Sometimes you really need an item but you're not willing to pay full price for it. Today, Meghan is talking about how to thrift shop online, where you'll save both time and money!
Hey Freebs, Meghan here! Pull up a metaphorical chair and sit on down. I’m about to share everything I know about how to thrift shop online. That’s right, move over Craigslist and ebay, there’s new options in town. They are easy to use, accessible, and full of good deals!
I have been thrift shopping online for years now for everything from home goods to diaper bags. It has saved me hundreds and hundreds of dollars, but there are things you’ll want to consider before diving in head first! 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, I wouldn’t mind roaming the aisles of my neighborhood Goodwill, Savers, or Deseret Industries solo. But with kids? Nope, nope, and nope! Online thrifting is how I skip the headache. It provides more options than what a store could possibly 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?
My suggestion is to first determine if what you are looking for is shippable, or would be best found locally. For large items and homegoods, 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!
As much as I can, I have furnished my house with second-hand pieces found through online thrifting! When we were moving into our home, there were so many larger items that I wanted, like dressers and nightstands. Instead of looking to the big box stores to fulfill those needs with a high price tag, I looked to Facebook Marketplace. With a bit of time and consistent looking, you can score just like I did!
I really wanted a large credenza for my living room, but it wasn’t looking like I could find one I loved in budget. I paid $750 for this fully restored navy credenza. Sure, it is definitely still on the pricier end. However, I would have paid more than double that in store. The credenza looks marvelous and I saved hundreds of dollars! 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.
- Scammers still exist – I 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 post frequently about a variety of things.
- 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 really good deal elsewhere, you can sometimes share that deal with the seller and negotiate a better deal… ka-ching!!
- 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!
WHAT IF I'M LOOKING FOR SOMETHING VERY SPECIFIC?
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! I have purchased 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?
Now, we’ve covered a lot of information on how to use Facebook as an online thrift shop, but what about other websites? There are so many. But ones that I 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?
My goal when shopping for my family's coordinating Fourth of July outfits was to spend less than $100. The grand total for everything was $93.52 – WHAT?! This order included nine items with brands such as Janie and Jack, Boden, and J.Crew. Watch me unbox that order to see what I scored! At the end of the day, ThredUp estimated that I saved $367 off retail. Put your hands way up for online thrifting!
Pro Tip: When shopping on ThredUp, try sorting by and purchasing 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 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. When talking about online thrifting through Facebook Marketplace or Facebook Buy, Sell, Trade groups, it has been my experience that 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.” Basically, PayPal will insure that your payment is recoverable if something goes sideways if you use the “Goods and Services” version.
Whew! That got a little logistical at the end, but I 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. 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!
Thanks for visiting with me today! You can find me on my YouTube Channel and Instagram where I share everything I know about diaper bags, organization, strollers, baby gear, and mom life. You should come hang out with me and we’ll have a good time talking about all the things. See you soon!
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%!
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- Check out this great list of how to stop arguing about the most common money issues in a marriage.