Home Gonna pop some tags: Survey says 69 percent of Americans shop at thrift stores

Gonna pop some tags: Survey says 69 percent of Americans shop at thrift stores

Rebecca Barnabi
online shopping
(© stokkete – stock.adobe.com)

In the last six months, 48 percent of Americans took a spending hiatus of at least two weeks because of rising prices on groceries and other goods.

According to a recent survey by TopCashback.com, Americans looking for essential items, including clothes and shoes, choose thrift shops.

TopCashback.com, an American cash back site, polled 2,593 American adults about shopping and spending habits. More than two-thirds, or 69 percent, shop at thrift shops, and 81 percent said they would consider buying refurbished or used items to save money.

National Thrift Shop Day is Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022.

Forty-three percent of Americans are working overtime hours or finding side jobs to make extra money during this time of high inflation, according to TopCashback.com. They are also looking for ways to cut back on spending.

Rebecca Gramuglia, consumer expert at TopCashback.com, provided tips to score savings at thrift stores.

She said to hold on to all items you are “maybe” thinking of buying.

“One of the best parts of thrift shopping is finding unique items,” Gramuglia said. “And when you are thrift shopping, if you put an item down it becomes fair game for someone else to grab. If you are remotely interested in an item, hold onto it until you are absolutely certain you don’t want it.

Her second tip is to look at the fine print on tags. Items made with natural fibers, such as cotton, silk and wool, can be more durable and worth the purchase if in good condition.

“Products like 100 percent cotton tops, wool sweaters and silk basics may be significantly discounted at thrift and secondhand stores whereas they may be triple the price (or even more) at a regular retailer,” Gramuglia said.

A pro-tip from Gramuglia is to make sure a vintage item is actually vintage. Vintage graphic tees have single-stitching on the hem and might even have fine print with the year the graphic was printed.

“And don’t be afraid to research the brand. Do a quick online search to learn more about the brand if you’re curious to see when the item is from,” she said.

Avoid items with tears and stains is another tip.

“Especially with stains, the spot may never come out if the item is old and has been washed. Tears and stains are subjective, but if it’s something that’s significant and cannot be hidden it may be in your interest to leave the item on the shelf,” she said.

You can also thrift shop online. Sites include eBay, Etsy, ThredUP and Thrilling, as well as mobile applications Poshmark and Depop. Depending on the store, you might find discounts, points and other offers.

Gramuglia recommends going in a thrift shop without a plan.

“If you head into a thrift store with a plan or only browse for a specific item in mind, you may be closing yourself off to the other racks and possibilities of unique finds.” Her pro-tip here is to browse every area of the store, because items are often moved and misplaced. You could find a gem where you least expect it.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.