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Thrift stores are not always a great idea. At the risk of sounding like a (bitchy) greedy budgeter, I’m going to take a chance here with this post. All I ask is don’t judge just just yet. Hear me out a minute or two. I think you’ll have something to think about when we’re done.
It’s not always a good budgeting practice to give away your old stuff to charity. I can’t believe I just said that, in writing no less! But let’s be real here. You can’t help others if you can’t help yourself. I’m sure you’ve heard that a thousand times, now one thousand one.
Thrift Stores Are NOT Your Friend Until They Are
Charities like often run thrift stores that sell our old clothes, shoes, household goods, and misc. items we no longer need or use. Let me be clear y’all. I’m all for charity. And I love to help when we can but sometimes, giving those items away is not the best choice for this time in your life, and you may not even realize it.
Sometimes we are helping others but hurting our family’s financial situation when we forfeit the money we could have earned by selling those items ourselves. Long term, this will limit our ability to help charity in even greater ways at other times.
For those families who have ANY type of debt, I don’t recommend giving away items in good, usable, re-saleable condition and certainly not antique or collectables which really, are the only items you should be giving to charity. They don’t want your “junk” and I say that as nice as possible! It actually costs them more to go through true “junk” and dispose of them than it is worth to them, so do them a favor and when you do donate, only donate items in good repair.
Each and every dollar you could have gotten from the sale of your items (think Craigslist, online Facebook yard sale groups, yard sales, ebay,etsy etc.) was an unallocated dollar in your budget that could have gone towards your debt and getting out from under the buden and stress of living in debt.
Sure, debt is manageable for some and they don’t feel the crunch. But… think of all the good they could do with no debt payments! Think of all the charity gifts they could make if they had no debt at all.
I do recommend that you give a % percentabe of your income to charity. Donate 10% (or pick a number you feel comfortable with) of that income you made from the sale of those said items to charity, yes friends, please do.
Note: Dave Ramsey and many other financial coaches advise the same. No matter your financial situation, Dave advocates giving 10% to your local church, synagogue or charity. The idea behind this is the financial principle of reaping and sowing. Whatever your thoughts on this, it is a widely accepted financial practice. I promise you will find the joy and benefits of ‘It is in giving we receive’ practice.
I don’t promote completely refraining from all charity giving when you have debt, but I am saying rather than donating the 100%, you should sell your items, give 10% (or your choice) to charity and 90% apply to your debt. Really, you can’t help others until you’ve helped yourself. I’m sure you’ve h
If you’re anything like most of America, you have plenty of items to get rid of. We’re a pretty spoiled nation. Declutter the house, go through the clothes and grab items you haven’t used in the last 3 months as well as gifts that you plan to re-gift and put them up for sale. Use that money to apply to your debt and free yourself up to do even better things for your favorite charity or church.
When Thrift stores ARE your Friend
In the meantime, while working on paying off your debt, frequent those thrift stores first. When you are in the market for shoes, clothes, home appliances, etc., make sure to check there first for any items they may have. In this way, you are not only helping their charity, but you are helping your family’s financial state as well with the money you saved on those items rather than shopping new. Take the difference and apply it to your debt. While it may not seem like much independently, these little things can add up in a big way. If you sold just $25 of items each month, and saved $25 on purchases, you could apply $47.50 (assuming you gave $2.50 to charity, as mentioned) a month to your debt. In 12 short months, you would have reduced your debt by $570.00 by this one simple task.
So, thrift stores are not your friend. Well, until they are…. I hope you’ve had a moment or two to take this in and give giving a ‘fair’ look.