Do you like to keep your closet fresh? Do you love to shop, but have a tight budget? If so, then thrifting may be the perfect answer. Trends are ever-changing, but places like Goodwill and Salvation Army have a stable inventory of clothes to fit your style and budget. People donate hardly worn, and even new clothes to thrift and consignment shops daily.
Before you go shopping, evaluate what you already have, make a list of what you need, and pull out things you no longer wear. Make a pile of gently used items that you’d like to donate and take them with you. Not only will you make room for new fall fashions, but your contributions may be tax deductible.
Let’s start with the guidelines to follow to deduct your donations on your tax return.
- Donate your items to a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization to qualify as a charitable donation.
- Get a receipt from the charitable organization with the date, location, and description of what you donated and keep records.
- Your donations must be in good used condition or better to deduct.
- Estimate fair market value, the price a buyer would pay for the item at resale, of your donation.
- File a 1040 form and itemize deductions on Schedule A.
- Look for classic styles that are timeless. Items like a woman’s little black dress, and a man’s classic button-up, never go out of style. Keep in mind that patience is a virtue when thrift shopping. You’ll sort through many "no's" to find your "yes."
- If there’s a dressing room, use it! Thrift stores have clothes from different manufacturers and different eras, meaning sizes will vary. Just in case there is no dressing room, wear clothes that allow you to easily slip things on over top. Consider a tank top, shorts or leggings, and slip-on shoes. Pay attention to consignment and thrift store exchange or return policies. If you don’t try them on, you may be stuck with clothes that don’t fit.
- Go in with an idea of what you’re looking for. Sometimes we just want to shop, even though we don’t have a purpose. Yet, going in with an idea of what you’re looking for will reduce aimless wandering and prevent over-spending.
- Be honest with yourself. Don’t buy the skirt that you vow to get hemmed, or the pants with the hole that you swear you’ll fix. If you know that realistically you won’t repair these items shortly after buying, then chances are they will sit in your closet with restorations forever postponed. Seeing the price tag may persuade you to buy, but if you’re not willing to invest the time, then don’t invest the money.
- Have fun! Although the goal is to save money, you can afford to be spontaneous and buy a few items that don't fit your everyday style. It’s better to tame your adventurous side by spending $3 rather than $50. Try out those bold fashions and funky jewelry pieces. For the right price, you can afford to have some fun!
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