Thrift like a pro: Experts share their top tips for scoring deals on secondhand gems

What's old is new again. Thrifting is a trend that is not going out of style any time soon.

Now, there are more ways than ever to bring a secondhand gem into your home.

In a special FOX 32 Money Saver report, Dawn Hasbrouck reveals how you may even find one for free.

Alex Jones, owner of thrift shop Fad2Fresh, started out as a thrifter herself before testing the waters of owning a business.

Now, nearly two years later, her vintage shop is a staple in the Andersonville community.


"I get up probably at like 3 a.m. in the morning and go to like estate sales. I’m probably the first person there," Jones said.

"Then I started buying storage units, and all of that other type of stuff, and now luckily that I have the store, people just bring me cool stuff every day."

Thrifting has been around for a long time, but in recent years, it has grown especially popular with the return of vintage fashion.

Kevin Brasler with Consumers’ Checkbook says thrifting is not exclusive to clothes.

"Clothing has always been something where there's been a pretty robust secondhand market for them. Also, books and music CDs and things like that. But what we're seeing now is really just about any product you can think of is out there available on the used marketplace," Brasler said.

There are even programs like The Freecycle Network where you don’t have to pay anything to gain something new. Well, something new to you and help the environment in the process.

"There are those who want to keep good items out of the landfill and there are those who maybe just have a tight budget right now and are in need of some help," said Freecycle Executive Director Deron Beal.

"Over 10,000 items are given away every day on So there will be any number of items in your local community if you are looking for something and are creative about being able to reuse something that's older but still perfectly good."

There are always risks to buying something secondhand.

Social media has helped the thrifting movement expand beyond your neighborhood yard sale. That’s why Consumers’ Checkbook says beware of scammers.

"People are often advertising stuff on Facebook Marketplace and other spots like that. We really urge people to pay using a credit card if you can, and a lot of times when people are paying with peer-to-peer payment apps like Zelle and others, you're not getting any protections. If you give that person your money and then they just disappear, you really don't have much recourse," Brasler said.

For many, navigating the risk is worth the reward of what you find, and the community built along the way.

"I've heard from neighbors who say you know they got nice thank you notes or a little you know, some cookies and it's you know, as a thank you for... and notes about how the person used this item later on and so they, they really did enjoy hearing about okay, this thing I didn't need anymore, somebody really did need it and they got a lot of benefit out of it," Brasler said.

For Jones, connecting with people is the best part of thrifting.

"It’s a whole bunch of stuff from the people in this community on my wall. So when they come in with their kids they can be like ‘hey mom isn’t that yours’, or something like that. And it’s in the shop, it’s kind of like a mini-museum for my community," Jones said.

Consumers’ Checkbook also adds that if you’re buying something secondhand from a name brand store like Apple or Amazon, make sure you research the return policy before making your purchase.

They also say you should avoid buying secondhand items like car seats for children or bike helmets because they have safety expiration dates.