We are always looking for ways to cut costs on things we need around here. Sometimes that means a trip to the local thrift stores. I have to say I absolutely love thrift shopping. There is just something about the rush of finding a great deal. I also love the moment of realization from the kids. “I can get one thing at the store or like twenty at the thrift store for the same money.” I wanted to take a few minutes and share some great tips for making the most of thrift shopping.
Making the Most of Thrift Shopping
Not all thrift stores are created equal and not all thrift shopping experiences are created equal. In fact, there are a couple thrift shops I won’t even go to because I know I won’t walk out with a good deal. I want to share some of my tips and tricks with you to help you really enjoy thrift shopping.
Ask if appliances/electronics are tested
Many thrift stores will sell you electronics and appliances. You can get a really great deal on some of these items. I suggest asking if they test them before buying them. If they don’t, ask what their replacement/return policy is. Some places will give you time to test it at home and return. Others will not.
Look for the clearance rack
I am all about saving as much as possible when I shop. This means that I will always go to the clearance racks first. My favorite thrift store has a 50 cent clothing rack. You wouldn’t believe how many of the pieces there are beautiful. Most of my daughter’s wardrobe comes from that rack because she is growing up so fast.
Check for discount tags
Some thrift stores will have a certain colored tag that is discounted for the day. This is generally for product that has been on the floor longer. This doesn’t mean the items are bad. They just need to make room for new inventory. My favorite thrift store has a color of tag every day that will save you either 30%, 50%, or 70% off that item. I have walked out with really nice jeans for a dollar or less because of this.
Not all items are used
Many thrift stores get donations of new items that someone either didn’t need or company over ordered. You can pay thrift store pricing for something that would cost considerably more in a retail store.
Check things before you buy
The staff will do their best to test for defects before items go out on the floor. Sometimes they will miss a hole or a stain. Make sure to look over your items before buying.
Furniture can be a steal
Some of my favorite pieces of furniture have come from a thrift store. I highly recommend checking your local thrift store before buying something new. You may find the perfect piece for a fraction of the cost.
Books, books, and more books
One of my favorite things to buy at a thrift store is books. They are generally marked down considerably. This is a great way to pick up books for the kids to enjoy without breaking the bank. (Assuming you don’t use the library)
You can find some gorgeous formal wear
Are you shopping for prom, a wedding, or a formal event? You can find some gorgeous dresses that were only worn to one event and then donated. These have the potential to be priced higher but will still be considerably less than full retail prices.
Toys and Bikes
I have found some incredible deals on toys and bikes in the thrift store. If you buy a bike it may need a new tube in the tire or to have the tire filled. Make sure to check toys before buying them for missing pieces or broken parts. However, this is a great way to get a good deal on a play kitchen or a bigger item that doesn’t fit in the budget at full price.
Some medical equipment can be sold
If you are looking for a wheelchair for an injury or a set of crutches check your local thrift store. Sometimes getting a used one will cost you less than the insurance copay or than paying full price.
Some stores are for-profit
Not all thrift stores donate as much of their bottom line to the mission as they say they do. If you are thrift shopping because you want your purchases to give back, make sure to look into how much of the profits really go to helping people.
Non-profits won’t charge tax
If a thrift store is not for profit it will not charge you tax. This is a great way to save some money on your final total.
What is your best thrift shopping tip? Leave me a comment and let me know.
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