Sourcing Beyond the Thrift Store: Meet TJ, Ross & Gift Card Granny

Sometimes the thrift stores just don’t cut it. From what my sources tell me, depending on where you live, they may be pretty expensive as well.

Don’t want to pay $15 for that unbranded t-shirt with a hole in the armpit? I don’t blame you, I wouldn’t either.

So what do you do? Do you give up? Hell no! You have other options and other sources of inexpensive inventory (and they’re usually located right in your local strip mall).

Discount Retail Chains

Praise the God of the discount retail chain! These stores like T.J. Maxx, Ross and Nordstrom Rack have a wide selection of designer name brand items. We’re talking shoes, purses, coats, etc. Designers like Free People, Michael Kors, Miss Me Jeans, etc. right at your finger tips, and for a fraction of the cost. Why are these stores great?

  1. You can guarantee there will be name brand items. Whether or not they have discounts is a different story.
  2. People are more inclined to purchase something that is NWT (New With Tag) so it saves you and the buyer time in terms of having to document imperfections.
  3. You might be able to return the item to get your money back if the item doesn’t sell. Just make sure you check the store return policy!
  4. These store are more organized (most of the time) than thrift stores. You don’t have to spend as much time sifting through items.

Luckily for me, I live right down the street from a Ross discount retail store in Honolulu. Here are some of the items I’ve found recently:

NWT Nike Golf Dri-Fit Pants

NWT Nike Golf DRI-FIT Pants,  Retail: $82

I purchased these NWT Men’s Nike Golf Pants for $16.74 (including tax). My total profit after eBay & PayPal fees, plus $5.75 priority shipping and the cost to purchase the item was $18.41.

Rock Revival

Rock Revival NWT Frank Straight Men’s Jeans

Again, I found these at Ross for $17.79. Profit after shipping and all fees: $35.31.

Michael Kors Animal Print Faux Wrap Top

Michael Kors Animal Print Faux Wrap Top

And lastly, this little gem was on the clearance rack. The clearance sticker (peel it off before taking pictures!) was $6.99. I currently have this item listed on Poshmark for $40. Subtracting Poshmark’s 20% commission and my inital investment of $7.32, I can expect a profit of $24.68.

Discount Gift Cards

This is where things get even more fun. Did you know that people will sell discount gift cards online at a cheaper price than the actual value of the gift cards? According to Gift Card Granny you can save up to 57.9% on 128,017 discount gift cards available right now!

How does it work? You simply look up the store you’ll be shopping at (e.g., T.J. Maxx) to see what more savings you can find! For example, if you find a gift card discounted 15%, you can buy the discounted gift card and then use it to buy the discounted clearance items. Double discount!

The above three items cost me a total of $41.76. Even though I’m happy with my cumulative profit of $78.40, it could have been more had I found and purchased a Ross gift card. According to the Granny I could have save at least 10% more on my items.

Pro Tip: Bryan and I will also use this to buy gift cards to some of our favorite restaurants, like the Yard House, for example! We’re able to save nearly the full 20% tip, making the gratuity essentially free!

We mainly have used Gift Card Granny, but there are discount gift card sites you can check out like:, and

The morale of this story:

Thou shalt not pay retail!

The First Commandment according to flippers everywhere

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Welcome to Debt Free Dawn! I'm a social worker by day and second-hand clothing flipper by night (and weekends) trying to pay down $130,000 of student loan debt as quickly as possible. Please comment below with any questions and thanks for visiting my site!


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1 Comment

  1. John

    Excellent article!

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