A Trendy Girl's Guide To Thrifting: 8 Smart Steps To Buying Cute Clothes On A Budget

8 Smart Ways To Buy Trendy Clothes At A Thrift Shop & Stick To Your Budget

Thrifting is one of the best ways to find amazing pieces of trendy clothes to add to your wardrobe for an inexpensive price. From vintage Levi jeans to oversized button up shirts, the thrift shop is home to many clothing items you would see on sale at Urban Outfitters for over fifty dollars.

It can be hard to navigate thrift stores with confidence — many of them are large and have no real organized sections. Clothing is just kind of scattered throughout the store; all of the sizes and types of clothing are rarely grouped together. When you go thrift store shopping, you can easily become overwhelmed by the mass selection of used clothing, accessories, shoes, and even home decor.

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There are a lot of different ways to go about shopping at a thrift store — some people just head in with no real plan to what they can discover, while others map out a clear outfit or vision in their heads. When it comes to making the most out of your thrifting experience, I would try to make it a mixture of both. Don't expect to find a vintage Gucci dress, but be on the lookout for certain styles you want to add to your outfit arsenal.

Here is your trendy girl's guide to thrift store shopping so you can stick to your budget – happy hunting!

1. Research thrift stores in your area.

Before going to your nearest Goodwill, try to look for other thrift stores in your area. A lot of the more local thrift stores that are smaller and more low key and have a larger selection and you can find better pieces of clothing. Although some stores might look old or seem like they don't sell anything new, rummage through the racks and you may just be surprised.

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2. Make a vision board and have it on your phone when you shop.

Before you head out on your thrifting adventure, look on Pinterest or Instagram for some outfit inspiration. Thrift stores can get overwhelming very quickly and it is better to have an idea of what you are looking for — if not, you may just be wondering through the aisles for a few hours.

Maybe you want to find an oversized button-up to wear as a bikini cover, or maybe you want to add a few more college tees to your closet? Either way, having a vision board will help you with a place to start digging.

3. Shop every section of the thrift store.

Never leave a section behind!

The men and kids section have awesome pieces — especially the men's section. If you are looking for anything oversized or baggy, the men's section is for you. When it comes to dress shirts, tees, and flannels, the men's section is the key to all of your closet needs. The kids section is also great if you are looking for cropped items. When you think kids section, you may be wondering how on Earth anything would fit over your head — trust me, you'd be amazed.

The kids section ranges in sizes from toddler to middle school age. Look at the larger sizes for tops that will fit perfectly with a pair of high-waist denim or skirts. The girls kid section is also a great place to find athletic shorts, usually name brand. I have found a lot of Nike running shorts in the little girls section, just keep your eyes peeled!

Another section that may be a little awkward to shop in at first is the lingerie section. Ladies, if you are looking for a silky dress or top for layering, this section is a gold mine. You can find some really cute, vintage looking slips for under five dollars. It may be a little awkward, but as long as you wash your items before wearing them, nobody will know it's thrifted!

4. Give customizing your clothes a try (it's easier — and more fun — than you might think).

You may see a shirt you really like but think it is too big. Instead of ditching the shirt, think about different ways you could crop or cut it to make it match your style. When it comes to cropping a shirt or even a hoodie, all you need is a marker and a pair of scissors. You can turn an XXL shirt into a cute, baggy crop that everyone will ask you about — just tell them it's a one-of-a-kind vintage.

Along with cropping items, you can also turn them into completely different clothing pieces. Take a pair of high-waist jeans and turn them into shorts. Turn an XXXL hoodie into a two-piece set. There are so many different ways to up-cycle clothing pieces and make them your own. Use your imagination and get to snipping.

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5. Look for sales (yes, they have sales at thrift stores) and see if you're eligible for a discount.

A lot of thrift stores have tag sales, which means certain colored tags allow you to save some money. Look for a sign at the front of the store or ask a sales associate what the sale color is for the day. Then, when you search through the racks, try finding pieces with that tag color to save a little bit of extra coin.

Also, many thrift stores offer special discounts for military or students, so bring your ID for an extra percent off your purchase.

6. Look through the accessories last.

Once you have your clothes picked out, look through the accessories section. Maybe you will see a certain gold necklace that will match perfectly with a shirt you found, or a belt that will cinch in the waist of an oversized dress. The accessories can add a fun and unique flair to some of the basic pieces you picked out.

7. Bring your friends along.

Having someone who knows your style go with you to the thrift store can make a world of difference. Your friends will be able to tell you what pieces they think you could revamp or pull off and which pieces might be better suited for someone else in need. Either way, having the company will make the experience way more enjoyable.

8. Remember to donate your old clothes back.

If something doesn't end up fitting you right or maybe your closet is overcrowded after your shopping experience, think about donating some clothes back to the thrift store. Someone may really be in need and love to have clothing you hardly wear anymore. One of the best feelings is purging your closet of all your unworn clothes, throwing them in a box, and donating them to a thrift store or shelter in need.

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Carlie Fox is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture and relationship topics.

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