Guide to thrifting on a student budget

How, when and where to to get started with your new type of shopping.        

Photo by: Valgerdur Lilja Björnsdottir

Guide to thrifting on a student budget

By: Valgerdur Lilja Björnsdottir

Published 12 May 2021

With environmental anxiety on the rise and more pressure than ever to have an aesthetically pleasing home and trendy clothes due to social media, I felt sort of trapped and had no clue how to achieve a peace of mind in an extremely consumerist society that pushed new trends on me every week. I could buy sustainably and ethically made clothing and furniture that cost half my rent but as a student on a budget that is just not very realistic. That’s why I started thrifting and so far it has saved my closet, apartment and wallet.

Why shop second hand?

I wrote an article on thrifting for the latest physical issue of SUM where I went into detail about the pros and cons of thrifting. You can read it online by clicking here. To summarise, my love for second hand clothing and furniture can be boiled down to three main reasons: affordability, uniqueness and creative expression and at last sustainability and ethics.


I’m daring to assume that most of the people reading this are on a student budget and like me don’t have a lot of extra money to spend. I think the affordability of thrifting is its main selling point among younger consumers along with the ethical and sustainable aspects – everyone likes a good deal. By shopping second hand you are not only saving money but you are also setting a standard for producers to work towards. Obviously not everyone will agree with me here, but I do believe that we have power as consumers and by changing our behaviors and patterns we can create changes in the industry. 

But where do you start? There are endless possibilities and it might seem slightly overwhelming. That’s why I would like to share my best tips and favorite locations here in Malmö with you.

How to shop?

  1. First of all, you will need patience. Just like us, thrift stores have good days and bad days. Some days you might find a jacket you like as soon as you step into the store, other days you might leave empty handed.

  2. Speaking of patience, take your time while in the store and look through all of the racks and shelves – you might miss out on some hidden gems if you’re in a hurry.

  3. ALWAYS try the clothing on – clothing sizes are a lie and can vary from producer to producer. Also, while you are at it, thoroughly examine the condition of the product you are buying. It really sucks to find a perfect pair of pants only to realise there’s a hole you have no idea how to fix when you are going to wear them out for the first time.

  4. Learn how to sew. I’m not talking about fancy stitches and creating a garment from scratch, but I highly recommend that you learn how to take in waists, shorten pants and fix holes.

  5. Have fun with it! Thrift stores are full of diverse clothing styles and are an excellent arena to get creative with your personal style. Bring a friend with you and make the shopping trip fun and worth your while: try styles and patterns that are out of your comfort zone, let your friend pick out an outfit for you to try on and put on the biggest hats you can find. You might fall in love with a piece that you never would have considered otherwise.

Where to shop?

The stores mentioned below are just a small part of what Malmö has to offer when it comes to thrift shopping as there are so many more stores to explore.

Malmö second hand map
Second hand stores in Malmö.
  • Beyond RetroClaesgatan 8 (Mitt Möllan)
  • BjörkåSecondhand (BjörkåFrihet/Emmaus) – Södra Förstadsgatan 14
  • DACAPO – Regementsgatan 10
  • Humana Second Hand – Möllevångsgatan 29B
  • Mani – Davidhallsgatan 8
  • Myrorna – Södra Förstadsgatan 74A & Ystadsvägen 19
  • Nirvana Second Hand – Repslagaregatan 10
  • Pop Boutique – Davidhallsgatan 9
  • Stadsmissionen – Stora Kvarngatan 51A & Per Albin Hanssons väg 40 (Mobilia)
  • SWOP SHOP – Stora Nygatan 27
  • Red Cross – Norra Parkgatan 17
  • Öppen Famn Second Hand – Södra Förstadsgatan 69 & Värnhemstorget 9A

But physical stores are not the only way to shop second hand, especially during the pandemic when not everyone feels comfortable with being in public places. I also spend a fair time on apps like Tise, Plick and Tradera along with facebook groups and facebook marketplace. My favorite facebook group, “Circle of Clothes”, is not based in Malmö but in it you can find practically all styles of clothing from all over Sweden. But if you are looking for groups around the Malmö area, searching for “second hand Malmö” will lead you to a bunch of groups where you can find some hidden treasures for low prices.


There you have it, my second hand knowledge sort of summarised. Although the environmental, ethical and financial benefits are the cherry on top, if you take anything from reading this – I want you to explore as many styles as you can, try on bizarre outfits and just have fun while thrifting. Life is too short for forcing your personal style into a box and not expressing yourself through clothing and interior. 

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