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For those who think bargain-hunting should be an Olympic sport...

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The thrill of the hunt: Some people find it on the Serengeti, others prefer to stay closer to home, content to chase down the best bargains. Thrifting is all about finding the fashion diamond in the rough (or, you know, the perfect ugly Christmas sweater) and then celebrating even more when you look at the price tag. But just because we love the hunt doesn't mean that we can't take a shortcut once in a while. Here's five of our favorite places to find the most baller bargains in Houston.

Family Thrift Center

Multiple locations, $ 

There are several Family Thrift Centers all over Houston, but the one at 610 and Wayside is my main squeeze. It has racks on racks of well-organized garments, separated by color and style. The store leans slightly towards quality over quantity, but you’re sure to find oodles of good choices with the overbearing selection. As the least expensive option on this list, it's a great place to bargain shop for pretty much anything: Shoes, blazers, skirts, denim shorts and jeans, khakis, black jeans/slacks, dresses, and it has a large men’s section.

Note: No public bathrooms! And only three fitting rooms, so if one is out of order, the wait can be long. For the best deals, come on Sunday for up to 50 percent off.

Blue Bird Circle Resale Shop

615 W Alabama St., $$

Vintage furniture and home goods comprise the majority of Blue Bird, but the left side is a solid clothing shop. It's pricier than your average thrift, so I’d recommend it for nice shoes and clothes because the everyday clothing is still fairly pricey for hand-me-downs. But the blazers, work/evening dresses, slacks, pantsuits, any business casual/formal wear make for bigger bargains.

Note: This store closes at 4 p.m. on Mon–Fri. and at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

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One man's trash, that's another man's come-up.

Image: Leah Rose

Goodwill

Multiple locations, $$

When it comes to thrifting, Goodwill fits solidly in the median, with dozens of locations around Houston. My only beef with Goodwill is the socialist pricing. Every garment of the same style, i.e., dresses, pants, long-sleeve shirts—costs the same. It doesn’t matter if it’s a silk or cotton. Thus smart shoppers should aim for the nicer end of the spectrum because everyday wear ends up inflated while more formal options are a steal. And there’s lots of them: Skirts, blazers, shoes and pants, though the dress and shirt selection can be questionable.

Pavement Clothing

1657 Westheimer Rd., $$$

Pavement has, hands down, the best vintage shopping atmosphere. This store is gorgeous—we're talking chandeliers and a plush 360-degree couch. The staff here is the friendliest you’ll find. It offers lots of out-on-the-town hipster apparel, including dresses, jeans, shorts, a whole wall of flannel, a surprising number of denim vests and tons of women's shoes. There’s a good men’s selection too, from shirts (all varieties) to board shorts.

Note: No public bathrooms, surprisingly. Right now there's also a 50 percent off sale on Christmas sweaters.

Nordstrom Rack

5000 Westheimer Rd., Suite 500, $$$$

Now obviously Nordstrom Rack is not a resale/consignment or thrift shop. But the clearance in this bad boy can be a bargain like no other—if you’re willing to look. I’ve got some of my best buys off of these racks. Also Nordstrom Rack Online offers free shipping for purchases over $100, which can be returned to any Nordstorm store. Ladies can find good dresses, shirts, pants, skirts and shoes. And there’s a decently sized men’s section, although even the sale prices are a little on the upper end.

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