Buying, Selling, & Trading: How to Stay Stylish on a Budget

Since having kids, some of my favorite past times have taken a back seat – one of which is shopping (with the exception of Target because lets be honest, I can still go to Target with my kids peacefully by opening up a bag of mini pretzels while I peruse the nail polish aisle). In addition, I can shop at my favorite retailers on-line, but many of my favorite stores charge a ton to ship and return (yes Anthropologie, I’m talking to you.) In an effort to be more frugal, I have found that there are several fun ways to save on clothing all while never having to leave my house.

Before I divulge my secrets to on-line thrifting, let me first introduce you to the language of my people. When buying and selling on-line there are several acronyms that people use to to best describe the item they are selling. Below are a few common examples:

BST – Buy, sell, and trade

EUC, GUC, NWT, NWOT – These acronyms speak to the condition of the item being purchased. EUC=excellent used condition, GUC=Good Used Condition, NWT=New With Tags, and NWOT=New Without Tags

TTS – “True to Size” (speaks to the way an item fits)

PF – Pet Friendly, meaning you may or may not find Sparky’s dog fur on your garment

SFH – The item comes from a “smoke free home”

Cross-Posted or X-Posted – This means the item has been posted on several different selling sites

Next, there are three ways I like to find good deals for my clothing (and my kids’ clothes!) on-line. The first is local buying and selling groups on Facebook. I am a member of several groups geographically and find many of kids clothing in new and gently used condition. This past winter we took our boys skiing for the first time. I did not want to spend a great deal of money on gear because we were unsure how many times we would end up going in one season. I was able to find gently used ski bibs for $5 per pair which was a bargain!

I have also sold some of their clothing on the local sites too. You can private message people for pick up without exposing your address publicly. You can either choose to have them come by your house and take the item from your porch or decide upon a central meeting location.  To find a group near you, simply search for groups on Facebook. Most groups require that you be added and after you submit a request, it may take a few days or weeks to be added to the group depending on the moderators.

Another one of my favorite ways to shop is by joining brand-specific groups on Facebook. My two favorite groups are Anthropologie BST, and J. Crew and Madewell BST. Since neither J. Crew nor Anthropologie have stores within 200 miles of my house, this is a great way to find some of my favorite pieces of clothing.

Due to the fact that people are members of this group from all over the US, you buy based upon a picture that a seller posts of the item. They typically use a stock photo and then add “IRL” (in real life) photos in the comment section so you can see what their actual clothing item looks like. As with any level of on-line shopping there are pro’s and con’s to buying/selling this method.

The pro’s to this type of buying/selling method is that you can score some great deals especially if you are looking for a specific piece of clothing. Payment is easy as well. You simply comment with your PayPal address on the item you are interested in. The seller then sends you an invoice via Paypal. For those of you with trust issues, this may be tough for you to buy an item without physically seeing it, so rest assured, each group has moderators that can help with conflict if need be. With that being said, I have never had an issue.

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Lastly, using apps on your phone is another great way to buy and sell! My favorite app is Poshmark. You can download if for free on your phone or PC.  It is basically like hundreds of thousands of virtual closets that one can shop. You can search by brand, size, style, color, etc. You can sell by creating an account and uploading pictures of clothing, purses, shoes, etc. You can have up to four pictures per item. Under the pictures, you briefly describe what you are selling. i.e. size, brand, color, condition, original price, etc. You also set a price for the item.

Buyers can either choose to “buy it now” by purchasing it for the listed price or they can choose to submit an offer to privately negotiate a price. Once a buyer purchases your item and receives the item after it has been shipped, your earnings are directly deposited into your checking account. I’ve had great luck both buying and selling on Poshmark, and the customer service was amazing.  I highly recommend trying out Poshmark, you can find some great clothing and accessories at a fraction of the original cost!

Although, I still love to peruse the mall and visit my favorite local stores, on-line “thrift” shopping has been a great way to buy, sell and trade.




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