How thrifting can save San Antonio shoppers money on back-to-school items

SAN ANTONIO – High retail prices and inflation are forcing many parents to think of different ways to do their back-to-school shopping. One of those options could be visiting an area thrift store.

Northside ISD teacher and mother Patricia Hernandez considers herself and avid thrift shopper. She spent part of her Monday afternoon searching for back-to-school items at Thrift City near Leon Valley.

“I like to look for the best prices, but I feel that coming here, it’s just so well worth it for the money, for my gas time,” Hernandez said.

As students get set to start the school year, many families are struggling with the rising costs of school clothing and items at retail stores. Hernandez said thrift shops are a good way to stretch your dollar.

“I find it all at one place and yes, it’s a little used, but it’s okay,” Hernandez said.

Thrift City manager Melissa Tullos said they have noticed more families at the store over the past few weeks and compared to last year.

“They say, ‘I’m shopping here more than I was before because prices just keep going up’ and they can’t keep up with it, especially if they have more than one child,” Tullos said. “Buying a lot of clothing, a lot of shoes as well. Shoes have gotten very expensive, everything kind of has.”

According to the National Retail Federation, families with children from elementary to high school plan to spend an average of $864 this year on school items. That is about $15 more than last year.

An NRF report also stated that spending has increased since the start of the pandemic as families send kids back to the classroom. Compared to 2019, back-to-school shoppers are expected to spend $168 more on average.

Tullos said Thrift City has several back-to-school items with jeans as low as $4 a pair and items such as backpacks ranging anywhere from $4 to $6. A school binder costs about $2. Tullos said people should think about thrifting if possible. They could find great deals and quality items. The store will also take part in tax-free weekend.

“Anything that would be unusable or is a lower quality we would not put on on the floor,” Tullos said. “Our goal is to put out usable good items for people.”

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