Thrifty shopping in the city

By Laura Timberlake

Melbourne CBD is teeming with incredible hidden shopping spots.

Two of the best are actually across the road from the biggest department stores in the city!

The Royal Arcade in Melbourne is worth a visit in itself to see its historical charm and the variety of boutiques it offers.

But if you happen to look down once inside, you will discover a Brotherhood of St Laurence in the basement (Royal Arcade basement, Off Bourke St mall).

This store is bigger than expected.

There is a lot to take in, but don’t let that deter you.

Take time to explore the store from top to bottom.

A breezy look-through in op shops is never enough.

The gems are often hidden at the bottom of a pile!

Vintage lovers will also be delighted to discover a Hunter Gatherer store just around the corner in the Arcade at Shop 51.

The store might be small, but it offers a treasure trove of vintage goodies inside.

Take your time examining the windows before going in, because they are filled with beautiful displays that are invisible from inside.

Hunter Gatherer stores are a social enterprise of the Brotherhood of St Laurence, so all funds spent at one of their stores goes straight back to charity (guilt-free shopping!).

Another interesting store to visit is the Salvos at 69 Bourke St, Melbourne.

This store has a very boutique feel to it, and fits in nicely with the stores surrounding it.

The city stores always seem to get a collection of the best stock, so it can be worth a visit to check out the selections.

Many people think of thrifty shopping as tedious. Here are some quick tips to turn a thrifty outing into a success:

Make sure to look at everything. It’s easy to miss the awesome stuff.

Try everything on. Just because it’s cheap does not mean you need another black dress that fits badly in your wardrobe.

The beginning to middle of the week is the best time to hit these stores – the donations from the weekend are just being put out.

If unsure on a price or brand, whip out your phone and do some research in the store.

But most importantly, have fun!

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