Many shoppers find exceptional bargains at their local thrift stores. This is a guide about thrift store shopping tips.
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.
Look 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
Communicating with Goodwill offices, I learned they are 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.
I find NEW items: A Bodum cordless teakettle ($79) for $6, a pair of Stuart Weismann pumps ($400) for $3.99, a pair of Hush Puppies ($90) for $2.99, a Nordstrom leather vest ($189) for $2.99, a small (this was used) china cabinet ($2500) for $100, a kichen butcher block/island ($259) for $49, a vintage beveled mirror ($800) for $15.
The mirror was too large, a leaner, and I sent it to a consignment shop who sold it for $300.
I find Ralph Lauren, Liz Clayborne, Ann Taylor, Eddie Bauer, JC Penny, Target, Jones of NY, many, many famous top-of-the-line retailers at Goodwill. Just shop carefully.
Goodwill needs cash. YOU need their stuff. Help them by recycling so they can continue their mission of helping the less fortunate and saving yourself money. If I tire of an item, I donate it back to Goodwill. After all, I did not pay the true value and price for the item and some good comes of it once again when they resell it.
RECYCLE, FOLKS! It is a good thing for planet Earth and you.
By Avis from Boulder, CO
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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". My biggest tip is shop early and often. Try to find out when your thrift store restocks and try to buy when things are on sale. Of course, if you find something you really love, try and remember you will be buying for less than retail.
Plastic Animals: These toys, especially the big plastic horses can be restored to next to new condition with a little spray paint made for plastic. The big plastic horses could also be made into a carousel horse by adding ribbons and ribbons roses to decorate it with. Drill a hole through the back and you can even add a dowel for the pole. The plastic paint is guaranteed to not chip or peel.
Board Games: Some thrift stores tape their games shut so people don't open them and take pieces out. My tip for buying used board games is if you can, buy two of the same game so if you are missing pieces from one, you can make up for them with the second. Also a old chess set is something that you might want to buy as the pawns can be used for the "marker pieces" in every game, including Monopoly. Some of the game companies have sites on the internet where you can buy missing pieces also.
Books: These are a great bargain for adults and kids alike. Some people write their names in the books or if it was a gift, Aunt Mary might have put in a dedication. This can be covered with a large mailing label and then you can identify the book as your child's or put in a dedication to your Aunt Mary. If they wrote all over the inside front cover, it can be covered with one of the many beautiful scrapbooking papers that the craft stores have. Just cut the paper down to the size needed and spray mount it in to the book.
Stuffed animals that look new can be jazzed up with a new ribbon or go to the children's department and try to find a little dress to dress them up with. A plain bear decorated with a small crocheted scarf in your daughter's high school colors and the felt numbers stuck to the bear's belly for the year she graduates might just tickle her fancy. A Christmas bear can be decorated with old Christmas ornaments that have be taken apart.
Dolls: What would Christmas for a little girl be without a doll? Believe it or not, you can restore Barbie or a baby doll's hair but that will have to wait until my next article, where I will be giving complete directions for restoring dolls back to a playable condition.
Bicycles: Bikes that are in fair condition can be fixed up with a new chain and some new tires. Buffing compound can sometimes bring back the paint job on a bike but not always. You can always spray paint it if not.
Jeans can be decorated in so many different ways, You can add lace to the pockets, you can add fringe to the bottoms, applique lace doilies to them or trim with the new beaded trim that comes attached on a ribbon. Always check the zippers. Same things goes with women's shirts, you can always decorate them. Check out the great selection of handbags also these make great gifts for teens.
I grew up in a family of 4 children, a stay-at-home mom, and a father who didn't make a lot of money. We had everything we needed (thanks to the constant sacrifices of my dear mother) but I did wear a lot of boys PJs inherited from my older brother and cousins. As an adult, I now shop in thrift stores and, if I can't find what I need, I may resort to the discount stores like Marshalls, TJ MAXX and Ross.
Thrift store shopping is like "big-game hunting" for me with the "thrill" is finding the best quality clothes and household items for the fewest dollars. As a child, I used to say that when I grew up I would be rich and hire someone to break in my shoes for me. Thanks to the thrift stores, this hasn't been necessary, and no blisters!
Claudia from MD
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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
Tips for getting the most out of thrift store shopping. Post your ideas.
By guest (Guest Post) Flag
February 28, 2009
Shop in rich neighborhoods, where stylish people donate clothes. At one Goodwill I went to, almost everything was brand name. You could get an Ann Taylor suit for just 30 dollars.
I desperately needed some new sweat pants but can't afford them new so I stopped at my local Goodwill Store after a doctor's appointment this morning and scoped out the racks. I ended up finding three really, really nice 'almost new' pairs in the colors I was hoping for and all three only came to $8.99 total!
I was so happy and even happier when the woman at the counter asked about my age and guess what? Because I am 56 I received a senior citizen discount of 20% which reduced the price to $7.19 total. That's only about $2.40 per pair.
Lucky me to have stopped there on a Monday because that happens to be my local Goodwill Store Senior Discount Day. So, if you're a senior citizen and don't mind shopping Goodwill, it's well worth calling your local Goodwill to see if they have Senior Discount Day(s). :-)
By Deeli from Richland, WA
I shop at Goodwill regularly. I have problems removing the price off of non-clothing items like dishes, etc. The price is written in black directly on the item. I have tried soap, bleach, etc. and nothing works. Does anyone have any ideas? Thanks.
By Vera from Little River, SC
February 28, 2013
Try heading out to 99Cent Store and buy their degreasing cleaning fluid in the bright orange bottle and be sure to use microfiber cleaning cloths. If you try these, I'm sure your marks will be gone
I have found treasures behind or under the glass at our local thrift stores. That is where they keep the items (sometimes with those names you may love but never would pay for) like bags, jeans, leather jackets, etc. I have found zippers can be a problem, usually these items are priced way too high in my opinion because of the name, not the condition they are in.
If you find a great deal, look inside really well to examine the lining, look outside for any stains that have been ruined by someone trying to remove something, leaving the item not worth paying for just a name. That's where you get to point it out and bargain.
If they are willing (not all are) to lower the price, knowing how to bring the item back to its almost new condition for pennies of what it cost, for me is exciting. I don't resell items but many do. So be careful these are some of what is on eBay. Always ask, if you are one who buys used leather, expensive jeans, hand bags, etc. online, if it has been restored.
My friend had been looking for a Levi jacket for so long, but was unable (or unwilling) to pay store cost. On one of our trips, there was a perfect condition jean jacket in her size for $12.00. This isn't what I usually look for or does she, but once in awhile, we all have that special something we are hoping for.
Leather jackets, if they haven't been worn in awhile, have a couple things to look for; make sure the zipper slides easily, it isn't off track anywhere, and look at the leather. Check the lining - I have found it has been taken out; which means sometimes it had been worn hard, or could be there just was a rip or stain so it has been removed. If you sew, this may be an easy fix, if inexpensive, to get done. I have only redone the "vest" part of a leather jacket which was easy, not expensive for that style of jacket, and worked fine. Look at the cuffs - if it hasn't been taken care of, that is one place you can really see tatter. If the jacket has room to shorten the sleeves, is quality may still be worth the investment. Elbows on the sleeves and the collar is where I also look for the hidden wear, not just a stain popping out or a tear that is in plain sight. I take very good care of my leather, therefore I have a motorcycle jacket still in style that is a couple decades old. Where I live, I have found usually not the case, some donate great quality leather jackets with names I could never think about buying so its worth looking. Sometimes anyone can get lucky.
For hand bags, it's the same thing really. Look at them. Just because they are under lock and key doesn't always mean it's a treasure. It is always the name, that's why they keep them locked up. If it's in good condition on the bottom of the bag and the lining is intact, check out the straps to see if they look worn (I don't mean not new, but really used). Make sure you look where your hand bag get worn out the most. I have found it's usually the same 2 or 3 places.
Always check zippers on both leather jackets, skirts, jeans, and handbags. Make sure they are in working order, on track or if it's something easy like just sticking you know what you are dealing with so you can maybe get a deal, or at the very least, not over pay if they over-looked something. If you don't know how to fix or replace a zipper yourself, my alteration place has good prices, however sometime if you have to replace a zipper, it may well not be worth your find. If it's just sticking or jammed you usually can tell right away. Always make sure it's on track (the bottom isn't ruined). Zippers being stuck easily can be fixed with DW40; it works for me every time. That is what I would recommend, if its only a zipper that is sticking and it's something you want and worth the money.
If the leather itself has a spot on it, it could save you money by pointing it out and be something you can fix. I have a great pair of boots that I tripped in the first time I wore them and tore the leather, making the toes look black, not the brown boots I had bought. Any craft store sells paint that is water proof, used for leather. Even if its an "off" color like mine was, I mixed 2 of the paints together and to this day only my son and I know it ever happened. So if there is a place on a bag, jacket, or pair of boots some of it can be redone for around $5.00 making it well worth it. When I say redone I don't mean the entire bag or jacket, I mean worn spots on the elbows, or spots of wear on a bag can be easily matched with this paint and made to look new again.
For example my own bag, which I love, is a mustard color. Where I keep my hand sanitizer there is a worn spot, but the rest of the bag is still in perfect shape - matching that and fixing it myself is what I will do, not get rid of my Tignanello. I promise it was a gift I will have for years to come.
Leather can be cleaned up and reconditioned in a few ways without costing you a bunch of money; talcum powder removes grease from leather, so just because there is a spot of oil or grease may not mean it's not worth seeing if they will give you a deal, or if it is a great deal may be worth a second look. Remember you can buy leather cleaners, water proof products, or if like me, use olive oil for cleaning and keeping my leather in soft, subtle shape costing hardly nothing. I have heard coconut oil works well. It comes in a jar and is very hard making it easy to put on a cloth and rub into the material. Also remember if it's brown, black, rust, or a color easily matched and has a small spot or maybe creases from prior use, shoe polish will soak into the spot, making it appear the same color. When using shoe polish on anything other than shoes, make sure you polish a couple of times, using a small amount each time and always getting any left over polish off. If you don't, it will come of on something you don't want it to; like your shirt, coat, etc. The liquid shoe stains do not do this. If using one of them make sure you have matched up the leather before applying. These things can also make an item you have look new again.
Jeans, another thing found behind the counter or in the glass case, are always based on name brand. $25.00 for a pair of brand name jeans may be something many are interested in, but look out for knock offs. The people working at Salvation Army or Goodwill especially, will not know how to recognize fakes. The small independent thrift stores or consignment stores know more of what they have, and its worth. I know polo type shirts that have a little symbol on the right side, aren't always a real polo (Ralph Lauren), or another brand, but they have copied the "tag" or taken it from another item. If you don't look close, you wouldn't catch it until too late. Not everyone cares about labels, but if you are paying for it, you should get what you pay for - new or used.
They keep sun glasses and jewelry there locked away also, these are so easy for people who steal to take. It doesn't always mean they are anything expensive to begin with. I have found the neatest jewelry behind the glass in bundles sometimes and on a half price day. Keep in mind these things are already marked down like everything else in the store.
Cameras, CD players, and watches are just a few of the other things that seem to be out of reach. If you ask they will gladly open the case. Make sure it's working (if it needs electricity or battery) - it's usually a good idea to carry some batteries with you if you are looking for any items that take them. That way you know its in good working order. I got a beautiful, expensive watch for $10.00 from my church thrift store and they said if you take it and get a battery, if it doesn't work, bring it back. Not everywhere would do that, so ask to be sure. For the cost of a watch battery, I have a watch I could never afford, wouldn't even have thought I could own one.
Sometimes these locked away treasures are worth asking, maybe bargaining, putting in a little time. Other times it's better to know when it's not a treasure at all; just locked away. Items found behind the glass can make the best gifts. Although they may not be your usual purchases, don't be afraid to look. I wrote in one of my posts where I had gotten a blow dryer that was worth well over $100.00, but I knew what I was looking at. Like I said, "some people make a living doing this" - most of us do not, so knowing a little bit about what you may be bargaining down could pay off. I always look at what is in style, what is in the magazines, and when I see name brands it helps knowing a little bit about what you may be "hoping" to find. Always try to look on the days they have 50% off or any other special your local thrift store has.
Finding a bargain is so much fun. Once in a while, it is like finding hidden treasure! I keep up on magazines and look at what the price "new" is to see if it is really a deal when buying anything that isn't obviously my usual thrift purchases. Good luck with your treasure hunting!
By Luana M. from San Diego, CA
With a lot of people using thrift stores, how "safe" are the donations? Can you "catch" anything from what you buy?
Kathy from Coatesville, PA
August 6, 2009
I have shopped thrift store for years. You can get some really good deals on gently used clothing. I wash everything new or used that I buy. The clothing comes from so many places around the world anymore that you never know where the product has been before it got to you. We never try on hats anymore because my daughter got lice years ago from trying on a hat at a thrift store. Luckily we caught it very quickly and it didn't spread. Household dishes and stuff we put things in the dishwasher as hot as possible with "heat dry" to sanitize before we use it. Do not try to save money by letting the item air dry in the dishwasher. It's the drying with high heat that sanitizes things. Wash it, sanitize it, dry clean it. Whatever you need to do before you use it. We do that with every store we buy something from, not just thrift stores, because, remember - things are from all over the world and you never know the germs they are fighting there that hitched a ride on the item you are buying!
If anyone needs a reminder, though, please remember some thrift stores are done really well: having nice clothing and blankets, as well as
Save on craft supplies by shopping at thrift stores. If you like to craft or have just a single project to make, you can't go wrong by checking out some thrift stores before purchasing new supplies.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Thrift Stores For Christmas Decorations. For years, I envied pricey holiday decorations from specialty stores but they weren't in my budget. But in the last few years, I have discovered that thrift shops are a great source of really nice and classy holiday stuff.
I frequently shop at Goodwill for clothing, household items, etc. I found that for only $5 I can get a mailing of monthly coupons for $5 off if you spend $10.
Go to the best town (most expensive real estate) and comb the thrift shops. Rich people throw things out too and sometimes new or near new. The quality may be better and you still pay thrift store prices. By JANET
Our local consignment shops have been doing stuff-a-sack (Walmart sack) for $3. I have been hitting them for the past 3 months and have gotten some great stuff.
Just got a beautiful pair of like new red silk Stuart Weitzman designer ballerina-style flat shoes at a thrift shop for $1.99. When I researched it on the internet, they were worth at least $250! They had no wear at all, and I wondered about that until I saw that they were marked 8 1/2 and they fit me who usually wears 7 1/2 to 8.
I got a nice black leather bag for $1 at a thrift shop. You can tell leather from vinyl by the smell. Leather wears so much better.
Don't think of thrift shops for just utilitarian items. It's amazing, but you can often get higher-end consumer/fashion items, like fancy place mats...
Many times they have a super sale like a bag of clothes for $5. I've bought new hooded sweatshirts for my granddaughter with 6 fitting in a bag. Recently, they had women's clothing for $.50 each.
I found a wonderful way to help a mother-to-be when my daughter and I went to her baby shower. I was informed that new clothes are donated to thrift stores when they are bringing in new stock. I went with my daughter to see if I could find some new clothes. What a windfall! I got beautiful new clothing for very little money as did my daughter.
I realize that I do most of my shopping nowadays in various thrift shops. It's gotten to the point I get sticker shock when I go into a REAL store!
When I am in thrift shops, I always look for little gift items - there are so many occasions to give little gifts - besides birthdays, there are get well gifts and so on.
I just wore a heavily beaded dress to a gala. Now, I had gotten it from a local thrift shop. It was a steal; but I did have to trim off the extra threads and hanging beads.
If you frequent thrift stores, ask when new shipments generally arrive and find out how long it typically takes for the store staff to get the merchandise out on the floor for sale. This info will allow you to avoid searching through the same items over again without waiting so long that the "good stuff" is picked over. By Leann D
What's the great thing about shopping for your wardrobe at thrift shops? You can afford great fabrics, like linen and silk and designer names. And you can make mistakes! The prices allow you to try styles, colors, trends without the sticker guilt. And if you get a stain on your $3.00 shirt after a couple of wearings, it's no great loss!
By Pam from L.A., CA
Whenever I'm paying for my purchases at a thrift shop, I always tell the cashier that they should change the name of the store to "The Blessing Shop". It is a wonderful blessing for some of us who have less disposable income than others and can find beautiful things that others have grown tired of or in some cases never worn simply because they themselves can "afford" to.
By Judy Two Dogs
I shop at garage sales more than thrift stores. I buy a lot of my children's clothes that way and believe me, I feel much better when they come home with stains on their "next to nothing" priced clothes than something much more expensive. My kids always look real nice tho in their pre-worn outfits.
I find that I shop for clothes more and more from thrift shops and Goodwill than regular retail stores. I can find great brands that wear so much better than the much cheaper brands that I can afford. I have got L.L. Bean, Alfred Dunner, etc., items that have been such a value. And great shoes too. I have even got compliments on my outfits that I have dug out of Goodwill bargain bins for .50 each piece. Sure, you have to wade through things you don't want but sometimes the effort is worth it and you can find some great items especially on off seasons.
My greatest find at a thrift shop was a two piece outfit. Apparently the previous owner had bought two complete outfits of the same item but in two different sizes so that she could have the bigger size skirt and the smaller size jacket. She donated the pieces she didn't want. So I got the larger jacket and the smaller size skirt and had a wonderful brand new outfit with the tags still on it and fit me perfectly! The original prices on the tags were almost three hundred dollars, a price I would never be able to afford but I could afford the ten dollars I did pay for it. Buying my clothes this way has saved me a lot of money the past few years and no one can tell. It is my little secret. (Smile)
Since I have a lot of sweating, I cannot wear silk or linen without it being tell-tale! So, I'm most grateful for all the great cotton and cotton-blend clothing from any source, in any design, in my size (the real criteria). I used to be able to wear/buy anything at all, in any fabric, and at any cost, never realizing how wasteful it was and how stuck I would be when Business Casual became so popular and practical.
I began to accept, appreciate and wear anything decent and look just fine. I had gotten a taste of this over the previous 11 years. I volunteered to help hundreds in crises, "finding" money by getting down off my high horse and getting "real" about clothes, accessories, etc.
Now, I don't have to ever shop, even in thrift/gently used stores, because what is tossed openly in large new boxes on the curbs of this over-indulged city is often my very size, color, and style, by His grace.
God bless all those who learn this lesson before their lives come to "the other side of the hill". After all, it's what's on the inside that really counts. : )
Love the thrift shops, Salvation Army and Goodwill. I usually go there at least twice a month and only buy what I can use. I also go to garage sales, flea markets, etc. in summer. Went to one this summer where they were giving things away. I got lots of things, Martha Stewart sheets, a bird house for indoor use a pair of black Birkenstock sandal shoes, I disinfected them and they look good as the ones bought last fall for many $'s and, this time, I paid nothing.
It pays to keep up with designer names to a degree. I noticed a major label on a purse at a thrift shop, found out it was leather, and got it for $1.49. Looking it up on the net later I found that it's probably worth $100! (And it adds a fillip to my professional wardrobe.)
By pamphyila from Los Angeles
I've done this too at garage sales! What a bargain and no one will ever know! (02/08/2007)
Goodwill is my favorite store, lol. Most recent finds: Ann Taylor suit, new with tags at $179.00, I paid $3.99. Also Louis Vuitton Handbag, over $600 new, my price $2.99. How can you go wrong, lol.
They also have an online auction, shopgoodwill.com, have found some collectible ceramics and glassware. Just be careful, some items are way over priced.
Have a great day! (02/08/2007)
Shop the Goodwill and Salvation Army Shops. I recently bought a $200.00 coat for 6 bucks! Great savings for clothes, toys, books, purses. If you have growing kids, start there for your shopping. It's cheaper and when the kids grow out of them, donate them back and take if off your taxes.
By DEBRADJ from ILLINOIS
Editor's Note: What are your best thrift store finds? Post them below.
I started shopping thrift stores out of necessity when my 3 children were small. As time went on I continued to shop Good Will, Miracle Hill, Salvation Army, etc because of the bargains I found on name brand items. My best bargain is probably my microwave. The microwave I'd used for 22 years bit the dust so I went to Walmart and bought a new one. Needless to say things aren't made the same as they were 20 years ago and I was not pleased with the look of the new microwave when I put it where the old one had been. I took it back and found a larger microwave at Goodwill the following day. I was excited to get a microwave for $15, but then when they rang me up I found out it was half price because of the tag color! My daughter-in-law couldn't believe I bought a microwave for $7.50. On that same trip I got my grandson a Little Tikes slide for $5.00. The look on his 18 month old face when he saw it was worth 100 times what I paid for it! (02/22/2008)
By Donna B
My greatest finds are 100% wool things to incorporate in my rug hooking. I have found many things, a Mills Brothers suede jacket and matching skirt for $15. Plus, tops and pants. Plus, at Frenchy's, I have found many tartan skirts for hooking. Besides what, it helps keeps this stuff from going to the landfill. (02/22/2008)
Wow, where to begin! I have shopped at my local thrift store, as well as others I stumble upon, for at least 20 years now. My best buys are the things I find which are name brand and like new that I would love to buy new but cannot afford. This fall I got fur-lined leather coat with a label from a popular leatherwear store chain for $20, and it was worth an estimated $300. I also got a long down coat from a famous outdoor company for $20 that sold for about $80 this past season. I have also gotten new, never worn designer label shoes for as little as $5, even a pair of new (insert popular sheepskin boot company name here) for $9!!! Thrift stores are also a good place to find those odd things you have been looking for for years, and also a good place for me to get quality yarn, often enough to make an entire project. I also agree that buying kids clothes there is a winner, I have bought baby clothes there as a baby gift; if it is a gift and not me just helping someone out, I will only purchase goods that are new with tags. I always buy a bottle of Dreft and wash any baby gifts (no fabric softener) no matter where I get them from and give the mom the rest of the Dreft along with the clothes. That much easier for the mom. (02/22/2008)
I went to Walmart yesterday to see if I could buy some pretty fabric at $1.00 per yard, but no such thing. I looked at several bolts of fabric at $1.00 per yard, but they weren't eye catching. So today I went to the Salvation Army Store and purchased 2 men's shirts at 50% off, it was their yellow tag discount sale. What I'm going to do with the shirts is to cut them up and make hot mitts and flat potholders. (02/23/2008)
For some reason the best bargains seem to be books (I created a good library from rejected classics) and skirts (in larger sizes too). The worst appear to be bras, which are usually stretched out by the time they get to the store.
I did once get a perfectly good salad spinner at a thrift store in another state. And I notice there aren't as many book bargains any more, probably because people read so much less, and what they read is the latest trash, not classics. (02/23/2008)
I love going to thrift stores, I have found so much and saved so much. I buy those level reader books for my 6 year old son, which cost anywhere from $3-$5 full price, I get them for 39 cents. I get the cutest clothes for my 2 year old daughter, Gap, Old Navy, Gymboree, The Children's Place, for just a few dollars each or even 99 cents sometimes!
My favorite pair of jeans came from the thrift store and their shoes are great price too! I go like every 2 weeks. Can you tell I love the thrift store?
Don't get me started! I am involved with Sr. America, an organization which has a pageant for women 60 and better. I work backstage at the VA and the National pageant and need glitzy evening clothes for the many events that occur at these pageants. Thrift stores are quite often a treasure trove for this type of clothing. I have bought a gorgeous beaded and sequined dress for $35 and a glitzy jacket to dress up an every day little black dress for as little as $5.
My favorite shopping experiences are at a place called 'The Thrift Shop' in Arlington, VA (which benefits a number of charities) and a shop at an Episcopal church on Sanibel Island in FL called Noah's Ark for beachy type and designer clothes. I often go on sr. trips and always look to see if there is a thrift or consignment shop at my destination. I live in NJ but have visited shops in Va, W.VA, Kentucky, Nevada, FL and of course, NJ.
It's the thrill of the chase for me! You can get beautiful, gently worn clothing if you shop diligently and if you befriend the volunteers they will let you know when the sales will be.(02/28/2008)
About 12 years ago, I had to find a way to buy my husband's shirts. He was forever burning holes in them smoking. I decided to try a thrift store. I was embarrassed to go in but I did. WELL, I was so surprised at the people shopping there; well off and well heeled. I decided to look around after I got his shirts. I was shocked! I found a LL. Bean denim skirt for $4.00 with the tag still on and never been worn.
I was, from that point on, a thrift store shopper. I have turned all my friends on to them. I have purchased designer clothes at a fraction of the cost. Most still have tags. Even if they don't, you can tell they have never or only been worn once. You have to haunt the stores but it is well worth it. On a recent trip I bought approx. $300.00 worth of clothes for $20.00.
By Mary Ann from Weslaco, Texas
I have been going to thrift shops for years after a friend told me about them. She always is dressed nice. I don't go to regular stores anymore. Like you said, I can get designer clothes for a fraction of the price. I live in Ohio and on Sundays at Goodwill if you're over 50 you get 50% off., so I'm paying $2.50 for an article of designer apparel. Last week I got my husband a Nautica golf shirt for 2.50. He used to make fun of me for going there until I started bringing him home practically new clothes for almost nothing. My teenage son will not wear anything from there though (06/18/2009)
I am getting addicted to thrift stores too. Like you, I often find brand new things with the tags attached. You can't beat the prices, except at yard sales and I have never found any clothes at a yard sale that suited me. (06/18/2009)
Last week I bought a Ralph Lauren Polo tshirt for $1 - and actually most of my clothes have designer or at least well-known brand labels - I love Chico's, but can't afford it - but as my husband says, I don't have to afford it, because I keep on finding their jackets in thrift shops! (and the last one at a yard sale as part of a $10 bag!)And my jewelry - mostly 2nd hand - is of a better quality than that sold there at Chico's! (06/18/2009)
I congratulate all of you on your bargains but, at the same time, I get a bit upset as I am on a pension and the thrift shop is the only place where I can actually buy clothes anyway. If all those people who can afford to buy elsewhere buy at the thrift shop then there is nothing decent left for those of us who need it more. (06/18/2009)
Also, be aware of consignment shops. You do have to search to find the ones that don't charge high prices, but some charge hardly more than thrift shops and the quality is usually really good. As with the price, it depends on the shop. (06/18/2009)
I enjoy thrifting. I am a college student who has to buy most of her own things. I hunt for vintage clothes and give them a modern twist. It's well worth it. (10/08/2009)
It seems a bit counter productive to save money at a thrift store and waste it on cigarettes. The money spent on cigarettes would buy him a shirt a month or more. That would upset me, I'm just sayin'. (06/04/2010)
I am a working professional who has to dress nice and I buy most of my work clothes through thrift stores. I can't stand the thoughts of paying $30-35 for a pair of dress pants that may get ruined at work within a week.
If I find something in a retail store I like or that I need quick, I will buy it. At most thrift stores, if something has a stain or some kind of damage, they may discount it if you show them. Then take it home and use your favorite stain cleaner on it. You'd be surprised what I've done with thrift store clothes. I've also bought a nice dress and replaced the buttons on it for a new look, this same dress had pinhole type damage to the sleeve, which I gathered and now, you can't tell.
Watch for the sales at VOA stores, ours is half off the last Wed. of the month. You can actually afford to buy "new" clothes and if they wear out or you get tired of them, you can re-donate them and you're not out hundreds of dollars. Last time I went on a major find, I took a vac. day from work and my friend and I bought the whole back end of her SUV full of clothes and I only had $100 in mine. I still wear them today, in fact, I have on thrift store pants. No one knows my clothes mostly come from thrift stores, either, unless I tell them. I tend to stick to name brands and classic styles. Probably over 50% of my work wardrobe is thrift store bought and I'm the only one that knows that. (06/04/2010)
I am hooked on thrift stores. I buy mostly things for the house and my place is gorgeous. It looks as though I've traveled the world and brought back many treasures. My kitchen is Mexican inspired, my dining room Indonesian, living room Indian (east) and my bedroom Asian. Everybody who visits, loves it. I'm a graphic designer and ready to approach the store's owners and talk about a marketing campaign. I could take pictures of my condo and show what you can do with little money.
I live in an area full of immigrants and lucky for me they donate treasures from their countries because they prefer American design now. I also have beautiful and useful things for my kitchen from the stores such as platters, salad spinners, colanders, glasses, plates, etc. I feel good about the recycling end of it and live in beautiful surroundings for peanuts. The only problem is that once these types of stores get popular they seem to up their prices. But still well worth the weekly trips I make. Mon. and Thurs. is 25% off and holidays 50% off. And when I'm ready for a change I return some of what I've displayed the past year, and start all over again. I love it! (06/04/2010)
I am sorry but I feel that the thrifty stores are for people who can't afford to buy brand new clothes. People who don't make much money. If you can afford to go to the mall or walmart, then when you go to the thrifty store you are taking items from the people who really need the store. (06/04/2010)
I also love thrift stores. I was embarrassed the first time I ever went in one about 7 years ago. But one day I was donating some items of my own and I said to myself that if I am donating Jones of New York, Lord and Taylor and other such name brands, other people must be doing the same. So I went into one and was shocked at how many people were shopping in there. I have been hooked ever since. There is plenty for everyone for those of you who are worried that the "poor" will not have enough. That is why the thrift stores have sales and discounts-because they have too much on hand and need to get rid of it. I have gotten some lovely things for my home and for my closet and most of my neighbors are now hooked also. (06/04/2010)
By florida gal
Save those things for the poor. How can you define poor? I wonder about some of the criticism here. The ones saying save it for the poor. I wonder if they have their financial house in order and why they subscribe to "Thrifty Fun" in the first place. I could well afford to pay retail but it's not good money management.
Don't judge anyone for shopping thrift stores and staying out of debt. Too many willing to pay full price; going into debt and not even giving a second thought to their future; just living one day at a time. Furthermore, if one is that poor he/she need not shop at the thrift store at all. Go to your local freecycle. Meanwhile don't criticize my good common sense and money management. (06/04/2010)
There is enough at the thrift stores for all of us (rich, poor or in between) and there always will be! This is a throw away society. If one is afraid that the rich will "snatch" it all up, rest assured tomorrow you'll find what you need. (06/04/2010)
You just have to make sure you try things on, as many have limited return policies. But, you can't beat the prices! (06/04/2010)