As Lauren mentioned in her last entry, saving money is essential and beneficial for anyone, especially AmeriCorps members. As a lover of new and fashionable clothes, I have found it particularly challenging to avoid the temptation to go shopping any time I’m in the mood for a new wardrobe. The simple answer to that addiction: thrift stores.
Last weekend I took Lauren and two VISTA members on a tour of thrift stores throughout Montgomery County, MD. We had a fabulous time! This was the second trip in my thrift store adventure throughout Maryland. I am on a mission to not only save money but share this fun hobby with as many AmeriCorps members as possible. In December a group of VMers and I visited some awesome shops in the Baltimore region, which was an equally successful experience. On both trips I saved money on not only clothes but books and household items.
Our first stop on Saturday was to the Goodwill Retail Store in Rockville. My exciting finds for the day were a red, intricately patterned pillow for $2, three professional shirts for work, and a neat cardigan for about $4 each. The brands of these clothing items were originally from places like Target and Banana Republic, stores that definitely do not mark their clothing at such a low rate. At our second stop, the Unique Thrift Store in Silver Spring, I was able to score even more items! I found a book for $2 and more work clothes for $3-4 each. Also, on this particular shopping day shoes were 50% off. I wasn’t able to find a snazzy pair but Lauren spotted some great kicks for under five bucks! Can’t beat that!
If you’ve never been thrift shopping before, I highly recommend it. It doesn’t matter if you are on a tight budget or not, you can find the coolest, funniest, and most useful items! For example, I spotted the best shirt ever at Goodwill. I don’t think I’ll have any professional reason to wear it, but maybe I might. Who knows what a shirt with such an incredible geometric pattern could do for my life!
My best advice for thrift shopping is to keep an open mind and remain patient. If you want to be like the hard core thrifters, take a day out of your weekend and dedicate it to some treasure hunting. It takes a ton of digging through the aisles of items to find just what you’re looking for but it’s absolutely worth it.
If you don’t where there is a local thrift shop in your area, check out this site. I also recommend reading online reviews of people’s experiences. A nice online spot to check out reviews of thrift stores, restaurants, and other businesses is Yelp.