Consignment shopping can be a great thing not only for the customer, but also for the owner of the item. To consign an item means the seller takes it to a store who then puts it on sale. Once the item sells, the original seller splits the money with the store. This means that a seller must wait until their particular item has sold before making money. Most consignment items are second-hand, meaning they are used before. However, it is easy to find brand new pieces, never-worn, that people were just trying to get rid of.
This is slightly different from a thrift store. A thrift store is a shop that is usually run by an charity or non-profit, such as a church. All merchandise is usually donated by community members. The profits made are then kept by the charity. Thrift stores tend to take all donations, unlike consignment shops which can be a little picky about what merchandise they agree to sell.
This difference between the two is important, especially from a price standpoint. Thrift stores tend to be cheaper because the profits made are not split. However, the selection at a consignment shop may be slightly better because they can pick and choose what they want to sell.
However, both are helpful to the budget. And both are bound to offer unique finds for the customer. Originality is where both shine. Do not discount one for the other because you may miss out!