A Funky Paradise for Cost-Conscious Shopaholics

Thrift shopping has become my new addiction. I love bringing secondhand clothes back to life, and thrift store buys are always affordable. But sometimes it can be discouraging. I often leave the local Goodwill empty handed after hunting through racks of summer camp tee shirts and shoulder pads. The trick to thrift shopping is knowing the right places to look, and recently I found the jackpot for secondhand steals.

 Buffalo Exchange sells only stylish, quality secondhand items, which means you won't find any of grandma's old Christmas sweaters. When I visited the Philadelphia location, I brought armfuls of skirts, tops, and dresses into the fitting room. I wanted to buy it all, but I limited myself to one killer dress and a funky turquoise necklace. Total price: $20.

I loved Buffalo Exchange so much that I had to travel back into the city for a second helping. This time, I brought bags of clothes, shoes, and accessories with me that I was able to exchange for half the price they’d sell for. I could’ve opted for 30 percent of the selling price in cash, but the store credit was a better deal and I planned to make a few purchases anyway.

The lady behind the counter had a funky, eclectic style that complimented her tattoos. I was surprised when she recognized me, and we instantly hit it off. She let me shop as she sorted through my donations.

At one point, "It’s Raining Men" by the Weather Girls blasted through the speakers. The entire store sang and shopped in unison, including the employees. The experience as a whole was a refreshing alternative to my usual department store shopping sprees, and the friendly vibes made shopping that much more satisfying. I left Buffalo Exchange with a bagful of clothes and an ear-to-ear grin that stayed plastered on my face even after I realized that my parking meter had expired.

Not only does Buffalo Exchange make shoppers happier by offering amazing secondhand purchases, the company helps improve the environment. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, about 10.6 million tons of textiles were generated in 2003, making up 4 percent  of total U.S. municipal solid waste. Reusing old clothes and accessories helps decrease the amount of waste we create. In addition, Buffalo Exchange has saved millions of bags by offering shoppers a token instead of a shopping bag. For each token, the store also donates five cents to a charity of the shopper’s choice.

There are currently thirty Buffalo Exchange locations in twelve states, including stores in major cities like New York City, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Chicago. Don’t have a Buffalo Exchange in your town? Don’t fret – there are plenty of thrift stores around the country. To find thrift stores in your area, visit thethriftshopper.com.

Head on over to 1,000 Dreams Fund to learn how to get funding for your dreams!