How a Thrift Store Helped Turn My Life Around

I know the title sounds a like click bait and makes you think how can a thrift store turn a persons life around but in my case I have a distinct memory of when it happened. Currently I am a 41 year old man with a wonderful wife of 15 years. I have four great kids from 18 to age 3 and I have a great career. I have put myself through collage and gotten an MBA. I also have 2 side businesses. All of this has been great but now lets rewind the time before I was successful.

image of the Marine Corp flag

In 2004 I just finished my service in the Marine Corps, and I just finished going through a divorce. So to say I was broke well that was an understatement. I had a few pairs of jeans and some t-shirts. I was living on my aunts couch and it was time to start making my way in the world. I put in a bunch of applications and finally got the phone call for an interview.

I had around $30 bucks to my name and the job was for a technical writer in an office. I knew I could not walk into this interview with a pair of ripped jeans and a TOOL T-shirt. Not knowing what to do my aunt mentioned checking out the local thrift store. I truthfully had not been to one before at that time.

What I learned when I went into the Thrift Store

When I walked in I was blown away by the amount of stuff in the store and I was a little confused on the layout of the place. I ended up spending a hour or two looking around and ended up coming home with 3 nice shirts and 2 paid of dress slacks. I already had a belt and shoes.

The key thing I learned in the thrift store was there are deals to be had if you will take the time to look around. Its not like a department store which has multiple of ever item in all sizes. In a thrift store you are searching the racks and trying to find your size while also trying to find something you like. I can still remember picking out so many shirts and then being sad when my size was not around.

How did it work out

I ended up getting the job which helped me meet my wife and mother of my children. While at that job I got motivated to get my college degree and move up in the company. I also took my first check and filled my closet full of more thrifted items because my 3 shirts started getting old after two weeks of work.

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As I look back I remember how my wife gave me a look when I pulled up at a thrift store when we where shopping for clothes. After I pulled her inside and got her over her own misconceptions she started looking around. Then the shopper came out of her and a tornado of clothes came flying at me to try on. From that point we moved on to couponing and all kinds of great ideas that helped us save money. We look back now and it makes us smile for the things we did when we were newly married. Even though our income was very low we never went without.


Thrift stores helped to turn my life around. I went from living on a coach to living a pretty great life. As parents or newly married couples thrift stores like can really help you feel great without spending every dime you have. If you are ever looking for more knowledge on being a father or side hustles check out my blog