and color.

  58. J. Money April 21, 2011 at 12:35 AM

    @Serendipity – Dangit, now you got me curious with all those stars!! haha…. i think you should email me the place you’re talking about ;) But yeah, interesting story!

    @Stephanie – Oh man, can you imagine??? If there was a sign that said “poor people only” or something? No way. Huge problems galore… and it’s a good thing too cuz I love my thrift stores!!! And so does most others reading this now too! :)

    @Jen – Haha, that’s funny cuz NOW the stuff that bothers me most times is the smell! and the messiness of some of the places ;) but back in the day I didn’t notice. I’m all about the “hunt” too, good way to put it. thanks for sharing!

  59. Practical Parsimony April 21, 2011 at 3:31 AM

    J Money,
    I am not suggesting anyone not give to thrift stores. No, I don’t know what can be done about undermining local economies in third world countries. My remark was to educate, to add a new dimension to the thrift store shipping clothing overseas. I just thought people might want to know that helping the poor here has unintended consequences for the poor in some countries, nothing more, nothing less.

  60. Penny Porter April 21, 2011 at 1:32 PM

    Oh shut up you didn’t discover s**t. Every trendy bastard in every major city has been going to thrift stores since late 2007 including myself. This article is just a reminder that it has hit the mainstream and it will be even harder to find classic pieces. And we will see more of your average basic boring people failing at trying to make a 20 or 40 year old piece look modern/fashionable and unique and failing possible while wearing tired skinny jeans. And when being ridiculed replying w/ it’s my style you have insecurities.’ No, you have no taste and should give that article/s of clothing to someone who knows what to do with it.

  61. J. Money April 21, 2011 at 2:43 PM

    @Practical Parsimony – I gotcha :) I didn’t know about that stuff before your first comment, so I appreciate sharing it with us!
    @Penny Porter – I’m not sure who you’re upset with, but I don’t think anyone’s saying they “discovered” anything themselves? Thrift stores have been around for decades, and people have been shopping for trendy clothes there for just as long, certainly before 2007. $hit, I’ve been hitting ’em up since ’87! Haha… not for “trendy” clothes per se, just for good deals on clothes I like, whatever that looks like. The point of this article was to talk about the “poor” issue my crazy friend brought up, what’s your opinion on that?

  62. jacpac April 23, 2011 at 9:33 AM

    ‘Dude’, as your friend called you.. Good Will is for everyone and anyone. Last time I looked at the store front, I did not see any signs posted ‘Only for the poor’. The name of the store says it all. Good Will is for everyone and anyone. It is there for anyone who wants or needs it. I have purchase many items from there over the years, from extension cords, to cookie jars, to clothes, to christmas decorations (the best place to buy christmas decorations, by the way). And every year when my kids grow out of their clothes and toys, we make about two trips with a car full of stuff to drop off.
    But even if you are not financially struggling and you never donate to them, buying from them supporting them. They use the money for ‘good will’ throughout the neighborhood. You are keeping the organization alive so they can help others.
    Note: In my area, there are different Good Will stores. In my neighborhood the store does not have much good stuff since half my neighborhood is lower middle class to poor, so the donations are subpar, but when I was working at the hospital downtown, near the weathly neighborhoods, I found the granddaddy of all Good Will stores. This place is HUGE ! I got a lot of household items there and my greatest treasure: a brand new fireplace set for $9.00 that I had previously seen retail for nine times that price. I work full time, have two teenagers and a mortgage. I consider myself middle class and hardworking. Anyone that scoffs at me for doing whatever I can , including shopping at Good Will, to save money can go jump in a lake. I earned my paycheck and it is nobody’s business what I do with it.
    And, I grew up in a family of eight, and my mom did buy most of our things second hand, including christmas presents, so I guess that is why bargain shopping has no stigma for me what-so-ever. Dude – shop where you want, your money is stimulating the economy no mater where you spend it. And ship Guilt-free, please. Enjoy your bargains, and know that the money you save now, will help put off having to eat tuna fish every day in your retirement years. :)

  63. suv42 April 23, 2011 at 11:12 AM

    I’ve been a thrifter for years. It was additionally helpful as a school counselor at a very “at-risk” (read poverty) school. It was great when someone would compliment an outfit and I could tell them where I got it from. These events would be teachable moments. I’d remind the kids, if even their well dressed counselor shopped at second hand shops, it was okay for them to do the same. It kinda took away the power from kids who would try to put others down based on where their clothes came from. Many teachers used to suggest I take them on a tour, teaching them how to find the good buys.

    This past year I decided to shop at the mall, buying at the high end shops. So disappointed! A new Calvin Klein coat showed wear within a dozen wearings. Second had coats I have owned for years show little wear. I am a thrifter and will die a thrifter, no matter where my income falls.

  64. Morgan April 24, 2011 at 12:25 AM

    You’re not “taking it away from someone who needs it.” It’s not like the stores have a tiny amount of goods that they must ration out to hordes of needy shoppers. Sure, you might be taking that particular shirt, but there are hundreds more on the rack for the same price. Thrift stores process an enormous volume of inventory. For example, Arc Thrift stores receive about 20,000 items per week per store — more than enough for everyone 10 times over!

  65. katiekees April 24, 2011 at 2:07 AM

    I have shopped at second hand stores for decades. I was able to dress well while I taught art classes and not worry if my clothing was damaged by the art products. I was often complimented on my clothing by other classroom teachers who could not understand why I would wear such nice clothes while teaching art. I wanted to show respect for my students and my profession, and save money. I also wore a $3.00 Goodwill dress to a charity function (which was hosted by a movie/tv actor who was in People Magazine as one of the sexiest men in 09 and 10) and several ladies who were unknown to me came up and complimented me on the dress. It cracked me up, but I managed (with great difficulty) to keep the origin of the dress to myself. I buy and I donate.

  66. J. Money April 24, 2011 at 7:31 PM

    @jacpac – Indeed my friend, indeed! Love that feeling of finding the “granddaddy” of all stores too, haha… I came across one in Cali years back too that I WISH I could still visit every weekend – that bad boy had tons of great stuff! And way cleaner too, I was in heaven. Good call on the xmas stuff too, always forget about that :)
    @suv42 – I LOVE THAT!! I know it always feels GOOD saying you got it at a thrifstore (it’s just icing on the cake) but the teachable lesson? Man, that’s good. Esp if you’re a teacher, thanks for sharing that. Def. adds to the pleasure of the whole thing :)
    @Morgan – Holy crap that’s a lot. Yeah, after reading a lot of these comments I’m def. realizing these stores have enough to last a while if need be.
    @katiekees – HAH! That is awesome!!! Esp. if they were of celebrity-ish status too ;) That is too cool.

  67. smashbox/123 April 28, 2011 at 8:22 PM

    I completely agree that Thrift Stores are awesome…i recently went from spending 500-600 dollars a month of clothes, shoes, purses, jewelry, etc to now spending under 100 and getting so much more. I love that my favorite brand BEBE and H and M are readily available as well as The Limited, Express, and ive recently found a Burberry Trench. (worth $900 for $49) i just love the thrill of what i find.. I also give to the thrift as well. I think what ever makes you happy you should do. All of the comments are right! By people spending their hardearned money whether they are upper or lower class, or middle class like myself, it doesnt matter. It all helps the thrifts stay focused and successful on the organizations they run. And if i get a high off finding my fave store BEBE 90 top for 3$ a couple times a month~than so be it.. There are worse things us serious shoppers could be doing! Love love love it.. well the smell does give me a headache.. but finding that one thrift that has it all every time you come is PRICELESS!! and ive found mine!

  68. J. Money May 3, 2011 at 6:52 PM

    Wowwww, you DID find a good one!!! I am jealous!! haha.. rock it out, yo.

  69. Mike May 17, 2011 at 11:28 AM

    A better question is how many of the less fortunate aren’t shopping at thrift stores? Instead electing to carry large balances on their Macy’s credit cards!

  70. J. Money May 17, 2011 at 8:33 PM

    HAH! Good point.

  71. Bubba July 12, 2011 at 4:29 AM

    Thrift stores are for anyone. Some auction off their high dollar items. The money actually helps them. It isn’t like they are running out of stuff. The more people that shop there, the
    more they sell and the more money they have coming in. Some people may think they are too good for Thrift Stores which is good because someone has to buy new stuff to donate and it keeps economy going. I am just glad that people donate good stuff there. Otherwise, they
    become just a junk store and people quit shopping there and they have to reduce programs.
    I donate back as well. I am just looking at the result of having more people shop there. It is a good thing. We make our money and we are free to spend it anyway we want. I get more stylish clothes than if I would shop at department store and at a cheaper price.

  72. linda turner July 12, 2011 at 4:31 AM

    As a single mother of 4(all of whom are now grown) I bless all thrift shops .Without them I would have had a hard time not only dressing my children,but haveing the necessities for a nice home to live in.As I could save on these things,I could better afford to give them better food and a treat like Disneyland once in a blue moon.I am 64 yrs old and I still go thrift shopping as my yearly income is way below poverty level,but get things now ,not only for my home,but for resale.In doing so I can keep my bills paid without asking for help from my family,all of whom are feeling the recession and every family has lost a job,and had a hard time of there own.As l have been doing thrift shopping for years,I have seen the huge hike in prices for clothing that Goodwill, Ect.has done and I am saddened.Once there prices helped the underprivledged,now they are so close to retail it is a joke,unless you go for designer clothes.Also-you bring up the overseas sales of used clothing-As with me and countless others in the world worse off than me,if all I had access to was “New”clothing,I would not be able to afford to buy much.The re-selling of used clothes in this country as well as overseas lets that little girl/boy go to school wearing a different outfit each day as opposed to wearing the same one for days.And the people who sell the use clothing can make a liveing,not everyone can sew ,or afford a sewing machine.I saw a documentry on this subject and Goodwill does not donate this clothing-they sell it in bundels and the buyers try to make a liveing out of it.A lot of these buyers would not have the money to buy new,and the people who they sell to would not be able to eather.”I CRIED BECAUSE I HAD NO SHOES-AND THEN I MET A MAN WHO HAD NO FEET”People will do whatever thay can to survive,and I for one applaud them.L

  73. Bea July 12, 2011 at 6:44 AM

    I shop at thrift store all the time,and not just because I’m poor.But I have 4 kids that like to dress well,and I can’t see myself buying the clothing they like at wat they cost to be to small for them 2month down the road(been there done that).My 3-5 year are changing size ever month ,or 2 so clothing they have not worn yet I’m packing up and giving away all the time .My kids love shopping there old ,8year old think it’s cool tat he can get more there Learning the vaule of money) .

  74. diane mccauley July 12, 2011 at 8:27 AM

    One of the reasons these stores exist is to provide jobs for people that cannot get employment otherwise. The items you donate are really a means to pay the employees of the thrift store. My friend was a SA Sargent for many years. I believe the SA generates most all its money for the poor and charitable work it does on the Red Kettle drive each Christmas.
    I shop there sometimes.

  75. Sue Hommel July 12, 2011 at 8:56 AM

    I too shop at the stores – one year I found a complete Coca Cola Christmas Village set (8 houses etc) for $10 ea. I brought them home and looked up on the internet that these houses were worth over $100.00 ea. My brother who is a big thrifty shopper found what looked like to be a Hummel figurene for $.50, since they put the price sticker over the symbol for genuine figures and sure enough it was a Hummel – worth $75.00. So yes – it may be for low income, but you can definately find bargains if you are on a budget.

  76. Priscilla Herrington July 12, 2011 at 8:57 AM

    I’ve shopped at thrift stores, especially the Salvation Army for years – to get bargains, to be able to buy better quality clothes and things than I could afford new, because it’s fun, etc. I know that truly poor people, those who cannot afford SA marked prices, are able to get what they need on vouchers from the SA. Also, because everyone who donates does not clean their clothes and because the Salvation Army cannot afford to include fresh cleaning, I rarely try things on – and those that don’t work out for me are donated right back! So sometimes the SA gets a little more from me – I paid for an item and then I gave it back so they can sell it again – and that’s fine!

  77. Cheapskate July 12, 2011 at 9:01 AM

    Thrift stores are for any one. I grew up white and upper middle class” and my folks woulda had a pissy fit before shopping at a Thrift store. As an adult, I’m comfortably middle class….and I love thrift shops and garage sales. Just because I MAKE more doesn’t mean I need to SPEND more…

  78. Rivka July 12, 2011 at 9:41 AM

    Poor people? No. Macy’s, Target, Walmart, etc. are for poor people. Those poor, poor people – how can there be any thrill or interest to shopping new? It’s all so – bland.

    My family (which could, I suppose, buy new) calls going to thriftstores ‘beachcombing’. We hunt for treasures, laugh and joke, dare each other to try things on, wonder what that thing on the shelf is, and find decent clothes, good clothes, cool furniture, neat appliances, interesting jewelry, fun books, nifty chotchkes, and a reborn interest in each other in trhift stores.

    And we do not patronize the for-profit thrift stores, so every purchase (whether or not it’s as expensive as it would be new) is part purchase and part donation. I’m going to visit my mom in August – and of course, we will spend part of the time in a thrift store, daring each other to try on something in bright pink or neon green and wondering what kind of garment it is.

  79. Leslie July 12, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    As a bargain hunter and thrift store shopper myself for nearly 25 years, I believe these shops are there for everyone. These stores were a valuable resource for me when I was a single mother with three children and a career, and now that my children are grown I still shop there. If I need something, I first look at my favorite thrift shops (Goodwill, Value Village) before resorting to buying new. Think of thrift store shopping as ultimate recycling…and yes, the prices have gone up but there are still bargains to be found. And, if you love garage sales, think of the gas you save by shopping at thrift stores.

  80. S. Harvey July 12, 2011 at 12:38 PM

    I feel like people are always changing and adapting to their current circumstances. We can no longer really lump people togther stereotypically. This year a family may decide to cut back and save by spending less on clothes so they shop second hand stores. Next year they may decide to save by selling one car or getting a less expensive one. You just never know. I’m one of those people who feels like even if I were filthy rich- I still would shop for a bargain – that’s just me! It does however seem that sometimes those with the least amount of money try to make sure they have the most expensive clothes and accessories – I wonder really why that is – I think it has more to do with the value you place on the money you earn rather than how much you actually make. Its more about priority rather than how much you gross or net. I always want a bargain price but I want the quality as well – sometimes it can be done!

  81. Mary H July 12, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    I am a constant thrift shop shopper, I consider myself an urban miner. Of course, you’re not taking something from poor people, that’s ridiculous. There’s more than enough stuff to go around. But I hardly ever buy clothing, I’m an ebay seller and I find amazing things in thrift shops, sometimes antique, collectables, great china, etc. These are things that most poor people would not buy anyhow, they are mostly after stuff they can use. I’ve found royal Doulton, Lalique, I found a 1960’s vase at the Goodwill for 9.99 and sold it for 309.00. Thrift shops are a wonderful source of stuff. Also, for costumes, my grandsons have costume days at school, crazy hat day, farmer day, etc. and we always hit the thrift stores first. In fact, when we need almost any little item , we always look there first. I can’t imagine needing formal wear that you’re going to wear once and buying it anywhere but a thrift store.

  82. Sandy July 12, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    Seems to me you win. I really think you’re ex friend may be a little bit of a snob and not really concerned with what’s available for “the poor”. Besides, who’s to say that someone else will like and/or want the same item? It could sit there for years, therefore helping absolutely nobody. Also, in the interest of everything “Green” and ecofriendly thrift store shopping is in essence recycling. I’ve bought many items there, sometimes because it was all I could afford and other times because I just wanted to. I have been rich, I have been homeless, and now, I guess I just am, I work, have a decent job, but as most people today, struggle a little keeping up with all the bills. It certainly seems smart to me to save when and where I can. Hurray for thrift stores!!

  83. Karen A. July 12, 2011 at 1:57 PM

    I shop and donate to thrift stores a lot and so do most of my friends. My husband has always been the sole employed person in our home and I don’t shop there out of financial necessity but rather to support the organizations, find a good bargain and to be environmentally friendly. My mother will not get rid of anything but I try to convey to her that if she donates a set of wine glasses then finds that she has a need for them she can always buy different ones at the thrift store. I think it helps me be less inclined to become a “hoarder” and makes me feel free from my possessions and more likely to be generous with others.

  84. Teri July 12, 2011 at 2:42 PM

    My son was the one who turned me on to the pleasures of thrift stores. I’d always been a yard saler and amateur antiquer, but other than to drop off donations, I doubt I’d ever been in a Goodwill or SA store before. One day, when he was about 9 and crazy about sports apparel, I saw him wearing a sports jersey I didn’t recognize. “Where did that come from?”, I asked. “Goodwill”, he replied. “I got it for 50 cents! And I bought some other ones, too”. Turns out that he’d gone along for the ride with a neighborhood family when they went to Goodwill on a shopping expedition. He was so thrilled with his bargains that he convinced me to take him again a month later. He found more shirts, and I found 1940s cookbooks and some vintage perfume….all for a little bit of nothing. After that initial trip, we probably made 7-8 visits a year for the next 5 years or so. As a teenager, it became beneath his dignity to shop the thrift stores. That stance promptly ended when he became a college student, living on a much-reduced income, however. :) I still go occasionally, and once found a real treasure – a 1/4 carat alexandrite stone in a slightly damaged brooch. When I took the brooch to be repaired, the jeweler asked me if I had any idea what I had. I told him where I’d obtained the piece and that I’d paid $20 for it because they thought it might be gold. Not only was it gold, it held a Russian alexandrite. He valued it at several hundred dollars. I went back to the store and donated $100, as I felt I should share the unexpected windfall.

  85. spunky July 12, 2011 at 2:49 PM

    Those stores are for everyone. We have some local charity thrift shops–Junior League, Veterans, as well as SA and GW, and you see everybody going in there. The prices are not that cheap until the end of the season when they unload the leftovers for dirt cheap. The money is from donations, free stuff, they get to fund their charity, and we get to give back, same as going to church and donating. I see plenty of poor people going to Target and Walmart, so they don’t want all used stuff either. I am among the ‘working poor’, not homeless but not rich either, paying bills and need to conserve. I also get lots of donated clothes for the kids from my friends and I donate stuff we don’t need anymore to the SA and to our church bazaars. So I think it’s recycling in it’s pure form, everybody wins.

  86. POV July 12, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    So “non-poor” people are being responsible when they donate their gently used items, stick to budgets, recycle and reuse. But they are being irresponsible by sticking to a budget, recycling and resusing by shopping at the same store they donated items.
    Just because I have no use for something, doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t either. So Goodwill gets it. Just because someone else has no use for a certain item doesn’t mean I can’t use it in my home, hence shopping at Goodwill. It’s not up to someone else to decide where I spend and where I save my money.

  87. kts July 12, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    i would much rather buy something used at a thrift store, save money, and contribute less to consumer waste than have to spend more money to get a cookie cutter look from a department store. i’ve been shopping thrift shops since i was an undergraduate and enjoy the facts that my money goes much farther, my look is unique, and i’m recycling stuff instead of being in the first tier on the consumerism chain.

  88. Traci July 12, 2011 at 4:29 PM

    Since when is trying to save money restricted to the poor? When my husband and I had not two nickels to rub together, we shopped at these stores. When he climbed the ladder and finally “made it,” we still shopped these stores. Responsible spending is what allowed us in part, to achieve success. Why on earth would we abandon all those lessons once we had more money? I bought a half million dollar house and bought consigned furniture to go in, bought second hand clothing for my kids who never knew the difference, and was then able to have enough money to spend on more important things. Laughable now, but most of us assumed real estate was a good investment, while anything else we buy depreciates the second it leaves the store! I then donate many of these back after they no longer fit my children. There is more than enough product in these stores for the poor and the more affluent. Those that criticize the “non poor” using these stores, have they actually stepped into one lately? They are stuffed to the rafters! Have we as a society learned nothing out of the consequences of reckless spending and spending above our means?

  89. J. Money July 13, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    Love it! Totally agree with all you new commenters here, thanks for sharing you thoughts! :) I felt strong about this post a few months ago, so it’s nice to see some discussions popping up again (thanks MSN!).

    Three quick shout outs:

    @Rivka — You’re hilarious :) “Poor people? No. Macy’s, Target, Walmart, etc. are for poor people. ” Haha… don’t know about that all the way, but you crack me up.
    @Teri — I love your story!! So cool that you went back an donated $100 like that – I wish I could say I’d do the same, but I’m not too sure on that one ;) I admire you for that.
    @POV — “It’s not up to someone else to decide where I spend and where I save my money.” – amen.

  90. samatha July 18, 2011 at 7:01 PM

    if shopping thift shops, why not resale and consignment, and did shops they basicly have all the same things. check the yelllow pages, ask other shoppers in the thrift store, also craigslist.

  91. Katelyn August 8, 2011 at 12:31 AM

    I shop there not because I’m poor, I shop there because I don’t have a lot of money to spend. I personally would rather wear a $2 shirt with a tiny stain and $5 jeans that are a little faded, than a $40 shirt and $75 designer jeans.

  92. Lulu August 13, 2011 at 4:58 PM

    I shop as much as possible at Goodwill (that is what is near us). Our family
    makes good money, but the way I figure it is if I can keep from spending on
    household goods, I can give more money to other organizations like
    World Vision. I don’t buy clothes, but I do look for books, videos, paintings, and
    household items. I also donate everything our family isn’t using regularly.
    One thing I LOVE about Goodwill is not having to pay 9 1/4% sales tax!!
    I am studiously trying to avoid taxes.

  93. J. Money August 14, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    @samatha – Yup! :)
    @Katelyn – Or a $40 shirt and $75 pair of designer jeans for $2 :) It wouldn’t be the first time!
    @LuLu – Oh wow, really? No tax??? Hmmm…. now that you say that, I don’t recall having to pay either! Haha… wow. Good catch :)

  94. Kusa August 17, 2011 at 11:12 AM

    As mentioned by others here, our family is pretty well off sitting comfortably with a six figure income. Needless to say, we are not averse to spending money, but why do so needlessly? Not that I’ve already said anything original here since it’s been reiterated over and over, however I still feel the need to emphasize that that there are some VERY good deals to be found, plus some random gems that might catch your eye which you must have!

  95. Christina August 17, 2011 at 4:48 PM

    I haven’t read ALL of the comments above but here is my long opinion.

    I grew up in a middle class home, nothing special or unspecial, shopping at stores such as JC Penney, Sears, Macys, and KMart.
    I went to college for one year.
    I got married and we messed up our credit, because we didn’t know anything about it. We were poor. We were homeless. We couldn’t get jobs because of lack of experience, lack of address, or various other reasons, so one of us was on unemployment for a few months (VERY small, unliveable amount).
    During this time, we would go into thrift stores, and all of the good things were always gone, it was frustrating walking around with holes in your pants unable to find a pair (ANY pair that was age-appropriate) in your size.

    From my experience:
    I have no problem with everyone shopping there, it opens up hangers for more clothing, however, it would be nice if people wouldn’t buy the “LAST” of certain items (brand names in each size, trendy things, item in a size group), and if they limited it to clothing, books, and knick-knacks. This way the under-privileged can have something to get, as well.
    Furniture should be left to people who cannot afford otherwise. Even hats and shoes should be left… I always feel bad when I see people who are obviously poor looking for decent shoes, and then there’s someone with a new car walking around with a new pair in their hand.
    Kids clothes: Kids are picked on, let’s face it. It doesn’t matter if they are poor, rich, skinny, fat, beautiful, ugly; they are picked on. Kids who are dressed in “poor” clothes will be picked on more… it’s just not right to be part of the reason for that.

    Let’s think about different areas of the country:
    If it is a poor area, just please donate, and maybe buy one item here and there… or give the cashier extra money and tell them it’s for the next person (and don’t let the person know it was you who did that).

    Thank you for reading this!

  96. J. Money August 18, 2011 at 1:04 PM

    Thanks for taking the time to leave your thoughts ;)

  97. Jon September 12, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    If there’s a stigma to owning clothes that are higher quality and better fit than you can really afford, I don’t mind.

  98. Jill September 20, 2011 at 3:53 PM

    Yeah, I was raised on thrift stores, goodwill and yard sales too. My dad absolutely LOVES yard sales, and so does my mom, she loves good will and when she was a teen she would go to this thrift store (that was FULL of clothes, shoes, etc.) and get all kinds of clothes. also, my mother and father always say that if you’re going top buy things, you should first look through the sale/clearance items first and see hwta you can get. XD so I was raised on cheap. plus nowadays, my father lost his job 4 years ago and we still havent been able to get back on our feet again just yet, so we deffinatley need to be looking for those sales and such. also, I do agree that there are other people out there that do need the sales more, but, I also agree with the whole thing about the sales and how the money you spend goes back to others and such, plus, whenever me/one of my sisters grows out of things we donate them to goodwill so they get those clothes to sell! ^^
    so I find the whole thing and idea perfectly fine!

  99. s October 5, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    The only people who I don’t like shopping at thrift stores are the greedy resellers, whose goal is to snatch up all the name brand clothes and try to make a profit. I now understand why some thrift stores have raised their prices.

    When I shopped for clothes at Goodwill last year, trying to update my wardrobe so that I could be taken seriously and treated with respect as a young adult, I had to compete against middle-aged women or retirees, who filled their carts with tons of clothes.

    Anyway, now that I’ve almost updated my wardrobe and people aren’t mistaking me for a teenager, I don’t feel as stressed or angry at those resellers; Right now, I don’t need to look for better clothes.

  100. J. Money October 6, 2011 at 6:27 PM

    Interesting… I can’t tell if I’m okay with that or not… probably not, but I know that they’re still helping out when they DO give money to the stores, so at least that’s good. Thanks for voicing your opinion! :)

  101. Patricia October 16, 2011 at 9:37 AM

    Okay, let me share something with you that I’ve been happy to share with just about anyone who will listen for the last 5 years or so.

    I was working for a division of the NYC Mayor’s office and had become friendly with a woman there. She had a unique and tasteful style and almost every single day she wore something different. I mean, we rarely saw her in the same thing twice. One day she asked if I’d like to go shopping with her and I admitted that I most likely couldn’t afford to shop where she does and that I really didn’t buy a lot of clothes on a regular basis, being on a budget. At the time I was making about $40 an hour and she was making slightly more. She winked and told me to come along.

    Fast forward and we ended up at the Salvation Army in New York on 8th Avenue. It almost pains me to share this with anyone who might get there before me now. We walked in and I was immediately disappointed; looking at the racks and racks of what looked like cheap clothing, I wasn’t impressed and figured I was being punked. But she assured me that this was where she got all her deals. Well, after just over an hour of going through racks and racks of stuff, I’d filled a good two bags with Ralph Lauren blouses, lovely skirts, designer jeans I normally wouldn’t have afforded myself and she had scored a white cashmere pant suit for just $22. It had a broken zipper in the pants, that was all. It still had the dry cleaning tags on it. I spent just over $80 for two weeks worth of outfits myself.

    Being petite, I’d always had to spend additional money on altering/tailoring, even for my coats and jackets. Well, with the prices of a pair of Baby Phat jeans being just $6, I didn’t mind spending the extra to make them fit me perfectly. I overhauled my entire wardrobe for only $400 and that includes work and casual clothing.

    Personally, I now look forward to taking a trip over to THAT Salvation Army. Since it’s in the heart of the city, it’s the place where the more fortunate take their clothes after they’ve been seen in them more often than they care to be.

    Do I feel any kind of way buying there when I probably could buy elsewhere? Absolutely not. Stores like this need to turnover their items quickly to be able to keep accepting incoming donation items. And remember, not everyone is looking for the same things. Some people are looking for career clothing, others are looking for hippie style outfits and others are buying for growing children. There’s enough for all of us. I know it may not be the same in other areas, but personally I’m proud that I look great and am not putting myself in debt to do so. I sleep well at night knowing that the same way I’m pleased with my used car and no car note, I’m just as please with first rate clothing that doesn’t cause me to go into debt or ruin my credit score.

    I think many of us are of the mindset that there’s not enough to go around. As long as there are consumers who continue to buy well and toss off their “scraps”, there’s always going to be enough for those of us smart enough to scoop ’em up.

    I look forward to more comments. Great string here and glad I found it.

    I’m planning a SA trip next weekend and can’t wait. I plan to spend about $80 and expect I’ll return home with about 30 to 40 items if not more.

  102. Patricia October 16, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    If I may, I have to add one more thing, too. I also regularly search FreeCycle for things I want, need or have to give away. Just this summer, I had posted an ad for some shoes I had, brand new, that killed my pinky toe when I wore them. I found a taker. At the same time, I saw listings for people asking for cars, and things I couldn’t believe they had the nerve to request. But I didn’t judge. Well, I also missed going to the gym but had to cut back on expenses so I wondered if I could afford a used treadmill. So I worded an ad asking if I could “borrow” a treadmill just for a few months and that I’d gladly return it. I was just about to submit it I found a listing from someone offering a Pro Form 595Le treadmill for free. I almost died. I quickly contacted the person and my friend who owns a Ford F150 took me over to get it. It is the same quality as the ones in gyms and I’ve stopped smoking and lost 9 pounds so far. I’m a size 6 and just wanna fit back into my size 4s. Now tell me life isn’t good? When I’m done with it filling up my tiny one bedroom apartment, I’ll pass it on to the next lucky person.

    Again, I say, why spend money where we don’t have to? I’m proud to be frugal and the guy who ends up with me ends up with a catch. I truly live luxuriously and am not in debt. Now *that’s* hot to me!!

  103. J. Money October 17, 2011 at 10:06 AM

    Work it, girl! Haha… I love it. And couldn’t agree more :) Some of my BEST thrift store trips were in NYC myself – so much better than any of the ones I go to now. I’m glad you found a gem ;) I still wear my gator shoes I got 10 years ago at one of the more upscale thrifts there – miss NYC!

  104. Patricia October 17, 2011 at 7:59 PM

    You’re funny, J. Money. But yes, I admit I am very lucky. The thrift stores in New York are one of the perks of living in or near the tri state area. Some of those that are most fortunate make it a treat to live and shop here. Now you’ve got me just itchin’ for the weekend to come. Can’t wait to get there! BTW, J. Money – where are you located these days? Do you ever get to NYC anymore??

  105. J. Money October 18, 2011 at 12:10 PM

    You got ME to wanna go too! I literally just went to our local Salvation Army yesterday, haha… only found a few little things, but it was nice to be back there ;)

    I live in the Washington, DC area now, but I travel every month for conferences and w/ my other project: Love Drop. We haven’t hit NYC yet, but it’s only a matter of time… I also need to go back up there to see some people so hopefully it’ll be sooner than later! I miss it :)

  106. Patricia October 20, 2011 at 8:48 PM

    My update? Went Wednesday afternoon. I had allotted $80 for my trip. I had a list. I got 7 sweaters (all Ann Taylor, Gap and Ralph Lauren), 1 pair of black velvet stretch Banana Republic jeans and a Lauren olive sweater dress. Grand total? $31.91. Wednesdays are tag days where certain tag colors re 50% off. I can’t wait until next Wednesday. I’m hittin’ ’em hard again!

  107. Patricia October 20, 2011 at 8:51 PM

    Oh, and I lost $2.50 of my bounty. Came home and washed everything cold on gentle because everything was wool or cotton except the jeans. But I put them in the dryer and used low thinking it was air dry. Damned apartment complex dryers. My Lauren merino wool merlot colored sweater can now fit a small child so I’ll re-donate it when I go back. That’s the good thing about gettin’ stuff cheap. I don’t sweat laundry muck ups!

  108. Brandon October 21, 2011 at 9:46 AM

    Hi I rarely shop thrift stores.But sometimes i do as well as yard sales, like it’s a rush in the sense you never know what you will find.I grow up in a middle class to poor family. We were most of the time well provided for. We still got what we wanted and shopped at the mall. So take it as you will. The reason i’m writing this is because there is a spirital battlefield at some of these stores. Oh yes even at the Mall. You always have to be careful what you purchase and pickup at these places. What you buy is it going to profit you in the area in your life.My Mom always said wash it though the blood of Christ and let Jesus bless it. If you find a check not to get it then it probably is not worth it.(for example you don’t know what kind of spirit or person owned or clinged to that idem before you pick it up )Most of the time i like things that are fresh and new.

  109. Patricia October 21, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    Brandon, to each his own I always say. While I understand what you mean, I believe that regardless of the spirit in which something was owned before I get it, my good intentions and mag-tabulous spirit will overpower whatever negatives came before.

    That’s what I think is fabulous about the world. There’s enough of almost everything (when it comes to consumerism) to go around. For those of us who occasionally peruse the racks of second hand stores and find great buys, good for us. And for those of us (like me sometimes) who buy retail but also donate great items when we’re through, we’re also on the right track.

    It just matters to me so much more these days to be less wasteful, tastefully frugal and always aware.

  110. Katie October 30, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    As an avid thrift store shopper for myself AND resale, I get tired of comments bashing resellers. The money made on my sales goes right back into my local economy, I buy groceries, gas, bills and all other day to day expenses. The $30 I may turn into profit from the $4 shirt, may go to a restaurant and pay salaries there. It’s all the circle of financial life which we all depend on, not to mention the cost of what I buy from Goodwill goes directly to their institution and charities. If Goodwill just wanted poor people to buy their clothes they wouldn’t mark some items up (most of these items are not what I buy for resale anyways although I’ve purchased a few for my own wardrobe). Anyone who complains that the inventory is picked over from resellers either doesn’t look very hard, shops in an area where nicer items are more difficult to find anyways, or is just blaming it on people who happen to like the same things they look for. I see shoppers looking over the same racks before me and not pick up a thing, the same place where I’ll find pieces for resale, most people are not looking for the same things as me. There is plenty to go around. With all that said, I also donate back, just yesterday I donated over $100 worth of nice electronics to my local Goodwill.

  111. J. Money October 31, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    Nice! I like it. Yeah I don’t think I have a problem w/ people reselling stuff really – I agree it’s all a circle of financial life. I can’t imagine a Goodwill or a Salvation Army ever telling someone NO for buying up any of the items they sell?? Haha…. so I’m sure they’d love it if EVERYONE came in to buy things up regardless of what their intentions are afterwards. They’re shelves are never fully stocked anyways.

  112. CLW December 30, 2011 at 9:42 AM

    When you buy things at the Goodwill and Salvation Army part of the proceeds goes toward the other programs that have like giving clothes or meals to the less fortunate that cannot at all afford anything. I know very wealthy individuals that that got where they are by saving their money in every way. Others that are wealthy by other means. All are all very humble and respectful and still shop at the Goodwill and Salvation Army.

  113. katy January 31, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    I don’t think it is a matter of opinion. It is a fact that you are taking these items away from the disadvantaged. There are people that are poor, lost their job, their belongings in a fire, or flood, or lost their spouse. I equate this to taking a parking space away from a handicapped person. It is totally wrong, and the fact that you want to know what others think means that your conscience is bothering you. Let your conscience be your guide.
    Thing about an elderly that have to choose between food and medicine. Make it right by donating back!

  114. J. Money February 1, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    I think we’ll have to disagree on that one (the fact vs opinion, opinion), but I do appreciate the fresh perspective :) I actually donate more than I buy there, but after lots of thought I’m totally okay continuing my visits.

  115. Sharon February 11, 2012 at 2:06 AM

    I know rich people who shop at thrift stores.If you can find what you want there, why spend money you don’t have too. Sounds smart to me!

  116. Sal March 7, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    This is directly from the Salvation Army website:

    “The Mission Statement of the Salvation Army USA

    The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.”

    Katy, that quote in my OPINION is a FACT. My OPINION is that it’s ok to shop at the Salvation Army even if you can afford to buy the same item elsewhere for more money. My interpretation (OPINION) of SA’s mission statement is that they will not discriminate against anyone, including the “non-poor”.

  117. Tori April 29, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    No, thrift shops are far from being places where only “poor people” shop. That attitude is SO 1980s!
    Nowadays, fashionistas and vintage style lovers race to thrift stores because of the availability of affordable, quality garments.
    Not everyone is rich, and that doesn’t make them poor either. The average, typical American isn’t filthy rich nor extremely poor. And the average American appreciates a bargain. That is why stores like Wal-Mart, Target, and The Dollar Tree are so popular with people..and regarding The Dollar Tree, many, many of the shoppers I’ve seen in my experience are middle – upper middle class looking to smartly save a buck when they can.
    The same is true for thrift shopping. Why would I want to pay fifty dollars for a thin, mediocre top when I can practically get a new wardrobe comprised of outstanding quality garments–particularly garments that are the retro style that I love? That doesn’t make a person poor. That makes a person a wise shopper. :)

  118. Tori April 29, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    I would also add that everyone has the right, even the filthy rich, to shop at thrift stores if they choose. America’s all about free choice. Well, people have the free choice to use their spending power anywhere they please.
    As I previously mentioned, I’d say the average American isn’t extremely poor anyway. Shouldn’t the average American get the most for the money that they earn? And at thrift stores, people do indeed get the most for their money.
    My grandmother was a middle-class homemaker and was provided for quite well by my grandfather. They owned two homes & more than two cars in their lifetime. She never wanted for anything, and yet one of her pleasures was treasure hunting in the local thrift stores. This was in the 1950 – 1970’s, so I don’t know whether thrift shopping was more or less of a big deal back then, but all I know is that I come from a middle-class family background and I became acquainted with thrift stores early on.
    I guess my point is: everyone deserves to save some money.

  119. J. Money April 30, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    Hey, I’m right there with ya friend :) I’ve been OBSESSED with yard sales the last 3 weekends and the whole bargain-shopping process is fun in itself! Not to mention helping the sellers out by taking their “crap.” I’m damn glad we live in a free world over here – it’s one of the perks of living in the US!

  120. pinkblings May 15, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    I think I’ll side with your friend, except the racist part. I just couldn’t shop there. I tried with a former friend of mine, but just couldn’t at the end. I ended up giving away this top I purchased at the thrift shop, and I only purchased one (1) item my whole life there. I had donated plenty, but I just could not find anything for myself or I loved. I am no longer friends with the friend, either. We just came from two different socioeconomic backgrounds and shared different views. Guess nurture prevailed in my case. Good luck on your future shopping sprees! =)

  121. J. Money May 16, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    hey, whatever works :) we all have our own preferences!

  122. Bankscottage June 21, 2012 at 10:34 PM

    When I was on vacation in Sedona, AZ, the local paper had an article about how retirees that winter in the area often shop regularly in the thrift stores. Sedona is not the low rent district. it made me think, maybe we should all use thrift stores. Many of the reasons have been mentioned already.
    I donate good items to thrift shops, if others do too, why wouldn’t I want to shop there?
    The Sedona article made me think about using thrift stores while on vacation. Ever go on vacation and the weather wasn’t what you expected? Need a jacket or an extra pairs of shorts? Why buy new when you can pick it up cheap at a Thrift. Also, items that are rare at home may be very common at your vacation area thrifts. Items common in Sedona Thrifts may be rare in PA where I live. In Sedona I could get a better selection and better prices.
    I make very good money and I see no reason not to use a Thrift Store. Saving money is a good idea no matter how much money you make. The richest people I have ever met do not look rich. It is the ones who “look rich” that aren’t.
    I’m working on a blog about why we should all shop at Thrift Stores. Check it out on HubPages.

  123. Patricia June 22, 2012 at 9:21 AM

    So true, Bankscottage, about peopel looking rich who aren’t. It’s so ass-backwards! I’ve been paid quite well and never wore a pair of sneakers that cost $100. I’m not an Olympian; I’m running to the car or the supermarket. Please!

    But you didn’t post a link to you blog. Please do.

  124. J. Money June 22, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    Yeah, I’d love to see it too :) The one you linked in your comment originally didn’t work so I deleted it… and I go to thrift stores ALL THE TIME on vacations! Whether it’s raining or not, haha… once even at a wedding :) I forgot to pack my belt and didn’t realize it until an hour before it began – so I found the closest Salvation Army and picked myself up one! They only had lady’s belts, but luckily one of them fit ;)

  125. J. Money June 24, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    Awesome, will go check out :) There are definitely 10 reasons to shop at thrifts!

  126. Constance July 22, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    I love thrift stores. Hey buy used book and sell online…

  127. Kay August 14, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    When going to donate something to the salvation. Arent you donating it to help the homeless? Exactly you arent donating it for someone richer than you to get a better bargain. DONT SUGAR COAT THINGS. YOU KNOW THE TRUTH. but I think there is nothing wrong with going there to buy props as someone commented or a couch because those actually cost a lot

  128. Mar November 7, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    I took my daughter to a thrift store not to long ago to find snow pants and sweaters since she outgrew most of her stuff already. Snow pants are freakin’ expensive and who really wants to throw down a hundred dollars for a pair (or even 40.00) when I found a pair for $7.00. I also found a jacket in her favorite color (which is purple) for $3.00. How lucky was I to come across some work pants for $3.00 that had no stains and I don’t even think the previous owners even wore them since they weren’t even ripped or stretched out. I get tired of going to the mall and paying $50-100 for things that are really only going to be in my closet maybe for two years. When I’m done with shoes and clothes I donate them to goodwill because someone else could reuse it. If we could recycle and reuse more of the things that we have in our daily lives maybe our planet wouldn’t be so trashy. And as far as whether the rich should shop there or not-you make your pay check YOU decide where it goes.

  129. J. Money November 7, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    Agreed! Way to find those bargains too – I love thrift store shopping :)

  130. Miss Luna November 27, 2012 at 10:22 AM

    My church, a small protesant denomation, has a thrift shop, right next to our church. I have bought items there, but, I am FAR from filthy rich, rich or doing well. But also, I am not poor! The thrift shop SERVES ALL in the community!!! Also, if ANYONE BOTHERED TO ASK!!!-
    1) clothes that come in with tags still attached get put away- this is for any person or family, etc. that goes to one of the churches and tells them they are in need, can’t afford, etc. A letter will be written and sent with the person(s) to the thrift shop and the VOLUNTEERS will see if any new clothes are available, then they will go around and pick out other clothes that are in good, great condition. Some volunteers probably would give a person some clothes if they asked!!!
    2) ‘REGULAR’ people… meaning ones that go from thrift shop to thrift shop looking for ‘treasures’ pay regular prices.. NO DISCOUNTS.. a big deal for the shop!!!
    3) Local high schools and colleges often go to thrift shops for ‘costumes, halloween is big there too.
    4)cocktail dresses are donated too. GREAT BARGAIN for a few $$$$
    5)okay, I mentioned the really poor, and the people paying regular prices…. but, sometimes the shop gets a TON of clothes… and seasons change too. They have BAG SALES… A biggy for those on really tight budgets. $5 a bag (paper) some women have this down to a SCIENCE!!!! (no housewares!) folding folding folding-totally amazing what they can get into one of those old paper bags or market plastic bags-10 items of clothes!!!!

    Now some people have this thought (my mother was one) that if ‘I’ can’t use it (rips, stains, faded away) SOMEONE ELSE WILL WANT IT!!! This is TOTALLY FALSE!!! People, even or ESPECIALLY POOR people, HAVE PRIDE. Our thrift shop has a salvation army bin in the back-they pick it up (the shop gets a nominal amt. per bin) and I was told the SA makes rags (?) out of them. Not sure.

    Now, out of the money taken in-one person gets paid for running, doing schedules, the bookkeeping.. etc. and it is not much… (like 15hours a week, low per hour).. fuel, lighting…… after that, the NET… IT ALL GOES BACK INTO OUR COMMUNITY- to the RC food pantry, and about 15 other charities… so, for those who say, only poor can shop there, NO, THE POLICE WILL NOT ARREST YOU, you might find a treasure!!! who knows!!!

    to see what some donate to other thrift shops, GOODWILL HAS AN AUCTION SITE ONLINE!!! and alot of the stuff is GREAT, WORTH ALOT OF $$$$ google it!!!!

  131. J. Money November 28, 2012 at 11:32 PM

    Oooooh good to know about their auction! I’m totally gonna Google it up and see what I can find ;) It merges two of my favorite hobbies – woohoo!

  132. PJMcFlur December 31, 2012 at 11:07 PM

    Capitalism works. Imagine that. It also creates the environment that allows penny pinchers to save a few bucks. Have you ever heard about the deals in the Soviet Bloc? Once you pry the shoes, clothes, gold, silver and any food off the corpse… well you get the picture.

  133. Mary January 15, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    I love finding bargains at the thrift store run by my church (Deseret Industries). Some of the toys I’ve gotten there for my kids are still their favorites and played with daily for several years. One of the biggest benefits shopping there is that even in the women’s department, I haven’t found ANY clothing item (except coats) that are more than $3. I spent close to $200 there one night while shopping with my kids and got literally a Costco size shopping cart full of clothing for the three of us! Granted for my clothes I didn’t try them on so some ended up not fitting but the beauty in that is that I then passed them over to my sister and nieces who all looked through them and what they didn’t want then went right back to the same thrift store.

    The proceeds at D.I. provide pay for the employees as well as building maintenance, job training and several other programs. I happily donate there about every 3 months. When I recently moved, I took a literal car-load of stuff over. Had to leave the kids at home with dad to fit it all in! A month or two of unpacking later and there went another car-load. Yeah, I should have weeded out before I moved but my schedule was just too hectic!

  134. Rachel Duffy January 25, 2013 at 7:19 PM

    I own a thrift store in a small town in chisago city minnesota. i never shopped in thrift store really prior to opening my own and i myself thought it was for poor people or people looking for the odd stuff that comes in. but after owning one and seeing that i dont have to pay retail prices anymore was the best thing that i have seen so far. I not only dont have to buy anything everything that comes threw my doors i have first dibs on. i am a profilt and goodwill and salvation army are non profit but they still have over head costs, rent or mortgage, lights and heat, insurance and payrool. so there is alot of money that needs to come in the door before they can send money out to charitable causes. so shop thrifty and shop local. all us little folks just want to feed our familys and survive. i have not had a paycheck since i opened my store a year ago. im getting bigger and more known now but remember these little places need your support it dont matter if you are rich or poor shop local all the way!

  135. jeanette February 11, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    Anyone and everyone can shop in there. I’ve seen women with Michael kors bags shopping on a discounted day. We are a military family and if you have a baby you know how fast one can ruin and grow out of a onsie. Every three months my daughter is in a new size. I don’t shop for myself at the thrift stores but they do have unique pieces. My son gets almost new or new looking jeans for 3.25. I say if you shop make sure to give. I have a whole box that I will donate. Or resell on eBay or cl for cheap and take the money back to the thrift store.

  136. Susan March 11, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    Thrift shopping is for people who deliberate their spending. Folks who don’t have a lot of cash flow choose to shop there are well as people who have ample cash flow. At this point in my life, I have ample cash flow. I still shop Goodwill. Actually, I shop at garage sales more than Goodwill because the picks are better and the pricing is cheaper. For those who think they *shouldn’t* shop at Goodwill so they can clear the way for folks who *need* to shop there, I think that’s silly. Goodwill can use as many shoppers as possible. They get more donations than they ever sell. The more sales they need to process, the more hiring in the local community they will do. That’s more households in your own town with a shot at a better life.

    I don’t mind if some people have so much money they don’t want to shop at thrift stores — folks who don’t need to deliberate their spending can buy new and maybe stimulate the economy. I can certainly afford to buy everything new, but I prefer to reuse and recycle wherever possible.

  137. lana March 19, 2013 at 12:55 AM

    My friends would freak out if they knew I bought stuff at resale shops. I don’t look for clothes, because I can usually find cheaper stuff on sale at big box stores. I look for books, craft items, paintings, and stuff for my kids to take apart to understand how things work.

    I love the thrill of the find and not paying sales tax!

  138. J. Money March 19, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    you don’t pay sales tax at thrift stores? Huh… never really paid attention much, but if so then yet another reason to love them! :)

  139. Shelby April 2, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    I grew up with thrift store clothing as it was all my single mom could afford. Now that I’m a mom I try to save every cent I can. I adore thrift stores! Just today I got 3 Gap shirts for my son, 2 scrub tops and 3 t-shirts for myself, a Columbia fleece jacket for my son and a Vera Bradley tote (still had tags!). My total? $27.45. The tote alone retails for $65. While we probably could “afford” new items, they would be from a loer end retailer

  140. J. Money April 2, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    Way to go on that Vera! Man that’s a killer deal.

  141. Patricia April 2, 2013 at 5:28 PM

    I’m just about ready for my summer shopping spree. Usually takes me three weeks to do. See, on Wednesdays the Salvation Army that I go to in the ritzy area of New York (where people can’t be seen wearing something twice) had tag specials, so any two colored tags are buy one get one free. So I go on Wednesday mornings when everyone’s at work and stock up on the cutest outfits. By the end of May, I’ll have enough summer outfits to carry me through the whole season and I won’t spend more than $80. AN ENTIRE SEASON OF CLOTHES, FOLKS.

  142. linda April 2, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    I have been buying clothes and furniture,appliances,ect. from thrift shops for 40+ years,and am sad to find that the prices have gone up so much that I feel they are no longer much of a deal.They seem to think their customers are more middle class than poor.Just the other day I was shopping at one and they had a not so great 4 drawer dresser for over 100.00.The clothing also is priced almost as high as new,unless you find something from a high end store that charges too much for their clothes to begin with.Thrift stores are no longer for the “poor”,more for the middle class,as far as prices go.I am so disgusted with the prices that I would rather go to yard sales and swap meets than thrift shops nowdays.

  143. Patricia April 3, 2013 at 1:25 AM

    Sorry Linda, but you’re wrong. I’m not saying that isn’t going on where YOU are, but it really depends on WHERE you live. For instance, in the ritzy area of New York that City I go out of my way to get to they get so much new stuff that they have to price to move product quickly. So I own tag names that I never would have dreamed of owning including a white cashmere pant suit that I got for under $20 simply because it had an ink stain in an inconspicuous area that I had repaired for next to nothing. Now just a couple blocks from me here in New Jersey, literally steps away from my apartment complex, I can’t find anything priced as reasonably NOR of the same quality. If you can travel a bit, check out some other thrift stores in BETTER neighborhoods that have higher traffic. You’d think I walked out of a fashion magazine with the deals I get for pennies.

  144. another Linda April 3, 2013 at 1:46 AM

    She cannot be wrong when she is talking about her own experience. You should have said that where you live the situation is different.

  145. Patricia April 4, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    Linda, you should re-read and look at the second sentence. I said what I *should* have said, but I respect you had an opinion to post. I was referring particularly to her comment that thrift shops are geared toward the middle class and not the “poor”.

    Thank you to both the Lindas!

  146. Danielle May 7, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    Wow! I had never thought about it as taking something from someone less fortunate than me. I have been in thrift stores a few times over the years and try to donate whenever possible; however, I haven’t actually bought something from one in years because the last time I went I found a booger (not sure there’s a better word for it) on a sweater I had picked up. After that, I was done. I know people who swear by the awesome finds they get in thrift stores but after that experience I just haven’t been able to give it another try.

  147. Lesley Mays May 25, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    This is coming from a poor person who is very practiced at comparison shopping: Thrift store prices are EXACTLY the same as Wal-mart, and the stuff at Wal-mart hasn’t been used! Go ahead and shop at the thrift store. I’m going to shop at Wal-mart, ashamed of their reputation, but in need of their prices!

    1. aj May 26, 2013 at 3:27 PM

      I am sorry…I have to disagree with the comment that the thrift store prices are exactly the same at Walmart.

      I live in a small rural town where the only choices for purchasing clothing are the local Walmart, one consignment shop, one Salvation Army, or drive an hour one way to any other stores…and of course shopping online. And I do a combo of all of these at any given time… but I will give you an example of my Thrift store purchases this weekend.

      I got two very nice button up dress shirts for my husband (one a Van Heusen), two Old Navy shrugs & another very nice dress shirt that was new with $49 tags on it for me, a very super cute trendy shirt for my 18 y/o daughter, my 9 y/o son got two pairs of basketball/athletic shorts (one pair Nike) and a brand new Dickies brand backpack, and a hardback novel…all for $29.11 after 6% state tax added.

      Now not that I am trying to be a brand snob, but I just wanted to mention them because some brands are made much better than others…but regardless of that…
      The shirts were all $4 or less!
      Unless you find a really good sale at Walmart you cannot purchase a nice shirt there for $4!!

      I also saw a super nice Jos.A Banks suit that was marked $5.99
      It was as good as new and would be very expensive if bought new.
      I am going to take my hubby back to try it on, because even if we have to pay to have it fitted to him, and cleaned, where in the world could you find a nice suit for less than $10???!!!! And you can’t find anything like that at Walmart, ever.

      I don’t think anyone should be ashamed of shopping at a store for their reputation, but should just be a smart, thrifty shopper — regardless of where that means you buy your wares.

      Oh and by the way, I have bought brand new/same as Aeropostale, Hollister, Osh Kosh, American Eagle, Old Navy, etc…for all of my family over the last 18 years, and have paid as little as a quarter to a dollar for the items. How can you compare that to Walmart? I just view that as being a smart consumer!

      1. Patricia May 27, 2013 at 8:35 PM

        No, no, darling. And this is not me being condescending but if the thrift shops near YOU are charging as much as any retail store, then I’m sorry that’s where you live. I live in one of the most expensive cities in the world, and there is no Walmart, Kmart or any other mart where you can get a pair of jeans (ANY name brand) for $4 on a good day. NONE. And name brand designer suits in perfect condition for less than $15? I don’t think so. And again, I’m not just talking about IN New York – I’m talking about in the ritzy areas where people wear something once and can’t be seen in it again.

        And as far as talking about wearing stuff that someone else has worn – girl please. I worked at retail a few times and the stuff that gets returned and put back on the rack…you have no idea. And even further, what about all the people that try it on and then put it back on the rack for you to try on next? Not everyone wears pantyliners. I feel a lot safer buying something off the rack that I know may have been worn before that I take home and wash before wearing.

        Gimme a break with what you’re saying. Wrong on all counts.

  148. Yana May 26, 2013 at 4:22 PM

    I agree with you, aj. I would not be ashamed to shop at WalMart, or anywhere that gives me value for the dollar, but I highly doubt that I could go shopping with my husband and spend less than $20 every time for some very nice items, as I do at the thrift store. There is no WalMart in my town, but whoever is donating these clothes is not shopping locally. They are going to another city to Nordstrom’s and the like.

  149. cares June 29, 2013 at 9:04 PM

    Hi, I just wanted to say that the lower prices at the Goodwill are not charity for the poor. A lot of people think that thrift stores are only for poor people because they don’t understand how those places work. The chairty part is how they use the money that people spend at the Goodwill. For example, if you go and spend 2 dollars on a shirt, the Goodwill takes that 2 dollars and puts it into a fund that helps to better the lives of the poor, disadvantaged or disabled people. They usually fund training programs for those people with the money you spend. You are not taking that shirt from someone that needs it. That shirt wasn’t meant to be bought by a poor person, it was just meant to be bought. Its the money that the Goodwill gets from that shirt that goes to help the less fortunate. Your money is just as green as anyone elses.

    1. J. Money July 1, 2013 at 5:49 PM

      Well said, my friend :)

  150. C .Skate January 8, 2014 at 12:51 PM

    What happens at these so called thrift stores is that they receive donated goods, meaning free and intended for the needy. The goods should be low cost for the needy but because those with wealth shop there the thrift store can raise the price of all goods to the pount that only those wealty can afford to buy things there. This puts most things at premium prices so that those in need cannot afford to shop there. The thrift store knows they can command higher and higher prices for these donated goods to the point that only those with money can buy thus shutting out those in need.

  151. jim bo January 10, 2014 at 3:04 AM

    I like nice things..goodwill allows this..i recently bought a king liz Claiborne quilt for 10 it would have been looked like new..i bought an antique secretary with original skeleton key for 49 dollars..a lenox cream colored soup tureen for 10 dollars….my biggest find recently was a carved poster bed…beautiful..49 dollars..plenty of books..dvds..brooks brothers.lands end…you have to be a sauve shopper and know quality “stuff”..i found a swiss watch for two dollars that on line was selling for thousands..Italian shoes..its all available at goodwill..not ashamed at the least..its a poor mans antique shop ..I recently bought a beautiful drexal buffet for 75.00 dollars and have this in a bedroom..i never know what I will find..its fun..its clean..its goodwill.

  152. virginia February 24, 2014 at 12:06 AM

    I love thrift shops. I am not wealthy but it doesn’t matter. I collect antique glassware and other collectibles and find some in thrift shops. Thrift stores are for ANYONE. the friend of this writer was a snob. She will contribute, good for her, she can donate every day since she is filthy rich. The rest of us not like her will just have a good time collecting what is fascinating to us.

  153. Free to Pursue March 21, 2014 at 5:24 AM

    I like my local thrisft store for two reasons: I buy some incidentals that I need for a time (clothes, books, furniture, kitchen ware) AND can give them and more back when I am done–assuming they are still in good condition. That way, I get what I need at any given time, pending availability, and I don’t have a cluttered home because I have things I bought full price that I don’t want to give away (despite the fact that I’m not using it anymore & it’s a sunk cost…but I MIGHT need it later…right?).

    I wish there weren’t a stigma attached to buying anything used (other than cars and homes). It’s such a waste (pun intended).

    1. J. Money March 21, 2014 at 7:55 AM

      I love that idea :) And have never actually thought about the difference between used clothes/items/etc at thrifts vs used cars and houses… def. interesting!

  154. Nick May 22, 2014 at 1:31 AM

    I agree with this article.
    I myself make over 250,000 a year and my wife makes 150,000 a year.
    However, the reason I go there is different than most.
    I like to collect things, always been a habit of mine.
    Cars number 1, but that unfortunately isn’t a goodwill specialty.
    I also collect old electronics such as NES, N64, old computers, and the list goes on.
    I hunt for those at goodwill sometimes and don’t feel weird going in there at all.
    Sometimes I feel out of place. But I only browse after I donate and I donate a lot of things to goodwill. I don’t care if they keep a lot of money to be honest. Reason being because they provide a lot of jobs to people and help the community.
    I have only once had an “altercation” there. But that was when I dropped something off in my exotic car and then went shopping. I got yelled at after a woman saw me leaving with merchandise.
    Take it from me, even though I don’t like to say “rich”, I guess most people would describe me as being so, I shop at goodwill and do not associate it with any stigma.

    1. J. Money May 25, 2014 at 4:01 PM

      Hah! Love it. Especially so that you donate tons of stuff there too. Your giving them donations AND money by buying stuff there – double whammy! Thx for stopping by, brotha.

  155. Jennifer O'Dell May 27, 2014 at 5:27 PM

    I’m a mom, my husband and I both work full time jobs in order to make ends meet, and we shop at thrift stores. I basically work in a fashion show where no one is a mom, and they are all dressed to the nines daily. I was with my family at Value Village this past weekend where all clothes were 50% off. I am newly pregnant and don’t own any maternity clothes, so this sale was huge for me. Name brand stuff that would normally have been $30+ bucks a pop, was only about a dollar or two, or even $.75! I was so excited that I filled my closet with the things that I need, and my daughters closet too as she’s not even 3 yet and already in 4T clothes. Everything we bought her at Christmas time is too small. I wanted to share my good fortune this afternoon at the lunch table since they were all talking about the “amazing” deals they got at Banana Republic and Nordstrom’s, etc. But I felt so out of place. That’s actually what led me to this site. I was looking to see if anyone else feels like a bad parent for trying to stretch their hard earned dollars just a little more. I feel like I was the real winner but couldn’t share my winnings because even though everything I got was name brand, it was previously owned. I’ll keep doing what I’m doing. I’d rather spend $50 on all of us to fill our closets, than $50 on a shirt.

    1. J. Money May 29, 2014 at 7:21 AM

      “I’d rather spend $50 on all of us to fill our closets, than $50 on a shirt.” – yes! Agreed!! thanks for stopping by and sharing :)

  156. Kevin May 27, 2014 at 11:39 PM

    Ebay resale pickers have ruined thrift store pricing so that financially challenged people basically can’t use those stores for what they were originally intended. I have the Good WIll store frequently be higher that Walmart and Target. Hmmm. I feel there is a need for some sort of regulation on who is allowed to shop those stores or a means of giving legitimately financially challenged people their own special discount.

  157. Albert Tropeano May 31, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    These thrift stores sell stuff they get for free higher than what you could buy it for new. They sell old furniture that I wouldn’t want for nothing. They want ridiculous prices for the stuff. Only the well to do could buy this stuff. A poor person does not get any kind of break. The people that work there are usually rude. This is a business to make money, buy property, etc. They give a small amount to the people. The rest goes wherever. The ceo of these outfits make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. I would give directly to the poor or find a place that gives to the poor without charging them instead of these outfits. An old beat up couch should not cost a poor person 800 dollars.

  158. Emma M June 3, 2014 at 12:08 PM

    First of all, I’m sorry to ask you but WHY, just WHY are you friends with someone who holds bigoted and racist views? My head would pop every time they opened their thoughtless little mouth.
    I am in the UK, I am from a middle class family, they are comfortable and don’t have to worry about being poor but they are self made and when I was younger we had “hand me down” clothes from people, in turn I handed them down to my cousin.
    I am not as well off as my parents and grandparents but I could still go without shopping in Thrift stores if I was careful. I have a passion for Thrift stores though and find some great and unique items in them that I would not find in regular stores.
    I will continue to shop at Thrift stores and slowly converting my husband who use to say “I’m not having something second hand!”…oh if only he knew!

    1. J. Money June 6, 2014 at 10:50 AM

      We haven’t talked in years ;)

  159. Barbara Barton June 16, 2014 at 4:05 PM

    J. Money
    Clothing, books and household items found at Goodwill and the Salvation Army are not the only things that Americans could recycle.
    I volunteer for the Ardmore Habitat for Humanity Re-Store. Our small store recycles all sorts of appliances, cabinets, lumber, trim, paint, tile etc. All of these bulky products might otherwise wind up in a dumpster and be hauled to the landfill. Our customers get great deals on items to repair and refurbish their homes. Our Habitat chapter uses the proceeds to build affordable homes .
    Most larger cities have Habitat Re-Stores with large warehouses and trucks to pick up donations. If you are a thrifty “do it yourself” person, you might want to check out your local Re-Store.

    1. J. Money June 17, 2014 at 10:34 AM

      YES! Love that!! Great great point indeed. Thanks for dropping by :)

  160. Nicole July 7, 2014 at 3:09 PM

    In one of these comments I read that the wealthy distinguish themselves by using designer threads. Well.. about 90% of my wardrobe consists of thrifted clothing. I have labels such as Coach (authentic), Oscar de la Renta, Nine West, Chanel, and countless other designers. While I do believe that it depends WHERE the store is located, those lines are totally blurred in my opinion. True, you wont always find those brands and labels, but it’s very possible.

    Also, don’t limit yourself to only Goodwill and Salvation Army. There’s tons of other stores around. Just take a little time and do some research. And always remember to pay if forward and try to give something back before your shopping trip! :)

  161. Mary August 20, 2014 at 9:33 AM

    I often shop at Goodwill, thrift & consignment shops. I have been able to buy New With Tags suits, formal wear and other items often for 10% of the original price. Brand Name items too!
    This spring I got a wonderful dress/jacket suit for $10, that originally was priced above $300. And it fits perfectly, which is difficult for me as I am petite. Never pay top dollar!
    On responding to one comment above – I never would buy clothing at Walmart, because of their record on suppliers.

  162. john wright September 6, 2014 at 12:16 AM

    As someone who works at the salavation army I can shed some light on this. The people who work there for the most part dont do it for the money. I make close to minimum wage when I have the job experience to make close to 80k a year. I do it because I got tired of chasing a material american dream that turned into a nightmare for me also because the SA I work at supports a mens homeless and drug rehab program. Watched herion kill a family member I loved I came to relize I cannot sit back and hope for other to help fix the worlds problems. God bless anyone who shops in our store Rich or Poor. Here is the problem when it comes to donations. Alot of people donate nice stuff but alot of people try and dump there garbage on us. So many times I will come in in the morning and garbage will be dumped in the back of the store. These are the people who dump ripped up furniture rugs with urine on them ect ect they dont want to have to spend money to pay to dump it so they dump it on us. 2nd group of soulless humans come at night and rip open all the donations to steal things they can sell on ebay or looking for things they want for free. Not only do they steal our best stuff they just throw the stuff all over the parking lot and now my employees who are overworked and underpaid as it is have to spend hours cleaning up our thieves messes. So yes who ever comes in and buys u are HELPING rich or poor. And who ever steals and dumps illegal garbage you are hurting people. To those who steal or illegally dump on charitys I want you to know this. My brother had nowhere to go because he was homeless and drug addicted becouse all the programs in my area where full or budget cut. He died of a overdose maybe if he could have gotten into a program he would be alive right now. SO please think about that next time you are stealing from a charity to line your own pocket.

    1. J. Money September 6, 2014 at 3:06 PM

      That just pains me on so many levels… Good for you for continuing to clean up and continue forward with the mission each day. We need more people like you in this world!

  163. Barbara Alt October 3, 2014 at 12:13 PM

    Thrift stores yes have gotten more expensive, yet the products sold there are mostly in great condition no tears breaks etc for a reasonable amount of $$. I came from a family of 8 children and 2 parents born in the 50’s if anyone gave us clothes (used) we were grateful we had very little so anything new was considered Christmas. I grew up had children and found the cost of clothes crazy when they only wore them for a few months and grew out of them!!! I started shopping at thrift stores to cloth my children and pick up extras that I could barely afford (just like garage sales). Kids grew up I made money and was able to retire early in life. Yes I continue to shop at thrift stores etc to ensure the doors stay open and available to all people from different walks of life. I also do one event shopping there, ski trip 1x per 5 years? I have no problem buying ski pants there going on trip then donating them back!!! I think I am pretty frugal and yes Smart!!!! Every business needs customers I don’t want to have to go to the mall and big business to get items easier purchased (and worn in like jeans) at local thrift stores and I pay back by donating !!! WIN WIN

    1. J. Money October 6, 2014 at 12:10 PM

      I think it’s awesome you donate some of the clothes back when you’re done using – helps continue the circle of life :)

  164. Pingback: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle | Rocky Top Rebecca

  165. AJ November 22, 2014 at 4:23 PM

    I work for a nonprofit that funds lots of other nonprofits, and I have to say “get in where you fit in.” Places like Salvation Army, Goodwill, Habitat Restore, etc. they use the profits from their stores to invest in the programs that really help people gain traction. It’s a twofer. So anyone who has money to spend in one of these stores should, there is no loser if you think about it. Donate your items and invest your money, people.

  166. Julia December 22, 2014 at 8:41 PM

    My daughter discovered Goodwill store through a colleague and one Sunday she hauled my butt to the store. Since then I would go straight to Goodwill whenever I needed some wardrobe stuffing. Me and my daughter just recently moved to the US from Milan (fashion capital of Italy) and our observation of the clothes the big box stores are selling are made of cheap materials, are poorly tailored and badly sewn. During my first shopping spree at a hugely popular big box store, I went, “Gee, these are cheap”. But after more than an hour of choosing and trying, me and my daughter left the store without a single purchase. I wouldn’t pay $40 bucks for a top that has an arm hole wider than the other or lacking a button hole or just weird looking when I try it on because the lining was incorrectly seamed. If I would buy such crap I’d get it from Goodwill for $5 bucks and do the adjustments myself. I have gotten really cool stuff -Milan-standard- for the real value of my money from Goodwill. And yes, I’m proud shopping at Goodwill, I know I’m making a difference, albeit small. Thanks for the post, although I know I’m a bit late.

    1. J. Money December 23, 2014 at 12:18 PM

      Love it! If it’s fashionable for my friends in Milan, then it’s fashionable for me too ;) Thanks for stopping and sharing – enjoyed reading your comment.

  167. M Ford January 18, 2015 at 12:09 PM

    The CEO of Goodwill makes over 6K an hour when you average his annual salary! Right up there with the CEO’ s of McDonald’s, Dollar General, etc.
    Google top salaries for CEO’ s.
    Anyone, regardless of income can and should shop thrift stores. It’s just smart ;-), plus you can find unique, unusual treasures! Salvation Army is a legit organization. Hospice thrift stores and many other small non-profit
    Shops support local charities. Research where the monies they take in are allocated and shop responsibly!

  168. B Brown January 31, 2015 at 12:17 AM

    ‘Pride always comes before a fall’ :) DAV, Goodwill, Salvation Army etc. all function as ‘thrift stores’ but use their proceeds for different causes, i.e. Disabled Vets, training of entry level work challenged individuals and in the case of the ‘Army’ help families and Individuals when they are down on their luck for whatever reason. Regardless, shopping their goods helps those causes AND does the ultimate GREEN thing for our planet…Recycle!!! Whether it’s reusing or repurposing, I have found many like new items for use in my home. Many times there are items that are brand new and still in the box. I have purchased everything from a set of table lamps for $10 each (easily $50+ each), a vintage (pre 1975) Huffy comfort bike like new for $10 and it easily would retail for $250 and a solid oak pedestal table and 4 chairs in perfect condition for $99…big savings there:). But my best purchase to date (and there have been many) is a brand new bread machine for .25 cents!!..and yes it works beautifully. I do have some rules tho. I won’t buy fabric couches or chairs that I couldn’t recover, I don’t buy pillows or mattress for obvious reasons (these places do not sanitize). But anything that can be washed and sanitized in the dryer is fare game….Anyway, there is no shame in shopping wherever one can fine bargains. Oh, and there are also consignment shops for more high end items, i.e. Coach bags etc. I’ll be checking out ‘Clothes Mentor’ now looking for Spring/Summer items that ladies are clearing out for their new shopping sprees. Then there are places like ‘Play it again Sports’ where I’ve bought my stationary bike for the 1/3 of a new one. In addition, when I need a new fixture for my dining room, I went to Habitat for Humanity’s ‘Restore’ store to find it. Keep in mind also, that I recycle to these stores as well after all “ONE MAN’S TRASH IS ANOTHER MAN’S TREASURE.”…and who doesn’t want to save money!!!!

  169. Jonathan Craig February 7, 2015 at 2:06 PM

    Thrift stores don’t necessarily equal poor or low quality.

    In Los Angeles and most other major cities there are higher end thrift stores that offer incredible value on designer clothes. Worth looking into!

  170. Patti April 26, 2015 at 6:59 PM

    Didn’t read the comments but wanted to let you know my friend’s husband told her that she was taking from the poor too. So she called the main store and asked if they wanted her to shop there. They said a big “YES”. They wanted everyone of all means to shop there. And they believed if she didn’t the store wouldn’t be doing as good. So now there is no guilt – she knows its OK to shop there. Shop on!

    1. J. Money April 27, 2015 at 12:01 PM

      HAH! That’s awesome she called and asked – good for her. I still stand by my statement that these shops are for EVERYONE, but cool to see it was reinforced by the store :) Thanks for sharing.

  171. Allie June 3, 2015 at 4:06 PM

    I *always* give clothes I no longer need to Goodwill…not just clothes, but games, toys, kitchenware, shoes, etc. Whatever I don’t need but is still nice goes to Goodwill. I’ve donated thousands of dollars worth of things to my local Goodwill store, so if I want to buy a pair of boots or a belt once in a while, I think it all evens out!

  172. B.C Kowalski June 29, 2015 at 4:53 PM

    I’ve been in both catergories. I shopped at Thrift stores all the time when I was a poor college student (as in, an adult trying to finish a degree while supporting myself) and I don’t recall ever thinking anyone else shouldn’t shop there. Now I’m an adult with a job, and still trying to stay frugal, so I still shop at thrift stores or TJ Maxx (I need new pants at their beginning stages because I wear them out). I don’t see anything wrong with it. Especially, as another commenter pointed out, they’re not that cheap anymore.

  173. Elle October 15, 2015 at 10:51 AM

    For the person that said that all the money goes to the poor (for the Salvation Army), it’s simply not true. There are administrative fees. I used to volunteer at the Salvation Army – Canada and they had employees (coordinators, workers that move stuff, etc), they are not all volunteers.

    Anyway to answer J’s question, NO Salvation Army is not ONLY for the less fortunate. I donate a lot of clean, new clothes (some with tags from gifts, YIKES), but I still look around if there is something that I truly need. By purchasing stuff from there, you are supporting the cause — helping the less fortunate, since at least a great portion of the money goes to charities.

    And by the way, not all items are used, there are a lot of companies that donate new stuff to Salvation Army. I used to volunteer and sort stuff. They even had brand items for 75% less than the price in store. So no, not only for the poor.

  174. Marc-Andre Blanchard January 4, 2016 at 10:42 PM

    There’s a thrift shop near my house and its doors are opened to everyone. I’m not rich or anything but i shop there all the time. It is a non profit organization and all of the proceeds go towards getting food for those who cant afford it.

    So argue that buying from thrift shops is taking away from the poor. Well thats false, because buying and thrift shops raises money to help those in need.

    Are garage sales only for poor people? Well no whoever buys something buys it. Garage sales are kinda like thrift shops.

    And I’m sure that there are more than enough clothing articles in those shops for everyone. The poor, middle class, even upper class.

    Spread the wealth around.

  175. Parker Peters May 2, 2016 at 3:23 PM

    Ill tell you what’s wrong and pathetic. I’ve been volunteering at one of these stores for less than a week. There are clothes in great condition sometimes new with tags and everything. On this particular Saturday the white tagged clothing were an extra 25% off. At 2.99 price people would still switch tags to get a total of 50%. I’m pretty disgusted at the people who did that. they are already getting a bargain. I noticed that not only poor people shop at this place, I saw

    1. J. Money May 2, 2016 at 4:56 PM

      People have no respect, ugh… Literally just walked back from a Goodwill and loved seeing everything for sale! Didn’t even pick anything up but had a fun time looking :) You can find mad finance books there for like 50 cents…

  176. SashaMonique November 6, 2016 at 12:33 AM

    This is an excellent article. I enjoy thrifting so much and it has given me the tools to buy fashionable, well made and unique clothing that is so affordable. Of course, I can shop at other stores but I think it helps the environment and my pocket. You can cut corners in many ways to create a good life for yourself. It is just smart to shop used.

    1. J. Money November 14, 2016 at 4:36 PM

      Agreed! The less stuff being churned out all over the world, the better for sure.

  177. Jonathan January 3, 2017 at 2:31 PM

    The whole point of the Salvation Army Thrift stores is to contribute money to their cause. It is not about who is poor or black or white. When we buy something from Salvation Army, 100 percent of the profit is given to the Salvation Army. They help people when their homes burn down, or in natural disasters ect. Rich people should be encouraged to shop at Salvation army because it is an excellent not for profit charity. The thrift store in and of itself is not the main purpose of the Salvation Army. It simply serves as a means to generate income for all the good it does all over the world. Aside from this, it is also a very “green” place to shop in that it does not add to waste or natural and human resources. When we buy things that are brand new , it creates a lot of wastes in terms of money, fuel, electricity, carbon emissions from the factories and the like. It is much easier on the environment to re-use and re-sell as much as we possibly can rather than just buy it once, wear it a few times then discard it. People who are economically and ecologically conscience would realize just how practical and earth friendly it is to enjoy shopping at the Salvation Army thrift stores. Remember the more we donate and buy from Salvation Army, the more they can help other people . So no matter what your socioeconomic background may be, shopping at the Salvation Army will bless so many people.

    1. J. Money January 4, 2017 at 6:28 AM


  178. Muna June 7, 2017 at 10:36 AM

    1. Your friend sucks.

    2. I make a 6 figure salary (single with no kids) and I buy my clothes at thrift stores.
    Simply put, it’s your money and you can shop wherever you want. Whether you want to buy a $10k purse or a $10 purse. It’s your money to spend how you see fit.

    3. There are poor people that live beyond their means and buy things on credit that they can’t afford, so that “you are taking it away from the poor” logic is irrelevant me.

  179. Notpettynomore November 19, 2017 at 12:30 PM

    Okay so i honestly am not broke and i grew up rich but fortunately i was sent back to america for private reasons and living here has changed my life i do not get whatever i want anymore and stuff ehh irrelevant so my family makes good money but sometimes we go to thrift stored and donate and while were at it we might buy stuff i don’t see anything wrong with buying from there cause if it was for the unfortunate they would tell us

  180. Latetotheparty February 25, 2018 at 5:53 AM

    Late to the party, but here goes.

    I read with great interest the comments from those who agree that non-poor people who shop at thrift stores are taking bargains away from poor people. Those comments got a lot of my attention because they came from the people I wanted to hear from: people who were poor enough not to have any other shopping choices. Homeless, broke, looking for the one item you can afford that might just maybe help you finally get a job, and said item is not there because some heartless plutocrat snapped it up…. maddening.

    But I have to point out that, tragic as that situation is, it happens at Macy’s too. And Target. And Nordstrom. And even (so I hear) at Nieman Marcus. Picture it: There’s that one great fitted shirt with the epaulets in your favorite shade of deep claret, exactly what you need for tomorrow’s interview, and goddammit some selfish snootbag has already grabbed the last one in your size. The only one left on the rack is three sizes too small, and nothing else in the store even comes close to working. Nor does anything in any of the other stores you can get to in the limited time you have, you’ve got other things to do and you can’t run all over the tri-state area shirt-shopping because you have a job and a life and a kid, unlike aforementioned selfish snootbag who probably has a rich husband and gobs of money and nothing to do but get mani-pedis and munch bonbons (whatever those are) and selfishly buy up all the good clothes before hardworking folks like you can get to them, and she sucks and you hate her….

    So, it happens, is my general point. It happens because sometimes shopping is like that, no matter where you do it. And I noticed that the anecdotes in those comments I read with such interest tended to be very similar to the scenario above. Now, I do sympathize, but I have to point out that this is not a rich-people-at-thrift-stores problem, this is a nature-of-shopping problem. You kind of can’t get away from it.

    However, here’s something you can’t do at Macy’s: since the right sort of thrift stores are there specifically to raise money to help poor people get what they need, you can approach the staff and explain your problem! There’s a very, very good chance that they have items specifically earmarked to be donated to people just like you who are in your exact position! You’ll probably need to answer some questions and/or fill out some paperwork to prove that you are not a snootbag, but the odds are good indeed that you will get what you need.

    Boom! Try THAT at Nordstrom!

  181. Christa February 27, 2018 at 2:46 AM

    There is so much bourgeois bullshit in this comment thread. Tell yourselves whatever you want. the number of comment that assert that “poor people wouldn’t buy the things I’m buying” or “they buy practical things” is maddening. middle-class and the rich love to comment on and police what they think poor people buy or act like. it’s the number one reason we have started policing how people use their food stamps. if you made a comment like that, your classism is showing. guess what? poor people are human beings too, which means they are diverse and don’t all act the same. it’s a free country, you can shop wherever you want, but the discussion of this is so telling.

  182. Shay October 24, 2018 at 8:56 AM

    I started shopping at thrift stores even before I had my daughter as our income was very limited. After I became a single mother with a 12 month old, I had no choice but to shop at yard sales and thrift stores to cloth my child and myself. I was alos able to provide her with nice toys. I remarried when my daughter was 8 and we had a lot of catching up to do in regards to savings, funding retirement etc and I kept on with my thrift stores and yard sales bargain hunting. I mentally turned it into a fun treasure hunt, but it was an important way to save money and still wear appropriate clothing. My husband actually started to dress more nicely after I brought home designer shirts for him. Now that I am unexpectedly widowed I continue with my treasure-hunting mentality. My favorite local thrift store is a ministry that supports local people with food, medical services and help with utilities. I donate to them all the time also. I feel its a great way to support people in my area who are needy and it helps me too. I get to dress in nicer clothes than I would be able to afford normally and I also buy some items that I upcycle as I sew and can remake some things (many people don’t have this skill). I will never, ever be embarrassed or ashamed for my thrift store shopping. I help others and myself. I have to be careful not to buy back something I have donated.

    1. J. Money October 24, 2018 at 9:59 AM

      Dang, sounds like you’ve had a rough life at times :( I’m sorry about your husband! Really enjoyed your insight here though!

  183. Gillian Brown September 2, 2020 at 2:28 PM

    I have always been a thrift store shopper, myself. I come from a comfortable middle class family, but I have dealt with an anxiety disorder that kindof held my own progress back, and am basically lower middle class (poorish, but above the poverty level).
    That said, if I am working full time, I can usually afford to buy new, and sometimes that is just more convenient than thrift store shopping.
    We found out we live near a goodwill outlet, which is by the pound and way cheaper than the regular Goodwill stores (and btw, Goodwill actually does spend the most % of money on their philanthropy, and Salvation Army seems to cost more than the Goodwill does, but whatever. to each his own) so we shop there first as a rule, because we are both very frugal by nature.
    I will say this:
    When I had a lot of money from an inheritance, I donated almost everything I was getting rid of, and didnt even ask for a tax break. I also did a lot more retail shopping than thrift, just because I could.
    Really, I couldnt. A fool and his gold are quicky parted. Lol
    I think 98% of people who experience a windfall end up bankrupt or in higher debt, and I was no exception.
    Besides, theift store shopping is very sustainable. Personally, it wouldnt be possible to shop secondhand stores without the retailers and original manufacturers. In order to find anything used, it has to begin as new, at some point.
    I just encourage people who shop new a lot, to donate their old stuff to Goodwill, in hopes that it will end up in a rummage bin at the outlet, so I can pay 1% of the original price and still wear a brand new dress that my overindulgent friends spent way too much on and never even wore. Muwahahahahaha :taps fingers together:
    Live and let live.

    1. Joel September 2, 2020 at 3:45 PM

      Hahaha thanks Gillian! I agree that I want more people to donate to Goodwill (in hopes that I can get cool stuff at a fraction of the price!). I’m also a big Garage Sale and Estate Sale shopper. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, that’s for sure!
      Thanks for sharing your ups and downs. Glad to hear you ultimately like the thrift stores!