The Life-Changing Practice of Secondhand Shopping

Have you ever admired a friend or neighbor’s style, marveling at her expansive wardrobe and beautiful home decor? I certainly have while also wondering how it’s possible to afford such luxuries, and so many of them! Over the last few years I’ve studied this phenomenon closely and have come to the following conclusion:

Maybe she’s a bajillionaire, or maybe she’s a savvy secondhand shopper. 

Let’s just hope she isn’t in severe debt. If you value quality items, that doesn’t mean you have to choose between sacrificing your life savings or never buying anything ever again. Luckily, with careful planning, access to active platforms, and the drive to find a deal, secondhand shopping is fun, sustainable, and an economically responsible choice available to all. 

Quality Over Quantity

Some may say I have “champagne taste on a beer budget” because I tend to gravitate toward higher-end items with a hefty price tag. And then I buy them… in my dreams. Maybe one day I won’t bat an eyelash at dropping $750 for a dress, but today is not that day, my friends. Not that day, indeed. 

In the real world, I take the value of my dollar very seriously. I am a hard worker and pride myself on spending my earnings as wisely as possible. My strategy is to save in order to make a limited number of big, meaningful purchases once or twice a year, rather than spend frequently at dirt cheap price points. Experience has taught me that you usually get what you pay for. Take, for example, the expensive, versatile dress that I scrimped and saved to buy in my twenties. Fifteen years later I still wear it several times a year. The Forever 21 fast fashion I once bought for nights out on the town? Only worn once before the hem started unraveling. 

However, I must admit that it’s fun to get new things more frequently, which makes me want to increase the quantity of my quality purchases. This desire didn’t feel realistic until I discovered the power of consignment, antiquing, and online Buy Sell Trade groups.

Consignment and Resale

After a death in our family in 2019, we worked with Vogt Auction here in San Antonio to manage the estate sale. It was an easy, streamlined experience during an otherwise difficult season, and we were so thankful. I became a big fan of buying and selling via consignment for the clear savings up front and high resale potential. 

Putting dollars toward a well-known, high-end luxury brand that may resell well in the future is a solid strategy, and an even better one if you don’t have to pay full price for it in the first place. Buying secondhand is a phenomenal way to acquire luxury items—and more of them—while still maintaining the integrity of your personal budget. 

There are so many wonderful venues to buy and sell consignment, but here are a few of my tried and true favorites.



Buy Sell Trade

If you want to find the real gold mine of steals and deals, look no further than Facebook Marketplace and Buy Sell Trade (BST) groups. Stay in your neighborhood or branch out globally to peruse the virtual aisles filled with treasures ready for your swift “sold” comment. From baby gear and children’s clothes, all the way to high-end furniture and hard-to-find furniture and decor, Facebook Marketplace is where it’s at. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of stuff to sort through, and sometimes it’s a lot of, well, junk. The key is to seek and join niche groups that speak to your interests. 

For example, I’m a dedicated (and I mean DEDICATED) member of two highly specific Facebook BST groups:

It’s likely that your preferred stores and brands have a dedicated BST on Facebook. Think about keywords that speak to your interests and search! A good friend of mine is obsessed with Kickee Pants, so she’s a member of several Kickee Pants dedicated groups. After finding your niche, just request to join the group (usually after answering some short application questions) and start browsing. Tip: If you see something you like, remember to act fast! The good deals get snagged quickly. 


Remember that whole “champagne taste on a beer budget” thing? A great example of that is how I love the Restoration Hardware aesthetic but should probably stick to more budget-friendly options at Target. But wait! I recently discovered the art of sorting through vintage antique shops and scoring big time! Last year I wandered into a local store on Hildebrand and found four Restoration Hardware dining chairs in excellent condition. I got the entire set for less than the price of one chair on the brand’s website. Even better than that, the chairs perfectly matched a Restoration Hardware dining table I had already purchased from a neighbor on BST. Win, win, win! 

For great antiquing and awesome owners, look no further than Lasting Impressions San Antonio.

Have I convinced you yet?

Y’all, I’m no longer interested in paying full price for well, much of anything at all. Not only am I now able to make changes to my home decor and family’s wardrobe on a more regular basis, I feel good about making used purchases over new, reducing each item’s carbon footprint by 82%! Sometimes I do pay full price for an item that I fall head over heels with (when I have the budget to make that purchase responsibly), but more often than not, secondhand is my preferred method to shop.

Originally from the Live Music Capital of the World, Katie moved about the country (Nashville, TN, Seattle, WA and Athens, GA) for several years before settling in the Alamo City with her husband and young family in 2018. She's a lifestyle portrait photographer (always finding the good light), outdoorsy (…as in she likes to drink on patios), and an audiobook and podcast enthusiast (especially psychological thrillers). When she isn’t behind a camera or laptop, Katie is exploring the world with her husband, delightful daughter (2018), cheeky son (2021), and tiny pup. You can find her on Instagram (@hersideproject). Favorite Restaurant: Paloma Blanca 🕊️ Favorite Landmark: Mission Marquee Plaza Favorite San Antonio Tradition: Cascarones