October 28, 2020

Students thrift to save money

Student debt reached an all-time high of $1.4 trillion in 2019. Across St. Louis, students have begun seeking ways to make money while still maintaining their school schedules. 

For Desi Huddleston, a senior at University of Missouri St. Louis (UMSL), the answer to her financial problems came in the form of an app called Depop.

“I started using it just to get rid of stuff in my personal closet, but I have such a thrifting addiction. I started flipping clothes,” Huddleston said. “This past week, I made over $100 in profit.”

Huddleston joins 13 million users in buying and selling the clothes she finds. Huddleston has over 1,000 followers on the app. Her followers can rate the purchases they have made from her and put detailed reviews for other users to see. With a total of 95 pieces sold, Huddleston has a 4.9 rating on the app.

When selling, the app walks users through the process. Sellers take photos of their clothes, enter a brief description of what the piece looks like and then determine the price of clothing. Interested buyers can comment on these posts to bargain on prices or trade for an item in their own shop. 

Rebecca Helman, who has been a thrifter for three years now, uses Depop to find bargains on clothes she may not be able to find in a store.

“I used to have this mindset that thrift shopping was for people who may be less fortunate, and I never really showed interest,” Helman said. “I realized most of the time the thrifted items are in great condition, and there’s nothing gross or weird about thrift shopping.”

Not all thrifting that saves and makes students money has to be online. Students like Michael Forrest, a junior at Webster, prefer to go to stores like Savers and Goodwill. Forrest has saved over $200 by thrifting his clothes instead of buying new ones.

“Most of these places are way too overpriced, especially compared to going to a thrift shop,” Forrest said, “I could find a cool Hawaiian shirt for around $5 thrifting rather than paying $50 for the same looking shirt somewhere new.”

Forrest uses the money he saves to buy books and other supplies for his classes. Huddleston uses her extra money for bills and for the fun things she wants to do outside of school, such as concerts or festivals.

Brick-and-mortar thrift stores have racks and racks of clothing to sort through. Apps have pages and pages of clothing to scroll through. Huddleston, Helman and Forrest all agreed on one characteristic when it came to thrifting either online or in-store.

“You can find cool clothes at any thrift store,” Forrest said. “Patience is your best friend when thrifting.”

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