Shopping on a budget

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Emily Galliher

Learning to live on a budget can prove extremely difficult.  For a choice amount of students, coming to college is the first time you have really relied on your own means.  Students will come to Radford University fresh out of their mama’s homes where they do not have to worry about where their next pair of shoes or new school pants comes from.

While I lived at home, my parents were amazing when it came to providing the basics.  However, I never was given an allowance and anytime I asked for spending money, the immediate reply from my dad was, “Get a job.”  Even when I was on my way to Dairy Queen at 10 years old, my dad would say the same thing.  Prior to a workers permit, I chopped weeds on the farm for 10 cents a tree.  Living the life, right?

Without ranting about how I have worked all my life, blah, blah, blah, I think I could tell you guys the benefits of cheap shopping.  Cue the Goodwill advertisement!

But really, shopping secondhand is really beneficial.  For starters, you can find name brand stuff if you dig hard enough.  I personally have walked away with Coach shoes, North face pullovers and even Agner boots.  Out of those three, I have yet to pay more than five bucks for any of it.

Some of the people who donate don’t have the time to actually sell their expensive items.  They box their things up, drive to Goodwill to which it’s put on the racks and then it’s our turn.  Like I said, if we dig, we can find good stuff.

Even if you are just browsing, looking for something interesting, there is good deals everywhere.   Remember those Coach shoes I mentioned earlier?  I bought them knowing they did not fit.  Want to know why?  I turned around and sold them on E-bay for 10x as much as I paid.  So even if you are not shopping for your new wardrobe, you can still walk away with gems.

Shopping at secondhand stores not only saves you money, but that money can go to other important things.  That textbook you really could not afford? Take the money you saved on those American Eagle jeans that cost you $4.50 and put it back.  Need gas? That gas money went to that $100 purse that you just found at Goodwill for three bucks.

There are many more secondhand stores than just Goodwill.  In just the NRV area, we have ReStore in Christiansburg which is primarily furniture and appliances, the YMCA, and Plato’s.  Plato’s is the best thing that has come to Christiansburg (my opinion only).

At Plato’s, you can sell your own clothes while you shop! Nine times out of ten, I spend more than I make but oh well, it counts as a discount. Plato’s will also take days out of the year for Grab Bag days.

Grab Bag days are when you can dig through the clearance section, fill up a bag they provide and for one solid price, you can get as much as you can fit.  Sign up for the email list so you can get first notice of when these days occur.

Long story short, you can find great stuff at secondhand stores that may just need a quick wash.  I know I would rather pay three bucks for a shirt that I consider new than pay store price for it.  Good luck!