Cheap every day: second hand clothes, first class style

While most retail stores are hanging by a thread due to the COVID-19 attack on the US economy, thrift stores, and specifically consignment stores, are facing the opposite problem; Business is booming! According to, a major shopping website, the market for resale clothing will grow from $28 billion to $64 billion in the next five years.

A consignment store is a type of resale store where people bring in items they want to sell in the secondary market rather than relying on donations. When selling items, the store and seller participate in the sale, often in a 50-50 ratio. Consignment stores sell clothing, household goods, arts, furniture, and even books. However, clothing is the most popular category.

Dispatch shopping is an excellent way to find deals on gently used clothes and also sell worn baby and baby clothes for less than a third of the retail price. Most cities now have consignment stores dedicated to children, teens, and infants.

Expect the consignment store to have very high standards for what it will accept. For example: the clothes should be of the current style; Clothing should be brought clean, and the garment should not have visible wear, holes or stains.

Usually, your items will be placed on the sales floor and displayed for 30 to 60 days. Once sold, you will get 30% to 50% of the purchase price depending on the store policy.

Most consignment stores have a process by which you regularly lower the sale price until the item is sold out or time runs out. At that time, you have the option of either picking up your items or agreeing to have the store donate them to a charity.

Stores will often give you the option to take your proceeds directly or have them deposited into your own store account. Most people find that building their account to allow in-store shopping is the best option. In this way, money is rarely traded.

Have you ever paid so much money for an outfit only to find that you don’t like it after all (who didn’t?) but then feel reluctant to part with clothes you paid so much for and never wore for one reason or another? Mail shopping solves the problem.

The first step is to let go of the guilt and get rid of the clothes. When you start buying your clothes at consignment stores, that guilt is never there. If you decide you don’t like something you bought, take it back and send it back. You didn’t pay much for it in the first place, and you can use the money you get from sending it to buy something else.

If you don’t have a consignment shop in your town, check out the nearest big town the next time you’re there. Even if you take the trip once or twice a year to clean out your closet, it’s worth it.

These days, there is no reason for you to spend a large percentage of your income on new clothes. Let your kids see all the great deals in the consignment store. Even your teens will love it, provided you discover the best stores early on.

About Cheapskate every day

Mary invites you to visit her at, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at, “Ask Mary”. Tips can be provided at This column will answer questions of general interest, but messages cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a live economics blog, and author of Debt-Proof Living.

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