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How To Get the Most Value For Your Money At Thrift Stores

By Edited Dec 13, 2015 2 1
Thrift store
Credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:USMC-100304-M-0807P-020.jpg

Thrift Shopping is Fun and Economical

Many people shopp at thrift stores, as it is one of the best ways to save money.  Contrary to what some people might believe, most of the stores are clean and well organized.  You may even be lucky and find some designer label clothing at a fraction of the cost you would have to spend if you bought it new.  I have been fortunate enough to find some brand label clothing at times.

There are a few advantages to shopping at second hand stores, besides the obvious one of finding bargains.  Many of these places are run by the Salvation Army, hospices,  or other chartible organizations.   Most of the staff are not paid, but work at these places to give back to their community.  The money made goes to charitable causes, often right in the local area.

Another advantage of shopping at thrift stores is that items that might otherwise end up in a landfill are instead used by someone else.  You can find many things that are in perfectly fine condition.  

Here are a few tips to make your shopping easier.

  • Be sure to have cash, as many thrift stores do not accept credit or debit cards. This saves the store from having to pay transaction fees, so they will have more money left to donate to charity, or for their own expenses. 
  • If possible, go early in the day.  The store will often have new inventory displayed, and many items will sell quickly.  It also is not as busy in the morning as later in the day.
  • Check clothing carefully for any tears or stains or other flaws.  Clothing is usually checked before it is put out for sale, but flaws can be missed.   Most shops will allow you to return with a reciept, but often this involves exchanging for another item, rather than receiving a refund.
  • Many stores have certain days of the week or month when they have sales.  They may offer extra discounts to seniors, or have a day where all clothing or housewares are marked down.  You can ask the staff if they have special promotions and plan your shopping accordingly.  
  • You may be able to receive an extra discount if you buy several items.  Some stores will negotiate this with you, and it never hurts to ask.  
  • It is often easier to spend time browsing if you don't have children with you.  This is particularly true of second hand stores, as you want to be sure anything you buy is in good condition.  For this reason it is a good idea to have a babysitter so you can shop alone.

Remember when shopping at thrift stores that they sell many items besides clothing.  Small appliances, dishes, DVDs, CDs, garden equipment, tools, and even furniture are often for sale.  If you want to buy something that is too big to take home in the car,  stores may offer to deliver for a small fee, but you will have to find out their policy.  A student or anyone on a budget can find many things for a household at bargain prices.

The inventory in thrift shops usually changes very quickly.  If you don't find anything you want one day, you may the next time.  This is why you often need to visit a store a few times to know if they sell items that you would be looking for.  

 Overall, thrift store shopping is very worthwhile for the cost savings you will receive.  Since you can even find things like shoes and jewelry, it's possible to buy an entire wordrobe this way. 





Sep 30, 2013 7:04am
That's a great tip about shopping at these stores after Christmas. Thanks for visiting.
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