Teens Now Shop More At Thrift Stores Than Department Stores

New Trend: Teen Thrift Shopping

By Rachel Martin - 21Alive

November 13, 2013 Updated Nov 13, 2013 at 7:24 PM EDT

HUNTINGTON, Ind. (21Alive) – Hunting for bargains at a thrift store is often a place of last resort. But for a whole new generation of young shoppers, it’s their first stop.

Parents, know how your teen just has to have those certain brand of jeans that cost $50, maybe more?
Well, those times are changing.

“I know when I was in high school you would not shop at a Goodwill. You wouldn’t be caught dead in a Goodwill!” said Brandi Vanover.

Eighteen year old Chelsea Vanover, like her mother Brandi, admits she used to have the same stigma about shopping at thrift stores.

“That’s what I thought,” said Chelsea. “And then I thought oh hey, they kind of have some cool stuff here.”

But now, Chelsea says she prefers thrift stores over department stores.

“I can afford to go to Hollister and American Eagle and stuff, but I always go to Plato’s Closet or Goodwill first because it’s just cheaper,” she said.

Saving money for college, Chelsea says these second-hand stores are becoming more popular among her peers. “For me it’s mostly a money thing, but for other people it could be, I want this because nobody else has this.”

Chelsea’s mom, Brandi, says it all began when money got tight in their household.

“Getting a good deal, that’s basically what it’s all about,” said Brandi. “So I said okay we’re just going to go and look around.”

Brandi says it took some time, but she was able to convince her teens to change their ways. “They were in heaven. They were like, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I found this!’ So after that it was pretty much like okay, we’re going to go here and we’re going to go there and they were ok with it.”

Vanover’s fiscal responsibility slowly trickled down to her family, who say thrift shopping is every bargain hunter’s dream!

“It makes me excited because if it’s like a dollar or two…I just got a cool shirt for a dollar!” said Chelsea.

Chelsea claims she’s spent up to three hours thrift shopping before, and has come home with more items than she would’ve anywhere else. “I got jeans and T-shirts, and some dress pants and dress shirts, and I spent like 30 bucks,” she said. Chelsea claims during that particular shopping trip she bought approximately 12 items for the $30 she spent.

“You can go into a designer store and spend $20 or $30 for one shirt, or you can come into Goodwill and spend $20 or $30 and have 10 pieces of clothing,” said Brandi.

“I found a pair of heels for five bucks when the ones at the regular store were like 60 bucks,” said Chelsea.

So, when it comes to dollar signs, for the Vanovers thrift shopping just makes more “cents”.

“Just come in and try it, you know? You don’t know what you’re going to see unless you come in and try it yourself,” exclaimed Brandi.

However, thrift shopping is not the same as shopping at the mall. When thrift shopping, you’ve got to have an open mind. If you go in looking for a specific item, you may come out disappointed.

Also, not all thrift stores are equal. Those in more well-off neighborhoods in different parts of town may have a better selection of clothing.

But, the best part about thrift shopping? When your teens are finished or out-grow their clothes, they can donate them back to the thrift store for the next savvy thrift shopper.

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