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Money Matters Blog

Monday, July 30, 2012

Saving Money with “Gently Used” Treasures

Lauren Patterson, a Canton Center branch
team member, shares her insights on
shopping at thrift stores.

One person’s donation can be another person’s treasure – or living room set, or television, or even wedding dress.

In recent years, the growth of thrift and second-hand stores has been evident in the metro Detroit area, as more stores spring up and those stores look to hire more and more people. For example, according to a recent article in Crain’s Detroit Business, the Salvation Army is looking to hire between 150-200 people by the end of August and is expanding several of its stores.

For Lauren Patterson, a 23-year-old college student and Community Financial team member who frequents the Canton Goodwill store, those donations are helping furnish her first apartment.  Since she is still in school, and paying for it without any loans, living on a budget is a way of life.

“I’m still paying for college, decided to move out of my parents’ house and don’t have a whole bunch of money, it made sense,” Patterson said of shopping at thrift stores to furnish her new apartment.  “I like getting good deals on things and sometimes you can get a really good deals there.”

According to Patterson, people are going to thrift stores more often for budget reasons, but the Gen Y crowd is shopping there for other reasons as well.

“I think clothing wise, the more vintage stuff is coming back in,” she said.  “It is also helping the local economy and it’s kind of ‘going green’ to spend money on gently used stuff.” 

She has even tried to point out different items to friends to get them into the thrift spirit.

“I have tipped people off, saying  ‘Oh I saw this really cool thing at the Salvation Army store,’” Patterson said.  “I love it, I love getting a good bargain, and I have tried getting other people to do it, but the item might be gone because the merchandise turns over so quickly.”

What item is she most proud of?  Her “new” couch.

“I sent a picture of it to my boyfriend right away,” she said.  “It is in perfect, immaculate condition.”

For Patterson and others, particularly when money is tight and the economy is slow, shopping for bargains is a great way to save.  It takes some patience and willingness to purchase “gently used” items instead of the latest and greatest clothes or gadgets.  But in the end, especially for Patterson, along with saving money, the adventure is part of the enjoyment.

“Heck yes,” she said. “Definitely.  It’s fun!”

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