Shopping on a thrift store budget: Rejects make me happy!

My mum and I share an obsession. If it was possible, I’m sure we could do this almost every day. If it wasn’t for the fact that I’ve got a husband and child to come home to, I wouldn’t put a time limit on it.

But years ago, I wouldn’t be seen dead doing this. I mean back then it was smelly and embarrassing. You didn’t want anyone to know.

Fast forward to this day and somedays I just can’t stop myself. I have to drive past. I must go in. Just a little look. If I’m lucky there’ll only be one thing I like so I’m not going to blow all my money, because for sure if I go to one, I’m going to come out with an arm full. Go where? To a thrift store!

Let’s go shopping!

We call them op-shops (opportunity shops), others call them thrift stores or charity shops, there’s also second-hand stores and recycled clothing and goods bazaars and vintage stores.

When I was in my 20’s these stores used to look and smell disgusting. If I ever walked into one, it was out of curiosity and maybe I’d find some little trinket but there’s no way I’d buy clothes. I could only stand the stench inside for so long before I had to run out. These ones were usually run by churches and were dark, damp and stinky. Behind the counter would be lovely older ladies chatting away to each other, sipping on tea whilst peering at you over their glasses.

Are you going to buy that?

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Noawdays a thrift store is run by paid professionals and the volunteers are mostly young 20 somethings or mums that want to get out of the house and people that want to contribute and do their part in the community. But my point is, thrift shops are now so accepted and cool I’m often gobsmacked by the kinds of people I see shopping in them.

Parked out the front are Mercedes and BMWs, big four-wheel drives in luxury brands of all kinds. Lift your head up in the aisle and you’ll see an array of thrift shoppers from all walks of life. Lots of mothers and daughters, young girls, older fancy women with big sunglasses holding back their newly blow waved dos and some men, like this one,

Got any good old books? Or electrical gear?

But not so much like this one,

Wouldn’t be seen dead in one of those.

Thrift Store Budget$: Goldmine treasures

Ok, but a truly great thrift shop is a gold mine! Your rejects make me happy! And more and more people are catching on to the benefits of buying second-hand goods. I personally have bought furniture, clothing, homewares, books, toys, accessories such as jewellery, sunglasses, and hats, sporting equipment and wall clocks. The list is endless! And being that I’m a performer almost all of my on-stage costumes have come from thrift stores.

Performers need a lot of gig outfits!

Where else could I get a fully sequined or beaded dress or top for under $30? And in this day and age where we’re all posting what we’re doing on social media, I post my performances and I can’t be wearing the same thing! I certainly couldn’t afford to go buying brand new stuff every time, so thrift stores are my saviour!

“Other people’s rejects make you feel like you can attain the brand-name labels. Thrift stores are a goldmine and no one really needs to know that’s where you got your expensive-looking outfit from…” (me, lol)

 Shopping and helping a charity at the same time!

Nowadays, I’ll quite proudly announce to anyone that asks that my clothes come from thrift stores. At first, some people can’t disguise their look of disdain and others are impressed and want to know which thrift store I got them from. I love The Salvos ( I am not affiliated in any way!), but mainly because that’s where I’ve found so many items and 100% of the profits go to help fund the charity’s various programs.  Even more amazing is that they have these fantastic offers every week, Win-Win!


Half-price coloured tags

Every week, selected clothing is 50% off. Just ask which colour tag is 50% off that week.

$2 Monday madness

On Mondays, a rack of clothing at the front of the store will be on sale for just $2.

Pension & Seniors discount day

Come into store on Thursday, show your healthcare, seniors, veterans or pensioners card to save 20%.

Student discount day

Every Wednesday, show your student card to save 20%.


Half-price coloured tags

Every week, selected clothing is 50% off. Just ask which colour tag is 50% off that week.

$2 Select and Save

Selected coloured tags are only $2, every week. Just ask our friendly staff.

Pension & Seniors discount day

Every Thursday to Saturday show your healthcare, seniors, veterans or pensions card to save 20%.

Student discount day

Every Saturday, show your student card to save 20%

Seriously in a world where we throw away so much, I don’t need to have it new. I need to have it now and looking good, non-smelly and in working order. Sometimes they still have the original tags on too! I know I’ve bought things in the past that I have then donated without even wearing once because I changed my mind or I forgot about them then put on weight so it didn’t fit anymore, or it was a gift that wasn’t suited to me. (recycle those unwanted gifts!)

Don’t be a clone, find your own style…

Buying your clothes in a thrift shop is also a great way to find your own style. You don’t have to wear what everyone else is wearing from the same retail stores. You can rock vintage, the 80s, Denim, Plaid, little black dresses, ball gowns, wedding dresses, school uniforms, formal suits for work. You can do a fusion of all of the above and stand out. The list is ENDLESS and so exciting. You can put together a whole outfit including accessories and spend less than half of what you usually would at full retail, even when they’re having sales!

I’ve bought kitchen stuff too, such as serving plates, mugs, utensils, pots, placemats, glasses, my kitchen table and chairs, bar stools. I can go on and on if you let me.

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It’s worth it to hunt around for the best shops because there are different gradings for them. The A stores carry all the brand name labels such as Country Road, Zara, Pink, Esprit, Korean labels and they’ll also have a couture rack with European high-end garments that are for special occasions. Well known brands in shoes and other wares are up for grabs and still at a fraction of the cost of brand new.

Then you have Grade B and C stores and while you can still find lots of goodies in these, you won’t find the labels, but still good if you’re just hunting for some staple things you might need.

My top 6 Thrift Stores in Melbourne.

  1. Salvos Store – East Doncaster
  2. Salvos Store – Rowville
  3. Salvos Store – Ferntree Gully
  4. Salvos Store – Camberwell
  5. Salvos Store – Watsonia
  6. Savers – Greensborough

There are obviously way more than just these and I still have to check out this fabulous list of thrift stores on

Which ones do you find the most treasures in? Let me know in the comments and I’ll be so excited to go on another treasure hunt! I’m ready to go NOW!




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