Thrift Store Frugality – $300 Jacket From The North Face For $49.

Remember the other day when I mentioned that if you don’t need something, it’s not a bargain at all? Well, I have needed a new winter coat for, oh, months now – but I was not willing to spend a fortune on one, so I have gone without. I have lived in Virginia and then in Los Angeles since I left college, so I have managed to avoid the coldness of a full winter season. Sure, I go back east and visit family from time to time, and I had a dressy winter coat I could wear then. But now that I live somewhere where it snows for a few months and I have to spend some time out in the wet, I really needed a warm, waterproof coat. I had been looking at my favorite store Patagonia for a coat made from recycled materials (like these fleeces that I love) that is also fully recyclable, but I could not justify the $300+ it would have cost to buy one. I have become rather frugal about new clothes as of late, as I work from home by myself and where I live a dress-up dinner consists of jeans and a sweater without holes. And it’s not like I am a professional skier or snow-man maker, nor do I care to frolic in the snow for hours. However, I did need a coat and had been looking for something affordable and well-built for about a month. And yesterday, I found it:

My wife and I went “down the hill” to Santa Fe this weekend to do our monthly visit to the “big city” for a visit Trader Joe’s, Target, and an amazing thrift store we stop in every time we are in town. They have everything from furniture to antiques to tools to tons of clothes, so we always spend a while poking around in all that square footage of goodies. I found myself standing in front of the jacket racks and leisurely working my way through all the ugly old coats that no one wanted anymore when this like-new jacket from The North Face jumped out at me and screamed “Try Me On!” so I did…and it fit perfectly. It was warm but light, had side vents, fuzzy pockets, was waterproof, and an insulated hood that could be worn up or tucked into the collar. How much could this amazing jacket be? A mere $49! Now that is a bargain that I DID need, and I am so glad I found it. I almost feel as though I stole it!

People often make the mistake of thinking that thrift stores only carry junk, but this just goes to show you that sometimes you can find very good quality goods. I always try to keep in mind all the stuff I have donated over the years, and how nice and expensive a lot of it was – and how I am sure someone was very happy to have my old clothes. So when I think about that, I realize that other people also get rid of good stuff – and this jacket is a case in point, and keeps me always on the lookout for other quality used goods. I would much rather buy used than new for two reasons – 1. Lower cost and 2. The Environment. And this purchase definitely fit the bill!

So what about you? Do you shop at thrift stores? Are you frugal enough to do so? Do you find deals on things you need? Or does buying second-hand gross you out? Let us all know in the comments!

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Comments (19)

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  1. aj says:

    Congratulations on the great buy. But I can beat it! I found a Columbia 3-in-1 very nice brand new coat very similar to yours at a local Goodwill for $2.49 It had the inside liner that you can wear by itself, or wear the outer part by itself or if it really cold wear all together. I have also gotten a GAP & Land’s End winter coats for my 5 year old son for $2 each. They looked absolutely brand new. There is no way I would ever pay full price for them- especially for a child that is only going to wear for a year. I will never buy a new coat unless I have hit all the thrift stores first!!!

  2. David says:

    $2.49 – someone had no idea what they were pricing. Nicely done!

  3. I shop at our goodwill regularly for kids stuff, house stuff and clothes for hubby and I when we need them. They have set prices $4 for shirts, $5 for jeans, $8 for jackets – no matter quality or brand. You wouldn’t believe some of the steals I have gotten there. Sometimes NWT stuff too – $4. My problem is that because I am so used to that pricing that when I need something last minute I get really frustrated if I can’t find it there and have to buy it at full retail price somewhere else.

  4. Rhonda says:

    I scored this weekend too! My Goodwill has set pricing – $5.35 for windbreakers and $10.35 for heavy jackets, unless they’re marked more. I was able to find a dressy ladies black jacket (a brand sold by Macy’s) for $5.35, and it looks brand new. I thought it would be $10.35, but the worker said it was lightweight. YEAH! It even has a detachable fur collar.

  5. Shay J says:

    Friends and I make day’s of op shopping, or thrift store shopping as it is knowen in America. WE have scored some fantastic bargains and quite often get complimented on clothes and people ask where we get them from. My girlfriend on a tighter budget then mine is always immacultantly dressed and none of it was from a retail store or thrift shop finds! Even alot of my furniture and bric and brac are from thrift shops.

  6. Jenn says:

    I’ve become a huge fan of thrift stores in the last year. I love the prices and the fact that I’m doing good for the environment by not buying new. I’ve found I can buy almost all my casual clothes as well as tops for work with some clever thrift shopping. I’ve even found great designer sandels (normally $175) for $15 or $30. I know buying shoes can sound kind of icky but after cleaning with some antibacterial soap, I’m comfortable with the results.

  7. Great find! Especially because it was a NEED. The problem for me is that area thrift stores are so cheap that it’s hard not to overbuy. Perhaps I am being ridiculous, but I try to consider the overbuying a “contribution” to a worthy organization–both when I buy it and then when I donate it back later.

  8. Jason says:

    I love looking in second hand stores, since you never know what you’re going to find. And often there are things in there that you remember from 10-20 years ago that make you go “wow, I remember that!”

    Computer games for old games systems are a big one for me, since they were a part of my childhood. Although I only look, not buy 🙂

  9. David says:

    I always find it funny to buy something at a thrift store and then a few years later take it back there to be sold again. Ultimate recycling!

  10. Yes! Tis amasing the stuff people throw away and the crap they keep. January is a great time to score on closet clean outs and the cool gifts people didn’t want like my Black Dog Rise mukluks I bought for $10 brand new that are hand made and retail $350 online.

    All kinds of stuff can found

    Ms Shopping Golightly

  11. Dora says:

    All of my very gently used items go to thrift shops, some even not used with tags on! Some of the fanciest, well-to-do people in my area leave their pricey items at the local Salvation Army. So why not buy there?

    But I have to tell you, my Christmas shopping this year was almost as good as going to the thrift shops. I found the most amazing prices on items, discounts on the day I shopped, with coupons, with additional discounts! I found a gorgeous sweater in Macy’s(wanted it for myself, but anyway)that I expected would be under $20. When I reached the register the salesgirl told me “$7 please”. You had to hear the collective gasp from the shoppers behind me!

  12. david says:

    That’s pretty good Dora!

  13. Frugal Dad says:

    That jacket is a great find! I’m in the market for a light-weight coat myself, and you have reminded me to check out the thrift stores in my area.

  14. david says:

    Hope you find a good one FD!

  15. Amber Jones says:

    I think it is a very good idea to shop at thrift stores. And if you donate to them, then that’s even better. Too many people just toss things in the trash, forgetting that there are plenty of places that they can take those items to be put to good use.

  16. That’s a great find. My buddies were shocked when I told them I found brand new boxes of Titleist Pro V-1’s at our local Goodwill. Someone must have donated from an estate sale as they had 2 brand new boxes. Retail would have been $40 each and I picked them up for $5 each.

  17. Slinky says:

    I wore hand me downs most of my childhood with a bit of thrifting (we only bought the day’s sale items though) when I was older and we were a bit better off. Thrifting for me is like going back to that part of my life where I wasn’t at all happy, and so I don’t do it. I’ve moved on. I buy new clothes. I buy what I like and I buy what fits! I just don’t do it very often. 🙂

  18. Sam says:

    If it were me, that thing would have sold on eBay by now probably. I have noticed lots of people with the north face clothes, but I had no idea that they cost anywhere near $300! I can’t believe people pay that much for jackets.

  19. Kel says:

    The best deal I have EVER found is a brand new pair of Tempur-pedic pillows at Goodwill for $5.00 each! Those things run at least $99 each! 🙂