Sometimes you need an item, but you're not willing to pay full price for it. Hey, we get it! Today, we'll teach you how to thrift shop online like a pro so you can save all kinds of money!

mom and dad thrift shop online while kids play, from Fun Cheap or Free

Move over Craigslist and eBay; there are new options in town. We're about to share some of our best tips, tricks, and secrets for thrift shopping online. And here's the good news: all the sites we shop are easy to use, accessible, and full of good deals! 

*Note: When you click the links in this post, we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

We have been thrift shopping online for years now for everything from home goods to diaper bags, so we're pretty much pros by now. And at the end of this post, you'll be a pro, too! Thrift shopping online has saved us hundreds and hundreds of dollars, but there are things you’ll want to consider before diving in headfirst! Are you ready? Let’s get to it!


WHY THRIFT SHOP ONLINE?

Have you ever walked into a thrift store with your kids and had that gut-wrenching moment because you just realized you have entered into the most insanely dangerous, glass-filled, easy-to-get-lost-in, clothing-piles-everywhere place in the world? Yikes! 

Now, we wouldn't mind roaming the aisles of the neighborhood Goodwill, Savers, or Deseret Industries solo. But with kids? Nope, nope, and nope! Online thrifting is the best way to skip the headache. It provides more options than what a store could hold and saves a ton of cash! So, now that you're convinced online thrifting might be for you, let's decide where you should start looking.


WITH SO MANY ONLINE OPTIONS, WHERE SHOULD YOU BEGIN?

couple shopping online together, from Fun Cheap or Free

Our suggestion is first to determine if what you are looking for is shippable or best found locally. For large items and home goods, such as rugs, chairs, artwork, and toys, try Facebook Marketplace. The items on there are searchable by area, type, and keyword. The prices are usually very fair!

We're big believers in finding second-hand pieces of furniture through online thrifting! It just makes sense to buy used when you're furniture shopping. Larger items, like dressers, nightstands, shelves, and cabinets, are expensive. So instead of looking to the big box stores to fulfill those needs with a high price tag, check out Facebook Marketplace. With a bit of time and consistent looking, you can score some diamonds in the rough!

Just this week, we saw a gorgeous bedroom set on Facebook. It included a dresser, chest of drawers, mirror, and two matching nightstands. The set was in excellent condition, and just $475! You'd have to pay more than double that in-store. The furniture looks marvelous, and you'd save hundreds of dollars on it! High fives all around!


SAFETY TIPS FOR USING FACEBOOK MARKETPLACE

When you're looking for a great deal, you need to make sure that you are aware of a few simple things to help you really be successful and stay safe while shopping.

  • Be Wary of Scammers – We don't mention this to scare you, just to help you be aware! Here are a few things to look for in a seller's profile to make sure you're dealing with someone legit: an established profile, a photo of a real person, the profile should have a decent number of friends (you be the judge, but we would definitely suggest more than 50 friends), the profile includes details about their life, workplace, city, etc. and they frequently post about a variety of things.
  • Shop Around – Just as you would with any store, shop around for comparisons and know what a good deal is. As well as what your budget is! If you find a terrific good deal elsewhere, you can sometimes share that deal with the seller and negotiate a better deal… ka-ching!!
  • Inspect Items Before You Pay – When possible, check out all items in person before making a payment. It is a good idea to meet the seller in a public place and bring a friend along just in case!

Now, what if you're looking for something super specific? Let's talk about it.


WHAT IF I'M LOOKING FOR SOMETHING VERY SPECIFIC WHEN I THRIFT SHOP ONLINE?

Did you know that browsing through Marketplace isn’t the only way to use Facebook to buy previously-owned items? If you have a specific brand in mind for an item you are searching for, you can likely find a Facebook Buy, Sell, Trade page for just that! We have seen second-hand baby carriers, diaper bags, wallets, and more for a fraction of their retail prices by thrifting online in these Facebook groups!


WHERE CAN I FIND SECOND-HAND CLOTHING AT GREAT PRICES?

woman opening box from online thrift shop, from Fun Cheap or Free

Now, we’ve covered a lot of information on using Facebook as an online thrift shop, but what about other websites? There are so many. Three that we have personally used and had good luck with are ThredUp, Poshmark, and Mercari

ThredUp is the largest online thrift store for clothing, accessories and, therefore, has the biggest and best selection. It is basically an online version of Plato’s Closet. People send in their lightly used clothing, shoes, and accessories, and ThredUp buys them and then resells the items on their website. Cool, right?

Pro Tip: When shopping on ThredUp, try sorting by higher-end brands to rack up as much of a discount as possible. Why buy a shirt from Target for $8 second-hand when you can probably buy it on sale in the store for $6? Something to keep in mind – just because it is listed on a thrifting website does not mean it is a steal of a deal! Always, always, always do your research and know what the retail price is before purchasing second-hand.


DO I NEED PAYPAL OR VENMO TO THRIFT SHOP ONLINE?

The answer to this one is maybe. But not to worry, none of it is too tricky! Depending on where you are doing your online thrifting, you may be able to use your credit card as you normally would when making purchases online. 

Websites like ThredUp, eBay, and Poshmark are happy to work with your Visa or AmEx. However, when talking about online thrifting through Facebook Marketplace or Facebook Buy, Sell, Trade groups, PayPal or Venmo is the way to go. 

Recently, Facebook created in-app payment terminals, so some sellers may prefer that. If you do use PayPal, protect your online thrifting purchases by using the “Goods and Services” version of payment rather than “Friends and Family.” PayPal will ensure that your payment is recoverable if something goes sideways if you use the “Goods and Services” version. 


HOW DO YOU THRIFT SHOP ONLINE?

Whew! That got a little logistical at the end, but we just want you to have the best possible online thrifting experience. You can save loads of money off retail on barely used (or new!) items if you use the many resources at your disposal. So stay smart with your money and keep your eye on those steals of a deal.

What are your favorite ways to online thrift shop? Let me know in the comments!

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Need more ideas?

  • If you're all about saving money, but thrifting just won't quite cut it, check out Budget Boot Camp. Use the code FCFBLOG to save 10%!
  • These snack tray ideas are sure to be a winner for your family.
  • Check out this great list of tips and learn how to stop arguing about the most common money issues in a marriage.

Happy Thrifting!