Hey Macklemore, can we go thrift shopping?

Among buying groceries and textbooks, paying for gas and living off minimum wage, for most college students there isn’t much money left to spend on ourselves.

This means cutting back on things that you may want, but don’t necessarily need to survive. For me, this was an updated wardrobe every season. Until I realized that maybe, just maybe, there was some truth behind Macklemore’s hit song.

“About 20% of people shop in thrift stores regularly, compared with about 14% in 2008,” said Britt Beemer, founder of America’s Research Group, in an article on usatoday.com.

Thrift shops have become much more popular in the last few years, owing in part to the recession that hit America so hard in the last year or two, the article said. People found they could save money while still wearing trendy clothing, at sometimes more than half the price.

I used thrift stores like Goodwill and St. Vinnie’s only when shopping for Halloween costumes, or maybe when I’m bored and want to go on a cheap adventure. After moving in with a roommate who works at Plato’s Closet, which buys and sells gently used clothing, I wondered if there was more to thrift shops than just costumes.

Another benefit of thrift shopping is it’s very unlikely you’ll run into someone else wearing the same thing as you. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spent a decent amount of money on a shirt, only to see two or three other girls wearing it in the coming weeks.

“People today take pride in being individual and unique … and one way to achieve this kind of originality is by buying retro and vintage items that are no longer in production,” Irma Zandl, president of a company that tracks consumer and lifestyle trends, said in the USA TODAY article.

Not to mention, you get the pleasure of watching the looks on people’s faces when you tell them your designer shirt only cost a couple dollars.

There are some things to be careful of, though. You do want to make sure you’re getting the most for your money. It’s important to know what to look for when thrift shopping.

According to getrichslowly.org, there are “18 top tips” you should know when thrift shopping. Some of these include washing clothing as soon as you get home and making sure to thoroughly examine before purchasing.

No matter the price, it isn’t fun to come home and find a stain on your brand-new (at least to you) shirt.

More than just clothing, most thrift stores sell accessories, movies and even furniture. You know that house you just signed a lease for next year? It might not be a bad idea to look into some cheap furniture, considering you probably won’t be using it for more than a couple of years.

As a college student, I know what it means to save money, but when it comes to shopping I sometimes forget how hard that is. Thrift shops allow you to still indulge in this pastime without breaking the bank.

With 13 thrift stores in the Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls area, according to yellowpages.com, there aren’t many reasons not to at least stop by and check them out.

Who knows what you can get with that $20 in your pocket?