Looking Good on a Budget: The Thrift Store Guide for the Non-Thrifter

Get ready to get your hands dirty, I promise this will be rewarding in the end!

After reading some of your comments, due to popular demand I will take a small shift in the theme of my writing to give you all an insight on all my tips and tricks to bargain shopping and how to effectively thrift shop.

The art of thrift shopping (yes, I consider this an art form) isn’t simple, but I truly believe that anyone who has the will power to scavenger through a plethora of unwanted treasure, will successfully leave with less than $10 worth of rare gems from any thrift store.

The key here is patience. If you’re a beginner or a regular at your local segunda, you’ll need to give yourself some time to look around the store and go through the merchandise in order to find your gems. Now I mind you, thrift stores are not as organized as department stores. In fact, I think it’s the least kept thrift store where you’ll find most of the good stuff. (As unappealing as that may sound, I’ve come to realize this through experience) If you have a strong sense of patience, then this will be easy peasy, lemon squeezy. BUT, if you’re like me, thrift store shopping will help you gain some patience. (no, seriously…)


Next, I recommend for beginners, to prepare a set plan on what it is you’re looking for. This is also essential when thrift shopping, because you’ll more than likely feel overwhelmed if you walk into a thrift store and just begin to look mindlessly. Fortunately, most thrift stores are divided by sections, thus having a plan will allow you to divide and conquer more of the store than just scrambling around the entire store and growing impatiently discouraged with yourself.

Additionally, staying alert on what stores have better sales is a great way to effectively shop at a thrift store. (WHAT, Thrift Stores have sales?) Yes, I said it correctly, thrift stores have sales too. And even if you’re not sure what thrift store has the best sales, just being mindful of the sales at your local Goodwill or Salvation Army is a great way to start.

Now, if you’d like to give yourself a little challenge while you shop, give yourself a budget. This always helps me save more money and it forces me to shop thoroughly.

I consider thrift store shopping an art form because once you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll slowly develop your own sense of style. You begin to curate what you shop for based on your interest. The beauty about thrift stores is the lack of saturation. The experience is more authentic to what YOU think is cool, other than what a trend tells you to wear.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When I first became introduced to thrift shopping, I was also introduced to the YouTube vlog The Fashion Citizen.  The channel is ran by two sisters, Steph & Melissa, who give weekly tutorials on things they’d find at their local thrift stores in Arizona, followed by a montage of “looks” they’d put together with the items they had purchased. What I loved the most about this vlog was the distinctive sense of style the sisters had. With Steph’s Punk swagger and Melissa’s vintage Fe-me style, I was able to get creative ideas on how to jazz up my wardrobe without breaking my budget.



If you’re looking for some thrift stores in Chicago, here is a list of the top four thrift store I shop at, in order from least cleanliness, more affordable, and more sales compared to most expensive price point, but more cleanliness and less sales.

  1. Village Discount Outlet Chicago (I shop at the 64th and Kedzie or 26th street location) Address: 4020 W 26th St, Chicago, IL 60623 or Address: 6419 S Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL 60629
  2. Unique Thrift Store (Kedzie and 51st) Address: 5040 S Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL 60632
  3. Pilsen Vintage Address: 1430 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608
  4. Buffalo Exchange Address: 1478 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

I hope this post gave you some good insight! If you need more tips feel free to message me!

Stay Golden