VIDEO: Save on back-to-school purchases at thrift stores

(NBC) – NBC’s Vicky Nguyen reports on ways to save on back-to-school shopping at thrift stores.

In today’s consumer insider, back-to-school shopping may be hitting family budgets the hardest this year with inflation high for decades.

Buying second hand can be the way to go to save money,

Vicky Nguyen, senior consumer research correspondent for NBC News, did her homework with a look at what to buy used and where.

As students return to the classroom, parents are already doing the math.

A recent survey found that families plan to spend about $864 on back-to-school purchases.

To make it work, some turn to the second-hand market.

“I want parents to know that it’s okay to buy secondhand,” says Anne Garcia.

Anne Garcia, a mother of two in Queens, New York, started saving during the pandemic.

She says thrift shopping helped her stretch her family’s dollars without sacrificing the stye.

Especially important for his 10-year-old daughter, who is passionate about fashion.

“She’s actually been looking for back-to-school clothes because we planned ahead,” says Anne Garcia.

Garcia, part of the nearly 60% (58%) of consumers who found secondhand savings during inflation.

Online second-hand clothing company Thredup says the resale market saw record growth (31%) last year and is likely to reach $82 billion by 2026 in the US.

And buyers like it to be green to buy what already exists.

“Our younger shoppers in particular tell us I want to buy clothes that are good for the planet, I don’t want to be part of the fashion waste problem, but I also want to save money,” says ThredUp president Anthony Marino.

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Laila Ruzika is the co-owner of “Plato’s Closet” in Middletown, New Jersey.

A national teen resale store, “Plato’s Closet” sources 95% of its inventory from the local community.

Thrift stores like this one, Buffalo Exchange, Crossroads, and local thrift stores offer two deals.

You can save on clothes, shoes, and even backpacks and earn money on gently used items.

“So factory closures, overseas supply chain issues at ports… none of that affected you?” Nguyen asks.

“Exactly. And if anything, our inventory has grown a lot because customers need cash in their pockets,” says Plato’s Closet co-owner Laila Ruzika.

Shoppers can get bargains on back-to-school staples like denim.

If your shopping list includes electronics, you can shop used at places like Swappa, Best Buy, or Amazon.

Just make sure the purchases come with a guarantee.

For a second-hand computer, wipe the hard drive before using it, and for a smartphone, ask the seller for the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number, so you can check with your carrier to see if the phone is eligible for activation.

For college students in need of furniture, try Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and Kaiyo.

Before you buy, check the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website for recalls, a cheat sheet for finding savings.