ThredUp: My New Shopping Addiction

ThredUp combines my two favorite things: eco (and wallet) friendly clothes plus online shopping! I have no idea how they keep up with demand and I don’t understand how they can afford to sell clothes for as cheap as $2… but I’ve just received my first order of 24 fabulous pieces of clothing that is my treasure after being discarded as someone’s trash.

Take a look at ThredUp before you read my ramblings, but if you get caught up shopping, don’t forget to use this link that will get both of us $10! Before you get overwhelmed with all the filters, links and options take a deep breath and review my ThredUp Guide below:

1. Make an account

I always groan when I’m asking to create a new account somewhere… I always forget the password and I get a spammed mailbox. The reason I am telling you to make an account with ThredUp is to save more than just your shopping cart:

2. Set up and save your filters

Once you have an account you can save your filters! Any time you search for something, you can save the search and access it easily if you didn’t find what you were looking for the first time.

You can chose between new items with labels, gently used, on sale, in someone else’s cart (we’ll get to that later), by style, by color, by brand and so many more options. When you fist create an account, it’ll ask about your size and that part will auto select each time you search, however you can always edit these. Now back to the cart thievery…

3. Browse the sales and other people’s shopping carts

When you add something to the cart, you don’t just save it for later, you reserve it for 24 hours! This means that no one else can buy the item that’s sitting in your cart. This is what makes ThredUp so genius and user friendly!

While the item is in your cart, it can still be found if another user selects the option of seeing what is in other people’s carts. If you like an item that’s already reserved, you get get in line and get notified if they end up changing their minds or letting the 24 hour period expire. Be careful though, because your cart (holding a max of 25 items) can expire too!

4. Click buy – but don’t forget about the bundle 

Let’s say you don’t want to miss out on something, but you hate paying shipping fees. ThredUp has a solution for this too! You can buy individual items and add them to your bundle. You will pay shipping, but you can keep adding to your bundle for up to a week!

Once you reach $80 on your bundle, the shipping deposit will be refunded to you. You can also change your mind and have the bundle shipped whenever you want. Spending $80 on second hand clothes can seem daunting but ThredUp offers some fancy designer clothes! Plus, think about how much you’d pay for Levis jeans?

5. Share with your friends and family in exchange for $$$

As.I mentioned before, if you refer a friend, you will both get a gift card! It’s just $10, but if you have a group of shopper friends, then you could get enough to buy yourself that cute coach bag. Oh yeah, ThredUp offers bags and shoes as well as clothes!

6. Donate the clothes you don’t like back to ThredUp

Many of the clothes you buy from ThredUp can be returned (although some are not-returnable, just read the fine print). But once your closet seems full of clothes that you are no longer wearing, you can always donate them to ThredUp to re-sell! They offer Clean Out Kit that comes with a polka dot bag and a shipping label to make it hassle free for you.

7. FINAL TIP – Get all the discounts!

I bet you’re already dying to shop, but bear with me for one more minute. I recommend making your first order before you get the app. Use your computer and order as much as you want because you get 50% off your first order!!!

Once you download the app, you will get a 20% discount that cannot be combined with the 50%, so make sure to use these separately for the greatest discount! Now what are your waiting for? Go shop until you drop! Oh yeah, and don’t forget about my link.

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Second Hand Shopping & Dumpster (Curb) Diving in NYC

Second hand shopping has been a passion of mine for a while now for two reasons. First, there’s the positive environmental impact of reusing an item that would have ended up in the landfill and negating the negative impact of production costs for a new item – especially if it’s clothing or furniture.

Secondly, there is the thrill of getting a great deal on an item that someone didn’t see the value in. If done right, there are no cons in thrifting, second hand shopping, dumpster diving, re-using and re-purposing, whatever you want to call it!

Before you get too excited and head off to a local vintage store in Manhattan, prepare yourself. Not all second-hand stores are made equal. The first time I decided to go shopping in the city, I was browsing racks of second hand jackets that ranged from $50 to $300… that is when I realized that second hand doesn’t mean cheap. This is not a bad thing.

Shopping for used items isn’t just for people on a budget. Entering a second-hand store is like gambling. You do not know what you will find, if you will get ripped off or if you will go home with a steal! That’s what’s so thrilling about it.

Although, as I’ve mentioned, thrifting isn’t jut for those on a budget, I happen to be on one. In about two months I will no longer be blogging about New York because Isaac and I are moving to our very own house in Rhode Island.

It’s funny to mention buying a house in an article about second hand shopping. Unless you are buying a brand new house or build one just for you, you are technically buying a used or second-hand home. Just like with any other gently-used item, you can outfit the home to suit your needs and match your style!

Anyway, going from a shoebox New York apartment to a four bedroom house (which will ironically save us money FYI) comes with its perks as well as challenges. We will need a ridiculous amount of furniture to turn the empty shell of a house into a home.

If we had the budget for it, we’d be visiting antique stores and buying beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces for hundreds of dollars. This is something we will work up to as we shop Savers, my favorite second hand store, and while we scavenge the streets for the biggest risk of all – free furniture.

My next article will be exclusively about Savers, the closest one to New York City is on Long Island near Hempstead. Let me end this post with the pros and cons of finding free furniture on the street.

Brooklyn, and specifically Bushwick, where we will live for two more months, is littered with free furniture all year round. As exciting as finding free furniture is, it happens to be a hit and miss as well as quite risky when it comes to your health.

Pros: it’s free! You can find perfectly clean, high quality and even antique furniture that someone was too lazy to sell or take to a second hand store. Some of these items are the very same you’d be spending hundreds of dollars on at a fancy vintage store. These items, however, are rare and you have to be incredibly lucky to find them.

Cons: bed bugs. There are other cons like, it may be dirty, bad quality, peed on by a passing dog (or human). But nothing is worse that the risk of bed bugs. There are articles on signs of bedbugs that you can study and examine. Bed bugs can live in wooden furniture as well as sofas/mattresses.

Pro tip: find out what day trash pick up is. Since leaving furniture out on the curb is technically illegal, people are more likely to sneak their furniture out on these days because they are less likely to get caught.

I have heard my fair share of horror stories related to bed bugs and some kind people who throw out furniture will stick on a note on if there is a potential bed bug risk. But not everyone is that nice and they may not know. Make sure to watch a YouTube video on what to look for. Make sure to check every crack, corner and crevice before you bring anything home.

If you want to avoid these dangers, stick to Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and garage sales. Although it’s still possible that you will buy something with bed bugs in it, people are less likely to sell something that they know will get them bad feedback/angry reviews.

Garage sales are especially great for buyers because the sellers just want to get rid of stuff and will likely sell things at ridiculous prices – like our new incredibly comfy, barely used, leather computer chair for $20. Something that a second hand furniture store would re-sell at at least $60+.

Stay tuned for my article about Savers including info about the type of items they sell, prices and their twice a year 50% off all item sales. If you have any comments, complaints, tips about second hand shopping or dumpster (curb) diving, leave a comment bellow!

10 Reasons NOT to get a Tesla

…and why they’re all FALSE! You may have some doubts about buying a Tesla, or maybe you’re considering grabbing yourself a Model 3 but your brother-in-law told you it’s a bad idea. This list will dispel some of the false rumors and misconceptions about this beautiful car! Don’t forget to scroll to the end and use my referral code to get 1,000 free miles of charging!

1. It’s only for the super-rich

Not anymore! Yes, the first Tesla Model S had a base price of $60,000 and didn’t have any financing options. However, a couple years ago, Elon Musk promised to produce a $35,000 Tesla in the near future. It took quite a bit longer than people expected, and many didn’t even believe him, but finally, that vision has been realized, with the base price of the Tesla Model 3 now standing at exactly $35,000. Of course, this is without all the bells and whistles, and without the coveted autopilot feature, but the reality is that you can now get a fully electric vehicle that will take you 220 miles per charge for a relatively affordable price. If you put $5,000 down, you’re looking at as little as $485 a month, according to Tesla’s estimation tool. Want to add the autopilot later? You can do that with the click of a button and $4,000 any time you want ($1,000 more than buying it initially).

2. There’s a long waiting list to get one

Also false! This was true several years ago, when the waiting times could be over a year, but now you can get your hands on the Model 3 in a matter of weeks. If you’re going with the base price, the “Standard Range,” you’re going to be waiting 6-8 weeks if you live in New York. If you spring for the “Standard Plus” for a couple thousand bucks extra, you’ll be behind the wheel in as little as a week!

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3. It’ll be outdated in a few years

With high tech gadgets becoming such a large component in cars these days, especially Teslas, it’s easy to worry that the car will be outdated in a couple of years, much like a computer or a smartphone. Tesla goes out of their way to produce hardware that is capable of being upgrade though software patches and updates. Take this huge performance upgrade for example. You don’t need to be jealous of the newer model your cousin got last week, because chances are your older model will still get the same upgrades. Maybe some minor tweaks will be made to future models, but I don’t expect any that will outdate a Model 3 in less than ten years.

4. It’s unsafe

First of all, this is ridiculous. Tesla has been granted a five-star safety rating by the NHTSA, making it one of the safest cars in the world. You might also be thinking “Wait – we have all these laws that you can’t look at a phone while you’re driving. Now they’re putting a 15-inch touchscreen on the dash? One you’re supposed to operate while driving?” Well, all the information you would normally have on the dash are displayed on the screen, and changing the climate and audio controls has been on touch screens in cars for years. Once you are used to it, it won’t be difficult to adjust the radio or climate using the screen. You need to look at the knobs in a normal car anyway, so this isn’t any more distracting. For more in-depth things like plotting a route or making a playlist, we recommend pulling over or doing it ahead of your trip, us tike you would on a smartphone.

5. There’s no way the auto pilot can be accurate…

Letting the car drive itself on the highway can be scary. But after spending some time behind the wheel, it’s definitely accurate enough to trust. You should absolutely never take your eyes off the road in case something does go wrong though, and in case you need to, disengaging the autosteer and cruise control is as easy as tapping the brakes. The car even reminds you to put your hands on the wheel every few minutes, to make sure you’re paying attention.

6. Road trips are impossible

If you’re opting to at least spring for the Standard Plus on the Model 3, you’re looking at 240 miles of range per charge. That’s just enough to get from Boston to New York City. But what if you want to take it further? What about a road trip to the Keys for Spring Break? Hello, Supercharger Stations. Tesla will automatically plan your route to stop at Supercharger Stations along the way. In August 2018, there were 10,836 Superchargers in operation at 1,339 stations around the world. Tesla has announced that is plants to double this by the end of 2019. If you were to charge from 0% to 100% it would take around 75 minutes, but that isn’t the most time-efficient method since the car will slow down its charging after around 75%. The recommended way to do it is to charge up to 80% whenever you get down to 20%. This can be done in about 30 minutes, giving you just enough time to grab some food and use the bathroom every 150 miles or so. Admittedly this takes longer than filling up on gas, but it’s worth the money saved.

7. They’re tiny and have very little storage

When you first look inside the Model 3, it does seem that there isn’t much storage space. Open the trunk, and the space seems pretty small. But upon closer inspection, you’ll see that the bottom of the trunk opens up to more storage space. Added to that, in the place where an engine would be on a traditional car, there’s an additional storage compartment. You’re still looking at a bit less storage than a typical sedan, but it’s not too shabby.

Tesla

8. Electricity costs the same as gas anyway

Nope. Let’s say that on a 2019 Honda Accord, you get around 26 MPG on average. That’s about 4 gallons to 100 miles, costing about $11 as of this writing. The Tesla Model 3 takes 27 kWh to go 100 miles, which currently costs $7.56 at Supercharger Stations. Rounding down, that’s a savings of around $3.50 every time you go 100 miles, or about 3.5 cents per mile. It may not sound like a lot, but after a year of driving 15,000 miles, you’ve already saved $525. And that’s just at Supercharger Stations. Charging at home can be much cheaper, depending on the price of your electricity at home.

9. It takes forever to charge the battery

This is both true and false. As previously mentioned, it would take around 75 minutes to charge from 0% to 100% at a Supercharger Station. You wouldn’t ever really do that, but that’s the maximum you’d ever wait. The car’s navigation system will automatically find the best route for you to charge along the way, including recommending how long to charge for. At home though, it can take as long as four days to charge on a standard 120 v outlet. With a “Level 2” charger, the kind many washers and dryers use, you can get 9-52 miles of range per hour of charging, which should be enough to get you to and from work the next day. Consider what kinds of plugs you have at home, and how close you live to Supercharger Station before you buy.

10. They’re just as bad for the environment as a traditional gas car

No way! There seems to be a lot of people out there who claim that the generation of electricity for electric vehicles has just big of a carbon footprint as any other car. Well, a little research is all it takes to show that gas cars produce, on average, twice as much carbon as electric vehicles, including the cost of producing the car.

There you have it! 10 Reasons Not to get a Tesla, and why they’re all just plain wrong!

Interested in getting a Tesla, and want 1,000 free miles of charging at Supercharger Stations? Use this code!

Have any of your own tips? Any other concerns about buying a Model 3? Leave them in the comments below!

Drizly Review: Alcohol Deliveries within the Hour

We placed the order and then we waited… but not for long. Within a minute the order was processed, boxed and out for delivery! Only half an hour later we got a phone call that the wine was here. We just had to show some ID proving we were over 21 (which we unfortunately are) and the wine was ours! 

Yesterday was a cold, lazy Friday night after a long week of work. Isaac and I really wanted a bottle of wine to go with the pizza that we ordered online on Grub Hub but we didn’t want to brave the outdoors for alcohol, so we finally tried Drizly.

This app that promises alcohol deliveries within an hour also happened to have a great selection for reasonable prices. There is a $19 minimum so we got 2 bottles of Dark Horse Cabernet Sauvignon for just over $20 including tax and tip. Before ordering, Isaac tried Retail Me Not, an app that claims to find you coupons/discounts on things.

We were skeptical that it would work on another obscure app like Drizly, but to our surprise, we got a $5 discount on the already cheap wine with free delivery! It was all too good to believe.

We placed the order and then we waited… but not for long. Within a minute the order was processed, boxed and out for delivery! Only half an hour later we got a phone call that the wine was here. We just had to show some ID proving we were over 21 (which we unfortunately are) and the wine was ours!

Our first experience with Drizly was great and we will definitely be trying it again. Previously, we had tried to use it to buy some almond Baileys, which isn’t commonly sold in stores and that was more difficult. It was being sold for $6 more than average and shipping was $10. But if you’re in a pinch then it’s a great option even with the extra cost.

I definitely recommend you to try it out and feel free to post how it went in the comment section below. Cheers!

Haggling for a Tailor-Made Suit at Shanghai’s AP Plaza’s Fake Market

In China, most consumer items are cheaper than almost anywhere else in the world. As we have posted before, Taobao is usually our go-to place for cheap goods, especially clothes. However, this particular item I wanted to buy in person. In person, you can get accurate measurements, try on the suit when it’s finished, and of course, in China you can take part in a coveted sport of sorts: haggling!

Recently I found myself in Shanghai’s AP plaza haggling for a tailor-made suit. I had recently realized that my wardrobe was missing this crucial component. Over the years I had accumulated several pieces of second-hand suits that I would splice together as best I could for any formal event. It had gotten to the point where, when preparing for the Titanic Experience back in November, I’d ended up wearing a pair of dress pants from Savers, a second-hand shirt donated by a friend, a suit jacket from the Salvation Army, and a suit vest whose origin I can’t even remember. Suffice it to say, I was in dire need of an all-purpose suit that actually fit me!

In China, most consumer items are cheaper than almost anywhere else in the world. As we have posted before, Taobao is usually our go-to place for cheap goods, especially clothes. However, this particular item I wanted to buy in person. In person, you can get accurate measurements, try on the suit when it’s finished, and of course, in China you can take part in a coveted sport of sorts: haggling!

If you live in Shanghai, you must be familiar with the famous “AP Plaza” or “Fake Market” inside the Science and Technology Museum metro station. A friend had recommended me a specific place for suits in this market, so I headed straight there, ignoring the calls for overpriced and clearly fake watches along the way.

My wife Olena hates being around me when I do it, but I love the sport of haggling. I’ll cover the process in another article, but their starting price was 1,200 RMB for one three-piece suit (jacket, pants and vest). Of course, I knew that was far too much. I even had them look up my friend’s name in their system so I could prove to them that I knew the price was lower. In the end, I managed to secure a jacket, vest, two pairs of pants, a shirt and two ties for 900 RMB ($136 USD at this writing). That’s not bad, considering a good quality suit in the USA can cost upwards of $1,000!

If you find yourself in need of a suit, go ahead and hop on Line 2 and go to the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum stop in Pudong. From there, you can’t miss the AP Plaza. Look at the numerals above the shops and ignore everyone around you. Almost everything at this plaza is overpriced junk bought on Taobao. You’re looking for Samth’s Tailor, at room K1-50. Once there, tell them your friend Isaac sent you. They’ll look me up in the system (Isaac Roosa) and you can get the exact same price. They might try to tell you the price as increased since then, but be firm. Pack up your things and make to leave if you need to! Eventually, you’ll get the right price.

Taobao Trendy: Online Bargains in China

When I’m not traveling, crafting or telling other people to eat insects even though I don’t anymore, I’m trying not to shop because I have way too many clothes. How did I go from moving to China with five suitcases between Isaac and myself to having piles of clothes over the apartment and bursting out of my closet? Taobao.

I’ve never been much of a shopper because going to shopping malls is exhausting and sometimes unproductive. The clothes are either too expensive, too long for my short limbs or not available in the one color or size that I actually want. Taobao fixes all of these problems and adds the excitement of finding the best price and waiting for the package to arrive.

Most of the clothes that I buy on Taobao fall into one of two categories:

  • Cheap, mass produced clothes made in China that I buy one of every color in (plain cotton T-shirts that are 56 cm long, a.k.a the only t-shirts that aren’t too long for me and dresses with fun prints that I can’t get enough of)
  • Overstocked/second hand items from nice brands that were either stolen from/donated by/I have no idea how they get them from Western companies.

The first is the risky kind. “Made in China” can sometimes mean bad quality, although that is quickly changing and China makes literally everything even if it’s not clearly labelled. So many Chinese products, even knockoffs, are great items and sometimes, like in the case of the Yi Action camera, they are even better than the original!

Scrolling through all the provided info and reading (or in my case, Google translating) can give you a lot of information like the material, the exact sizes and sometimes even pictures of a model wearing the clothes with the details of her height and weight. However, all of this information could be completely untrue! So head down to the comments.

In the comment section you will see people complimenting the packaging, saying if the sizes fit, and sometimes there will be photos of the people wearing the item which can help you gage the size. People will say whether or not the item arrived as expected (Chinese people do NOT hold back) and whether the seller was easy to communicate with.

If there are no comments and no one ever bought the item, you’re going in blind. Even if you find the same item in a different shop, it could be completely different and not at all what the photos show! If you still want to buy it, check out other items in the store and their reputability. Zero buys and reviews doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t be authentic… it just means that you might be disappointed! Or not.

I’ve received many items that didn’t fit, that I didn’t like or simply changed my mind about. The great thing about Taobao is that you can return anything that’s not a food or an animal within seven days without explanation! If the seller doesn’t reimburse you within a week, Taobao will do it. Sending it back via door-to-door delivery has never cost me more than 15 RMB ($2) even when it was a lot of stuff going to traveling to the farthest most remote corner of China.

When it comes to my second category of bought items, the rules for buying are pretty much the same. But to be honest, I don’t have a trick for finding these magical shops that sell items like $60 Mango dresses with the original price tag still on for 10 RMB ($1.50). It also isn’t always obvious that the close are from these brands… that could be for copyright issues. The Chinese government has been cracking down on Taobao and getting rid of shops with copyrighted items, like re-printed books.

One of my more recent orders was what I assumed was second-hand clothing. It turned out to be all brand new items with all their original tags from a variety of stores ranging from Walmart to Reserved. Strangely enough, my $40 Reserved denim jacket cost 13 RMB ($2) which was half the price of the $5 Walmart shirt… apparently the original cost or brand plays no role the pricing. This is what makes all this online shopping in China thing so crazy and addictive!

I’ve actually had to uninstall my Taobao account (again) to avoid buying even more amazing and cheap clothes. After all, I won’t be living in China forever and I’ve already taken four suitcases jam-packed with new clothes to store with family. Chinese apartments weren’t made from Taobao shopaholics like me!

Enjoy your shopping and share your most exciting purchases/bargains in the comments below 🙂