The cost of living in Austin may be on the rise, but just because you have less money in your pocket doesn’t mean you have to compromise your lifestyle.
With gas prices topping $4 a gallon, rents up 25-40%, and reports showing Austin residents are paying more in household bills than any other city in Texas, you could find yourself with less cheddar than you are used to at this time of year.
In addition to cutting expenses, saving is a great way to stretch your dollar a little more. The average American spends $1,700 on clothes a year, 85% of which ends up in landfills, making second-hand shopping a greener, more affordable, and almost equally fashionable option.
These local thrift stores sell most everyday items for a fraction of the price if you don’t mind a little wear and tear.
Best Antiques: Uncommon Items, 1602 Fortview Rd.
You won’t find clothes at Uncommon Objects, but you will find plenty of items from yesteryear to bring home. Since 1991, the store has sold items from “your quirky uncle’s attic on steroids,” connecting Austin residents to relics of the past. The items inside start at just a few dollars, but vary due to the wide variety. Many of these items have passed through many hands – it doesn’t get greener than that!
Best for finding clothes on a budget: Texas Thrift, 5319 N Interstate Hwy 35
This enormous North Austin warehouse is filled with so many used clothing racks that it would be nearly impossible to browse through them all in one visit. You’re probably not going to find a Gucci or Christian Louboutins tracksuit while browsing the shelves, but you’re almost certain to walk away with at least one new-to-you piece of clothing that matches your style for less than $10.
Best for trendy finds: Uptown Cheapskate, multiple locations
While it may be a little more expensive than the regular thrift store, Uptown Cheapskate is stocked with gently worn designer clothes for a fraction of the new price. Uptown both buys and sells clothes that have hit stores in the last two years, meaning you’ll find brands like Free People, Zara, Nike and Patagonia in near-new condition. Austinia reporter Claire Partain tagged a pair from Steve Madden last week for less than $15.
Best Variety: Far Out Home Fittings, 1500 W Ben White Blvd.
With a complete “Funkyard” out back, antiques, oddities, furniture, jewelry and trinkets are the specialty of Far Out Home Fittings. This isn’t the place to come if you’re looking for something specific, but if you’re open to a digging adventure, you’ll likely find something you didn’t know you needed, from furniture to jewelry to musical instruments. Our favorite Far Out finds: $5 gold chains, a vintage crank whip, and long-forgotten signal letters.
Craft Supplies: Austin Creative Reuse, 2005 Wheless Ln.
“Don’t waste, don’t want” would be a good tagline for Austin Creative Reuse, where you can find partially used art supplies that would otherwise have been thrown away. Looking to make your own clothes? ACR has shelves upon shelves of fabric and yarn mostly under a dollar a yard. Accessories? There are plenty of beads and threads. Scrap paper, paint, mosaics, magnets, zippers, sequins, loose finds and workshops to teach you how to be yourself.
Furnishings: Salvation Army, multiple locations
If you’re a TikTok fan, you’ve probably wanted to try your hand at upcycling – reusing items in a way that makes them just as valuable or more valuable than the original – at least once or twice and the Salvation Army is the place to start. This store has it all: clothes, shoes, accessories, electronics, art, and furniture just begging for a makeover with a little TLC.
Vintage mode and variety: Pavement, multiple locations
Shelves upon shelves of mixed modern and vintage clothing await you at Pavement, which is known for its legendary sales to fill. Meanwhile, its shoe and accessory walls are almost as spacious as its clothing selection while maintaining a balance between current fashions and styles of yesteryear. The clothes at Pavement are not the more affordable, but it will still bring you lower prices than most prices at vintage and new clothing stores.