Everyone preps you for your career after college, but when it comes to those post-grad finances that’s really when we come face-to-face with adulthood for the first time. But what if I were to tell you that I could make all those post-grad scaries go away with one simple suggestion?
From my personal experience, I’ve saved thousands over the past year by changing my main shopping source. That’s right, I turned to thrifting.
Thrifting has become my healthiest addiction and most reliable source for saving money in my early 20s.
Not only is thrifting financially smart, but it is also extremely sustainable. By thrifting more, you’re helping decrease the amount of items that will end up in our landfills. It helps reduce waste by decreasing production and is also a great way to breathe new life into previously loved items.
Another thing I feel like most people don’t realize is that the term “thrifting” is related to many other things than just clothing. The reality of it is, you can thrift anything. You can thrift outdoor patio furniture off of your local Facebook Marketplace, old vases from local non-profits, vintage pieces from local antique stores- I mean the list can go on and on.
Plus, there’s no better feeling than knowing you got a really good bargain for high-quality luxury items. I swear thrifting is like the Queen of coupons! And with how beneficial it is to the local community and environment it really should be counted toward volunteer hours. LOL, I’ll seriously start a petition for that!
Surprisingly for how obsessed I am with thrifting though, my journey with it all started a little over a year ago when my boyfriend and I moved to Billings from Indiana. Since we couldn’t afford a U-Haul to bring all of our stuff, we decided from the get-go that we wanted to live a more frugal life our first year out.
So when my boyfriend’s mom, who is an interior designer in Florida, flew out she took us to all the second-hand stores she could find. She has that magic eye for things where even in the most cluttered spaces of an antique store she will always find that perfect hidden gem. With her help, she taught me how to glance past the shipwreck and pay attention to the secret treasure within.
When it comes to thrifting, I’ve also learned to shop with a purpose, and have a budget (if you really are trying to save). So know what you’re looking for, and try not to mindlessly shop, because that’s where you risk going over budget.
I mainly use thrifting as a way to recreate looks from my favorite fashion icons and interior designers. It’s so rewarding when you put the final touches together and everything looks like a million bucks when you know it’s not. This also helps me focus on my limit and stay on budget!
At the same time though, it’s also important to be open-minded. If you’re looking for something specific, but end up stumbling across something that only resembles a distant cousin, then you just have to decide if you want to keep looking or figure out a way to make this new unique piece work. I’ve settled on pieces several times, and I’d say I’m about 95% satisfied out of all of them.
Now, when it comes to furniture there are a ton of groups on Facebook: Billings Area Furniture, Billings Furniture for Sale, Billings Facebook Marketplace.
If you’re anything like me though, I love to go to the actual stores to check them out for myself and make a fun shopping day out of it. So you can go to the Used Furniture Store off of 29th, then head 10 mins up North to the Montana Rescue Mission Bargain Center and also hit the Broadwater Mercantile nearby. If you go downtown, make sure to hit Marketplace 3301, YesterYears Antique Mall, and Montana Vintage Clothing (they have so many cool pieces- they’ll have you walking out of there as fabulous as Coco Chanel).
I would say definitely check out Twice as Nice and Fashion Runway Exchange for more modern clothes. Fashion Runway Exchange is geared more to be like a second-hand Forever 21. This is perfect since Billings doesn’t even have a Forever 21; therefore, if you shop at Runway you’re at least putting your money back into the community. I even asked the barista at Black Dog Coffee House, and she also compared Fashion Runway to Forever21, so if you don’t want to take my word for it then take it from a true local!
Overall, the benefits of thrifting are so far and wide when it comes to the community, environment, and especially your (probably exhausted) wallet. Just remember to have fun with it and let your creativity soar! And when in doubt, thrift it out!