Back to School on a Budget with ThriftSmart

Jess Wolstenholm is an author, blogger and freelance writer. Jess became passionate about developing simple faith tools when she began to navigate the spiritual development of her own young children. She launched Gather & Grow in January 2017. Since the loss of her mom to pancreatic cancer in 2012, she’s focused on continuing the legacy of faith started by her wonderfully imperfect parents. Author of The Pregnancy and Baby Companion books, Jess also contributes articles and resources about family and faith to Tommy NelsonJellyTelly and The Huffington Post. When she isn’t writing, you can find Jess teaching kids at her home church or taking notes for the school PTO. She lives outside Nashville, Tennessee with her amazing husband, Dave and their two miracles, Hope (9) and Joshua (6).

I absolutely love a good deal and I don’t mind hunting for one. I find great pleasure in discovering a diamond in the rough, especially when it comes to clothes and home goods. I’ve been thrift store shopping for years and have clothed my kids in my finds since they were itty bitty.

This week we had the opportunity to partner with ThriftSmart to hunt for back to school treasures. I love this organization because of their mission. 100% of their proceeds benefit charity. They have a passion to minister to our community and they do it smart. (and clean, their stores are so clean!) It feels good to shop in a store that you know is impacting lives. No politics, no secrets. Today I’m sharing our finds plus a few tips to consider when doing your own back to school shopping at ThriftSmart.

Tips for Shopping Back to School on a Budget with ThriftSmart

Make a list of what you are hunting for before you go. It can be overwhelming to weed through an entire store. Having a few things in mind will help as you scan and browse quickly.

Look through every size. Sometimes items are misplaced or sizing runs differently for different brands. Browse through every size, especially for kids clothing. You never know what you’ll find!

Buy forward. If I find a great $2 shirt for my son or $3 dress for my daughter but it’s a bit big, I buy it anyway and save it for later. If it’s a great find, it’s worth storing for the future. I keep buying forward to a minimum so I don’t have to store piles of clothes. You’ll know if it’s worth the closet space.

Familiarize yourself with high end brands and keep an eye out for them. Even if they won’t work for your child, buy it anyway and share it with someone. I have several friends who make money buying and reselling thrift store finds on Facebook or other resale platforms. There are a lot of expensive clothing treasures to be found out there!

Bring a friend. Hunting together is fun! You can look for items that work for each other’s kids and help weed through your piles together. A second opinion is always valuable when shopping second hand.

Pull first, examine later. As you scout the racks, pull anything that looks promising. You can examine it closely later. This is especially important if you go on sale days that are busy. Everyone is looking for the best finds. While you want to keep it kind, the best hunters gather as much as possible and then narrow down their pile later. (Just make sure you return unwanted items to the proper place in the store. We don’t want to make extra work for the shop workers!)

Shop a season ahead. Many parents are only looking for clothes for the next season – in this case, Fall/Winter – so they may leave prime Spring items behind. Grab them! It won’t be long before your daughter can wear that adorable sundress again. There are more treasures to be found when you broaden your search.

Speaking of treasures, here’s what we found this week at ThriftSmart. . .

For my girl:
2 dresses
2 skirts
1 denim long sleeve shirt
3 t-shirts (1 Lucky Brand! and 1 American Girl!)
1 lace vest (so cute!)
1 fleece zip up jacket (incredibly soft and cozy)

For my boy:
3 button down shirts (his favorite!)
1 long sleeve shirt (saved for later, it’s a little big but was in perfect condition)
4 t-shirts (including a Minecraft shirt, the one thing he hoped to find plus a Star Wars shirt in perfect condition!)
1 soccer jersey (his pick because it’s his favorite color, green)

There’s just something so fun about discovering an amazing piece of clothing that only costs $1-$4! Whether you have a limited budget for back to school shopping or you simply love a good deal, ThriftSmart is a must-shop destination.

Do you love to shop thrift stores for yourself or your kids? What are some of your best tips? What has been your best find?

back to school on a budget

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