Save money by shopping at thrift stores.

About 15% of Americans currently save money by shopping at their local thrift store near them. While the exact savings individuals will experience vary by many factors (as noted below) the average savings on products over major retailers tend to range from about 50 to 80%. More people are learning about the advantages of shopping at a thrift store, and the industry has grown to about $14 billion dollars in total annual sales.

Thrift stores are available in almost every town, city, and county. They may go by different names as well, such as clothing closets, secondhand or consignment shops or Family Stores. The agencies that run them also differ widely. There are thrift stores located at many Salvation Army centers, churches, Catholic Charities, Saint Vincent de Paul locations, Goodwill and many other groups. Anyone can use this site to find a list of low cost Family or Thrift stores near you below.

Total savings expected at thrift stores

The exact savings families will find at a location will vary. What we have found based on research as well as feedback from the community, is that the initial discount is generally around 50%. This means that if the price of something a person can buy at Wal-Mart is $10, then a thrift store will sell the same item for $5. There are also many other ways to save money, whether on food, clothes, transportation or anything. Find how low income families can save money.

The big difference of course is that a thrift store will have gently used items. However they will only sell those goods that are in decent shape and that have been approved by staff. Shoppers won't need to worry purchasing a piece of junk at a resale store.

Everything for sale is not only in decent shape, but it is donated too. Some charities, such as the Salvation Army, have a team of mostly volunteers that will stop by a family's house to pick up any items they want to donate. Some charities also give free items in a crisis, including clothes for work, They will also inspect the items to be sold to ensure they meet quality guidelines.




Find a low cost thrift store to shop at. There are thousands of locations run by hundreds of regional and national charities. Many goods are sold, and they also provide volunteer opportunities to the public. So the charities allow people to give back to the community.

As part of this volunteer service, the staff will load up on their truck couches, beds, and heavier items. They will then transport the items to the thrift store where they will be resold at a discount to the general public. Staff also help sort goods, price them so they are around 50% off or so, ensure they are in quality condition, and more. Locate a listing of national charities that may have thrift stores and offer other financial help. Or find details below by city and county.

The savings may start at around 50% off, then increase from there. The key driver here is how long it takes to sale the item. For those goods that go unsold, the thrift store will usually mark it down another 10 to 20% every 30 days. So if an article of clothing is still available in a month, the total savings on that item may be 60%. Then for every 30 days after the total discount provided will increase more and more. So the longer things go unsold, the more money households can save.

This is why persistence on the shoppers part pays off. If they need some clothes or maybe some vintage goods, they can stop by the thrift store to shop there. Maybe it will be for sale at a price that is still outside their budget. But be persistent. individuals need to stop by the consignment store again at some later date. Maybe in a couple weeks or a month, it will be much more affordable. That is of course if it hasn't been sold first.





While it is difficult to get the total sales from this industry, many experts estimate there were $14 billion is sales. Lets say that the savings passed on to shoppers was around 50%. That means families across America saved anywhere from $5 to $7 billion dollars. This is a lot of money that households, including low to moderate income ones, can use to pay for other needs they have.

Savings can be had on a number of goods. The secondhand thrift stores can sell a family electronics, clothing, books, clothes, back to school supplies, and more. In today's day and age, it is even possible for people to find used consumer electronic, such as tablets or cell phones. However a majority of what is sold is still clothing, and it is expected that during the upcoming years the sale of apparel will be about 40% of total sales, or some $5.5 billion dollars.

Online type thrift stores exist for buyers and sellers too. There are places to sell (or buy) clothes, furniture, dresses, and countless other products. Find a list of marketplaces for selling stuff. Or of course you can go to them as well to buy items. There are also other websites for selling or buying electronics, as that can be a source of extra money or savings for a family.

The discounts are experienced by many different families. The 15% of shoppers to a consignment store make up people from all walks of life. There are of course low income families. Many families are seeking low cost or even free school supplies for their children. Other shoppers at second hand stores just live on a limited budget.

But the Association of Resale Professionals reports that million of more “moderate” and even high income households shop there. They too are looking for those tremendous saving of up to 80%. The challenging job market, or just people’s desire to save money, leads to increased usage of Salvation Army or other stores.

After all, everyone likes to save some of their hard earned money. So stop by one of these stores to find great discounts or (rarely) free items. The money that shoppers spend at them goes to a good cause in helping to keep many of these charities up and running.

Locations of low cost thrift stores and clothing programs




























Mississippi - Entire state. Click here.



New Hampshire

New Jersey





New Mexico

New York

North Carolina





Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota










Washington DC

West Virginia


Wyoming (Statewide)


By Jon McNamara

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