5 Best Thrift Stores To Do Your Holiday Shopping At

Multicultural young girls shopping and paying with credit card in boutique, fashion shopping girls concept stock photo
LightFieldStudios / iStock.com

The holiday season might feel like a never-ending money pit. From constant parties that require food and decorations to larger events such as travel, the amount that you spend on the winter holidays might seem like it’s constantly growing. And in fact, it is. Historical holiday sales have averaged an increase of 4.9% over the past 10 years. According to a recent press release by the National Retail Federation, holiday spending during November and December is likely to grow between 6% and 8%, making the average retail sales in those months between $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion.

Holiday Spending: Get Top Holiday Shopping and Savings Tips
See: If Your Credit Score Is Under 740, Make These 4 Moves Now

While economists say the continual retail increase is typical, the strain holiday spending puts on the budgets of individuals can feel unbearably stressful. To ease your spending anxiety and cut back on expenses, you might want to consider doing your holiday shopping at thrift stores this winter. While it might take slightly longer to find the perfect gift, you can enjoy some major savings while discovering one-of-a-kind items sure to avoid any gift duplication.

Make Your Money Work for You

Local Vintage Stores

Before visiting more popular thrift store chains, you might want to check out your local vintage store for high-quality items. There might be a higher price point when shopping at a vintage store, but you never know what gems you could find.

“Typically, you can find unique items from eras past that you wouldn’t be able to find regularly,” said Megan Widmer, a secondhand reseller and owner of Hard Times Vintage Collective. “These collections are already curated by resellers that comb the thrift stores for these finds and resell them in these stores. I love shopping vintage stores for table and mantle piece decor for the holidays, as well as unique giftables for my friends and family. The pricing might be double what you can find it for at the thrift store, but worth it because it saves you time (hours) and travel time for the search.”

Goodwill Stores

Goodwill stores are perhaps the most popular thrift stores in the United States, and for a good reason. This chain features notoriously low prices, and some locations offer additional sales. Depending on your local Goodwill, it may offer regular color-of-the-week sales with certain color tag items being 50% off and/or offer 99-cent Sundays. Stores may also offer 25% off to seniors over 55 on Mondays, and some locations offer 25% on Tuesdays for students, teachers, first responders, military and medical professionals.

Make Your Money Work for You

You will surely find some fantastic holiday items at your local Goodwill this year as the store offers everything you might need for holiday parties including decorations, clothing, gifts, furniture, home improvement products and culinary supplies. With many items under $10, you can find some incredible deals on holiday necessities by visiting your local Goodwill before larger retail locations.

Take Our Poll: Do You Tip for Service?

Buffalo Exchange

If you’re shopping for a Gen Zer, be sure to check out a Buffalo Exchange to find the perfect holiday gift. This thrift store buys and sells clothing and accessories from the public and features around 40 stores located throughout the United States.

“Buffalo Exchange is known to carry more on-trend pieces at reasonable rates,” said Cesar Cruz, American fashion designer and co-founder of Sebastian Cruz Couture. “For example, you might come across a hoodie from a famous streetwear brand or a quality pair of leather shoes. Especially when it comes to well-made pieces, most people are excited to receive a high-quality item, whether thrifted or new.”

With stores featuring name-brand designers and popular styles, your Gen Z friends and family members are sure to enjoy the quality items they likely already have on their mental wish list.

Make Your Money Work for You

Salvation Army

Salvation Army is a must-visit before dropping hundreds of dollars at a popular department store. This thrift store has a wide assortment of options including clothing, decor, toys, furniture, office supplies, books, movies and shoes. Whether you need a toy for your younger niece or your son needs a new desk for his room, Salvation Army has got you covered this holiday season.

Although the items have been previously loved, as long as you take the time to go on a treasure hunt to find the right items for the people on your list, you can find the perfect holiday gift for less than you might think. At this thrift store, you can typically find clothing priced in the $6 to $10 range and accessories and shoes for $1 to $4. While you might want to be prepared to pay a little more for rare and unique items behind the counter or furniture near the front of the store, you can still spend far less than you would buy the items new.

Platos Closet

Another popular thrift store among Gen Zers is Plato’s Closet. Similar to Buffalo Exchange, this store also buys clothes, shoes and accessories from members of the community and sells them for a fraction of their normal retail price. The store encourages sustainability in fashion among a younger audience. You can find popular mall brands at the store including Levis, Abercrombie & Fitch, Lululemon, Uggs, Urban Outfitters, Vans and Free People.

This holiday season, you can save on gifts for your friends and family in their teens and 20s by shopping at this popular thrift store. Most dresses and jackets at Plato’s Closet cost between $8 and $12 and tank tops go for $3 to $8. Non-designer shoes cost between $10 and $19 and casual shoes are between $8 and $16.

You can even bring in your own gently used items to sell and get some money back during the most expensive season of the year.

More From GOBankingRates

Share This Article:

Make Your Money Work for You

About the Author

Maddie Duley is a content intern for ConsumerTrack writing about finances for GOBankingRates. She is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in communication and design from the University of California Davis.
Learn More