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Secondhand Shopping Is Cool (and Cheap)

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Last economy's trash is this economy's treasure! Now more than ever, moms are turning to secondhand stores to shop for kids.
Mom and daughter in goodwill store

Many moms and thrift-shopping devotees have long considered "thrifting" a sport. But now many moms who'd normally turn their noses up at anything "vintage" are shopping at their local Goodwill because, in this economy, it's the only place they can afford.

Here are five reasons thrift shops are "in" again:

1. It's good for your pocketbook ... and the environment. You're saving tons of money by buying used instead of retail. And you are saving all that used clothing and toys from local landfills, which is good for Mother Earth.

2. Lots of stuff isn't even used. Because so many retail stores now have a "no-returns" policy, more and more new clothing is being donated to thrift stores these days. That means you can often buy new clothing for a fraction of the cost.

3. There's something for everyone. At thrift stores or consignment shops, you can score everything from clothing to toys to strollers. People are getting rid of their clutter to make a few extra bucks ... and you can cash in!

4. Thrift stores are everywhere. Don't have a Salvation Army or Goodwill in your neighborhood? There are some great online options, too -- like Craigslist, eBay and There are even specialty online vintage shops like that sell gently used prom dresses. Love that.

5. You can be a fashion diva. For your teens and tweens who are into fashion, you can find some interesting, one-of-a-kind items no one else will have. (Think "Pretty in Pink.")

Here are four more of our favorite vintage sites:

Vintage Trends
They feature shoes, sleepwear, coats and really cute dresses for less.

Pre-Owned Party Dresses
Can't afford a prom dress for your teen? Get adorable gently used dresses here. (No one has to know.)

Once Upon a Child
With store locations all over the United States, Once Upon a Child sells (and buys) gently used kids clothing, furniture and toys for up to 70% off retail.

Play It Again Sports
Your son wants to play baseball? Play It Again Sports has new and used sporting equipment. No one will know the difference!

Do you shop at thrift stores? Tell us about it!

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11 comments so far | Post a comment now
Lexi February 19, 2009, 11:37 PM

Growing up thrift stores and yard sales were they way to go w/5 kids. Ironically now as an adult I can afford to buy whatever I like, but I still stick close to my roots and shop @ the Goodwill and Salvation army. I absolutely love it!

Diane White February 20, 2009, 12:01 AM

Another great option - Just Between Friends - big sales in 19 states. Go to
You will LOVE it

nome February 20, 2009, 6:41 PM

my mother always took us to thrift shops. we loved it. you can always find cool stuff there that guaranteed, no one around you would have. i am going to start taking my kids there more often.

Chris Cee February 24, 2009, 8:48 AM

Yeah, shop your local thrift stores, EXCEPT that they can’t carry anything for kids under age 12 anymore, because of a new law that took effect Feb 10th that says you can’t sell or even give away clothes, toys or equipment for kids under age 12 unless you have it independently tested for lead & other substances. Just another example of our government at work!

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Mom to 2 Boys May 26, 2011, 5:24 AM

Great suggestions, I wanted to add one to the list: It’s a new online website for trading in your gently used baby/kids/children’s clothes and in exchange you earn points towards other clothes and gift cards. It was super easy for me!

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