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How Thrifting Is Broke Millennials'/Centennials' Future

Updated on January 23, 2020
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Dani is a home chef, homemaker, and versed in many areas of life.

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Sweater is thrifted from local hospital thrift store, pants were bought on sale 3 years ago for $15 when they were $75.Levi's Jacket, leather, local hospital thrift store.Quarter zip and t-shirt under, thrifted from Goodwill and local hospital thrift store. Jeans bought from Hollister 7 years ago, hand-me-down. Sperry's on sale for $20. Sweater, thrifted at local hospital thrift store. Pants were second hand at Plato's Closet for $7. Boots, bought on sale, don't remember the price. Whole outfits besides my spouse's boots are thrifted from our local hospital thrift store. My shorts were cut from old Levi's jeans from the 90s and rolled into shorts. My shoes were bought from Walmart for $5.
Sweater is thrifted from local hospital thrift store, pants were bought on sale 3 years ago for $15 when they were $75.
Sweater is thrifted from local hospital thrift store, pants were bought on sale 3 years ago for $15 when they were $75.
Levi's Jacket, leather, local hospital thrift store.
Levi's Jacket, leather, local hospital thrift store.
Quarter zip and t-shirt under, thrifted from Goodwill and local hospital thrift store. Jeans bought from Hollister 7 years ago, hand-me-down. Sperry's on sale for $20.
Quarter zip and t-shirt under, thrifted from Goodwill and local hospital thrift store. Jeans bought from Hollister 7 years ago, hand-me-down. Sperry's on sale for $20.
Sweater, thrifted at local hospital thrift store. Pants were second hand at Plato's Closet for $7. Boots, bought on sale, don't remember the price.
Sweater, thrifted at local hospital thrift store. Pants were second hand at Plato's Closet for $7. Boots, bought on sale, don't remember the price.
Whole outfits besides my spouse's boots are thrifted from our local hospital thrift store. My shorts were cut from old Levi's jeans from the 90s and rolled into shorts. My shoes were bought from Walmart for $5.
Whole outfits besides my spouse's boots are thrifted from our local hospital thrift store. My shorts were cut from old Levi's jeans from the 90s and rolled into shorts. My shoes were bought from Walmart for $5.

A New Era

For years, thrifting/second hand was looked down upon, but now it's become necessary, dare I say, essential to millennials and centennials. Thrifting doesn't just entail clothing either. Everything from books, like Thriftbooks.com, to shoes, to records, CDs, tapes, DVDs, games, kitchen ware, furniture, and jackets can all be found at local thrift stores. It's essential to our survival as young folks trying to make it in the world. With salaries barely budging for decades, near 40 years, has the same effect as it does now, meaning, it hasn't fucking changed. Prices have gone up significantly.


Bread, rent, gas, you name it, has gone up in price, but wages have not budged. With poverty at an all time high, student loan debt out of the roof, and the world's overcrowded population, it's fucking expensive to live. I'm gracious enough to have a father who pays my car insurance and health insurance, which, many of my friends who come from good homes, don't have these things. These things are necessary for success.


Job turnover rates have remained stagnant because people are taking longer to retire because people are living longer, but they, too, fear for their survival after retirement with everything being so expensive.


This isn't to say this is the end of the world, it isn't, but things have become a lot more difficult for young persons in the world to succeed. People are getting married later because they aren't financially stable enough to marry someone, so in the meantime, having 2-3 roommates is common for 18-28 year olds, especially in the city. It's also not uncommon for this generation to still be living with his or her parents because rent, bills, food, and gas is too expensive.


We were told growing up to get a college education, that that will set us apart from the pack, but what happens when a lot of people are all doing the same thing? There's a boom; an inflation of college degrees, which to a degree is good because yay education! The downfall, is that job competitiveness is at an all time high. Many millennials work for non-profit organizations because they're high-turnover due to impossible standards in the job, and yet, they still don't pay the bills, they have to have a second job. My spouse works two jobs in order to pay our $350 rent, bills, groceries, medication, and doctor's visits, excluding health insurance and car insurance because we simply can't afford to pay that.


A new era of survival has arrived.

Since the early 1970s, the hourly inflation-adjusted wages received by the typical worker have barely risen, growing only 0.2% per year. In other words, though the economy has been growing, the primary way most people benefit from that growth has almost completely stalled.

— Jay Shambaugh and Ryan Nunn, Harvard Business Review, Economics

The Benefits of Thrifting

If you take a look into my closet, about 75%-80% of our (my spouse and I's) clothing is from thrifting, which has saved us a significant amount of money, and gives us a big wardrobe to choose from. Many of our books have come from Thrift books.com or the local hospital thrift store. You can find many current books at your local thrift store and a small amount of classic literature or philosophy.


Thrifting isn't all about saving the environment for me, frankly, I'm broke. We make $22,000 a year, just enough to survive without health insurance and car insurance to pay. We shop at our local produce store which sells meats and veggies at a very discounted rate. Living in a small town is limiting, but also has it's benefits. The thrift store in this town is fire, filled with brands like Tommy, Ralph Lauren, Nautica, Eddie Bauer, and more. I tend to shop in the men's section for button downs, pullovers, and sweaters. In the summer, I just wear shorts that I've either crafted from the thrift store or pre loved shorts and I tie the button downs.


I stay away from buying off of Etsy.com because it's basically stealing, going into thrift stores and uncharging the hell out of clothing-- robbery, but that's my personal opinion, or maybe, I'm just cheap (broke). Poshmark.com is still relatively high in prices also because people are trying to get the most bang for their buck.


Thrifting is actually really great for the environment, it reduces waste and pollution up to 80%. How? The average American throws away about 81 pounds of clothing PER YEAR, crazy right? I couldn't dream of throwing away clothing, clothing can usually be stain-treated, or resort to just making the clothing item "distressed". This adds up to about 26 BILLION pounds of clothing going straight to landfills. Thrifting is recycling and reducing waste. I just love the spirit of someone's old, vintage clothing. There's a certain soul in it. But by participating in thrifting, you're reducing your carbon footprint. Clothing takes resources to make, and then the amount of fumes that go into the air from clothing being transported is astounding, so if you can try, try to thrift. **Women, I recommend the men's section for many things, and don't worry, no one ever looks at you funny for being in that section.


Thrifting is also cheap, like I said, I'm broke. I can pay $3.00 for a sweater or pay for a fully priced sweater for minimum $40 and have produced a carbon footprint. Buying used is good for the environment and your wallet. Plus, you'll look super unique because you have clothing that no one else has. Cool, right?


Thrifting is also good for your community because it puts the money that you spent into the community or organizations. Our local hospital auxiliary thrift store uses that money to sponsor the food pantry, and other businesses that help the town.

Overall, I'm Broke

Jobs are hard to find with decent pay, and the cost of living keeps going up, so it's safe to say, I'm broke, and I need the thrift store to survive. It's a really resourceful place.


When we grew up, thrifting was not viewed as it was today. Even buying clothing from Walmart wasn't viewed as it is today. I remember that if you didn't have the Hollister bird or H on your ass, you were considered not cool or poor. Now, you can look stylish and cultured by finding items from your local thrift stores and putting your spin on it.

© 2020 Dani Moore

Comments

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    • Bushra Iqbal profile image

      Bushra Iqbal 

      2 weeks ago from Rabwah, Pakistan

      Good article! It's of vital importance that we stop wasting our planet's resources.

    • Brenda Arledge profile image

      BRENDA ARLEDGE 

      3 weeks ago from Washington Court House

      Dani,

      When I was young my clothes came from bags handed down from my cousins...I hated it.

      I occasionally got new dresses the beginning of each school year with new shoes.

      But when you are a littke kid you do not understand the facts about money.

      I know several people who shop at thrift stores when they do not need too...they have the money to go elsewhere.

      For New Year's Eve I searched for just the right dress with no luck.

      I finally found it at a thrift store for only $3.00.

      It still had a $70.00 price tag on it. It had a few stains which washed completely out.

      I looked smashing and only spent $3.00

      So i will definitely look their first from now on.

      I do tend to shop there. I love to get baby blankets there for the kitty cats too.

      Ours has a half price day twice a month.

      Thanks for sharing.

      Nice write.

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