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Thrift Store Shopping Tips

Many shoppers find exceptional bargains at their local thrift stores. This is a guide about thrift store shopping tips.

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February 7, 2008 Flag
9 found this helpful

I was just reading the comments on the "Saving Money On Jeans" post, and I agree with the poster who said that Goodwill is getting "expensive"! There was a bigger, nicer Goodwill building built here in my city a few years ago, but on recent trips there, I've noticed that the prices are rather high (at least for a thrift store, in my opinion). My best friend used to work for them, and said that they often get brand new merchandise donated to them from Target and other stores. However, there are at least two other different thrift stores here in my city, and I know that at least one of them also gets donations from Target, and they have much lower prices.

Once I bought a Target item from Goodwill, only to find it about $1.25 cheaper at Salvation Army! So my tip is to check out all the thrift stores in your area and compare prices. You might find some of the same items there, and get them cheaper than you would at Goodwill. I do still shop at Goodwill, but after I've looked at the other thrift stores first!

By Lisa from Kenosha, WI

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April 12, 2016 Flag
4 found this helpful

Thrift shopping is one of my favorite ways to save money. Like it or not, we live in a materialistic culture that can be reflected in the stock of any given thrift shop. Every day clothing, furniture, and housewares are donated by those who buy too much for those who can't buy much of anything. As the old saying goes, one person's trash is another person's treasure. The following are some tips to not only make thrift shopping easier and more pleasant, but also help get the most for the least amount of money.

  1. Location, location, location: A good rule of thumb is that the thrift shop will reflect the neighborhood that they are near. By knowing the area, you don't have to waste precious time and money during your thrift shopping trip. Generally, thrift shops located near a more affluent neighborhood carry a higher end stock than, say, a shop located in a middle class neighborhood. I would recommend shopping near more affluent neighborhoods. You will spend a little more, but you can still get amazing deals on quality, minimally used goods. The shop I frequent most is located less than a half-mile from a university campus. They usually have a decent selection of books, handbags and clothing. Also keep in mind your transportation needs. You don't want to be stuck walking a mile.

  2. Don't be afraid: The very idea of thrift shopping might make one a little nervous. After all these are things others have owned and used before. Don't worry. Clothing can be washed and objects can be cleaned up nicely. It is important to note that there may be a stigma attached to buying second-hand. If you buy wisely, nobody would ever be the wiser. I've gotten more compliments on my second-hand clothing than on the clothing I buy new. The children will also be none the wiser, especially if you don't tell them.

  3. Keep an eye out for sales: Yes, thrift shops do have sales. One of my favorite shops features a week long color-code sale every week. For example, one week's sale may be on blue. If you buy something with a blue sticker or hang tag, it's 50% off. The best thing about this sale is that on Saturdays, the items marked with the featured color is 75% off. There are many different sales as there are shops so don't be hesitant to ask a friendly employee about them.

  4. Know about how big or small your body actually is: Never rely on the size tag inside a garment. Most shops size with generic small, medium, large, etc. In a lot of cases, clothing has shrunken in the wash, or has been stretched out due to improper handling or wearing in it's former life. The best way to judge size is just to eyeball it. Take your measurements if you need to or take a good objective look at yourself in a full-length mirror. This way you will not only find a really good fit for your body, but you also won't feel like pouting if those great jeans you found that fit like a dream happen to be a size or two larger than you would ordinarily take.

  5. Keep an eye out for potential: Many thrift shops have a bewildering array of unusual items. The really pretty dress with the broken zipper may be perfect for an upcoming occasion. If you're handy with a sewing machine, it wouldn't be anything to rip out the broken one and replace the broken one or replace it with another kind of closure to create a one-of-a-kind dress. An old and sturdy dresser that doesn't look the best can be repainted and repurposed to fit your needs. There's inspiration at every turn.

  6. Wear the right clothes when you shop: This is the most applicable if you must try on clothes in the store. Might I suggest wearing leggings and a close fitting top? You just never know if the person who donated the garment washed everything before donating.

  7. Take a buddy: Thrift shopping is fun when you go alone, but bringing a friend and add a lunch out can make for an amazing outing. I have a friend who works magic in a thrift shop. She managed to only pay about half of what she expected to pay, and I've learned also how to become a better thrift shopper because of what I've learned from shopping with her.
Thrift shopping is one of the more fun ways to save your hard-earned dollars. With the amazing deals you can find and your amazing good taste, you'll end up on top every time.

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January 8, 2015 Flag
27 found this helpful

Why the coat? I recently purchased this coat for 69 cents at a thrift shop. No, I'm not kidding you! For years now, I have ALWAYS looked in the local thrift shops BEFORE simply paying retail at a chain store.

Thrift Shops Before Retail

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December 2, 2015 Flag

Whenever I shop, be it retail or thrift, I always have my eyes open for a great deal on formal wear. If you wait until you get an invitation, you have limited time to shop and will likely spend top-dollar.

Look Like a Million for $2.50

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March 26, 2010 Flag
20 found this helpful

Look For the "Silver" Lining at Thrift StoresLook for the "silver" lining in that dark cloud. As a thrift store junkie, I don't know which I like more, searching out treasures or finding them at a rock bottom price.

Here is a photo of my latest surprise find. I purchased these four chalices at a Salvation Army Thrift Store last week. They were grimy with grease and dust, not to mention tarnish. They were so black that I could not tell whether they were brass or silver. But each one was very heavy! Marked at 50 cents each, I took the plunge and bought them.

I could hardly wait to get home and begin working on them. Much to my surprise and utter delight, I found silver underneath all the grime and tarnish. I took the photo of the first chalice that I polished to show what was found in comparison to what I had purchased.

I absolutely love silver and using it when I entertain. When you go to a thrift store, look for that "silver" lining in that dark cloud like I did. Believe me, it took an abundance of elbow grease to polish these, but the end result is well worth it!

Source: Me - looking for that diamond in the rough!

By Southeastgeorgiapeach from Jesup, GA

October 27, 2011 Flag
12 found this helpful

I learned that the Goodwill is changing their marketing strategies due to the availability of new goods coming off shelves of failing/going out-of-business/bankrupt stores. I have found a plethora of NEW in-the-box with-the-manual items at tremendously low prices.

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March 18, 2010 Flag
15 found this helpful

I desperately needed some new sweat pants but can't afford them new so I stopped at my local Goodwill Store. I was so happy when the woman at the counter asked about my age and because I am 56, I received a senior citizen discount of 20%.

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November 1, 2011 Flag
15 found this helpful

I have found treasures behind or under the glass at our local thrift stores. That is where they keep the items like bags, jeans, leather jackets, etc. Usually these items are priced way too high in my opinion because of the name, not the condition they are in.

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September 9, 2009 Flag
6 found this helpful

If anyone needs a reminder, though, please remember some thrift stores are done really well: having nice clothing and blankets, as well as

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December 5, 2007 Flag
Debra Frick1 found this helpful

In these hard times, shopping at the thrift stores may be that the only way some of us will be able to afford a Christmas for our families. So here are some ideas of what can be done with thrift store bargains to turn them from "Trash" to "Treasure".

A Thrift Store Christmas

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July 27, 2016 Flag
1 found this helpful

This is a guide about finding silver jewelry at thrift shops. There are definitely bargains to be found at your local thrift store. If you know how to look, you may come upon a lovely piece of silver jewelry hiding under that tarnish.

Finding Silver Jewelry at Thrift Shops

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October 25, 2011 Flag
6 found this helpful

We all know shopping at thrift stores is a great way to save money on things, but I have found that I save even more if I go in late in a season to look for clothes for the next season.

Flanel pajamas, rain coat, two pairs pants with matching shirts, another shirt, and a pair of shoes in toddler sizes as well as a pair of adult sneakers and a butterfly decoration.

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July 9, 2010 Flag
13 found this helpful

Get to know brands for the best thrift shop bargains! A $7 purse is nice, but a $7 Anne Klein purse is an even better value. The brands will probably be better made, so that the item will wear better too.

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August 12, 2010 Flag
6 found this helpful

Every year Goodwill has a membership drive -I think it's in April. They sell memberships for $5. You will get 1/2 off anything you buy that day ,and they mail you 12 coupons good for each month of the year for $5 off any $10 or more purchase.

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August 10, 2010 Flag

Think you can only get clothes and household items at thrift shops? There is often a lot of electronic and computer gear there, too. When our computer keyboard fritzed out last week, my hubby went out to the thrift shop and bought a new keyboard for about $5.00!

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