Thrifting 101: Five things to thrift under $5

We all know thrift stores are an ideal place to find unique, one-of-a-kind things at affordable prices. But hear me out, die-hard cheapskates: There's a treasure trove of items under five bucks to scoop up at the thrift store. If you're willing to do some digging, you can outfit yourself, your family, and your home while saving a considerable amount of money. Here are the things I only buy at thrift stores, and that cost under five bucks to boot.

Vintage tee shirts

{Image via Off Of Broadway}

Why spend $40+ on a faux distressed, worn out tee shirt when you can get the real thing for less than $5? Vintage tee shirts are a fun item to dress up or down. I like to pair mine under blazers in cooler weather, or with a vintage sequined skirt for a night out.


{Image via Elle Randall}

Whether it's pretty mismatched china or collectible vintage Pyrex, thrift stores offer great pieces typically priced around $2 each. Full sets of dishware are difficult to find, but lucky for us mismatched china makes for a pretty table. If you're on a tight budget and looking to add some unique pieces to your table, this is a great option.


{Image via My Edit}

If you're new to thrifting and don't know where to start, try the belt section. Thrift stores offer brown leather belts for a fraction of what they'd cost new. And the older and more worn they are, the better they look. Don't forget to peruse the men's section - larger sized belts look great slung low on your hips.


{Image via Meek~n~mild}

Whether worn to tie up your hair, around your wrist as an accent, or around your neck to keep warm, vintage scarves can be found by the cartload at thrift stores. They're an easy and versatile part of my wardrobe, and a fun way to add a bit of color or pattern to an otherwise bland outfit.

Denim cutoffs

{Image via Girls Guide To...}

There's no need to spend a fortune on a pair of denim shorts at J Crew when you can customize a pair yourself. Your mileage may vary on this depending on where you live, but jeans at the thrift are usually priced under $5. A rough chop with scissors and quick brush with some sandpaper can lend new life to an old pair of jeans.

Have you found any great things under $5 at a thrift store? What are some things you only buy secondhand?


  1. I for sure agree on scarves at thrift stores! I've had some great luck myself with them. Same goes for jeans--I've found quite a few pairs that are easy to use for a DIY project (in my case, it's largely been dying them). Same goes for tees, though I usually stay away because they aren't always work-friendly.

    I haven't had luck with belts, but mostly because the ones I like are too big.

    I've bought lots of mugs and pretty things at thrift stores. I love the idea of creating a mix-matched china set though... I may do that for crystal, since we never got ours and I have a hand-me-down set of china waiting for me.

  2. I use to live in an Indian neighborhood and would get those long scarves that go with the Shalwar Kameez suits for $1 at the thrift store. Love it!

  3. Good suggestions. Luckily in Arkansas thrift stores almost everything is under $5.00. I really spend more than that per piece. My best find recently was a pair of Ferragamos for $0.25.

  4. I work at a thrift store in PA, and other why-buy-elsewhere items I've thought of are picture frames of all sizes, decorative vases and books. My personal best thrift find so far has been a brand new-with tags pair of J.Crew jeans for 3.50 (retails around 130, which is way out of my price range)

  5. For those of you who are students - thrift stores often have 20-25% off during certain times of the year! I just thrifted a pair of mid 1980s high-waisted red Guess jeans in mint condition for $4.00!


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