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Need some new/used clothes but want to stay away from the stores? Here are some ways to save money on used clothes when you shop online!
10 Ways to Save on Used Clothes When You Shop Online
Since we moved away from a larger town, shopping for clothes has become something of a difficult task. Not impossible, just takes a little more work since I can’t just pop into a store and pick something up when we need it. Of course, I can always add something to my list for when we do head to town (which is once every 2 weeks right now) but I take the chance that I may not be able to find what I need, I may have to go to multiple stores with tired little ones, and I may have to pay more than I really want to. In other words, it’s usually not the best case scenario.
But over the past few years I’ve become something of an expert in buying clothing online, even used clothing, and today I’m sharing some of my tips and tricks with you.
1. Don’t shop at only one store.
You have an entire world wide web at your fingertips, don’t be stuck on only buying from one place! If you get your mind stuck on only buying clothing from one online store you might miss out on some really great deals, maybe even on the exact same brand/outfit.
2. Know your size before you buy.
Often when you buy used clothing online you won’t be allowed to make returns so it’s important to know what your size is before you buy. Take your entire family’s measurements and keep them on a page in your home management binder. Often a single size (like medium) is irrelevant when you are buying an unfamiliar brand or even something that has been washed a few times. Most of the used clothing websites that I’ve purchased clothing from offer the exact measurements of the garment so that you can be sure it will fit before you make the purchase.
3. Know the policies of the store.
Some used clothing websites do offer returns on certain purchases, if they do, make sure to know their policies before you take any tags off your clothing. After you open your package, make sure to look over each garment carefully to ensure that it fits the description and to make sure that it doesn’t have holes, excess piling, or ripped seams.
4. Learn about the different conditions of used clothing.
Each website that you buy from may have different rules for what designates a “good” used shirt or a “fair” used shirt. Make sure you read the FAQs page on each website before you buy so that you know what you are getting into so you don’t pay more for an item that you should.
5. Grab all the “newbie” discounts.
Many websites offer a special discount if you are a new customer so you can pick up some great deals! For example, Thred Up offers a large discount on a first purchase.
6. Always check for discounts before you buy.
Even if you purchase from a website before you still might be able to grab some great discounts. A quick google search can help you find discounts but the best way to know the most current discounts is usually to sign up for the website’s newsletter. Holidays are also a great time to check for discounts.
7. Sell what you no longer use.
Most online used clothing stores will also buy your gently used clothing and offer your credits on their website towards your next purchase. I have sold clothing to both Thred Up and through Ebay. Sometimes it takes a little longer to sell items on Ebay as you might have to list them a few times but I felt that I made the most money that way. I made a small amount from selling items on Thred Up but they do have a very strict acceptance policy and my clothing isn’t always the most expensive brands!
8. Buy seasonally.
Just like when you are shopping for clothing in a regular store, you will find the best deals on clothing online when you shop for the season at the end of the season. Look for clearance (yes, used clothing clearance!) for winter clothes starting in January and for summer clothes starting in August. If you don’t need something right away and are just planning ahead, this method of shopping can score you the best deals.
9. Shop on holidays.
The relatives may have gone home and the brick and mortar stores aren’t open but you can still shop online on a holiday and holidays can often be one of the best days to find a deal. It’s not just regular shopping holidays such as Black Friday but smaller holidays like President’s Day. If you are signed up for emails from the site, make sure to check your inbox the day before or day of for any special coupon codes or just go directly to their website on the holiday and watch for a pop-up with special discounts and deals.
10. DO NOT forget your budget.
Just because you are shopping online and without cash, don’t forget your budget! Make sure not to go over your budget, even if you find a good sale. It can be tempting to add more items to your cart when you have a great discount but it’s still important to stick to your budget.
Bonus Tip –
Only buy pieces of clothing that already go with something else that you have. This tip really applies to any kind of clothing that you might buy, not just used. If you buy something cute that you don’t have anything to pair it with, you will end up leaving it hang in your closet or will have to spend more money to get something to match.
For this reason, I usually buy plain, basic colored bottoms for all of us (usually black or gray or blue jean) and colorful shirts that could go with any of the bottoms that we have. My only exception is skirts which tend to be in more colorful patterns, for these I have plain colored tops to match them.
About the stores…
I know there are many other options out there besides the ones I will be listing below but I haven’t yet tried them so I don’t have personal comments! If you’ve purchased used clothing on any websites before, make sure to let us know your thoughts on the site in the comments.
I’ve purchased many items on Ebay over the years and usually been happy with my purchase. I’ve found that items can be found a little cheaper on Ebay than on some of the other online stores since there is no middleman. The cons of purchasing on Ebay are the shipping costs (can add up!) and the fact that you usually cannot make returns. Also, the measurements for garments aren’t always listed but you can contact the seller to get them. You will also have to trust the opinion of the seller on the garment’s quality since there isn’t an overall standard.
I’ve made a couple of purchases on Thred Up when I needed something specific. They have some very nice quality items and higher quality brands available. Thred Up does list the various conditions that items are in and sometimes more details on that condition. Their clothes are often unique and very cute!
The con to Thred Up is that sometimes the clothing can be a little higher priced than on some of the other websites that I’ve used, but as I mentioned, the quality is generally quite high.
It’s been a while since I purchased from Swap but I’ve gotten some great deals from them in the past. Their price point seems to be a little lower than Thred Up and they have a larger variety of brands. You can get 40% off your first purchase of $20 or more at Swap.com when you sign up here.
Swap carries clothing for all ages and sizes. Although some of the other webs
This is another good one if you are looking for something specific. I’ve used Poshmark to find discontinued clothing items that I really love and that have fit me well so it’s great for searching for that! If you are new to Poshmark, you can sign up here and use the code MERISSAA to get $10 in your account towards your first purchase.
Sellers are supposed to list the quality of the item but I have had an issue with this with a purchase I made. Thankfully, Poshmark allows for returns when items are not as described.
Have you ever purchased used clothing online? Share some of your experiences and tips in the comments section!
This blog post on How To Save on Used Clothing When Shopping Online was originally posted on Little House Living in July 2017. It has been updated as of July 2022.