Watch your wallet!: Your guide to college thrifting

By Sam Graudins

To your average college student, thrifting is both a blessing and a curse. Sure, you’ll look fly, groovy, and radical at the same time as you mish-mash period trends, but if you don’t watch yourself, you might find your wallet becoming more of an accessory than a place to store cash. Here are some tips to keep your wallet and your closet full.

Thrift where?

Courtesy of Courtesy of Facebook and Facebook
Courtesy of Facebook and Facebook

There are tons of online communities for thrifted goods, and I’m not just talking Etsy. Many colleges, Emerson included, have Facebook groups dedicated to buying and selling students' goods. Emerson’s groups are “Free and For Sale” and “Emerson Clothing Swaps and Sales,” but, hey, if you try and get in on pages from other colleges, I won’t tell! ;) If you’re a little less tech-savvy, the college itself often organizes clothing swaps for students to pool their collective junk and swap it around campus. The entry fee is usually three items of clothing, which is perfect to make room for all the stuff you’ll walk away with! (And, bonus, there’s almost always snacks.) If that isn't enough for you, try common rooms before and after breaks! Students move away and often can’t bring all their cool stuff, so their treasures become up-for-grabs as soon as they board the plane. Just be conscious as you pillage; there may be a good reason why it got left behind. And, make sure you can take your bounty back home with you, so it doesn't end up where it started when it's time for you to move.

Thrift when?

Courtesy of My Lipstick Stained Teacup
Courtesy of My Lipstick Stained Teacup

Find out what day your thrift store releases new merchandise so you can pounce on it — or take the frugal route and wait for tag colors to go on sale! Goodwill has a strict color rotation, and consignment stores like Buffalo Exchange can tell you specific days when its items go on sale. My favorite Boston thrift spot, Urban Renewal, stocks on Wednesday and offers a 50 percent discount to students with a valid ID every Thursday. But, remember, every day you wait is another opportunity for Suzie down the block to swoop in on that sick mohair crop top. Anything posted online: jump on it. There are hundreds of students on those pages, and the cool stuff goes fast. If you’re on the fence, haggling is an option. Just propose a price you want to pay, and the seller’s craving for pizza will make the call.

Thrift how?

Courtesy of Fashion Rebel
Courtesy of Fashion Rebel

Always look at your closet before you go thrifting so you'll know which finds will pair with what you've got or when to pass on duplicate wardrobe pieces you don't need. Once at the store, scan every section. Employees and thrifters often put things in the wrong place, so you may find a $3 Ralph Lauren crop top in the kid's section or men's tops misplaced in the women’s aisle. And, frankly, gendered clothing is a joke anyway. It’s 2015! Wear what makes you happy. :) Not every thrift store has a changing room, so wear something you’re able to throw clothes under or on top of. For men, I recommend basketball shorts and a sweatshirt with a tank underneath, and for ladies, tights, a skirt, and a neutral bralette are a winning combo. Worst case scenario, just nab a gigantic dress from the store and change underneath. It’s like a private dressing room hanging off your neck! Works for me every time. These are just a few general rules I use when I go out on the town for some secondhand goods. What’s your plan of attack when you go thrifting? Let me know in the comments! I’m always looking for new ways to look luxe for less.

About the author

Sam Graudins, Emerson College studentSam is a life blogger from Franklin, Massachusetts with a big heart and a bigger appetite for sweets. She loves Korean bakeries, Japanese animation, and providing you insight into her college experience. Sam is a second-year communication studies major at Emerson College with a minor in gender studies, and she’s over the moon about sharing tips on how to have a fully-custom college experience. “Standardization is a rejection of creativity. Do you and do it big!”